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Old 12-09-21, 09:00 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: NB, NL
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Bikes: 90's Trek 800 Sport, setup for Fully Loaded Touring

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Originally Posted by John N View Post
However, I can only break off for a 5 days so many times before she will get perturbed. Hopefully, she will want to become more immersed and will prefer to go it alone so I can tour my heart out further north.
Without meaning to comment on your relationship you may well find yourself having to deal with her lack of perturbation at your absences :-) The Camino can be a totally immersive experience.

Your other questions about dining and times are relevant to the different experiences between Pilgrims and tourists.
Pilgrims are early abed - very early, sometimes 6pm and early, very early to rise. From 3am. That's not my idea of cycle touring. In private rooms and (presumably) with reservations your wife will feel less pressure than most to find a bed. However, by travelling later she may find herself with less companions.

The places along the official route in my experience will have stores open early for coffee etc. Stores will close for siesta but (because of Pilgrim's schedules) food outlets will offer food earlier than is typical in off route places. Snacks, cold drinks and coffee will be available right through the day along the route. In fact, in the smaller on route towns the best food is served after the Pilgrims have gone to bed. That's not to say the Pilgrim menus are poor, they're not, just the "normal" offerings are tastier.

Don't expect ATMs in villages but decent sized towns will. Cash is king.

I had no problems in the Basque country with pidgin Spanish. Even a please, thank you in Basque with a smile will go a long, long way.

Northern Spain can have a lot of rain at that time of the year and the route traverses many different areas with different soils. Yes, roads can become muddy or flooded. They slowed me down at times but never stopped me. If it's a concern the surfaced roads offer a safe and comfortable option.

To the best of my knowledge there are no campsites along the Frances route. Wild camping, while possible, will be difficult. Archies is an app that is very useful for finding official campsites in Europe (and works with cycle travel). Don't trust Google Maps to find campsites! Elsewhere, especially on the coast, expect campsites to be tightly packed. Many have excellent restaurants. Unfortunately, Covid is still impacting opening times.

​​You may find useful for planning purposes

The final 100km after Sarria is by far the busiest section. I'd suggest staying well away from the official route on a bike there. At least until late afternoon.

Finally, if I may make a suggestion; While I understand the urge to have secure and private accommodation a significant part of the "Pilgrim" experience is the communal accommodation and the search for it on arrival.
While there are horror stories of people being turned away due to a full house these are very, very rare considering the tens of thousands of people who walk every year.
I was turned away once but the refusal was followed with a phonecall and confirmation of a bed 100 meters away.
The learning experience of sharing a room with so many different people from different places speaking different languages but all with similar goals was very rewarding.
The gratitude for a simple bed after a day's travelling is something worth experiencing.
Submitting yourself to the Camino is probably the most rewarding aspect of it.

Best of luck.
HobbesOnTour is offline