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Old 12-09-21, 10:42 AM
John N
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Bikes: Co-Motion Americano Pinion P18; Co-Motion Americano Rohloff (stolen), Thorn Nomad MkII, Robert Beckman Skakkit (FOR SALE), Santana Tandem, ICE Adventure FS

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Originally Posted by HobbesOnTour View Post
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 traveling 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.
She gets "perturbed" because she misses "companionship", thus the need for a private room . I have 45 years of touring experience and totally agree with the statement that people should ride/walk their own trip. I think we will only have reservations in advance for the initial 4-6 days as those will be short days and people are more bunched up then. After Pamplona, we will probably just make reservations for the next day or two in advance so that way if she needs a rest day or weather or whatever we can easily adjust vs. being forced to a schedule.

I will look into the mapping app you suggested.

Thanks for the thoughts and suggestions!
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