I’m Back!

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I’m just back after a wonderful five-week trip. It did not go exactly as planned but was very enjoyable.

I’ve got a Koga randoneur, a really great bike for this sort of trip. I had no problems whatever, if you don’t count two punctures.

I cycled from Clonmacnoise to Cork, staying with warmshowers hosts along the way. Cork to Roscoff by Brittany Ferries. Cycle across Brittany and La Vendee almost as far as La Rochelle staying in hostels and with WS hosts along the way. I followed the Velodyssee most of the way. The Nantes-Brest canal is very good, though don’t attempt to do it all in one day! (Do what I say not what I do!)

At this stage I decided that I was supposed to be on the Camino instead of doddling down west France! Not to mention that France is much more expensive than Camino-oriented Spain.

Took the train to Dax, outside Bayonne and started the camino proper from there. A day cycling to SJPdP and then set out on the Camino Frances on 29th April.

The first day I pushed and carried my bike across the Via Napoleon to the great amusement of the walkers! After that I followed the tarmac when the walkers path was of too poor a quality. The N – routes in Spain have almost all been by-passed by motorways so there is little or no traffic on them.

I followed Brierley’s Camino Frances guide to Santiago de Compostello. I found that I could do the distance of two or three walking days in each cycling day. Never had any problems getting accommodation in albergues but then this was early May. It might be different from Sarria in July or August.

I was a bit anxious about the Meseta but, apart from one mildly windy day, it was fine. La Cruz de Ferro was spectacular, with mountains and ragged mist. When I got over O’Cebrerio into Gallecia it was like coming home into the west of Ireland.

Things got a little busy on the Camino after Sarria with people doing their 100km trip. SdeC was very interesting but very touristy. After a two-day break I continued to Finnistere. This was a much more satisfactory end to the Camino.

For family reasons I had to cut the trip short by a week so I did not do the Camino del Norte. I did take the bus back to Santander which took me over some spectacular mountains. I think Camino del Norte is on my list for next year. Ferry back to Plymouth and then back to Ireland.

All in all a wonderful trip, great places, great people and great scenery. If I was doing it again I think I would skip most of France, possibly start cycling from Bayonne. I would go slower too, stop and investigate villages and churches rather then pushing on to meet a target distance each day.

Buen Camino!

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One thought on “I’m Back!

  1. Yvonne says:

    Welcome Home and Well done Gerry, a trip of a lifetime.

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