8 days pilgrimage? It is definitely worth going to Spain for 8 days pilgrimage, I think. You really do get into a certain mode after a few days. You are completely in it and are only concerned with where you are going to eat, sleep and where you could possibly go the next day. I had a few more days and was able to pilgrimage for 11 days. It was quite cold and I didn’t have the best sleeping bag with me so I stopped in Burgos after 8 days.
These 8 days of pilgrimage I started in Pamplona and after 217 km on the well-known camino Frances, I had arrived in Burgos. I had made a few days of 20+ km and a few days of 30+. The views had again pleasantly surprised me and I noticed again that my body can handle this very well. The trails are obviously not as hilly as in The Alps but have quite a bit of challenge at times.
Doing a 8 days pilgrimage?
Pamplona to Burgos – 217 km – Spain
Day 1 of my 8 days pilgrimage on the Camino Frances
Pamplona to Puente La Reina – 24.1 km
Stayed overnight near Pamplona airport I took the bus to the city centre. I didn’t have the pilgrim passport again and I wanted to pick up the camino in the city centre. I had targeted the cathedral with google maps. When I was almost there I looked down a street on the right and saw 2 men in the half-dark entering the street from a building. I saw the silhouettes of two men with large backpacks and walking sticks in their hands…. Clearly, this was where I needed to be if I wanted more info about the camino or a passport.
It turned out they were indeed two pilgrims and they didn’t know very much yet either. They also started their camino here in Pamplona and directed me inside. This turned out to be the Albergue Municipal de Peregrinos – Iglesia de Jesus y Maria. I was welcomed here and soon I had a pilgrim’s passport in hand and after paying 2 euros I could start my 8 days of pilgrimages on the Camino Frances.
It was still chilly and I walked through the streets of Pamplona, following the arrows and shells on the houses and shops. As I got a little more out of the city centre, I saw the shells incorporated into the troittor. After passing by the park containing Ciudadela de Pamplona ( the old citadel), it didn’t take very long before I really walked out of the city. I soon recognised the first village, that’s where I had slept in an inn near the old church in 2016. What fond memories I have of that…. It looked deserted now. I stood there taking off my jacket and jumper because by now the weather had become lovely.
Pilgrimage in Spain
After a few kilometres, the Camino Frances slowly ascended. This, of course, gave me nice views of the surroundings. In the distance, I saw the windmills that I also saw yesterday from the plane. After a while I also started to hear the whirring of the turning of the blades and finally I actually walked underneath them. I had arrived at Alte del Perdon. The pilgrim’s monument.
Quickly had a photo taken by the second pilgrim couple I had come across in the meantime. A Spanish couple that walked the weekend on the camino. They walked for a few days each time. They had now parked their car in Sizur Minor and were picking it up this evening.
On the other side of the Alte del Perdon, I went back down after eating a granola bar. Oh yes, I could remember that too, one and all stones. And that’s not nice …let alone on a path that descends. But taking my time and walking slowly, I made it to the bottom.
After walking for a while I came to a village and I saw a terrace on my left…. That’s where I went. I sat there in the sun for a while longer behind the glass on their terrace. How nice that was! Really the feeling of being back on the Camino Frances all over again!
After this I walked on for a few more km to get to Puente la Reina. I wanted to stay in a private hostel there but in the end I chose the municipal one, as I had seen more pilgrims there and the private one seemed to be empty. I booked a room there for 7 euros and they didn’t have the pilgrims’ meal. After showering and settling into the room with six bunk beds, I went exploring to see where I was going to eat. Last time I hadn’t managed to take a picture of the beautiful and famous bridge so I did now!
Day 2 of my 8 days pilgrimage on the Camino Frances
Puente la Reina to Ayegui – 23.5 km
The next day, I got a cup of cappuccino from the vending machine at the inn. There were several pilgrims at this inn. About 4 Italians, some solo pilgrims and a few more couples. I had spent that night in a room with 6 bunk beds and only mine was mine, the others were fully occupied. It’s strange to sleep with 11 people in one room in this corona time.
After the cup of coffee, I headed out. I walked the long mainstreet of Puente la Reina to finally cross the centuries-old famous bridge and turn left. Across the road and then onto a beautiful footpath. It was chilly but the sun was already rising and I was able to photograph the long shadow of myself again.
I walked through small seemingly deserted villages and came to walk along a larger road for a bit. At one point you come to walk under a canal. You think then that we Dutch can work with water but I also found this quite unusual to see. It is the Canalde Alloz and they have made a huge bridge in front of it where they guide the water through to further areas. How cool!
In the town of Lorca, I was able to take a break and had a nice bench cafe con leche along the route. In a small shop where they sold all kinds of local products too and what also seemed to be the village’s bakery. Most villages don’t have much to offer, only older people seem to live there…. The youth are all away to the bigger cities, studying work. What is still alive is very young, primary school and lower or the parents or grandparents. In summer, everywhere is much busier because of the crowds of pilgrims walking through the villages, then they can sell enough every day.
Hiking from Pamplona to Burgos – 217 km – Spain
I do remember from last time that sometimes we were in a village of 50 inhabitants with as many as 50 to 100 pilgrims in the hostels. Well, that does bring in some money.
After this, I walked on to Estella. Very nice place but since I also stayed here last time I chose to walk a village further this time. This was actually adjacent and Ayegui seemed more like a suburb of Estella. I stayed there at the top of the local sports hall but had a fine bed in a nicely heated room. I had 2 other pilgrims with me and so we had all the space we needed. The canteen served a pilgrims’ meal so that was also convenient.
8 days of pilgrimage – Camino Frances
Hiking from Pamplona to Burgos
Day 3 of my 8 days pilgrimage on the Camino Frances
Ayegui to Torres del Rio – 27.4 km
After a cup of coffee from the vending machine, I left a little before 8 to arrive at the first attraction after just half an hour. I totally missed this one last time. You can take the route from Ayegui straight ahead and then you don’t pass it either, probably I didn’t see it or something. So now I did go there. The free wine tap from Irache, it sits at the bodega of course. I had really gotten into the area of vineyards and this place reflected this very clearly. For instagram, I made a video to show that wine really came out. I put something on my finger and tasted something from it. It looked like wine…I am not a wine drinker so can’t give any further opinion on it.
Slowly it began to get light as I walked on. Another glorious sunrise behind me. Indeed, when walking on the camino every morning you have to pay attention to what’s happening behind you…that’s where the sun rises! I came out into a forest edge after this and followed this forest path for several kilometres. Then I came out on a country road which took me over the mountain and hills for several kilometres where there was quite a bit of wind. It started to get cooler than the first 2 days.
Luckily I had a good jacket with me and once you get moving you soon stay nice and warm anyway. I walked on to Los Arcos where, unfortunately, the beautiful church was closed but where I could have 2 cups of coffee and a tortilla for lunch. With the second cup of coffee I also had a delicious chocolate sandwich. Life is good!
After this, it was another 8 km or so on to my destination for the day, Torres del Rio. Unfortunately, it was another village I had been to before but in terms of km, the next one was too far and I thought Los Arcos was too short. So I stayed at the same hostel again, which unfortunately wasn’t pleasant. There was no one else and only the next morning I found out that there was another hostel, one street away, also open. There were two pilgrims I would see more often later, the Mexican and the Spaniard.
Day 4 of my 8 days pilgrimage on the Camino Frances
Torres del Rio to Navarrete – 32.8 km
When I walked out early that morning, I could not get a cup of coffee at the hostel where I had stayed. There was no one there and the vending machine didn’t work. How nice it was then that I saw this inn around the corner and could already order a cafe con leche there.
After this, I started a long day. I wanted to go to Navarette because 2 inns were open there. At this time there is limited choice and in itself it was fine, last time I did not sleep in Navarette. I found myself walking on lovely paths through the huge undulating vineyards. Beautiful views and a super nice reel in insta I made, I think 🙂
The beautiful life of a pilgrim
Just before I arrived in Viana, I recognised the stretch where I took a photo of two walking pilgrims in front of me last time. I now had a stand with me so I was able to take a nice photo of myself, since I had not yet done so now was the time. Set up the selfie stick, connect via bleutooth to the phone and then take a picture. Fun, right?
8 days of pilgrimage – Camino Frances
In Viana, I was able to sit in a coffee shop, warm up and drink a nice coffee and eat a fine bocadilla. I also recognised this part from my previous time, here I also sat outside on a terrace in the narrow street. After about 45 min I moved on again, heading for Logrono. A few long roads further on, I recognised the road that would lead me into Logrono. This is where I saw Maria last time, handing out stamps. Now, of course, no one was standing there but the memory of this bit was very nice. Now I noticed a number of houses on the other side of which I got the feeling that if I worked here we would have to visit every now and then…. haha! Last time, Maria took up all my attention and this totally passed me by.
In Logrono, I took a long break at a lovely coffee joint where I could sit on a leather couch in lotus. ( I do love sitting like that, always) Again, I drank 2 cups of coffee and sat for at least an hour. Nicely warmed up and with fresh feet back in my shoes, I continued. The last stretch to Navarette.
I was a bit shocked when I got there that both inns that were supposed to be open were closed. Even the hotel I stepped into indicated that they had no room. When I rang the bell at a B&B, no one answered and when I looked on booking I saw that I could book a room at the first hotel after all. So I did and returned to the hotel… The girl wasn’t happy about that because there was only a 4-person room and I had booked it for the price of a 2-person room. Yes, I can’t help that of course and so I got the key and an hour later I was lying in a hot bath!
I did enjoy the luxury of a hotel!
Again, the next morning I saw a pilgrim coming out of a building on another street…apparently there was another hostel after all. I heard the same later from the Mexican and the Spaniard. They had also spent the night in Navarette but in an inn. Ah well, I had been very happy with my bath anyway!
Day 5 of my 8 days pilgrimage on the Camino Frances
Navarrete to Santa Domingo de la Calzada – 37.9 km
I started on time on the long road to Santa Domingo de la Calzada. There I could find another hostel; I found the others too close. So I was getting ready for a walking day of almost 40 km. Every plusminus 10 km I could get something to eat or drink so that was fine.
Also, walking days are too short if you only do 25 km. You keep moving when it is chilly, sitting by the side of the road somewhere is not really an option. But even if you are already in a hostel at 2pm, you get bored to death if there is nothing to do in the village either. This is not a problem in summer but in the off-season it is drastically different.
In Ventosa, I bought my first cup of coffee with a good bocadilla with omelette. I was now inside and recognised the place from 5 years ago when I sat there on the terrace. I then walked a good 10 through to Najera. Here I also had another cup of coffee, this time together with the Mexican and the Spaniard. Each time we bumped into each other but we didn’t walk at the same pace so we didn’t really walk together. Cosy though!
Doing a 8 days pilgrimage? Pamplona to Burgos – 217 km – Spain
So I also arrived in Santo Domingo de la Calzada earlier than them. And only when I left the next morning did I see that they were in the same hostel. We were in Albergue de Peregrinos Cofradia del Santo. This one is very close to the big cathedral and I slept there last time too. Then I was in big halls but these were closed now and in different sections in this big hostel they had rooms with 3 beds. I was in a room with a NL woman and a German man who had been walking together for a while. How nice then to hear that she was from my area and had even lived temporarily in a cottage my father once had built? The world is sooo small sometimes!
The roads today were long and not very challenging.
Distant views and fortunately the occasional nice sunshine!
Day 6 of my 8 days pilgrimage on the Camino Frances
Santa Domingo de la Calzada to Espinosa del Camino – 30.5 km
When I left this morning, after a cup of coffee from the vending machine, I found it really cold. It also turned out to be freezing just like that and for the first time I put on the gloves I borrowed from my aunt A3, just in case. I walked along the long road again and when I looked back I saw another amazing sunrise.
Of course, when I also walked past this cross, the picture was perfect!
I passed through a village after a while where I heard music in the main street, the street is deserted and so you can hear that music from afar. It seemed to be coming from a front door and I did see a sign above it but I didn’t immediately understand what would be behind the door. I tried anyway, I was really in the mood for a cup of coffee with a tortilla or something. I entered a corridor followed by a door. When I had opened it, I saw a bakery of sorts. It was a bakery that also sold their sandwiches and goodies right away. Super! No coffee but they did have a chocolate roll and a croissant. A little further on in the village, just before you walk back into the countryside, I found a bench and ate the croissant and as I walked on, the chocolate roll. Delicious!
I did not take many photos at all this day but just made sure I walked my km’s nicely and got to Espinosa del Camino on time. There I wanted to stay at a very small hostel. 4 beds they had and a German couple was on it. Super cosy evening had a pilgrim’s meal together with the Mexican and the Spaniard and herself. The bed had bedding and the stove was on. So nice!
8 days pilgrimage – Hiking from Pamplona to Burgos
Day 7 of my 8 days pilgrimage on the Camino Frances
Espinosa del Camino to Atapuerca – 21.7 km
This morning it was once again very cold. -1 my phone indicated again. Shallow puddles had frozen over and I made sure I kept my pace nice and fast. I had put the gloves back on and attached the sticks to my bag so I could tuck the hands away in my jacket pockets.
Fortunately, in the first village a café was already open, around 8.30 in the morning, isn’t that nice? So there I had a nice cup of coffee and warmed up a bit. This has two sides, I was just getting nice and warm with a big stride in…I would have to restart that after the cup of coffee. But….a cup of coffee in the morning I really do want to make time for.
After walking along a long road for a while, I recognised a stretch where it had also been so pleasant last time. Now I saw only the silent witnesses to this. Some tree trunks that were still decorated and the stones that pilgrims had placed there to represent the pilgrims’ shell that showed us the way.
I also recognised the path to Ages, the small village I pass before it and the beautiful views. Once again, I take the trouble to take a picture of myself with the selfie stick with remote control. Ideal thing for taking pictures of the surroundings and yourself. In fact, the stick is a stand for your phone.
I walk on to Atapuerco and find a very small village where there is really nothing to do other than the one café on the main road. I decide to stay anyway. Continuing to Burgos is too far. I’m really starting to get a little sore from my little toe on my left foot. I decide, all day anyway, not to put any protection around it because I am “only walking for one more day”. On the tip of the little toe, a blister forms under my calluses. I recognise this from my days on the Alpe Adria Trail earlier this year. Remains a weak spot then….
Laast day of my 8 days pilgrimage on the Camino Frances
Atapuerca to Burgos – 19.3 km
I walk out early in the morning. It is super cold again but how beautiful the scenery is! This last morning, I can also really take the most beautiful photos. How lucky this last day.
The Sunrise is just great!
I walk up the mountain to the cross When I am down on the other side I decide, no matter how cold it is, to make time to take pictures of the ice on the weeds as well. What cold fingers I had afterwards…but I’m still happy with the photos!
For quite some time, I hear dogs barking across the plain and also some gunshots. After a while, I also see a man walking by with a long gun on his back, accompanied by two dogs sniffing their noses across the meadow. There is plenty of hunting here…. A bit further on, I also see a sign telling motorists to watch out for crossing wildlife.
I walk through a few small villages that once again seem really deserted. Not a single shop or café is open and I am already in the suburb of Burgos when I can finally go in somewhere to have a coffee and order some food. I sat there comfortably and took my time. It was only 11.30 and I had booked a nice hotel opposite Burgos cathedral, I didn’t want to get there too early.
In Burgos it was more difficult to follow the arrows, sometimes I could see them and then not for a while. Google maps directs me in the right direction, allowing me to pick up the arrows later and eventually walk right into the city over the water and through the old gate. I walk the streets of this old city, I recognise the street, the gutters and the arrows and shells in the stones of the street.
When I arrive at the cathedral I take a picture, the sun is behind the cathedral and makes the picture nice and dramatic, I love it. Tapped on the back, I look back and see the Spanish pilgrim I have been seeing for several days. It’s a real loner and we haven’t exchanged a word yet. We have, however, waved at each other several times when he overtakes me…or when I overtake him and he sits on a bench along the route. He points out to me that I have walked past the albergue. I thank him warmly but tell him I have a hotel 🙂 How I fancy that!
Nice to have your own room, white clean sheets on the bed and a private bathroom. What a luxury!
The next day I sat at breakfast in this fine hotel and had a view of the cathedral. It was raining outside and how glad I was that I had decided to stop. Surely it had been perfect even though the last 3 days had been really cold. I hadn’t had a drop of rain and if you step through a little you are so warm. I still walked most days without a jacket because your body is moving nicely.
It was lovely time to do a 8 days pilgrimage but with a totally different dimension because it was so quiet, few inns and cafes were open along the way. I can imagine some people like those more but for me….. The added value of my first pilgrimage was in that there were so many people from so many different cultures walking along. Also that they all had their own input on my experience. Those just made it complete!
Later on I will share my views on doing a pilgrimage in summer and winter time.
What would you rather do?