|Heat wave in Spain|
What I liked a lot about this trip was the tremendous variety I have encountered. I have walked at all altitude from beach walks to high mountain passes of almost 3,000 metres. I have been on perfect single file trail through forest and have pounded seemingly endless roads. I have hiked through the most spectacular mountain scenery in the Pyrenees and dreadful suburbs and industrial areas in Spain. I have woken up with my tent covered in snow in April and have suffered through heat waves in Spain. But one thing was constant: I have never eaten so well on a trip!
Would I recommend this hike to a friend? Yes, absolutely! Europe is a great hiking country and I can recommend it to anyone. But here is my conclusion in a bit more detail:
|Freezing in April|
|Camping in France|
Miscallaneous: I had to learn that couchsurfing is difficult in Europe, especially in the big touristy cities. For places like Basel or Geneva I had to send out more than 10 requests to get one invitation, whereas in other countries usually my first or second request gets accepted. But hosts here seem to be so overrun by backpackers that many don't even bother to answer any more. Finding a host turned out to be so time consuming that I gave up on couchsurfing in Spain.
Long-distance hiking in Europe is unfortunately a very lonely thing. Although you'll meet plenty of day hikers or people out for a weekend, it is very rare to find like minded long-distance hiker along the way. The only place were I met some was in the Pyrenees on the GR 11 where you'll meet hikers going from coast to coast. Of course there are plenty (and very often too many) people on the Caminos, but they are pilgrims on a very different mindset than long-distance hikers.
Hiking in Europe is not more expensive than hiking in the US or Australia. I spent my normal average of 10 EUR per day on food and ate very luxuriously with that. The only other big expense with accommodation, especially in Spain. In Germany I stayed mostly with friends. In France I stayed almost always in my tent because camping was easy and the weather was fine. But stealth camping along the Caminos in Spain was a bit difficult and CS unsuccessful. Therefore I stayed almost twice a week in a cheap pension. But overall this hike has not cost me more than a thruhike of the AT or PCT.