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  1. Tandem Graham

    If you had an extra day in Bayonne, St. Jean, and Pamplona...

    I have a soft spot for Bayonne, it has a wonderful Basque vibe. The cathedral can give you a stamp and is worth spending time in. Chocolate makers came from Spain during the Inquisition, and shared their expertise with the locals, so a thick hot chocolate in a tearoom is recommended. For lunch...
  2. Tandem Graham

    Le Puy-en-Velay to Conques - Question about water

    Allyson, I find that watching some old French movies with English subtitles on Youtube for a few weeks before I go to France helps to 'get my ear in'. It seems to wake up those 40 year old memories of school French lessons!
  3. Tandem Graham

    Le Puy-en-Velay town

    In normal times, and during the walking season (April-October) there is a volunteer-run pilgrim office 'Le Camino' open for a few hours each day, not far from the side entrance to the cathedral. (Zoom in on Google Maps, just South of the cathedral to locate.) It takes the form of a cafe with...
  4. Tandem Graham

    To the Top of the Pass

    Thanks for sharing this, Gerard. I saw it before but saved it for a time I could read it all. Gosh sir, you can write! Graham
  5. Tandem Graham

    Lets Build an Albergue!

    I would prefer beds not bunks, a window which can be opened to freshen the air in the dorm, warm clean showers, ..... etc. But actually all I *need* is a friendly welcome, an available space to rest my head (a mat on the floor will suffice) and a kitchen and nearby tienda or a bar with a menu...
  6. Tandem Graham

    Talking about work while on the Camino

    I don't think work talk comes up early in conversations between pilgrims. I must have talked with several hundred pilgrims in 1100 miles of walking and 3000 miles of cycling caminos, and work-talk wouldn't total fifteen minutes across all of them. On one morning after Puente la Reina, a pilgrim...
  7. Tandem Graham

    Paris to bayonne

    SNCF, the French rail company doesn't release tickets for sale until two months before travel, though as others have stated above, the timetable itself changes very little. The tickets for the fast through trains (TGV - trains grand vitesse) are priced dynamically, like airfares, so popular...
  8. Tandem Graham


    Thanks you guys (& gals!). I'm grateful for the consensus advice that the night bus is best avoided. I've used the ferry many times by car and by bike, so it's a known quantity. So I have reached deep into my wallet and booked an overnight ferry crossing Portsmouth to Caen, which gets in...
  9. Tandem Graham


    Yes, I have looked at the Portsmouth ferries and SNCF to Paris. Much more expensive than train to London and bus to Paris though, and I am already down £50 for the Flybe flight. There's National Express, Flixbus or Blablabus (formerly Ouibus). Anyone had experience of any of them?
  10. Tandem Graham


    I live not far from Southampton airport. I'm not the best flyer - much prefer to cycle or catch ferries. But flying from Southampton to Paris or Bordeaux has always been very convenient, cheaper and quicker than via London and Eurostar. I have (now had, probably) a one way Flybe flight booked...
  11. Tandem Graham

    One Albergue that you’d recommend

    Of course, it all depends on what ticks your boxes, and who your roommates are, but the no-electric albergue in the ruins of San Anton, just before Castrojeriz creates memorable experiences. It's a beautiful spot and, on my visit, very welcoming hospitaleras. Warning: cold showers only! I know...
  12. Tandem Graham

    HELP! (Shoe advice) April 2020

    If both are sized big enough to cope with your feet expanding as you pound many miles on them, go with the Hokas. But honestly, you'll probably do fine with either. If you do choose the Merrells, wear them around the house and for some longer walks to break them and your feet in, well before you...
  13. Tandem Graham

    Packing recommendations please

    Hi Bear! My camino gear is bought on a budget. It is expensive enough to get to Spain without spending a fortune on fancy technical clothing. Many do prefer merino socks, but most important is that they are comfortable and don't give you blisters, so dual-layer socks or a pair of liners and a...
  14. Tandem Graham

    Wooden Walking Pole

    @Bradypus I love the idea of a broomstick staff! Given how many have been produced over the years, I would imagine the design has been perfected by now!
  15. Tandem Graham


    12 days is plenty time to ride from Pamplona to Santiago - say 55-60kms a day. Just like the hikers, pack light, and if possible put your luggage on the bike, not on your back. If you need to post ahead your walking gear, you can arrange at modest cost with Ivar (who is the proprietor of these...
  16. Tandem Graham

    Le Puy or Not Le Puy?

    Conques is a beautiful village and the abbey worth a long explore. Cahors is a small historic city with much to see, including Roman remains, a grand cathedral and the mediaeval pilgrim bridge. But the best places are the little ones, and I'm not sure I would recommend 36 hours in them. Perhaps...
  17. Tandem Graham

    Where to stay in Biarritz

    That really would depend on your budget, your season, and what you want on your doorstep. Biarritz is one of my favourite European cities. It has a slightly faded regency splendour, restaurants with excellent food at every budget (check out the Casino restaurant, accessed from the beachside) and...
  18. Tandem Graham


    It's a great ride, as long as you're willing to be considerate to the many walkers, who don't always hear your frantic bell rings! Go steady and remain in control on the flats and the downs and you'll be fine. You can divert off the walkers' path sometimes where there are parallel quiet roads...
  19. Tandem Graham

    Walking in cooler temperatures.

    @Dadhairday I may see you along the Primitivo then - if I do catch up, it'll be two or three weeks in, I'm sure. I'll take the Primitivo unless the weather is shocking in the mountains. Buen Camino!