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Stuart Smith

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017
Hi, I am looking at doing the camino for the first time with my sister and son and his partner. We are in the planning department at the moment and anticipate setting off early April. I am looking at booking Orisson for April 1 but am a bit worried after reading a few posts that it may be a bit early in the year to be setting off. We are travelling from New zealand and so need to book our flights reasonably soon (and get some training in).
As it is anywhere in the world, spring can be unpredictable and i know that no one has a crystal ball, but if anybody out there can throw some light on what we can expect that would be gratefully appreciated.

Thanks
Stuart
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
Hi Stuart,

Well, there are two ways of getting from St. Jean to Roncesvalles:
  • route Napoleon: the high route, right across the mountain top. Last couple of years they closed this route from 1 November to 31 March.
  • Valcarlos route: the 'low' route.
If you defenitely want to start in St. Jean and want to walk to Roncesvalles you might want to start a bit later (end of April/early May). But even then the weather will take it's own course...

Or you just book your flight and shortly before leaving check the local weather conditions through a website (of the St. Jean tourist office, especially for pilgrims):

If the weather is too bad: start walking in Roncesvalles (or Pamplona).

Make sure the four of you reach Santiago in good health!

Buen Camino
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
The website I mentioned also has information about getting to Roncesvalles of Pamplona by bus.
 

thejoker

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
many
That sounds like a great trip. You should consider the fabulous Valcarlos route though because Valcarlos is a lovely little town and the albergue there is one of my favourites. It would still leave you with a very tough day 2 through the woods on an ever rising path. It's a very nice route and much better than the Napoleon anyway, when the Napoleon is in the clouds and thick fog and a really miserable trudge.
By the way, being from NZ, I guess you enjoy your lamb and mutton. Be sure to enjoy the amazing baby lamb dish in Castrojeriz and see how it compares.
 

jefferyonthecamino

http://www.barrerabooks.com/ - Guidebooks
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (1994) & (2013 - 2019)
Camino Portugués (2015 - 2019)
Camino de Madrid (2019)
Hi, I am looking at doing the camino for the first time with my sister and son and his partner. We are in the planning department at the moment and anticipate setting off early April. I am looking at booking Orisson for April 1 but am a bit worried after reading a few posts that it may be a bit early in the year to be setting off. We are travelling from New zealand and so need to book our flights reasonably soon (and get some training in).
As it is anywhere in the world, spring can be unpredictable and i know that no one has a crystal ball, but if anybody out there can throw some light on what we can expect that would be gratefully appreciated.

Thanks
Stuart
you should be fine once you get off the mountain (stage after arrival to Roncesvalles), there is rarely snow in the spring past Pamplona. As for Orisson, cross your fingers, worst that can happen is that you will have to alter your plans, a) Valcarlos route, which I am not a fan of because of the busy road, or b) ditch France and start at Roncesvalles.
good luck and Buen Camino
 

Roland49

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019 July
but if anybody out there can throw some light on what we can expect that would be gratefully appreciated.
As far as I am informed you can have a closed Route Napolean up to mid / end of may due to hazardous weather conditions (snow, heavy rainfall, winds). It is in fact an alpine region.

When I started my CF on first July this year it was not recommended to walk the Route Napolean, but I did it and walked constantly in clouds, so you can't see very far. It was not closed, very few pilgrims walked that route on this day. Most of the Pilgrims I met in Roncesvalles had walked the Route Valcarlos.

The weather conditions in April are more unpredictable than in June or July. So be prepared to walk the route Valcarlos. Or start, as mentioned above, in Roncesvalles or Pamplona.

Have fun planning and be prepared for an, sometimes livechanging, amazing experience!
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino Frances (2018}
Hi, I am looking at doing the camino for the first time with my sister and son and his partner. We are in the planning department at the moment and anticipate setting off early April. I am looking at booking Orisson for April 1 but am a bit worried after reading a few posts that it may be a bit early in the year to be setting off. We are travelling from New zealand and so need to book our flights reasonably soon (and get some training in).
As it is anywhere in the world, spring can be unpredictable and i know that no one has a crystal ball, but if anybody out there can throw some light on what we can expect that would be gratefully appreciated.

Thanks
Stuart
Orisson do not take bookings as they cannot be sure to be open that early. What we did in 2018 was to check with the pilgrim office in St Jean and they then phone Orisson to make the booking for you. Alternatively you can go via ValCarlos and stop at the albergue there. Contact the tourist office there and they will make a booking in the Valcarlos albergue. It is open all year round. We crossed via Orisson in beautiful sunshine, stopped in Orisson and walked to Roncesvalles next day in horrendous weather that switched from rain to hail to snow and back to rain. Rained non stop all day and next day and litttle streams between Roncesvalles and Espinal became raging torrents, one of which i fell into but luckily there were other pilgrims behind me and I was hauled out, unconscious but alive and rather wet. The driving icy rain continued right up until we summited Perdon. At Puenta la Reina, the camino was under 4 ft of water so we had to bus to Estella where the river had burst its banks and flooded some streets. Then the sun came out and it was very pleasant all the way to Burgos. However, in 2013, I started mid march, St Patrick's Day to be precise and it was pleasant spring weather from Pamplona followed by an unseasonal heat wave. So what can you expect? Sorry to say but that really is just a toss of a coin. I have given you the two extremes I experienced, you might get something in between. Good luck and buen camino
 

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