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After years of dreaming I've pulled the trigger and booked my flights!

JustJack

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF: May/June 2023
VDLP: April/May 2024
Not that anyone other than myself cares, but I'm extremely excited that after more than two years of planning and dreaming, I just booked my flights.

If I had booked a few weeks ago the price would have been a few hundred $ cheaper, but overall I think the cost was reasonable.

Route:
May 14 - Vancouver --> Paris --> Biarritz
July 1 - Porto --> Paris --> Vancouver

Just under $1500 (Canadian $) in total, via Air France.

Unfortunately the departure times aren't great. Leaving Vancouver at 7am, which means going to the airport around 4am-5am. But leaving a few hours later would have cost an extra couple hundred $, and I've got more time than money, so an early departure it is.

If all goes well I should arrive in Biarritz at 10:40am, which leaves plenty of time to get to SJPDP, visit the pilgrim office, and relax around town before beginning to walk the next morning.

Now that things are real I can begin the practicalities of my preparations, specifically making a few accommodation reservations for the first few days.

A big and ongoing thank you to the many many helpful people on this forum. I look forward to returning the favour by offering up my own sage advice once I have the experience to do so.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
You’d be surprised how many people on this forum care about « the new guy or gal » finally having a start date. It amazes me their patience and ongoing support.

Like you, I start my first ever camino this spring. Buen Camino! 😊
 
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€60,-
Not that anyone other than myself cares, but I'm extremely excited that after more than two years of planning and dreaming, I just booked my flights.

If I had booked a few weeks ago the price would have been a few hundred $ cheaper, but overall I think the cost was reasonable.

Route:
May 14 - Vancouver --> Paris --> Biarritz
July 1 - Porto --> Paris --> Vancouver

Just under $1500 (Canadian $) in total, via Air France.

Unfortunately the departure times aren't great. Leaving Vancouver at 7am, which means going to the airport around 4am-5am. But leaving a few hours later would have cost an extra couple hundred $, and I've got more time than money, so an early departure it is.

If all goes well I should arrive in Biarritz at 10:40am, which leaves plenty of time to get to SJPDP, visit the pilgrim office, and relax around town before beginning to walk the next morning.

Now that things are real I can begin the practicalities of my preparations, specifically making a few accommodation reservations for the first few days.

A big and ongoing thank you to the many many helpful people on this forum. I look forward to returning the favour by offering up my own sage advice once I have the experience to do so.
Congratulations! Buen Camino! I am close to booking for my first camino as well. How exciting. And the forum has been so helpful!
 
Yes congratulations indeed! We just did the same and bit the bullet on flights finally (also from yvr, but in July), prices definitely jumped recently.
 
Not that anyone other than myself cares, but I'm extremely excited that after more than two years of planning and dreaming, I just booked my flights.

And with that simple act, little did @JustJack know how his life would change. :oops:

Destined forever to be 'that' person who only seemed to have one topic of conversation at parties :rolleyes:

But he would know deep down, it was one of the best decisions he ever made, even though this would not be the last time that he booked 'those flights'.......

But at least he would have a listening ear amongst the others with similar compulsions.
Pull up a chair @JustJack :cool:

Buen Camino

...
 
Last edited:
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
Not that anyone other than myself cares, but I'm extremely excited that after more than two years of planning and dreaming, I just booked my flights.

If I had booked a few weeks ago the price would have been a few hundred $ cheaper, but overall I think the cost was reasonable.

Route:
May 14 - Vancouver --> Paris --> Biarritz
July 1 - Porto --> Paris --> Vancouver

Just under $1500 (Canadian $) in total, via Air France.

Unfortunately the departure times aren't great. Leaving Vancouver at 7am, which means going to the airport around 4am-5am. But leaving a few hours later would have cost an extra couple hundred $, and I've got more time than money, so an early departure it is.

If all goes well I should arrive in Biarritz at 10:40am, which leaves plenty of time to get to SJPDP, visit the pilgrim office, and relax around town before beginning to walk the next morning.

Now that things are real I can begin the practicalities of my preparations, specifically making a few accommodation reservations for the first few days.

A big and ongoing thank you to the many many helpful people on this forum. I look forward to returning the favour by offering up my own sage advice once I have the experience to do so.
Welcome to the pilgrim's office at SJPDP
 
Congratulations ... and Buen Camino. I share in your excitement. Many people would also think Iʻm a little "extreme" in nearly having my backpack filled with most of the items on my list 8 months before departure! Iʻm a mental traveler and seeing that bag each day fills me with joy and anticipation ... recalling past Camino experiences in 2013 and 2016 and contemplating our upcoming pilgrimage this Fall. We create our lives every moment of every day. They are filled with pleasure if we choose that path.
 
Buen Camino to you! If you have lots of time may I recommend after a really, really long flight you take more than one day to recover. Book yourself a cheap pension in Biarritz. WIth that flight plus a 9 hour (I believe time change) you will not be getting the best night's sleep. Go to St. Jean the next day. May I recommend staying at Beilari. It is a wonderful albergue. They are the spirit of the camino. You will get a wonderful communal dinner and good breakfast. There is a get together in the garden before dinner to meet other pilgrims, talk and maybe lose some of those pre camino jitters. I know there are other wonderful albergues but you can't go wrong here. It is a tough walk up that first day. You do want to be as rested as possible. Like you said you have more time than money. Beilari is a great value considering what they give you and you can book it in advance. Make sure you book in Roncesvalles too ahead of time. It may already be pretty crowded then. I am not sure as I do not walk during the spring.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Oh the adventure you are starting. Congratulations. You’ll just love it. Liam
 
Buen Camino to you! If you have lots of time may I recommend after a really, really long flight you take more than one day to recover. Book yourself a cheap pension in Biarritz. WIth that flight plus a 9 hour (I believe time change) you will not be getting the best night's sleep. Go to St. Jean the next day. May I recommend staying at Beilari. It is a wonderful albergue. They are the spirit of the camino. You will get a wonderful communal dinner and good breakfast. There is a get together in the garden before dinner to meet other pilgrims, talk and maybe lose some of those pre camino jitters. I know there are other wonderful albergues but you can't go wrong here. It is a tough walk up that first day. You do want to be as rested as possible. Like you said you have more time than money. Beilari is a great value considering what they give you and you can book it in advance. Make sure you book in Roncesvalles too ahead of time. It may already be pretty crowded then. I am not sure as I do not walk during the spring.
Thanks for your suggestions, which have been well received.

Everyone is telling me to take time to rest when I arrive, and while that's great advice, I'll probably ignore it. At my peril I realize, but I know myself, and I know that I'll be anxious to get walking. I'm not going so far as to attempt to start walking the day I arrive though. I'll arrive in SJPDP around lunchtime I expect, so I've got the rest of that day to relax before heading off the next morning. That'll have to do. Likely I'll be on here in the future warning other pilgrims to not be as dumb as I was...

Question about Beilari - is it the kind of place that I'd be comfortable taking a nap in the afternoon if I feel the need? I realize it's not an albergue, so I'm assuming I would have access to my bed all day long?

I've already booked my bed at the pilgrim hostel in Roncesvalles. At least I assume I've booked it. Haven't received an email from them, but I did get a receipt when I paid, so hopefully that's good enough.
 
Not that anyone other than myself cares, but I'm extremely excited that after more than two years of planning and dreaming, I just booked my flights.

If I had booked a few weeks ago the price would have been a few hundred $ cheaper, but overall I think the cost was reasonable.

Route:
May 14 - Vancouver --> Paris --> Biarritz
July 1 - Porto --> Paris --> Vancouver

Just under $1500 (Canadian $) in total, via Air France.

Unfortunately the departure times aren't great. Leaving Vancouver at 7am, which means going to the airport around 4am-5am. But leaving a few hours later would have cost an extra couple hundred $, and I've got more time than money, so an early departure it is.

If all goes well I should arrive in Biarritz at 10:40am, which leaves plenty of time to get to SJPDP, visit the pilgrim office, and relax around town before beginning to walk the next morning.

Now that things are real I can begin the practicalities of my preparations, specifically making a few accommodation reservations for the first few days.

A big and ongoing thank you to the many many helpful people on this forum. I look forward to returning the favour by offering up my own sage advice once I have the experience to do so.
Great to hear, I fly out of Vancouver May 15 to Madrid, but I return June 25. Buen Camino. I'am jealous you have an extra week lol. But i'am happy to get the 6 weeks off work. My boss knew I wanted to do the trip for the last 3 years but not how long I needed off from work. When I went into work a told her I had booked my flight she said good for you we will be able to get by a week without you. I said its longer than a week, and she said well two weeks won't be bad. So I had to fess up to the 6 weeks lol. Thankfully I have a very understanding boss and she gave me a 150.00 Euros to start my trip with. As with what JustJack said this forum has been a treasure trove of information. Just my train ticket to Pamplona from Madrid and i'am set.
 
Ideal pocket guides for during & after your Camino. Each weighs only 1.4 oz (40g)!
Great to hear, I fly out of Vancouver May 15 to Madrid, but I return June 25. Buen Camino. I'am jealous you have an extra week lol. But i'am happy to get the 6 weeks off work. My boss knew I wanted to do the trip for the last 3 years but not how long I needed off from work. When I went into work a told her I had booked my flight she said good for you we will be able to get by a week without you. I said its longer than a week, and she said well two weeks won't be bad. So I had to fess up to the 6 weeks lol. Thankfully I have a very understanding boss and she gave me a 150.00 Euros to start my trip with. As with what JustJack said this forum has been a treasure trove of information. Just my train ticket to Pamplona from Madrid and i'am set.
Hope to see you somewhere along the way Dwain! I originally asked for 6 weeks off, but slowly managed to turn that into 8 weeks :) . And I wish it was 10... Never enough time I feel. This wrestling with the job, time to do the things I want, etc, is part of why I'm walking. Hoping to gain some clarity regarding my priorities. I may or may not return to the life of a full-time job when it's over, but I don't want to jump ahead to the conclusions yet!
 
And with that simple act, little did @JustJack know how his life would change. :oops:

Destined forever to be 'that' person who only seemed to have one topic of conversation at parties :rolleyes:

But he would know deep down, it was one of the best decisions he ever made, even though this would not be the last time that he booked 'those flights'.......

But at least he would have a listening ear amongst the others with similar compulsions.
Pull up a chair @JustJack :cool:

Buen Camino

...
Yeah Robo that was me. Talking about it at work for the last 3 years, even bringing in my Brierley guide book and showing every one. Going back to the town that my mother and sister live in and telling them all about this fantastic trip. After 3 years they were all probably thinking is this guy just going to talk about this trip or actually do it and was starting to wonder that myself. So when I finally booked my flight it was like they all cheered me on.
 
Long time camino dreamer, first time forum poster and future pilgrim here!

I also have been dreaming for the past ten years of walking the camino with my twin sister. We have taken the plunge and booked our flights from Canada. We will start on our camino journey arriving in SJPDP on May 9th. I am equal parts terrified and excited!

As the saying goes, ‘Dreams are our realities in waiting’
 
Train for your next Camino (or keep the Camino spirit alive) on Santa Catalina Island
Thanks for your suggestions, which have been well received.

Everyone is telling me to take time to rest when I arrive, and while that's great advice, I'll probably ignore it. At my peril I realize, but I know myself, and I know that I'll be anxious to get walking. I'm not going so far as to attempt to start walking the day I arrive though. I'll arrive in SJPDP around lunchtime I expect, so I've got the rest of that day to relax before heading off the next morning. That'll have to do. Likely I'll be on here in the future warning other pilgrims to not be as dumb as I was...

Question about Beilari - is it the kind of place that I'd be comfortable taking a nap in the afternoon if I feel the need? I realize it's not an albergue, so I'm assuming I would have access to my bed all day long?

I've already booked my bed at the pilgrim hostel in Roncesvalles. At least I assume I've booked it. Haven't received an email from them, but I did get a receipt when I paid, so hopefully that's good enough.
I again urge you to reconsider and taking that extra day. I know you are anxious as we all were are first time and still are (I will be walking camino 8 later in the year). But experience has taught us well. You may feel really differently that when you wake up and have to face the toughest day on the camino and you are exhausted from lack of sleep.
Beilari is called a gite because you are in France, but it is what the Spanish call an albergue. According to Gronze the check in time is 2:30. Which is a pretty normal check in time. Most albergues have check in times ranging from 1-3PM but not all of course. In terms of taking a nap. If you have earplugs and I recommend you having them you can probably catch a nap depending on how can sleep with light and movement. During the day pilgrims are coming in and out of the dormitory rooms after they check in. They are showering, chatting, and doing any number of other things.
You will be excited to start your camino but (I am assuming as I do not know your experience hiking, fitness level or age) by the time you get to Orisson and you are pretty exhausted and getting a much needed rest and some food, you still have 17k or so to go and the last 5k going downhill to Roncesvalles is no walk in the park either, you may be alot happier you took an extra day. You have waited for I do not know how many months if not years to walk, why make a really tough first day even harder by just waiting one more day in a really pretty place surrounded by other pilgrims who are anxious, nervous and excited for their first pilgrimage. Remember at that time of the year you will probably have to wait a while to check in at the pilgrim office. Another advantage of Beilari is you walk out the front door and 20 feet away is the front door of the pilgrim office, right in front of you.
 
Not that anyone other than myself cares, but I'm extremely excited that after more than two years of planning and dreaming, I just booked my flights.

If I had booked a few weeks ago the price would have been a few hundred $ cheaper, but overall I think the cost was reasonable.

Route:
May 14 - Vancouver --> Paris --> Biarritz
July 1 - Porto --> Paris --> Vancouver

Just under $1500 (Canadian $) in total, via Air France.

Unfortunately the departure times aren't great. Leaving Vancouver at 7am, which means going to the airport around 4am-5am. But leaving a few hours later would have cost an extra couple hundred $, and I've got more time than money, so an early departure it is.

If all goes well I should arrive in Biarritz at 10:40am, which leaves plenty of time to get to SJPDP, visit the pilgrim office, and relax around town before beginning to walk the next morning.

Now that things are real I can begin the practicalities of my preparations, specifically making a few accommodation reservations for the first few days.

A big and ongoing thank you to the many many helpful people on this forum. I look forward to returning the favour by offering up my own sage advice once I have the experience to do so.
So, Another caminoholic is about to arrive here after the finish of his physical walk...
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
Not that anyone other than myself cares, but I'm extremely excited that after more than two years of planning and dreaming, I just booked my flights.

If I had booked a few weeks ago the price would have been a few hundred $ cheaper, but overall I think the cost was reasonable.

Route:
May 14 - Vancouver --> Paris --> Biarritz
July 1 - Porto --> Paris --> Vancouver

Just under $1500 (Canadian $) in total, via Air France.

Unfortunately the departure times aren't great. Leaving Vancouver at 7am, which means going to the airport around 4am-5am. But leaving a few hours later would have cost an extra couple hundred $, and I've got more time than money, so an early departure it is.

If all goes well I should arrive in Biarritz at 10:40am, which leaves plenty of time to get to SJPDP, visit the pilgrim office, and relax around town before beginning to walk the next morning.

Now that things are real I can begin the practicalities of my preparations, specifically making a few accommodation reservations for the first few days.

A big and ongoing thank you to the many many helpful people on this forum. I look forward to returning the favour by offering up my own sage advice once I have the experience to do I so.
Buen camino JustJack! We care. I walked my first camino last spring. Flew out of Vancouver, left cool rainy weather for more cool rainy. Whatever the weather you will be warmed by the people you meet. Ultreia!
 
Buen camino JustJack! We care. I walked my first camino last spring. Flew out of Vancouver, left cool rainy weather for more cool rainy. Whatever the weather you will be warmed by the people you meet. Ultreia!
Ha ha, I hear you on the cool rainy weather thing... life in Vancouver. I've got my fingers crossed that by mid-May things have warmed up and dried out on the east coast of northern Spain. But I'll have the right clothing regardless the weather, so it's all good.
 
I for one am very excited for you. Don’t forget to pack your bathing suit, some ear plugs, and a sense of adventure. And take it easy on that first day, pause to look around as often as you can for the views are spectacular even in the fog.
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
Not that anyone other than myself cares, but I'm extremely excited that after more than two years of planning and dreaming, I just booked my flights.

If I had booked a few weeks ago the price would have been a few hundred $ cheaper, but overall I think the cost was reasonable.

Route:
May 14 - Vancouver --> Paris --> Biarritz
July 1 - Porto --> Paris --> Vancouver

Just under $1500 (Canadian $) in total, via Air France.

Unfortunately the departure times aren't great. Leaving Vancouver at 7am, which means going to the airport around 4am-5am. But leaving a few hours later would have cost an extra couple hundred $, and I've got more time than money, so an early departure it is.

If all goes well I should arrive in Biarritz at 10:40am, which leaves plenty of time to get to SJPDP, visit the pilgrim office, and relax around town before beginning to walk the next morning.

Now that things are real I can begin the practicalities of my preparations, specifically making a few accommodation reservations for the first few days.

A big and ongoing thank you to the many many helpful people on this forum. I look forward to returning the favour by offering up my own sage advice once I have the experience to do so.
I too have booked flights to Biarritz and now booked accommodation to Iruña and excitement has turned to fear. I'm starting to wonder if I can do this thing but I take reassurance from the chat on this forum.I don't think we'll meet up as I'm planning 5 May to 13 June but I wish you all the best on your Camino.
 
I too have booked flights to Biarritz and now booked accommodation to Iruña
Pardon my ignorance, but what specifically does Iruna refer to? When I google it I get results for Pamplona. Specifically, sites reference it this way: Pamplona, Basque Iruña. Maps just show Pamplona. I feel like this is a very geographically ignorant question I'm asking, so I'm a bit embarrassed... But it's important, as I see the name frequently, so should know what the heck it refers to.
 
Iruña

Pamplona (Spanish: [pamˈplona]; Basque: Iruña [iɾuɲa] or Iruñea [iɾuɲe. a]), historically also known as Pampeluna in English, is the capital city of the Chartered Community of Navarre, in Spain. It is also the third-largest city in the greater Basque cultural region.
Its Basque
Woody
Oh and Buen Camino JustJack
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Oh and you will defo will want to talk Camino when you get home!
I now apologise to friends and family by saying; sorry about this (before speaking they know whats coming)but on the Camino bla! bla! bla!
I end up just ignoring their snoring and keep going!!!!!🤣
Woody
 
If I'm understanding correctly, Iruña is simply the Basque name for Pamplona?

So I need to learn this Basque language as well as Spanish?!? Mamma mia... :)
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
Buen Camino to you! If you have lots of time may I recommend after a really, really long flight you take more than one day to recover. Book yourself a cheap pension in Biarritz. WIth that flight plus a 9 hour (I believe time change) you will not be getting the best night's sleep. Go to St. Jean the next day. May I recommend staying at Beilari. It is a wonderful albergue. They are the spirit of the camino. You will get a wonderful communal dinner and good breakfast. There is a get together in the garden before dinner to meet other pilgrims, talk and maybe lose some of those pre camino jitters. I know there are other wonderful albergues but you can't go wrong here. It is a tough walk up that first day. You do want to be as rested as possible. Like you said you have more time than money. Beilari is a great value considering what they give you and you can book it in advance. Make sure you book in Roncesvalles too ahead of time. It may already be pretty crowded then. I am not sure as I do not walk during the spring.
It56ny is absolutely spot-on! Please do take AT LEAST an extra day before tackling the Pyrenees. My husband and are were both fit, having trained on a local (high altitude) mountain several times per week, and the most challenging part of the entire Camino Frances was that first day.

I agree about staying with the hospitalarios at Beilari.

Due to time constraints, our first Camino was only 2 weeks but we subsequently walked from SJPP to Santiago several years later when we were both retired. Both were experiences we agree were the most meaningful of our well-traveled lives. The Camino was probably the least expensive trip we have ever taken but undoubtedly the most valuable. I hope you are "gifted with" a life-changing experience, where everyone is equal and carries only the "baggage" on one's back.

Buen Camino!
 
Not that anyone other than myself cares, but I'm extremely excited that after more than two years of planning and dreaming, I just booked my flights.

If I had booked a few weeks ago the price would have been a few hundred $ cheaper, but overall I think the cost was reasonable.

Route:
May 14 - Vancouver --> Paris --> Biarritz
July 1 - Porto --> Paris --> Vancouver

Just under $1500 (Canadian $) in total, via Air France.

Unfortunately the departure times aren't great. Leaving Vancouver at 7am, which means going to the airport around 4am-5am. But leaving a few hours later would have cost an extra couple hundred $, and I've got more time than money, so an early departure it is.

If all goes well I should arrive in Biarritz at 10:40am, which leaves plenty of time to get to SJPDP, visit the pilgrim office, and relax around town before beginning to walk the next morning.

Now that things are real I can begin the practicalities of my preparations, specifically making a few accommodation reservations for the first few days.

A big and ongoing thank you to the many many helpful people on this forum. I look forward to returning the favour by offering up my own sage advice once I have the experience to do so.
I think you will find that many people care, here and elsewhere in your life, and you are wished Buen Camino 😊. We two have today spread out our collection of gear and listed what we are yet to acquire for our walk in May. The anticipation is delicious, we wish you that and a wonderful personal journey.
 
The first edition came out in 2003 and has become the go-to-guide for many pilgrims over the years. It is shipping with a Pilgrim Passport (Credential) from the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
Ideal pocket guides for during & after your Camino. Each weighs only 1.4 oz (40g)!
Congrats to all of you who booked your flights!
Can't wait to be on the road again... Agree with the comments above that once you do a camino you become "that person" that talks and thinks about it all the time :D
 
So I need to learn this Basque language as well as Spanish?!? Mamma mia...:)
Hi Jack. You don’t need to learn Basque - or Spanish for that matter, though it’s good to have a few words and phrases of Spanish when in Spain.

It’s also good to be aware that Pays Basque (Basque Country) covers an area comprising a part of both Spain and France including SJPP and Roncesvalles. In that area you will often see two names - French and Basque or Spanish and Basque, e.g. Pamplona / Iruna, as you discovered. Another well known example is San Sebastián (Spanish) aka Donostia (Basque).

Some, though not all, Basque people consider themselves Basque, neither Spanish nor French. 😎

If you Google Basque Country you will discover the exact area in Spain and France. ❤️🇫🇷🇪🇸
 
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