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Arriving late to Roncesvalles

#1
Does anyone know how late you can arrive at Roncesvalles and still get your credential? I'm concerned that if I get there late I won't be able to stay at the hostal/albergue. I ordered my credential from American Pilgrims on the Camino, but even after several requests, I still haven't gotten it (still haven't given up all hope that it will come before I leave).
Arlene
 

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Deirdre

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
#2
Hi Arlene,
How late do you mean? I left Pamplona on the 18:00h bus and arrived in Roncesvalles at approximately 19:30h in July, 2007. At that time there were a number of us on the bus, and there were also people arriving who had come from SJPdP. None of us had any difficulty getting into the albergue or getting our credencial. There is a Pilgrim Mass at 20:00h... I believe most people arrive for that. It seems that since the bus runs daily at the same time from Pamplona, the hospitaleros at the albergue are always expecting Pilgrims at that hour.
Buen Camino,
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
#3
Arlene,

The American Pilgrims on the Camino are in reorganization as I can figure it. It took nearly a month to get my credential, but I have it and my first sello from my Diocese.

Unless you're leaving in less than a week, I'm sure it will arrive.

As DierdrE says...the R'valles albergue/monastery is open quite late.

Buen Camino,

Arn
 
#5
Hi Deirdre,

I'm hoping to get to Roncesvalles in time for the 8 pm Mass. It all depends on the timing. I arrive in Madrid around 9:30 am. According to the train and bus schedules that I've been looking at, I won't be able to make any of the morning departures to Pamplona. My options are: the train that leaves Atocha at 14:10 or the bus that leaves at 15:00. If I take the bus I definitely won't make it for Mass. I guess I'll take the train, and if I miss the 18:00 bus to Roncesvalles, I'll try getting a cab. I'm also considering spending the night in Pamplona and heading to Roncesvalles the next day.

Arlene
 

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Deirdre

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
#6
Hi Arlene,
If I recall correctly, I got the 7:00h train from Atocha and got into Pamplona around 11:00h. So if you leave Madrid at 14:10h , you definitely won't make the 18h bus. I would strongly suggest staying overnight in Pamplona. If you have your credencial, you may even be able to stay in the albergue overnight and you will have the entire next day to explore Pamplona - cathedral, encierro,its many churches, interesting buildings, restaurants and on and on. You can catch the bus in the evening and still arrive in Roncesvalles in plenty of time for the 20h Pilgrim Mass (Not to be missed!) Then, when you are walking back, you have already seen Pamplona and you do not need to stop there but can go on to Cizur Menor which has two lovely albergues. I chose the Knights of Malta (the first one on the left) but I believe Vinotinto has great things to say about the other, private albergue in the charming small village.

From your post I have the impression that you are planning your Camino for early in the year - do not attempt to stay in (or anywhere around) Pamplona in mid July ... there are NO places available during the Fiesta de San Fermín commonly known as the Running of the Bulls!

Buen Camino,
 
#7
Hi Deirdre,
It does sound like a good idea to spend the night in Pamplona and then spend a good part of the next day exploring the city. That way I'll also be well rested before beginning my walk. I don't have to worry about San Fermin, I'll be there at the end of March...well before the bulls!
I definitely want to make the Mass in Roncesvalles, so I think my decision is made. Thanks for the input.
Arlene
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#8
Hi Arlene,
Have you thought of adding a flight from Madrid to Pamplona onto your air ticket? We flew Iberia last year from Johannesburg to Pamplona, with a change at Madrid. It didn't add much to the cost. We had an 'Open Jaw' ticket so we could fly back home out of any airport in Spain. It might be worth having a look at.
 
#9
Hi Sil,
That's an interesting idea. I've never heard of an "Open Jaw" ticket. It seems like flying to Pamplona could solve my timing problem. I'm going to check it out.
Oh, and on another note, I think it was you Sil who suggested getting the Forum pin to wear on our packs, so the Class of 08 could identify eachother on the camino. Well, I officially placed my order and my Forum pin is on the way!!
Arlene
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
#10
Arlene wrote:so the Class of 08 could identify each other on the Camino
I'm going to buy a package of them and, (along with the beer I leave along the WAY) am going to give one to any forum member I meet that doesn't have one.

I've been trading pins, patches and such all my life...just another extension of a super and meaningful hobby.

Buen Camino,
Arn
 
#11
Arlene, I noticed you are from NJ. I'm from Texas & when I first went to the Camino, I flew on an open jaw ticket==I flew into Paris CDG & flew home from Madrid (MAD). You shouldn't have any problems making such a reservation, even online. Just select the "multiple cities" option (well, that's how it shows up on the Continental website, might be the same on other websites).

I second the suggestion to overnight it in Pamplona to see the sights & get over jet-lag. Staying at Cizur Menor would be a plus, since that puts you that much closer to the Alto del Perdon section the next day. :shock:

IIRC, when I was in Roncesvalles, they had a section of bunks towards the front roped off for those arriving on the late bus, so finding a bed at that time shouldn't be a problem.

Kelly
 
#12
That's a nice gesture Arn, giving out pins to fellow forum members. I hope I come across someone in the forum as I walk, but it seems I'm starting a little earlier than most. But who knows....
Arlene
 
#13
Kelly,
Thanks so much for the info. I've already purchased my round trip ticket Phili/Madrid but I'm still going to see what I might be able to do about flying to Pamplona. I'm not sure if it's possible to make changes to my flight plans at this point though.
If I do stay in Pamplona I can just take the train and not worry about what time I get there. I know I saw a thread on this forum about places to stay, so I'll check that out as well.
Thanks for your help.
Arlene
 
#14
Arlene,
I looked into flights from Madrid to Pamplona and found they were not that much more than the train or bus...and much easier to make connections with all that jet lag. I think Iberia had seats for only 33 euro. Check their web site for current prices for your dates. And yes there is a thread about this..but not sure the heading....

I found that the change fee to add one more flight to my existing ticket was only $50 so I went that route and added a Span Air flight to my ticket.

One place to stay is the Hotel Eslava...

Buen Camino,
Marilyn
 
#15
Yes - I did that very thing in November and the flight from Madrid to Pamplona was just perfect and very reasonably priced. The airport bus dropped me at the bus station for the 6pm bus to Roncesvalles - and the driver even directed me to the correct bus stand.

Buen camino
 

Deirdre

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
#16
Hi John,
It never ceases to amaze me how helpful everyone in Spain is to Pilgrims! Everyone is so anxious that they put you in the right direction! In Santiago, I left my friends to make a trip to the hospital. Upon leaving, I wanted to find a taxi stand (or at least a street where I might get a taxi back the center of town to rejoin my friends). On my way out of the hospital, I asked a lady where I might find the taxi's and instead of directing me, she drove me back into town in her car and dropped me about 3 blocks from where I wanted to be! I was so grateful for her kindness.
Buen Camino,
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
#17
Deirdre said:
On my way out of the hospital, I asked a lady where I might find the taxi's and instead of directing me, she drove me back into town in her car and dropped me about 3 blocks from where I wanted to be! I was so grateful for her kindness.
Buen Camino,
I had an experience in Orleans in France one day where I met a "good samaritan" in a car who gave me a lift. I had walked about 3km out of town to a Decathlon store to buy paniers and a small tent for my cycling tour. On the way back to town, I took the wrong turn at a large intersection and got horribly lost. Then it started raining and I became absolutely drenched. In this state I was rescued by a very kind lady who took me all the way back to my hotel.

I am certain that memories of kindnesses like this, these special encounters, are what live on for us, many years after memories of the buildings we have seen, and the landscapes we have rejoiced at being in, have faded.
KiwiNomad
 
#18
We should start a post all of its own on these "Special kindnesses" - the way in which the Spanish people embrace pilgrms with occassional acts of generosity...giving food, a wave of encouragement, being invited into their homes etc. The Yellow arrows on the routes are so good I have rarely got lost but when I did it was locals who waved and pointed and showed the way...lots of things happen which illustrate the goodness of people - we should share them more!
 
#19
Thanks for the information Marilyn. And as for the "acts of kindness" stories, they're wonderful, and I'd love to read more of them!
Arlene
 
#20
Hey Arlene, if the "change fee" is too much (personally I refuse to pay that), simply make a one-way reservation to Pamplona from Madrid. Last time out, I had to change my return city from my hometown to where my car was (long story) & was told that my entire itinerary would have to be cancelled & rebooked (of course, at a much HIGHER fare than what I had paid) PLUS I would have to pay the change fee! :shock: So, I just went to the airline's website & bought a one-way ticket to the place I needed to be from Houston & "forgot" to board the flight home.

If you do this, give yourself some leeway from your arrival time at MAD to your departure to Pamplona. IIRC, immigration & customs hardly seemed to take any time at all & I was at my hotel slightly over an hour after I landed (& I took the metro to central Madrid).

Adding on to Marilyn's comments: when you add on the cost of getting to the train or bus station plus the time you'd spend getting out of the airport & to those stations, it would be worth it to pay a little extra for the airfare & not have to deal with all that. I also second the Hotel Eslava recommendation.

Kelly
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#21
I've just done a search on Air Nostrum and it seems that most flights from Madrid to Pamplona cost 53€ . The train is about 50€ and the bus (10 buses between 8am and 9.30pm) costs about 25€
You do have another option. Stay over in Madrid for a night and travel up to Pamplona and Roncesvalles the next day. You will probably stay over in Pamplona when you are walking so it might be nice to see a bit of Madrid.
 

Deirdre

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
#22
Related to the "special kindnesses" - I started another thread under the "related to all routes" title.
Buen Camino,
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#23
Deirdre said:
I believe Vinotinto has great things to say about the other, private albergue in the charming small village.
I do at that. Senora Maribel Roncal runs a very hospitable albergue. She took me in earlier than the usual opening time after noticing my distress (I had crapped out in front of her albergue), and then she drained and dressed my blisters. In addition, she showed me the trick of putting maxipads on my boot liners to absorb moisture and provide a little extra padding ("we need to find cheap and easy solutions on the Camino," she said).

Also, she looked for a set of sandals for me (from the stock left behind by other pilgrims) when mine proved to be inadequate (I had brought a super-light pair from Magellan's that was better suited to hotel bathrooms and carpeted floors). The large, shaded, and grassy courtyard (complete with turtle-occupied fountain) was very restful. And finally, the facilities were clean, and she even had coin-operated internet access terminals.

In all, she probably saved my Camino (and she performed this service for many other tired and hurting pilgrims), so I can't say enough good things about the Roncal albergue. :arrow:
 
#24
You guys are great! Thanks so much for all the detailed info/suggestions. I have quite a few options and so I'll do my homework to figure out what will work out best for me.
Muchas gracias!!
Arlene
 

lckgj

Active Member
#25
Hi Arlene

Just returning to your original query regarding arriving late at Roncevalles...

I arrived on the evening bus from Pamplona and there was a huge queue of people who went to get their credential so I thought I'd be smart and go and sort out my accomodation and come back later. When I got back shortly after the office had closed until the next day.

I didnt want to wait until the office opened the next day before leaving so set off without one. At my first stop at Larrasoana the Hospitalero didnt have any credentials to sell to me and told me that technically I was not allowed to stay in the albergue without one. Fortunately she let me stay!

I got one in Pamplona the next day and as I had spent time there the day before walked on to Cizur Menor. I agree that going the extra distance to Cizur Menor is a good idea as the walk up the Alto de Perdon is quite a climb and coming down is (for me) even harder - walking sticks/poles are a must here.

My credential is a wonderful souvenir of my journey and I always regret that I dont have the sellos from Roncevalles and Larrasoana, I may have to go back and walk that bit again just to get them!

Good Luck!
Laura
 
#26
Hello Arlene,

Don't be concerned about getting a credential in Roncesvalles, even if you arrive after the office has closed. Usually the kind hospitaleros have plenty to spare, even after everyone has checked in!

When I arrived at Roncesvalles April 24 last year, I wasn't carrying a credential either. Perhaps it was jetlag, but I wasn't feeling too well so decided to check in at La Posada to rest and continue on to SJPdP the following morning. But between the pilgrim's blessing and dinner, I had already met some fellow pilgrims and I decided I would start with them the following morning. It must have been around 9PM when I walked over to the albergue and got one for a few euro donation.

Don't worry and have a buen camino :arrow:
 
#27
Hi Lillian and Laura,
Thanks for sharing your experiences. Lillian, I'm going to take your advice and not worry too much more about it. What will be, will be....it's all part of my journey, and I can hardly wait. Just a little over 6 weeks to go!!!!
Arlene
 

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