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Camino Day 1 From Sjdp. A Bit Scared !!!

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by Karen uk, Apr 1, 2017.

  1. Karen uk

    Karen uk New Member

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    I'm planning my first Camino adventure soon but as a solo female traveller with little experience the first day walking seems quite long, daunting and scary walking through the Pyrenees. As I understand "go slower at the start until you find your legs" this seems a big challenge on day 1.
    Any words of advice friends?
     
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  2. Tincatinker

    Tincatinker Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Stop at Valcarlos. Enjoy a pleasant 1st Albergue, risk a cerveza and an evening meal. Sleep well. And on the following day it will all seem a bit less scary. And after a week it will seem hardly scary at all. And after 4 weeks be sure to remember that though you are a confident peregrina there are souls on the road that need your help and reassurance.

    Buen camino
     
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  3. Karen uk

    Karen uk New Member

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    Thank you, I did consider that option but I figured if other people can manage it why not me ?
    Probably because I've just watched " The Way " and thought it looked more remote and dangerous than other sections !!
    Thank you for your reply, I'm only in the planning stages and still debating with myself whether to do 800km from Sjdp or just to do the Ingles as it's much shorter and easier as a start as a Camino newbee!! I also intend to continue to Muxia if I can still walk !!
     
  4. Tincatinker

    Tincatinker Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Karen, lots of us walk, have walked, will walk via Valcarlos; loads more walk the famed Napoleon route, most without a stop at the proclaimed Orisson. Some walk from their front doors: a bit easier if you live in Pamplona or Dusseldorf than Wolverhampton ;)

    Walking the camino, any camino, from anywhere, to Santiago is as easy or as hard as we ourselves choose to make it. Walking to the end is easy too - then you have to face the hard bit or just turn around and walk home.

    You will find a wealth of information and debate on this forum, you might find www.gronze.com a good source for an overview of all the major caminos and also lots of information on accommodation etc.

    And I guarantee that if you start walking from an obscure little town in southern France by the time you get to Santiago the last little bit to Muxia will be a doddle.
     
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  5. jpflavin1

    jpflavin1 Veteran Member

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    Karen:

    Tincatinker is giving you great advice.

    Walking the Valcarlos (11 km's) route versus Napoleon does not say anything about your capability. It just breaks the first difficult day into two smaller days. You could also stop in Orisson (8 km's) and continue on the Napoleon route. Both finish in Roncesvalles.

    Ultreya,
    Joe
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2017
  6. Waka

    Waka Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Some but not all, and other routes too.
    You'll be fine, just take it easy. If you're worried about walking on your own, don't be they'll always be other pilgrims around. One of the things that amazed me was the large number of solo female walkers from all the corners of the world.
    Just go with the flow and listen to what your heart and mind are telling you.
     
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  7. Karen uk

    Karen uk New Member

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    You are obviously knowledgeable. Would I get this information from a map ? Do I get a map from my starting point ?
     
  8. jpflavin1

    jpflavin1 Veteran Member

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    Karen:

    The Pilgrim office has maps of both routes to Roncesvalles. Either route is fine and people should make decisions based on their own comfort level.

    If you are not comfortable walking the entire distance to Roncesvalles your first day, you have the option of breaking the first day into two days on either route. Napoleon to Orisson (8 km's), Valcarlos route to Valcarlos (11 km's). Many people break the first day into two days.

    Whatever decision you make, I am sure it will be the best one for you. ie: This year, I am arriving late in the day on April 12th and plan to walk to Valcarlos that evening.

    Buen Camino,
    Joe
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2017
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  9. MichelleElynHogan

    MichelleElynHogan Active Member

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    Hi Karen,

    First, being female is not a concern worth any worry time on the Camino. It seems that all other Peregrinos will be watching out for you and that is a very heartening feeling.

    Not knowing your physical ability, know now that the Napolean Way requires climbing nearly 1,000 m in 10 km, then gentle rises and falls for the next 18 km and then, TAKE THE 5 KM route downhill to the right, if 3.6 km of Double Black Diamond slope, (to the left), does not phase you. (I found most do not read the notes that come with their Credential from SJPP where they clearly state this....I didn't read it either, until I had booked in for the night at Roncesvalles and sat down in Posada for a Coke, (they do not have Pepsi).

    If this sounds daunting, the Valcarlos route is the better option. The rise and fall is not nearly as stupendous and as others have said, there is an alberge in Valcarlos to split the trip. Be patient with yourself and pack extremely light.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2017
  10. eviemonkey

    eviemonkey New Member

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    Karen, for many the first day will indeed be one of the most physically arduous of the Camino Frances. It certainly was for me, as someone who walked the Napolean route to Roncesvalles with limited training.

    I found the stretch from St Jean to Orisson particularly demanding, and had to stop every now and then to take a breather before continuing. But continue I did. Once I reached Orisson and continued with others, I found the rest of the hike to Lepoeder much more manageable, dare I say even enjoyable. The scenery along the way is spectacular and you will have plenty of company, be they fellow pilgrims, horses, and goats.

    As the saying goes, 'what goes up must come down'. The view from the top looking down at Roncesvalles and Spain lying below in the valley was a particular favourite of mine. I wished that descent walk through the woods could have lasted forever.

    I think I enjoyed it so much because I was worried beforehand about my ability to hike uphill stages. I hated the thought of walking uphill, actually still do, but overcoming that obstacle (a mental one as much as physical) was liberating for me and a great confidence boost for every day's walking after that.

    Without knowing your preparation or fitness levels, I would say to 'go for it'. Leave early and take your time, take rests when required, use those rest times to chat to others. Walking with others can be easier on days like the first one when we are naturally less confident of our esteem levels. Try and get as much uphill walking as you can get before now and the time you go. Every bit will help. If you have an extra day in St Jean, walk the first hill outside town a few times. I did, up and down five times, and it helped to some small degree the following morning.

    By way of reference, I left St Jean at 6.30am and arrived at Orisson just after 8.45am. Reached the highest point at 1pm, and after taking our time to have a picnic in the woods, reached Roncesvalles before 3.00pm. Eight to eight and a half hours duration in total, we could have done it in seven and a half if pushed.

    That first day was my favourite stage by far, for many reasons. It was a bit of an emotional roller-coaster, but so too is the Camino. I still struggled on the subsequent uphill stages (Castrojeriz, O Ceibeiro) but nowhere near to the same extent. By then I had 'found my legs' and there was no stopping me. I never felt the same euphoria of making it to the top like I did that day on the Pyrennes. I had to wait until arriving into Santiago to re-discover the same degree of satisfaction.

    Take note of the weather conditions before you decide anything. We walked in August when the weather wasn't really a factor. Good luck in whatever decision you make. The first few days of the Camino can be daunting in general. The scale of it all seems almost too much to comprehend. Break it down instead into short, realistic goals. First to Orisson, then Roncesvalles, re-access over a cerveza and off you go again. Before you know it, it will all seem to be going by too quick and you will want to slow everything down again. Buen camino.
     
  11. Hutton24

    Hutton24 Active Member

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    I learnt on my Camino just how strong we are and how we can overcome anything if we put our mind to it. I found that I was able to control my mind and not let anything phase me or put me off. You too will find this on your Camino.
    Buen Camino
     
  12. Mark McCarthy

    Mark McCarthy Member

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    The advice on splitting the first day is great advice, though you need to book well in advance to get in to Orisson in particular. Also if going by route Napoleon, when reaching the top at Col Leopoder the advice about taking the right route is spot on. The right route via Puerto de Ibañeta is much safer and much kinder on your knees and is only about 400 metres extra distance.
     
  13. Janny

    Janny New Member

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    Hi there, when are you travelling? I'm also planning to walk solo from SJDP.
     
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  14. Karen uk

    Karen uk New Member

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    Hi Jenny. I only decided to do the Camino last weekend!! I'm now in the planning and organising stage and trying to gain as much insight as I can.
    I'm also aware that I need to start training as my fitness levels need to increase dramatically !!
    I'm thinking either June or perhaps September to avoid the temperatures in July and August.
    The first big test is getting from where I live in the north of England to Sjdp !! So far I think I need 2 flights, a bus and then a train.
    How about you? Where are you coming from and when are you thinking of starting?
     
  15. piggyhinton

    piggyhinton Member

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    It's not a race!! relax and ENJOY it! do not start off like a greyhound out of the trap, take time to look at the scenery and before you know it you will be looking down the hill at Roncesvalle! - and dont forget, more people have accidents going down hill than going up! so that is the time to concentrate, especially when you are tired! Buen Camino
     
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  16. John Finn

    John Finn Active Member

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    It's not scary at all. It's very straight-forward - just follow the hordes of other walkers and you can't go wrong. The only reason to split the first day in my opinion is if you are getting over jet-lag issues which, seeing as you are in the UK, will not be an issue. I'd advise doing the more popular Napoleon route. Stop off in the Orisson refugio - you'll be there in about 2 hours max - for a cup of tea/coffee and then continue on to Roncesvalles. Forget any ideas you may have about technically difficult mountaineering - there's a paved road most of the way to the top and the trail onwards to Roncesvalles is well marked. A reasonably fit walker should be able to do it in about 6 hours or so.
     
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  17. james walter purdum iv

    james walter purdum iv Active Member

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    the movie makes it seem remote but you are on road for half the ascent and you never lose sight of the trail afterward...i think splitting day one is a great idea. i stayed at orisson and was much better for it. those 8km up to that point were a doubter starter but after a great meal and sleep the rest was good! plus you get to roncevelles around 2 well ahead of the next days throngs..
     
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  18. Shston Girlfd

    Shston Girlfd Member Donating Member

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    Solo walker also and was day one also had me quite intimidated at first but then compared it to my trips out of the Grand Canyon, less elevation gain over much more distance = less steep. What I am trying to encourage you to do is have faith in yourself, you have done other hard things in your life and you can also do this in some way at some pace. The big guy said "Be not afraid" and its good advice. Bueno Camino
     

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  19. jpflavin1

    jpflavin1 Veteran Member

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    James:

    Since you have been to Orisson, what time did they serve dinner?

    Joe
     
  20. Shston Girlfd

    Shston Girlfd Member Donating Member

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    Just saw this - thought it might make you laugh.
     

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  21. denis52

    denis52 New Member

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    I walked the Camino Frances last June and I will remember that first day for the rest of my life. It was exhilarating and exhausting at the same time but worth all the effort. Never so tired by the time I reached Roncevalles. The journey to Santiago was one that changed me and I can't wait to go back.
     
  22. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

    I love that movie, "The Way", but it just a movie. Not a realistic walking of the Camino Frances. I have no idea why the character of the son would have wandered over to a deep ravine and thought it looked like a good place to walk into. o_O
    I've posted this video on here before, and I'll post it again. The first day over the Pyrenees via the Napoleon. As you can see, not bad at all. Lotta improved roadway you walk on. Ultreia.
     
  23. notion900

    notion900 Veteran Member

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    It's not scary at all - and the horses on the tops are lovely. When I walked up to Orisson a middle aged man kept jogging up and down the road to encourage people. He probably went ten times further than the pilgrims. Who was he? Does he still do that?
     
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  24. trecile

    trecile Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Especially since all the main characters wear jeans! How in the world do they get those dry after washing? :p
     
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  25. notion900

    notion900 Veteran Member

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    I haven't seen the film and I am not going to. I wish people would stop going on about it frankly.
     
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  26. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

    blue jeans, big, heavy sleeping bags, cotton sweatshirts, heavy jackets, etc ha ha
     
  27. FLEUR

    FLEUR Active Member

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    When we were there (2012) it was quite early maybe around 6.30p.m.
     
  28. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

    Oh, it's a pretty good little movie. Low budget. Independent. Pure entertainment, no doubt, and not to be taken as an instructional film. I got no ill will towards it, and would probably watch it again just for S&G....
    Apparently it has introduced a lot of people to the Camino who would have otherwise never known about it.
     
  29. notion900

    notion900 Veteran Member

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    Does the lady in Orisson still tell you Spanish cooking is rubbish and this is the last decent meal you will have?
     
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  30. Tincatinker

    Tincatinker Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Oh bless. I hope she does. The camino should be full of discoveries and the mendacity of the perfidious French should be the first. (OK, I'll go and award myself some points for that one ;))
     
  31. notion900

    notion900 Veteran Member

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    I remember her exact words: 'Chips chips with everything and swimming in oil. Here you will have real cooking'
    She was a damn fine cook to be fair. She gave us cassoulet and we thought it was the main course and ate quite a lot. Then she brought out legs of roast lamb.....
     
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  32. Tincatinker

    Tincatinker Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Thats what I meant. Typical attempt at seduction...

    Does anyone know how I can book a bed at Orisson?
     
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  33. mspath

    mspath Veteran Member Donating Member

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  34. james walter purdum iv

    james walter purdum iv Active Member

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    i think 6:30...kayota (their sister hostel about a km before you get to orisson) joins the group as well so about 50ppl...it was well done and these are the people you will meet all through your journey
     
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  35. james walter purdum iv

    james walter purdum iv Active Member

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    6 ways to santiago is the true documentary
     
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  36. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

    yeah, but even that has obvious takes and retakes and shots that are planned...
    nobody is going to act like they normally do with a cameraman and a sound-man on their six....
     
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  37. james walter purdum iv

    james walter purdum iv Active Member

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    i hear ya..but they were real pilgrims..with real problems and successes
     
  38. james walter purdum iv

    james walter purdum iv Active Member

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    god forbid they start a drone war for "real footage"
     
  39. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

    If they haven't already, I'm sure there are pilgrims hauling around drones to get footage for their homemade videos for youtube.
     
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  40. james walter purdum iv

    james walter purdum iv Active Member

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    well get a hold of that "bird watching " lady...lol
     
  41. John Finn

    John Finn Active Member

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    I'll be very disappointed if I don't see at least one pilgrim with a DJI Mavic this year :)
     
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  42. movinmaggie

    movinmaggie Veteran Member

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    Take those first two days slowly - and not to worry; lots and lots of female solo walkers out there. You won't be alone for long unless you choose to be. I loved the latter part of Sept and all of Oct. Buen Camino.
     
  43. Tincatinker

    Tincatinker Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    @movinmaggie thanks for dragging this thread back to the OP's question :)
     
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  44. Janny

    Janny New Member

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    I am planning to start early September. Getting there is a test as well. Coming from Australia. Thinking I'll fly to Paris and catch trains to SJDP. Need to work on fitness and learn some Spanish before then. Think I have most of my gear.
     
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  45. Saint Mike II

    Saint Mike II Vetran Member Donating Member

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    Hola Karen - after 800 km to Santiago - the 3 or 4 days to Muxia will seem like a sunday after lunch stroll. BTW when do you leave? I am out of St Jean on May 1st so might see you around. Cheers
     
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  46. Hutton24

    Hutton24 Active Member

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    Use the contact form on this web--
    http://www.refuge-orisson.com/en

    They answer faster if you use the contact form - takes several days for them to get back to you
     
  47. Hutton24

    Hutton24 Active Member

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    Another alternative is to fly to Barcelona, then train to Pamplona then bus to SJPP. That's what I am doing and it's all easy peas.
     
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  48. Shston Girlfd

    Shston Girlfd Member Donating Member

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    Did any of this help at all? I think we all hope that you believe in yourself and take the journey. Bueno Camino and God Bless whatever your choice is!
     
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  49. nycwalking

    nycwalking Veteran Member

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    Enjoy. Camino as a solo female is wonderful. You can be as alone or with others as you wish. You'll be and feel safe. SJPP to Roncesvalles is the hardest ... not impossible. Please, have the time of your life.
    Buen camino
     
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  50. Caminokiwi

    Caminokiwi New Member

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    Hi Karen,
    I too will be going solo leaving sjpdp on the 6th of May, its getting real now after planning for 6 months, watching many youtube videos,
    working out gear to take, weighing it (down to 6.5k overall) and walking lots. I have opted to stop at Orrisson and booked 3 months ago as it fills quickly. Flying in from New Zealand via Paris,
    EasyJet to Bairittz and then finally a train to sjpdp from Bayonne. thinking of walking to Bayonne train station as Google Maps shows it to be 7 ks
    or then there is always the bus. I just wanted to say that like you, I feel in love with the idea of the camino because the the movie "the Way" and have had
    the same feelings as you have mentioned, but with 28 days to go I cant wait! The best advice I can give you, that was given to me by a lovely lady in my home
    town that completed the Camino in her late 60's is: if you are able to do it, DO IT, you will love it.
    Jackie
    Kerikeri
    NZ
     
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  51. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    ------------------------------
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    ------------------------------
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    together again :-)
    But not as engaging ;)
     
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  52. tillyjones

    tillyjones Active Member

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    Hee. I found the hill did quite fine at keeping me slow on days one and two.
     
  53. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    ------------------------------
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    together again :-)
    Why not watch it and see if it's as bad as you think it is ;)

    It made me aware of the Camino, which led in turn to many significant and positive life changes, so it can't be all that bad an influence surely....

    Yes it's a piece of fiction, and yes it's a piece of entertainment and yes it's not 100% accurate in it's depiction of the Camino.... Doesn't mean to say it's bad though. But then you wouldn't know. As you haven't watched it :oops:

    Actually it's probably best we all stop talking about it. It will only encourage more people to walk the Camino and make it even more crowded. A vicious circle :eek:

    Perhaps Ivar could add it to the rules. Don't talk about 'that' Movie!
     
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  54. notion900

    notion900 Veteran Member

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    @Robo 'That Film' came out 3 years after I walked the French Way, my mom watched it and chattered on about it, so that put me off! And now I am a bit freaked to walk the French Way again, worried that it is touristy and crowded and spoiled. I don't want a Disney version of what I experienced before.

    When I walked it in 2007, I hadn't watched any films or videos, or read anyone's blog, or any books, I just heard about it from my friend Marta, joined this forum a month before and bought John Brierley's book. I didn't reserve any accommodation apart from L'Esprit du Chemin in SJPP (not even Orisson or in Santiago). I left my mobile phone at home, with a message on it saying 'email me'. I had no preconceptions or ideas at all, I just let it unfold. Now it's like people have lived it five times before they have even left the house, I don't know, that makes me a bit sad somehow.
     
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  55. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    with my wife Pat.
    ------------------------------
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    (Apr/May 2018)
    together again :-)
    I can understand your reservations. There is a degree of risk that those who love the Movie might be disappointed by the real thing or have unrealistic expectations perhaps.

    But on the flip side I think we need to give viewers some credit that they will realise that this is merely an 'entertaining' version of the Camino.

    From my own perspective, I am 'guilty' of having embarked on the Camino as a result of watching the movie. I watched it at a time in my life where I had become exhausted and a bit lost maybe. The thought of 'unplugging' and walking for a month or more had tremendous appeal. I had never heard of the Camino.

    The movie gave me a sense of what my journey might be like, in terms of the routine, the scenery and so on. I didn't expect my relationships to be quite like those in the movie! And they weren't.

    I have written many times and mention it in my video link below, that I started each day with a simple prayer.
    Just let me walk another day and I promise to walk with an open heart and an open mind and accept whatever lessons you have for me.
    I was just grateful to be on the journey and had no real expectation of reaching Santiago, due to a training injury.

    What actually unfolded was not a million miles from the 'Disney' version. I 'found myself' and many other valuable things along the way. To me like many others, maybe most, the Camino is very much an 'inner' journey. The movie gives you glimpses of what that might be like..... That's what attracted me. To make it entertaining they throw in all the other stuff ;)

    I first walked the CF only 2 years ago in 2015. It was probably more crowded already. (Than 2007) But I loved it. I was able to balance walking alone or walking with others quite easily. Just a matter of when you start each day or where you stay at night.

    Like you though I worry a little that next year when we walk the CF again, maybe it has become even more crowded, and will that impact the experience? I don't think so. In 2016 my wife walked with me a bit of an 'introductory' Camino, just from Sarria. And we all know how crowded that can be! But we both loved it. And we had days that were not crowded at all..... Again, it's all a matter of timing.

    IMHO, as so many advise here, setting out on the Camino with expectations of any kind is a bit risky...... Because any 'plans' probably won't survive the first day or two. Only because unexpected and/or Magical things happen along the way to 'trash' those plans. Usually in a good way, if you let it.

    For many I think, myself included, the anticipation of walking the Camino and any pre planning that takes place is enjoyable, harmless and indeed a 'substitute' for actually walking. It keeps the Camino alive in us, between Caminos.

    I can understand feeling a bit sad that the Camino you first walked may be very different now. I'm sure it will be. But so will you be different.

    When I walk the CF again next year, I'll take the advice of some other members here. I'll stay in different accommodation, different parts of town, different towns, try new places to eat, visit churches and other sites I missed last time.

    It won't be the same as 2015. How could it be. I walked alone that time. I was different. I met different people. The weather was different. Everything will be different next year. But I'll be excited to embrace the differences ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2017
  56. notion900

    notion900 Veteran Member

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  57. StFina

    StFina Member

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    I might suggest using Google maps Road View if you are concerned about any portion of the route. In September of 2016, I managed to "walk" about 80% of the Camino Frances just by following the road on Google maps on my computer. This gave me a very good sense of the terrain and obstacles. Further, I recognized many landmarks as I walked the route several weeks later, which helped orient me along the way. This does not work for any portion of the path that is off an actual road, but does acclimate you to the road portion and terrain you might find along the way.
     
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  58. Marie_pri

    Marie_pri New Member

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    Please let me know what train you take, rout ect, I'm planing from Australia but my biggest question is how do you get there to start. Do I fly to Barcelona ? Madrid? London? Paris? And then from either of those do I train- bus- taxi.
     
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  59. Kathy Robbins

    Kathy Robbins New Member

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    Stop at Orrison. Break the first day up.
     
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  60. Krista Catlady

    Krista Catlady New Member

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  61. Krista Catlady

    Krista Catlady New Member

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    Checked out your recommended link.
     
  62. Pam Scott

    Pam Scott Member

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    Hi, I think you will be fine on the Napoleon route as long as you stop at Orrison the first night. You will have a wonderful communal meal there so there will be plenty of opportunity to get to know your fellow pilgrims.
     
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  63. Sarah80

    Sarah80 Member

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    Fortunate enough not to have seen 'The Way' until after my first Camino or I don't know if I'd have gone! You won't be walking into La Posada after dark (for two reasons) when you register for the albergue at Roncesvalles!

    I have walked both the Valcarlos and Napoleom route and if you are not a regular walker or consider yourself unfit then you will prefer Valcarlos. I had already done the Camino twice before I braved Orisson (due to weather and other issues) and for me this is still the hardest 2-3kms on the Camino, just before Orisson, they say O Cebreiro is as hard but you're so fit by then it doesn't feel as hard.

    As for being a woman alone - I would say a good half of people alone are women and they're fantastic women too, takes a special kind of woman (self praise is no praise, Sarah) to walk the Camino alone - come join the group!
     
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  64. lynee

    lynee New Member

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    I am coming from aus as well. flying to Barcelona, train that day to Pamplona, next morning bus to SJDP and walk that day to orison. no plans after that lol
     
  65. Thelma

    Thelma New Member

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    Hi Karen, I made my first solo female pilgrimage in 2010 and I was scared on the first day as I arrived late moring due to train and bus strike from Paris. Anyway I think I started around 12 or 1 pm and walked to ValCarlos and reached the Alberque around 4 to 5 pm. Only 1 couple form Ireland was there and we had dinner together. I was okay and started my second day walk to Roncesvalles. You will always meet pilgrims on the way and they are very encouraging knowing that I was travelling alone. So keep the courage going. All will be fine. I hope to do the Portuguese Route this September 2017 this time with my husband.

    All the very best,

    Thelma
     
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  66. Janny

    Janny New Member

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    Hi there. When are you travelling? I haven't booked flights yet but thinking I'll fly to Paris and then 2 trains to SJDP.
     
  67. DJ King

    DJ King New Member

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    I know there will be another in the not too distant future!
    I understand your worry, Karen. Like you, I was most worried about crossing the Pyrenees. Last year when I walked my first Camino, I was a 60 years old solo woman and hadn't trained. I spent the first night at Orisson (highly recommended!!!!) and day 2 crossed the Pyrenees in 30 degree temperatures (it was early May) with freezing rain, a 50MPH sustained headwind and 75MPH gusts. It was a little crazy, but, even with all that, I was surprised that it wasn't more difficult. You won't be alone -- even as a solo traveler. Go slowly. Trust yourself and the Universe. Don't do anything foolish (like start when there's a snowstorm). You can certainly take the valley route, but if you want to cross the Pyrenees, I concur with Nike and say Just Do It! :) For me it was one of those moments I can look back on and say "I did that!"
     
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  68. Dylan Price

    Dylan Price New Member

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    Ha ha! You watched The Way - one thing I now know is that like any movie take it with a grain of salt as they change things to suit the situation! (Great film though - it also inspired my wife and I to do the Camino!)

    Day one is tough. But if you are of moderate fitness you can make it. as for remoteness - well sections are a little remote but there are pretty much Peregrinos walking by all day - hundreds of them! Take the chance and do the up and over on the first day because at the end of it you will look back at it as one of the highlights of the walk. It is also that little badge of honour that you did the mountains in one day!
     
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  69. David and Theresa

    David and Theresa New Member

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    the Camino has different meanings to different folks, movie, no movie, videos, no videos, books, no books, My Camino was just as exciting to me and just as meaningful , as yours was to you
     
  70. David and Theresa

    David and Theresa New Member

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    boy, all the hate about a movie, "The Way" is not about the Camino as much as it is a movie "set" on the Camino, more about 4 people and the issues in the lives,,,,,,, a feel good movie, Loved it, watched it several times, will watch it again, as we prepare to embark from SJPdP on the 20th April, Started in Sarria last June, and had a great time, meeting great people.
     
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  71. wcsjms

    wcsjms Active Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    A few words of advice ... It is not a race :) So take it at your own pace, stop at Orisson overnight (make arrangements ahead of time) and in a week to 10 days you will find yourself in "Camino shape" if you come from the flatlands of Florida like us. Buen Camino !
     
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  72. Karen uk

    Karen uk New Member

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    I'm taking it all in, reading and re reading and writing notes ! Do you get a new map for the next day at each pilgrim office or stopping place ?
     
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  73. mspath

    mspath Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Generally you do not find maps covering the next day's walk other than at the Pilgrim Office in SJPdP. Hence be prepared!
     
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  74. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    ------------------------------
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    (May 2016)
    with my wife Pat.
    ------------------------------
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    (Apr/May 2018)
    together again :-)
    Hi Karen, Firstly you don't really need a map. You really don't. Imagine walking along a lovely forest path, or a gravel footpath between fields of crops, with people ahead of you and behind you, with bright yellow arrows painted on trees and rocks at any point you might wonder which way you should go :)

    You learn very quickly to scan the way ahead for arrows without even thinking about it. Particularly at junctions...

    But a map is useful, if only to know what villages are coming up next, how far to the next coffee stop, what sites of interest are along the way, how many kms till my destination........ None of this requires a 'detailed' map. I sometimes used google maps, just to look to see where the next coffee stop might be. Will I stop for a rest under this tree, or at the next village? Those kind of tough decisions :D

    So the maps in guidebooks are more than enough, even though they are really just sketch maps. Like many I use the Brierley Guide. But rather than carry the actual book, I scanned into a pdf format and carried it on my phone. A bit paranoid about weight :eek: Others pull out the introductory pages and ditch pages as they go......

    I actually carried the cover of the book. It has a nice fold out set of stage maps. I would look at this each night to see what towns and villages I would be passing through and it gave me an idea of where I might want to stop the next day.

    You won't get lost, don't worry ;)
     
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  75. Karen uk

    Karen uk New Member

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    I think that's what I meant really. I was wondering how I would know where the next stopping place would be and what accommodation is available and how far away it is. What if it's full ? How do I know what else is available and where is it ?

    I think this is my biggest worry is finding a bed every night !!

    I'm sure after a few days I'll get the hang of it but at the start it's daunting.

    Looking into my travel arrangements I may arrive in Bayonne at 4am. Any advice ?

    I'm too late or too early to check in anywhere. Maybe get to SJPP and spend the first day/night in a hotel as I'll be tired after the journey?

    Sorry for the million questions but do I get my pilgrim's passport in SJPP or should I try and get one before I arrive ?

    Thank you so much for taking the time, I really appreciate any help and advice I can get.
     
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  76. mspath

    mspath Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Karen,

    Are you traveling by car? What transport arrives in Bayonne at 4 am?

    Once in SJPdP it is easy to get your Pilgrim Passport/Credential at the Pilgrim Office located on the camino at 39 rue de La Citadelle.

    The office is open every day and in season from early in the morning until late atnight ie after the arrival of the last bus/train. The helpful multi-lingual volunteers can provide you with a Credential and stamp if needed, as well as a list of major albergues and current weather/ trail conditions. They can also help locate a bed/bunk for the night. Most importantly the office is a great spot to meet/ greet other pilgrims. ...Do plan to stop and chat
     
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  77. Karen uk

    Karen uk New Member

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  78. Karen uk

    Karen uk New Member

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    Thanks mspath,

    I will be arriving from the uk by coach into Bayonne at 4am

    Should I be able to get a train to SJPP at that time in the morning?

    Thank you for all the information
     
  79. falcon269

    falcon269 sidra; no commercial interests

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    No, but there will be a train/bus later in the morning.

    If you want a portable, comprehensive guide to accommodations, buy the Brierley guide book. It lists most of the accommodations. You won't know what has an open bed until you get to it (unless you have booked ahead).
     
  80. mspath

    mspath Veteran Member Donating Member

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    First transport is at 07:45. The rr station may be closed at 04:00 when you arrive by bus.

    Due to current repairs on the train line there is now a substitute bus/autocar for TER 62 trains from Bayonne to SJPdP which is provided by the rr at the same price and same times of the usual TER local line 62 train. This special bus departs from the front of the train station/Gare SNCF. Buy your ticket inside the rr station. There are NO reserved seats; seating is open as on a tram or metro.
    The repairs are planned to be finished by 12 May.

    Good luck and Bon voyage!
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2017
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  81. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Thanks for posting that -- as one of those old folks who gets dizzy with the fast pace, I lowered the speed and then had to turn off the music since it sounded like it was on a broken record player (yes I grew up with record players). ;)

    But more seriously, I was struck by the fact that the video didn't really capture the dramatic differences in steepness. I've never taken pictures that give a good idea of how steep a trail is, and I thought that maybe the sequence of frames would do that. But I remember that the steepest ascent was right upon leaving SJPP and the steepest descent was right before Roncesvalles, but the video didn't create a different impression for me on those features. Is there a better speed to run it at to see that, or is this just a problem with still frames, whether they are superimposed on each other or not? Thanks!
     
  82. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

    I figure if someone wants to gauge the steepness all they have to do is look at the graph in a guidebook or on that sheet you get from the pilgrim's office, and apply that to principles of motion. It requires more energy to move an object (say, like a pilgrim) uphill than it does moving it on a flat surface. Also, said object will want to move faster downhill, so it takes additional energy to slow it down (thus the strain on knees and feet).
    I like the video mainly because it shows how much improved roadway such as blacktop and semi-improved roadway you actually walk on taking the Napoleon route. Hardly a wilderness trek, and based on some of the questions on this forum from some of the prospective CF pilgrims, that misconception of a wilderness trek is out there. I just want everyone to know that if the Napoleon ain't covered in snow during a winter storm, you really don't have much to worry about, and to go out there without worry and get their butts over the Pyrenees. C'mon in, the water's fine.....;)
    I don't think the maker of the video's intent was to dispel myths or show angles of ascent or descent up and down hills. I would assume they were just doing what a zillion other pilgrims these days do, and that's film themselves walking the Camino with a musical track in the background, ha ha.
     
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  83. Marie_pri

    Marie_pri New Member

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    Not for a year but still feel confused on how best to get to sjdp from Australia ( fly Barcelona , London , Paris ect)
     
  84. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    with my wife Pat.
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    (Apr/May 2018)
    together again :-)
    Hi Marie,

    I too pondered which way to get to St Jean (from Sydney)

    There are two commonly accepted ways of doing it. Both about the same travel time. (there are other options too of course)

    Fly into Madrid. Train to Pamplona. Bus or taxi to St Jean.
    Fly into Paris. Train to Bayonne, train to St Jean. (I did this first time and will do this way next year)

    Flights from Australia to Paris 'may' be easier to find than to Madrid.......

    Whatever you decide, a night in Madrid / Paris is a good way to start getting over the jet lag. Then a night in St Jean before you start perhaps.
     
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  85. Shston Girlfd

    Shston Girlfd Member Donating Member

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    I am coming for Tucson Arizona - will spend my first evening in Bayonne, near the airport. The next morn I take the train to SJPP where I am spending 2 nights to get my body and mind ready to start the journey.
     
  86. Felipe

    Felipe Veteran Member

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    SJPP is a lovely place. It is also minuscule -you go through it in five minutes. You visit the fortress, stroll by the river bank, register at pilgrim's bureau, attend Pilgrim's Mass at Notre Dame church, browse the shops. This works well for a day, but two?
    I suggest a complete day for visiting Bayonne-Biarritz, both adjacent and charming , very different cities.
    Or, if you stick to your schedule, take a taxi from SJPP to Saint Jean le Vieux (it is close), eat there (it is less expensive, and there is a good place at main square) and join the excited pilgrims that, after many days of weeks, arrive at SJPP. It is a nice, pleasant walk, a good warming up for next day.
    You see, we consider SJPP as a departing point, but for many French pilgrims, it is their final destination.
     
  87. Janny

    Janny New Member

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    Thanks so much. I am leaning towards the flight to Paris and then trains to St Jean. Jet lag doesn't sound fun at all. Any tips for lessening the impact or is it just something we have to deal with?

    Cheers
    Janny
     
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  88. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    with my wife Pat.
    ------------------------------
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    (Apr/May 2018)
    together again :-)
    Hi Janny.

    Jetlag first. And there are loads of opinions on this of course. I regularly fly across 3 or 4 time zones for work and do longer trips from 'down under' most years.

    What I found found works is this.

    1. Adjust to the destination timezone whilst you are still travelling if you can. For example, if I arrive in Paris at 8 am, I will try to arrive having had a few hours sleep, and a light meal. Because.............it's 8am. If I arrive not having slept for 24 hours I'll just want to sleep, and at 8 am that's going to mean I'm awake again at bedtime! So work back on the schedule. I want to arrive having slept in Paris. So I'll stay awake for 8-9 hours if I can en route to Dubai for example.
    2. Stay Awake till bedtime. To stick with the Paris example, I'll try to stay awake until a reasonable bedtime. Say 9pm. That way I am going to bed tired, and after a full nights sleep, getting up at 6 am 7 am or whatever should 'feel' natural.
    3. Get out in the Sun. Sunlight helps reset our body clock. So during my day in Paris I'll make sure I am out walking around a bit. And as it gets closer to 'bedtime' I'll stay away from Sun/Bright lights. All to do with Melatonine and our Bio Rhythms...
    That seems to work for me. But I'm sure others will have lots of other tips too.

    We Aussies always have a tough time getting to our Caminos of course as it takes us 24 hours or so crossing 10 time zones and at least two flights, just to get to Europe! The poor Kiwis cross 12 time zones...

    The 'schedule' I used going via Paris was.........

    Landed early morning (about 7:30 am I think)
    Took the Air France Bus to Gare Montparnasse.
    Had a Hotel booked near the Station. (Best Western Bretagne Montparnasse ) great places to eat in the same street.
    Popped out for Lunch and a walk around.
    Repacked my gear, did some washing.
    Walked about a bit more.
    Early Dinner. In bed by 9pm.

    Next morning I took the 10:28 am TGV from Montparnasse to Bayonne. 5 hour trip. (Gets in at 3:30 pm ish) The station in Paris is only a 5-10 min walk from the Hotel

    I had a booking with Express Bourricot to pick me up at Bayonne. So I was in St Jean by about 4:45 pm. I think the Bayonne to St Jean train was at about 6:30 pm, but I didn't want to hang around. Had a Hotel pre booked.

    Started walking the next morning. (I split the first day)

    I'll stick with that plan when Pat and I go next year. In 2016 we went via Madrid and had 3 nights in Madrid exploring, so a different scenario.

    Hope that gives you some ideas to think about.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
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  89. Shston Girlfd

    Shston Girlfd Member Donating Member

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    Re jet lag - live clean, minimal alcohol, LOTS of water and good nutrition on the days leading up to the trip. Stay up as late as possible upon arrival. Think of it like post-workout stretching. Try to go to bed the first night as close to when your new location go to bed. Then don't sleep in too late - try to arise when others do. I am spending 3 nights in France before I step onto the Camino, probably a little excessive but want to be sure my pack is sorted, I am provisioned properly and on the local clock fully before making for Roncevalles.
     
  90. Marie_pri

    Marie_pri New Member

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    Thank you so much
     
  91. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    (May 2016)
    with my wife Pat.
    ------------------------------
    CF SJPDP-SdC
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    together again :-)
    Hi Karen. I recalled a couple of stories about people 'looking out for each other'.

    If you jump to this page. http://robscamino.com/10th-of-may/

    About half way down that page. See 'Saving Pilgrim Susan'.

    And near the bottom, 'Meeting Wrenchy',

    It gives you a taste of the cameraderie that builds up...
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
    Karen uk likes this.
  92. Chiptheshrink

    Chiptheshrink New Member

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    The trip over the Napolean was my favorite day of the whole Camino. The clouds that I started walking in after leaving Orrisson sank into the valleys below, and the views were amazing, with rainbows here and there to frame them. I am not in the best shape, so I opted for a night in Orisson, which gets about half of the climbing out of the way, then provides an amazing meal, comraderie, and a head start the next day up the hill. And that's all it really is, a hill, much of it on a lovely mountain road, with cows and horses to keep you company (and a guy with a food truck selling snacks and sodas at the top). Just take as long as you need and relax, if an overweight out of shape 62 year old can do it, you can too. We will be doing the Frances again in early fall, and I wouldn't miss that morning for anything.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2017
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  93. wcsjms

    wcsjms Active Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    (2016) ; 1st Camino ; Frances Way ; 2017 Camino Frances begins August 10,2017
    Congratulations and Buen Camino from the two old fat people in our photo...lol Enjoy it, well be back this August to do our France trek once again :)
     

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