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Camino Frances April-May 2020

DCJim

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2020
Hello Everyone, I'm Jim from Washington, DC and I'm planning my first Camino. God willing I will arrive in Bayonne April 15 and arrive in St. Jean Pied de Port April 16. Does this timing work for anyone else who would like to share a ride from Bayonne to St. Jean?
 

Molly Cassidy

Travelling light
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to start the Camino Frances from St Jean at the end of May (2020).
How are you getting to Bayonne? It's really easy to take the train to St Jean.
 

DCJim

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2020
Hi Molly, I'm taking the train from Paris to Bayonne. Thanks for this information. I didn't know it was easy to take the train from Bayonne to St. Jean. Is it OK if I buy the ticket at the station the day I leave, or should I buy it ahead of time?
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Yes you can buy the ticket in Bayonne.
 

DCJim

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2020
Thank you Northern Light, I'll do it that way.

As you can tell, I'm new to this site and a rookie pilgrim. I just read about podcasts on this site but cannot find them. Does anyone know where they are?
 

ctay122

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020 Camino Frances
Hi Molly, I'm taking the train from Paris to Bayonne. Thanks for this information. I didn't know it was easy to take the train from Bayonne to St. Jean. Is it OK if I buy the ticket at the station the day I leave, or should I buy it ahead of time?
Just a note. I booked a ticket for the first train out of Paris to Bayonne and onward to SJPDP. The express train into Bayonne only allows a 13 minute transfer to the St Jean train. So it you decide to wait to get your ticket in Bayonne you will most likely not get the next train out, but from what I understand there are several that leave per day from there to St Jean.
 

Molly Cassidy

Travelling light
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to start the Camino Frances from St Jean at the end of May (2020).
Just a note. I booked a ticket for the first train out of Paris to Bayonne and onward to SJPDP. The express train into Bayonne only allows a 13 minute transfer to the St Jean train. So it you decide to wait to get your ticket in Bayonne you will most likely not get the next train out, but from what I understand there are several that leave per day from there to St Jean.
My understanding from what Jim posted is that he intends to spend the night in Bayonne and travel the next day to St Jean so that shouldn't be a problem.
 

DCJim

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2020
Thank you ctay, that makes sense. But I'm getting into Bayonne rather late on the 15 of April, right after landing in Paris from DC. So I'm going to stop in Bayonne and spend the night to recover. That's enough traveling for one day for me! I will start off for St. Jean on the 16th after i get up. So I figure I can play it by ear at that point. I'm still on the fence about spending the day and a night in St. Jean before starting my pilgrimage. I hear St. Jean is worth a day or two, so I'm leaning in that direction. But don't have a place to stay there yet.
 

ctay122

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020 Camino Frances
Thank you ctay, that makes sense. But I'm getting into Bayonne rather late on the 15 of April, right after landing in Paris from DC. So I'm going to stop in Bayonne and spend the night to recover. That's enough traveling for one day for me! I will start off for St. Jean on the 16th after i get up. So I figure I can play it by ear at that point. I'm still on the fence about spending the day and a night in St. Jean before starting my pilgrimage. I hear St. Jean is worth a day or two, so I'm leaning in that direction. But don't have a place to stay there yet.
I see! I am planning on 2 nights in St Jean if I am able to go. It looks like a lovely town and I love France anyway.
 

DCJim

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2020
Let me know if you will be there when I am in mid-April and if you would like company to explore the town. I love France almost as much as I love Spain.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
Personally I think 2 nights in SJPdP would be overkill, consider a second night in Bayonne and take a bus to Biarritz for lunch somewhere around the marche.
 
Last edited:

DCJim

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2020
Yes, from what I know that makes sense. My plan is to spend just one night in St.Jean (April 16). I will want to get going on the Camino as I plan to take it rather slowly, I do want to get to Santiago and I have to stop around June 1. Does anyone have any suggestions about a good place to spend the night in St. Jean?
 

Michael-FL

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portugues (2017)
Frances/Salvador/Primitivo (2021)
Hello Everyone, I'm Jim from Washington, DC and I'm planning my first Camino. God willing I will arrive in Bayonne April 15 and arrive in St. Jean Pied de Port April 16. Does this timing work for anyone else who would like to share a ride from Bayonne to St. Jean?
Hi Jim, you’ll be one day ahead of me. I arrive Bayonne night of 16 April from Florida. Will spend the night in Bayonne and take the train next morning to SJPdP. Will hang out in SJPdP all day 17 April and head out morning of 18 April. Hope to maybe see you on the trail.
 

steve 217

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances planning via del la plata
If you see any other pilgrims at the train station you can get a discount if you all buy your tickets together i think for 4 of us it worked out at 3 euros cheaper result
 

DCJim

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2020
Hi Michael,

I am doing precisely the same thing as you: first night in Bayonne, second in St. Jean, and then I hit the trail, but you are right, just one day before you. I will keep an eye out for you. I will be going pretty slowly, taking it easy especially at first, because I'm an Old Guy (65) so I suspect you will catch up to me rather quickly.
 

DCJim

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2020
Thanks, Steve. I will look around for pilgrims in Bayonne when I leave on April 16. Meanwhile, Is anyone going from Bayonne to St. Jean on April 16? If you would like to ride the train up together, please let me know!
 

Michael-FL

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portugues (2017)
Frances/Salvador/Primitivo (2021)
Hi Michael,

I am doing precisely the same thing as you: first night in Bayonne, second in St. Jean, and then I hit the trail, but you are right, just one day before you. I will keep an eye out for you. I will be going pretty slowly, taking it easy especially at first, because I'm an Old Guy (65) so I suspect you will catch up to me rather quickly.
Ha! I got 2 years on you on the plus side, Jim, but who knows, maybe we’ll run into each other. I’m hoping to make it all the way to Roncesvalles on Day 1 and stay at the albergue there. I lost my wife on New Year’s Day and so I’m walking the Camino in her memory.
 

DCJim

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2020
I'm sorry for your loss, Michael and I hope your walk brings you solace. It is 15 miles to Roncevalles with some big changes in elevation both up and down if you take the Route Napoleon, which is what I want to do. I have my doubts I can make it. I think I will probably wimp out and spend the night in Orisson; this is a marathon and my idea is to pace myself early. I'm in very good shape especially for an old guy, but I bike, swim and ski. I have zero experience hiking with 16lbs. on my back. Nothing. Butkis. I am training here now of course, hiking around Rock Creek Park with my backpack, but....Are you planning to take the Route Napoleon?
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
The Pilgrim’s office in SJPDP can help you with a pilgrim bed in a dorm if that is your wish, or with info on other options. The Tourist office can likely help with hotel rooms if you stumble into their office instead.

Judging by the numbers reporting that they are cancelling their spring camino, I doubt you will have issues finding a bed.

Buen camino.
 

Molly Cassidy

Travelling light
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to start the Camino Frances from St Jean at the end of May (2020).
Yes, from what I know that makes sense. My plan is to spend just one night in St.Jean (April 16). I will want to get going on the Camino as I plan to take it rather slowly, I do want to get to Santiago and I have to stop around June 1. Does anyone have any suggestions about a good place to spend the night in St. Jean?
I don't have any recommendations for places to stay because I haven't been yet, but I have booked a dorm bed at Gîte BIDEAN. I can't tell you what it's like though and there are lots of other places.
 

Michael-FL

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portugues (2017)
Frances/Salvador/Primitivo (2021)
I'm sorry for your loss, Michael and I hope your walk brings you solace. It is 15 miles to Roncevalles with some big changes in elevation both up and down if you take the Route Napoleon, which is what I want to do. I have my doubts I can make it. I think I will probably wimp out and spend the night in Orisson; this is a marathon and my idea is to pace myself early. I'm in very good shape especially for an old guy, but I bike, swim and ski. I have zero experience hiking with 16lbs. on my back. Nothing. Butkis. I am training here now of course, hiking around Rock Creek Park with my backpack, but....Are you planning to take the Route Napoleon?
Thanks Jim, I’m calling it “Cathy’s Camino” in her memory. I hope to take Route de Napoleon and make it all the way to Roncesvalles. I’m no slouch myself and run/road bike/swim/weight train on a daily basis. So don’t sell yourself short. You’re doing better than the average 65 year old. Maybe work some squats and lunges into your routine. I have to, as there are no hills in North Florida! Buen Camino.
 

andyhp

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April 2020
Michael-FL and DC Jim - thanks for such a positive thread - been reading so much lately on people’s travel disruptions and cancellations it’s great to see your planning in full swing - We are starting our Camino on 6 April from SJPDP. We’re into Paris on the 3rd (from Australia), one night there then have booked the train all the way through to SJPDP. Then it’s 2 nights there before we head up the hill !! Decided to give ourselves time in SJPDP before heading off to get through any jet lag if we can. We will probably be a bit ahead of you but best of luck with ‘Cathys Camino’👍
 

Michael-FL

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portugues (2017)
Frances/Salvador/Primitivo (2021)
Cheers, Andy, for your kind words. I can only speak for myself in saying I remain optimistic, but am keeping my ear to the ground to discern how all this COVID-19 hysteria goes. Family members think I’m nuts, as I tell them I'm in a ‘wait and see‘ mode on my decision to go. We shall see. Buen Camino
 

DCJim

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2020
Concerning the risk of COVID-19, a few thoughts. First, you can get sick anywhere. Who is to say it will be more dangerous hiking in Spain than being in DC, Florida, or wherever? If Spain becomes much more infected than the US, I think I might have to abort the mission, however reluctantly. But that is not the case now at least. And it is a drag to get sick in a foreign country. I am concerned about that, but I am fluent in Spanish, so that helps. I do think it a good idea to get travel health insurance so we are not a burden on our host country. Medicare will not cover us over there. I got it. It wasn't cheap, about $800, but that gives me some peace of mind. Second, a friend is providing me with all the clinics on El Camino and I will take that with me. There are quite a few. Also, the good news is I am less worried that I will not find a bed along the way. I suspect that will not be a problem and I was concerned about that, but no longer. Finally, while I am taking all possible precautions ultimately I am doing this because I believe the Holy Spirit asked me to, and I have learned to listen to her. I have the hope that the Holy Spirit and my patron, Saint James, will protect me from the worst and continue to guide me, as faith casts out fear. A certain amount of fatalism is not irrational, because we cannot know the future. Soren Kierkegaard wrote, "Life is understood backward, and lived forward." We all owe God a death, as Shakespeare wrote, and this would be a better way to go than many others I can think of! Risk is part of life. I worked in risk assessment and I know we routinely under-estimate familiar risks and overrate unfamiliar ones. And as Werner Fassbinder once said, "Most people are already dead." I feel like not doing this, unless it is clearly more dangerous than remaining in the US, would be to allow the fear of death to deaden my spirit, and slay me while I am still alive.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
It’s all well and good to say you can get sick anywhere, but if you did happen to get sick while on the camino, what is your plan to look after yourself?

Most albergues won’t let you in if sick - they have clear instructions on that. Clinics won’t provide you with a bed unless you are critical.

Something to think about. Maybe an AirBnB would take you in.
 

DCJim

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2020
It’s all well and good to say you can get sick anywhere, but if you did happen to get sick while on the camino, what is your plan to look after yourself?

Most albergues won’t let you in if sick - they have clear instructions on that. Clinics won’t provide you with a bed unless you are critical.

Something to think about. Maybe an AirBnB would take you in.
 

DCJim

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2020
I am surprised that clinics are so restrictive, but that is good to know, thank you for that information. I suppose that if I am feeling too sick to walk but not sick enough to be admitted to a clinic I will have to find a posada. I also have friends in Spain who would help me out.
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
I am surprised that clinics are so restrictive, but that is good to know, thank you for that information. I suppose that if I am feeling too sick to walk but not sick enough to be admitted to a clinic I will have to find a posada. I also have friends in Spain who would help me out.

Why so surprised? The clinics and hospitals here in Europe are for the moment reserved only for the seriously ill Covid patients who need constant monitoring for their lungs etc.
Do not forget that hospitals also have to take care for patients with other illnesses. Especially on oncology and geriatric wards workpresssure is already much bigger at the moment.
Everyone else has to sit it out in their own home!
 

DCJim

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2020
It would be helpful for me and perhaps for others if we knew the specific criteria for the expression"seriously ill." In other words what kinds of symptoms do I need to experience before I present myself at a clinic or hospital for an overnight stay?

In addition, I presume that if one has symptoms that do not rise to the level of "seriously ill" one should go to a pharmacy? Or should one go to a clinic anyway for some assistance as an outpatient? Or should one search out a private doctor?
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
If you have a fever and dry cough, do NOT just show up anywhere. You may be infectious. You call ahead ... the emergency line 112 has English speakers. You then do what they tell you.
 

Molly Cassidy

Travelling light
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to start the Camino Frances from St Jean at the end of May (2020).
It would be helpful for me and perhaps for others if we knew the specific criteria for the expression"seriously ill." In other words what kinds of symptoms do I need to experience before I present myself at a clinic or hospital for an overnight stay?

In addition, I presume that if one has symptoms that do not rise to the level of "seriously ill" one should go to a pharmacy? Or should one go to a clinic anyway for some assistance as an outpatient? Or should one search out a private doctor?
It depends on the type of illness you have. If you think you may have Corona virus you should avoid other people (if you are staying in a private room, stay in your room) and dial 112. Appropriate medical assistance will be provided depending on your symptoms.
If you have another, non-respiritory illness you are free to show up at a clinic and ask to see a doctor. However, if your complaint is minor you may prefer to visit a pharmacy (or that may be all that's available where you are). The pharmacist can sell you appropriate over-the-counter medicines and tell you if you really need to see a doctor.
 

ginniek

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances 2017
Why so surprised? The clinics and hospitals here in Europe are for the moment reserved only for the seriously ill Covid patients who need constant monitoring for their lungs etc.
Do not forget that hospitals also have to take care for patients with other illnesses. Especially on oncology and geriatric wards workpresssure is already much bigger at the moment.
Everyone else has to sit it out in their own home!
And I've recently received an update from a friend who lives in northern Italy near Bergamo. Her description of the current hospital and health care situation is truly frightening, at least partly because the number of cases grew in such as short time, which has been happening in Spain.
 

DCJim

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2020
Thank you, that's good to know. I knew that Italy was in a nightmare scenario but I was unaware that the situation in Spain had become so dire so quickly. I will want to monitor this situation closely as the time for my Camino in mid-April draws nearer. If the Spanish health care system is overwhelmed at that time, I will probably have to cancel my trip, alas. I have travel health insurance, but it won't do me much good if I cannot obtain treatment. Plus I don't want to be an additional burden on my host country if it is already struggling to care for its own citizens. Is there a good way for me to obtain accurate and timely information on the status of the Spanish health care system?
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Thank you, that's good to know. I knew that Italy was in a nightmare scenario but I was unaware that the situation in Spain had become so dire so quickly. I will want to monitor this situation closely as the time for my Camino in mid-April draws nearer. If the Spanish health care system is overwhelmed at that time, I will probably have to cancel my trip, alas. I have travel health insurance, but it won't do me much good if I cannot obtain treatment. Plus I don't want to be an additional burden on my host country if it is already struggling to care for its own citizens. Is there a good way for me to obtain accurate and timely information on the status of the Spanish health care system?
The Spanish health care system is exellent (ranked 15 in the world; Norway, my country, is ranked 16). But that doesn't help you much if they're overloaded. And as others have said: Do NOT "meet up" if you suspect Corona: Call 112 (European emergency no.) All Europeans have been imprintet to do so. This is in order to not make health personell sick: We need them all healthy now!
 

DCJim

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2020
I just read that this website now recommends that no one start El Camino because of COVID 19. Many of the places to stay are closing along the route. Bad news. My only hope now is that the situation improves during the next month, but that is probably not likely to happen. Living with uncertainty is the new normal, it seems, time to get used to it.
 

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