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Checking in from Zubiri

WolverineDG

Veteran Member
Donating Member
#1
I´m still alive & now I know how santos got lost going to Valcarlos: waymarking in serious need of updating as well as more needed. We would come to a fork in the road & the shell or mark would be in the freaking middle & no further mark to indicate right or left, up or down. By guess & by golly, I got to Valcarlos & stayed at Casa Marcelino. Nice place, good food. I was originally going via Orisson, but when they called to confirm my reservation, they were told that my name was not on the list & they were booked solid (!) for the next night.

Please read my blog for my personal opinion about the Valcarlos Route.

Honestly, if any of you have concerns about your physical fitness, well-being, etc, start at Roncesvalles. Valcarlos route is very wet, mucky, muddy, ick, & the Route Napoleon isn´t much better (from reports I´ve gotten from those who did it). They also reported rain, snow, thunder, lightning, AND hail (all yesterday), so please think very hard about which route you take. If you haven´t booked Orisson or Honto yet, do so now. If you can´t get in at either place, & know you can´t make it in one day, go to Valcarlos. Casa Marcelino is nice, plain but clean rooms, 35 euro-night & daily menu 10.50 euro.

For some reason, there are very many people on the Camino right now. Roncessvalles was booked solid last night & there were only 2 free bunks at the refugio!!!!! Because of the cold, rain, & mud, the refugio was opened early by the Dutch hospitaleros there (four more weeks, I think that´s what they said), very organized. NO BLANKETS AT RONCESVALLES. Also, TAKE WALKING/HIKING POLES. They are very much neede especially right now with the wet, muddy, muck.

Until the muck dries up, stick to the road between Espinal & Viskarret. I almost bought it on the Camino. After Viskarret, the road got better, so I heard since I walked the asphalt (several others did the same, but it was a loooong way to Zubiri).

dg
 

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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:
#2
Mud, rain and crowds

Hey Kelly-girl,
All 1800 of us are wishing you sunshine and blue skies from now on!
Hang in there - it can only get better.
BIG warm hug,
 

Jerome74

Active Member
#4
Thanks for the update, kelly! And I wish you better weather too!!

As for Roncesvalles: What if the refugio is completely full? Are there other places to stay? Because it would definitely suck to arrive there exhausted and there'd be no bed left ... Thanks.
 

WolverineDG

Veteran Member
Donating Member
#5
Last night, both Casa Sabina & La Posada were booked solid. However, Burguete (sp?) is a 20 minute walk away & there are places to stay there. A couple of ladies stayed there last night & said the place they stayed at was quite nice & I think she said they offered a pilgrim meal or at least a menu del dia, so all´s not lost if Roncesvalles is full. You can get a cab to/from if you wish to go to Mass.

Also to add, if the weather has been rainy & you are on the Valcarlos Route, after you leave Valcarlos, do yourself a favor & STAY ON THE ROAD! The pathway in the Brierley guide takes you on a narrow footpath that at one point has you walking right next to the raging river. One slip & you´re done for.

BTW, if you do stay at the refuge, the meal at Casa Sabina is superior to that at La Posada.

dg
 

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A

Anonymous

Guest
#6
Good to hear from u dg.

Roncesvalles: What if the refugio is completely full?
Good question, she did say: :...there were ... 2 free bunks..."

It's so big, spacey, and well-organized, http://www.littlehouseintuscany.com/Tem ... valles.JPG , that in all probability the Colegiata would find accomodations.

Are there other places to stay?
An even better question. There's a restaurant across the street from the albergue that I believe also works as a hotel or pension, but don't quote me on this one.

...TAKE WALKING/HIKING POLES. They are very much neede especially right now with the wet, muddy, muck.
Words for the wise! Wait 'til u meet up with panthers and crocodiles... (kidding, new pilgrims!)

Buen (and dry) Camino, dg

xm 8)
 

Jerome74

Active Member
#7
xm:

thanks for answering but I don't quite get what you mean?

Good question, she did say: :...there were ... 2 free bunks...

It's so big, spacey, and well-organized, that in all probability the Colegiata would find accommodations.
Who or what is the Colegiata?

And given the number of pilgrims I'll take my Thermarest mattress anyway. So as long as they give me a roof over my head in Roncesvalles I'm happy ;)
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#8
Who or what is the Colegiata? ...I'll take my Thermarest mattress ...roof over my head in Roncesvalles...
Thanks for the question, Jerome, it led to further research re: questions I had myself.

The complete name of the albergue (complex) at Roncesvalles is "Real (Royal) Colegiata de Roncesvalles." The albergue itself is called: "Albergue Itzandegia" (I always refered to it as "the albergue at Roncesvalles" :lol: ) http://caminodesantiago.consumer.es/ref ... ncesvalles

I don't think that taking any kind of mattress is necessary, but then again u can always leave it at an albergue or send it home if u take it and concur.

There seem to be more places besides the albergue that may accomodate pilgrims, should need there be.

I don't understand dg's comment re: there being no blankets at the albergue, didn't she take a sleeping bag? Also, unless it wasn't working, it's suposed to be heated:
Calefacción: Sí
Hmm..hear what they say at the albergue's web page: "Hay que llevar saco obligatoriamente porque no hay sábanas". (U have to take a (sleeping) bag bec there r no bed sheets).

Check out: http://www.roncesvalles.es/index.asp?lg=eng

Keep 'em questions coming, great motivation to learn more about the Camino!

Best,

xm 8)
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
#9
WolverineDG said:
Valcarlos route is very wet, mucky, muddy, ick, & the Route Napoleon isn't much better (from reports I've gotten from those who did it). They also reported rain, snow, thunder, lightning, AND hail (all yesterday), so please think very hard about which route you take. Also, TAKE WALKING/HIKING POLES. They are very much needed especially right now with the wet, muddy, muck.
Thanks Wolverine. I really appreciate the honesty of your update. I am hoping to be on the Camino from Le Puy this time next year, and I have been watching the French weather site, trying to work out how early is too early to start. I was in Cahors this time last year, where I 'stumbled' on the Camino and walked a few kms one hot, hot afternoon. (This is what has inspired me to do more.) The very next day there was some serious rainfall and I got thoroughly drenched, so I know well the vagaries of French weather at this time of the year.

I have a query about walking poles, that you might be too busy to answer en route, but maybe others have opinions. I have never before been a walking pole person: there has always seemed to be enough vegetation to hang onto in the New Zealand bush. But I know I am getting older and less flexible. Also last year I was on Croagh Patrick in Ireland where the top was very steep. A father of an Irish family, finishing his descent on the steepest bit, handed over his wooden pole and told me I would need it. He was very right: I never would have safely managed without it.

So I am definitely planning to take a walking pole. But I am thinking of just taking one, and I only expect to use it in the tricky steep and/or muddy places. Do those experienced with poles think one is enough in these situations? I don't really want the bulk/weight of two. Opinions appreciated.
 

Ulysse

Active Member
#12
Nice article about pros and cons of poles.

I am an adept of poles and I wonder how I could have climbed/descended all those steep and boulder covered paths without injuring an ankle or a knee.
 

Jerome74

Active Member
#13
I imagine the poles are especially useful in stages like the Pyrenees ones? Where there are steep ups and downs? Because right now I usually walked without poles (there aren't too many mountains here though ;))
 

Minkey

Active Member
#14
Jerome, there are other places where you'll appreciate them, like the downhill after Pamplona abd the nasty downhill day from Cruz de Ferro.. (I think that's the one anyway... You'll basically be dropping 1000m in one day)

There are also the uphill sections
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#15
Remember dg's post of yesterday: "TAKE WALKING/HIKING POLES. They are very much needed especially right now with the wet, muddy, muck." Even if she wasn't refering to the SJ-Roncesvalles portion, I concur with her about the importance of taking poles. Best, xm 8)
 

WolverineDG

Veteran Member
Donating Member
#17
Update: There are lots of people on the Camino. Zubiri filled up quickly, & Pamplona is filling up as well. More muck & mud today, though not as bad as the past 2, still needed my walking stick to keep me upright in several places, as well as that looooong downhill march into Pamplona.

NO FOOD OR WATER BETWEEN LARRASOANA & ARRE!!! Get your food & water in Zubiri ( a much nicer place, IMO). The only place to get water/drink is a vending machine well into the day´s trek. Lots of hungry, tired, thirsty pilgrims hitting the first open bar in Burlada. I recommend this place as the lady at the bar was very nice, understanding, & kept her shop open when I told her that there was no food or water for anyone since Zubiri.

dg
 
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Anonymous

Guest
#18
dg, thanks, this is great, hearing from u "reporting" straight from the Road, good work, peregina, animo! We're with u. Best, xm 8)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances from SJPdP 2007, TBD 2017
#20
:shock: I thought there were not supposed to be so many people until Galicia this time of year! Why are there so many people and the refuges filling so early allready? This is really extremely distressing to me to hear. I leave in one week! Do I need to bring a sleeping pad? Tent? I can't afford hostals more than a night or two and I absolutely do not want to walk in the dark (for all the reasons stated on this forum, and also for safety reasons). I thought there was supposed to be lots of space until later in the evening. I am now very worried.... :?
 

Minkey

Active Member
#21
Lauren, you've gotta remember it goes in cycles, not just seasonal cycles but DAILY cycles. Ebbs and flows. There have been a few holidays recently and it's possibly related to that. I think things are better for the pilgrim who has no bed at the inn, nowadays, what with an increase in the number of refugios. Chill out!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances from SJPdP 2007, TBD 2017
#22
OK, I just read my post and realized that with one week left I am really starting to freak out. Sorry about that. Deep breaths....
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#24
...Valcarlos route is very wet, mucky, muddy, ick, & the Route Napoleon isn´t much better (from reports I´ve gotten from those who did it). They also reported rain, snow, thunder, lightning, AND hail (all yesterday), so please think very hard about which route you take...the weather has been rainy
What I fail to understand is that after the news of the pilgrims that recently died and got lost (and found), and creditable reports about terrible weather conditions, people r still going or making future plans to walk the CF at all, as well as from SJPDP, during this time of the year. (Orisson packed? Mon Dieu!) Why? With other different, historic, beautiful, weather-friendlier, Caminos, is this happening? Someone please help me out here, am stuck.

...come to a fork in the road & the shell or mark would be in the freaking middle & no further mark to indicate right or left, up or down. By guess & by golly...
:lol: A dilly when that happens on the Caminos, which way to go, like in life...

Buen Camino,

xm 8)
 

Jerome74

Active Member
#25
xm:

Why? With other different, historic, beautiful, weather-friendlier, Caminos, is this happening? Someone please help me out here, am stuck.
The Camino Francès is the most well-known Camino. It's the one that gets shown on TV, it's the one that the books speak about. In several countries there have been huge bestsellers about (more or less) famous people doing the Camino. It's the one that has the best infrastructure hence its attractiveness for beginners. A lot of people are in general looking for doing something different in their lives right now, something with 'meaning' (or hoping to get meaning from it), they want to experience sth else than just their everyday lives, etc.

There are lots of reasons.
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
#26
I agree with XM in that I fail to understand why everyone crowds onto the CF when there are several other routes that offer solitude, no trouble finding accommodation and beautiful scenery. Once again it's the herd mentality. To me it's a bit like going to Disneyland and expecting hardly any people there. To those planning on the CF-think again!
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
#27
I'm not a fan of poles but had a look at the Peter Clinch poles page and thought it interesting that under 'pros' he listed useful for scree crossing,soft ground,river crossing and hill climbing . Surely some of these incidences would be very very infrequent-especially in summer (the most popular time). On the VDLP-over 1000kms I never felt an overwhelming need for poles. If others find them useful that's fine but if you are unsure I would suggest that it might be an idea to wait till you are on the camino then, if you think you need one, buy one there.
 

Jerome74

Active Member
#28
omar504 said:
Once again it's the herd mentality. To me it's a bit like going to Disneyland and expecting hardly any people there. To those planning on the CF-think again!
Too late for this year, at lease for me, it's all been planned now ... I guess the challenge is different then now ... it's about remaining zen in spite of the masses ;) And I guess you can also find some quiet spots if you look for them and if you depart 10m from the hotspots where everyone is ...
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
#29
I expect my planned route from Le Puy to SDC may come to a screeching halt once I get to Spain. Always have aPlan B-mine is to re-do the vdlp again and relish the relative solitude before the hordes discover it.
 

Jerome74

Active Member
#30
omar504 said:
I expect my planned route from Le Puy to SDC may come to a screeching halt once I get to Spain. Always have aPlan B-mine is to re-do the vdlp again and relish the relative solitude before the hordes discover it.
On the one side I understand you, on the other hand you sound like an elitist.

But if everyone has the same rights and if the wants of everyone are equally justified then how can you declare the other people, who in the end are looking for more or less the same like you, 'hordes'? Ok, you had reached the point to do these walks and pilgrimages earlier than most others but does that mean that you're 'better' or 'more true' in some way? If they want to do this and if it gives them meaning then why should it be denied to them?

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a fan of mass rallies and I prefer some solitude too. I also tend to react like you do. But if I'm honest I also have to question such (my) behavior. It's illogical to claim that I want to be able to do it but that other people shouldn't.
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
#31
Actally my first walk was last year so I didn't decide earlier than most. As for others looking for 'more or less the same' as me-I don't know what others are looking for. My point was that if they are looking for solitude then there are probably beter routes than the CF-as the CSJ has been pointing out for several years. Also I was trying to stop people from being disspointed on the CF.As for elitst, one definition has it as a 'member of a select groups'-I don't really want to be a member of a group so I guess that excuses me from being elitist
 

Jerome74

Active Member
#32
omar504 said:
As for elitist, one definition has it as a 'member of a select groups'-I don't really want to be a member of a group so I guess that excuses me from being elitist
You're a group of one then! ;)

My point was that if they are looking for solitude then there are probably better routes than the CF-as the CSJ has been pointing out for several years.
Agreed. Maybe my reaction was a bit harsh.

Have a nice day anyway!
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
#33
Jerome-I think we would get on well on the camino. My group of one can be temporarily expanded!
Regards
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
#35
WolverineDG said:
NO FOOD OR WATER BETWEEN LARRASOANA & ARRE!!! Get your food & water in Zubiri ( a much nicer place, IMO).
dg
Thanks Wolverine for your practical info... am making notes in my guidebook as you post. All the best and hope the weather improves for you.
 

spursfan

Veteran Member
Donating Member
#36
The more general lesson to be taken is not to rely on shops in Spain being open in time for breakfast (unlike in France where you'd be spoilt for choice with patisseries) - so at least have some liquid to carry for the first part of the day (and you'll need less since the temperature will start cool before warming up) - typically I'd also have some chocolate with me

There are shops that surprise you by being open along the way but you should never make them your only source of liquid or food
 

Minkey

Active Member
#37
Personally, what I'd do is always have a little supply of anything from bread to chocolate. Bread was usually purloined from the dinner table the night before, or a local bakery. Larrasoana doesn't have that much to offer other than a nice stream to dip your toes in and a little bar with pilgrim menu.

Once I'd been on the road for a couple of hours, I'd then stop to have a more substantial nibble and a much needed cafe con leche.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
#38
I've liked to have the "strangest" of breakfasts consisting of foods bought the day before: a banana, yogurt, & a small bottle of water. Later on when bars open, the ubiqutous cafe con leche + madalenas, the "pilgrims' bkfst!" That's been up to now, though. I'm about to find out next mo if that habit has changed or not, and how...Best, xm 8)
 
#39
Early this morning I went jogging, wearing my boots to get ready for the Camino I will start in a few days, and yes, I saw many pilgrims (perhaps Wolverine was one of them) so it seems "pilgrimage season" has started and the number of pilgrims will increase as the weather improves.
And about the weather, we are having a gorgeous spring day in Pamplona, and it is going to be like this at least until the weekend. It will take some time for the mud to dry but the weather is really beautiful for walking
Buen camino!
 
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Anonymous

Guest
#40
Too late for this year, at lease for me, it's all been planned now ...
k Jerome, stay with me now, keep that thought, u may have the answer am searching for. All I plan re: my Camino is going/returning to it. All else is for the Camino to do with me as it pleases, always has, plans or not. So, my question is: what's planned that cannot be altered, say one route for another? How, in spite of the terrible news, one feels that one has to do it no matter what, in this instance bec it's all been planned? Best, xm 8)
 

Jerome74

Active Member
#41
xm:

I've got all the tickets to get to SJPDP. So I won't change that now! As for the rest, I've not planned much. I'll come home whenever that is ...

What terrible news? The masses of pilgrims? Ok, it's perhaps somewhat annoying, but terrible? No. It's a good exercise in practicing to remain zen! ;)
 

WolverineDG

Veteran Member
Donating Member
#42
Sorry for the ¨terrible¨news of late, Jerome, but the road & the weather are much improved today. I made Puente La Reina & am at the Santiago Apostol refugio. Nice place, but they don´t tell you about the long hike up the hill. :shock:

Thanks for the good weather order, Sil. They delivered!! Much better & faster going today!!! Only downside was having to stare at Alto del Perdon all dang day until we reached the top! :shock: I´ve got to go over WHAT??????? :lol:

Met a forum member today in Urtega. Great looking refugio-bar-etc on the other side of town. She stayed there tonight & told us at the bar it was great upstairs.

dg
 

Minkey

Active Member
#43
DG, are you satying in teh first one as you come into town? I quite liked the garden there!

Estella tomorrow, I'm guessing?
 

WolverineDG

Veteran Member
Donating Member
#44
No, the very last one up the hill after the bridge on your way out of town. :eek: I told my friends (before I knew about Alto de Perdon, Jr.) that I´d meet them in the Padres albergue at 7. :shock: I hope to get a taxi back to the refugio. It is nice, but the hill leading there? Not so much.

dg
 

WolverineDG

Veteran Member
Donating Member
#46
Nico, if you were jogging this morning between about 7:45 & 8:30, then I was the peregrina with the waistpack & no mochillo. :D I know I said "Buenos dias" & "Hola" to many folks this morning on my way out of town.

My mochillo got very tired two days ago & has become a taxi-grino. :lol:

dg
 
#49
Wolverine, I don’t know if I have seen a peregrina with no "mochillo" (I was running soooo fast :D ), but if you said hello I was the one who didn’t answer, could not have heard you with the headphones on, so:

Hola! Buen Camino!

It seems you are having a good time, hope it keeps going well.
I will follow your steps some day next week… cannot wait!
 
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Anonymous

Guest
#50
What terrible news? ...somewhat annoying, but terrible? No. It's a good exercise in practicing to remain zen!
The British pilgrim that died, the Italian pilgrim that was lost (& found), the mud, rain, cold reported yesterday by dg.
Ok... :roll:
 
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Anonymous

Guest
#51
...I expect my planned route from Le Puy to SDC may come to a screeching halt once I get to Spain. Always have aPlan B-mine is to ...
Ah, Omar, great, a pilgrim with "alternatives" . I wonder if it has to do with having done the Camino previously and thus be knowledgeable and sedate about the experience, what do u think? Best, xm 8)
 
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