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First Day from SJDD

Marie

New Member
Hello everyone,
I am starting the Camino in mid May, I am regularly walking but today, I did a 8.1/2 mile hike which took nearly 5 hours up and along very steep mountains here in Wales.
I am in a huge panic that I am not going to be able to complete the first stage from SJDD. Which I really want to do.
Any suggestions? Is the first day over the Pyrenees as strenuous as I have read?
Until I decided to do the Camino I never walked anywhere, now I walk as much as possible.
Am I over reacting? :? Any advice will be gratefully received!!!

Marie xx
 
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Hello Marie,
Don't worry, you'll master it. Just take it easy, on your own rythm (don't try to follow others) make a stop when you feel tired and take your shoes off for a few minutes when you feel like. We left at 9 in the morning and arrived around 5, tired but without pain and blisters. You must not forget that the way continues and the condition of your feet is important. Thus no panic, take it with optimism and a smile,
Buen Camino,
Jupp
 
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Cool down Marie !

For having done it I know what you are going trough as you get closer to the begining of your journey. I worried a lot too, I slept with difficulty as I approached the departure date. I trained like mad.

Once I arrived in France (with 6 hr of jetlag...) I had a good dinner, slept ok and left SJPdeP at 8 am. Could not believe it was me doing this; I had butterflies in my stomach. I kept on looking ahead as I approached the climb; the panic had gone away. I was now absorbed by the landscape, the smells, the birds etc... and the elevation of the road. When I turned back for the first time I was surprised to notice how high I already was with StJPdeP low in the valley.

In Hunto I was really hot. I took a 15 min pitstop, water, dry fruits and took my shoes off. I then proceeded slowly but surely to Orisson (only 8 km from the start). I got there at 1 pm. 5 hours to walk only 8 km is not what I would call an athletic achievement, but for my internal clock it was only 7am and I was tired. I stopped in the auberge in Orisson with other people, spent a quite afternoon after a light lunch. I had dinner and a good night sleep.

The next morning, refreshed and in shape I climbed the rest and made a speedy descent through the magnificent oak trees to Roncesvalles.
I HAD DONE IT.

You can do it too Marie and you will feel proud and happy. Just take your time, try not to over do it before your departure, try to relax. This first day is wonderful, hard but so full of nice memories. Don't forget there will be other challenges and the road to Santiago is still ahead.

I envy you and I hope that one day I will be able to walk again on the Camino, be it Francès or otherwise.

Good pilgrimage.

Michel
http://www.quicomulysse.com/compostelle.html
 
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Reservation in Orisson?

Hi Folks,

Do you recommend making a reservation in Orisson? I am starting the camino March 15, but don't know if I will be able to take the Napoleon route. Thus my concern about making a reservation on a route I may not be able to take!

Will surely have jet lag - so want to go easy on the first day!

Marie - how about stopping overnight in Orisson?

Or, if you take the road route, I think it is possible to overnight in Valcarlos.

Thank you all for your advise,

Linda :shock:
 
Some days in France?

I have dicided to start where the road between Bayonne and Pau cross the Camino from Le Puy, just to make a few days walking in France before crossing the Pyrennees. I found that a good solution for me. Others doing the same?
 
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Marie said:
today, I did a 8.1/2 mile hike which took nearly 5 hours up and along very steep mountains here in Wales.
I am in a huge panic that I am not going to be able to complete the first stage from SJDD. Which I really want to do.
Any suggestions? Is the first day over the Pyrenees as strenuous as I have read?

depending on whereabouts in Wales you are, your route there may well be more strenuous than that from St Jean, which, although a bit steep in places, is straightforward, being largely along a road.

In the past, I used to recommend to people not used to walking that they don't start in SJPP, but either on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees in say Pamplona, or, as Bjorg suggests, further back, so you've got a couple of days experience before tackling the higher bits. For example, the cathedral in Bayonne, or a bit further back Lourdes, seem to me far more appropriate places to start a pilgrimage. Now that there are hostels on the way up from SJPP where you can break that section, it's less of a problem, but I'm still rather mystified why people think they have to start in St Jean.

Why not start in Wales? Then you'll be so fit by the time you get to the Pyrenees you won't notice them :)
 
Thank you all for your replies.
Ha ha Peter, good sense of humour there :wink: Although if I had more time maybe I could have started from Wales!
I think I may have over reacted a little! It was my first attempt on the mountains and have read so many books and people's account of the Napoleon way that I panicked a bit! I'm sure with more training I will be okay.
Erm, second question how many of you have had an encounter with a bear! :lol:

Marie x
 
Nawwwwwww, you won't meet a bear. I did meet a mountain man who was like William Tell brought to life, who told me his deeply growling and menacing dog was called 'Death to the English' (I'm English) and then he roared loud enough to crack rocks. I also had to leap off the road when twenty or so horses were galloped past me by a chap in a pick-up (with barking and running dogs doing the steering - eerrmm ... of the horses, not the pick-up).

Chances are very high (and this goes for ALL OF YOU!!) that your training is vastly harder than the real thing - so fear naught!

Hey, Linda C - why no Napoleon's pass? It's only up for a while, along a bit, and then down again (not so far down either)...

Actually, thinking about danger and animals. I did get bitten by a German Shepherd once - and then, to make things worse, a couple of minutes later his dog had a go at me too! (joke).
 
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Marie said:
how many of you have had an encounter with a bear!

there's one on my website http://peterrobins.co.uk/floater.html (may not display properly if you use an old version of Internet Explorer)

Asturias is the most likely place to see bears (not very likely in the wild). Try the Bear Foundation, where they have a couple of semi-tame ones and a webcam in summer http://www.osodeasturias.es/
More in English on Spanish bears on Nick Lloyd's site http://www.iberianature.com/material/spainbearnews.htm
 
Bears

Erm, second question how many of you have had an encounter with a bear!

Given that there are only half a dozen or so left in the Pyranees, I think your chances of seeing one are pretty slim. There's really nothing to worry about.
 
Real bears? There are real bears? OOppss - didn't actually believe it before now....
 
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Well, my Lonely Planet guide book to Spain says: '... a tiny handful, effectively extinct, in the Pyrenees'. As the book is a couple of years old, the bears could truly be extinct by now. :( Somehow I think, if you're lucky enough to come across one, it will run faster from you than you from it. Now, about the Iberian wolves ... er, perhaps another time!

Trudy
 
Hi,

Actually I didn't believe there are Bears on the Pyrenees, until I read the book by Bethan Davies and Ben Coles. There is a section showing you the tracks of animals you may encounter, Bears being one of them! Yes Trudy I am more scared of the Iberian Wolves :lol: But then, Br. David's German Shepherd and his dog sounds scary!! :wink:

Marie xx
 
The thing that struck me on the vdlp last year was the total adsence of anything resembling wildlife. In Australia I'm used to seeing kangaroos, the odd womabt, rabbits and foxes but in Spain I saw 1 fox chasing a rabit. Apparently hunting rabbits is a 'hunting'sport jealously guarded-here they are just vermin. As for bears! You are more likely to hassled by dogs.
 
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Marie said:
Actually I didn't believe there are Bears on the Pyrenees, until I read the book by Bethan Davies and Ben Coles. There is a section showing you the tracks of animals you may encounter, Bears being one of them!

moral: don't believe everything you read in guidebooks, especially pilgrim ones with their fondness for romantic fiction :) There are no bears on the Camino Frances. If you can read French, the government agency in charge of the Pyrenean introduction programme is at http://www.ours.ecologie.gouv.fr/ - their 2006-9 plan will tell you everything you can possibly want to know about Pyrenean bears.

Most European mammals are nocturnal and you're unlikely to see them (except for dead ones), especially not in the rolling wheatfields of the northern meseta. Should be plenty of birds about though, especially noticeable in the spring when the males are all busy singing their hearts out.
 
Awwww Peter,
You have just shattered my illusion of me wrestling a bear on the Pyrenees with only the aid of a walking stick!

Marie
 
Perhaps, were it to be an agreeable bear, you could go to the nearest bar (only to get out of the sun) and arm-wrestle it? Though I do prefer your image.

Wolves aren't a problem - no record of anyone ever being attacked by a wolf (mainly, I think, as it is hard to report an attack from the inside of a wolf). Urinating at the edges of your camp-site - should you get stuck out at night - sets a line that they won't cross (apparently).
Just to be sure, don't wear a hooded red waterproof (nor carry a basket).
 
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We found it a big challenge, and were very glad we stayed the night in Hunto and went from there - if the albergue in Orisson had been open it would have been even better to have gone the extra 3 km to that. But we were so happy that we did that part of the walk- it was so very spectacular. Start early and pace yourself, take water and food, including chocolate, nuts, dried fruit. And make sure your pack is light! We did it with difficulty - my husband still had his arm in a sling from a recent shoulder reconstruction and it was winter, but we made it, and look back on it as a hard but very worthwhile part of our whole adventure. Any hill climbing you can do as preparation will be super worthwhile.
Magnara
 
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