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Help in SJPdP

Brad Chatellier

New Member
Hello All,

If all goes as planned I should be in SJPdP by next Thursday (May 11th). Admittedly I'm a little nervous. I'll be catching a cab from Biarritz to Bayonne, the train to SJPdP, and... then what?

Once I get off the train I have absolutely NO idea of where to go or what to do. I already have a pilgrim's passport, blank and ready to go. I don't speak a word of French (my Spanish is better). I was thinking I'd stay an extra day there to get settled and focused.

So my questions are: 1) Where do I go from the train station to find lodging; 2) Then what?!

It's starting to feel real. I'm really excited. Oh God am I really going to do this?! I guess so. Wow! Help!?

Thanks :)
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I am staying in SJPP on the 15th at l"Esprit du Chemin. It is run by a Dutch couple, others have commented how nice it is. I believe it costs 10 Euros. Google it to find their web site. Good luck.



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Starting in St Jean

Hello Brad,
How exciting to be doing your camino at this beautiful time of the year!
When you get off the train head for the old road through the town - the Rue de La Citadelle. I am sure there will be 100's of pilgrims (just as nervous as you) milling about!
Call in at the Accueil St Jacques at No.39 who will welcome you with a drink of water, ask you register with them (and might ask you to send them a postcard when you reach Santiago) and will give you advice on accommodation and also on weather conditions etc for your walk the next day.
Once you are in the refuge, you roll out your sleeping bag on the bed to show that you have claimed it - then go out and hit the town! There is a wonderful pilgrim museum in St Jean well worth a visit to get you in the mood for pilgrimage.
Next day, get up with the sparrows at the crack of dawn and start walking! For the next month you will follow the yellow arrows (and other pilgrims) forver westward right across the north of Spain. If you walk the Route Napoleon, remember, that the worst part is not walking uphill but coming down to Roncesvalles! Take it easy and slow going down so that you don't put too much strain on your joints.
Wish I was walking with you - never mind - will be there in spirit!
Have a WONDERFUL camino dear pilgrim.



Hi...I just wrote about which route to take...Napolean or Charlemagne in anohter forum and leaving on May11th chances are we will run into each other, Brad!

Sil----you recommended staying the day in SJPP and beginning early the next day.....what about spending the day in SJPP, walking to the albuergue 5 k's up the road and staying there? (making reservations since it is an albuergue particular). My experience has been walking further west. However, I have grown up in Zaragoza and have family in the Pyrenees so I've done tons of hiking in the mountains....still, NEVER with 22/23 pounds on my back!!

Buen Camino Brad....don't forget your earplugs! or bug repellant!!!
Mabel ( in michelle, mabel that old beatle's song..happens when you're Spanish, everything is pronounced differently!)


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Help in St Jean

Good idea to stop at Hunto or Orison on the way up. Then you can take a lesiurely stroll over to Roncesvalles the next day.

10kg on your back!! Too much girl! Post at least 4kg on to Santiago. You'll be amazed at how little you actually need.

Have a happy and safe walk you guys.

Bi hug,
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Brad Chatellier

New Member
Thanks for the replies...

Mabel I'll be looking for you along the way :)

Sil, I'm assuming that when you lay down your sleeping bag to claim your spot and go out to explore towns you take all of the rest of your gear with you... yes/no?



Hi Brad!
You claim your bed and leave the backpack taking only your ID and money, camera. No one will take your dirty socks, journal, or hygiene stuff. Too bad...they could carry it!!

I am pretty sure I am going to walk from SJPP to Huntta or Orisson and spend the night there, then walk down to Roncesvalles. SO I start on Wednesday the 11th!

See you on the Camino!

Brad Chatellier

New Member
I suppose if I went back out I would be taking my camera, but I also have some other things that might appeal like an iPod, a nice jacket (that I won't be wearing if it's nice and warm), a good pair of hiking boots... come to think of it my pack is pretty nice too.

Or do I have it all wrong, is the real threat of having something stolen from outside the refuges in the towns?

It sure would be nice if I could lay out a sleeping bag, leave my pack and venture out with nearly empty pockets. It'll probably feel like weightlessness.


what to leave on the bed

Oh yes..definitely take your IPod with you!!! Camera, IPod, documentation and monies.

I've left everything else behind and nothing was ever taken. If anyone rifled through my gear, they only found the bare necessities for hygiene and first aid, poncho for wet mornings or whatever,
and this time I AM carrying a pair of tennis shoes for the asphalt (probably the only thing I am taking that I have not carried in the past and may be "extra" weight). If I feel I am carrying too much, I will mail those shoes home.

A friend did tell me his camera was stolen...left it behind on the pack. But whatever I left in my pack...if it had been stolen it could have been easily replaced AND I wouldn't have felt dreadful.

I don't think the Caminantes are a bad lot, but I do think it is best to carry my valuables with me. After carrying around the pack for so many hours, carrying just a few things will definitely make me feel MUCH lighter and won't be a bother.
I would recharge my IPod whenI was there, as in there. Those are expensive. I simply wouldn't risk something happening to it.

I am spending the night in Pamplona, then beginning SJPP on the 11th, arriving at Roncesvalles on the 12th. I can't get to SJPP on the 10th and it takes about 2 hours to get to SJPP from Pamplona via cab, plus the credencial, walking around the town (I have never regretted walking around the pueblos and cities and seeing the sights), then start up the mountains without straining myself. Listening to Sil, etc...this way I can also acclimate to the time change!

It's almost here. Very excited, maybe a bit nervous in spite of knowing how wonderful it is. checking, rechecking, rechecking backpack.
I really do hope I run into you....there are about 3 of us from this forum who are beginning the same day.....
Are you ready for one of the coolest, best journeys of your life?

Buen Camino, Brad! See you!


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Leaving the back pack

Brad my dear, I know exactly how you feel.
I come from a country with one of the highest crime stats in the world. One NEVER leaves anything - anywhere!
That was lesson No.1 for us on the camino. Learn to trust people. In our first refuge, an experienced pilgrim told us that one secured a bed by leaving the backpack on it. We couldn’t do that! Everything we possessed for the next month would be nicked! Our dilemma was, if we didn’t leave our packs we wouldn’t have a bed and if we stayed guarding the packs, we would miss dinner and mass. So, we left the packs and - hey Presto! - they were there when we got back. And every night for 27 nights thereafter.
When you arrive at an albergue, you leave your pack on the ground outisde the albergue to keep your place in the queue. AND .... you can go and do a bit of sightseeing - and your pack is still there when you return! Miracle of miracles!
Lesson number two was TRAVEL LIGHT. When we reached Puenta la Reina we joined a queue in a post office to send stuff on ahead to ourselves in Santiago. Once divested of material baggage we started to enjoy the day-to-day walking.
Lesson number three - DON'T GIVE UP. When you have walked over 400kms and you see a sign that tells you have 400kms to go a little devil sits on your shoulder and says "Forget it - you can't do that all over again! Who are you trying to impress. Get the bus-taxi-train."
KEEP GOING and you will soon enjoy the countdown towards Santiago.
Lesson numer four: BE GRATEFUL - Don't criticise the crowded refuge - be grateful for a bed at the end of the day. Don't criticise the unhygenic ablutions - be grateful for a shower even if it isn't hot. Don't criticise other pilgrims - we all have a reason for being there and yours might not be as tragic/painful/sad/etc as theirs.
And remember - “Pilgrimage is an end to life lived before and in some ways there is never a returning.” (Unknown)
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