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LIVE from the Camino I’m on my way

Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
Hola friends. One airplane, one very long wait at jfk, and then another airplane, and I arrived in Madrid. For all the stress over QR codes and such that many of us have felt, it all went smoothly. I was called up to the gate desk before my first flight to prove that I had a valid passport, a QR code, a vaccination card. Then he asked if I had 96€ per day that I will be in Spain in the bank but he didn’t ask me to prove it. This process covered my second flight too. We weren’t handed out paper cards at the end of the flight to Madrid like I experienced in 2017. I can’t quite remember now what was on the card but I suspect it was all the same stuff that I had to answer to get the QR code, so that may be why it’s been scrapped. Followed the longest hallway ever to immigration. That was the same as always. Passport. Drop your mask briefly to check picture. This is where it’s different. Around the corner from passport control were several dressed in white PPE, head to toe. They scanned my QR code then asked to see my proof of vaccination. She did look carefully at it, then handed it back and that was it.

If you need to take a shuttle from the airport to Atocha station, it’s very easily done. Out the doors by the baggage claim, follow the signs for the shuttle. 5 € cash and a 15-20 min ride to the station. From there I walked to my hostel. I stayed at Hostal Residencia Fernandez on the recommendation of someone here. It’s mostly quiet, very clean. Very safe for a solo female. It faces the square at the Reina Sofia. I skipped the museum in favor of a nap (jetlag hits me hard).

Using google walking directions it was easy enough to find several Correos offices to send yourself a package for later if necessary, as well as several Orange and Vodafone outlets to get a SIM card. Plenty of food options within the city center as well. The next morning I had my first cafe con leche (as wonderful as I remembered ❤️) .

Then it was an easy walk back to the station to catch my train to Pamplona. When you enter the station it’s the building on your right for trains (The left is for the metro). More security (both bags and jacket). The digital boards showing the trains was simple to understand. Just in case you’re also from a place where public transportation is rare, at the bottom of your digital QR ticket in the center is a picture of a train with a number on it. That’s the car # to enter. To the right of that is your seat number.

Probably all of this is old hat to many of you, but I was completely overwhelmed by it all in 2017, so I want to pay it forward from my dear fellow peregrina who walked me through it, to anyone else who might also be nervous about what to expect. Renfe has an app for ticket purchase ahead of time. In the upper right hand corner you can choose English language if you need it. Fill it all out carefully, securely pay with a credit card and voila. QR code ticket. They will ask to see your passport, too, for identification. The recordings on the train are in English as well as Spanish once you’ve found your seat.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2013), Primitivo (2015), Muxia/Fisterra (2015), Haervejen (2017)
Thanks! This is great. I wasn't worried about it, but its nice to have an idea of what the process will be like! I think this long time with no travel has made me a bit techy.

I'm starting to get my stuff together for my April 23 departure. Yesterday I pulled out my travel toiletries and the shampoo in my travel container was congealed solid!. I know that when I last used them in January 2019, I didn't expect them to sit untouched for more than two years.
 
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Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
What QR codes are you referring to?
You have to download a Spanish app and fill out a form, answer health questions and jump through their Covid hoops to get a QR code. They won’t let you even on your first domestic flight without this since they were checking on it all for both flights. There are tons of other posts on the health questionnaire app for more details. I don’t mind proving that I’m healthy. It was just initially intimidating because it’s unfamiliar.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Whoops! My husband accidently answered one of the questions wrong for the questionaire for the entry to the country QR code last fall. He was stopped for "special screening" in the Madrid airport. He had accidently said he had been in contact with someone known to have COVID. It was cleared up quickly when they found someone who spoke English.
 
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bwolsch

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Completed Camino Frances July 2022
You have to download a Spanish app and fill out a form, answer health questions and jump through their Covid hoops to get a QR code. They won’t let you even on your first domestic flight without this since they were checking on it all for both flights. There are tons of other posts on the health questionnaire app for more details. I don’t mind proving that I’m healthy. It was just initially intimidating because it’s unfamiliar.
Thank you!
 

JustJack

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
Renfe has an app for ticket purchase ahead of time. In the upper right hand corner you can choose English language if you need it. Fill it all out carefully, securely pay with a credit card and voila. QR code ticket.
I’m assuming the digital ticket on one’s phone suffices? No need to print it and show a paper ticket?
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
I’m assuming the digital ticket on one’s phone suffices? No need to print it and show a paper ticket?
Correct

Renfe has an app for ticket purchase ahead of time. In the upper right hand corner you can choose English language if you need it. Fill it all out carefully, securely pay with a credit card and voila
I have had issues with the app not accepting my credit card, so I use PayPal, and it works perfectly.
 
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Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
Bonjour! Shared a taxi from Pamplona to St Jean. Pilgrims office. So simple but something I’ve dreamed of doing. The owner of Boutique Pelerin was really helpful. Got my Altus, my sticks, and a little Swiss knife that has a corkscrew. :) Then for a coffee with milk at a loval cafe which was so good. Ever since I first learned about the Camino I’ve dreamt of starting here, because the pictures look so beautiful. And it’s even more iconic than I imagined. Everyone is kind and the energy here is full of anticipation. It’s rainy and cold and we are all very aware that there is snow in the forecast, checking weather apps and such. They aren’t opening the Napoleon Route on April 1 because of the forecast. I stayed at Gite Makila and it’s spotless and beautiful. Owner is very helpful and kind. Finally met up with other pilgrims. We shared wine and cheese and conversation. I know there are rules here about politics so I’ll spare the details but oh my goodness one of my favorite things about the evenings are the international politics conversations with fellow pilgrims of a wide age range with differing life experiences. It’s just the best. Breakfast at the Gite was also excellent.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Eve Alexandra,
It is such a pleasure to read your happy news. Please keep on posting as your journey continues. The weather during the next few days will be difficult for all of us in Europe.
Stay safe, Carpe diem and, in the truest sense, Ultreia.
 

Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
We started off from St Jean around 8:30 after a wonderful breakfast at Gite Makila. I quickly fell behind. My back my knees my feet..,all good. It’s my lungs post Covid that are slowing me down. I knew this was coming but it still surprises me. I’m even slower than a turtle. I had Dave’s notes on taking it slow on an uphill climb and not letting doubt get to you in the forefront of my mind.

It rained most of the way to Valcarlos. It’s been said many times but it bears repeating…walk on the left on the road! The walk from Arneguy to Valcarlos is on the highway, full of twists and turns and if you’re on the wrong side at a twist it could be fatal. All the lovely people I met in St Jean continued on to Roncesvalles but I’m on the “start like an old lady and maybe you can finish like a younger lady” plan. Maybe. My confidence is flagging.

If you decide to stay at the municipal albergue in Valcarlos, it’s a little confusing to find. Take the short road across the street from the church. There’s a school on the left, and a playground on the right. At the end of the far side of the school is a set of steps. The albergue is part of the school building. The man who runs it isn’t here during “sign in” hours. If you need him, go toward the pharmacy building but instead go in the main doors (the one on the right is a pharmacy), and up to the second floor and knock on the door marked “secretary.” She will call him for you.Google translate wasn’t working well for us. He was trying to give me instructions on using the washing machine and it translated as “I put you in the wash.” 😆 There’s a nice combo bar/restaurant/supermercado on the main road, with a black awning. Dinner was a little more expensive than usual (Valcarlos is small) but it was really good.
 

Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
This is a bit of what went on my private social media account.

&&$:rtd!!!!! (Foul language) I didn’t think anything could top the difficulty of the beehive trail in Main that I did last summer. Well. What felt like endlessmiles in a white out on and off, in the Pyrenees? I honestly wanted to sit down and cry but there wasn’t anywhere to sit.

We woke up in Valcarlos to snow and the forecast was ugly. Me and 3 Germans were at the cafe right at 8 for coffee and food. The couple left so it was me and one other woman for the day. She’s about 20 years older than me and lovely. We started out slow and steady like turtles around 9am and took some gorgeous photos in the first hour. After that began the ascent. Right around this time the police came by and said “no trail. Take the road only today.” That should have been our first sign that it was going to be worse than usual. The ascent was the hardest I’ve ever done, due to weather. Every time I turned a corner it was another snowy, wet, slippery ascent. We passed at least 4 car accidents and once we rounded a bend to a fruit truck spinning out of control and wondered where we could even go to avoid getting hit by it.

Doing this with post Covid lungs, I had to stop a lot. Doing this walk alone would have been terrifying. I was so grateful to have a walking partner, even though neither of us were particularly strong.

The police patrolled the highway heavily and stopped regularly to make sure we were okay. I have never been so glad to see a monastery. The albergue is run by hospitaleros from the Netherlands. They clapped and cheered everyone who came in the door. They helped us to get our coats and packs off. Gave us hot tea. I had eaten a good breakfast but there was no way to eat on the way so all I had was my water during the hours we walked (about 2 liters). I was dizzy for the first 30 minutes after we arrived due to lack of food. They took me into a warmer room, gave me more tea and told me my lips were blue and to rest until I wasn’t dizzy. At this point I wanted to cry at their kindness. It was overwhelming. In hindsight I think I was so overwhelmed with fear that I had not let myself feel while walking that once I was safe, I fell apart a little bit, emotionally. Finally was able to wait in line for my bed assignment. Lovely bed. Lovely hot shower. Lovely hot dinner. Most of us looked a little worse for the wear at dinner and a lot of the talk was about how it was going to snow overnight and into the next morning. It’s surprising to me the number of people who have never picked up a guidebook or googled to find a forum…they didn’t even know about the legendarily treacherous descent into Zubiri when the weather is bad. Meanwhile someone a day ahead of me told me she lost two walking partners in her Camino family, heading home due to injured ankles from this descent.
 

Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
A few thoughts on end of winter gear:

I bought waterproof socks after reading trecile’s positive experiences with them. I planned to wear them with sandals on rainy days. I discovered today they also work fairly well in a trail runner as long as there is room for them. And I am so glad I decided to bring both trail runners and hiking sandals. Yes, it makes my pack heavier, but oh my gosh I would not have wanted to do these walks in sandals.

Also? I was a bit skeptical of all the rave reviews of the Altus poncho. How could anything be *that good?

I stand corrected. It’s brilliant. It is handling winter weather fine for me. I’m no colder than anyone else and probably a little less wet.

Under the poncho I wore a summer weight short sleeve synthetic t shirt, sun sleeves, and then a winter weight synthetic shirt over that. This saved my other long sleeved shirt (merino) for the late evening chill (under a windbreaker). I also wore merino long underwear under my Old Navy Stretchtech pants (I posted about these elsewhere). They are also working well and the Altus hangs below my knees which also helps.

A baseball cap or something with a brim to wear under the Altus when using the hood is a good idea. Otherwise it may obstruct your view of the street too much.

I have fleece mittens that worked better than the time I had to use merino socks on my hands, but they did eventually wet out. I think most gloves would have wet out under these conditions. I was very glad to have them.
 
How to avoid failure "be prepared"
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
This is a bit of what went on my private social media account.

&&$:rtd!!!!! (Foul language) I didn’t think anything could top the difficulty of the beehive trail in Main that I did last summer. Well. What felt like endlessmiles in a white out on and off, in the Pyrenees? I honestly wanted to sit down and cry but there wasn’t anywhere to sit.

We woke up in Valcarlos to snow and the forecast was ugly. Me and 3 Germans were at the cafe right at 8 for coffee and food. The couple left so it was me and one other woman for the day. She’s about 20 years older than me and lovely. We started out slow and steady like turtles around 9am and took some gorgeous photos in the first hour. After that began the ascent. Right around this time the police came by and said “no trail. Take the road only today.” That should have been our first sign that it was going to be worse than usual. The ascent was the hardest I’ve ever done, due to weather. Every time I turned a corner it was another snowy, wet, slippery ascent. We passed at least 4 car accidents and once we rounded a bend to a fruit truck spinning out of control and wondered where we could even go to avoid getting hit by it.

Doing this with post Covid lungs, I had to stop a lot. Doing this walk alone would have been terrifying. I was so grateful to have a walking partner, even though neither of us were particularly strong.

The police patrolled the highway heavily and stopped regularly to make sure we were okay. I have never been so glad to see a monastery. The albergue is run by hospitaleros from the Netherlands. They clapped and cheered everyone who came in the door. They helped us to get our coats and packs off. Gave us hot tea. I had eaten a good breakfast but there was no way to eat on the way so all I had was my water during the hours we walked (about 2 liters). I was dizzy for the first 30 minutes after we arrived due to lack of food. They took me into a warmer room, gave me more tea and told me my lips were blue and to rest until I wasn’t dizzy. At this point I wanted to cry at their kindness. It was overwhelming. In hindsight I think I was so overwhelmed with fear that I had not let myself feel while walking that once I was safe, I fell apart a little bit, emotionally. Finally was able to wait in line for my bed assignment. Lovely bed. Lovely hot shower. Lovely hot dinner. Most of us looked a little worse for the wear at dinner and a lot of the talk was about how it was going to snow overnight and into the next morning. It’s surprising to me the number of people who have never picked up a guidebook or googled to find a forum…they didn’t even know about the legendarily treacherous descent into Zubiri when the weather is bad. Meanwhile someone a day ahead of me told me she lost two walking partners in her Camino family, heading home due to injured ankles from this descent.
@Eve Alexandra glad you made it despite the discomfort. I remember crying when I arrived at Roncesvalles because I was so glad to be there, but after a long hot day instead of a cold wet one. The volunteers were so kind.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2013), Primitivo (2015), Muxia/Fisterra (2015), Haervejen (2017)
I am loving your posts with all the details. What an adventure in the snow -- one you will not forget and one that, in 20/20 hindsight, will make you feel like you can "weather" anything! We too are Altus fans, so I am picturing you in your Altus sailing along on. I hope this weather clears and that you get down to Zubiri without incident. Ultreia!
 
F

Former member 49149

Guest
This is a bit of what went on my private social media account.

&&$:rtd!!!!! (Foul language) I didn’t think anything could top the difficulty of the beehive trail in Main that I did last summer. Well. What felt like endlessmiles in a white out on and off, in the Pyrenees? I honestly wanted to sit down and cry but there wasn’t anywhere to sit.

We woke up in Valcarlos to snow and the forecast was ugly. Me and 3 Germans were at the cafe right at 8 for coffee and food. The couple left so it was me and one other woman for the day. She’s about 20 years older than me and lovely. We started out slow and steady like turtles around 9am and took some gorgeous photos in the first hour. After that began the ascent. Right around this time the police came by and said “no trail. Take the road only today.” That should have been our first sign that it was going to be worse than usual. The ascent was the hardest I’ve ever done, due to weather. Every time I turned a corner it was another snowy, wet, slippery ascent. We passed at least 4 car accidents and once we rounded a bend to a fruit truck spinning out of control and wondered where we could even go to avoid getting hit by it.

Doing this with post Covid lungs, I had to stop a lot. Doing this walk alone would have been terrifying. I was so grateful to have a walking partner, even though neither of us were particularly strong.

The police patrolled the highway heavily and stopped regularly to make sure we were okay. I have never been so glad to see a monastery. The albergue is run by hospitaleros from the Netherlands. They clapped and cheered everyone who came in the door. They helped us to get our coats and packs off. Gave us hot tea. I had eaten a good breakfast but there was no way to eat on the way so all I had was my water during the hours we walked (about 2 liters). I was dizzy for the first 30 minutes after we arrived due to lack of food. They took me into a warmer room, gave me more tea and told me my lips were blue and to rest until I wasn’t dizzy. At this point I wanted to cry at their kindness. It was overwhelming. In hindsight I think I was so overwhelmed with fear that I had not let myself feel while walking that once I was safe, I fell apart a little bit, emotionally. Finally was able to wait in line for my bed assignment. Lovely bed. Lovely hot shower. Lovely hot dinner. Most of us looked a little worse for the wear at dinner and a lot of the talk was about how it was going to snow overnight and into the next morning. It’s surprising to me the number of people who have never picked up a guidebook or googled to find a forum…they didn’t even know about the legendarily treacherous descent into Zubiri when the weather is bad. Meanwhile someone a day ahead of me told me she lost two walking partners in her Camino family, heading home due to injured ankles from this descent.
Eve, such a story! Yet by now you are much warmer and safer, and ready to go on. Just take it a bit at a time, like the mouse eating the elephant... If you are afraid: be sure to have a taxi number. I honestly have no memory of the Zubiri day being difficult, in 2006, apart from a heat that would melt you. I can still see our French companions swinging away ahead of us, their matching everything except height! Things have changed a lot since then, and by now you can count on local updates on conditions and albergues. Keep going, keep reporting. You have lots of us here on the sidelines cheering you on.
 

Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
Hola!

Weather was still hideous when we left Roncesvalles. Very icy. I wish I had been able to actually see Burguette but we were mostly avoiding ice and trying not to break our necks.

We walked to Espinal and decided it would be safer to wait out the weather. Casa Patxikuzuria is fantastic. 20 euros for a private room with a spotless shared bath and a lovely common room. I stayed with 2 other women. The guy who runs the bar down the street is really nice. We had lunch there and then picked up a few things to share for a simple supper that evening.

The next morning, the reports of the descent into Zubiri were still wicked, everyone was taking the road and there were still enormous ice patches. We grudgingly decided that a ride to Zubiri was probably the safest, and when we saw the road conditions we did not regret our decision. We walked from Zubiri to Larrasoana. One of us was injured from the snow a couple of days before. We stayed at Albergue San Nicolas, which is very nice. One very clean bathroom with a good hot shower per 4 beds. He is adamant that masks be worn if you leave your room, and also wants the toilet disinfected when you use it, for Covid safety reasons. He also serves a communal meal but we skipped it because we had a big lunch. The bar owner of the small Mercado/restaurant across the street is a Camino gem. He sang to us as we walked in, fed us gorgeous salads and roast chicken, a nice bottle of red, and then visited with us for close to 2 hours. He also brought out some sort of liquor with spices and orange peels in it to share because it was just one of those perfect Camino days.

We are past the bad weather now and everyone is just so happy to see the sun shining and not worry so much about ice.
 
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Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
We left Larrasoana around 8:30 and walked to Pamplona. Oh my goodness after all the bad weather, it just was a glorious day of sun and beautiful dirt paths for most of it. We stopped for lunch about an hour outside of Pamplona, at which point it felt safe to switch to hiking sandals (a lot of mud on the trail that was very slippery…very grateful to have poles with me). The entrance into Pamplona is positively medieval in the best of ways. An arched gateway with a drawbridge, entering the old town. Just. Wow. Albergue Casa Ibarrola is wonderful. Very hot showers, washer/dryer available, great WiFi, capsule pod style bunks, and a nice spread for free breakfast too (grab some yogurt or something with protein if you like to start your days with it). The cafe across the street has the best hot chocolate I have ever had, for 2 euros.

Someone had a bad cough all night. Don’t be this person. Everyone was on edge, worrying that it was Covid. Stay private even if you know for sure it’s only a regular cold.

To all of you who told me to stay in Pamplona an extra day in spite of not being a city girl? Thank you. Pamplona is just the coolest. The old town has a really intimate feel. The architecture, the plaza by Cafe Iruna (Hemingway famous…also makes a fantastic ensalada with chicken). I love it here. We did stop at Caminoteca. One of us needed poles and I caved and bought a waist pack…which means it’ll be the pilgrim uniform for me now in both socks with sandals and a waist pack. 😂 It works so it’s all good.

Masks obligatory everywhere in Pamplona. About 50% of locals are wearing them on the street too. Wear to the table in a restaurant. Don’t get up without putting it back on. One place even had us put them back on as soon as the coffee cup was empty. Wear a mask into all albergues when you register, too. It seems like the more crowded it is in the albergue, the more you’ll see people wearing masks every time they are not in their bunk.

Also, businesses do not like it when you wear a buff instead of a proper mask. Some of them will insist that you leave or change it. Others will let it slide. It works very well to attach a mask to a sunglasses style strap so that it’s easily accessible. I’ve been doing this with disposable masks because they’re better protection but I’ve also had several loops tear, getting twisted on a pack strap or whatever so I also bought a cloth mask to have on hand just in case.

The Camino crowd is picking up quickly. We stayed an extra day in Pamplona and tonight our albergue was full by 3pm. I pre booked a couple of nights ahead and when I went to show my peregrina friend where I had booked I saw that they were all full, a couple of stages after Pamplona, too.

I think it would be wise to book ahead when you can.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
He also serves a communal meal but we skipped it because we had a big lunch. The bar owner of the small Mercado/restaurant across the street is a Camino gem. He sang to us as we walked in, fed us gorgeous salads and roast chicken, a nice bottle of red, and then visited with us for close to 2 hours. He also brought out some sort of liquor with spices and orange peels in it to share because it was just one of those perfect Camino days
I just loved that bar owner - what a character!
 
John Brierley 2023 Camino Guide
Get your today and start planning.
Time of past OR future Camino
may 2022
Hola friends. One airplane, one very long wait at jfk, and then another airplane, and I arrived in Madrid. For all the stress over QR codes and such that many of us have felt, it all went smoothly. I was called up to the gate desk before my first flight to prove that I had a valid passport, a QR code, a vaccination card. Then he asked if I had 96€ per day that I will be in Spain in the bank but he didn’t ask me to prove it. This process covered my second flight too. We weren’t handed out paper cards at the end of the flight to Madrid like I experienced in 2017. I can’t quite remember now what was on the card but I suspect it was all the same stuff that I had to answer to get the QR code, so that may be why it’s been scrapped. Followed the longest hallway ever to immigration. That was the same as always. Passport. Drop your mask briefly to check picture. This is where it’s different. Around the corner from passport control were several dressed in white PPE, head to toe. They scanned my QR code then asked to see my proof of vaccination. She did look carefully at it, then handed it back and that was it.

If you need to take a shuttle from the airport to Atocha station, it’s very easily done. Out the doors by the baggage claim, follow the signs for the shuttle. 5 € cash and a 15-20 min ride to the station. From there I walked to my hostel. I stayed at Hostal Residencia Fernandez on the recommendation of someone here. It’s mostly quiet, very clean. Very safe for a solo female. It faces the square at the Reina Sofia. I skipped the museum in favor of a nap (jetlag hits me hard).

Using google walking directions it was easy enough to find several Correos offices to send yourself a package for later if necessary, as well as several Orange and Vodafone outlets to get a SIM card. Plenty of food options within the city center as well. The next morning I had my first cafe con leche (as wonderful as I remembered ❤️) .

Then it was an easy walk back to the station to catch my train to Pamplona. When you enter the station it’s the building on your right for trains (The left is for the metro). More security (both bags and jacket). The digital boards showing the trains was simple to understand. Just in case you’re also from a place where public transportation is rare, at the bottom of your digital QR ticket in the center is a picture of a train with a number on it. That’s the car # to enter. To the right of that is your seat number.

Probably all of this is old hat to many of you, but I was completely overwhelmed by it all in 2017, so I want to pay it forward from my dear fellow peregrina who walked me through it, to anyone else who might also be nervous about what to expect. Renfe has an app for ticket purchase ahead of time. In the upper right hand corner you can choose English language if you need it. Fill it all out carefully, securely pay with a credit card and voila. QR code ticket. They will ask to see your passport, too, for identification. The recordings on the train are in English as well as Spanish once you’ve found your seat.
Thank you so much. I arrive on the morning of the 29th and this will help so much. Un mil gracias
 

Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
The walk out of Pamplona is lovely. It’s a city with a lot of green spaces. There’s very little in the way of bars once you leave so get coffee at the edge of Pamplona if you want it.

Very soon after starting I started feeling lousy. Just sluggish. It didn’t make sense and I was worried, wondering what the hell was wrong. It took another few miles for me to realize it was what we used to call bonking, years ago, when I was into weight lifting. I didn’t eat enough before we left. I’m not overly fond of the coffee/toast/juice/maybe a piece of fruit that seems to be the ubiquitous Spanish breakfast. This day I skipped the toast and yikes. Won’t do that again. I’m going to start grabbing some yogurt or cheese in a Mercado when I can, to have on hand for breakfast.

Once I stopped on the side of the road and ate half a Bocadillo and some chocolate, I was feeling much better. Told my friend to go on ahead because I was putting in ear buds for the climb. I had some $/@# to work out that had been rising all morning and the climb to Alto de Perdon seemed to be the place it was all boiling over.

I made it to the top.

The walk down? Is awful. I know it’s been mentioned a lot but dang it was awful. Giant rocks kept me constantly looking down to avoid twisting an ankle. I was slower than a turtle, into Uterga. My legs hurt which is understandable, but my feet felt like they had been through a meat grinder.

There are two albergues across the street from each other in Uterga and both seem okay to me. I slept in one and had food at the other. Once I hobbled in, I took a shower and found a spot to do that “legs up the wall” thing. It helped but my feet were so shot it also hurt like hell. Elevated my feel slightly in my bunk, next, and basically didn’t get up again other than for dinner. I was in that “too tired to eat or enjoy a drink or socialize” mode. It was pretty quiet around me. I don’t think I was the only one. Or perhaps all the people who continued on to Puente La Reina were the socializing cheerful ones whose feet didn’t react the way mine did. Slept hard and I was very glad to have some Tylenol on hand.
 

cardifflad52

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Sept 2015 Inglis Way , March 2022 Camino Frances
Hola friends. One airplane, one very long wait at jfk, and then another airplane, and I arrived in Madrid. For all the stress over QR codes and such that many of us have felt, it all went smoothly. I was called up to the gate desk before my first flight to prove that I had a valid passport, a QR code, a vaccination card. Then he asked if I had 96€ per day that I will be in Spain in the bank but he didn’t ask me to prove it. This process covered my second flight too. We weren’t handed out paper cards at the end of the flight to Madrid like I experienced in 2017. I can’t quite remember now what was on the card but I suspect it was all the same stuff that I had to answer to get the QR code, so that may be why it’s been scrapped. Followed the longest hallway ever to immigration. That was the same as always. Passport. Drop your mask briefly to check picture. This is where it’s different. Around the corner from passport control were several dressed in white PPE, head to toe. They scanned my QR code then asked to see my proof of vaccination. She did look carefully at it, then handed it back and that was it.

If you need to take a shuttle from the airport to Atocha station, it’s very easily done. Out the doors by the baggage claim, follow the signs for the shuttle. 5 € cash and a 15-20 min ride to the station. From there I walked to my hostel. I stayed at Hostal Residencia Fernandez on the recommendation of someone here. It’s mostly quiet, very clean. Very safe for a solo female. It faces the square at the Reina Sofia. I skipped the museum in favor of a nap (jetlag hits me hard).

Using google walking directions it was easy enough to find several Correos offices to send yourself a package for later if necessary, as well as several Orange and Vodafone outlets to get a SIM card. Plenty of food options within the city center as well. The next morning I had my first cafe con leche (as wonderful as I remembered ❤️) .

Then it was an easy walk back to the station to catch my train to Pamplona. When you enter the station it’s the building on your right for trains (The left is for the metro). More security (both bags and jacket). The digital boards showing the trains was simple to understand. Just in case you’re also from a place where public transportation is rare, at the bottom of your digital QR ticket in the center is a picture of a train with a number on it. That’s the car # to enter. To the right of that is your seat number.

Probably all of this is old hat to many of you, but I was completely overwhelmed by it all in 2017, so I want to pay it forward from my dear fellow peregrina who walked me through it, to anyone else who might also be nervous about what to expect. Renfe has an app for ticket purchase ahead of time. In the upper right hand corner you can choose English language if you need it. Fill it all out carefully, securely pay with a credit card and voila. QR code ticket. They will ask to see your passport, too, for identification. The recordings on the train are in English as well as Spanish once you’ve found your seat.
Have a lovely walking holiday and stay safe .
Buen Camino
 
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Quietways

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, Aragonés, Invierno - Winter 2021-22
Enjoying your posts, Eve. You don't need reminding, but will say it anyway ;) - take your time, go slow - especially in the early stages. Without exception everyone, regardless of exprerience, gets stronger. In a week you'll look back on those rocks, the decent and wonder what the fuss was about ;)
buen camino~~
 

Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
Enjoying your posts, Eve. You don't need reminding, but will say it anyway ;) - take your time, go slow - especially in the early stages. Without exception everyone, regardless of exprerience, gets stronger. In a week you'll look back on those rocks, the decent and wonder what the fuss was about ;)
buen camino~~
I hope you are right about those rocks! Lol
 
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Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
The walk out of Uterga is beautiful. I took the side trip to Eunate church. It wasn’t open which was a bummer, but it’s still quite beautiful from the outside. I have no idea if I missed a sign or if I took the proper route but there were zero way markers from Eunate to Obanos. I followed the minimal directions in a guidebook and then relied on google maps. It’s an easy walk to Eunate and a long haul back to the Camino if I took the right route. If I didn’t take the right route? I’m not sure I want to know! Lol And I don’t think I’d like to do that at the end of the same day I did the ascent to Alto de Perdon and the rocky descent to Uterga.

The walk to Puente La Reina is nice. Walked briefly with a Spanish man and we shared our love of rock concerts and then he directed me to a cheap bar to get a bocadillo for lunch.

The end of the path into Maneru is steeper than is usually mentioned. And then it’s a glorious stroll to Cirauqui. This town is one big hill so the streets are a bit like walking in Pittsburgh. Somehow all up hill. 😆 Most everyone around me is doing the pilgrim shuffle (sore feet) including me.

I think it takes a week or so to get a sense of what’s working and where to stash everything in your pack so it feels efficient. I think I’m almost there. If your pack has old school water bottles holders it will help a lot to find a way to have one easily within reach. You can even use a lightweight dry bag for this. Just find a way to attach it either to your pack’s belt or to one shoulder strap.

I don’t have a fleece and I don’t miss it. I’m finding a synthetic short sleeve under a synthetic long sleeve is a nice combination. Easy to ditch the long sleeve after the first hour or so. I find I am saving my long sleeved merino for evenings. It’s cozy. If the wind is kicking up a lightweight windbreaker works well. My Altus is at the bottom of my pack now until there’s rain in the forecast again.

If you’re like me and despise hand washing clothes, I’m not having much trouble finding albergues with a washer and dryer. Yes I know it’s more expensive. We all have our things for which we are willing to pay extra, and this is mine. I had a dry bag system set up to do hand washing in the “scrubba” style but ended up sending it forward.

I am very glad I had trail runners for the first week but I have a feeling I won’t be using them as often as my hiking sandals now. I will give it a week or so and if I’m still not using them I’ll send them to Santiago. YMMV Two socks are also working well, with either sandals or trail runners. No blisters. Just soreness from the pounding they are taking day after day. It helps to do that “legs up the wall” thing but man it hurts when they are very sore.

Casa Maralotx in Cirauqui is lovely. Nice owners, beautiful rooms and clean bathrooms. The second floor balcony is beautiful and a great place to chill with a book and a drink. The communal dinner was lovely. And the packed breakfast had my name on it and included a juice box, which as a mama who usually packs lunches, it made me smile.
 

Carla M.

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022: Camino Primitivo
The walk out of Uterga is beautiful. I took the side trip to Eunate church. It wasn’t open which was a bummer, but it’s still quite beautiful from the outside. I have no idea if I missed a sign or if I took the proper route but there were zero way markers from Eunate to Obanos. I followed the minimal directions in a guidebook and then relied on google maps. It’s an easy walk to Eunate and a long haul back to the Camino if I took the right route. If I didn’t take the right route? I’m not sure I want to know! Lol And I don’t think I’d like to do that at the end of the same day I did the ascent to Alto de Perdon and the rocky descent to Uterga.

The walk to Puente La Reina is nice. Walked briefly with a Spanish man and we shared our love of rock concerts and then he directed me to a cheap bar to get a bocadillo for lunch.

The end of the path into Maneru is steeper than is usually mentioned. And then it’s a glorious stroll to Cirauqui. This town is one big hill so the streets are a bit like walking in Pittsburgh. Somehow all up hill. 😆 Most everyone around me is doing the pilgrim shuffle (sore feet) including me.

I think it takes a week or so to get a sense of what’s working and where to stash everything in your pack so it feels efficient. I think I’m almost there. If your pack has old school water bottles holders it will help a lot to find a way to have one easily within reach. You can even use a lightweight dry bag for this. Just find a way to attach it either to your pack’s belt or to one shoulder strap.

I don’t have a fleece and I don’t miss it. I’m finding a synthetic short sleeve under a synthetic long sleeve is a nice combination. Easy to ditch the long sleeve after the first hour or so. I find I am saving my long sleeved merino for evenings. It’s cozy. If the wind is kicking up a lightweight windbreaker works well. My Altus is at the bottom of my pack now until there’s rain in the forecast again.

If you’re like me and despise hand washing clothes, I’m not having much trouble finding albergues with a washer and dryer. Yes I know it’s more expensive. We all have our things for which we are willing to pay extra, and this is mine. I had a dry bag system set up to do hand washing in the “scrubba” style but ended up sending it forward.

I am very glad I had trail runners for the first week but I have a feeling I won’t be using them as often as my hiking sandals now. I will give it a week or so and if I’m still not using them I’ll send them to Santiago. YMMV Two socks are also working well, with either sandals or trail runners. No blisters. Just soreness from the pounding they are taking day after day. It helps to do that “legs up the wall” thing but man it hurts when they are very sore.

Casa Maralotx in Cirauqui is lovely. Nice owners, beautiful rooms and clean bathrooms. The second floor balcony is beautiful and a great place to chill with a book and a drink. The communal dinner was lovely. And the packed breakfast had my name on it and included a juice box, which as a mama who usually packs lunches, it made me smile.
What a lovely camino you are having!
It is so heart warming to see how your post are changing as you walk it.
Hope you continue, and allow us to tag along :)
 

Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
Loving your posts! What’s the ‘legs up the wall’ excercise? I also suffer from sore feed, please explain.
Scoot your butt as close to the wall as possible with your legs at a 90 degree angle up the wall. I usually put a pillow under my head and look at a book or my phone for 15-20 minutes. It helps with swelling. Some say it also moves the lactic acid from your legs. Idk anything about that but I do know that my feet are less swollen afterwards. I usually then move to just resting lying down for a little while so I don’t use my feet much for an hour after showering and getting settled in the hostel.
 

KFH

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
^
Hola friends. ...
Thanks for the walkthrough, Eve. Looks like this will be the same for me late summer/fall. I am doing the Camino with friends but we are meeting in SJPP as they are coming from France and I will getting there thru Madrid solo.
 
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Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
Thanks for the walkthrough, Eve. Looks like this will be the same for me late summer/fall. I am doing the Camino with friends but we are meeting in SJPP as they are coming from France and I will getting there thru Madrid solo.
I’m happy to share. Other peregrinos have helped me in the past so if I can help, I want to pay it forward.
 

Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
It’s not everyday you walk on a real Roman road and over a Roman bridge. I sat on the second bridge next to a field of horses and had my breakfast. And I sat there and felt happy. Just quiet happy. And realized I haven’t much felt that kind of happy since the pandemic began. Like many mums I’ve mostly worried….But today it was happiness that was first.

Cirauqui to Estella. Not as long as the last few days but my feet are killing me. No blisters and no injuries (plenty of both all around me). Just a bone deep soreness. I’m going to cover less ground the next two days, to give them a break. My albergue tonight is quiet. I wonder if maybe everyone is sore and just doesn’t feel like talking. Agora hostel is fantastic. The shower is huge and I had room to actually reach my feet. Small joys. 😆

I really need to find a better plan for food. I seem to be missing the window for tortilla. Bars are either not open yet or too close to siesta. There have been a few days I have had a minimal breakfast, no lunch, and then have to wait till 7 for dinner. I’m thinking maybe I need to keep a closer eye out for mercados; some yogurt and maybe some nuts.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2013), Primitivo (2015), Muxia/Fisterra (2015), Haervejen (2017)
You post made me so emotional this morning, with joy for you and with impatience foe me as our departure day cannot arrive quickly enough. I know exactly exactly where you were.. so I have this wonderful image of you, the Roman bridge and the horses. Ultreia!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2013), Primitivo (2015), Muxia/Fisterra (2015), Haervejen (2017)
On food, we always picked up a yogurt and fruit for breakfast the afternoon before and then carried a lump of cheese, a bag of peanuts and dried fruit in case we didn’t find lunch. We also loved Bifrutas, a milky fruity kids drink. You can get it in individual containers. If we could find them, one of my favorite decadent hiking foods, is sugared figs. The nuts at least are high protein too!
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
It’s not everyday you walk on a real Roman road and over a Roman bridge. I sat on the second bridge next to a field of horses and had my breakfast. And I sat there and felt happy. Just quiet happy. And realized I haven’t much felt that kind of happy since the pandemic began. Like many mums I’ve mostly worried….But today it was happiness that was first.

Cirauqui to Estella. Not as long as the last few days but my feet are killing me. No blisters and no injuries (plenty of both all around me). Just a bone deep soreness. I’m going to cover less ground the next two days, to give them a break. My albergue tonight is quiet. I wonder if maybe everyone is sore and just doesn’t feel like talking. Agora hostel is fantastic. The shower is huge and I had room to actually reach my feet. Small joys. 😆

I really need to find a better plan for food. I seem to be missing the window for tortilla. Bars are either not open yet or too close to siesta. There have been a few days I have had a minimal breakfast, no lunch, and then have to wait till 7 for dinner. I’m thinking maybe I need to keep a closer eye out for mercados; some yogurt and maybe some nuts.
@Eve Alexandra there was a wonderful fruteria on the main route in Estella down the hill from Agora that sold olives. I don't remember the full name but Moreno (brown) was in the name. There are several fruterias in the same area.. You could get a single type or a mix of olives from large plastic buckets. As hospitaleros we would supplant our lunch with these. The owner just put them in a plastic bag for us. You are likely it past now, but maybe others can enjoy.
 
Camino Jewellery
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Time of past OR future Camino
SJPP2Santiago completed (Sept.15, 2018).
Hola friends. One airplane, one very long wait at jfk, and then another airplane, and I arrived in Madrid. For all the stress over QR codes and such that many of us have felt, it all went smoothly. I was called up to the gate desk before my first flight to prove that I had a valid passport, a QR code, a vaccination card. Then he asked if I had 96€ per day that I will be in Spain in the bank but he didn’t ask me to prove it. This process covered my second flight too. We weren’t handed out paper cards at the end of the flight to Madrid like I experienced in 2017. I can’t quite remember now what was on the card but I suspect it was all the same stuff that I had to answer to get the QR code, so that may be why it’s been scrapped. Followed the longest hallway ever to immigration. That was the same as always. Passport. Drop your mask briefly to check picture. This is where it’s different. Around the corner from passport control were several dressed in white PPE, head to toe. They scanned my QR code then asked to see my proof of vaccination. She did look carefully at it, then handed it back and that was it.

If you need to take a shuttle from the airport to Atocha station, it’s very easily done. Out the doors by the baggage claim, follow the signs for the shuttle. 5 € cash and a 15-20 min ride to the station. From there I walked to my hostel. I stayed at Hostal Residencia Fernandez on the recommendation of someone here. It’s mostly quiet, very clean. Very safe for a solo female. It faces the square at the Reina Sofia. I skipped the museum in favor of a nap (jetlag hits me hard).

Using google walking directions it was easy enough to find several Correos offices to send yourself a package for later if necessary, as well as several Orange and Vodafone outlets to get a SIM card. Plenty of food options within the city center as well. The next morning I had my first cafe con leche (as wonderful as I remembered ❤️) .

Then it was an easy walk back to the station to catch my train to Pamplona. When you enter the station it’s the building on your right for trains (The left is for the metro). More security (both bags and jacket). The digital boards showing the trains was simple to understand. Just in case you’re also from a place where public transportation is rare, at the bottom of your digital QR ticket in the center is a picture of a train with a number on it. That’s the car # to enter. To the right of that is your seat number.

Probably all of this is old hat to many of you, but I was completely overwhelmed by it all in 2017, so I want to pay it forward from my dear fellow peregrina who walked me through it, to anyone else who might also be nervous about what to expect. Renfe has an app for ticket purchase ahead of time. In the upper right hand corner you can choose English language if you need it. Fill it all out carefully, securely pay with a credit card and voila. QR code ticket. They will ask to see your passport, too, for identification. The recordings on the train are in English as well as Spanish once you’ve found your seat.
Excellent detail Eve. Thank you very much for taking the time to share it. Good info about reality on the ground for the QR code check after arrival. Thanks again.
 

Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
The walk is quite pretty once you get to the Irache fountain. I took a few photos but was probably more in my head than grounded in my body today. And honestly I’m tired today. I woke up and just didn’t much feel like getting up. The breakfast offered at Agora Hostel is well worth the 5 euro. Oats with dried fruit, yogurt, two slices of bread, juice, fruit and enough coffee for a refill. I took one piece of my bread and the apple with me for later, but the yogurt I think makes all the difference for me. Today I keep dropping things, which is how I know my whole body and soul is just weary. I mostly am just stopping where I can for quiet rests. Hit the jackpot at a bar in Azqueta. Both fresh orange juice and also a tuna sandwich to takeaway. Then spent almost an hour chatting with some Americans.

I was glad I took a rest after Azqueta when I saw the steady climb to Villamayor de Monjardin. I’m still very slow on ascents but I did notice today…just a tiny bit less of a strain than a week ago, which makes me very happy.

Every morning in the hostel people start getting up and they hurry hurry hurry. It’s like a weird energy that envelopes the room and I realized today it makes me anxious. What am I in a hurry for? The trail outside the door? If I start 30 minutes later is it really such a big deal? Even when the albergue wants us out by 8am, there’s no reason I cannot find a park bench or a rock until I feel ready to walk.

Oasis Trails in Villamayor de Monjardin is an old school albergue, no fancy capsule pod beds, no locker, no washing machine. It’s clean, the shower is hot (push button every 20 seconds for more water), the communal dinner was lovely, and the hospitaleros are very kind. Just a head’s up…The hospitaleros are Christians. They hand you a pamphlet in your language about their start and offer what they call a Jesus Meditation after dinner (you don’t have to attend). If you’d rather avoid this kind of thing, there is one other albergue although I don’t know if it’s nice, and I think there was one back in Azqueta as well. There’s nothing between here and the next 12 km to Los Arcos. There is a store here for small bits you might need.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2013), Primitivo (2015), Muxia/Fisterra (2015), Haervejen (2017)
I had to smile at your comments about hurrying in the morning. Just like you we found that taking a bit of time was worth it. I remember walking out of Zubiri as part of the rushing gang in the pitch dark. After a couple km, I told my husband I needed to sit and wait for my feet to wake up and the sun to come up. After that we let the crowd go while we had a yogurt and tea and got our act together. I hope you got some good rest and feel more energized today!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2006 to date: Over 21 Caminos. See signature line
We started off from St Jean around 8:30 after a wonderful breakfast at Gite Makila. I quickly fell behind. My back my knees my feet..,all good. It’s my lungs post Covid that are slowing me down. I knew this was coming but it still surprises me. I’m even slower than a turtle. I had Dave’s notes on taking it slow on an uphill climb and not letting doubt get to you in the forefront of my mind.

It rained most of the way to Valcarlos. It’s been said many times but it bears repeating…walk on the left on the road! The walk from Arneguy to Valcarlos is on the highway, full of twists and turns and if you’re on the wrong side at a twist it could be fatal. All the lovely people I met in St Jean continued on to Roncesvalles but I’m on the “start like an old lady and maybe you can finish like a younger lady” plan. Maybe. My confidence is flagging.

If you decide to stay at the municipal albergue in Valcarlos, it’s a little confusing to find. Take the short road across the street from the church. There’s a school on the left, and a playground on the right. At the end of the far side of the school is a set of steps. The albergue is part of the school building. The man who runs it isn’t here during “sign in” hours. If you need him, go toward the pharmacy building but instead go in the main doors (the one on the right is a pharmacy), and up to the second floor and knock on the door marked “secretary.” She will call him for you.Google translate wasn’t working well for us. He was trying to give me instructions on using the washing machine and it translated as “I put you in the wash.” 😆 There’s a nice combo bar/restaurant/supermercado on the main road, with a black awning. Dinner was a little more expensive than usual (Valcarlos is small) but it was really good.
Of all the routes I've walked, I've never walked the Valcarlos route.
It's on my list. Thanks for the directions!

I am really enjoying your posts - you are an excellent writer!
I leave tomorrow and you're getting me revved up for a great Camino!
Keep them coming!

By the way, I also love Gite Makila and Casa Maralotx.
I'm happy to hear they're still doing the wonderful communal dinner!
 
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Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
Thank you! It’s working really well for me to just journal in my notes app when the mood strikes me. It’s important to me to keep a record of how I was feeling and what I was thinking about, to go with my pictures. That way I can go back and re-live it when I’m back home and missing the trail. :)
 

Carla M.

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022: Camino Primitivo
The walk is quite pretty once you get to the Irache fountain. I took a few photos but was probably more in my head than grounded in my body today. And honestly I’m tired today. I woke up and just didn’t much feel like getting up. The breakfast offered at Agora Hostel is well worth the 5 euro. Oats with dried fruit, yogurt, two slices of bread, juice, fruit and enough coffee for a refill. I took one piece of my bread and the apple with me for later, but the yogurt I think makes all the difference for me. Today I keep dropping things, which is how I know my whole body and soul is just weary. I mostly am just stopping where I can for quiet rests. Hit the jackpot at a bar in Azqueta. Both fresh orange juice and also a tuna sandwich to takeaway. Then spent almost an hour chatting with some Americans.

I was glad I took a rest after Azqueta when I saw the steady climb to Villamayor de Monjardin. I’m still very slow on ascents but I did notice today…just a tiny bit less of a strain than a week ago, which makes me very happy.

Every morning in the hostel people start getting up and they hurry hurry hurry. It’s like a weird energy that envelopes the room and I realized today it makes me anxious. What am I in a hurry for? The trail outside the door? If I start 30 minutes later is it really such a big deal? Even when the albergue wants us out by 8am, there’s no reason I cannot find a park bench or a rock until I feel ready to walk.

Oasis Trails in Villamayor de Monjardin is an old school albergue, no fancy capsule pod beds, no locker, no washing machine. It’s clean, the shower is hot (push button every 20 seconds for more water), the communal dinner was lovely, and the hospitaleros are very kind. Just a head’s up…The hospitaleros are Christians. They hand you a pamphlet in your language about their start and offer what they call a Jesus Meditation after dinner (you don’t have to attend). If you’d rather avoid this kind of thing, there is one other albergue although I don’t know if it’s nice, and I think there was one back in Azqueta as well. There’s nothing between here and the next 12 km to Los Arcos. There is a store here for small bits you might need.

It is strange to hear the hurry, hurry stress is present in the Camino (I am doing my first Camino in June). And you were vary wise to notice it, breath, and get out of that “train”.
Something you read often here is to take your time and go at your own pace.
Hope you are feeling with more energy. It is very brave of you to be so candid about how you are feeling
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Every morning in the hostel people start getting up and they hurry hurry hurry. It’s like a weird energy that envelopes the room and I realized today it makes me anxious
I like to just stay in bed and wait for all of those early birds to leave. Then I can get ready at my own pace in my own time.
Thank you! It’s working really well for me to just journal in my notes app when the mood strikes me. It’s important to me to keep a record of how I was feeling and what I was thinking about, to go with my pictures. That way I can go back and re-live it when I’m back home and missing the trail. :)
Maybe you could do some of your journaling in the morning while everyone else is scurrying around.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
Every morning in the hostel people start getting up and they hurry hurry hurry. It’s like a weird energy that envelopes the room and I realized today it makes me anxious.
I really enjoy taking my time in the mornings, too. It is almost meditative and it allows me to get organized (physically and mentally) for the day ahead.
 
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Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
Villamayor de Monjardin to Los Arcos. Another short day. It’s been almost two weeks of walking and my soul is as tired as my feet. I determined to take it slow today no matter what. One of my guidebooks says that these 12km without a town inbetween can feel interminable. I loved it. There were at least 3 or 4 places to sit on a rock, a bridge, or a patch of grass. It was so green, with hills in every direction, and it’s a fairly easy walk too. No intense ascents or descents. I had my breakfast at one of them, rather than eat in the albergue entrance. I’m introverted and night after night of dorm rooms is starting to get to me. So it was me and some favorite music. I let everyone pass so I could sing out loud and dance as much as my pack allows, while reveling in the valley with the hills all around me. I arrived in Los Arcos and there is a square in the shadow of the church with a bar and outdoor seating. Very good coffee. Mind you it was around noon and all the locals were ordering beer or wine. I don’t think the US comment “well its 5 o clock somewhere” would even make sense to the Spanish. Lol The church was still open when I arrived, so I had my coffee to the organ music flowing through the open doors.

Casa de La Abuela is very nice. Clean, not too many beds to a room (something I’m looking for, post Covid, that wasn’t on my radar as much before). We had a communal dinner and breakfast too.
 

C clearly

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Staff member
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It’s been almost two weeks of walking and my soul is as tired as my feet.
People often talk about building fitness levels on the Camino, and how after a couple of weeks you will hit your stride and have more energy than ever. That may be true for some people, on some walks, but there are many contributing factors. I find that I get seriously TIRED, even though I am certainly very satisfied and happy to have been walking.

Consider stopping for a few days in a place that appeals to you, and you'll probably be refreshed! Or maybe walk a couple of 5 km or 10 km days. If necessary, take transport to make up the time. You don't need to prove anything.
 
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The church was still open when I arrived, so I had my coffee to the organ music flowing through the open doors.

Casa de La Abuela is very nice. Clean, not too many beds to a room (something I’m looking for, post Covid, that wasn’t on my radar as much before). We had a communal dinner and breakfast too.
Los Arcos was one of my favourite Camino towns and sitting in that square is magical. My abiding memory of being there is when we watched France play in the World Cup in a bar on the square and a Frenchman in our ‘family’ singing ‘La Marseillaise’ so passionately that the locals asked him to sign it again! Whenever I hear it sung since I’m transported back to that balmy June night😊

I too stayed at Casa de la Abuela and it’s a perfect little place.

Thank you for sharing your journey - you write beautifully. ¡Buen Camino!
 

Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
People often talk about building fitness levels on the Camino, and how after a couple of weeks you will hit your stride and have more energy than ever. That may be true for some people, on some walks, but there are many contributing factors. I find that I get seriously TIRED, even though I am certainly very satisfied and happy to have been walking.

Consider stopping for a few days in a place that appeals to you, and you'll probably be refreshed! Or maybe walk a couple of 5 km or 10 km days. If necessary, take transport to make up the time. You don't need to prove anything.

I’m overdue for a rest day. It’s in the works for sure.
 

Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
<I did quick entries throughout the day so words are real time>


6 am
Something new today. Woke up in dread fear after tossing and turning with bad dreams most of the night. Today’s walk is 28 km, guidebook rated a 7-8 hour walk for most normal people who are not turtles. And the enormity of what I’m trying to do hit me hard. I have no words. I’m shaking in my sleeping bag.

7am
I figured I better start early so I began before the sun came up.

I should back up here a bit and say that I had a well laid out plan that avoided 28 km days. I know my limits. 18-20 km is my happy place and 25 is my limit. Several days ago a peregrina I had been walking with overdid it and messaged me and asked me to add extra km to my next day to meet her. So I did. And she changed her mind without telling me and decided to walk, so I ended up overdoing unnecessarily. This set my whole next several days off kilter and I ended up having to do a very long day today.

Camino Lesson: Walk your own Camino. No matter what. I have this habit at home too, of overextending myself for other’s benefit. Maybe this will be the final straw and I will learn to be wiser about this.

9am: Nice early morning walk. Torres Del Rio. Nothing was open in Sansol, but there were a few places open here for breakfast. When I went by the ermita it was open so I paid my euro to see the inside. Well worth it. I expected it to be lavish but instead it was starkly bare and beautiful. Stopped for tortilla and some orange juice.

9:30 left Torres del Rio

10:30 ish…made it to the top of Alto el Poyo. It was a haul but I’m happy to say that my cardio abilities seem to be improving a bit (diminished lung capacity due to Covid) and it’s a nice walk. I did not care for the 10% grade downhill. I take descents very slowly because I know how easy it is to roll an ankle, ending a camino. Meanwhile I get ppl passing me left and right saying “are you okay? You can do it!” 🙄😂

Me/thinking: “I know. I’m fine. I just don’t want to roll an ankle!”

Me/actually…smile, say buen camino.

Ironically a little after Alto de Poyo I met a man who was taking it slow because he damaged his ankle on the way down from Alto de Perdon. We ended up walking the rest of the way to Logrono. A true blessing for me as he was my cheerleader at the end.

12:30-We made it to Viana. Stopped for a Clara, a restroom and a bit of a break. Tired but not broken.

1pm-Then came the long slog. It’s not that it’s a hard walk. It’s that it was too far for me. The last 3 km into Logrono did me in. I am no longer doing the pilgrim shuffle. I am doing the “try not to trip over your own feet pilgrim hobble.”

That said, I arrived at my hostel at 3:30pm. 8.5 hours, which means I’m not so far off the norm after all. This makes me happy, not because I want to compete, but because it helps me to have confidence in my lungs and body again, which I lost after 4 mos sick with Covid.

My feet, my legs, even my hands hurt because of over gripping my poles due to tiredness.

I’m staying 2 nights at Winederful Hostel and Cafe. Not directly on the Camino but oh my gosh it’s so nice! Capsule bunks with big drawers underneath that will fit your whole pack. And in the drawer are sheets and blankets and a real towel! Breakfast buffet is served until 11am and if you stay a second day you don’t have to leave during the day. The bathroom is spotless. I’m six ft tall and I can stretch out and not touch the wall at the end of the capsule bunk. Score!

Today was day 2 of pain meds. The first was after the descent from Alto de Perdon. I’m glad I had them. Im not sure I could have gotten off the bed to find dinner without them.

For dinner, never underestimate asking politely if the kitchen is open before 7pm. I saw someone else do it in Estella, and they obliged. I wandered the square closest to my hostel and found a restaurant with an a La cart menu as well as a menu del dia. I went inside and politely asked, “Is your kitchen closed?” I must have looked hungry. 😆

The owner: For you? It’s open. Sit here. Told me I could order off the a la cart menu (this is what the bar in Estella offered too). Had a good meal and a glass of wine for 10 euros, and was tucked into bed by 7:30pm.

Day 2 in Logrono

I slept really well. I think the sheets (instead of my sleeping bag) were part of it. Buffet breakfast is decent.

Correos: If I can make it 28 km in my Teva hiking sandals I don’t need my trail runners any more. I was going to send them home but the cost was almost the value of the shoes, so I sent them to Santiago instead.

Forum Sports: I bought crocs. I have some cheap Old Navy flip flops but I’ve noticed that when I’m showering is also when my legs are the most wobbly and flip flops are notorious tripping hazards. Also, crocs plus waterproof socks will work well if I hit a muddy trail for a few km. I’ve day hiked at home in crocs so I know it’ll work for me if necessary.

Lavanderia: They aren’t hard to find in the cities, if your hostel doesn’t have a w/d option. With my kindle, of course.

On the kindle controversy: Yes I know it’s not necessary I could read on my phone (which I hate to do) and yes I know that many pilgrims end up with a Camino family and never crack a book. Because I’m not following the typical stages I’m meeting new people regularly rather than staying with a group. Which I love, btw. I get both introvert time and also to have conversations with new people regularly. And yes, I’m using my kindle, every single day. So if you’re sure you’ll use it regularly, just bring it. I’d be lost without mine and gave up other stuff to accommodate its weight. I did not, however, bring it in the case. Amazon says it’s well built and can withstand some water too. So far so good. I keep it in a dry bag along with my paper journal, charger, cords, etc. At the top of my pack just in case I find a tree to read under for 30 minutes along the trail. :)

Spanish weather: I check the weather app daily and it keeps saying it’s going to rain all afternoon and through the night. And then it literally sprinkles for 10 minutes and is sunny and beautiful again. Almost every single day in the last week. 😆

Found a Dia Market near the lavenderia, and grabbed yogurt, iced tea, and some trail mix for tomorrow. Stopped at a Panaderia on the walk back to the hostel for a croissant, and had my lunch in the common room of the hostel.

Just wasn’t in the mood to sit in a restaurant for dinner. I’m getting peopled-out. Found a Carrefour market (whoa…very nice!) and grabbed a beautiful premade salad with lots of veg and pasta. I didn’t sight see at all in Logrono. Rest was more important this day so I went to bed early with a book.
 
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Eve
I am loving your reports. They bring back so many memories of my own journey through the same places last year. Thank you for sharing your inner journey as well.
On my first camino I composed a little song that refers to a dance called the camino shuffle. We all do it from time to time.
“The Santiago Compostela, Camino Shuffle Boogie Blues”!
Lx
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
I took a 6 inch kindle on my first Camino. I liked it. Subsequent Camino stretches we had a laptop or small tablet. As we were in one place for at least 2 weeks as hospitaleros. This year only going with my phone. I have a bigger screen now and can read on it easier than before. We'll see if I like it...
 

Ashland293

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future
Hola friends. One airplane, one very long wait at jfk, and then another airplane, and I arrived in Madrid. For all the stress over QR codes and such that many of us have felt, it all went smoothly. I was called up to the gate desk before my first flight to prove that I had a valid passport, a QR code, a vaccination card. Then he asked if I had 96€ per day that I will be in Spain in the bank but he didn’t ask me to prove it. This process covered my second flight too. We weren’t handed out paper cards at the end of the flight to Madrid like I experienced in 2017. I can’t quite remember now what was on the card but I suspect it was all the same stuff that I had to answer to get the QR code, so that may be why it’s been scrapped. Followed the longest hallway ever to immigration. That was the same as always. Passport. Drop your mask briefly to check picture. This is where it’s different. Around the corner from passport control were several dressed in white PPE, head to toe. They scanned my QR code then asked to see my proof of vaccination. She did look carefully at it, then handed it back and that was it.

If you need to take a shuttle from the airport to Atocha station, it’s very easily done. Out the doors by the baggage claim, follow the signs for the shuttle. 5 € cash and a 15-20 min ride to the station. From there I walked to my hostel. I stayed at Hostal Residencia Fernandez on the recommendation of someone here. It’s mostly quiet, very clean. Very safe for a solo female. It faces the square at the Reina Sofia. I skipped the museum in favor of a nap (jetlag hits me hard).

Using google walking directions it was easy enough to find several Correos offices to send yourself a package for later if necessary, as well as several Orange and Vodafone outlets to get a SIM card. Plenty of food options within the city center as well. The next morning I had my first cafe con leche (as wonderful as I remembered ❤️) .

Then it was an easy walk back to the station to catch my train to Pamplona. When you enter the station it’s the building on your right for trains (The left is for the metro). More security (both bags and jacket). The digital boards showing the trains was simple to understand. Just in case you’re also from a place where public transportation is rare, at the bottom of your digital QR ticket in the center is a picture of a train with a number on it. That’s the car # to enter. To the right of that is your seat number.

Probably all of this is old hat to many of you, but I was completely overwhelmed by it all in 2017, so I want to pay it forward from my dear fellow peregrina who walked me through it, to anyone else who might also be nervous about what to expect. Renfe has an app for ticket purchase ahead of time. In the upper right hand corner you can choose English language if you need it. Fill it all out carefully, securely pay with a credit card and voila. QR code ticket. They will ask to see your passport, too, for identification. The recordings on the train are in English as well as Spanish once you’ve found your seat.
Great updates, I do hav one question now that you are on your Camino. What are the current mask requirement where you have been other than the airport?
 
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Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
Great updates, I do hav one question now that you are on your Camino. What are the current mask requirement where you have been other than the airport?
If you read through the updates you can see where I’ve relayed my experience with them.

Short version?

Never enter any food establishment, grocery store, or any other store without a real mask.

Sometimes if you stop briefly to get a coffee and drink it outside they’ll let a buff suffice since they know you’re in the middle of a walk. But overall, don’t use a buff.

Always enter the albergue with a mask. If the owner isn’t wearing one, then no one else will wear one either but in 2 week I’ve only seen owners not wearing them twice. Generally, people do not wear their mask in the bunk room, but they put them on to go to the common rooms.

If you eat inside a restaurant wear your mask to the table and put it on if you get up to use the restroom. One place asked my friend to put her mask back on the minute her coffee was gone but that extreme hasn’t been the norm.

In the cities over 50% of ppl wear them on the street, too.

Yesterday’s grocery store had set up the entrance to force you to use hand sanitizer too before you entered the food area, but I haven’t seen that everywhere.

It’s very clearly considered a sign of respect and care for the people around you, to mask up. And I think the albergue owners and bar owners are happy to be in business again but are very cautious with their own health given how many people go through their establishments.
 

Carla M.

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022: Camino Primitivo
Your posts have been a very special part of my last days @Eve Alexandra. Thankyou for sharing your Camino in such a candid and honest, beautiful way.
So many things I relate, specially the balance between "peopled-out" and socializing/belonging to a family, and following your own Camino. I admire your ability not to let your weaknesses limit you, and keep acknowledging the beauty of small things like the pilgrim after Alto de Poyo or the restaurant in the square by the hostel.
Bueno Camino!
 
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<I did quick entries throughout the day so words are real time>


6 am
Something new today. Woke up in dread fear after tossing and turning with bad dreams most of the night. Today’s walk is 28 km, guidebook rated a 7-8 hour walk for most normal people who are not turtles. And the enormity of what I’m trying to do hit me hard. I have no words. I’m shaking in my sleeping bag.

7am
I figured I better start early so I began before the sun came up.

I should back up here a bit and say that I had a well laid out plan that avoided 28 km days. I know my limits. 18-20 km is my happy place and 25 is my limit. Several days ago a peregrina I had been walking with overdid it and messaged me and asked me to add extra km to my next day to meet her. So I did. And she changed her mind without telling me and decided to walk, so I ended up overdoing unnecessarily. This set my whole next several days off kilter and I ended up having to do a very long day today.

Camino Lesson: Walk your own Camino. No matter what. I have this habit at home too, of overextending myself for other’s benefit. Maybe this will be the final straw and I will learn to be wiser about this.

9am: Nice early morning walk. Torres Del Rio. Nothing was open in Sansol, but there were a few places open here for breakfast. When I went by the ermita it was open so I paid my euro to see the inside. Well worth it. I expected it to be lavish but instead it was starkly bare and beautiful. Stopped for tortilla and some orange juice.

9:30 left Torres del Rio

10:30 ish…made it to the top of Alto el Poyo. It was a haul but I’m happy to say that my cardio abilities seem to be improving a bit (diminished lung capacity due to Covid) and it’s a nice walk. I did not care for the 10% grade downhill. I take descents very slowly because I know how easy it is to roll an ankle, ending a camino. Meanwhile I get ppl passing me left and right saying “are you okay? You can do it!” 🙄😂

Me/thinking: “I know. I’m fine. I just don’t want to roll an ankle!”

Me/actually…smile, say buen camino.

Ironically a little after Alto de Poyo I met a man who was taking it slow because he damaged his ankle on the way down from Alto de Perdon. We ended up walking the rest of the way to Logrono. A true blessing for me as he was my cheerleader at the end.

12:30-We made it to Viana. Stopped for a Clara, a restroom and a bit of a break. Tired but not broken.

1pm-Then came the long slog. It’s not that it’s a hard walk. It’s that it was too far for me. The last 3 km into Logrono did me in. I am no longer doing the pilgrim shuffle. I am doing the “try not to trip over your own feet pilgrim hobble.”

That said, I arrived at my hostel at 3:30pm. 8.5 hours, which means I’m not so far off the norm after all. This makes me happy, not because I want to compete, but because it helps me to have confidence in my lungs and body again, which I lost after 4 mos sick with Covid.

My feet, my legs, even my hands hurt because of over gripping my poles due to tiredness.

I’m staying 2 nights at Winederful Hostel and Cafe. Not directly on the Camino but oh my gosh it’s so nice! Capsule bunks with big drawers underneath that will fit your whole pack. And in the drawer are sheets and blankets and a real towel! Breakfast buffet is served until 11am and if you stay a second day you don’t have to leave during the day. The bathroom is spotless. I’m six ft tall and I can stretch out and not touch the wall at the end of the capsule bunk. Score!

Today was day 2 of pain meds. The first was after the descent from Alto de Perdon. I’m glad I had them. Im not sure I could have gotten off the bed to find dinner without them.

For dinner, never underestimate asking politely if the kitchen is open before 7pm. I saw someone else do it in Estella, and they obliged. I wandered the square closest to my hostel and found a restaurant with an a La cart menu as well as a menu del dia. I went inside and politely asked, “Is your kitchen closed?” I must have looked hungry. 😆

The owner: For you? It’s open. Sit here. Told me I could order off the a la cart menu (this is what the bar in Estella offered too). Had a good meal and a glass of wine for 10 euros, and was tucked into bed by 7:30pm.

Day 2 in Logrono

I slept really well. I think the sheets (instead of my sleeping bag) were part of it. Buffet breakfast is decent.

Correos: If I can make it 28 km in my Teva hiking sandals I don’t need my trail runners any more. I was going to send them home but the cost was almost the value of the shoes, so I sent them to Santiago instead.

Forum Sports: I bought crocs. I have some cheap Old Navy flip flops but I’ve noticed that when I’m showering is also when my legs are the most wobbly and flip flops are notorious tripping hazards. Also, crocs plus waterproof socks will work well if I hit a muddy trail for a few km. I’ve day hiked at home in crocs so I know it’ll work for me if necessary.

Lavanderia: They aren’t hard to find in the cities, if your hostel doesn’t have a w/d option. With my kindle, of course.

On the kindle controversy: Yes I know it’s not necessary I could read on my phone (which I hate to do) and yes I know that many pilgrims end up with a Camino family and never crack a book. Because I’m not following the typical stages I’m meeting new people regularly rather than staying with a group. Which I love, btw. I get both introvert time and also to have conversations with new people regularly. And yes, I’m using my kindle, every single day. So if you’re sure you’ll use it regularly, just bring it. I’d be lost without mine and gave up other stuff to accommodate its weight. I did not, however, bring it in the case. Amazon says it’s well built and can withstand some water too. So far so good. I keep it in a dry bag along with my paper journal, charger, cords, etc. At the top of my pack just in case I find a tree to read under for 30 minutes along the trail. :)

Spanish weather: I check the weather app daily and it keeps saying it’s going to rain all afternoon and through the night. And then it literally sprinkles for 10 minutes and is sunny and beautiful again. Almost every single day in the last week. 😆

Found a Dia Market near the lavenderia, and grabbed yogurt, iced tea, and some trail mix for tomorrow. Stopped at a Panaderia on the walk back to the hostel for a croissant, and had my lunch in the common room of the hostel.

Just wasn’t in the mood to sit in a restaurant for dinner. I’m getting peopled-out. Found a Carrefour market (whoa…very nice!) and grabbed a beautiful premade salad with lots of veg and pasta. I didn’t sight see at all in Logrono. Rest was more important this day so I went to bed early with a book.
I too am enjoying your posts. This phrase: not because I want to compete, but because it helps me to have confidence in my lungs and body again, which I lost after 4 mos sick with Covid. So glad you are able to trust yourself now with the experience of doing some testing walks. Buen camino!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2013), Primitivo (2015), Muxia/Fisterra (2015), Haervejen (2017)
I love your delicious posts! You include so much rich detail. I feel like I am just a step away from the Camino.

You are so wise about going downhill slowly! I rolled my ankle in 2001 walking down a slope on a gravel path. Two reconstructive surgeries and weight loss got me though several Caminos. I’ll walk this upcoming Camino on the ankle replacement I finally had to get in 2017!

It is so wonderful to see your growing confidence and stamina. Yay for your persistence and resilience.

I’m sending vibes for continued strength!
 

james13

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances
Hola friends. One airplane, one very long wait at jfk, and then another airplane, and I arrived in Madrid. For all the stress over QR codes and such that many of us have felt, it all went smoothly. I was called up to the gate desk before my first flight to prove that I had a valid passport, a QR code, a vaccination card. Then he asked if I had 96€ per day that I will be in Spain in the bank but he didn’t ask me to prove it. This process covered my second flight too. We weren’t handed out paper cards at the end of the flight to Madrid like I experienced in 2017. I can’t quite remember now what was on the card but I suspect it was all the same stuff that I had to answer to get the QR code, so that may be why it’s been scrapped. Followed the longest hallway ever to immigration. That was the same as always. Passport. Drop your mask briefly to check picture. This is where it’s different. Around the corner from passport control were several dressed in white PPE, head to toe. They scanned my QR code then asked to see my proof of vaccination. She did look carefully at it, then handed it back and that was it.

If you need to take a shuttle from the airport to Atocha station, it’s very easily done. Out the doors by the baggage claim, follow the signs for the shuttle. 5 € cash and a 15-20 min ride to the station. From there I walked to my hostel. I stayed at Hostal Residencia Fernandez on the recommendation of someone here. It’s mostly quiet, very clean. Very safe for a solo female. It faces the square at the Reina Sofia. I skipped the museum in favor of a nap (jetlag hits me hard).

Using google walking directions it was easy enough to find several Correos offices to send yourself a package for later if necessary, as well as several Orange and Vodafone outlets to get a SIM card. Plenty of food options within the city center as well. The next morning I had my first cafe con leche (as wonderful as I remembered ❤️) .

Then it was an easy walk back to the station to catch my train to Pamplona. When you enter the station it’s the building on your right for trains (The left is for the metro). More security (both bags and jacket). The digital boards showing the trains was simple to understand. Just in case you’re also from a place where public transportation is rare, at the bottom of your digital QR ticket in the center is a picture of a train with a number on it. That’s the car # to enter. To the right of that is your seat number.

Probably all of this is old hat to many of you, but I was completely overwhelmed by it all in 2017, so I want to pay it forward from my dear fellow peregrina who walked me through it, to anyone else who might also be nervous about what to expect. Renfe has an app for ticket purchase ahead of time. In the upper right hand corner you can choose English language if you need it. Fill it all out carefully, securely pay with a credit card and voila. QR code ticket. They will ask to see your passport, too, for identification. The recordings on the train are in English as well as Spanish once you’ve found your seat.
Greetings! I thank for your post! I will be traveling the same route in a few weeks and it’s nice to have a picture of what’s coming,…🙏
 

Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
Logrono to Navarette:

Had my breakfast in the common room at Winederful because it wasn’t crowded. Ate a little more of the ham and cheese offered, and I am now convinced I must eat more protein in the morning. Two slices of each instead of one each (plus one piece of bread and a good sized orange juice) and I felt strong for 8 miles.

Also? Good grief I am so glad I sent my trail runners on. I cannot believe what a difference I felt, even though I added a little weight back with crocs. It wasn’t that I was straining before. Just that this is so much better.

Made it to Navarette in, idk 3-3 1/2 hours? I wasn’t really watching because I met the most interesting young man and we walked most of the way together. We waved a Buen Camino on the outskirts of Logrono and I knew right away he was American so I asked him what state he was from. Turns out that while he’s a US citizen, he was born in Kurdistan. I mean really. How often do you meet someone who is Kurdish! 😍 The Camino is so cool. This is one of my favorite things. We talked US politics, middle eastern politics, the history of the Camino (mostly my knowledge) and about the AT (mostly his knowledge).

Honestly the walk from Logrono to Navarette is kind of blah. Not a lot of pretty views and also? Not well marked compared to other sections. He and I both stopped a few times to check our apps (him-guthook, me-Camino ninja) because it didn’t look right. A good stage to make sure you have an app to check, here and there. Not a particularly strenuous walk today.

I waved goodbye to the young man and he continued on to Najera. I found the square to rest for awhile since my pension is not open yet. Yes. Pension. I have a private room tonight. I haven’t done that since Espinal and I am excited!

Later:

Oh my goodness. Pension con encanto peregrinado is lovely. Definitely a splurge, but I am so ready for a little peace and quiet. One of the things about albergues is you always need to be ready to smile and have a conversation. I love meeting people and getting to know them but…sooooo peopled out. I messaged them to ask if I could check in one hour early and they kindly obliged.

Shower, laundry handed over to be washed, and then a few chores. I needed to look at what I’ve been spending and how much I have left and make sure it’s all working out. Thought maybe it might help someone to budget so this is what I noted:

I tend to stay at private albergues with a few more creature comforts, plus I like to support the small family owned businesses when I can. They are running about 15 euro, so I’m guessing municipals are running closer to 10. Communal dinners around 10-12 euro, Menu del Dia closer to 15 euro. I usually stop once a day for coffee and tortilla, which rarely costs more than 3ish. A drink in the afternoon around 2 euro. If I buy my dinner in a grocery store it’s closer to 8 euro but that usually includes something like trail mix for the next day (sometimes a chocolate bar lol). Paying for laundry or use of a washer/dryer is running anywhere from 6-8 euro. Desayuno at the albergue usually 3-5 euro. Rarely does this include good protein sources so I’ve started looking more closely at what’s included before paying ahead. And keeping an eye out for mercados when the albergue has a fridge.

I didn’t catch the name of it but there’s a bar to the left of the church. I had my tortilla and coffee there and returned later for dinner. Very nice. They also offer “English breakfast” with eggs, which I took advantage of.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
Honestly the walk from Logrono to Navarette is kind of blah.
That’s true, Eve, but it is an interesting area geologically. You are walking right down the centre of the western section of the Ebro basin. It used to be cut off from the sea until recently, (geologically that is). There are kilometres of soft sediments beneath your feet that accumulated over millions of years, brought in from the rising mountains to the north and south of you, until about 9my ago when the Ebro broke through to the Med. After that the Ebro and its tributaries were able to remove huge amounts of the accumulated sediment to the Med. The gentle climbs and descents are simply a result of the watercourses relentlessly cutting their way into the soft basin sediments. You should soon get great views to the south, where the edge of the basin is defined by towering mountains.
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BookGirl305

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Ingles (after Covid)
Your posts are helping me be more confident in my own abilities! You and @alexwalker are both taking the section I will be doing at a pace similar to mine- Pamplona to Logrono in 5-6 days of 15-20K. I am thrilled to hear that so many of the off-stage accommodations are ok and that there are places to eat, etc. and also that there are a number of other people walking at the turtle pace.
Thanks for the wonderful updates!
I leave in 6 weeks.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
@Eve Alexandra I find that juice and toast causes my blood sugar to spike and leaves me with a low blood sugar midmorning. I am a type 2 diabetic.

I try to eat a piece of whole fruit with some some cheese, peanuts or tree nuts,, and/ or a hard boiled egg for breakfast. Of course these you have to get from a store and/or prepare ahead if you have facilities to do so. Yogurt is also an option but check the sugars and protein content before buying. A lot of times I save my "postre" from the night before. I always try to get a piece of fruit or sometimes yogurt. Sometimes I save my "bread" in a ziplock bag for later to eat with my cheese. Of course it is never as good as fresh, but I don't need bread AND tortilla or fries or other starch at a meal.
 
F

Former member 98118

Guest
Your posts are helping me be more confident in my own abilities! You and @alexwalker are both taking the section I will be doing at a pace similar to mine- Pamplona to Logrono in 5-6 days of 15-20K. I am thrilled (...) that there are a number of other people walking at the turtle pace.

Turtle pace 🐢 does not always mean short stages :)

There were two ladies from Austria, very, very nice pilgrims, that I met a month ago on my Camino VdlP in Merida, one of them 77 years old (she told me not asked), her friend was in late sixties, and they walked at a very steady turtle pace 🐢🐢, but covered more than 30 km, ocasionally 40 km stages on Via de la Plata. They would arrive at 7 pm, 8 pm, even 9 pm! They always stayed at rather expensive private rooms so we just met on the way, or having a late supper at the same restaurant. Neither them nor me ever took a bus or a taxi and we carried our backpacks all the way (they were very strict about that). Can you believe that in Benavente, 400 km from Merida, we still had dinner at the same restaurant?! I would sometimes arrive 2-3 hours earlier to destination town, but it didn't mean or change anything - they did it at their own pace and they celebrated their success every day 🍷🍾!

I doubt if they read this forum, but my respect for them is immense and grew every time I met them on the way. Buen Future Caminos, E & M, if you happen to read it! 💕

🐧


Edit: Please keep in mind those two ladies were from Austria and I think they lived in Austrian Alpes. This may be a good explanation of their top level of fitness!

 
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Ashland293

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future
If you read through the updates you can see where I’ve relayed my experience with them.

Short version?

Never enter any food establishment, grocery store, or any other store without a real mask.

Sometimes if you stop briefly to get a coffee and drink it outside they’ll let a buff suffice since they know you’re in the middle of a walk. But overall, don’t use a buff.

Always enter the albergue with a mask. If the owner isn’t wearing one, then no one else will wear one either but in 2 week I’ve only seen owners not wearing them twice. Generally, people do not wear their mask in the bunk room, but they put them on to go to the common rooms.

If you eat inside a restaurant wear your mask to the table and put it on if you get up to use the restroom. One place asked my friend to put her mask back on the minute her coffee was gone but that extreme hasn’t been the norm.

In the cities over 50% of ppl wear them on the street, too.

Yesterday’s grocery store had set up the entrance to force you to use hand sanitizer too before you entered the food area, but I haven’t seen that everywhere.

It’s very clearly considered a sign of respect and care for the people around you, to mask up. And I think the albergue owners and bar owners are happy to be in business again but are very cautious with their own health given how many people go through their establishments.
Thank you great update, hopefully everything returns to normal Monday after Easter.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
. I am thrilled to hear that so many of the off-stage accommodations are ok and that there are places to eat, etc.
Stages are just creations of guidebook authors - there's not necessarily anything better or special about stage ending points.

Most guidebooks, websites, apps, and even the sheet of paper that the Pilgrims Office in SJPDP hands out with the list of localities shows the services that are offered in each town, like albergues, bars, banks, and supermarkets.
 

Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
Fwiw I prefer staying off “stage” when I can. The albergues aren’t as crowded and the towns often have a real charm. The bar or Albergue owner might chat with you, too. And I haven’t had a hard time finding nice places to stay and eat.
 

Esperanza

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
Stages are just creations of guidebook authors - there's not necessarily anything better or special about stage ending points.

Most guidebooks, websites, apps, and even the sheet of paper that the Pilgrims Office in SJPDP hands out with the list of localities shows the services that are offered in each town, like albergues, bars, banks, and supermarkets.
I think the concern, at least speaking for myself, was that there were reports of a lot of closures due to Covid, especially for the in-between stages. I saw advice several times here in the last year to plan on staying at traditional stage end towns because services were so limited elsewhere. So I also am glad to read here and on other live reports that many more businesses seem to be open, although I also have seen very recently reports of pilgrims walking through villages with nothing open, when pre Covid there were services there.

I start from Pamplona in a few weeks and have reserved my first few nights, so I am good. However, as an example, all four (total) albergues in Cizur Menor and Zariquiegui are closed currently, either temporarily or seemingly permanently.
 

Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
Confession: Im a book ahead person, even though it’s not the most popular way to do the Camino. In my situation, it’s the best option. There are definitely some towns where there is very little available. But so far, I haven’t seen a lot of this. It’s more often that I see a town with no bar open for coffee, or no grocery option. All the main albergues seem to be open, and most of the towns even have a “welcome” sign on the trail telling us they’re open and waiting for us.

Zubiri still has a shortage of beds. I heard a lot of stories about beds being canceled if you didn’t arrive by 2pm, etc. Sansol and Cizur Menor were pretty quiet. Zariquiegui…that’s the last town before Alto de Perdon? It looked to me like the Albergue was open when I went through last week, but maybe it was just the little bar.
 
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Esperanza

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
I’ll confess to being a booker-aheader, too, at least a night or two and maybe more this time around. My info on Zariquetheheckisthenameofthattown is from Gronze, which doesn’t list either albergue there at all. (Yes, it is on the way to Alto de Perdón.) Very good to know that at least a bar is open, though. Your “boots on the ground” reports are invaluable and very much appreciated, Eve. ❤️

I learned long ago that my body needs fuel in the morning. I cannot hike for 5-10 km on an empty tank, or on a piece of white toast with jam, without bonking. Protein is good and some fat and fiber is even more important for me. It can be hard to get in Spain, so the sooner I can find a bar with a tortilla, the better. Even with the promising reports, I think I will have to be more proactive this time around about making sure I arrange for some substantial breakfast materials the night before.

I may have misremembered, but I think the reports of completely shut down towns were mainly from the Meseta.
 

Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
Yeah I’m keeping my eye out for grocery stores more and more. Ugh I hope the Meseta towns aren’t all ghost towns. I’ve never been on the Meseta before so don’t quite know what to expect other than what’s in guidebooks.

Lol on the town name that starts with Z. I had to scroll up to your post to spell it! 😆
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Slightly off topic but if you have read The Great Westward Walk, there is a segment where the author is in Burgos around Easter and crowds were just coming out of the woodwork and then they all kind of evaporated right after it was over. It's a great read about a Basque pilgrim. (It was translated to English by Rebekah Scott.) I am hopeful that you'll see more bed availability as the month goes on.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
Confession: Im a book ahead person, even though it’s not the most popular way to do the Camino.
I’ll confess to being a booker-aheader, too,
Ladies, I think it is a sad day when people are made to feel guilty or have done something wrong if they choose to book ahead. I have experienced all the varieties every year since 2015. That first year I winged every night's sleep; next booked ahead partially a couple of years; and finally I pre-arranged everything before I left home in 2019, and also in 2020 before the pandemic caused me to cancel.
To each their own...no confessions are needed. It's a shame that sometimes the vibe on the forum makes people feel they are cheating.
 
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