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Is starting from Pamplona 'cheating'...?

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by Bella.H.24, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. Bella.H.24

    Bella.H.24 New Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
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    I am starting my Camino on the 25th March. I have booked my train to Pamplona, arriving late Sunday evening, 24th March with a view to staying overnight in Pamplona and getting the train to Roncenvalles to start the camino on the Monday morning. However, I have booked my flights home from Santiago on the 28th April - and I am a little alarmed that I have now not given myself enough time to get from Roncenvalles to Santiago in only thirty-four days...

    How flat is El Camino Frances? Is it do-able in only thirty-four days. I'm young (23) and quite fit, but for anyone, doing over 20 km per day for thirty-four days straight is quite a challenge...

    Will it be 'cheating' for me to begin my Camino in Pamplona? Thus giving myself a bit of a headstart...?

    I'm very excited about starting my Camino, but I reeeeally want to complete it in one go - and not end up having to catch any buses or trains along the route to ensure that I reach Santiago in time...

    What do all you experienced Pilgrims think? How long did it take you guys, and how mountainous is the route?

    Any advice would be much appreciated :)

    Bella
     
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  2. falcon269

    falcon269 no commercial interests

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    Starting from Pamplona is fine; I have done it several times myself!! If you have any doubt that you can finish in your allotted time, it is probably better to sacrifice the first two to three days than skip something later, which also is a possibility. Starting in SJPdP is a modern invention, perhaps attributable to good PR by the French. :D
     
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  3. grayland

    grayland Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Starting from Pamplona is pretty common in Feb, March and even April due to weather problems over the pass. You don't have many options when the route is closed.

    Another great option is to start at Roncevalles which is just over the mountain and is normally the 2nd day for those starting in St. Jean.

    If you are 23 years old and reasonably fit...34 days will be very adequate to reach Santiago from St. Jean if you choose to do that.
    Give it some thought as many who avoided the pass did regret it later as something not accomplished.
    It really is not that hard...if it was the thousands that make it every year would not make it.
    The path out of SJpDP in May, June & July is crowded with unfit Pilgrims with grossly overweight packs struggling up the hill. The all think they have made a terrible mistake....but almost all make it. You can see the triumph in them in Roncevalles and the rest of the Camino seems less challenging.But...Pamplona is fine.
     
  4. newfydog

    newfydog Veteran Member

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    Officially, you are not cheating if you start anywhere more than 100 km from Santiago. Do the last 100 k's and you qualify for a Compostelle. Pamplona is a fine place to start. The logistics are simple.
     
  5. annakappa

    annakappa Veteran Member

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    Most definitely not. I have started my Camino three times from Roncesvalles, once from Jaca and once from Ourense. Not one time did I ever consider starting in what has become the "fashionable" SJPP, which as Falcon mentions, is a modern invention. Curiously, on the tube that you can buy at the Pilgrim's office to safely store your Compostella, the map shows possible starting point from Roncesvalles onwards.
    Should I be able to walk the Camino one more time, I will start in Pamplona ( not even in Roncesvalles). Enjoy your Camino, it's an experience of a lifetime! Anne
     
  6. jpflavin1

    jpflavin1 Veteran Member

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    Bella:

    In my opinion, there is no official starting point on the Camino. You should start "Your Camino" from wherever you want. Pamplona is a very good starting point and many start there.

    I think the average Pilgrim probably walks 20-25km per day. Pamplona is approx. 720km from Santiago. If you walk from Pamplona you will have to average 21km per day to reach Santiago in 34 days. Considering your age and that you are fit 25km's per day is very reasonable. At that pace you can reach Santiago from Pamplona in 29 days. This leaves time for a rest day, trip to Finisterre at the end or just relaxing for a few days in Santiago with your new Camino friends.

    The Camino has mountains in the beginning and the end. The Meseta in the middle is flatter but not flat.

    Pamplona is a great place to start (no such thing as cheating). Start out slowly (let your body adjust), pack as light as possible (many packing list suggestions in threads), let the Camino take care of the rest.

    Ultreya,
    Joe
     
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  7. fortview

    fortview Active Member

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    Hi,
    The route is a little hilly, after Pamplona, but not too bad at all. By the time you get to the bigger climbs, after Villafranca, and up to O Cebreiro you will be more than fit enough to take it in your stride.
    Such great replies to your question, so hopefully you will be reassured, and happy to start wherever suits you best :D
    Buen camino !
     
  8. Bella.H.24

    Bella.H.24 New Member

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    Ooh you've all been so helpful thankyou so much.
    I think that I will leave from Roncesvalles. I love a challenge and don't want to miss out on anything. I still have seven weeks to go which is plenty of time to improve my stamina so that when I start, 25km per day will be a breeze... 8)

    (If however, when I start off - it still seems a little daunting, then I can always go straight from Pamplona after all.)

    Im so excited, and thanks for your advice on traveling light. As I usually suffer from a severe case of 'over-packing' - I shall really have to be strict with myself...

    Muchas Gracias everyone for your hints and tips. I can't wait till I can also join your ranks as an experienced Pilgrim! :p

    Bella
     
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  9. alexwalker

    alexwalker Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I started from Pamplona in 2009. I was headiing for Roncesvalles/SJpdP, but upon arrival in Pamplona in the evening, I found it right to start walking the very next morning. Perfect! (for me). You start where you start and then walk. Your days (+30) are plenty to complete your camino. Enjoy, and:

    Buen camino! You will make it easily (I hope; but also with a blister or two, I "hope", in order to remind you of what you really have achieved... ;-)
     
  10. tyrrek

    tyrrek Veteran Member

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    Hi! I started from Pamplona on my last Camino Frances and it's a great starting point. You do have the climb over the Alto del Perdon after the first couple of hours but it's not too hard if you take your time. When up there by the pilgrim monument you can see for miles over the land you'll be walking (weather permitting). I've said before and been unable to explain it clearly, but that just feels like the start of the Camino to me. :D Have a wonderful Camino!
     
  11. annakappa

    annakappa Veteran Member

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    Hello Bella. I have just been reading your original posting again and you mention that you will arrive in Pamplona late on a Sunday evening. There is no train to Roncesvalles, only one daily bus, which leaves at 18.00 hrs during the week, but I think not on Sundays. That would mean that you would have to wait until Monday evening to take the bus to Roncesvalles, or find someone to share a taxi with you to get up there earlier and therefore start walking back immediately (if you don't want to waste your whole day hanging Around in Roncesvalles). Anne
     
  12. mralisn

    mralisn Active Member

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    Hi Bella,

    I'm loving all the posts above. Your question is easy to answer: The Camino is not a competition, so not cheating.

    It's your walk. Enjoy every step.
     
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  13. nreyn12

    nreyn12 Active Member

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    Hi Bella,

    There are lots of ups and downs on the Camino Frances, and three mountain ranges to cross. The first one is the Pyrenees Mountains, which is from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles. If you start in Pamplona, you skip this entirely.

    Then there are two more big mountains to cross, closer to Santiago. By the time you reach these passes you will have walked about two thirds of the way, you will be nice and strong, and your backpack will be at its lightest because you will have left behind anything you don't really need for your walk.

    The bigger challenge than the mountain passes, though, is what you mentioned in your original post: walking 20 kms for 34 straight days. If you start in Pamplona, you give yourself the freedom to take a couple of rest days along the way. A rest day can be when you stay for two nights in one place and don't walk for a whole day, or it can be a short day where you walk only 5 to 10 kms to the next closest town and then relax for most of the day.

    As for cheating, I think Joe said it best:
    A pilgrimage is a personal journey, so you get to decide the parameters. I started my first pilgrimage in Pamplona, and it was sufficiently challenging to qualify for anyone's definition of a pilgrimage!
     
  14. lettienets

    lettienets Member Donating Member

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    I was heading to sjpp but when I got to Pamplona I was feeling the jet lag, went to the albergue for a rest and decided to stay put. Had the bus ticket to
    Roncevalles ... Ended up going for tapas/pinchos with other pilgrims. Always felt guilty about it but who cares. Later on you realize it is your camino and not someone else's. I have read only 20% who finish actually start in sjpp. Wish somebody would verify that statistic.
     
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  15. kogga

    kogga Member

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    May I add to the topic,if you do not do the Pyranees from St Jean,you miss most probably the most beautiful section on the Camino.Yes its steep,but if you do it slowly,you will be part of a Camino you will never forget.Johann from South Africa
     
  16. norelle

    norelle Member

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    Another thought - if you start from Pamplona you may then have time to continue on from Santiago to Finisterre and/or Muxia....
     
  17. julie

    julie Active Member Donating Member

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    Bella, 34 days is a reasonable timeframe to walk from Roncesvalles to Santiago. However, don't feel pressured to start from a particular point. The Camino doesn't have a beginning, merely an end. Even that is only symbolic as it stays with you so you never actually finish.

    I started from SJPdP simply because that was where I first learnt about the Camino. It became my spiritual starting place so it felt right for me to start walking from there. On my first day, I met a pilgrim who had started walking from his home in Holland. He had the time so that seemed to him the most logical thing to do. Other pilgrims I met started from Burgos or Leon.

    Anywhere further than 100km from Santiago is a possible starting point. It's a personal decision so start from wherever it feels right for you.
     
  18. susanawee

    susanawee Active Member

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    Hi Bella,
    I am starting my Camino in Pamploma, partly because I just don't feel that I will be able to contemplate such a 'steep learning curve' right at the start of my journey. Maybe, I will return one day and tackle this part, maybe not, as someone else wrote here, there are No Rules or Must Dos on this journey......It is YOUR journey alone -
    Have a great time, travel safely, and ENJOY the experience.
    Buen Camino.....
     
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  19. tyrrek

    tyrrek Veteran Member

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    Hi! Even within 100kms is fine unless you really want to qualify for a Compostela. Routes such as the Camino Ingles from A Coruna.

    On my last Camino Frances my American walking buddie was meeting his mum just about 3 days outside Santiago so they could walk into the city together. She wasn't able to do a long pilgrimage but for various reasons it was good for them to catch up there. She absolutely loved the limited pilgrim experience that she had, and I wouldn't be surprised if she returns sometime. (She bought us dinner on the night we arrived in Santiago for 'looking after' her son in our little Camino family, which was very nice! :D)

    There is no starting point. Only where your boots hit the ground.

    Buen Camino!
     
  20. sillydoll

    sillydoll Veteran Member

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    This is for the purists out there, who feel that they must walk as 'authentic' a Camino path as possible (..yet, who really knows where those paths now lie? :D )
    A possible reason why the Camino routes now start in French towns is because they originally belonged to Spain and pilgrims would have been comfortable starting there.

    The town of St Jean Pied de Port was established in the 12th century. As the Capital of the Kingdom of Navarre, it was very much a Spanish town until the Kingdom merged with France in 1620. So, it is plausible that many 'Navarrese' would have started walking from there - but only a couple of centuries into the pilgrimage.

    The Porte St Jacques is 15th Century, the Citadelle and most of the walls date from the 17th century although the walls around the quartier d’Espagne district were only completed in the 19th century.

    St Jean wasn't always on the route of the Santiago pilgrims. Don Elias Valiña Sampedro, the
    'founding father' of the modern Camino pilgrimage, published his Camino guide in 1982 based on the stages in the 12th century Liber Sancti Jacobi. He lists the starting places as St Michel, through Val Carlos and over the 'Port de Cize (the Ibaneta Pass) to Roncesvalles. The Hospice of Ibaneta was destroyed by snowstorms and was moved to Roncesvalles in the 12th century.

    There is no mention of the more modern Route Napoleon. The second route started from Borce (which used to be a part of Aragon) for the crossing over the Somport Pass into Aragon.

    So - if you really wanted to emulate an early medieval pilgrimage, you might have to start at St Michel, missing the 18th/19th century Route Napoleon altogether, or start at Borce in the South of France.

    If 'the path is made by walking' then wherever pilgrims start walking from, is where the 'authentic' path is!
     
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  21. SYates

    SYates Camino Fossil AD 1999 Donating Member

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    .
    too many to list all
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    Just back from: Walking the CF in winter 2016/17
    I disagree a bit with the first part, but agree fully with the second ;-)

    The reason why there are Caminos in France, and Europe in general, is because in the pre-modern times pilgrims would have to start at their own door step and walk to Santiago and back again. I seriously doubt that a Spanish pilgrim of that time that lived in Pamplona would have walked up to Roncesvalles to start his pilgrimage from there. He would have started at home. As we in modern times often don't have the time, money and possibility (especially when living on another continent) to do this, every starting point is a compromise. Therefore, to the OP, starting in Pamplona is not cheating in the same sense than starting in Roncesvalles is not cheating. SY
     
  22. sillydoll

    sillydoll Veteran Member

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    You are quite right!

    Many pilgrims - especially those from the north - didn't necessarily walk from their front doors. Hundreds of thousands arrived in French, English or Spanish ports and started walking from there.
    Even French pilgrims sailed down the coast as far as Bordeaux (which was in English territory) then continued walking from there.

    Walter Starkie wrote that the Camino Frances starts in Paris - but today the Via Turonensis is one of the least walked routes in France.
     
  23. robhay60

    robhay60 Member

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    Cheating on the Camino ??? :roll: its impossible! Its not a competition, there is no one "WAY"...you are not being judged by any other Pilgrim, only yourself..So let go of the Guilt, and rest in quiet certainty that what you have achieved on "YOUR" Camino is just absolutely "Perfect". For me it was a journey of "Heart and "Soul" and indeed no beginning and definately no ending. Buen Camino :)
     
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  24. Rebekah Scott

    Rebekah Scott Camino Busybody Donating Member Donating Member

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    The only "cheaters" are the people who travel by motor vehicle and then expect a clean, fresh, lower-bunk bed in a "free" albergue.

    :(
     
  25. falcon269

    falcon269 no commercial interests

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    Given that opinions are never right or wrong, it is my opinion that there are other sections that are more beautiful, particularly if you walk up the Pyrenees in the fog, or forget to turn around and look behind you! :D
     
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  26. reuben79

    reuben79 New Member

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    I don't believe there is such a thing as cheating when it comes to the Camino, just different choices. But there is a bit of an unwritten hierarchy in the minds of most (not all) pilgrims based on where you started. We started in SJPP and I hate to admit it but I think we felt a bit superior to those who started further on. I tried not to but it's only human nature. Just as we were slightly deferential and impressed by the people we met who had started in Paris or Switzerland. But I didn't meet anyone that would hold it against you.

    Having said all that, finishing in 34 days or less is completely feasible. We took 33 days plus 2 rest days and didn't push ourselves particularly hard. I think it will be more enjoyable to have the option to slow down if you want, though, so considering the time of year you'll be going it might be a good idea to start in Pamplona.
     
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  27. falcon269

    falcon269 no commercial interests

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    Re: Is starting from Pamplona 'cheating.?

    An interesting concept. A hierarchy. Like Olympic medals. Why just "where you started?" Jenny Anderson did the Camino in 9 days, 5 hours, and 29 minutes. Perhaps speed should be the source of our personal pride. And age, maybe. When a ninety year old does it, perhaps those younger should feel less satisfaction. Or disability. Twenty-two got Compostelas using a wheelchair last year. I walked with a one-legged pilgrim in his fifties. Do we all feel less because of that?

    The problem lies in using other people as one's yardstick. If their hubris affects us, it is our own fault. It is their hierarchy, not ours. The satisfaction lies, I think, in the feeling of personal achievement. Anyone who feels diminished because someone else was faster, older, walked further each day, or walked dawn to dusk, he has my pity, because it would be truly sad.
     
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  28. tyrrek

    tyrrek Veteran Member

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    Yep, we do sometimes seem to judge, and there is no need or reason to apart from to make ourselves feel better.

    I have assisted with Reb's litter pick the last couple of years and I wear my pilgrim's scallop shell on my backpack from leaving home to returning home, even though I have no intention of getting to Santiago - only to the bins by the chapel outside Sahagun to dump the last of the trash! :D I still consider myself a pilgrim on these trips, and would be identified as such by the people I pass and meet. I still go to a church service at the end, as I would on a 'real' Camino. That's just me though, and I'm odd.

    Buen Camino!
     
  29. Susannafromsweden

    Susannafromsweden Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Via de la Plata 2010, Camino de Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo 2013, Olvidado, Invierno 2014
    Well that's not bad because you have actually done something.
    Am afraid I can't really think of my own caminos as some kind of achievement.
    The thought makes me blush. :oops:
    What have I done? Been out walking from a to b.
    How can that be some kind of achievement. That's a long holiday.
     
  30. backpack45

    backpack45 Active Member

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    It would only be "cheating", IMHO, if you say you have done something other than what you tell people you have done. If anyone were to really challenge what you have done, you might ask them if they walked the entire route--AND back home :) --because that's what the early pilgrims did. Although a few people these days start from home and walk back there, most pilgrims nowadays fly, drive, or take a train to their start and stop points. I say "hike your own hike."
     
  31. mralisn

    mralisn Active Member

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    Absolutely agree. I've come across many who walk only a few kms day after day, arrive by transport to next refugio, take beds, and have no problem leaving another without who has walked all day.

    I am fully appreciating the historical information some are sharing here. Thank you for that!

     
  32. falcon269

    falcon269 no commercial interests

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    St. Jean le Vieux was the capital of Lower Navarre until it was burned to the ground in 1177 by King Richard the Lionheart. While nearby Ostabat was the intersection of several pilgrimage routes and home to many hospitals, St. Jean le Vieux would be a more traditional "starting point" in the 9-12th centuries for starting in Spain. However, Navarre was not a part of Spain until it was absorbed in 1521. Of course, there was no "Spain" until the unification of the crowns of Aragon and Castile in 1479, which still remained separate kingdoms.
     
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  33. Rebekah Scott

    Rebekah Scott Camino Busybody Donating Member Donating Member

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    There isn´t and wasn´t any "traditional starting point" for the camino, not a long time ago, and not now. There were bottle-necks and staging points, sure. But every pilgrim started where he started, at home usually. The business of "cheating" if you don´t backtrack and bend over backward to get to X on Thursday in time to see the spectacular Y on Friday, well... It is very modern. Maybe even artificial. Certainly packaged.

    I live in the middle of the camino Frances, and my (sensible) neighbors say it´s silly for me to backtrack to Pamplona and up to Roncesvalles to start the camino. "The Camino is right there by the church," they laugh. "You don´t know where it is, we´ll walk you over there and show you! You live here, your camino starts here!"

    They have a good point. The last time I walked the whole Frances, I took a train eastward to Pamplona, and the bus up to Roncesvalles. It felt silly, all that to-ing and fro-ing, walking past the same places I had been a few days before. The entire first half of my trip felt like I was walking home. It was only after I passed Moratinos I felt like I was on my way to Santiago.

    It is hard to find a Spaniard (who doesn´t live on the camino) who doesn´t start the Frances at Roncesvalles. They´ll tell you THAT is where the Camino begins! Go figure. :D
     
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  34. fraluchi

    fraluchi Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Not at all! :) You will not be breaking any specific rules, nor starting your Camino in an unethical way. And as far as the hills to be conquered are concerned, you'll manage them step by step, at your personal pace. Your overall timing seems OK :D
     
  35. newfydog

    newfydog Veteran Member

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    Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
    Just curious to how the ranks go.....Obviously,since we did a trip starting in LePuy, we are superior to you. But wait, we did it on mountain bikes, so we would probably be demoted.(lower than a snake in some eyes) Ah,--- but later we went from Prague to LePuy, giving us a 3,200 km rank. That must count for something.

    OK, I'll admit, our first one was done from Pamplona. Once a cheater, there is probably no redemption! :D

    PS---I look fondly upon anyone sunburned in Santiago, however they travelled, but I do find it irritating to have to stand in line with all those tourists!
     
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  36. SYates

    SYates Camino Fossil AD 1999 Donating Member

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    .
    too many to list all
    .
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    Via Regia/Ecumenical Pilgrims Way June&November 2016

    Just back from: Walking the CF in winter 2016/17
    Hey, I am also in Prague! Fancy meeting up? SY
     
  37. irishwalker

    irishwalker New Member

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    On my first camino many years ago, we started in Pamplona. We were actually cycling on the roads I hasten to add. We reached Santiago in 10 days. We been to Santiago many times since .Now that I am retired I am walking the route in stages. I started last year in SJPDP on a very bad day and walked to Logrono in six days, about 165 k. A couple of years ago I walked from Astorga to Sarria, my favorite section across two mountain ranges in six days, about 150k.I am the wrong side of sixty, so you will have no problem . Just make sure you have the right tried and tested trek boots and complete some 20/25k walks carrying about 6kgs excluding water, before you head off.

    Buen Camino,

    Irishwalker.
     
  38. Bella.H.24

    Bella.H.24 New Member

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    Its funny you say that, as I am currently living and working as an Au Pair in the Catalonian region of Spain and when I first started talking about undertaking the Camino upon finishing my work here, my hostdad told me all about it, and he said that the start was in Roncesvalles. It wasn't until I started my research that I learnt that the popular starting point was over the border in St. Jean!

    I am most definitely still in two minds about my starting point. Though having being reassured that I will still qualify for a Compestela, and it won't be seen as 'cheating' I think I may start in Pamplona. As someone said further up the thread, it will be better that I miss the first couple of days, than risk having to rush the walk, or to end up having to take public transport further down the route.

    I feel that giving myself a slightly lessened route, I am giving myself a bit of 'insurance' should something happen (the dreaded tendonitis etc) and I need to take a couple of rest days somewhere along the route.

    Thankyou all so much for your wise input!

    Buen Camino all and God Bless

    Bella
     
  39. waveprof

    waveprof Enthusiast

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    Somehow, I feel it is equally difficult to find a Basque who has any problem at all starting in SJPDP :D
     
  40. RENSHAW

    RENSHAW Veteran Member

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    2/4 weeks every year on CF reaching Burgos or Leon. Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
    Like many others have said , there is no such thing as cheating , it is your Camino. Catch a bus some day , a taxi , take a rest day , skip a section or walk only 5km to the next town.

    Taking your age and fitness into account and the fact that it is your first Camino, I would spend the night in Pamplona ,then spend the whole of the next day in Pamplona taking in the sights.

    Take the 18h00 bus to Roncesvalles where there is a huge Albergue (think is opens on the 15th March). The detour will be well worth it , walking in the misty and sometimes snow covered foothills of the Pyrenees is a great way to start the Camino. You can always skip a day later on if you are worried about making it to Santiago.

    I have started three Caminos or Part Caminos from Roncesvalles , then spent the next night in the quaint town of Zubiri and I have no regrets - now that I'm old and fat , Pamplona is my current starting point.

    My next start will be from Zubiri and I will be taking the 18h00 Roncesvalles bus that stops off there as well. :D
     
  41. cecelia

    cecelia several caminos- '03-'13

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    According to the statistics from the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago - as posted on their website http://peregrinossantiago.es - in 2012, of the people who arrived in Santiago, the percentages who started from SJPP were as follows:
    January-8.72%
    February-7.43%
    March -6.84%
    April-6.39%
    May-14.03%
    June-15.17%
    July-8.59%
    August-8.45%
    September-10.55%
    October-20.20%
    November-21.47%
    December-15.06%
    Also listed on the site - for example in the month of October 2012 - there were 148 different starting points. Kind of puts it in perspective doesn't it?
     
  42. Tahitidom

    Tahitidom New Member

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    Hi
    For who can it be cheating ?? Only for you if (you want) !! Not for God, not for the credecial, not for your neighbours on the camino...

    No one will tell you any criticism about YOUR chalenge.
    That's your business only!!
    Now, as your are fit, and young, you can easily reach Santiago in 34 days . And walking 20 km per days is not so difficult (4km/hour !) : 5 hours /day walking is do able for many of us.
    Don't worry about "chating " from Pamplona or Burgos, or anywhere ! It's not a competition !
    buen camino
    Dominique
     
  43. codecables

    codecables Member

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    Agreeing with all the comments above, I guess the 'real' starting point of the Camino is in your heart... :wink:
     
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  44. demcrookedvultures

    demcrookedvultures New Member

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    Hi,
    I started from Pamplona in August last year and for a while after I slightly regretted not doing the "whole thing" from SJPP. Hopefully I'll rectify that someday ! I can't recommend enough the whole Camino experience. :arrow:
    Buen camino,
    Johnny.
     
  45. falcon269

    falcon269 no commercial interests

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    Don't you have to start in Le-Puy-en-Velay to do the "whole thing"? The Bishop there started the ball rolling...
     
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  46. whariwharangi

    whariwharangi Veteran Member

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    A walk on the camino typically means getting up, walking about 20 -25km, and finishing the day at another albergue.

    The person that walks from Rome or the person that walks from Sarria are doing the same thing.

    The only difference is the person from Rome does this for more days.

    Its your camino. You don't even have to finish in Santiago.
     
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  47. RENSHAW

    RENSHAW Veteran Member

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    Yes , I was to fall into this trap myself , 10 years on I feel okay about taking a 5km stroll if I want , indeed , I rarely walk 20km per day. 8)
     
  48. as gaillimh

    as gaillimh Active Member

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    When I was in pilgrims office in 2011, having walked from le puy to Santiago, my credencil was full of sello, the lady asked did I walk all the way from Ireland, I replied I can't walk on water, not sure she understood, camino trekking in the heart, you can start anywhere, finish anywhere, no guilt, Buen camino
     
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  49. JabbaPapa

    JabbaPapa "True Pilgrim"

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    Not only is starting at Pamplona NOT "cheating", but given the strange nature of the Camino between Roncesvalles and there, it's frankly wise.

    Personally I never have and never would start at SJPP -- the stage over the Pyreness may be glorious, but it's best to have a couple of weeks hiking in one's legs before attempting it IMO.
     
  50. Kitsambler

    Kitsambler Jakobsweg Junkie

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    Actually Le Puy is not far enough east. Try Warsaw or Bratislava.
     
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  51. JabbaPapa

    JabbaPapa "True Pilgrim"

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    heh

    The absolutely purist method to do the 'whole thing' is, having already been baptised and confirmed into the Catholic Faith, to depart from the altar of your home Catholic parish, having received the pilgrim's blessing from your parish curate (or even, preferably, your Bishop) ; walk to Santiago in penitence for your sins ; confess these sins at -- cripes can't remember where, Google 2 secs -- Villafranca del Bierzo or any other church between there and Santiago (inclusive), and receive absolution for these sins ; seek your pilgrim's certificate from the Cathedral office ; attend Holy Mass and take the Eucharist at the Cathedral on a day of plenary indulgence, or during a Holy Year, again in penitence for your sins ; remain in Compostela for up to but no more than three days (or, if the previous condition is not realised, until the next day of plenary indulgence, upon which you will attend Holy Mass and take the Eucharist, as above) ; (optionally -- walk to Fisterra ; and from there back to Santiago again -- optionally stay at Compostela 1-3 days again) ; walk back to the altar of your home Catholic parish ; perform similar acts of contrition for your sins, and attend Holy Mass at your parish church as an Act of Grace for your Holy Pilgrimage to the tomb of the Apostle ; go home spiritually and physically and mentally renewed and regenerated, and then put into action the Graces received.

    (perhaps unsurprisingly, the absolute 100% purist method is unusual in the 21st century)
     
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  52. Kimmy

    Kimmy Member

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    ;-) love your post Yabbapapa! One day I would love to walk from home (not all the way back though...) but I will need many months for that (live up north in Scandinavia) so I guess I will have to retire first. The Camino should never be a competition. However I believe many of us like the idea of a starting point and that is why SJPDP is so popular. We wish to feel that we are a part of something grand and unique, and since the first day is such a task it feels even more prominent. As for myself I found walking into Ronchevalles dead tired and full of relief was one of the many highlights on the Camino.
     
  53. JabbaPapa

    JabbaPapa "True Pilgrim"

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    Yep :arrow: :D
     
  54. goatgirl

    goatgirl New Member

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    We are coming from Australia, so the walking on water may be a problem for us.
    At this stage(6 months out) we plan to start at SJPDP as it may be hard but the views and experience are calling me. We will walk through to Pampaloma then have a quick detour to Bilbao then train through to Leon. We have a limited time so this seems like the best compromise for us.

    This post has reassured me that this is our Camino, and this is the best we can do. Perhaps one day from Paris.
     
  55. Morning Glory

    Morning Glory New Member

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    There seem to be many ways to do this. Each to their own. Buen Camino!
     
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  56. MendiWalker

    MendiWalker Guest

    The Camino always begins on ones doorstep. That you wish to go somewhere else and say you´re starting from there ...... great, no problem.

    That the Spanish say that they will begin at Roncesvalle because it´s the first Spanish stop along the way...... great. That the Basque want to start in SJPDP/Donibane Garazi because it´s the first stop in Euskal Herria along the way...... great. That the Irish get a stamp on their credential in the church opposite the Guinness brewery ....... great.

    With regards to "cheaters" as some say, are those who use a motor vehicle and then wish a place at an albergue . Or those who don´t walk at least the last 100kms. because they you a motor vehicle and expect a "Compostela" at the end.

    The Camino de Santiago ends as its name states........ in Santiago. But the "Camino" once you start it NEVER ENDS.;)

    Buen Camino!
     
  57. Varda

    Varda New Member

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    I was very happy to find this post, as it was the very question I'd been asking myself!

    So, if I plan to start at Pamplona, how many days should I allow myself to reach Santiago? (I'm in reasonable shape, but I'll be 50, and I don't want to have to rush-rush-rush the whole time. Any advice?
     
  58. whariwharangi

    whariwharangi Veteran Member

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    Distance Pamplona to Santiago is 725 km.

    If you use John Brierley's book, his stages would provide a framework for 30 days from Pamplona to Santiago. Or about 24 km per day. Plus any rest days.

    My advice is to plan on average 20km per day. My advice is on the slower end of the scale ... If you want to go faster you will then end up with days extra to explore Santiago, go on to Finisterre, or make like a tourist in the City from which your flight home departs.

    That 4 km difference might not seem like much but by day three when the reality starts to impede your sprint at the start ... you'll know it.
     
  59. sillydoll

    sillydoll Veteran Member

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    You can use this website to plan your daily stages from Roncesvalles. It will give you profile maps, albergues, sunrise and sunset and lunar illumination times. ww.godesalco.com/plan.
    * How to use the http://www.godesalco.com/plan website to plan your daily schedule:
    • Click on the route you are doing – Camino de Santiago for the Camino Frances.
    • Click on the circle ◙ to the left of the town where you are starting, eg: Pamplona
    • Scroll down to the town where you will finish, Santiago, and click on the right circle. ◙
    • You can type your name in the space provided, then click on SEND THIS FORM.
    • In the new page, the mileage between each village and town will be displayed.
      Click on each place where you would like to stay. If you are planning on walking 20km per day, click on the town closest to the 20km distance displayed to the left of the town. Eg: Pamplona is ticked.
    • Click on Obanos – 21,8km will be displayed.
    • Continue choosing your overnight stops until you have reached Santiago. Enter the dates of your pilgrimage in the space provided.
    • Click on SEND THIS FORM and the next window will offer you different documents to download with your daily schedule, profile of the route etc.
    • After downloading an option, click on the ‘BACK” facility on the page to download another option. (If you click on the back option on the search engine you will lose the page.)
     
  60. Mark2012

    Mark2012 Active Member

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    Hi Bella,

    There is no doubting that if you have a deadline then starting in Pamplona would give you some peace of mind, and that would put you in a very good mental space as you begin. It would be a shame to start in, say, St Jean and be clock-watching right from the off. In terms of the physical challenge, by starting from Roncesvalles or Pamplona you take the mammoth climb from St Jean out of play, with that baptism of fire accounting for the beginning of many of the injuries that can build up on people over time on the Camino. One potential negative about starting in Roncesvalles comes to mind, in that if you find yourself in the municipal albergue there watching the exhausted, yet elated pilgrims arriving after the walk from St Jean you might feel like you "missed out" on a Camino experience!

    As far as your understandable awareness of the prospect of walking 20km+ every day goes, if you start off even moderately fit you should be fine. You'll be surprised by how fast your body adjusts to the walking. My own approach when I walked in 2012 was not to push too hard in the early days, but within a week not only had my body adjusted to 25km+ per day without any adverse consequences, the idea of walking less than 20kms felt like slacking off!!! The Camino is like its own little pocket universe. It operates with its own sense of time and your idea of what constitutes a looooooong walking day will shift very quickly.

    Enjoy it wherever you start!
     
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  61. williamlittig

    williamlittig Active Member Donating Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    2016 (fall) Camino Sanabre / Hospitalero?
    Cheating would be not to search and enjoy this great world. I am reading a wonderful book " The Art Of Pilgrimage by Phil Cousineau" Your way is personal and shouldn't be measured by others. Even your own expectations can be fulfilled anytime. Please enjoy and learn from experiences.... Willy

     
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  62. serenalms

    serenalms Member

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    October 2013
    I get really frustrated with people that call starting somewhere other than St. John "cheating." Who are you cheating?! Is there a test at the end that I don't know about?

    I started in Pamplona because of time constraints and don't regret it at all. I didn't feel like any less of a pilgrim, though there were a few judgmental people that told me "it doesn't really count if you didn't start in St. John." A sentiment I couldn't disagree with more. One of the many lessons I learned on the Camino was to care less what people thought, because in the beginning I was letting negative people like that get me down.

    It is your camino, and you have to do what feels right to you. For me, that was starting in Pamplona :)
     
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  63. PANO

    PANO Active Member

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    Fully agree with you, Serenalms. (see www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/eight-reasons-why-pamplona-is-a-great-starting-point-for-the-cf.22654/)
    All but a handful of pilgrims (those starting at their house door) have to use whatever public transport to arrive at the starting point of their camino, its length is an absolutely private and personal decision, and a very good one at that!. This discussion therefore is as futile as the one about starting in Sarria being "a cheap camino"
    Pamplona happens to be a fair-sized town with good connections to arrive , whereas SJPDP is not. I chose it simply because I had a direct flight connection via Barcelona; to "walk back-n-forth" to SJPDP made no logical sense to me at all. My search failed to reveal a compelling historic reason (such as the one for Le Puy), St. Jean is just another village on the many pilgrim ways leading to SdC.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2014
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  64. Kiwi-d

    Kiwi-d Active Member

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    Thank you for asking this question, Bella, because I had been planning to start from Roncevalles, but was stressing about how to get there from Madrid. When I saw your question, the light bulb clicked on! Just start from Pamplona, problem solved! I've now booked my flights and will be departing from Pamplona 1 September, so many thanks, Bella. :)
     
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  65. whariwharangi

    whariwharangi Veteran Member

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    We could cause a lot of confusion by stealing away jimmy's bones and installing them in a crypt in say ... Minsk. A compostela for those who walk from as far away as St Petersburg. Imagine how the discussion here would be different.
     
  66. alexwalker

    alexwalker Veteran Member Donating Member

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    On my first Camino I started from Pamplona: It was so perfect: Arriving in Barcelona at 1pm, bus leaving for Pamploma at 3.15, arrival at time to reach the municipal albergue and get my compostela, and walking out the door straight on the Way the next morning. My thoughts were to go back to Roncesvalles and SjdP, but I thought: "Why not just get on with it?!" and so I did. Never regretted it for a second!
     
  67. norelle

    norelle Member

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    Those are my plans for late March!
    In 2011 I walked from SJPdP and it was wonderful. I know starting from Pamplona will be just as good!
    buen camino
     
  68. jmcarp

    jmcarp Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I found myself getting into the "who's the real pilgrim" game early on, when, after crossing the Pyrenees from St Jean, I was sitting at the sidewalk cafe in Roncesvalles enjoying a well-earned cerveza when I saw the bus from Pamplona stop and disgorge a load of fresh pilgrims. I thought to myself, these aren't "real" pilgrims -- they didn't start in St Jean. I then started dreaming up a Camino score sheet, where points could be earned based on where a pilgrim started the Camino, did he walk or ride a bike, did he carry his own backpack or have it transported, did he take a bus or taxi along the way, etc. Maybe there would be bonus points for staying in albergues rather than hotels, or for averaging more than 25 or 30 km per day. Think of the bragging rights one might have if they did it all the "right" way! I could even start a web page where everyone posted their final scores. And I could probably earn a buck or two by having advertising in the margins of the web page, and maybe make enough money to finance my next Camino.

    But I quickly realized that this was not the spirit of the Camino, and began to think of it in the context of the parable of the workers in the vineyard, found in Matthew's Gospel (Matthew 20:1-16). In the Camino version, the starting points along the Camino equate to the different times of day that the various workers started. In the end, they all received the same pay (i.e., their Compostela), no matter how many hours they worked (i.e., how many kilometers they walked). There's a moral to that parable that applies just as well to the Camino as it does to salvation.

    Buen Camino,
    Jim
     
  69. marjm007

    marjm007 Member

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    I like that comparison!
     
  70. alexwalker

    alexwalker Veteran Member Donating Member

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    (2015): Astorga-SdC in April, Portuguise
    (2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Continue in Sept.:Burgos-SdC
    One of my favorite activities, wherever i sit down...:D
     
  71. sillydoll

    sillydoll Veteran Member

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    The thing to remember is that the people who hand out the Compostela don't give a hoot how far you walked (beyond the 100km), where you stayed or how your pack got there (you could send it ahead in a white limousine for all they care!).
    In the middle ages you travelled to Santiago by whatever means you could - boat, horse, donkey, litter - for the reward of time off purgatory. The indulgence for remission of sins only applied, and still only applies, to Catholic pilgrims and they don't have to walk there to earn the indulgences.
    For the rest of us there is no purgatory and therefore no heavenly reward. Your reward is knowing that you walked whatever distance you set as your goal. The heaviest burden is your own pride (in how far you've walked, how heavy your pack, how basic your accommodations and how frugal your meals) and that won't earn you Brownie points with anybody!
     
  72. codecables

    codecables Member

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    Just to give my personal experience, I started in Pamplona last year and arrived on SdC 29 days later.

    Buen camino!
     
  73. falcon269

    falcon269 no commercial interests

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    Well said! Other heavy burdens are the artificial constraints you place in your mind. The fewer you bring with you, the more fun you will have. I think that is the basis of everyone's wish to "walk without a plan." What they may be saying is they don't want a lot of constraints on their pilgrimage. I cannot agree more with that attitude. It really makes the walk tension-free.
     
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  74. brkdn2

    brkdn2 Member

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    The very first question I asked my friend when he returned from the CF was about cheating by starting in Pamplona and his reply was there's no cheating on the Camino only reasons why. This forum has taught me the only cheating is of yourself by not going and doing the best you can . If I had known about it 20 years ago I'm sure I would already done it. If I could live to be 200 I could do it twice and If I could spin my hair into gold , I could take all my friends.
    Go, enjoy yourself, as much as you want to go the Camino needs us more.
     
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  75. jefferyonthecamino

    jefferyonthecamino http://www.barrerabooks.com/ - Guidebooks

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    If you don't start from your doorstep, it's cheating
     
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  76. Andrew James Doyle

    Andrew James Doyle Member

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    Not cheating at all! We had to 'short-cut' the Mesata for similar reasons, then ended up extending each days walk till we ended up in Santiago Early! After 7 days the body adapts, your routines begin to help and the friends around you start a wave of strength! But go with your own thoughts, plans and abilities and Enjoy!!!!! Buen camino
     
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  77. wayfarer

    wayfarer Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    The reason some people think you are cheating on the Camino is because you are not doing it "their way". Its your Camino, do it "your way" and enjoy it, you will not be cheating.
     
  78. Kanga

    Kanga Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Yes, it definitely is cheating and we will all be standing by with a clipboard to mark your performance in other aspects as well. You must start at SJPDP and walk the route Napoleon. You must never even look at a bus, much less a taxi. You must walk at least 25km every day and follow with religious fervour the sacred writings of Mr Brierley. You must carry your own pack and it must be less than 10% of your body weight. You must carry 2 litres of water. You must not snore. You must get up at 5am each morning and walk in the dark but you must not rustle plastic bags or shine a torch in the dorm. You must confess any bedbug bites and vow to irradiate yourself and belongings to kill the blighters. You must wear waterproof boots, Vaseline and two pairs of socks. You must carry two sticks. You must use Lush (Dr Bonners?) soap to wash your hair.
    The path is narrow and steep and it is harder to finish than the eye of a needle but great will be your reward when you stand at the pilgrims gate to get your final mark.....from us who sit in judgment. Or something like that.

    Buen Camino!
     
  79. tyrrek

    tyrrek Veteran Member

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    That's right Kanga. And if you have a hot shower you have to go back and start again. :)
     
  80. wayfarer

    wayfarer Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Brilliant. :):):)
     
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  81. williamlittig

    williamlittig Active Member Donating Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    First let me thank Kanga for the outline of a "True Pilgrim" then mention two liters is not suffering enough and I feel guilt that I only had two small blisters. Now if you walk from Pamplona to Cruz Menor and enjoy yourself, eat well and are thankful for the experience you are okay with me . The Camino (the way) is yours and anyone that is passing out labels hasn't learned enough. Enjoy yourself throughout life Pilgrim, suffering is an option not relished by all...... Willy
     
  82. LookingFor42

    LookingFor42 Member

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    Interesting thread. My mum only wants to walk a section near Pamplona but I want to walk over the pass because I am drawn to the mountains (we don't really have many here in Brisbane Australia where I live). I would feel like I missed out on something (walking over my first ever proper mountain range) if I started in Pamplona. But what if my mum can only come with me for a shorter section from Panplona? Will I comprkmise my Camino for my mum's or will this be a lesson of my Camino? (Compromise).

    Oh and as for starting from home ... I think Brisbane Australia might be a bit of a long way to walk to Santiago. I'd get side tracked somewhere along the way ... There's so much to see. I mean, I started traveling in June 2015 with a view to go to Spain to walk the Camino but a certain budget airline's cheap flights saw me spending time cycle touring South Australia and Victoria and then Sotuh Korea, motorcycle touring Java in Indonesia, backpacking Thailand, self driving Malaysia and cycle touring Japan. I dread to think how much I would get side tracked if I walked from Brisbane. It'd take me longer than flying to Europe will in a few months. Haha
     
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  83. Kanga

    Kanga Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    @LookingFor42 she could catch a taxi or the bus from SJPDP and you could walk and meet her in Roncesvales. SJPDP is a very pretty French village and there is plenty to keep her occupied even if you take two days walking to Roncesvales. Just ensure she is comfortably accommodated before you leave (there is at least one B&B where the owner is English) and arrange her transport. I'm sure she would enjoy an extra night in SJPDP. Monday's is market days and all the local farmers bring their produce to town. It's great fun.

    Or you could travel separately and meet up in Pamplona.
     
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