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Is starting midweek in St Jean a better option

2020 Camino Guides

Agnogel

A very great full pilgrim
Stats_SJPP_2010_mois.jpg

Hi again i am looking at starting my camino on the last week of August arriving in St Jean on Sunday the 24th and to start walking on the Monday, i was looking at the graph from another post that shows the number of pilgrims starting each week in 2010 and at week 34 the number starting was 1200, and at week no 29 it was 900 was there a reason like the world cup or some other world event that caused that, I have been thinking that the bulk of the pilgrims will also leave on the Monday leaving mid week a little less crowded I am very flexable with my dates and dont have a problem starting mid or end of a week, By the way the 24th is week no 34 this year
Thanks in advance for all your help
 
Last edited:
W

whariwharangi

Guest
If you leave St Jean mid week you might avoid some of the crowds. You will then likely wind up in Pamplona, a major starting point, for the following weekend.

It would be hard to attribute anything to the statistics ... to me it looks like normal distribution.
 

lettinggo

Active Member
Hola

When we begin a journey the people around us are witnesses and to share this with strangers, other pilgrims, is in my opinion an important part of the pilgrimage.
The personal and social ties we make, across race, gender, age, sexuality or anything else, creates renewed faith in being what we all are; human.
It is impossible to speculate on what day is the best to begin, in my opinion.
Regardless, it will be coincidences which will determine who you meet.
The best advice I can give is to begin when it is good for you and to recognize the ones around you.
From there your Camino begins and what it will lead to is all up to you.
Make it the best.

Also as whariwharangi stated, statistics are not easy to make good sense of.
But as you state, as you have good possible options to adjust your plan, do adjust it so it avoids the statistically
high peaks.
It may be a good decision or it may be a bad decision,

Buen Camino
Lettingg
 

Agnogel

A very great full pilgrim
Hola

When we begin a journey the people around us are witnesses and to share this with strangers, other pilgrims, is in my opinion an important part of the pilgrimage.
The personal and social ties we make, across race, gender, age, sexuality or anything else, creates renewed faith in being what we all are; human.
It is impossible to speculate on what day is the best to begin, in my opinion.
Regardless, it will be coincidences which will determine who you meet.
The best advice I can give is to begin when it is good for you and to recognize the ones around you.
From there your Camino begins and what it will lead to is all up to you.
Make it the best.

Also as whariwharangi stated, statistics are not easy to make good sense of.
But as you state, as you have good possible options to adjust your plan, do adjust it so it avoids the statistically
high peaks.
It may be a good decision or it may be a bad decision,

Buen Camino
Lettingg
Hi Lettingg
Thank you for the reply, The reason i posted the tread was that it may be a little more easy to get accommadation/ train/ and flights to St Jean mid week i am toying with the idea of visiting Lourdes first for a day or so and then getting the train/bus to St Jean, The last thing i want is not to have the experence or pleasure and the company of other pilgrims on the camino is that not part of the atraction, I meet new people every day and some become close friends both of mine but most important i have been blessed to become a friend of theres, Looking forward to meeting you all on your way
Buen Camino
 

mralisn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SdC (2005), Camino Norte-Fisterra (2010), SJPdP-Muxia-Fisterra (2012), Camino Norte w/Primitivo-Muxia-Fisterra (2014), Camino Portuguese (2016)
I'm not quite sure it matters on which day you start and whether it's worth that much concern. I have started my walks on a Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I couldn't tell one from the other.

Keep in mind the graph above is from 2o10 which was the most recent Holy Year. There was an immense amount of walkers on the CF that year as well as the other paths. I'm thinking it could have been the most up to that point and could be the most ever. While the Camino has gained much popularity here in the U.S., I doubt the numbers this year (compared to the graph above) will be anywhere close. Since you asked, the World Cup ended the near the 2nd week of July I believe.

Whatever the case, I wouldn't put that much thought into the day you start unless you surely have a preference. You'll have an incredible journey no matter.

Trust in the arrows,
Simeon
 

brawblether

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
June/Jul 2012; Feb 2014
The influx is in August when Europeans tend to take their annual leave and therefore have time to walk.
 

piogaw

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances (05/06 2012) sjpdp-sdc; vdlp/camino sanabrea (02/03 2013) sevilla-sdc; hospitalero sdc june 2013, august-september 2013; caminho portugues (03 2014) lisboa-sdc
Hello agnogel,

If you start in the middle of the week, there certainly will be less peregrinos walking as compared to start the walk on monday. Imho i think it is better to start at the midweek for several reasons. Many peregrinos arrive at sjpp normally on a saturday afternoon or sunday afternoon and waited in sjpp to rest or to get over the jetlag before starting the camino first thing monday morning. Mind you you will still see many peregrinos, but i believe you will have no problem of finding a bed in sjpp. As you have mentioned, it is also easier to get flights and train tickets.

There will be less crowds to find a bed along the camino. Remember august is the high season for the cf.

Good luck on your planning. Buen camino and god bless.
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
As it is, when you get on the "train" of the Camino, you become part of a wave; you will most likely meet the same people over and over on your way to Saint James. If you start midweek, your "carriage" will be less crowded so to say, when compared to starting on a Saturday/Sunday/Monday, and therefore you will have less competition for beds, which, like it or not, makes it a more enjoyable experience.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
If starting from SJPdP, one good solution is to depart on a Sunday, walk only 8 km and stay at Hunto / Orisson Sunday evening, and arrive at Roncesvalles on Monday. The same paradigm holds if you are taking the Valcarlos Route instead. That puts you into and out of Pamplona well before the next weekend. It also avoids the folks starting at SJPdP or Roncesvalles on the weekend proper a day or two in front of you.

As has been well-stated above, there is a surge or "wave" of fresh pilgrims coming out of many of the favored starting points along the Camino each weekend. Many people coming from nearby Spanish or other European places can travel from their starting airport or train station and be at St. Jean, Roncesvalles, Pamplona, or any other preferred starting point (e.g. Burgos, Leon, Astorga, or Sarria, etc.) in one day. Some people can even leave work, ride a train and arrive in time to start the next day, or the following day. As, statistically half (+/-) of all pilgrims on the Camino Frances are Spanish, this is significant.

As a result, there is a "wave" that starts from each place on Friday and Saturday mornings, and a smaller wave on Sunday mornings, as people try to stretch their Camino time by including weekends. By including two weekends, one can walk the Camino for up to eight or nine days before having to return home. Many Europeans are able to do the Camino Frances one segment or one week at a time.

Also, if the Monday is a local holiday (i.e. Easter Monday, Bastille Day, etc.) you need to factor that into your planning. The "trick," if you will, to mitigating crowds and increasing bed availability is to walk "your" Camino before or after that wave. It is sort of like surfing. Catch the wave just right and you have a good ride. Miss the wave and you do not... ;)

On my first Camino, I departed SJPdP on a Wednesday. That worked great, except that I hit Pamplona on a Saturday, and it was a local saint's feast day, so many shops were closed. It would have been better for me if I arrived at Pamplona on Friday. So, in 2014, I am going to try a Sunday departure from SJPdP instead to start slow and easy and to pass through the next two big starting places, Roncesvalles and Pamplona before the next weekend.

But don't obsess. It will all work out.

I hope this helps.
 

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