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Lourdes to Somport

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Apr 2003; Lourdes to Burgos via Jaca, August 2006; (Le Puy to Santiago 2014)
#1
Having previously tackled and thoroughly enjoyed the camino Fances from SJPdP in 2003, I had a calling / urge/ desire / pull to re-walk the Camino de Santiago. So in August 2006 I started again, this time from Lourdes, a fascinating shrine which happened to be on the last part of the Piemont Route. Lourdes, whilst being overrun with its own pilgrims, was an exciting place to start, and got you into quite a spiritual frame of mind! Finding somewhere to get my credencial stamped was easy - the main information centre. I forgot ask if you could actually get a blank one from there or not - I got one posted from CSJ in the UK. ( We need a 'group' based in Australia).

The dawn walk down past the Marian shrine with no-one around was a perfect way to start walking through the woods out of Lourdes to Betharram. The way was well signposted - although the small plastic tags nailed to trees did occasionally take a bit of finding. The terrain was quite hilly at times - it wsa following in the foothills of the Pyrennes, but some stunningly beautiful countryside. I love seeing the real mountains (Australia is really quite flat). A good website that I studied a lot is:
[http://vppyr.free.fr/vpp-index-transversales.php3]


Having had the previous experience of the Camino Fances, I found that accomodation was quite spread out, although there a few refugios around. But going up the Valle d'Ossau, a lesser travelled route over the Pyrenees at the Col des Moines, the pass next east of the Somport pass, had no pilgrim acomdation. The few gites and hotels were comfortable. The route up the Valle d'Osseu was beautiful but a pilgrim going "a Compostelle" was seen as unusual. Using my very poor French, an elderly cafe ower told me she had seen one other pilgrim that summer (I think this is what she was saying). Until I arrive at Somport, commencing the Camino Aragonese, I hadn't met any other pilgims. Even so, I found this experience the equal of any othe part of the Camino de Santiago that I have walked. Maybe I'll go from Le Puy next time?
 

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KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
#2
Thanks James..... for an inspiring and informative post. I think I will definitely start from Lourdes 'next time' - whenever I am fortunate enough for that to be!
Margaret
 

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
#3
Hi James, I am thinking of starting a "group" here in Australia. My thoughts at this stage are low key, but like you, I was only thinking the other day, that it would be great to have our own Credencial. Mind you - with the changes and stricter rules it might be more difficult now. Anyway - when I finish all my house painting in a couple of weeks I plan to call a "meeting" (ie - BYO food and dirnk and let's have a chat) for here in Adelaide. I have been collecting names of people who have been, who are interested in going in the future, and those that are planning a Camino soon. I think I am probably up to about 35 - 40 people just here in Adelaide and environs. A bit hard for the other states though. I believe there is an informal group that meet in a Spanish resaurant several times a year in Sydney. I would appreciate any feedback from people on these thoughts. Cheers, Janet
 

Anniesantiago

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 will be Camino #14.
#4
James, would you be willing to post your stages along this Route?
It looks spectacular!

Do you have website?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Apr 2003; Lourdes to Burgos via Jaca, August 2006; (Le Puy to Santiago 2014)
#5
Thank-you for the replies.

Maragret - I think there will always be a 'next time" - the Camino gets into your soul. :D

Janet - I would love to hear about your group in Adelaide if you get it together, even though I am in Melbourne!

Annie - Unfortunately I don't have a website. But here are the details of the walk I did.


Commenced at Lourdes. Make sure you spend at least one night in a motel in Lourdes. These range from very cheap to expensive, but there is a huge choice. There are plenty of restaurants and shops to buy supplies. If you haven't been to the Shrine you must participate in the nightly procession. I am not Catholic (grew up Presbyterian), but the candlelit Procession of Our Lady of Lourdes and the outpooring of Faith is a wonderful experience to be part of.

Leaving early the next morning, I found a cafe for breakfast. The walk thought the woods roughly following the River Pau, through the Foret de Lourdes wsa so peaceful and beautiful way to start a pilgrimage, allowing lots of time for relfection. The route was easy to follow and reasonably well signposted.
It was about 18kms to Betharram, with its Sanctuary and monumental Stations of the Cross(I think) up a steep hill climb. I then kept walking 12 kms to Bruges (not the old city in Belgium which is very beautiful and makes delicious chocolates :D ) to a pligrims refugio at a local caravan / camping ground. Passing the Churchs in Asson and Bruges I came across 2 Christening services - a good omen!

From Bruges, it was about 28kms to Laruns, having headed south off the Voie du Piemont Pyreneen to follow the Vallee du Ossau. this route is also well marked. At Laruns, I must admit the I was extremely nervous about the impending crossing of the mountains. I have a great fear of heights and not being aware how the mountain crossing would be I decided to take a local bus from Laruns to Gabas to get the mountain section done a day sooner. The bus actually goes up into the carpark of the National Parkto the Lac Bious Artigues. It is a very popular site for French day walkers ( hundreds of them), to see the le Pic du Midi d-Ossau and the beautiful lakes and peaks of the region. I was extremely stressed the night before about crossing these mountains alone - not the best idea I have had, but I need not have worried. Thre were so many other day walkers ( with their light little day packs) I was rarely out of sight of other people. The climd was hard but not dangerous. It was steeper in part the the crossing from St Jean Pied de Port to Roncessvales, but far more beautiful scenery. It was possible to get from Gabas in France, over the boarder at the Col du Moins to Somport in Spain in a good day. Also, I found that there is a chair lift down the Spanish side to the ski resort of Astun, missing a steep secion of the trail. I didn't find it till I was nearly down. Many Spaniards also day walk in this area.

A good website for this route is http://www.aucoeurduchemin.org, mostly in French but has great maps.

I hope this is of use.

James
 

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Anniesantiago

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 will be Camino #14.
#7
Thanks! This really helps us.
 
#8
aussiejames, my husband and I walked the Camino in 07 via St Jean du Port through the pyrennes to Roncesvalle and then on the usual route. This time we wanted to go pau to oloron and then arudy, gabas to somport. Do you think we will find accomodation of any sort thrugh that area? Charlotte
 
#9
aussiejames, or anyone who might know. Hi again. What about drinking water from Lourdes to Somport? Was there anytime when you had to treat or filter or were you always able to get water from a store of some sort? Thanks Cyates
 
Camino(s) past & future
Home to Reims 2007
Reims to Limoges 2008
Camino Ingles 2009
Limoges to Gernica 2009
Gernica to San Vicente de la Barquera 2010
San Vicente to La Isla 2012
La Isla to Santiago Sept/Oct 2014
#10
cyates said:
What about drinking water from Lourdes to Somport? Was there anytime when you had to treat or filter or were you always able to get water from a store of some sort?
This is Western Europe. The tap water will be fine.

If you buy water from a shop you are paying money for water transported from miles away (using fuel and causing carbon emissions)that has been sitting around in plastic for a long time, which many studies have found is no better than tap water, and will have to dispose of the bottle somehow. (Recycling plastic bottle banks are MUCH harder to find than clean water). Sorry if the bee in my bonnet is buzzing too strongly, but bottled water?... just say No.
 
Camino(s) past & future
1999: Holland-Santiago, 2001 Jakobsweg Switzerland, 2002 GR65 Geneva- Le Puy, 2003 2004 2005 GR65, 2006 Camino Aragones
#11
We, my wife Erna and I, walked twice through France, from the North to St.Jean Pied-de-Port and from Geneva to St. Jean Pied-de-Port. We also did Lourdes - Somport - Camino Aragones. One of the first things we learned in France is that tap water can be obtained on every grave-yard in France, so we never ran out of drinkable water!

Jan Brilleman
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#12
Tap water in France is excellent. Sources that may not be pure are labeled as non potable or for animaux only. Avoid water that is not from a tap if it is not labeled.

The story that all water at cemeteries is drinkable may not be completely accurate. I have encountered several where the water was labeled non potable, and three of us got sick after drinking water from a cemetery tap that was not labeled. It was the only thing that we had consumed in common.

Avoid bottled water because it is a waste of your money! Evian, after all, is naive spelled backward.

Of course, if you are enamored with bottled water, keep on spending (recycling the empties).

As a side note, blind taste tests for years have declared New York City municipal tap water as superior to all brands of bottled water, "Naive" included.
 
#13
Hello, I will begin my Camino from Lourdes to St. Jean and onto Santiago, perhaps continuing to Fisterre. Does anyone know where I can obtain a credential passport in Lourdes?
Thank you.
 
N

nathanael

Guest
#14
James, greetings I just did the Camino Norte finishing on July 24 and am ready for the next trip next year that is. I would like to leave from St. Jean Pied Du Port to Lourdes can you help me with this route and is it possible to do..many thanks
n
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
#15
Hi Nathanael,
Here you can see a map that shows you a route that includes Lourdes- SJPP, http://vppyr.free.fr/vpp-index-etapes.php3 as part of the Voie du Piémont Pyrénéen. And if you click on some of the stages (étapes) on the side bar you can get more detailed maps, plus photos of what you can see along the way. I think most people would be walking 'from' rather than 'to' Lourdes on this route, so am not sure how clear the markings would be 'backwards'.
Margaret
 

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