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Making the first day of Norte a bit easier

oceanwalker

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Time of past OR future Camino
Sep/Oct 2022
Hi all! I'm starting my first ever Camino from Irun on 6 September, and am starting to feel a little nervous... one thing I worry about is making the whole stretch to San Sebastian on my first day as I haven't really "trained." I'm 35 and fairly fit, but have a dodgy knee and don't habitually walk more than five hours in one go. Are there good options for staying in Pasajes? I see there's a pilgrim's albergue (Santa Ana) but it only has 14 beds so not sure I can count on it. Then again, if I'm only walking from Irun maybe I'll be early. What time do people start queuing? Is there still a "bed race" in September?
 
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It somewhat depends which path you take across the ridge from the Sanctuary. The highest path which I took, is much more scenic, but more rugged than the ridge side path(s). At 70 (in 2019) I took the top path and I have a video on my YouTube channel showing it. I did stop in Pasai Donebane at the Albergue and found it delightful with easy access to eating establishments on the waterfront down below. Link to video"

P.S. I am resuming my 2019 walk in Santander on Sept 6 also. Have a good Camino HW
 
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oceanwalker

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Sep/Oct 2022
It somewhat depends which path you take across the ridge from the Sanctuary. The highest path which I took, is much more scenic, but more rugged than the ridge side path(s). At 70 (in 2019) I took the top path and I have a video on my YouTube channel showing it. I did stop in Pasai Donebane at the Albergue and found it delightful with easy access to eating establishments on the waterfront down below. Link to video"

P.S. I am resuming my 2019 walk in Santander on Sept 6 also. Have a good Camino HW
Well, waterfront eateries sounds lovely! And video looks absolutely stunning. So I will probably do that then. What season was it? Did you find the albergue in Pasai very busy?
 
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Well, waterfront eateries sounds lovely! And video looks absolutely stunning. So I will probably do that then. What season was it? Did you find the albergue in Pasai very busy?
It was September also. I left the Albergue in Irun about seven and arrived at Pasai about one. There were quite a few beds available until around five PM. I saw about four people looking for other accommodations. The best eateries were reportedly across the bay, but if I recall it was a 1 Euro 5 minute boat ride across the several hundred yards of water. I ate on the Albergue side of the bay. Thanks for the comment on my amateurish video as are all of mine :)
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 Camino Norte September
It was September also. I left the Albergue in Irun about seven and arrived at Pasai about one. There were quite a few beds available until around five PM. I saw about four people looking for other accommodations. The best eateries were reportedly across the bay, but if I recall it was a 1 Euro 5 minute boat ride across the several hundred yards of water. I ate on the Albergue side of the bay. Thanks for the comment on my amateurish video as are all of mine :)
Great little peek into the beginning. The preview offers a bit of early comfort/confidence while getting my "Camino-senses/comfort level" lol. Thanks
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2019
If the municipal albergue in Pasajes is completo (usually is) there is a private albergue about 3 km further west. Take water and some food when you leave Irun. You have a good hill climb immediately ahead -- and beautiful scenery if you take the high route. Buen Camino
 

trecile

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Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
If the municipal albergue in Pasajes is completo (usually is) there is a private albergue about 3 km further west
Do you have the name of that albergue?

Another option to make this day easier is to book a place to stay in San Sebastián for two nights. Take the bus to Irun and walk as far as you can, then taxi/bus back to SS. The next morning taxi/bus back to where you left off.
 

WayWalker

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2013, 2016
We took the high route in September 2018 and we were late 50s but trained in our hometown in Colorado so we were ready for the "muy duro" very difficult according to Pablo who we met in Irun. At the Santuario de Guadeloupe up the trail we met him again at a mass going on and tried to get us to go the low route. He was worried about us. It was beautiful!!! We made it to San Sebastian and you can take two nights there.
 

TravellingMan2022

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Norte
Hi all! I'm starting my first ever Camino from Irun on 6 September, and am starting to feel a little nervous... one thing I worry about is making the whole stretch to San Sebastian on my first day as I haven't really "trained." I'm 35 and fairly fit, but have a dodgy knee and don't habitually walk more than five hours in one go. Are there good options for staying in Pasajes? I see there's a pilgrim's albergue (Santa Ana) but it only has 14 beds so not sure I can count on it. Then again, if I'm only walking from Irun maybe I'll be early. What time do people start queuing? Is there still a "bed race" in September?
I am 55 with bad knees! I am of average fitness. I did the upper route and didn’t find it tough at all and no one else seemed to. No training at all. Remember this forum is a much older demographic than most walkers. We are all different of course, but I struggle to imagine a 35 year old having an issue. Also many folks, due to their love of the Camino, like to equate it with visiting the moon or climbing Everest! This forum nearly put me off doing both the Frances and Norte, both of which I found far easier than the impression I got from here. We are all different I stress! I have really poor upper body strength so I stayed in San Sebastián night before, left my rucksack there, and caught an early morning bus to Irun and walked with just water to San Sebastián.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2020
Do you have the name of that albergue?

Another option to make this day easier is to book a place to stay in San Sebastián for two nights. Take the bus to Irun and walk as far as you can, then taxi/bus back to SS. The next morning taxi/bus back to where you left off.
Also by staying two nights in SS or Irun you can leave your backpack at the hotel and just walk the first day with a day pack with food water etc.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2020
“Do you have the name of that albergue?”

The albergue is about halfway between Pasajes and San Sebastián (maybe 4 km east of SS). It is run by Doce Tribus, a Christian “cult”. You can find information on this forum. I have never stayed there but I know three people that did. One man wound up leaving because he did not like the cult like environment. The other two indicated to me that they were tired and hungry when they arrived and all they cared about was a place to sleep and get food.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2020
Hi all! I'm starting my first ever Camino from Irun on 6 September, and am starting to feel a little nervous... one thing I worry about is making the whole stretch to San Sebastian on my first day as I haven't really "trained." I'm 35 and fairly fit, but have a dodgy knee and don't habitually walk more than five hours in one go. Are there good options for staying in Pasajes? I see there's a pilgrim's albergue (Santa Ana) but it only has 14 beds so not sure I can count on it. Then again, if I'm only walking from Irun maybe I'll be early. What time do people start queuing? Is there still a "bed race" in September?
Try Casa Txurdin in Pasajes, +34 685 47 57 33. There is a pricey hotel in Pasajes also, search google maps for the name. Also I found some air bnb places nearby.
 

Philtration

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2021
I walked the high route last summer. It was steep but incredibly beautiful on a clear day. I recommend it. We made a (in retrospect obvious) bad choice to follow some locals directions and got way off the trail going down into Pasajes. Did some serious scrambling down cliffs near the ocean entrance to the Pasajes bay. Much worse for the wear, we stayed in Pasajes that night. It's a beautiful town with good food. The albergue was closed for covid, so we stayed in a hotel. The next day we staggered into San Sebastián on shot knees and spent a couple of days there recovering. Evaluating the damage we had done to our knees, our age, and the constant up and down nature of coastal walking, we chose to transfer from there to the CF. I imagine if we had stayed on the marked trail and not had our off-route excursion we would have completed the Norte. We had a wonderful camino in the end, just not the one we anticipated.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Try Casa Txurdin in Pasajes, +34 685 47 57 33. There is a pricey hotel in Pasajes also, search google maps for the name. Also I found some air bnb places nearby.
I stayed at Casa Txurdin in 2018, but I'm not sure if she is still open.

I found the pricey hotel
 
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I cannot find the name of the albergue about 3 km beyond Pasaje. It IS NOT a cult albergue (that is a different one) but is run by the same Basque family that runs the Yellow Deli in San Sebastian (YUM!). Pilgrims who stayed there said it was delightful. When i last walked by one of the owners caught up with me, walking into town to cook at the deli. He offered to carry my pack! Then he gave me a fresh baked very healthy muffin. Eskerik asko, Ileoni, y Buen Camino
 

trecile

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Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
I cannot find the name of the albergue about 3 km beyond Pasaje. It IS NOT a cult albergue (that is a different one) but is run by the same Basque family that runs the Yellow Deli in San Sebastian
Are you sure?
The website for the Yellow Deli clearly says Twelve Tribes across the top.

Screenshot_20220830-103559.png
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2020
Time of past OR future Camino
2020
I stayed at Casa Txurdin in 2018, but I'm not sure if she is still open.

I found the pricey hotel
I exchanged WhatsApp messages with Casa Txurdin in May of 2022. They told me they were booked up during the last week in May when I wanted to stay. So they were open as of then 🤷🏻‍♂️
 
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A Crackpot Abroad

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Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, Via de Plata, Norte, most of Levante
Use the local train (or bus). I did Norte just after Spain opened to tourist in late summer 2021. I had issues finding places to stay on short notice (and some places were still closed). I stayed 2 nights in Irun but I think more nights in San Sebastián would be way better. I took the train nearest Pasai (Lezo-Errenteria station) back to Irun. Then back to Pasai the next morning. I’m old and glad I broke up this trek into two digestible portions. I wanted to ease into my Camino.
Looks like there are 2 or 3 departures per hour from San Sebastián to Irun on September 6 according to Google Maps.
 

Flog

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Time of past OR future Camino
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
We stopped into the Doce Tribus site to get some refreshments. We didn't stay long. They were nice, but with very definite cult vibes and talk.

I'll be darned. I got no tribe vibes, just wonderful Basque friendliness. Maybe Ileoni thought I was too old to try to convert. Buen Camino

An hour or so further on after the ferry crossing at Pasajes is Doce Tribus. I was Intrigued and stopped for a moment to look at the sign outside. I was suddenly beckoned in by the owner who appeared at the open doorway and moments later found myself, out of politeness, sitting around the table with a group of about six, enjoying coffee and muffins. While it was a pleasant enough interlude, the discussion quickly turned to religion and I found them a little pushy, inviting me to stay, yet it was only 10am. I dropped a few coins in the donativo box and moved on. They were friendly but just weren't my kind of people..

To the OP's question:


The muni in Pasajes (Santa Ana) tends to fill up fast and you should try to get there not much later than 1pm or so to throw your pack in the line if you want to be sure of a bed. The hospi turns up at around 3pm. It's a superb location, looking down over the estuary and the waterfront.
 
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oceanwalker

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Sep/Oct 2022
Wow, so much info! Thanks everyone, you're all so helpful! I think I'm gonna aim for getting to the "muni" (new word!) in Pasajes by 1pm, and if I don't get a bed there, sounds like I'll be able to either get into a private place or catch public transport to San Sebastian and go back to complete the walk the next day.

I walked the high route last summer. It was steep but incredibly beautiful on a clear day. I recommend it. We made a (in retrospect obvious) bad choice to follow some locals directions and got way off the trail going down into Pasajes. Did some serious scrambling down cliffs near the ocean entrance to the Pasajes bay. Much worse for the wear, we stayed in Pasajes that night. It's a beautiful town with good food. The albergue was closed for covid, so we stayed in a hotel. The next day we staggered into San Sebastián on shot knees and spent a couple of days there recovering. Evaluating the damage we had done to our knees, our age, and the constant up and down nature of coastal walking, we chose to transfer from there to the CF. I imagine if we had stayed on the marked trail and not had our off-route excursion we would have completed the Norte. We had a wonderful camino in the end, just not the one we anticipated.

Well this is a little worrying... would it be a massive detour if I passed by the muni in Pasajes, and, finding it full, decided to try and complete the walk to San Sebastian?

Also... newbie question I'm sure... but what do you do if you find yourself on the trail in the middle of, say, Pasajes and San Sebastian, and you just can't go on? Are you usually near a bus stop, or is your only option to camp out / surrender to the Basque Country wildcats?

I think reading Cheryl Strayed's "Wild" (about hiking the Pacific Coast Trail in 1995) as preparation may have made me unnecessarily nervous 😂
 
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We did that stretch a week ago (currently in Liendo) with full packs, and we are in our sixties. Went all the way to San Sebastian.

If you have a dodgy knee then go around, not over. Over is doable, but tough
 

PNeer

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2019, Portuguese 2022
It somewhat depends which path you take across the ridge from the Sanctuary. The highest path which I took, is much more scenic, but more rugged than the ridge side path(s). At 70 (in 2019) I took the top path and I have a video on my YouTube channel showing it. I did stop in Pasai Donebane at the Albergue and found it delightful with easy access to eating establishments on the waterfront down below. Link to video"

P.S. I am resuming my 2019 walk in Santander on Sept 6 also. Have a good Camino HW
great thank you for posting this
 

oceanwalker

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Sep/Oct 2022
Has anyone heard about this albergue? Has no name (just "Albergue de Peregrinos near San Sebastian") on Google Maps, seems to be just before Doce Tribus walking from Pasajes.

Great reviews saying it's all donativo... haven't found it on Buen Camino or Gronzo though. Very mysterious!
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jeanineonthecamino

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Camino Frances 2021, 2022
On the Norte - pay attention to check in time - it is usually later than on the Frances where check in often begins at 1pm. On the Norte - it might not be until 3 or even occasionally 4. You do want to plan to arrive early to cue - but because I am an early riser I never had a problem with getting to the cue early.

Gronze.com is an excellent resource for which albergues are currently open and what time they open the doors each day.
 
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jeanineonthecamino

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Camino Frances 2021, 2022
Also... newbie question I'm sure... but what do you do if you find yourself on the trail in the middle of, say, Pasajes and San Sebastian, and you just can't go on? Are you usually near a bus stop, or is your only option to camp out / surrender to the Basque Country wildcats?

I think reading Cheryl Strayed's "Wild" (about hiking the Pacific Coast Trail in 1995) as preparation may have made me unnecessarily nervous 😂
LOL... Well - just pay attention to how you are feeling when you are in towns. If you don't feel you can go on, stay put. If you are unsure - check the distances to the next town with an albergue. Rest in town if you need to while you decide how you are doing. Distances between towns can be further on the Norte than the Frances and between towns, depending on where you are - you might not pass bus stops and you aren't always in places you can get a ride. But if you assess how you feel before leaving each town you should be able to gage how much longer you can walk. And remember - you can stop and rest as frequently as you need to! Didn't see any wildcats - did see a wild pig one day - and lots of horses and cows and goats and....
 

oceanwalker

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Sep/Oct 2022
A Google image search of "doce tribues albergue san sebastian" shows the same building that @oceanwalker posted.
Aaah that makes sense! Thank you.
On the Norte - pay attention to check in time - it is usually later than on the Frances where check in often begins at 1pm. On the Norte - it might not be until 3 or even occasionally 4. You do want to plan to arrive early to cue - but because I am an early riser I never had a problem with getting to the cue early.

Gronze.com is an excellent resource for which albergues are currently open and what time they open the doors each day.
Thanks for the tip - have added Gronzo to my phone bookmarks.
LOL... Well - just pay attention to how you are feeling when you are in towns. If you don't feel you can go on, stay put. If you are unsure - check the distances to the next town with an albergue. Rest in town if you need to while you decide how you are doing. Distances between towns can be further on the Norte than the Frances and between towns, depending on where you are - you might not pass bus stops and you aren't always in places you can get a ride. But if you assess how you feel before leaving each town you should be able to gage how much longer you can walk. And remember - you can stop and rest as frequently as you need to! Didn't see any wildcats - did see a wild pig one day - and lots of horses and cows and goats and....
That’s all good advice. I’ll make sure to check in with myself and stay away from wild pigs 😂
 
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miriamaok

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SJPP to SdC Camino Frances (2016)
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Camino del Norte (2018)
I found the descent in to Pasai quite tough on my knees. We had gotten a bus to Irún that morning from Bilbao so we’re late starting. Once we got to Pasai, we got the boat across to the other side. There was a taxi rank with a phone and we got picked up and taken to San Sebastián.
 
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Konstance - Bayonne
We took the high route in September 2018 and we were late 50s but trained in our hometown in Colorado so we were ready for the "muy duro" very difficult according to Pablo who we met in Irun. At the Santuario de Guadeloupe up the trail we met him again at a mass going on and tried to get us to go the low route. He was worried about us. It was beautiful!!! We made it to San Sebastian and you can take two nights there.
It somewhat depends which path you take across the ridge from the Sanctuary. The highest path which I took, is much more scenic, but more rugged than the ridge side path(s). At 70 (in 2019) I took the top path and I have a video on my YouTube channel showing it. I did stop in Pasai Donebane at the Albergue and found it delightful with easy access to eating establishments on the waterfront down below. Link to video"

P.S. I am resuming my 2019 walk in Santander on Sept 6 also. Have a good Camino HW
these postings are so helpful - I'm also 70 and am worried about the distances, how did you people manage? (I did 33kms on roads one day last spring, but would not like to have to do that again! 25km is good. Any help with this would be most welcome.
 

WayWalker

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2013, 2016
these postings are so helpful - I'm also 70 and am worried about the distances, how did you people manage? (I did 33kms on roads one day last spring, but would not like to have to do that again! 25km is good. Any help with this would be most welcome.
You will be fine! Take the lower road out of Irun. Use your guidebook to find places open. You shouldn't have to do long kms.
 

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