A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

Luggage Transfer Correos

My Wife Insists We Start From SJPDP!

Camino Badges
Camino(s) past & future
June: Camino Frances from Pamplona
I wanted to start in Pamplona as I did last year, but since I only barely convinced my wife to even go and she asserts she wants to leave from SJPDP, I need SJPDP information.

If we leave from SJPDP May 1rst, how likely is it that the passes will be closed. Do we need heavy clothing? Are boots a must (I prefer sandals and was fine from Pamplona to SDC in June)? Or could I make it in sandals, or light running shoes? Is there a train that goes direct from Madrid to SJPDP, or must you go into Pamplona first, then take a bus/train?

Thanks for any information and thanks for putting up with all my varied posts.

Warmly,

Barry
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 was Camino #14
You do not need heavy clothing. Just layers as always for May.
You do not need boots - I have worn trail runners every year for over 10 years
There is a bus from madrid to SJPP but not sure in May - you might have to take the bus from the Madrid airport to Pamplona, spend the night, then bus to SJPP from there. That's what I usually do anyway, spend a day or two in Pamplona getting over the time change. Then I can walk right through Pamplona on my Camino - don't have to stop b/c I"ve already seen it.
 

spreadsheetdirtbags

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
I believe there is an 'alternate' route from SJPDP that avoids the pass when there is inclement weather (stays lower) so you won't be trapped in SJPDP. There is info posted in town about the weather/conditions, and you can ask around for a 'go/no-go' recommendation regarding the pass. The office in SJPDP was very helpful on this =)
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
I wanted to start in Pamplona as I did last year, but since I only barely convinced my wife to even go and she asserts she wants to leave from SJPDP, I need SJPDP information.

If we leave from SJPDP May 1rst, how likely is it that the passes will be closed. Do we need heavy clothing? Are boots a must (I prefer sandals and was fine from Pamplona to SDC in June)? Or could I make it in sandals, or light running shoes? Is there a train that goes direct from Madrid to SJPDP, or must you go into Pamplona first, then take a bus/train?

Thanks for any information and thanks for putting up with all my varied posts.

Warmly,

Barry
1st May? No, and no and no again! May 1 falls on a Friday - a national holiday in both Spain and France - an extra long weekend of revelry! Be prepared for just about anything - weird bus/train schedules, closed shops, crowds of people both on and off the Camino, packed restaurants and cafe/bars. For your own sanity, arrive a day or two before or leave a day or two after!
People once considered SJPP to be the only place where a real pilgrim begins the pilgrimage, a proper Camino starts there and if not an automatic apology/explanation was expected. That thankfully has receded but it's still there.
 

Dorpie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015, July 2017, October 2019
Well spotted @scruffy1 the date hadn't clicked with me.

The weather in May is always hard to predict, when I walked at that time of year it didn't rain once, others have not been so lucky.

I agree with the posters above, unless it's the absolute depths of winter I would never wear boots on the camino again, they simply aren't needed. As for heavy clothing, there's a clue in the description as to why it's not a great idea, it's heavy. I'd plan for moderate weather and if you get to Spain and for some reason it's freezing you can always add to your wardrobe, better that than lugging around a load of stuff you end up not using.

Buen Camino,

Rob.
 

William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
Why not compromise and start at Roncesvalles? ;)

Until 2004 more pilgrims started in Roncesvalles than SJPP, since then SJPP numbers have increased by a multiple of 3.5 while Ronccesvalles numbers have dropped to 40% of the 2004 numbers.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
For clothes I suggest bringing an old big shirt to go over your normal shirt and under your jacket in case of a cold spell. Throw it away when leaving Zubiri (in the trash, not on the ground).

To get to SJPdP from Madrid or Barcelona fly, bus or train to Pamplona and then take ALSA/Conda bus. A different bus line goes to Roncevalles if that will be your start point.
 

Evvie

Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2019
I wanted to start in Pamplona as I did last year, but since I only barely convinced my wife to even go and she asserts she wants to leave from SJPDP, I need SJPDP information.

If we leave from SJPDP May 1rst, how likely is it that the passes will be closed. Do we need heavy clothing? Are boots a must (I prefer sandals and was fine from Pamplona to SDC in June)? Or could I make it in sandals, or light running shoes? Is there a train that goes direct from Madrid to SJPDP, or must you go into Pamplona first, then take a bus/train?

Thanks for any information and thanks for putting up with all my varied posts.

Warmly,

Barry
On the trail runners vs. boots issue, I've tried 4 different pairs in preparation for my September Camino. I've decided to stay with my older, broken-in Lowa Renegade boots. With the other 3 pairs, including trail runners, hiking shoes, and a pair of lightweight Keen boots, I've experienced discomfort in the ball of my foot along with feeling every little rock and root through the soles. The Lowa's are heavier and perhaps warmer (something I've never experienced) but the thickness of the lug sole along with the ankle support have convinced me.
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
Don't need a soothsayer but I'll say it again: Beware of the Kalends of May!
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
I wanted to start in Pamplona as I did last year, but since I only barely convinced my wife to even go and she asserts she wants to leave from SJPDP, I need SJPDP information.

If we leave from SJPDP May 1rst, how likely is it that the passes will be closed. Do we need heavy clothing? Are boots a must (I prefer sandals and was fine from Pamplona to SDC in June)? Or could I make it in sandals, or light running shoes? Is there a train that goes direct from Madrid to SJPDP, or must you go into Pamplona first, then take a bus/train?

Thanks for any information and thanks for putting up with all my varied posts.

Warmly,

Barry
I have started from St Jean in both early and late April. Both times there was still snow on the ground but the late April one was fairly pleasant weather wise. I watched other pilgrims in trainers/shoes struggle to get through the mud as in places it was more than ankle deep. So for me, light weight boots were the best. Came in handy on Alto de Perdon that we christened mud slide mountain. I know everyone has their own preferences but I prefer boots
 

padre eric

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016)
Just completed my second Camino, and both times we started from Roncesvalles. I know the majority of people I saw on the way were wearing low-quarter shoes either cross trainers or runners. Honestly, I dont know how they do it. I wear mid length Keens and more times than I can remember the ankle support provided from the boot saved me possible injury. The descent into Zubiri is a killer. Outcropping of rock at many and various angles is difficult to walk at day’s end. To each his own, but I will walk the Camino again at some point, and again wear my Keens for safety reasons (granted the remainder of the way is quite good (less the descent from the Iron Cross), but for me...better safe than sorry.
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
Just completed my second Camino, and both times we started from Roncesvalles. I know the majority of people I saw on the way were wearing low-quarter shoes either cross trainers or runners. Honestly, I dont know how they do it. I wear mid length Keens and more times than I can remember the ankle support provided from the boot saved me possible injury. The descent into Zubiri is a killer. Outcropping of rock at many and various angles is difficult to walk at day’s end. To each his own, but I will walk the Camino again at some point, and again wear my Keens for safety reasons (granted the remainder of the way is quite good (less the descent from the Iron Cross), but for me...better safe than sorry.
Hear, Hear...
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
1st May? No, and no and no again! May 1 falls on a Friday - a national holiday in both Spain and France - an extra long weekend of revelry! Be prepared for just about anything - weird bus/train schedules, closed shops, crowds of people both on and off the Camino, packed restaurants and cafe/bars. For your own sanity, arrive a day or two before or leave a day or two after!
People once considered SJPP to be the only place where a real pilgrim begins the pilgrimage, a proper Camino starts there and if not an automatic apology/explanation was expected. That thankfully has receded but it's still there.
I agree with Scruffy. If you can, do avoid leaving SJPDP on May 1. A couple years ago those who started on May 1 had problems finding beds all up and down the Camino Francés, as there were just too many people going after the same beds. Of course, we don't know exactly what this year will look like, but if you can start the Monday afterward, your chances would be greater of not being caught in a likely rush. If you must start on May 1, you can see how it goes and lag behind a day or two if there's a rush.
 

willydp

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Inglés 7-12 June 2019
Hello,
I prefer merino wool t-shirts (Icebreaker) as my basic layer.
Cool when hot en hot when cool.
I did the Inglés this year (June) with Hoka One One Bondi 6 running shoes without any problem.
It is as if you walk on clouds (soft cushioning), but stable.
Drying quick too.
I bought the Altra Lone Peak 4 (trailrunners) for a bit more space for the toes.
I just did run around a bit (house,shopping)
So my first impression:
The soles are very sticky to the ground=very nice and the toes have enough room=OK.
But the shoes have zero drop (I knew before buying) and the soles have less cushioning.
So, this shoes need 'some' adjustement time (4 weeks for a runner).
The Bondi 6 does not.
I can't tell more about the LP4 because they are brand new for me.
About May, is like lottery...you never know what weather you will get. And the warning about the weekend of the first May is a major one!
Shops are all closed and minimal services.
Start later 😉
Buen Camino 😎👣
 

bikerkvw

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Inglish, Camino de la Plata. Future Camino Francis
I wanted to start in Pamplona as I did last year, but since I only barely convinced my wife to even go and she asserts she wants to leave from SJPDP, I need SJPDP information.

If we leave from SJPDP May 1rst, how likely is it that the passes will be closed. Do we need heavy clothing? Are boots a must (I prefer sandals and was fine from Pamplona to SDC in June)? Or could I make it in sandals, or light running shoes? Is there a train that goes direct from Madrid to SJPDP, or must you go into Pamplona first, then take a bus/train?

Thanks for any information and thanks for putting up with all my varied posts.

Warmly,

Barry
Let your wife begin in SJPP and you meet her in Pamplona. You both can have some quite time and do what each of you want.
 

Bert45

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2003) Francés, (2014) Francés, (2016) Portugués , (2016) Aragonés, (2018) del Norte to Primitivo
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned (unless I've missed it) the old saying that your Camino begins when you close your front door. There is really no official start to any camino, though, if you asked 100 peregrinos 99 would probably say that the Camino Francés begins at StJPdP. But some people begin their camino in Paris at the appropriately named Rue St Jacques. It is unfortunate that, if you begin at StJPdP, the first day is probably the hardest day of the whole camino, unless you stop at Orisson, in which case the second day is the hardest.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
if you begin at StJPdP, the first day is probably the hardest day of the whole camino, unless you stop at Orisson, in which case the second day is the hardest.
If you stop at Orisson, you make the second day to Roncesvalles much easier. It's only 17.5 km, and doesn't include the steepest part.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France's (2016) Portuguese 2017
I wanted to start in Pamplona as I did last year, but since I only barely convinced my wife to even go and she asserts she wants to leave from SJPDP, I need SJPDP information.

If we leave from SJPDP May 1rst, how likely is it that the passes will be closed. Do we need heavy clothing? Are boots a must (I prefer sandals and was fine from Pamplona to SDC in June)? Or could I make it in sandals, or light running shoes? Is there a train that goes direct from Madrid to SJPDP, or must you go into Pamplona first, then take a bus/train?

Thanks for any information and thanks for putting up with all my varied posts.

Warmly,

Barry
If you want to have a sense of history ie Hannibal. Napoleon etc the do the high route
Not as difficult as people make out and massively rewarding. Is it seems too daunting book Orisson for the first night. Communal dinner and you’ll meet people who will be with you on and off for most of the journey.
 

Tony Calhoun

Frances 2016 and 2014.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
We flew into Madrid Barajas spent a couple of days enjoying Madrid, took a Renfe to Pamplona out of the Madrid Atocha Station, shared a taxi with other pilgrims from the Pamplona train station to the Pamplona Bus Station. Then a short scheduled bus ride over to SJPdP. Made for a nice day. Train and bus reservations were made from home before we left. Do enjoy the historic route through the Pyrenees. The Albergue at Orisson made for a good stop on both occasions. Many "cohort" groups have been made over dinner in the Albergue.
 

bbates225

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
June/July (2017) Camino Frances (couldn't finish)
June/July (2020) Camino Frances (will try again)
You do not need heavy clothing. Just layers as always for May.
You do not need boots - I have worn trail runners every year for over 10 years
There is a bus from madrid to SJPP but not sure in May - you might have to take the bus from the Madrid airport to Pamplona, spend the night, then bus to SJPP from there. That's what I usually do anyway, spend a day or two in Pamplona getting over the time change. Then I can walk right through Pamplona on my Camino - don't have to stop b/c I"ve already seen it.
Didn't know there was a bus from Madrid to Pamplona... I flew, spent the night, then took a bus to SJPP the next morning. Also didn't know there was a bus from Madrid to SJPP. Guess I didn't do my research enough in 2017. Will look into buses next year when I plan to return to SJPP and try again.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2014 Camino Frances SJPP to Santiago
April 2018 Camino Portuguese Lisbon to Santiago
I wanted to start in Pamplona as I did last year, but since I only barely convinced my wife to even go and she asserts she wants to leave from SJPDP, I need SJPDP information.

If we leave from SJPDP May 1rst, how likely is it that the passes will be closed. Do we need heavy clothing? Are boots a must (I prefer sandals and was fine from Pamplona to SDC in June)? Or could I make it in sandals, or light running shoes? Is there a train that goes direct from Madrid to SJPDP, or must you go into Pamplona first, then take a bus/train?

Thanks for any information and thanks for putting up with all my varied posts.

Warmly,

Barry
I wear Lowa Renegades and am on my 3rd pair. Also Ininji socks and bag balm on my feet. Never take a blister anymore ... great boots protect your ankles from twisting and there is a LOT of rock in Spain as you know.

I recommend merino wool layers ... add or subtract to suit weather. They wick and dry fast. Expensive but worth it.

Walking from SJPDP is great if you can spend you're first night in Orrison ... you must have a reservation ... but it is fabulous community and a wonderful start to a sacred Camino....
Buen Camino ...
Vaya con dios ...
 

bbates225

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
June/July (2017) Camino Frances (couldn't finish)
June/July (2020) Camino Frances (will try again)
I wanted to start in Pamplona as I did last year, but since I only barely convinced my wife to even go and she asserts she wants to leave from SJPDP, I need SJPDP information.

If we leave from SJPDP May 1rst, how likely is it that the passes will be closed. Do we need heavy clothing? Are boots a must (I prefer sandals and was fine from Pamplona to SDC in June)? Or could I make it in sandals, or light running shoes? Is there a train that goes direct from Madrid to SJPDP, or must you go into Pamplona first, then take a bus/train?

Thanks for any information and thanks for putting up with all my varied posts.

Warmly,

Barry
I went over the Pyrenees June 3/4, 2017 and nearly froze. No snow, just lots of cold rain. I didn't have heavy clothes, just layered with what I had, but I would have given anything for a pair of warm gloves. A pair is going with me when I return next year. Hopefully I won't need them. Oh, and I wore boots, but that's just me.
 

rmckay

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances "2014" &"2015"
Camino Finisterre "2015"
Camino Portuguese "2017"
Camino Muxia "2017"
Hi Barry, we started in St Jean this week. Flew into Madrid, got the train to Pamplona and had a transfer taxi pick us and deposit us in St Jean.
 

Bert45

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2003) Francés, (2014) Francés, (2016) Portugués , (2016) Aragonés, (2018) del Norte to Primitivo
So, my question is, how do they know to keep you warm or cool (tongue in cheek)?
Stan Boardman (Liverpudlian comedian) used to say: Thermos flasks are clever, aren't they? They keep hot things hot and cold things cold, but how do they know?
 

Mamama13

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future (Sept 2019)
You do not need heavy clothing. Just layers as always for May.
You do not need boots - I have worn trail runners every year for over 10 years
There is a bus from madrid to SJPP but not sure in May - you might have to take the bus from the Madrid airport to Pamplona, spend the night, then bus to SJPP from there. That's what I usually do anyway, spend a day or two in Pamplona getting over the time change. Then I can walk right through Pamplona on my Camino - don't have to stop b/c I"ve already seen it.
Were your trail runners waterproof? I’ve hear waterproof shoes are a must. We’ll be on the Camino trail Mid-Sept through Mid-Oct from SJPP to Santiago.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018

Karl Oz

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Portuguese
Aragones
Sanabres
Piamonte
Elizabethpfad
I would like to gently point-out to the OP that every post here is an opinion, largely based on the poster's own experience, and as such should not be taken as gospel applicable to everyone. I have liked a couple of posts above, not just because I might agree with the opinion, but also because they show humility in the poster, who recognises and acknowledges that the solution they adopted worked for them, but by implication, may not be applicable to all others. What troubles me are the posts that are more didactic and uncompromising (albeit well-meaning) along the lines of: 'Under no circumstances wear snow shoes' / 'I wore combat boots, and that is all you need'). Everybody is different and such declarative statements do not accommodate individual differences in height, weight, age, balance, fitness, experience and existing medical conditions. Great if they worked well for you, and it is a valuable perspective for others contemplating or planning the walk, but quite likely nonetheless not to be the ideal solution for all, and maybe a tacit acknowledgement of that would be valuable and reassuring to prospective pilgrims.
So Barry, you have to make your own decision, based on the evaluation of all information available to you. Then choose what you think will work for you. And you know what? You might still get it wrong! We all have, including myself this year when I tackled the Sanabres without a guidebook or sleeping bag. Freezing at night and getting Guinness-Book-of-Records lost are now life experiences, but I know others had different outcomes!
Bon Voyage!
 

willydp

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Inglés 7-12 June 2019
I concur with @Karl Oz.
You will only know what works well when you did it, that means also you can do this before departure during your training.
And you should! You always can change your shoes, clothing, backpack, etc.
I wore always waterproof boots and I read on this wonderful forum that it was better not to do this in June.
So I did follow the recommendation by buying running shoes. I walked with them in all types of weather without backpack the first days and then with backpack.
Even going to work (smaller backpack with books 5kg total).
And i had to admit that they were just fine for me.
I'm wearing Merino wool (mid) socks and that did the trick when you're get a bit wet.
The running shoes are quick dry when you walk. I had some pouring rain last June during the C Inglés 5km before Santiago and shoes were dry when arriving at the Cathedral.
We all have different feet 😉
Buen Camino 👣
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
June: Camino Frances from Pamplona
Starting in SJPP is the compromise. OP's wife gave ground by agreeing to walk the Camino. OP should be grateful that she isn't insisting on starting in Le Puy.
You are SO right! She is quite insistent on starting at the beginning. I can't convince her that there really is no official beginning. I'll do it, but it may kill me! Thanks for your reply.
 
Camino(s) past & future
June: Camino Frances from Pamplona
If you want to have a sense of history ie Hannibal. Napoleon etc the do the high route
Not as difficult as people make out and massively rewarding. Is it seems too daunting book Orisson for the first night. Communal dinner and you’ll meet people who will be with you on and off for most of the journey.
Hello! We've since changed our date of departure to August 14th. How likely are we to find accomodations at Refuge Orisson? I've heard you need to make reservations, but I don't like to do that. Makes the trip seem more like a vacation than pilgrimage? Are there any alternate accommodations in Orisson? Thanks for your reply.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Hello! We've since changed our date of departure to August 14th. How likely are we to find accomodations at Refuge Orisson? I've heard you need to make reservations, but I don't like to do that. Makes the trip seem more like a vacation than pilgrimage? Are there any alternate accommodations in Orisson? Thanks for your reply.
You have to make a reservation at Orisson. They only have 28 beds, and reservations go quick. Sure, it's possible that they could have an empty bed or two, but not likely.
And I totally get why your wife wants to start at SJPDP. The walk over the Pyrenees is spectacular, and spending extra time up there at Orisson is a great start to the Camino.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 was Camino #14
Were your trail runners waterproof? I’ve hear waterproof shoes are a must. We’ll be on the Camino trail Mid-Sept through Mid-Oct from SJPP to Santiago.
Waterproof shoes are NOT a must.
In fact I strongly recommend against them.
They cause your feet to sweat and get soft, and cause blisters - for many (me included).
Trail runners will dry overnight if they get wet and even if wet, your feet will breathe.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 was Camino #14
I don't believe that there is a bus from Madrid to SJPdP. You have to take a bus to Pamplona and change there to a bus to St Jean.
There is a bus from Madrid airport to Bayonne, from which you can catch a train or bus to SJPP, but to me, the easiest and best is going to Pamplona, spending a day or two adjusting to the time, then taking the bus to SJPP.
 

VeganCamino

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future Frances from Saint Jean Pied du Port to Burgos, starting in June.
I wanted to start in Pamplona as I did last year, but since I only barely convinced my wife to even go and she asserts she wants to leave from SJPDP, I need SJPDP information.

If we leave from SJPDP May 1rst, how likely is it that the passes will be closed. Do we need heavy clothing? Are boots a must (I prefer sandals and was fine from Pamplona to SDC in June)? Or could I make it in sandals, or light running shoes? Is there a train that goes direct from Madrid to SJPDP, or must you go into Pamplona first, then take a bus/train?

Thanks for any information and thanks for putting up with all my varied posts.

Warmly,

Barry
I agree with you that Pamplona is a great place to start. That would be my recommendation, if asked, by friends. My guess is light running shoes would be fine but sandals over the mountains is hard any time of year. I'm wearing Ecco sandals now and wish I had some close toed shoes for all the rocks.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Just to insert a fact check into the opinions:
The Valcarlos route is the older and more authentic of the two, and Hannibal never had anything to do with the Western Pyrenees: He was famous for crossing the Alps in the Second Punic War
I'm not sure how Hannibal could march his army, complete with elephants, overland from Hispania to Italy without crossing the Pyrenees as well as the Alps. The crossing of the Alps may be more famous but crossing the Pyrenees seems to be a necessary prerequisite.
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
I'm not sure how Hannibal could march his army, complete with elephants, overland from Hispania to Italy without crossing the Pyrenees as well as the Alps. The crossing of the Alps may be more famous but crossing the Pyrenees seems to be a necessary prerequisite.
As Scott was interested in following Hannibals path we did a lot of research on this, but gave up as it became clear that much of the route through Spain would be under the tourist strip of Costal del Sol etc. Hannibal landed in Cartagena and went up the coast so while he did go over the Pyrenees it wasn't at the crossing pilgrims use coming from France. This crossing is more associated with Roland and Napoleon. It's always interesting to do a bit of research on whose footsteps one travels in.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
I don't think that it will influence the decision of @barryg and his wife whether or not a person with a name known from history class or history books crossed the Western Pyrenées where they are planning to cross but here's my few eurocents.

Yes, you can feel a sense of history in a particular place but only when you know about that part of history and when you find it particularly appealing. I, for example, had such a sense at the monastery of Roncesvalles while many other people don't. Up and down the Pyrenées trail, I had mainly a sense of the beauty of the landscape and not of any particular episode of history; perhaps because I had researched it too much beforehand and I felt it wasn't what others had made of it 🤓. As to all these guys:
  • The person who mentioned Hannibal was probably thinking of Charlemagne.
  • Hannibal trekked from Barcelona along the Mediterranean coast to the Alps and then to Rome. The Eastern Pyrenées sort of peter out in that area. It's really the elephants in the Alps that capture our imagination.
  • Charlemagne crossed once into Spain and back again. On the return journey to his homelands, he came from Pamplona. Where he crossed the Pyrenées mountain range exactly and where some of his leading military staff and other soldiers were killed during an unexpected attack is not known for certain. Ibañeta is a likely contender, mainly popularised through narratives developed several centuries after the event.
  • Napoleon never crossed from SJPP to Roncesvalles or back. He didn't take the Valcarlos route and he didn't take the Napoleon route. He went to Spain once and travelled from Bordeaux to Bayonne and then to Vitoria and Burgos and back again via Vitoria and Bayonne. So he, too, avoided the higher Pyrenées passes, namely at their Western end. He's globally the best known personality of the three.
  • There was a battle in the area during the Peninsular War. It seems to be mainly of interest to people from the two nations involved in it.
 
Last edited:

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
Yes you are right, it's confusing to call it the Route Napoleon as he never crossed it personally, rather it's associated with Napoleonic troups after the Battle at Ronscevales in 1813, and as @Kathar1na points out Charlemange and Ronald in the 770s? Sorry for taking over the thread on history geekdom, at least perhaps this will give the OP and his wife something to debate on their treck over the pass.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
perhaps this will give the OP and his wife something to debate on their treck over the pass.
And they now have the option to educate others although I think many people would be disappointed to hear all this as they prefer the myths to the facts in this case. ;)
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
Oh no, let's not be "those pilgrims" and try and educate people, we all love to cling to our myths dispite being slapped in the face with brutal facts... I must admit I was hoping to see the Basque Bigfoot until Scott told me we were in the wrong spot.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Oh no, let's not be "those pilgrims" and try and educate people, we all love to cling to our myths dispite being slapped in the face with brutal facts... I must admit I was hoping to see the Basque Bigfoot until Scott told me we were in the wrong spot.
😂. I couldn't agree more. I guess I write so much about these topics on the forum because I totally clam up about them on the road. You can talk to me about any topic with highly questionable historical or mythical interpretation and I will just smile politely. Oh, and someone who researches Hannibal's path and tries to follow his steps, even without an elephant, would be a person after my own heart. 🙂
 

Derrybiketours

A journey of 500 miles begins with one step!
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SANT-FIN (09/2018)
PORTO-SANT (11/2018)
Caminho Da Fe (01/2019)
*Derry-SANT (09/2019)?
I didn't have heavy clothes, just layered with what I had, but I would have given anything for a pair of warm gloves. A pair is going with me when I return next year. Hopefully I won't need them.
I thought the same then realized my spare Merino wool socks had multiple uses and less likely to leave them behind 🤠
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I'm not sure how Hannibal could march his army, complete with elephants, overland from Hispania to Italy without crossing the Pyrenees as well as the Alps. The crossing of the Alps may be more famous but crossing the Pyrenees seems to be a necessary prerequisite.
Sure, but please look at the map attaced to my post, David, and read what I actually posted. The Eastern Pyrenees is far away from the Camino Frances.
Sorry for taking over the thread on history geekdom
Educating us all is what this forum is for. Getting basic facts straight isn't being a geek, it's a service to everyone.
Thank you @Kathar1na, for your patience and many interesting tid-bits - not just in this thread. I always enjoy your posts.
 
Last edited:

bbates225

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
June/July (2017) Camino Frances (couldn't finish)
June/July (2020) Camino Frances (will try again)
I don't believe that there is a bus from Madrid to SJPdP. You have to take a bus to Pamplona and change there to a bus to St Jean.
Thanks for info.
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
😂Oh, and someone who researches Hannibal's path and tries to follow his steps, even without an elephant, would be a person after my own heart. 🙂
He didn't have an elephant, just me. And I would have followed him anywhere.

The OP is fortunate to have a wife who wants to walk with him, I hope they have a lovely time.
 

Raggy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
Well I'm glad to have been disabused of the notion that Hannibal crossed at SJPP. I was gearing up to make the crossing in character. How foolish I would have appeared to any passing history mavens.
 

Book your lodging here

Get e-mail updates from Casa Ivar (Forum + Forum Store content)




Advertisement

Booking.com

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 15 1.4%
  • February

    Votes: 5 0.5%
  • March

    Votes: 41 4.0%
  • April

    Votes: 155 15.0%
  • May

    Votes: 259 25.0%
  • June

    Votes: 80 7.7%
  • July

    Votes: 21 2.0%
  • August

    Votes: 20 1.9%
  • September

    Votes: 298 28.8%
  • October

    Votes: 124 12.0%
  • November

    Votes: 12 1.2%
  • December

    Votes: 5 0.5%
Top