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One more fix, please: And a Camino travelling101 from an oldtimer to newbies.

Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
#1
Just ordered a flight from Norway to Madrid on the 24th of Sept. Have to get another fix. And so, I thought I should give newbies some reassurance. Here is my plan, made up by experience and relaxation.

My first goal was to get a cheap flight to Spain: I got it on www.norwegian.com : Ca 150 Euros from my hometown in Norway to Madrid. Then I went to www.booking.com and ordered a cheap stay in Madrid (I only need a bed for the night), near the Chamartin station, because I'll take a cheap shuttle bus from the airport to Shamartin station, go in and buy a ticket to Pamplona there for the next morning (That station is for northbound trains; if you go south like Sevilla or Malaga, you should find a hotel/hostel near the Atosha station for southbound trains).

Right: So now I am in Madrid, at 4 pm in the afternoon. I have my train ticket for the next day, so of course: I check in at the hostel, relax, have a few tapas++, and go to bed. Next morning is an easy 4-5 hours trainride through the Spanish landscape,

I go to the Jesus y Maria albergue in Pamplona centre for a bed for the night. If you don't have a pilgrim passport/credential, they will give you one for 2 Euros, and the next morning I am on the Camino, walking to Puente la Reina (or wherever I want to stop for the day).

I am writing this for the comfort of newbies: Having done many Caminos, this is now very simple for me, but I completely understand the anxiety of firsttimers. Just remember, Spain is a VERY civilised country with superb infrastructure. The only obstacle may be the language, but learn to be patient and polite, and all will be well.

Being retired, I haven't purchased a return ticket: I am playing it by the ear. Much easier that way.

Important: For us over 60, it is possible to but a "Tarjeta Dorada" at railway stations. It costs 6 Euros, and will give you a 25 % discount on all train travels in Spain. It will be valid for a year to date after purchase. You will save a lot of money, and can donate it to the Forum ;)

Buen Camino, and hope to see some of you on the Way!

Edit: For all those who go to Paris etc., all this fuzz about getting to get to SJpdP: (there is nothing saying you HAVE to start there: Start where you want): Go to Madrid, stay over, enjoy a nice city (Now you are where you need to be), take a morning train to Pamplona, take an afternoon bus/taxi from there to SJpdP: Much easier, cheaper, and more fun. Paris is overrated, IMHO.

Edit II: I look forward to treat @SYates , @JohnnieWalker and @ivar to 1-2 beers in Santiago. Ohhh, forgot that 12 is spelled without a hyphen....
 
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jeffnd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2014
#6
For all those who go to Paris etc., all this fuzz about getting to get to SJpdP: (there is nothing saying you HAVE to start there: Start where you want): Go to Madrid, stay over, enjoy a nice city (Now you are where you need to be), take a morning train to Pamplona, take an afternoon bus/taxi from there to SJpdP: Much easier, cheaper, and more fun. Paris is overrated, IMHO.
For me, it was quicker and cheaper to fly to Paris and take the train to St. Jean. I found a very cheap but nice room for 40 euros. And I didn't do any sightseeing while I was there. I went from the airport to my room, then to the train station the next morning. A flight from Minneapolis to Madrid would have been been a few hundred dollars more expensive. So I guess it all depends where you are in the world.
 

lissie45

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk Frances 2019
#7
Nice post and in general I agree with you. But you live in Europe - I presume you are not restricted by Schengen visa rules - most of us need proof we're leaving within 90 days - so a return flight is important. Plus I'd LOVE to only have to fly a few hours to Europe. Flights to Europe are now on sale from NZ for next year - but I can probably wait until about 90 days out to buy the ticket without having to mortgage the house! Hoping to spend around US$1000 return- but it may end up a bit more.

What I've noticed that flights are slightly shorter/cheaper into Barcelona - so we may open-jaws it into Barcelona and out of Madrid - 2 of my favourite Spanish cities anyways
 
Camino(s) past & future
Too many caminos to list in the permitted 100 characters!!
#8
Being retired, I haven't purchased a return ticket:
Blimey! You think maybe you'll not be alive to make the return journey? Hope you've told your next-of-kin...

My "final" camino is planned for next April/May. Being an optimist, I plan to buy a return ticket!

Buen camino, Alex!
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
#9
For me, it was quicker and cheaper to fly to Paris and take the train to St. Jean. I found a very cheap but nice room for 40 euros. And I didn't do any sightseeing while I was there. I went from the airport to my room, then to the train station the next morning. A flight from Minneapolis to Madrid would have been been a few hundred dollars more expensive. So I guess it all depends where you are in the world.
Indeed. For me, not speaking French, it is much more comfortable to go to Spain and find my way there.
 
#10
But there is as much reason to start in Pamplona as there is in Roncesvalles or SJPP or any other town on or off any of the Camino routes.

As has been mentioned in other threads SJPP is a pretty odd place to start with a very tough first day. If you want to walk via SJPP maybe start in Biarritz. The idea that SJPP is "the" start of he Camino Frances is very much a 21st century idea before that most walkers wanting to do a long walk started in Roncesvalles.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#11
The idea that SJPP is "the" start of he Camino Frances is very much a 21st century idea
The first modern guide (in Spanish) was published in 1984 -- El Camino de Santiago Guia del Peregrino, by Everest -- begins with the Camino Aragones to Puente La Reina. Second, it shows the Camino Nararro from St. Jean Pied de Port after stating that the three French paths meet a day before SJPdP at Ostabat. It meets the Camino Aragones at Puente La Reina where the joined path heads for Santiago.

The number of refugios is amazingly low! Accommodations were mostly hostales. Virtually all of our beloved albergues did not exist at that time. The church in Granon is noted, but not as a refuge.

Authenticity seems to be conveyed more by commercial interests than history. Start where you want. End where you want (at the cathedral in Santiago if you want a compostela and want to call it a pilgrimage, a religious journey, originally Catholic in this case). Most of all, have fun and fulfillment. Arbitrary rules will always detract from that. :)
 

npatz

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
first ever
#12
The first modern guide (in Spanish) was published in 1984 -- El Camino de Santiago Guia del Peregrino, by Everest -- begins with the Camino Aragones to Puente La Reina. Second, it shows the Camino Nararro from St. Jean Pied de Port after stating that the three French paths meet a day before SJPdP at Ostabat. It meets the Camino Aragones at Puente La Reina where the joined path heads for Santiago.

The number of refugios is amazingly low! Accommodations were mostly hostales. Virtually all of our beloved albergues did not exist at that time. The church in Granon is noted, but not as a refuge.

Authenticity seems to be conveyed more by commercial interests than history. Start where you want. End where you want (at the cathedral in Santiago if you want a compostela and want to call it a pilgrimage, a religious journey, originally Catholic in this case). Most of all, have fun and fulfillment. Arbitrary rules will always detract from that. :)
Thanks for the tips! Do you recommend purchasing a bus ticket from panpolona to sjdppd ahead of time? Or can I purchase it once I arrive In pampolona?

Buen camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
#13
Thanks for the tips! Do you recommend purchasing a bus ticket from panpolona to sjdppd ahead of time? Or can I purchase it once I arrive In pampolona?

Buen camino!
What I would do: Settle in in Pamplona, walk to the bus station and buy a ticket for the next day, and then enjoy Pamplona. Alternatively just go to the bus station and jump on a bus. Use some website to check departure times.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#16
Thanks for the tips! Do you recommend purchasing a bus ticket from pamplona to sjdppd ahead of time? Or can I purchase it once I arrive In pampolona?
I would wait until reaching Pamplona. There can be lots of elements that could delay your travel. Often tickets cannot be applied to future buses. If you arrive in Pamplona by train, plan some extra time to get up the hill to the bus station. There are a lot of accommodation options for starting in Pamplona, or staying overnight before heading for SJPdP.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(1999) (2005) (2017)
#17
Good post. To the newbies, don’t over think it.

When I do it again, I think in 2022 when I’m 80, i’ll do it like outlined in this post. I think i’ll start in Pamplona, stop in Sarria, pick it up again in Santiago and go to Finisterre and Muxia. It’s a good idea to leave the return open.

Too much preplanning takes away from the serenity.
 

martyseville

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
a/a
#18
Few things to be noted by OP:

Targeted Dorada (Gold Card) is for those over 60.
It is issued with buyer’s name printed on it. Donativos to Forum members would serve no purpose. Few times I had to also show ID when using it.

Cannot be transferred or used by others.
Cannot be used on AVE runs.

Why ride bus from Barajas?
You can get free ride using C1 @ T4.
Connects key locations including Chamartin train station. Run 11 min.

Two stations that most use in Madrid:
Chamartin and
Atocha(main station).

Gold card is prorated so cost will depend when buying it now.

Gold Card can be used on the FEVE line.
Will have to surrender GC and be issued FEVE’s same card.
Then reverse when going back to RENFE system.
RENFE just took over FEVE in Galicia and Basque Country.. so changes using GC coming.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - central from Porto (2018 - planned)
#20
Few things to be noted by OP:

Targeted Dorada (Gold Card) is for those over 60.
It is issued with buyer’s name printed on it. Donativos to Forum members would serve no purpose. Few times I had to also show ID when using it.
When the OP wrote "You will save a lot of money, and can donate it to the Forum", I don't think the suggestion was that you can donate the card to the Forum. Even if it was transferable, how would one do that? I think the suggestion was that some or all of the money saved could be donated to the Forum.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#21
Indeed. For me, not speaking French, it is much more comfortable to go to Spain and find my way there.
and for me, speaking French but not Spanish - is why I would like to move St James and his silver casket to the Eglise Notre Dame in St Jean ... then I could do all my first aid along the Caminos in France!!

Hey, Alex - I am just sorting my first aid kits now .. will be going back down to Camino in my Berlingo (that I have made into the tiniest miniature camper) .. so won't be doing multi-day walking, just strolling 'upstream' in the mornings and then back down to refugios in the afternoons, working my way along the Camino .. but will be at Roncesvalles - to offer first aid again - afternoon of Sat 22nd and just might be in Pamplona when you get there - fancy a beer? (or 2?)

Everyone else out there on Camino from the 22nd Sept - look out for a silver (actually Safari gold, say Citroen ;)) Berlingo with first aid signs on it - flag me down. Or an old bloke in brown with a face like a weathered coconut possibly walking the wrong way and carrying a first aid sign :).
 

martyseville

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
a/a
#22
When the OP wrote "You will save a lot of money, and can donate it to the Forum", I don't think the suggestion was that you can donate the card to the Forum. Even if it was transferable, how would one do that? I think the suggestion was that some or all of the money saved could be donated to the Forum.
Good point. Reason I noted “buyer is only user” is I have seen people not from Spain try to get discount with someone ‘s Card.
Card was taken away. One guy had some explaining to do to PN in Seville.
They thought he had stolen the card. Treated him as such. Bag search, warrant check, etc.

Ride free on L1 from T4 @ MAD airport
Faster than bus.

CG is valid on FEVE train system. By transferring it over to FEVE. No additional cost.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
#23
and for me, speaking French but not Spanish - is why I would like to move St James and his silver casket to the Eglise Notre Dame in St Jean ... then I could do all my first aid along the Caminos in France!!

Hey, Alex - I am just sorting my first aid kits now .. will be going back down to Camino in my Berlingo (that I have made into the tiniest miniature camper) .. so won't be doing multi-day walking, just strolling 'upstream' in the mornings and then back down to refugios in the afternoons, working my way along the Camino .. but will be at Roncesvalles - to offer first aid again - afternoon of Sat 22nd and just might be in Pamplona when you get there - fancy a beer? (or 2?)

Everyone else out there on Camino from the 22nd Sept - look out for a silver (actually Safari gold, say Citroen ;)) Berlingo with first aid signs on it - flag me down. Or an old bloke in brown with a face like a weathered coconut possibly walking the wrong way and carrying a first aid sign :).
If all goes well I will be walking out of Pamplona on the 26th. But nothing's set in stone :)

@martyseville : This was what I wrote (Including tongue-in-cheek):

...Important: For us over 60, it is possible to but a "Tarjeta Dorada" at railway stations. It costs 6 Euros, and will give you a 25 % discount on all train travels in Spain. It will be valid for a year to date after purchase. You will save a lot of money, and can donate it (money) to the Forum ;)
 

martyseville

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
a/a
#24
Alex...thanks

Fee is 6 euros
Processing fee is 7 euros

Total cost today is 13 euros for GC in Spain

Sorry for misreading your donating to forum.

Good post Alex

True will save money. Buy it before buying a ticket.

We may see in the future the GC will be only for Spanish nationals. For now open to all

Blessings from Seville
 
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Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
#26
Good post. To the newbies, don’t over think it.
.
.
.
Too much preplanning takes away from the serenity.
Indeed. The best plan is to not have a plan, IMHO. (Apart for your flight, the first night's sleep, and a few details in order to arrive at your starting point for walking: After that, it's all a "walk in the park" :)). Reality is far easier than you think. "My worst fears in life never happened".

Edit: @Tvsteve : Planning 4 years ahead for your 80th anniversary?!!! My hat off! What i call balls! I am just a 64-year old chicken...
 
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Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
#28
I don't speak French or Spanish, so I would be uncomfortable either way!
:) I speak basic Spanish, so I manage quite well. As for French, I only know how to order pepper steak and red wine. After one week, I am really bored with pepper steak, and have to convert to red wine only. A bit boring/confusing without food.:rolleyes:
 
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martyseville

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
a/a
#29
You guys are a Bunch of youngsters on here!

Did the Portugues this May.

It was my 4th Camino. Biked the CF four years ago.

Went back the next year after biking it and walked it.

What shall I do for my 75th birthday coming up??

May do the Portugues again. Plata biking?
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
#30
You guys are a Bunch of youngsters on here!

Did the Portugues this May.

It was my 4th Camino. Biked the CF four years ago.

Went back the next year after biking it and walked it.

What shall I do for my 75th birthday coming up??

May do the Portugues again. Plata biking?
The CP is a lot of cobble stones. Hard walking, but a good Camino. Start in Porto, not Lisbon: Bad infrastructure. Maybe take a bike on VDlP: A great Camino. Remember to explore Merida:

https://www.google.no/search?q=merida+roman+theatre&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=2MJBlwtQRW3WaM%3A%2C2Iszkw-ACbLsKM%2C_&usg=AFrqEzdjTfzNNj73SRt7JzMKWqQPI4MQsQ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiulZ3lkLndAhWIKMAKHZMvCfQQ9QEwAnoECAMQBA#imgrc=2MJBlwtQRW3WaM:

It is "Cracy"
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
#33
Also flying to Madrid on the 24th, from Canada so I will arrive the 25th. Bus to Burgos, then to Najera and will start walking west from there. Buen Camino @alexwalker!
Happy for you! Then I will be ca. 1 week behind you.

Buen Camino!
 

Kristie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016)
#34
Just ordered a flight from Norway to Madrid on the 24th of Sept. Have to get another fix. And so, I thought I should give newbies some reassurance. Here is my plan, made up by experience and relaxation.

My first goal was to get a cheap flight to Spain: I got it on www.norwegian.com : Ca 150 Euros from my hometown in Norway to Madrid. Then I went to www.booking.com and ordered a cheap stay in Madrid (I only need a bed for the night), near the Chamartin station, because I'll take a cheap shuttle bus from the airport to Shamartin station, go in and buy a ticket to Pamplona there for the next morning (That station is for northbound trains; if you go south like Sevilla or Malaga, you should find a hotel/hostel near the Atosha station for southbound trains).

Right: So now I am in Madrid, at 4 pm in the afternoon. I have my train ticket for the next day, so of course: I check in at the hostel, relax, have a few tapas++, and go to bed. Next morning is an easy 4-5 hours trainride through the Spanish landscape,

I go to the Jesus y Maria albergue in Pamplona centre for a bed for the night. If you don't have a pilgrim passport/credential, they will give you one for 2 Euros, and the next morning I am on the Camino, walking to Puente la Reina (or wherever I want to stop for the day).

I am writing this for the comfort of newbies: Having done many Caminos, this is now very simple for me, but I completely understand the anxiety of firsttimers. Just remember, Spain is a VERY civilised country with superb infrastructure. The only obstacle may be the language, but learn to be patient and polite, and all will be well.

Being retired, I haven't purchased a return ticket: I am playing it by the ear. Much easier that way.

Important: For us over 60, it is possible to but a "Tarjeta Dorada" at railway stations. It costs 6 Euros, and will give you a 25 % discount on all train travels in Spain. It will be valid for a year to date after purchase. You will save a lot of money, and can donate it to the Forum ;)

Buen Camino, and hope to see some of you on the Way!

Edit: For all those who go to Paris etc., all this fuzz about getting to get to SJpdP: (there is nothing saying you HAVE to start there: Start where you want): Go to Madrid, stay over, enjoy a nice city (Now you are where you need to be), take a morning train to Pamplona, take an afternoon bus/taxi from there to SJpdP: Much easier, cheaper, and more fun. Paris is overrated, IMHO.

Edit II: I look forward to treat @SYates , @JohnnieWalker and @ivar to 1-2 beers in Santiago. Ohhh, forgot that 12 is spelled without a hyphen....
I have twice taken northbound trains from the Atocha Station to Pamplona.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
#35
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis SJPP
April 2016, August 2017, May 2018
Camino PortuGUESE
May 2019
#37
Just ordered a flight from Norway to Madrid on the 24th of Sept. Have to get another fix. And so, I thought I should give newbies some reassurance. Here is my plan, made up by experience and relaxation.

My first goal was to get a cheap flight to Spain: I got it on www.norwegian.com : Ca 150 Euros from my hometown in Norway to Madrid. Then I went to www.booking.com and ordered a cheap stay in Madrid (I only need a bed for the night), near the Chamartin station, because I'll take a cheap shuttle bus from the airport to Shamartin station, go in and buy a ticket to Pamplona there for the next morning (That station is for northbound trains; if you go south like Sevilla or Malaga, you should find a hotel/hostel near the Atosha station for southbound trains).

Right: So now I am in Madrid, at 4 pm in the afternoon. I have my train ticket for the next day, so of course: I check in at the hostel, relax, have a few tapas++, and go to bed. Next morning is an easy 4-5 hours trainride through the Spanish landscape,

I go to the Jesus y Maria albergue in Pamplona centre for a bed for the night. If you don't have a pilgrim passport/credential, they will give you one for 2 Euros, and the next morning I am on the Camino, walking to Puente la Reina (or wherever I want to stop for the day).

I am writing this for the comfort of newbies: Having done many Caminos, this is now very simple for me, but I completely understand the anxiety of firsttimers. Just remember, Spain is a VERY civilised country with superb infrastructure. The only obstacle may be the language, but learn to be patient and polite, and all will be well.

Being retired, I haven't purchased a return ticket: I am playing it by the ear. Much easier that way.

Important: For us over 60, it is possible to but a "Tarjeta Dorada" at railway stations. It costs 6 Euros, and will give you a 25 % discount on all train travels in Spain. It will be valid for a year to date after purchase. You will save a lot of money, and can donate it to the Forum ;)

Buen Camino, and hope to see some of you on the Way!

Edit: For all those who go to Paris etc., all this fuzz about getting to get to SJpdP: (there is nothing saying you HAVE to start there: Start where you want): Go to Madrid, stay over, enjoy a nice city (Now you are where you need to be), take a morning train to Pamplona, take an afternoon bus/taxi from there to SJpdP: Much easier, cheaper, and more fun. Paris is overrated, IMHO.

Edit II: I look forward to treat @SYates , @JohnnieWalker and @ivar to 1-2 beers in Santiago. Ohhh, forgot that 12 is spelled without a hyphen....
Hi Alex
Lots of good info and relaxed attitude....I've gone from Paris on the train 2016, to Bayonne....Dublin _ Bayonne 2017 flying, then Madrid _ fly to Bayonne 2018' ....I must say staying in old part of Madrid, walking distance from airport in Barajas was the best. So that's coming from Australia where a day or 2 is needed for jetlag. The only drawback for a newbie if they are walking the whole CF is they don't qualify for the 400 /799 klms certificates from Sahagun & SC. My Taipei friend really regretted not starting at SJPP. I must say as a veteran I like your plan.
Beun Camino Miki
 
Camino(s) past & future
"2017"
#38
Just ordered a flight from Norway to Madrid on the 24th of Sept. Have to get another fix. And so, I thought I should give newbies some reassurance. Here is my plan, made up by experience and relaxation.

My first goal was to get a cheap flight to Spain: I got it on www.norwegian.com : Ca 150 Euros from my hometown in Norway to Madrid. Then I went to www.booking.com and ordered a cheap stay in Madrid (I only need a bed for the night), near the Chamartin station, because I'll take a cheap shuttle bus from the airport to Shamartin station, go in and buy a ticket to Pamplona there for the next morning (That station is for northbound trains; if you go south like Sevilla or Malaga, you should find a hotel/hostel near the Atosha station for southbound trains).

Right: So now I am in Madrid, at 4 pm in the afternoon. I have my train ticket for the next day, so of course: I check in at the hostel, relax, have a few tapas++, and go to bed. Next morning is an easy 4-5 hours trainride through the Spanish landscape,

I go to the Jesus y Maria albergue in Pamplona centre for a bed for the night. If you don't have a pilgrim passport/credential, they will give you one for 2 Euros, and the next morning I am on the Camino, walking to Puente la Reina (or wherever I want to stop for the day).

I am writing this for the comfort of newbies: Having done many Caminos, this is now very simple for me, but I completely understand the anxiety of firsttimers. Just remember, Spain is a VERY civilised country with superb infrastructure. The only obstacle may be the language, but learn to be patient and polite, and all will be well.

Being retired, I haven't purchased a return ticket: I am playing it by the ear. Much easier that way.

Important: For us over 60, it is possible to but a "Tarjeta Dorada" at railway stations. It costs 6 Euros, and will give you a 25 % discount on all train travels in Spain. It will be valid for a year to date after purchase. You will save a lot of money, and can donate it to the Forum ;)

Buen Camino, and hope to see some of you on the Way!

Edit: For all those who go to Paris etc., all this fuzz about getting to get to SJpdP: (there is nothing saying you HAVE to start there: Start where you want): Go to Madrid, stay over, enjoy a nice city (Now you are where you need to be), take a morning train to Pamplona, take an afternoon bus/taxi from there to SJpdP: Much easier, cheaper, and more fun. Paris is overrated, IMHO.

Edit II: I look forward to treat @SYates , @JohnnieWalker and @ivar to 1-2 beers in Santiago. Ohhh, forgot that 12 is spelled without a hyphen....
Thank you alex, one of the better posts for us newbies!
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
#40
Alex, I wish you safe travels and will miss hanging out with you this year. Say hi to Sybille, Johnnie, Ivar, Faith and Nate and the rest of the gang for me.

Buen Camino!

Mike
Hi! Igualmente gracias.

Will do!
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
#41
Right. Shutting down all systems. Madrid tomorrow, then Pamplona by train on Tuesday, and off on my feet on Wednesday. CU all later! Will make a comfortable change from 6C here to 26C in Madrid. Weather forecast for the next 10 days on CF is perfect!
 

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