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Orisson or Roncesvalles?

Frank Mestre

Let’s Camino
Year of past OR future Camino
1st. Camino coming up 29th. April
Camino Frances here I come.
Sorry to be a pain but as you probably gather its my first Camino and i'm bricking it. Shall I walk onto Roncesvalles or shall I book into Orisson? Today I walked 24kl. In central London in 41/2 hours. I was testing myself. I hear this stage of el Camino is the most testing with the Mountains etc, If you leave SJPdP say 8am. what time are you likley to arrive at Roncesvalles? Orisson sounds like a stroll in the park only 7.6 kl. from SJPdP> Any advise is welcome Thank you
 
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biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
Not exactly a stroll in the park, one of the steepest ascents on the Camino for anyone who has just landed in SJPdP. You will find yourself having been tested to your limits when you arrive there and realize you have another 16km to walk to get to Roncevalles. Reservations are strongly recommended, it sells out during the season.
 

Frank Mestre

Let’s Camino
Year of past OR future Camino
1st. Camino coming up 29th. April
Camino Frances here I come.
Not exactly a stroll in the park, one of the steepest ascents on the Camino for anyone who has just landed in SJPdP. You will find yourself having been tested to your limits when you arrive there and realize you have another 16km to walk to get to Roncevalles. Reservations are strongly recommended, it sells out during the season.
They already have sold out, but offered to ferry me to a gitte in another village then bring me back in the morning, I'm still waiting to hear from the Albergue.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
The other gite is probably Hunto. They own that property as well and it is not in a village. There are no villages up there. If you can stay at Hunto and they let you walk to dinner at Orisson, you will be a happy camper.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2014), Camino Inca (2015), Primitivo (2017), Portugues (2018), Finisterre (2018)
I would highly recommend going to Orisson (or Hunto, if that is where you can get in) on the first day. It allows for an easier introduction into your Camino, and allows you to meet some fellow travellers. As said previously, if you can walk up to Orisson for dinner, I would also recommend that. I started from SJPP at 8 am, and got into Orisson just after 10 (and that was with a short break). Of course, the albergue did not open up until about 2 in the afternoon, so looking back, I regret not staying in SJPP a little longer that morning and exploring it before heading off. And you are not a pain - you are just going through all the questions and concerns that almost all of us have had.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Another option Frank, that we use, is to aim for Orrison on day 1. But get Express Bourricot to pick you up. They take you back down to St Jean at about 2:30 pm.

Next day, they bring you back up to start where you left off.

Can be booked on their website.

This has the added benefit that you can carry an ultra lite pack on Day 1. Leave the rest in St Jean. It eases you in gently if you are worried at all.

Lots of doubts and questions are quite natural Frank. They tend to evaporate once you get started....

Hope to share a cafe con leche in the coming days....
 
Last edited:

RJM

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
A few times
If you are already capable of walking 24 km in 4.5 hours, go ahead and walk all the way to Roncesvalles. By June the days are longer and if you leave Saint Jean at about 7:00 am you will get there in the mid-afternoon. Plenty of time before the usual trout y papas dinner.
The jaunt to Orisson is not that far. If you plan on staying there, definitely leave later otherwise you will arrive before lunch.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
I would agree with RJM... Just pace yourself, take regular breaks, stay hydrated, keep your engine feed with snacks (including a bocadillo stop at Orisson), and enjoy the views.
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Ourense to Santiago (2019), CF: (2014, 2004, 2002, 2001). On to Fisterra, (2002, 4, 14).
SJPP to Roncesvalles in one is doable. But, if you can stop in Him to take the it.

Try and attend the blessing for pilgrims in Roncesvalles. I found it quite moving

Buen camino to you.
 
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scruffy1

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
Forget about the physical side for a moment. That first day is one of great excitement and expectation, meeting and talking with many other pilgrims as you walk-far too many stops for photos, a grand new experience, all taken together can throw you off your usual pace and speed. No sense at all to come dragging in to Roncesvalles late and dead tired. Give yourself a easy day or two to learn the ropes and then do as you like.
 

Kim Wright

New Member
Hi Frank - I would highly recommend walking only to Hunto (as Orisson is already booked) your first day. We did the Camino Frances in 2016 and we were both in our 50's. Originally we had planned to go all the way to Roncesvalles but 3 weeks before our Camino I had an appendectomy and we decided we better start out slower. There was a group of 4 of us and we were all glad we did this. It gave us a chance to have a leisurely a.m. in SJPP and a light lunch before having a nice leisurely walk to Hunto (we stayed at Hunto as Orisson was also booked then). Besides that it was raining very hard in the a.m. but when we left in the afternoon it was nice and sunny but not hot. Also I don't think you need to go to Orisson for the dinner unless things have changed but we had a nice Camino dinner with all who were staying at Hunto that night. It was very enjoyable. Now 5 km might not seem like very much but when you have 5 km at the end of your day....well then it seems further. We were very glad we didn't have to go any further the next day. As well you get a bit of a head start from the rest of the Pilgrims heading out from SJPP in the a.m. Whatever you decide....Buen Camino!
 

Phil Smith

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(2016)StJ to Viana (2017): Viana to Castrojeriz (2018) Castrojeriz to Leon
(2019) León to Sarria
Hello Frank - we started our Camino in 2016 and have been doing stages [varying from 7 to 10 days walking each time]. I was 50 when we went from St Jean. We had booked Orisson. We set off at around 7.30 a.m. and got to Orisson by 10.30 a.m. I am generously proportioned [100kg] and not hugely fit. I had done practice walks and had done some walking up hills [Mam Tor in Derbyshire, UK]. When I got to Orisson I felt it would have been a waste of a day to stop at that point and carried on. That first haul is difficult, but it does get easier. The way down is difficult, but if you look after your knees [I used poles] it is manageable. getting this done in ne day has set me up for the Camino ... I know I can deal with pretty much anything after day one!
However, my real advice is do what you feel is do-able for you.
Buen Camino
 

Frank Mestre

Let’s Camino
Year of past OR future Camino
1st. Camino coming up 29th. April
Camino Frances here I come.
Hello Frank - we started our Camino in 2016 and have been doing stages [varying from 7 to 10 days walking each time]. I was 50 when we went from St Jean. We had booked Orisson. We set off at around 7.30 a.m. and got to Orisson by 10.30 a.m. I am generously proportioned [100kg] and not hugely fit. I had done practice walks and had done some walking up hills [Mam Tor in Derbyshire, UK]. When I got to Orisson I felt it would have been a waste of a day to stop at that point and carried on. That first haul is difficult, but it does get easier. The way down is difficult, but if you look after your knees [I used poles] it is manageable. getting this done in ne day has set me up for the Camino ... I know I can deal with pretty much anything after day one!
However, my real advice is do what you feel is do-able for you.
Buen Camino
If you are already capable of walking 24 km in 4.5 hours, go ahead and walk all the way to Roncesvalles. By June the days are longer and if you leave Saint Jean at about 7:00 am you will get there in the mid-afternoon. Plenty of time before the usual trout y papas dinner.
The jaunt to Orisson is not that far. If you plan on staying there, definitely leave later otherwise you will arrive before lunch.
 

Frank Mestre

Let’s Camino
Year of past OR future Camino
1st. Camino coming up 29th. April
Camino Frances here I come.
Hello Frank - we started our Camino in 2016 and have been doing stages [varying from 7 to 10 days walking each time]. I was 50 when we went from St Jean. We had booked Orisson. We set off at around 7.30 a.m. and got to Orisson by 10.30 a.m. I am generously proportioned [100kg] and not hugely fit. I had done practice walks and had done some walking up hills [Mam Tor in Derbyshire, UK]. When I got to Orisson I felt it would have been a waste of a day to stop at that point and carried on. That first haul is difficult, but it does get easier. The way down is difficult, but if you look after your knees [I used poles] it is manageable. getting this done in ne day has set me up for the Camino ... I know I can deal with pretty much anything after day one!
However, my real advice is do what you feel is do-able for you.
Buen Camino
HI Phil what time did you get to Roncesvalles in the end? Did you prebook a hostal?
 
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piggyhinton

Member
Sorry to be a pain but as you probably gather its my first Camino and i'm bricking it. Shall I walk onto Roncesvalles or shall I book into Orisson? Today I walked 24kl. In central London in 41/2 hours. I was testing myself. I hear this stage of el Camino is the most testing with the Mountains etc, If you leave SJPdP say 8am. what time are you likley to arrive at Roncesvalles? Orisson sounds like a stroll in the park only 7.6 kl. from SJPdP> Any advise is welcome Thank you
Orrison, takes about 3 - 4 hours, Roncesvalle about another 4 - 5 hours buen camino
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
A few times
The first time I walked the Camino Frances I was not aware of the Orrison albergue. I had no guidebook showing that. I set off from Saint Jean early in the morning and in short order I covered the ten kilometres and saw it. Stopped. Refilled on water. Had a coffee and something to eat and continued on to Roncesvalles. I was there long before dinner time. Took a shower, washed my clothes, took a nap, ate dinner and went to mass and then to sleep.
The walk over the Pyrenees the first day is mostly on paved or improved roadways of sorts. Steep? Of course, but hardly a trek over Everest.
 

Phil Smith

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(2016)StJ to Viana (2017): Viana to Castrojeriz (2018) Castrojeriz to Leon
(2019) León to Sarria
HI Phil what time did you get to Roncesvalles in the end? Did you prebook a hostal?
Hello Frank - my recollection was it was between 3 to 4 p.m. It was certainly in time to wash clothes, change, eat and attend Mass. We didn't pre-book and the end of July was busy ... all those teachers on summer holidays!
 

camino-david

RIP 2020
Year of past OR future Camino
Caminos Frances (x4), Finisterre, Aragon, Via de la Plata, Portuguese 2011 -2015. Hospitalero 2015
Hi Frank. Like most of the questions asked on the Forum, there are no definitive answers, only personal opinions. And you are certainly not being a pain for asking questions. Whether you walk 'just' to Orrison or to Roncevalles depends a lot on your level of fitness and age. The walk direct to Roncevalles is a breeze for a fit person in their 20's, 30's or 40's or even 50's. To me you look to be possible late 40's or early 50's so should be OK. However a 24 km walk in London (presumably fairly level) is in no way equal to the 25km and 1300metre rise walk over the Pyrennees. And does your London walk include carrying your pack. Orisson is a great place to stay with it's communal dinners and great food. But it is difficult to get a reservation due to it's popularity. I can't quite get the sense of staying at Huntto as it is only 5kms from St Jean and to go to dinner at Orisson is a two and a half km walk each way. In my opinion if I couldn't get a reservation at Orisson I would walk beyond Orisson to do about 12km from St Jean and then get Express Bouricott or a taxi back to St Jean. The next morning get a taxi back to where you stopped walking the day before and walk on to Roncevalles. This gives you the option of walking on to Roncevalles if you feel up to it. Don't book accommodation in St Jean if you use the taxi method as you will arrive back early enough for you to have no trouble and in any case the Pilgrim's Office will know where you can get accommodation. The next day it is only 15km to Roncevalles so you could walk past Roncevalles to Burguete or Espinal where there is an albergue.
However the majority of walkers do go direct from St Jean to Roncevalles.
Lastly at the top, at Col de Lepoeder, take the road down to Roncevalles, especially if the ground is wet and muddy. It is slightly longer (1.5km), but the direct path is steep and can be dangerous just when you are tired.
 

CPilgrim

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
Frank, we are leaving the same day and taking it slow and easy to Roncevalles. You won’t be alone!
 
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Deleted member 67185

Guest
.....Whether you walk 'just' to Orrison or to Roncevalles depends a lot on your level of fitness and age. The walk direct to Roncevalles is a breeze for a fit person in their 20's, 30's or 40's or even 50's. To me you look to be possible late 40's or early 50's so should be OK. However a 24 km walk in London (presumably fairly level) is in no way equal to the 25km and 1300metre rise walk over the Pyrennees. ....

:) Last year as a 64 year old, I had no problem walking to Roncesvalles. I was a bit tired and ready to eat and shower and eat and relax and eat and look around the area a bit, but my age wasn't a limiting factor. ;)

The day did burn a few calories :)
 

Anne Measures

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino de Santiago - twice
Via Francigena - Canterbury to Rome (2017)
Rome to Jerusalem (2017)
Sorry to be a pain but as you probably gather its my first Camino and i'm bricking it. Shall I walk onto Roncesvalles or shall I book into Orisson? Today I walked 24kl. In central London in 41/2 hours. I was testing myself. I hear this stage of el Camino is the most testing with the Mountains etc, If you leave SJPdP say 8am. what time are you likley to arrive at Roncesvalles? Orisson sounds like a stroll in the park only 7.6 kl. from SJPdP> Any advise is welcome Thank you
Just to let you know I have decided Orisson for tomorrow they were fully booked but have organised a bed they will ferry back to and then I will be dropped off back at Orisson to continue. Very kind and I will be better equipped for the next day Buen Camino
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
I'm a very sedentary and unfit 56 year old man whose only real exercise comes when walking a Camino or other long-distance route now and again. I do not train in between walks. Even so I would never even consider stopping at Orisson or Hontto if I was setting off from SJPDP in early morning. Barely time and distance enough to work up an appetite for lunch! The last time I walked the CF over 300 people left SJPDP that morning. A bare handful took the Valcarlos route - I happened to be amongst them that time having walked the higher route twice before. The vast majority walked the Route Napoleon. Between them I think that Orisson and Hontto can accommodate about 60 or so. So the vast majority made it safely over the hills to Roncesvalles. If you are anxious about your fitness then by all means stop at Orisson. But the idea seems to be gaining ground that it is necessary to do so and foolish to attempt the crossing to Roncesvalles in a single day. That is clearly not the case.
 

Frank Mestre

Let’s Camino
Year of past OR future Camino
1st. Camino coming up 29th. April
Camino Frances here I come.
:) Last year as a 64 year old, I had no problem walking to Roncesvalles. I was a bit tired and ready to eat and shower and eat and relax and eat and look around the area a bit, but my age wasn't a limiting factor. ;)

The day did burn a few calories :)
Right that does it it’s Roncesvalles upwards and onwards thanks guys viva El Camino
 

jflorez

Joe Florez
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances: Apr/May/Jun (2018)
I'll be starting from SJPdP on the 30th. I've been struggling with whether to attempt the Napoleon given the length, and effort required to do the entire 25km. The pros of doing it are of course the iconic views. But, I'm concerned about overdoing it right at the start of my camino, and ending up in very poor physical shape leaving Roncesvalles the next morning. The weather forecast for when I leave is for rain for the trip out of SJPdP, so I'm seriously considering Valcarlos route instead, since the views on the Napoleon route may be limited or completely obscured with rain anyway. But, I'm still not sure. I didn't reserve a room in Orisson, so that isn't an option, and I can't see myself going back to SJPdP after going part of the way; I'd just keep going even if it meant paying for it physically. I'll probably make a decision the morning I leave SJPdP on which route to take.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I'll be starting from SJPdP on the 30th. I've been struggling with whether to attempt the Napoleon given the length, and effort required to do the entire 25km. The pros of doing it are of course the iconic views. But, I'm concerned about overdoing it right at the start of my camino, and ending up in very poor physical shape leaving Roncesvalles the next morning. The weather forecast for when I leave is for rain for the trip out of SJPdP, so I'm seriously considering Valcarlos route instead, since the views on the Napoleon route may be limited or completely obscured with rain anyway. But, I'm still not sure. I didn't reserve a room in Orisson, so that isn't an option, and I can't see myself going back to SJPdP after going part of the way; I'd just keep going even if it meant paying for it physically. I'll probably make a decision the morning I leave SJPdP on which route to take.
Or, you can do as the Spaniards and others do, and simply start in Roncesvalles.
 

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