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Phone necessary on Aragones? (also: single favorite moment?)

NadineK

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2014)
Norte/Primitivo (2015)
San Salvador (2016)
Le Puy-Cahors (2017)
Hello fellow pilgrims!

I am so excited to be planning a walk from Oloron to Puenta La Reina, beginning around mid-June (and then on to Irun, hopefully to Oviedo, a route I walked in 2015 and have been wanting to return to ever since).

This forum has been invaluable, as usual, and I've spent several hours reading through these posts. Thank you all for this very helpful information!

My biggest question is this: I'm traveling from the US and my phone won't be able to make calls unless I buy a local SIM card. I did not do this when I walked the Camino de San Salvador a few years ago, and had some hilarious moments trying to hunt down pay phones in order to call someone to let me into the albergues. It always worked out, but I vowed that if I were walking an isolated route in the future, I would pony up for a SIM card.

If I happen to be one of the few/only pilgrims on this route when I walk, what are the chances that there will be someone/a hospitalero in the albergues when I arrive? Will I need to have a working phone to contact someone to let me in? I'm not terribly worried about this; I trust that I could go knocking on doors to ask for help if needed, but my Spanish is very minimal and if it's expected to have a working phone to help with the albergue situation, I will certainly see to that.

Lastly, because I am deep in the glorious anticipation/preparation stage of my pilgrimage: would anyone like to share their single favorite moment or memory from this route? This is one that seems to be a hidden treasure, and I am just so excited to begin this journey.

Buen Camino,
Nadine
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes/Burgos/SdeC 77; Frances 12,15,17; Finisterre 17; Lourdes/Aragones18; Logrono-Leon 19.
Bravo! You have much to look forward to! ... A few quick thoughts, in no particular order:

1. Oloron is a good place to start. Try and visit there the last surviving traditional beret factory in France. Circumstances prevented me from doing so, and I'm still sorry about that.

2. My single favorite moment? That's hard.... But the descent from Somport to Canfranc Estacion I found to be very special: one of those moments when I was simply, overwhelmingly, glad to be alive...."Thank you, God, that I can be here, and be doing this, and seeing this!" Natural high!

56621

3. Can't help much with your phone/albergue questions.... I started in Toulouse, bought a cheap French sim card there, and recall no problems ever using it till I got to Sanguesa. There a walking companion wanted a Spanish sim card, so I went ahead and got one, too.... Every place I stayed in France and Spain offered free wi-fi.... And I'm old and solitary and pretty much past the albergue stage anyway.... So it's usually cheap hotels for me, now. I'll be glad to share my hotel suggestions, if you like.

4. Jaca's a cool little city. The cathedral museum knocked my socks off! And find some way to visit San Juan de la Pena - a strange and wonderful place.

Godspeed.
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
I walked from Oloron Ste Marie through the Aragones to Puenta la Reina (and on to Santiago) in 2016 and never needed a phone, except for one situation in which I had to hitch a ride, because it was getting dark and still two hours walk from my night's stop. But I don't know what good it would have done to have a phone. I had booked ahead at the monastery at Sarrance, by email, and had my booking confirmed by a hospitalera and by one of the brothers, but nonetheless there was no record of it when I arrived. There was still a bed for me in the auberge, in fact, a private room. Bookings did not seem necessary on that route, and since it has not become busier since this may still be the case. I stopped in the tourist office in Canfranc Estacion, when an albergue which was supposed to be open turned out to have no hospitalero there. The person in the tourist office phoned around until she found me a room in a different hostel. There was also a very helpful tourist office in Jaca, which helped me to arrange to go to San Juan de la Pena. You won't want to miss it. Enjoy your walk on this delightful route. Buen camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes/Burgos/SdeC 77; Frances 12,15,17; Finisterre 17; Lourdes/Aragones18; Logrono-Leon 19.
I walked from Oloron Ste Marie through the Aragones to Puenta la Reina (and on to Santiago) in 2016 and never needed a phone, except for one situation in which I had to hitch a ride, because it was getting dark and still two hours walk from my night's stop. But I don't know what good it would have done to have a phone. I had booked ahead at the monastery at Sarrance, by email, and had my booking confirmed by a hospitalera and by one of the brothers, but nonetheless there was no record of it when I arrived. There was still a bed for me in the auberge, in fact, a private room. Bookings did not seem necessary on that route, and since it has not become busier since this may still be the case. I stopped in the tourist office in Canfranc Estacion, when an albergue which was supposed to be open turned out to have no hospitalero there. The person in the tourist office phoned around until she found me a room in a different hostel. There was also a very helpful tourist office in Jaca, which helped me to arrange to go to San Juan de la Pena. You won't want to miss it. Enjoy your walk on this delightful route. Buen camino.
I'll second the recommendation in re the tourist office in Jaca.... Patient and helpful folks.
 

NorthernLight

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I walked the Aragonese alone and with no SIM card. Actually, I was about a week behind Albertagirl. There were albergues where the door wasn't locked and the hospitalera showed up eventually to register you and ask if you wanted dinner. Basically you went in and settled in. Most places had a hospi there when I arrived. In one place, the local bar managed the albergue.

The albergue in Sanguesa is tiny, but good, and the alternate route after there, through the gorge, is gorgeous.

It's a great route. Happy planning!

Great picture, Rev
 

NorthernLight

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
There's a lovely source of info ... use the search function here and search for 'Walking in Beauty" posted by @Albertagirl at the time of that walk.
 

Karl Oz

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Portuguese
Aragones
Sanabres
Piamonte
Elizabethpfad
Hi Nadine,

I endorse the Rev's comment about an Oloron start: the 3-day journey up into the Pyrenees becomes increasingly spectacular until you reach the summit. On the second day there are some short sections where the path is cut out of a cliff above the river gorge. Please use the rope hand-holds provided and take it very carefully.

I walked in July last year and it was warm and largely empty of pilgrims. I think more walk in the spring and autumn. But either way, make sure you have plenty of water each day, as opportunities to refill can be scant.

I liked it all, and found some of it challenging, but again, I think Revley nailed it with his mention of the monastery. If you walk up to it you can anticipate an exhausting day. I took the road for the first half to the village (fountain available) and then the path for the remaining section, which provided for a strenuous constitutional. Upon arrival at the new monastery I prostrated myself on the shaded main entrance ramp, not necessarily through devotion, but rather due to exhaustion. A shortish walk thereafter takes one to the old monastery, which is well worth the effort getting there. If you elect to walk down afterward I recommend the road, as it traverses a village with a shop, and also is likely to be safer than navigating the rocky and precipitous pilgrim trail with tired legs. If such exertion is unattractive to you, it is possible to get to the monastery by car. Maybe enquire at the Jaca albergue about it.

I recommend the albergue in Santa Celia, which is run by a delightful woman who speaks four languages and who will cook you a tasty evening meal.

The only place I needed my phone was at the albergue at Sanguesa, as the proprietor is not on-site.

I think the Aragones must resemble what the Frances was 30 or 40 years ago, and really, it is worth doing for that less-developed camino experience. I am sure you will find your own favourite sections.

Buen camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 was Camino #14
The Aragones route is gorgeous and I've walked it at least twice without carrying a phone.
 

Lirsy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (2017), Norte (2017), Frances (2017), Portugues (2018), La Plata (2018)
I do not think you need a SIM card, but being something so cheap ... I think it's worth buying one ... just in case! I think the sim card is the only "just in case" that I would include in my backpack !! 😂

You could find some sims even for free!

Even if you can not find a free sim, you can probably find one for around 5 euros. As we do not have roaming within the EU, I am sure that you will be able to find a similar offer in France.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes/Burgos/SdeC 77; Frances 12,15,17; Finisterre 17; Lourdes/Aragones18; Logrono-Leon 19.
Another quick thought....

On the Aragones I never really felt like a "pilgrim"..... Perhaps because I was not on the way to the Shrine, perhaps because there was less in-your-face "history" in every town, and fewer churches to visit, perhaps because the simple natural beauty was satiating.... On the Aragones I felt like I was just a hiker/sightseer/funseeker.... Not that there's anything wrong with that.....

(Oh - and don't skip the tapas at the Bar Asador Jose in Villanua Vieja! Yumm!)
 
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fransw

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012; Le Puy - Conques 2014;Camino Aragonese Oloron Ste Marie - Puenta la Reina 2018
At last one more pilgrim on the Aragones…;) Last year in May I walked also from Oloron til Puenta la Reina. Very rainy (watch out in the Val d'Aspe) and very lonely. What you should see , if possible, is Canfranc station also because of lots of history during WW II, Jaca, San Juan de la Pena but it is not easy to plan on the route, and Eunate
 

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Sixwheeler

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Arles Route (2013/2014 onwards)
Yes, yes, yes, visit the beret factory and buy yourself a beautiful and properly fitted beret as they are THE best headwear for walkers. Warm, waterproof and won't blow off in high winds and if you buy a wide one you can shelter from the sun under it; I once saw some French soldiers on a railway station wearing berets so wide that they looked like mushrooms!
 

NadineK

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2014)
Norte/Primitivo (2015)
San Salvador (2016)
Le Puy-Cahors (2017)
Bravo! You have much to look forward to! ... A few quick thoughts, in no particular order:

1. Oloron is a good place to start. Try and visit there the last surviving traditional beret factory in France. Circumstances prevented me from doing so, and I'm still sorry about that.

Godspeed.
What a beautiful, beautiful photo, thank you so much for sharing it here. These thoughts (and advice) are so appreciated, and now I know about the beret factory! What a special thing to see, and I just might come away with one of the berets.

And I think I've felt something very similar, on past walks: a moment of overwhelming awe and gratitude to be alive and walking and surrounded by almost impossible beauty. It's for these moments that I keep returning, and that I think I'll walk as long as my body will let me.

Many thanks!
 

NadineK

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2014)
Norte/Primitivo (2015)
San Salvador (2016)
Le Puy-Cahors (2017)
I walked from Oloron Ste Marie through the Aragones to Puenta la Reina (and on to Santiago) in 2016 and never needed a phone, except for one situation in which I had to hitch a ride, because it was getting dark and still two hours walk from my night's stop. But I don't know what good it would have done to have a phone. I had booked ahead at the monastery at Sarrance, by email, and had my booking confirmed by a hospitalera and by one of the brothers, but nonetheless there was no record of it when I arrived. There was still a bed for me in the auberge, in fact, a private room. Bookings did not seem necessary on that route, and since it has not become busier since this may still be the case. I stopped in the tourist office in Canfranc Estacion, when an albergue which was supposed to be open turned out to have no hospitalero there. The person in the tourist office phoned around until she found me a room in a different hostel. There was also a very helpful tourist office in Jaca, which helped me to arrange to go to San Juan de la Pena. You won't want to miss it. Enjoy your walk on this delightful route. Buen camino.
Thank you, Alberta girl, for this insight about the phone, it was just the thing I was looking for. I'm glad to hear that bookings don't seem necessary (and from threads here, it doesn't seem as though the crowds will suddenly flock to the Aragones this year, though I suppose one never knows). And it's also good to know that there are tourist offices in a few villages, I've leaned on those in the past and they've been so helpful. I will surely do the detour to San Juan de la Pena, so I'll definitely stop by the office in Jaca!
 

NadineK

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2014)
Norte/Primitivo (2015)
San Salvador (2016)
Le Puy-Cahors (2017)
I walked the Aragonese alone and with no SIM card. Actually, I was about a week behind Albertagirl. There were albergues where the door wasn't locked and the hospitalera showed up eventually to register you and ask if you wanted dinner. Basically you went in and settled in. Most places had a hospi there when I arrived. In one place, the local bar managed the albergue.

The albergue in Sanguesa is tiny, but good, and the alternate route after there, through the gorge, is gorgeous.

It's a great route. Happy planning!

Great picture, Rev
Thank you for this advice, Northern Light! It's good to know that many albergues are open, and that you can settle in and then check-in with the hospitalera later. I've been reading through these threads and making notes of the recommended detours, and I'll add the gorge to my list! (is this the Foz de Lumbier?)
 

NorthernLight

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Thank you for this advice, Northern Light! It's good to know that many albergues are open, and that you can settle in and then check-in with the hospitalera later. I've been reading through these threads and making notes of the recommended detours, and I'll add the gorge to my list! (is this the Foz de Lumbier?)
It is indeed.
 

NadineK

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2014)
Norte/Primitivo (2015)
San Salvador (2016)
Le Puy-Cahors (2017)
Hi Nadine,

I endorse the Rev's comment about an Oloron start: the 3-day journey up into the Pyrenees becomes increasingly spectacular until you reach the summit. On the second day there are some short sections where the path is cut out of a cliff above the river gorge. Please use the rope hand-holds provided and take it very carefully...

Buen camino.
Thank you so much for these insights, Karl. I've read a bit about the different approaches/routes to San Juan de la Pena, and your advice is much appreciated. I'm so curious to see whether there will be any other pilgrims walking around the same time; I'm very okay if this is a completely solo route (and in fact may even prefer it!), though a pilgrim or two in the evening would be nice. But when I walked the San Salvador in 2016 I was completely alone until the 5th day, and it's a different experience but there's so much magic in feeling like you are all alone in a landscape.

I'll hopefully check back in here with my experience, either while on route or after I've finished!
 

NadineK

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2014)
Norte/Primitivo (2015)
San Salvador (2016)
Le Puy-Cahors (2017)
At last one more pilgrim on the Aragones…;) Last year in May I walked also from Oloron til Puenta la Reina. Very rainy (watch out in the Val d'Aspe) and very lonely. What you should see , if possible, is Canfranc station also because of lots of history during WW II, Jaca, San Juan de la Pena but it is not easy to plan on the route, and Eunate
These photos are so beautiful! Thank you for sharing them. I think I will be okay with a very solo route (especially because I'm planning to continue on the Norte and will surely encounter pilgrims there), and I'm just so curious if I'll be all alone or if there will be a few others in the albergues. On my first Camino (Frances, 2014), I detoured to Eunate and it was one of the highlights of that experience (despite it being closed, I was there on a Monday I believe). I'm so happy to get to see it again! And San Juan de la Pena and the Canfranc station both sound incredible, I can't wait.
 

NadineK

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2014)
Norte/Primitivo (2015)
San Salvador (2016)
Le Puy-Cahors (2017)
Yes, yes, yes, visit the beret factory and buy yourself a beautiful and properly fitted beret as they are THE best headwear for walkers. Warm, waterproof and won't blow off in high winds and if you buy a wide one you can shelter from the sun under it; I once saw some French soldiers on a railway station wearing berets so wide that they looked like mushrooms!
Maybe I can start a pilgrim fashion trend... ;)
 

NorthernLight

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
When I walked, it was late Sept/ early October. There were about 8 of us in the albergues at night. I walk alone, and I rarely saw anyone during the day.

After a few days, the others would be checking that I had arrived. Very sweet.
 

sharon w

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007
Camino Portugues 2009
Via Podiensis, Camino Frances, Camino Finisterre 2012
Cammino di Assisi 2014
Via Podiensis, Camino del Norte, Camino Frances(Astorga to Santiago) 2015
Aussie Camino 2016
Last year, during the section from Oloron to Puenta la Reina I did not need my phone to ring gites or albergues. I tended to book ahead by email in France. In Spain, we just turned up at the albergues. At the Jaca albergue, the hospitalero told us which bus to get to get to the monastery at la Pena. The bus goes to the top monastery(new), collects you at a set time, then drives you down to the old monastery. The cost for the bus and entry to the monastery is all inclusive.
We then walked down and stayed at Santa Cilia. However, if you want, you can stay at the Jaca albergue for 2 nights. You can arrange a visit to the monastery, and return to Jaca.
One place I would definitely book is Albergue Aysa at the top of the Somport pass. We booked, but at least 7 pilgrims who did not were unable to get in and had to walk on. It was lovely having a wine, looking out over the Pyrenees.
It is a lovely route over the Pyrenees.
 

Pilger99

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
addicted since 1999 (Aragones, CF), lots of caminos in Spain and Portugal since then
A good reason to buy a SIMcard is to stay always online. For the albergues you don't really need it even in winter with ~5 pilgrims a month. In Izco/Izko you should be able to make a call, if you don't want to find a neighbor who can do that for you. In summer they expect a few pilgrims every day, so they watch out from time to time. If you walk through Foz de Lumbier, you will not be the first in arrival!
A torch is helpful for the tunnels in and out of the Foz, but the ground is dry and even, so locals go through without or put their phone on. It is busy on weekends and summer afternoons (children go there for a swim).
Lumbier village has a hotel with good (expensive) restaurant next to the camino, the village itself is up on a hill.
If you need a bus in between Sangüesa and Pamplona, you'll have to call the bus agency to make it stop, since it normally drives on the motorway and does not do the village detours.

Between Undües and Sangüesa you can do another detour to the castle and monastery of Javier. The way was marked with wooden poles (yellow stripe), when I was there the last time. https://hiking.waymarkedtrails.org/#?map=14!42.5749!-1.1726 No albergue, but restaurants and hotels.
I've heard about an albergue in Yesa, but haven't stayed there. Many years ago, when one could walk along the Yesa lake pilgrims slept above Yesa in monasterio de Leire (hotel now).

French (pre) Pyrenees in summer offer the green landscape that you will miss later on the spanish side.
If you arrive from France e.g Toulouse, fast trains get you you to Pau, where you can start already (albergue Lescar). Pau has an airport too. If you want to see Lourdes, it's only 40km from Pau. Lourdes is 3 days walking to Oloron on another santiago trail.
Oloron should be the final stop of the SNCF bus that actually connects Canfranc Estacion (Spain) with France. From Pau the train gets you up to Bedous (since 2016, before the final stop was Oloron). A local spanish bus connects Jaca with Somport pass. 2-3 times a day you'll also have a train to Canfranc Estacion.
If you are short on time I'd skip Somport pass and start in Estacion Canfranc. Your muscles will like that better. If you have time, start somewhere in France and do the crossing of the Pyrenees properly.

Good in shape you can do Jaca - San Juan de la Pena - Santa Cilia in one day, but I recommend to stay closer. Botaya (3km from San Juan) has a youth hostel (pre-booking required!). You can stay in the 4* hotel of San Juan (with Spa :)). Double room with half board and entrance fees was ~100€ pilgrims rate. The self service restaurant (for lunch) was expensive (~18€). Down below in Santa Cruz de la Serós the sole accomodation is a bit cheaper, but all together the package makes sense.
Don't miss the public swimming pool in Santa Cilia during high summer (about June 15 to September 15). It's fee was included in the albergue rate.
 
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lindam

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Via de La Plata, Portuguese, Camino Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan and Aragones, Norte
Having just finished walking the Catalan route, followed by the Aragones Camino (via San Juan del la Pinya), I would strongly recommend that you have a phone. There are few pilgrims and it is often the case that you will arrive at an albergue and have to make a phone call to gain entry. If it works into your itinerary, I would highly recommend a stay at the albergue in Artieda. Very welcoming with a delicious Mexican-inspired menu alongside local craft beers and patxaran.
 

Pilger99

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
addicted since 1999 (Aragones, CF), lots of caminos in Spain and Portugal since then
Dear lindam, you are comparing "winter" with summer, which is not the best idea.
Even the Catalan and Aragonés ways become "busy" during summer.
If Arres has an hospitalero and it's not too full one can have one of the best experiences of this camino,
but it is not very welcoming in winter. Artieda is more comfortable in winter, since it is habitated all year round. If you do standard distances you have to decide for either Arres or Artieda. If you skip Arres, you can also skip the hill where it is situated. Just walk around on the bicycle route. It should be 1km less towards Artieda.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre and Muxia 2017, Camino Aragones 2018
The postings on this thread have some excellent suggestions on what to see and do on the Aragones!
As to your original question about a SIM card, my suggestion is to get one. I always travel alone and for me it is security that I can call for help if necessary. I took 11 days on the Aragones and most days did not see other pilgrims or indeed anyone until I arrived at an albergue. The day I tripped on a rock and had a serious "face plant", I might have called for help but being stubborn I did not. So, aside from calling an albergue to inquire about accommodation, you might need to summon help for you or another pilgrim.
All of the scenery and places to see on the Aragones are quite remarkable for their beauty and history. In my case, the people were incredibly kind in giving me help after the aforementioned "face plant": the hospitalero of Hotel Charle, the staff of the tourist office in Jaca, the taxi driver who drove me to San Juan de la Pena...
 
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Pilger99

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
addicted since 1999 (Aragones, CF), lots of caminos in Spain and Portugal since then
Emergency calls (to police, firefighters etc.) are free without any SIM.
It doesn't matter if the origin is a fixed or mobile phone.
Call 112, which is valid all over EU.
see https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/health/unplanned-healthcare/index_en.htm for more.

If you have the "emergency" need of calling a taxi or the next albergue you still need a SIM. The mountains of San Juan de la Peña (especially the way up) and some other stretches are away from people. In most other places you can count on help by locals, but don't expect immediate help, since the villages are small and the main traffic goes over the motor-way.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre and Muxia 2017, Camino Aragones 2018
Emergency calls (to police, firefighters etc.) are free without any SIM.
It doesn't matter if the origin is a fixed or mobile phone.
Call 112, which is valid all over EU.
see https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/health/unplanned-healthcare/index_en.htm for more.

If you have the "emergency" need of calling a taxi or the next albergue you still need a SIM. The mountains of San Juan de la Peña (especially the way up) and some other stretches are away from people. In most other places you can count on help by locals, but don't expect immediate help, since the villages are small and the main traffic goes over the motor-way.
Thank you, @Pilger99 for the emergency calling information of great value to anyone on any route! I had suspected this but was unsure. Also, there is the AlertCops app that has been mentioned a number of times on the forum.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Walked once without a SIM and again with one - either is doable, but the SIM certainly made it a bit easier to let the French gites know we were coming the next day. Sanguesa and Confranc Estacion were both locked when we arrived, so we had to call a number to get in (better than waiting for someone with a phone to call for you).

BTW, the alb in Izco has been closed since last year and there’s no set date to reopen. Also, Tiebas was indefinitely closed this past spring. Being able to call ahead to check while walking certainly can prevent some terrible surprises...
 

KatWanderlust

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones (2008), Frances (2008 & 2010), Le Puy (2010), Portuguese (2013), Finisterre/Muxia (2010, 2013, 2016) & Del Norte (2016)
Great choice of Camino @NadineK the Aragones is such a hidden treasure! It sounds like a SIM could really come in handy these days, the route is quite isolated so for safety alone it's a good idea. I hiked it in 2008 before smart phones and wifi, with a hard copy of the CSJ guide and the arrows for directions and survived! But I did find technology useful on my last walk in 2016 for calling ahead and GPS for detouring/alternative routes etc.

The albergues at Arres and Ruesta were big highlights back then so I hope they're still good 11 years on. Both are in great locations to stay overnight - Arres is an interesting little village and Ruesta is in an abandoned village. It was fascinating! The views were pretty amazing, Arres was run by lovely volunteers (not sure about Ruesta but the people back in 2008 were wonderful). Both had enjoyable communal dinners, and to me were those special places you come across on Camino that are hard to replicate.

Buen Camino!
 
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KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Hello fellow pilgrims!

I am so excited to be planning a walk from Oloron to Puenta La Reina, beginning around mid-June (and then on to Irun, hopefully to Oviedo, a route I walked in 2015 and have been wanting to return to ever since).

This forum has been invaluable, as usual, and I've spent several hours reading through these posts. Thank you all for this very helpful information!

My biggest question is this: I'm traveling from the US and my phone won't be able to make calls unless I buy a local SIM card. I did not do this when I walked the Camino de San Salvador a few years ago, and had some hilarious moments trying to hunt down pay phones in order to call someone to let me into the albergues. It always worked out, but I vowed that if I were walking an isolated route in the future, I would pony up for a SIM card.

If I happen to be one of the few/only pilgrims on this route when I walk, what are the chances that there will be someone/a hospitalero in the albergues when I arrive? Will I need to have a working phone to contact someone to let me in? I'm not terribly worried about this; I trust that I could go knocking on doors to ask for help if needed, but my Spanish is very minimal and if it's expected to have a working phone to help with the albergue situation, I will certainly see to that.

Lastly, because I am deep in the glorious anticipation/preparation stage of my pilgrimage: would anyone like to share their single favorite moment or memory from this route? This is one that seems to be a hidden treasure, and I am just so excited to begin this journey.

Buen Camino,
Nadine
Just buy a French SIM card and the whole process would most probably take as much time as it took you to write the OP :)
And then you either use it or not, your choice. No roaming fees anymore in EU but I'm sure you already know that. Better to have French/German/Portuguese etc. SIM card in Spain because it would always search for the best signal whereas Spanish Vodafone (for example) will always search the Vodafone signal and will connect you to it even if it is weak or even the weakest. Just make sure you can upload that SIM on-line!
 

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