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Route Napoleon closed 1 Nov to 31 March

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#1
A reminder to members that the Route Napoleon is closed from tomorrow until the 31 March 2018. Here's a copy of the official notice: http://www.caminosantiago.org/cpperegrino/prensa/verprensa.asp?PrensaID=11129

Google translate:

The Government of Navarra has established measures restricting passage by the Eastern variant of Camino de Santiago in its first stage, at the entrance of Navarra, from 1 November 2017 until 31 March 2018. It establishes and their protection , which regulates, among other things, the itinerary of the Camino de Santiago as it passes through Navarre.

The first stage of the French Way, at its entrance Navarra, has two variants: the west which, starting from Saint Jean Pied de Port, runs through Valcarlos and the Ibañeta to Roncesvalles, and this that starts from the same point, runs through Huntto, Orisson and the Port of Lepoeder to Roncesvalles alike.

This variant is successful more than 1200 m level, plus small intermediate slopes. To overcome this gap, pilgrims wishing to face this stage must have adequate physical training situation which has been found not occur in a high percentage of them. This situation must be added the significant increase in required effort when there is snow or when weather conditions are bad, all without prejudice to the material equipment that must carry in these situations, which, likewise, have been found not carry on many occasions.

It so happens that this path Navarra This enters a high altitude 1288 m and the Navarre section has run - up the hill Leopoeder, 5 km after entering Navarra. They have made continuous improvement actions in signaling and periodically checking their validity. Today is thorough and only in situations blizzard may have trouble not followed.

However interventions persist in this area of rescue personnel, both professional and volunteer, often motivated by the weakness or lack of information and preparation of the pilgrims, given the harshness of this this route. Very difficult conditions for bailouts, including situations of risk for life - saving equipment, given the topography and climate of the area, and the serious difficulties of access, location and evacuation.

In previous seasons previous access restriction measures established by this variant, experience shows the desirability of maintaining these periods of restriction step in the interests of greater security of individuals and rescue personnel, both professional and volunteer.

Therefore, the Government of Navarra has decided to establish, for reasons of safety for people, measures restricting passage through this variant of the Camino de Santiago in the first stage of Navarra, providing a mandatory traffic on dates ranging between 1 November 2017 and 31 March 2018, the western variant of the Camino de Santiago (Valcarlos).

This variant will be closed on those dates at the entrance of Navarra, in point of geographical coordinates 43º3'2,02''N and 1º16'6,04''W, near the Collado de Bentartea.

These measures shall be published in the Official Gazette of Navarre for general knowledge.
 

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Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#2
If anyone would like a Tinker translation:
"The Route Napoleon is closed. It is shut. It is not open for the walkings. We have tried everything we can think of to try to persuade %&$£@ peregrinos to just walk via Valcarlos in the wintery bits and have a nice time but *&%)£. So: the Route Napoleon is shut. We thank you for your understandings."

And please don't post to tell us that you've done the Napoleon twice in a blizzard while only wearing paper underpants or that anyone with a pair of Dunlop plimsolls can hop it easily and that the marks in the snow make it easier to find your way back despite the frostbite......
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
#3
If anyone would like a Tinker translation:
"The Route Napoleon is closed. It is shut. It is not open for the walkings. We have tried everything we can think of to try to persuade %&$£@ peregrinos to just walk via Valcarlos in the wintery bits and have a nice time but *&%)£. So: the Route Napoleon is shut. We thank you for your understandings."

And please don't post to tell us that you've done the Napoleon twice in a blizzard while only wearing paper underpants or that anyone with a pair of Dunlop plimsolls can hop it easily and that the marks in the snow make it easier to find your way back despite the frostbite......
You have done your duty too bad the other 50 languages aren’t included. Anyone translate into Korean, American, German, .....:p
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances( feb/march 2018)
#4
A reminder to members that the Route Napoleon is closed from tomorrow until the 31 March 2018. Here's a copy of the official notice: http://www.caminosantiago.org/cpperegrino/prensa/verprensa.asp?PrensaID=11129
Thank you for the reminder that the hill is closed. I came across this form a few months ago and still appreciate the energy and time people give, Thank You. I will be walking feb/18 and looking forward to the Vacarlos route, even though most of the vlogs and youtube offerings refer to Route Napoleon, it looks great. Starting the walk on a secondary route seemed a bit of a let down at first, hoping the RV is rewarding in its own right, mainly because many form users say it is. The collective experience has/is putting my mind at ease.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#5
Hi @Bill Anthony, and welcome to the forum. In case you are wondering why your post displays as it does, you must have entered your text inside these letters that close the quoted part your replied to: [/QUOTE]

If you want, you can click on Edit under your post, carefully extract your message and place it after those letters (or on the next line).

(Just trying to save you the time of trying to figure this out yourself :))
 

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wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
#6
Thank you for the reminder that the hill is closed. I came across this form a few months ago and still appreciate the energy and time people give, Thank You. I will be walking feb/18 and looking forward to the Vacarlos route, even though most of the vlogs and youtube offerings refer to Route Napoleon, it looks great. Starting the walk on a secondary route seemed a bit of a let down at first, hoping the RV is rewarding in its own right, mainly because many form users say it is. The collective experience has/is putting my mind at ease.
Welcome to the forum Bill. The Valcarlos route is not a secondary route, it is the original route, the Napoleon route came later.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
#7


Here is a modern print depicting Charlemagne mounted finding Roland dead in August 778 on what will become the Valcarlos route near Roncesvalles. (For a further description of this scene see this Roncesvalles monastery history page) Hence the village of Valcarlos was named in honor of Carlos ie. Charlemagne.

The Valcarlos route was THE original medieval pilgrims' path through the mountains and pass to Roncesvalles; the present Napoleon camino over the mountains to Roncesvalles is later.

During past winters/springs the Napoleon route from SJPdP to Roncesvalles was filled with several meters of snow and in effect closed to pilgrims thus necessitating the use of the Valcarlos alternate. You can read about this hazardous situation in the Forum topic. >> http://www.caminodesantiago.me/board/el-camino-frances/topic16961.html

Whatever the season always ask for advice at the SJPdP Pilgrim office before setting out!

Buen Camino!
 
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Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#8
Thank you for the reminder that the hill is closed. I came across this form a few months ago and still appreciate the energy and time people give, Thank You. I will be walking feb/18 and looking forward to the Vacarlos route, even though most of the vlogs and youtube offerings refer to Route Napoleon, it looks great. Starting the walk on a secondary route seemed a bit of a let down at first, hoping the RV is rewarding in its own right, mainly because many form users say it is. The collective experience has/is putting my mind at ease.
Hi Bill (yes welcome), I walked the Valcarlos Route back on May 1st this year and I can vouch for it not being a secondary route. Have a short day and stay overnight in Valcarlos - there is a good albergue and a couple of choices to eat. Your next day includes that shorter climb from 200 metres (say 660 ft) up 1055 metres (say 3300 ft) before you descend to Roncesvalles. Have a great Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
StJPdP/Santigo 18/9-16/10/17
Santiago/Muxia/Finisterre 18/10-22/10/17
Hendayne/Santiago 21/4-29/5/
#10
We took the Valcaros Route inadvertently (that's what happens when your 14 year old daughter leads the way!) and we were 10 km into the way when we realised. Taking the attitude of "never make firm plans" we headed on and had the most amazingly scenic walk through beautiful villages, along gently running streams and amazing forests and finally up a very steep section to Roland's Pass, and down to the monastery at Roncevalles. The whole day we only met 2 other pilgrims and talking to others that took the Napoleon route we had the better weather conditions. It was one of our favourite days on the Camino and we have no regrets whatsoever taking the Valcaros route.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF15, CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF17, CP17, CdN, CM, CF18, LePuy19
#11
Here it is the info about the good Valcarlos albergue.
The village of Arnéguy is 3 (steep) km before Valcarlos. There are many big supermarkets, where you can buy bread (no bakery in Valcarlos), ham, cheese, etc. You can find them an odd place for such a big shop, but formerly it was a "real" frontier. This was smuggler's land...
Famous for the Basque underground operatives defying Hitler and Franco by returning downed Allied pilots to freedom during WWII. Famous for the back roads which allow Jambon Bayonne and Jambon Serrano move seamlessly across the border as well as some fine wines which escape the clutches of the Douanes from Rioja, Txakoli and parts of Bordeaux and Provence.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#12
If anyone would like a Tinker translation:
"The Route Napoleon is closed. It is shut. It is not open for the walkings. We have tried everything we can think of to try to persuade %&$£@ peregrinos to just walk via Valcarlos in the wintery bits and have a nice time but *&%)£. So: the Route Napoleon is shut. We thank you for your understandings."

And please don't post to tell us that you've done the Napoleon twice in a blizzard while only wearing paper underpants or that anyone with a pair of Dunlop plimsolls can hop it easily and that the marks in the snow make it easier to find your way back despite the frostbite......
Laugh out loud, you are so funny!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances( feb/march 2018)
#15
Thanks for all the great information mspath. one evening a few weeks ago came across your vlog and got lost in it, the hours slipped away. The advise you give on a brew kit and provisions will be taken ( wasn't on my radar before ). Here is a big hug from Canada for your generosity of time and spirit.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
#16
Thanks for all the great information mspath. one evening a few weeks ago came across your vlog and got lost in it, the hours slipped away. The advise you give on a brew kit and provisions will be taken ( wasn't on my radar before ). Here is a big hug from Canada for your generosity of time and spirit.
:):):)
Been there done that! @mspath blogs got me over my fear of walking through snow. Well that is apart from walking through blizzards which still scares me. But one day I am going to do a winter camino. Though I hasten to add NOT over the Napoleon.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#17
Heda:

There is walking through snow, and walking IN snow. It is one thing to walk in ankle deep wet snow, as is commonly found in late April and throughout May, especially at elevation.

However, it is another thing entirely to find yourself in knee or hip-deep dry snow, at elevation, with hard winds, and fading sun. That is life-threatening, and stupid...IMHO

The Napoleon Pass is: CLOSED / FERME / CERRADO / GESCHLOSSEN / ZU / GESLOTEN / 폐쇄 / ZAMKNIĘTA / Uždarytas / CHIUSO

To 31 March, 2018!

Hope this helps.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances( feb/march 2018)
#18
Heda:

There is walking through snow, and walking IN snow. It is one thing to walk in ankle deep wet snow, as is commonly found in late April and throughout May, especially at elevation.
Deep snow I will avoid. the daily walk to work is 5 km, post holing thru deep snow sucks. I've done it a few times after/during a snow storm adds lots of time/sweat not worth it! Can not image doing with a pack on in a strange place.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#19
Thank you for the reminder that the hill is closed. I came across this form a few months ago and still appreciate the energy and time people give, Thank You. I will be walking feb/18 and looking forward to the Vacarlos route, even though most of the vlogs and youtube offerings refer to Route Napoleon, it looks great. Starting the walk on a secondary route seemed a bit of a let down at first, hoping the RV is rewarding in its own right, mainly because many form users say it is. The collective experience has/is putting my mind at ease.
Hi Bill,
Route Napoleon does not exist , he wasn't there mate.
Valcarlos was the way from as far as Paris as depicted on ancient drawings in Santo Domingo beside The Parador.

However in Feb i would still be very careful , stopping at Valcarlos for the first night where there are good restaurants and Burguete the second day after a snack in Roncesvalles where warm accommodation awaits .
After Valcarlos if the weather is bad i would stay on the road until the water fountain and then head inland and up just before Roncesvalles [ It is shown on the local maps]
The forest floor can be very , very hard following bad weather [snow and rain]
Leave StJPP mid morning , no hurry , stop in Valcarlos.
Enjoy this beautiful section
 

makingtrax

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
El norte2010
Portuguese 2014
Primativo 2016
Frances sept 2017!
#20
We took the Valcaros Route inadvertently (that's what happens when your 14 year old daughter leads the way!) and we were 10 km into the way when we realised. Taking the attitude of "never make firm plans" we headed on and had the most amazingly scenic walk through beautiful villages, along gently running streams and amazing forests and finally up a very steep section to Roland's Pass, and down to the monastery at Roncevalles. The whole day we only met 2 other pilgrims and talking to others that took the Napoleon route we had the better weather conditions. It was one of our favourite days on the Camino and we have no regrets whatsoever taking the Valcaros route.
Hi dean's family. Are you the family I met at roncevalles on Sept 18. You are travelling the world home schooling your daughter and she plays the banjo it uk? I enjoyed your company in the kitchen of the large albergue but never saw you again after that first day. I arrived santiago October 16. I'm kay from New Zealand in my mid sixties. Wondered about your progress and had been looking forward to another evening chatting. I'm flying back to NZ sunday night. You guys???
 
Camino(s) past & future
StJPdP/Santigo 18/9-16/10/17
Santiago/Muxia/Finisterre 18/10-22/10/17
Hendayne/Santiago 21/4-29/5/
#21
Hi dean's family. Are you the family I met at roncevalles on Sept 18. You are travelling the world home schooling your daughter and she plays the banjo it uk? I enjoyed your company in the kitchen of the large albergue but never saw you again after that first day. I arrived santiago October 16. I'm kay from New Zealand in my mid sixties. Wondered about your progress and had been looking forward to another evening chatting. I'm flying back to NZ sunday night. You guys???
Yes, yes, yes! We walked into Santiago on the 16th Oct, rested a day, then walked on to Muxia and finished in Finisterre on the 23rd Oct. Awesome time and trod every cm of it, carrying our packs all the way. Sorry we missed you and thought about you at the wine fountain! Unfortunately the pump to the fountain was out of action on the day :( but that's life. Back in Perth and already working out logistics for a spring Norte. Woo hoo!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#22
Starting the walk on a secondary route seemed a bit of a let down at first, hoping the RV is rewarding in its own right.
The Valcarlos route is not a secondary route, it is the original route, the Napoleon route came later.
Bill, be reassured that as others have said the Val Carlos is the older, authentic route. The Napoleon's claim to fame is (as far as I can tell) mostly hype from Hollywood (Shirley Maclaine's book, and then Martin Sheen and The Way), and Paulo Coelho's book.
Don't believe it.

And the VC way is glorious walking, not at all 'second-best,' as @dean's family fortuitously discovered:
we headed on and had the most amazingly scenic walk through beautiful villages, along gently running streams and amazing forests and finally up a very steep section to Roland's Pass, and down to the monastery at Roncevalles. The whole day we only met 2 other pilgrims and talking to others that took the Napoleon route we had the better weather conditions. It was one of our favourite days on the Camino and we have no regrets whatsoever taking the Valcaros route.
Lucky you...Buen Camino!
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#24
Starting to get very excited and more nervous, looking forward to when the excitement overcomes the nerves !
There is a restaurant full of pilgrims around the bend on left as you leave town,
Can't get lost , only one street.
Enjoy , ask advice and take your time
 
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Healthful

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018 or 2019
#25
We took the Valcaros Route inadvertently (that's what happens when your 14 year old daughter leads the way!) and we were 10 km into the way when we realised. Taking the attitude of "never make firm plans" we headed on and had the most amazingly scenic walk through beautiful villages, along gently running streams and amazing forests and finally up a very steep section to Roland's Pass, and down to the monastery at Roncevalles. The whole day we only met 2 other pilgrims and talking to others that took the Napoleon route we had the better weather conditions. It was one of our favourite days on the Camino and we have no regrets whatsoever taking the Valcaros route.
Exact same thing happened to me, (minus following the 14 year old), so it can happen to anyone. It was a wondrous, snow-filled route that day and quite interesting to be walking through the snow and slush in Mizuno sneakers...

Very few people on the route, but a great friendship resulted from it.

Not advising people purposely ignore the closure--just saying I was oblivious to the closure and it was one of my best Camino days ever...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#26
Not advising people purposely ignore the closure--just saying I was oblivious to the closure
This is a bit confusing. The closure was of the Napoleon route, which you didn't take. (Likely if you had headed toward the Napoleon route, you would have seen a closure sign.) Your experience was a good example of how the Valcarlos route shouldn't be considered a second choice.
 

Healthful

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018 or 2019
#27
This is a bit confusing. The closure was of the Napoleon route, which you didn't take. (Likely if you had headed toward the Napoleon route, you would have seen a closure sign.) Your experience was a good example of how the Valcarlos route shouldn't be considered a second choice.
Yes you are correct, I read Valcarlos and was thinking Napoleon. I inadvertently took the Napoleon route and found snow and friendship the first day on The Way.
 

Dave Bird

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I have walked from Roncevalles and Somport, this year I am planning the Portugese route
#28
A reminder to members that the Route Napoleon is closed from tomorrow until the 31 March 2018. Here's a copy of the official notice: http://www.caminosantiago.org/cpperegrino/prensa/verprensa.asp?PrensaID=11129

Google translate:

The Government of Navarra has established measures restricting passage by the Eastern variant of Camino de Santiago in its first stage, at the entrance of Navarra, from 1 November 2017 until 31 March 2018. It establishes and their protection , which regulates, among other things, the itinerary of the Camino de Santiago as it passes through Navarre.

The first stage of the French Way, at its entrance Navarra, has two variants: the west which, starting from Saint Jean Pied de Port, runs through Valcarlos and the Ibañeta to Roncesvalles, and this that starts from the same point, runs through Huntto, Orisson and the Port of Lepoeder to Roncesvalles alike.

This variant is successful more than 1200 m level, plus small intermediate slopes. To overcome this gap, pilgrims wishing to face this stage must have adequate physical training situation which has been found not occur in a high percentage of them. This situation must be added the significant increase in required effort when there is snow or when weather conditions are bad, all without prejudice to the material equipment that must carry in these situations, which, likewise, have been found not carry on many occasions.

It so happens that this path Navarra This enters a high altitude 1288 m and the Navarre section has run - up the hill Leopoeder, 5 km after entering Navarra. They have made continuous improvement actions in signaling and periodically checking their validity. Today is thorough and only in situations blizzard may have trouble not followed.

However interventions persist in this area of rescue personnel, both professional and volunteer, often motivated by the weakness or lack of information and preparation of the pilgrims, given the harshness of this this route. Very difficult conditions for bailouts, including situations of risk for life - saving equipment, given the topography and climate of the area, and the serious difficulties of access, location and evacuation.

In previous seasons previous access restriction measures established by this variant, experience shows the desirability of maintaining these periods of restriction step in the interests of greater security of individuals and rescue personnel, both professional and volunteer.

Therefore, the Government of Navarra has decided to establish, for reasons of safety for people, measures restricting passage through this variant of the Camino de Santiago in the first stage of Navarra, providing a mandatory traffic on dates ranging between 1 November 2017 and 31 March 2018, the western variant of the Camino de Santiago (Valcarlos).

This variant will be closed on those dates at the entrance of Navarra, in point of geographical coordinates 43º3'2,02''N and 1º16'6,04''W, near the Collado de Bentartea.

These measures shall be published in the Official Gazette of Navarre for general knowledge.
A good thing, when we began Easter Weekend in 2009 (early April) we chose to start in Roncesvalles because of unsettled weather. Along the way we met several people who had been evacuated off the mountain, one had spent some days in hospital with hypothermia.
 

Evy70

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2018)
#29
Glad I found this thread. I am a first time pilgrim, walking at the end of April. I think the Valcarlos route sounds like a better option for me, even though I have booked a night at Orrison.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#30
Glad I found this thread. I am a first time pilgrim, walking at the end of April. I think the Valcarlos route sounds like a better option for me, even though I have booked a night at Orrison.
See how the weather is , if bad or misty you will see nothing , however there is great accommodation in Valcarlos
Next day send bags ahead and walk to Burguette.
Great food in the village restaurants of both.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#31
See how the weather is , if bad or misty you will see nothing , however there is great accommodation in Valcarlos
Next day send bags ahead and walk to Burguette.
Great food in the village restaurants of both.
@Thornley & @Evy70
I would suggest going on to Espinal. The accommodation in Burguete (according to Brierley) is well above normal pilgrim budgets. I walked from Valcarlos to Roncesvalles (in May 2017) and being tired/cold/a little wet/hungry and facing a two hour wait to get into the large albergue I joined two other pilgrims in a taxi. They were heading to the Medical Clinic in Burguete and I went on to Espinal (Haizea was great). Cheers;)
 

trevorcc

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPD to Santiago 2013,2014 planning Camino de Levante Sept. 2016, now planning March 2018
#32
A reminder to members that the Route Napoleon is closed from tomorrow until the 31 March 2018. Here's a copy of the official notice: http://www.caminosantiago.org/cpperegrino/prensa/verprensa.asp?PrensaID=11129

Google translate:

The Government of Navarra has established measures restricting passage by the Eastern variant of Camino de Santiago in its first stage, at the entrance of Navarra, from 1 November 2017 until 31 March 2018. It establishes and their protection , which regulates, among other things, the itinerary of the Camino de Santiago as it passes through Navarre.

The first stage of the French Way, at its entrance Navarra, has two variants: the west which, starting from Saint Jean Pied de Port, runs through Valcarlos and the Ibañeta to Roncesvalles, and this that starts from the same point, runs through Huntto, Orisson and the Port of Lepoeder to Roncesvalles alike.

This variant is successful more than 1200 m level, plus small intermediate slopes. To overcome this gap, pilgrims wishing to face this stage must have adequate physical training situation which has been found not occur in a high percentage of them. This situation must be added the significant increase in required effort when there is snow or when weather conditions are bad, all without prejudice to the material equipment that must carry in these situations, which, likewise, have been found not carry on many occasions.

It so happens that this path Navarra This enters a high altitude 1288 m and the Navarre section has run - up the hill Leopoeder, 5 km after entering Navarra. They have made continuous improvement actions in signaling and periodically checking their validity. Today is thorough and only in situations blizzard may have trouble not followed.

However interventions persist in this area of rescue personnel, both professional and volunteer, often motivated by the weakness or lack of information and preparation of the pilgrims, given the harshness of this this route. Very difficult conditions for bailouts, including situations of risk for life - saving equipment, given the topography and climate of the area, and the serious difficulties of access, location and evacuation.

In previous seasons previous access restriction measures established by this variant, experience shows the desirability of maintaining these periods of restriction step in the interests of greater security of individuals and rescue personnel, both professional and volunteer.

Therefore, the Government of Navarra has decided to establish, for reasons of safety for people, measures restricting passage through this variant of the Camino de Santiago in the first stage of Navarra, providing a mandatory traffic on dates ranging between 1 November 2017 and 31 March 2018, the western variant of the Camino de Santiago (Valcarlos).

This variant will be closed on those dates at the entrance of Navarra, in point of geographical coordinates 43º3'2,02''N and 1º16'6,04''W, near the Collado de Bentartea.

These measures shall be published in the Official Gazette of Navarre for general knowledge.
Hi Kanga fresh from SJPDP fools are fools 2 walkers seen and warned up around Orrison trying to go over the top, snow and wind and also leaving late as they were spotted around 11 this morning, their only come back when told was " We are Austrians and used to snow" . Very quiet at the moment only 18 signed into the office yesterday I start tomorrow big rest after flying in from Oz.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning April/May 2018
#34
I'm starting out from SJPDP on the 20th April & have booked to stay at Orisson that evening. In the event that the Napoleon Route is still closed, is Orisson still accessible from the VC Way or should I cancel my booking that morning & walk through to Roncesvalles?

Cheers!
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#35
Valcarlos and Orisson are on different routes - you either go one way or the other.

If the way is open from SJPDP to Orisson, go there. If not, then the gite at Orisson will be closed anyway (and you can ask for your money back). Once you are at Orisson if something happens and the Route Napoleon becomes impassable, then I understand the hospitalero at Orisson will help arrange transport across to the Valcarlos route.

I hope that makes sense! The main thing to do when you get to SJPDP is to go to the pilgrims office in Rue de la Citadelle (known to all). The volunteers there will advise and help you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning April/May 2018
#36
Valcarlos and Orisson are on different routes - you either go one way or the other.

If the way is open from SJPDP to Orisson, go there. If not, then the gite at Orisson will be closed anyway (and you can ask for your money back). Once you are at Orisson if something happens and the Route Napoleon becomes impassable, then I understand the hospitalero at Orisson will help arrange transport across to the Valcarlos route.

I hope that makes sense! The main thing to do when you get to SJPDP is to go to the pilgrims office in Rue de la Citadelle (known to all). The volunteers there will advise and help you.
Thanks Kanga, that's extremely helpful. I really appreciate it!
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#37
Hola - all prospective Orisson treckers. According to Brierley there is a "road" from the Napoleonic track, it branches of just before Cruceiro. Judging by the map it does appear to be a very steep descent into Valcarlos. At a guess its about 2 or 3km walk. Of course you then have the "joy" of the day 2 11km walk, with a 650 metre climb. A very Buen Camino to all early season treckers!!
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#38
Judging by the map it does appear to be a very steep descent into Valcarlos.
But you know where that bar is once you reach Valcarlos .... don't you St Mike;)
 
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Camino(s) past & future
2035 km of the way to Saint James in Galicia done.
#39
Hola - all prospective Orisson treckers. According to Brierley there is a "road" from the Napoleonic track, it branches of just before Cruceiro. Judging by the map it does appear to be a very steep descent into Valcarlos. At a guess its about 2 or 3km walk.
I've tried to understand this advice but have failed so far. Brierley maps are good for following well marked paths with many yellow arrows but not at all good for hiking in an area you don't know let alone doing so in bad weather in mountains.

If what you advise is what I think - taking the D128 road that branches off the D428 near the croix Thibault, with the later being largely identical with the Napoleon route - than that is not a mere 2 or 3 km walk but a 9 km walk with an elevation gain/loss of +150m and -950m. The road, used by cars, leads back to Arneguy. Pedestrians can leave the road near Valcarlos and cross the river at that point. Still, not good, in my most humble opinion.

PS: I've actually walked the Napoleon route twice. I've also adapted this post after having read (and checked :cool:) information further down in this thread posted by @Rick of Rick and Peg and retrieved page 49 of my Brierley edition.
 
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Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#40
Not good, in my most humble opinion
I concur , its in a wild area if the weather is inclement.
Why on Gods earth would anyone walk to Orrison in misty weather and then turn right to Valcarlos?
Go direct to Valcarlos , stay the night after a late start and enjoy.

And please if you have not been either way , as we have , don't comment .
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#41
Hola - all prospective Orisson treckers. According to Brierley there is a "road" from the Napoleonic track, it branches of just before Cruceiro. Judging by the map it does appear to be a very steep descent into Valcarlos. At a guess its about 2 or 3km walk. Of course you then have the "joy" of the day 2 11km walk, with a 650 metre climb. A very Buen Camino to all early season treckers!!
With respect Mike, I think this is quite dangerous advice. If the weather is sufficiently bad that crossing via Napoleon is out, then I would not encourage people to wander off on minor roads. It would need a local guide. If you look at Google Satellite Maps and the roads in that area you will see they are full of switchbacks and lead all over the place - very steep ups and downs. I tried finding the road across and following it on Google maps (in sallelite or street view) and found it terribly confusing. In bad weather, and with the physical challenges, too much chance of poor decision making, taking a wrong turn, and getting lost, or worse. Good GPS tracks would help, but even then I would not do it in poor weather.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#42
I've examined that "bailout" road before a number of times on maps and streetview. It is D128 going to Arneguy. D128 is the route suggested by the pilgrims' office to get to Valcarlos so it CAN be taken from the ridge to get to Valcarlos but this would be a bad bailout to take in a life threatening situation. It is fairly long and winding and with a number of side roads going who knows where that could get you lost or backtracking a lot. From maps and photos it looks like open country and so could be exposed to the same weather. If you are not on the main road but one of the side ones a taxi or rescue vehicle may not be able to find you if you manage to call.

Best thing to do is to get advice from the pilgrims office before you go either way and then take it.

Edit: Looking at a GPS file I have from the Route Napoleon to the Valcarlos albergue via D128 is 10 km (6.2 miles) of a fairly steady 8.5% downhill.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#43
With respect Mike, I think this is quite dangerous advice. If the weather is sufficiently bad that crossing via Napoleon is out, then I would not encourage people to wander off on minor roads. It would need a local guide. ....Good GPS tracks would help, but even then I would not do it in poor weather.
Hi K. I did not think I was encouraging anyone. I replied to a post about alternatives to the Napoleonic Route if one had reached Orisson. Whilst Brierley maps are not always 100% accurate it is a published map, publicly available and was attempting to point out this alternative.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#44
Hola @Rick of Rick and Peg & @Kathar1na
I have not used this D128 (in fact I did even know it had a route designator), as for the distance of this road from the Napoleonic Track to Valcarlos - I gave an approximate distance based on other "similar" distances quoted in Brierley.
As I said I have not walked it, nor did I see it come in to the D-933/N-135 (the French & Spanish designators for the St Jean to Roncesvalles road) however I will agree that it does appear to be a very steep descent (which I indicated in my original post).
As for choice of route - yes the wise pilgrim should always used the advice from the Pilgrim Office in St Jean and also public weather services. (For me the advice from the people in the Pilgrim Office was less than satisfactory and I made the decision based on actual weather reports - and my own self interest of protection). Cheers to all, see you all again in 6 weeks!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2035 km of the way to Saint James in Galicia done.
#45
as for the distance of this road from the Napoleonic Track to Valcarlos - I gave an approximate distance based on other "similar" distances quoted in Brierley.
I'm sure you meant well and Brierley's maps serve their purpose but he states explicitly that these guidebook maps have been designed to "show relevant information only" and "are not to scale". 2-3 km is not an appropriate estimate for an actual distance of 9-10 km ;). I amused myself today by making a comparison that shows how this connecting road (marked in blue) looks like in the guidebook (on the left) and on a proper map (on the right). The difference is striking:

D128.jpeg
 
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Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#46
I would love this to be the last post on the turn right scenario , but i hope in vain
If the weather is fine go over the top , stop wherever you like
If the weather is NOT fine enjoy the Basque village called Valcarlos and go there after a late start
I cannot fathom why they leave St JPDD early as the next 2-3 evenings before Pamplona are very less in desire than STJPP..
 
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lissie45

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk Frances 2019
#47
I'm sure you meant well and Brierley's maps serve their purpose but he states explicitly that these guidebook maps have been designed to "show relevant information only" and "are not to scale". 2-3 km is not an appropriate estimate for an actual distance of 9-10 km ;). I amused myself today by making a comparison that shows how this connecting road (marked in blue) looks like in the guidebook (on the left) and on a proper map (on the right). The difference is striking:

View attachment 40436
In that case I'm not carrying it - if a map's not accurate I'm not interested - where is the map on the right from? Can I buy it in SJPP
 
Camino(s) past & future
2035 km of the way to Saint James in Galicia done.
#48
In that case I'm not carrying it - if a map's not accurate I'm not interested - where is the map on the right from? Can I buy it in SJPP
I can assure you that Brierley's maps are extremely useful for literally thousands of Camino walkers and serve their purpose well: to keep you on track and to show you only what you need to know to stay on track. Just don't use these maps to plan any walks off the Camino track which was the point in question here.

I used the interactive online maps of the French national geographic office IGN for the screenshot shown above.

The federation of all the Spanish camino associations have produced a leaflet with an accurate map for the section SJPP-Roncesvalles; http://www.caminosantiago.org/cpperegrino/servicios/pdf/MapaSosPirineos.pdf. Perhaps you can print it if you want it on paper. I don't know where to obtain a paper version.

The pilgrim's office in SJPP will give you a very detailed schematic map for the section SJPP-Roncesvalles but it is not officially available online as they prefer you to come to their place to give it to you in person.
 

lissie45

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk Frances 2019
#49
For lots of boring reasons, like earning a living, I need to carry a tablet with me, so I'm only taking electronic guides/maps/apps .

Briely I looked at the Library copy - but I must say his philosophy stuff did nothing for me. I assume that the majority of walkers don't use it because its only published in English (with no Kindle version I can find).

Yes that link is exactly what I'd call a proper map!
 

PiryatJos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Sept/Oct '18)
#51
What about early October? What are the chances I get to cross on what will likely be the 9th? It's just one stage I know but it would be nice to see the trail across the Pyrenees in the traditional way which is part of the point in starting at SJPDP.
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
#52
Welcome PiryatJos. The Pilgrim Office in STJPdP will give you best advice from the Napoleon before you go.
FYI the Valcarlos route is the original route, the Napoleon came much later.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#53
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#54
Yes, that may be true.

However, it really isn't necessary to be dismissive of something that is helpful to many, makes no false claims, and is not forced upon anyone!
Of all the guidebook maps I have seen, and I have quite a few guides, I like Brierleys maps the best.
For walking the CF at least, I would see no need for a 'real' map. Just follow the darn arrows ! :rolleyes:

But the 'simplistic' maps in the Brierley Guide are easy to read and provide just the type of information I need.

Name of next village, distances to the next village, accommodation options, cafes, water points, how much up or down, track or road...... I don't need anything else. And the colour scheme makes them easy to read on my phone ( I scan the whole guide)

On the CF at least why on earth would you carry a 'map' ?
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#55
In that case I'm not carrying it - if a map's not accurate I'm not interested - where is the map on the right from? Can I buy it in SJPP
I love maps. I spent over 20 years in the Military and 'lived' with maps. They were vital.
On the CF........they aren't ;)

I wrote this post a while back regarding planning and group tours.
But it's equally worth reading if you feel you need a map..........
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/how-much-planning.52121/#post-574476
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#56
Personally, I like to have some type of map either electronic or paper. There have been reports of arrows being tampered with recently. In the death of pilgrim Denise Thiem, a couple of years ago, the police believe that the killer deliberately altered the yellow signs. Having a map, even on the CF provides a reference as one goes along, especially for new Pilgrims!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#57
the Valcarlos route is the original route, the Napoleon came much later.
I would like to see evidence for this statement, which is frequently repeated by various forum members. The only historical information which I have read is from Gitlitz and Davidson's "The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago" (c. 2000). The first chapter presents the Somport Pass as an ancient Roman road and the original pilgrimage route. See page 4, first paragraph: "The Somport Pass [Summus portus; 1,640 m.] has been the preferred Roman route across the central Pyrenees since since Cato conquered the Jacetania tribes around Jaca in 195 B.C.E. This relatively easy corridor from Oloron, France, has been favored by merchants, pilgrims and invading armies over the centuries. . . . The pass also channeled most pilgrim traffic until the 12th c., when Navarran and Basque bandits were brought under control, making the much easier pass to the west through Roncesvalles safe."
And in chapter 16, p. 55, on the route over the Napoleon Pass, known to the Romans as the Via Traiana, and the lower route through Valcarlos: "The lower route through Valcarlos. . . invited trouble, since it offered many opportunities for easy ambush of travelers. The higher route, to the east and over the high ridge, was preferred by the Romans - who hated being surprised - and by safety-minded pilgrims, and it is the route marked out as the hiking trail today."
No doubt there has been a great deal written elsewhere about these routes, but this book is a popular text on the main pilgrimage route to Santiago and as I have read nothing else discussing the routes into Spain from France I am unclear as to why the Valcarlos route is given the priority in forum posts. I would appreciate a brief comment with some historical reference from someone with a better historical knowledge of the caminos than myself.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#58
Camino(s) past & future
2035 km of the way to Saint James in Galicia done.
#59
I would like to see evidence for this statement, which is frequently repeated by various forum members.
Since you specifically ask: from memory, there is no evidence for this statement. I read up on this topic some time ago and remember various papers but can't locate them right now. In general, medieval pilgrims followed trade roads and what was left of the Roman roads built many centuries earlier. Not even the actual trace of the important Roman road from Bordeaux to Pamplona is certain in this area, let alone traces of the actual paths that medieval pilgrims took.

Again from memory: in recent years, they think they found traces of a minor Roman road through the Valcarlos valley. The Roman trophy tower of Urkulu - which is near but not directly on the Napoleon route - is a certainty. So they were there and it was an important place for them. As far as I recall, they've not found any actual foundations of a Roman built road over the Bentarte and Lepoeder passes and the theory is that they used a road that had already been established. Perhaps this is the fact that lead to the misinformed statement?

My hunch at first was that the Valcarlos passage was the road that had been preferred throughout the centuries just because it is lower but, surprisingly, that is not the case. The passage was too steep and too narrow for military transports and for horse-drawn coaches until a fairly recent road was built not too long ago. The road that is now called the Napoleon Route was the preferred way for traffic. It used to be called the Road to Spain (Route d'Espagne, see also old maps).

Unbeknownst to many pilgrims, on the Route Napoleon, you pass remains and traces of the Megalithic and Neolithic periods that are literally next to the path.

Napoleon Bonaparte himself never came to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. He neither took the Valcarlos road nor the Route Napoleon. He crossed the Pyrenees further to the East during his military invasion of Spain.

Nearly all the studies about history and archaeology in the area are written either in French or Spanish.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
2035 km of the way to Saint James in Galicia done.
#60
And in chapter 16, p. 55, on the route over the Napoleon Pass, known to the Romans as the Via Traiana
I'm a bit surprised about this name. See:

The French and Spanish Wikipedia articles about the road from Bordeaux to Astorga or Road 34 have more information than the English one. All three of them mention the Roman settlement of Iturissa, a site to the north of the Camino through Burguete where archaeological research started in the late 1980s and is still going on.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
2035 km of the way to Saint James in Galicia done.
#61
In general, we are kidding ourselves when we think that we walk all the time where pilgrims walked before us. These pilgrims, when on foot, took the fastest, easiest and least dangerous road. When you leave Pamplona, look at the horizon where you can see the mountain ridge of the Sierra del Perdon. Where would you cross if you were a medieval pilgrim? At the lowest point obviously, you can see it clearly. Alas, you cross at a higher point to the left where the metal pilgrims statues are. Why? It's more scenic, quieter, so what if it's longer and more strenuous ... you don't want to share your path with the cars that use the N-111at the lowest point of the Alto del Perdon and you are not allowed to walk on the motorway that now tunnels through this mountain ridge and would be the least strenuous path.

There are dozens if not hundreds of similar locations. Pick what you like best and what suits you best, whether it's through Valcarlos or through the forest after the Lepoeder pass or any of the other options.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#62
Valcarlos route is given the priority
It is a beautiful Basque village to stay in , which helps many survive the 27km first day.
It has a small supermarket , many restaurants and lovely accommodation.
 
#63
You take the high road i will take the low road i will be there before you.i love mountains so high road for me 10 so far and next weeks away. Walked valcarlos route twice once because of weather but did not stop in valcarlos. Buen camino and stop carrying chip on shoulder
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#64
You take the high road i will take the low road i will be there before you.i love mountains so high road for me 10 so far and next weeks away. Walked valcarlos route twice once because of weather but did not stop in valcarlos. Buen camino and stop carrying chip on shoulder
Been over the top x 2 enjoyed the view.
Been via Valcarlos x 3 , loved the quietness , leaving late and we always stay in a beautiful CR when there , next day we arrive in Burguette or even venture further on occasions
Been over Somport which is a lovely way from France .
We always start in France a few says before STJPP thus the reason why Valcarlos is our place of choice.
We usually leave Ostabat and lunch in StJPP before continuing.

"You'll" take and " I'll " take ........yes a beautiful walk over the Scottish hills , stark , barren , wild and magnificent hills,
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#65
Thanks to everyone for responses. From her previous posts, I had a feeling that @Kathar1na would likely have some interesting historical material to add to this discussion. We pilgrims now, as in the past, will walk the routes which are safe, available to us and offer the services which we need. Many of us currently like the Napoleon route because it is scenic. And I enjoy the feeling of arriving in Spain over the border from France, which I have also done by the Somport Pass. But I am not sure of the place of tradition in helping us decide our routes.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
#66
When , how and why was it called this instead of remaining Via Traiana ?
The Peninsular War also had an impact on the Camino Frances near Roncesvalles and Pamplona.
Although Napoleon Bonaparte himself never was on this route the French troops were successful at the Battle of Roncesvalles 25 July 1813 against the British led by Wellington. Read more here of this event in the Peninsular war 1808/1814 and check out the map of the battle.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2035 km of the way to Saint James in Galicia done.
#67
I enjoy the feeling of arriving in Spain over the border from France, which I have also done by the Somport Pass.
The Codex Calixtinus, no less, speaks of three world famous pilgrims hospitals: the one in Jerusalem, the one on the San Bernadino pass in the Swiss Alps and Santa Cristina on the Somport pass. Today, only a few low stone walls are left of the latter but this is what it probably looked like:


Source: http://www.romanicoaragones.com/0-Jacetania/441-StaCristina.htm
 
Camino(s) past & future
2035 km of the way to Saint James in Galicia done.
#68
I am not sure of the place of tradition in helping us decide our routes.
It's an interesting topic ... tradition and how we "learn" it. Perhaps good for another thread.

I've thinking about this in recent days - what makes us want to follow a tradition. A forum member speaks in another thread about the excitement to be so near Roncesvalles (because kids in her country/cultural environment had learned about Charlemagne and Roland and Roncevaux perhaps even before primary school), and I spoke recently with someone who had put his hand on the shape on the portaluz of the Portal of Glory of the Santiago Cathedral in the 1990s and I asked how he had known about it and he said, well, it was in the guidebook ...

I'm not sure where I want to go with this. It just made me wonder how much other pilgrims have "always" known about the way to Santiago and the history and legends and real or fictional persons connected with places along the way.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
#69
Not "always known" but in graduate school 50+ years ago I attended courses by the great medieval art/architecture historian Meyer Schapiro. Several erudite lectures focused on the architecture along the Camino Frances, not only great monuments but also simple vernacular buildings. He stressed the importance of carved shells as the major iconic motif for identifying all related to Saint James as well as the immense social impact of the camino path across northern Spain; the path became the 'main street' with ‘burgos de francos’ or independent neighborhoods settled by former pilgrims nearby and, thus, the towns developed. ... Bingo I was hooked and decided that someday I would walk that path myself. Forty+ years later I did; fifty+ years later I keep on dreaming.

Margaret Meredith

PS. See this earlier Forum thread re camino inspirations
 
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Camino(s) past & future
2035 km of the way to Saint James in Galicia done.
#70
The things that I seem to have "always known", ie I don't remember how and when I learnt about them, are Roland and his horn Olifant and how he died so tragically. Chanson de geste, ie long medieval ballads of heroic deeds, is something that I acquainted myself with only in recent years and in connection with Roncevaux (Roncesvalles) in particular. In their place, I knew about Minnesang, cute and short medieval love songs. I didn't even know that Roland's death was associated with Roncevaux or that it was in Spain.

At school, and also later, one learns lots about Charlemagne and Napoleon, and about the good stuff they did during their reigns, but I also associate both of them with slaughter, the first one with brutal repression and killing of 4,000 Saxons and the second one with many horrible battles, one of them with an estimate of 50,000 killed or wounded within a single day. It doesn't make me want to walk on the real or fictional path of either of them.

I'm fascinated by Roncesvalles monastery as the seat of so much worldly and spiritual power and wealth throughout the ages. I myself couldn't walk through there without stopping.

PS: The horn IS an olifant but I always think that both Roland's horn and his sword had a name. :cool:
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#71
As part of my degree in French, many years ago I read the Chanson de Roland in Old French. When I first heard about and decided to walk the camino de Santiago, I knew that Roncevaux (Roncesvalles in Spanish), near the beginning of the currently most popular route, was the location of the events narrated there. When I walked the camino Aragones through the Somport pass the next year, I had read Gitlitz and Davidson's book, "The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago" and was interested in the priority that they gave to the Somport route and to the hospice of Santa Christina, as one of the three great pilgrim hospices of the Christian world. I stopped briefly to view the ruins on my way through the pass. On my most recent camino, in Santiago I bought a copy (in Spanish translation) of book five of the Codex Calixtinus, the original 12th century guidebook to the caminos de Santiago. My Spanish is at last at the point where I can read it. My scholarship on the camino is extremely superficial, but I am interested in the traditions. However, for me the most interesting site is not Roncevaux, Somport, or Santiago, but San Juan de la Pena, where the early faith of Christians in the area and the history of the Kingdom of Aragon come together in an ancient monastery with the most fascinating architecture. Although the traditions interest me, I walk the caminos de Santiago as a pilgrim, not primarily as a lover of ancient traditions or architecture, except as they relate to the pilgrimage.
 

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