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Short first Day? CF

2020 Camino Guides
Camino(s) past & future
French Camino in 2020
Another question. Counting down now, only 14 week until I can start. I'm intending to take the bus from Rennes to Bayonne, which arrives at silly o'clock in the morning. After a couple of hours there will be a train to SJPP, arriving around 8 a.m. I had originally thought that I'd be spending the night in SJPP, but maybe, instead of the long haul to Roncevalles in one day, it may be better to unclick my bones and muscles, from having a long bus trip, and go to Orisson, arriving early afternoon. I'll be 64 by the time I start and this is my first long adventure. I do have a finishing date, so I cant take too long, but this may be a good way to not shock my limbs too much at the outset?
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
Hi! Sounds like a good idea, but make sure you reserve a bed at Orisson asap, as there are few of them and they are very popular! You can book online now, from what I hear, though they are notorious for delayed replies. Give it a good try right now! If you can't get a bed, you might still get a room/bed in St Jean, walk up to Orisson, get a taxi back for the night, and get a taxi or mountain shuttle back up again in the morning. You'll still cut the distance and you will probably thank yourself for it in the morning.
 
Camino(s) past & future
French Camino in 2020
Hi! Sounds like a good idea, but make sure you reserve a bed at Orisson asap, as there are few of them and they are very popular! You can book online now, from what I hear, though they are notorious for delayed replies. Give it a good try right now! If you can't get a bed, you might still get a room/bed in St Jean, walk up to Orisson, get a taxi back for the night, and get a taxi or mountain shuttle back up again in the morning. You'll still cut the distance and you will probably thank yourself for it in the morning.
Thanks for the heads up. I need to wait until 3 months before I leave as that is the soonest I can book my bus. Is it acceptable to book and then cancel? (I think there are only about three buses per week, so I need to be sure of my place on the before booking Orrison)
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
... actually, it would be a good idea to book at Roncesvalles and Zubiri too, if those are your planned stages. The first couple of days out of St Jean can be a bit of a bottle neck, but after that people spread out more. If you book a bed in Roncesvalles, book your meal while you are at it because the restaurants fill up quickly and you will be hungry!
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
Yes I would rather book Orisson and then cancel, unless it's non-refundable, because they will fill the bed anyway. And let's face it, you might not get a reply until you're within the 3 months anyway! I haven't booked it with the new system but there are many posts about it on this forum, just use the search function in the top right hand corner?
 
Camino(s) past & future
French Camino in 2020
Yes I would rather book Orisson and then cancel, unless it's non-refundable, because they will fill the bed anyway. And let's face it, you might not get a reply until you're within the 3 months anyway! I haven't booked it with the new system but there are many posts about it on this forum, just use the search function in the top right hand corner?
Many thanks; I'll give it a try.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Thanks for the heads up. I need to wait until 3 months before I leave as that is the soonest I can book my bus. Is it acceptable to book and then cancel? (I think there are only about three buses per week, so I need to be sure of my place on the before booking Orrison)
You can cancel Orisson, but you won't receive a refund on your deposit, which for an individual is the full cost of the night. I would decide when I want to start, book Orisson, and the bus will sort itself out.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
For booking Orisson use their online booking form. In the past they took reservations via email, but now only accept them via their site.


Rather than going to Bayonne can you take a bus or train to Biarritz? Then you could use the Express Bouricott shuttle.


Another option for a short first day is to use Express Bouricott's Mountain Shuttle (also in link above) to walk part way the first day (past Orisson). They will pick you up and take you back to St Jean. The next morning they will deliver you back to where you left off.
moutain shuttle.png
 
Camino(s) past & future
French Camino in 2020
Can't you buy a train ticket Rennes-St Jean Pied de Port? I see it on the SNCF website.

That could be an option - I was trying to keep the cost to a minimum, and that is not too different. Thanks for all the information; I'm going to try booking Orrison in a minute
 

JanelMcB

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2018)
Another question. Counting down now, only 14 week until I can start. I'm intending to take the bus from Rennes to Bayonne, which arrives at silly o'clock in the morning. After a couple of hours there will be a train to SJPP, arriving around 8 a.m. I had originally thought that I'd be spending the night in SJPP, but maybe, instead of the long haul to Roncevalles in one day, it may be better to unclick my bones and muscles, from having a long bus trip, and go to Orisson, arriving early afternoon. I'll be 64 by the time I start and this is my first long adventure. I do have a finishing date, so I cant take too long, but this may be a good way to not shock my limbs too much at the outset?
Unless you are really pressed for time and/or money, I think making a stop at Orisson is the smart choice. Lots of folks cross the mountain in one day, so it can be done, but coming down the natural path is dangerous. Coming down the paved road is safer, but longer. The sooner you make a reservation at Orrison, the better. There is no other stopping point along the way. Best wishes.
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino Frances (2018}
Another question. Counting down now, only 14 week until I can start. I'm intending to take the bus from Rennes to Bayonne, which arrives at silly o'clock in the morning. After a couple of hours there will be a train to SJPP, arriving around 8 a.m. I had originally thought that I'd be spending the night in SJPP, but maybe, instead of the long haul to Roncevalles in one day, it may be better to unclick my bones and muscles, from having a long bus trip, and go to Orisson, arriving early afternoon. I'll be 64 by the time I start and this is my first long adventure. I do have a finishing date, so I cant take too long, but this may be a good way to not shock my limbs too much at the outset?
Make sure you book Orisson when you decide. It fills up fast. Only point I will make is that my son did that. Early train to St Jean, call in to pilgrim office and start walking. He was taking the original camino via ValCarlos so no hefty mountains to climb. OK, its an extra couple of Km, but by the time he got to ValCarlos, he was shattered and he was a fit healthy 23 year old. Your post does not make it clear, but will you get any sleep between 'silly o'clock' and the train at 8am. Cat naps on buses and trains are no substitute for a good nights sleep and tired muscles can be easily strained muscles. Wreck yourself on the first two days and you could be finishing way before your finishing date. I was 64 on my first starting in Pamplona. By the time I got to Uterga my legs were like lead and I had to be helped the last 500 meters into the albergue and that was after two nights in Pamplona. I took two nights because the day to start was St Patricks day so my Irish blood took over and I went to an Irish bar then went to watch the Pamplona St Patricks Day parade. Yes, they really did have one
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Why follow the herd? The Napoleon Route isn't the only official way to Roncesvalles. Walk via Valcarlos and spend the first night there. You likely won't need to book and it's a really beautiful (and older) route.
 

Molly Cassidy

Travelling light
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to start the Camino Frances from St Jean at the end of May (2020).
Hi! Sounds like a good idea, but make sure you reserve a bed at Orisson asap, as there are few of them and they are very popular! You can book online now, from what I hear, though they are notorious for delayed replies. Give it a good try right now! If you can't get a bed, you might still get a room/bed in St Jean, walk up to Orisson, get a taxi back for the night, and get a taxi or mountain shuttle back up again in the morning. You'll still cut the distance and you will probably thank yourself for it in the morning.
I got an reply the same day, but it was a few days before I got the payment email.
 

Arlene Laskey

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April-May 2018
Camino Portuguese ?2021? maybe
We stayed at Orisson on the advice of another pilgrim, so glad we did. Not only did it break up the long trek to Roncesvalles, but we met people there that became our Camino family. I might opt for the Val Carlos route next time though. And that first 8 km is up to Orisson is very steep, plenty to do on your first day after traveling.
 

Eibhlís

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2000 I walked 300km of the Camino Frances.
2020 I plan to walk the whole 800km.
For booking Orisson use their online booking form. In the past they took reservations via email, but now only accept them via their site.


Rather than going to Bayonne can you take a bus or train to Biarritz? Then you could use the Express Bouricott shuttle.


Another option for a short first day is to use Express Bouricott's Mountain Shuttle (also in link above) to walk part way the first day (past Orisson). They will pick you up and take you back to St Jean. The next morning they will deliver you back to where you left off.
View attachment 69873
Does the express Bouricott shuffle take you from Biarritz to SJPdP?
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
I do have a finishing date, so I cant take too long
In May there will may be 100+ pilgrrrims starting each day.

So the Mountain Express that @trecile suggests is a good option. The consequence is that you will pass through Roncevaux the next day and continue towards Pamplona.

And @VNwalking has suggested stopping at Valcarlos on the first night. The steep rise will then be on day 2.

Another option is (the 78 year-old says nonchalantly) is to increase your confidence in the strength of your body and mind.

Without knowing what your training regime has been, I suggest you work up to, before stopping for breakfast/coffee/whatever:
1) 10-12 km
2) 400 metres of elevation gain
And all gear you will take with you on your back.

Getting elevation gain as part of training is awkward in most places. One work around is using stairs in multistorey buildings. A particular advantage of going up and down stairs is they better exercise muscles from knee to hip than walking on paths.

Then there is finding a technique (that works for you) to just keep going (stopping for mothing) when going up (and down) hills.

A technique that seems to work for me includes the following:
1) Avoid casual stops while underway
2) dress for the entire ascent (or descent). For example if setting off about daybreak dress for mid/late morning: you can expect to warm up quite quickly (i only use gloves for my fingers)
3) on the steepest sections take short (very short) steps - about 100 mm to 120 mm. This means you dont have to waste energy lifting you legs very high.
4) breathe in on one foot fall and breathe out when the other foot hits the ground - this can help you maintain a steady rate
5) increase the step length of less steep sections.

Using that technique, together with the fitness from three weeks of walking from Le Puy, allowed me walking at a snails pace, to pass everyone going up to Leopoeder.

The Pyrenees is not the only hill. As well as the ups and downs after Astorga and the vicinity of O'Cebreiro there is hill work much of the way to Burgos and after Sarria and Portomarin. So specific hill training is not a waste of time.

You will need to work out you own regime for yourself over the next 14 weeks. My suggestions are intended to help you complete you intended pilgrimage without fitness issues.

Kia kaha (take take, be strong, get going)
 

Tony Murray

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Cycled from León to Santiago (2017)
Hi Sue, one thing to keep in mind on your first day it that it puts real pressure on the calfs of your legs. I did a simple exercise for about 4 weeks, prior to beginning my Camino, to stretch my muscles. Stand on a step or stair on your toes. Gently drop your heal down as far as you can go without hurting yourself. On coming up you need to stand on your tipi-toes to stretch in the opposite direction. Do hold on to something and slowly does it. When walking up to Orrison drink plenty of water as a lot of muscular issues are due to dehydration. Finally, I think walking poles are essential for us over 60s. If you decide to only bring carry on baggage on your flight you may have a problem with the poles. I bought an inexpensive pair in SJPP. It was less than paying the extra to put into the hold of the airplane. Buen Camino
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
The consequence is that you will pass through Roncevaux the next day and continue towards Pamplona.
You don't need to pass through Roncesvalles the second day. You can stop there. Or continue on to Burguete or Espinal if you have the energy to go farther.
 

benny aumala

Member
Camino(s) past & future
may-june 2016
may-june (2019)
Book "ORISSON or KAYOLA". Distance is just 800 m without ascend.
Kayola is part of Orisson and you can have supper and breakfast
in Orisson.
 

FooteK

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to SdC, 2013; Lourdes to SdC, 2015; ??? to SdC (2020)
My $0.02,
  1. Don't let your age intimidate you. As long as you "train" for long walking, you will be good. Please put in the time to become physically prepared, though. Many suggestions here already.
  2. The Napolean is the more popular route. Consider the Valcarlos.. I've done both, they are equally beautiful, challenging. The Val will be less crowded.
  3. Be gentle with yourself on those first days. I strongly urge you to break the first day into smaller stages, even though you have a deadline. Unless you are used to this kind of physical exertion, your body will simply need some time to catch up with your desire. The easier you are on yourself in the beginning, the more robust you will be in the end. You do want to make it all the way to the end, don't you?
  4. The saying I first heard here on this forum, and have carried with me in my heart ever since - "Start out like an old man so you can finish like a young man."
Or woman.
 

Hilarious

Hilarious
Camino(s) past & future
Planning stage Camino Frances from SJPdP (Sept. 2019)
For booking Orisson use their online booking form. In the past they took reservations via email, but now only accept them via their site.


Rather than going to Bayonne can you take a bus or train to Biarritz? Then you could use the Express Bouricott shuttle.


Another option for a short first day is to use Express Bouricott's Mountain Shuttle (also in link above) to walk part way the first day (past Orisson). They will pick you up and take you back to St Jean. The next morning they will deliver you back to where you left off.
View attachment 69873
I can recommend the shuttle. We stayed overnight in SJPdP then walked to the virgin statue the first day. Back on the shuttle to SJPdP then got the shuttle the next day back to the virgin and walked to Roncesvalles. We had travelled from Australia so we thought we would sleep better having 2 nights in the same accommodation to start off with.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Another question. Counting down now, only 14 week until I can start. I'm intending to take the bus from Rennes to Bayonne, which arrives at silly o'clock in the morning. After a couple of hours there will be a train to SJPP, arriving around 8 a.m. I had originally thought that I'd be spending the night in SJPP, but maybe, instead of the long haul to Roncevalles in one day, it may be better to unclick my bones and muscles, from having a long bus trip, and go to Orisson, arriving early afternoon. I'll be 64 by the time I start and this is my first long adventure. I do have a finishing date, so I cant take too long, but this may be a good way to not shock my limbs too much at the outset?
Here is my 2 cents. I'm 67 and walk this route nearly every year with new pilgrims in my group.

Book TWO night in SJPP.
Book your THIRD night in Roncesvalles and be SURE to book dinner too as it does fill up.]
Book your 4th night in Zubiri.
By Pamplona you'll be through the bottleneck and will be fine not to book ahead.

Your first day, check into the Pilgrim Office, get your Credential and map and ENJOY the village.
There is a lot to see there. Just walk around and go into the little shops.
Have tea. Have lunch. Have a beer. Meet new pilgrims. Go to the sporting goods. Buy a snack for next day.
Book the shuttle to bring you down next day.

First day, don't rush - walk up to Orisson and take the shuttle back down to SJPP.
Second day shuttle UP to Orisson and finish your walk to Roncesvalles.
Third day walk to Zubiri.
4th day walk to Pamplona.

If you are unsure now, then don't let anyone talk you into walking the entire stretch the first day.
I've seen many people's Camino ruined from that first day.
It's affectionately called "hell day" for a reason!
Yes, if you are in prime shape you'd have no problems.
But why take the chance?

The first time I walked the Camino I had a bed booked at Orisson.
The hospitalero at SJPP INSISTED that we should walk all the way to Roncesvalles and not stop.
"It is EASY," he said!
Well, it almost broke me.
I cried every painful step down that freaking mountain into Roncesvalles.
During the night when I had to pee, I almost screamed out in pain when my feet hit the metal ladder to get down from the bunkbed.
I was in pain for days and had shin splints as well.

Boy, I cussed that guy's name for a week!

You are in France and Spain.
Don't hurry.
It is not a race unless you make it one.

Enjoy the sites, the food, the people.
Go slow.

Buen Camino!
 

Monasp

I'm a manager of pilgrims office in SJPP
Camino(s) past & future
Camino in 2008.
Another question. Counting down now, only 14 week until I can start. I'm intending to take the bus from Rennes to Bayonne, which arrives at silly o'clock in the morning. After a couple of hours there will be a train to SJPP, arriving around 8 a.m. I had originally thought that I'd be spending the night in SJPP, but maybe, instead of the long haul to Roncevalles in one day, it may be better to unclick my bones and muscles, from having a long bus trip, and go to Orisson, arriving early afternoon. I'll be 64 by the time I start and this is my first long adventure. I do have a finishing date, so I cant take too long, but this may be a good way to not shock my limbs too much at the outset?
Il y a un train qui arrive de Bayonne à SJPP aux alentours de 7h 45. Si vous avez l'intention de dormir à Orison il faut réserver très tôt surtout au mois de mai période de forte affluence. La nuit à Orison est obligatoirement en demi-pension.
De toute façon à votre arrivée passez au bureau des pèlerins 39 rue de la citadelle à Saint Jean Pied de Port, les bénévoles présents vous donneront votre premier tampon et toutes les infos dont vous avez besoin surtout en matière de météo. Ils vous donneront aussi gratuitement la liste de toutes les auberges en Espagne. Ce sont d'anciens pèlerins qui pourront répondre à toutes vos questions
 

Pscarmen

My Way is better than any highway!
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago (2019)
For booking Orisson use their online booking form. In the past they took reservations via email, but now only accept them via their site.


Rather than going to Bayonne can you take a bus or train to Biarritz? Then you could use the Express Bouricott shuttle.


Another option for a short first day is to use Express Bouricott's Mountain Shuttle (also in link above) to walk part way the first day (past Orisson). They will pick you up and take you back to St Jean. The next morning they will deliver you back to where you left off.
View attachment 69873
I see that this refuge is 38€...that’s crazy expensive, is it not?
 

steve 217

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances planning via del la plata
Annie santiago. Has nailed it the only thing id add is that the bakery in SJPDP is always open early, well whenever ive left its open and sells nice bread /sandwiches for the journey i also noticed a vending machine on the right hand side 3-4km out opposite the farm just before the first hairpin bends which wasnt there last time .
Good luck and enjoy Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
French Camino in 2020
In May there will may be 100+ pilgrrrims starting each day.

So the Mountain Express that @trecile suggests is a good option. The consequence is that you will pass through Roncevaux the next day and continue towards Pamplona.

And @VNwalking has suggested stopping at Valcarlos on the first night. The steep rise will then be on day 2.

Another option is (the 78 year-old says nonchalantly) is to increase your confidence in the strength of your body and mind.

Without knowing what your training regime has been, I suggest you work up to, before stopping for breakfast/coffee/whatever:
1) 10-12 km
2) 400 metres of elevation gain
And all gear you will take with you on your back.

Getting elevation gain as part of training is awkward in most places. One work around is using stairs in multistorey buildings. A particular advantage of going up and down stairs is they better exercise muscles from knee to hip than walking on paths.

Then there is finding a technique (that works for you) to just keep going (stopping for mothing) when going up (and down) hills.

A technique that seems to work for me includes the following:
1) Avoid casual stops while underway
2) dress for the entire ascent (or descent). For example if setting off about daybreak dress for mid/late morning: you can expect to warm up quite quickly (i only use gloves for my fingers)
3) on the steepest sections take short (very short) steps - about 100 mm to 120 mm. This means you dont have to waste energy lifting you legs very high.
4) breathe in on one foot fall and breathe out when the other foot hits the ground - this can help you maintain a steady rate
5) increase the step length of less steep sections.

Using that technique, together with the fitness from three weeks of walking from Le Puy, allowed me walking at a snails pace, to pass everyone going up to Leopoeder.

The Pyrenees is not the only hill. As well as the ups and downs after Astorga and the vicinity of O'Cebreiro there is hill work much of the way to Burgos and after Sarria and Portomarin. So specific hill training is not a waste of time.

You will need to work out you own regime for yourself over the next 14 weeks. My suggestions are intended to help you complete you intended pilgrimage without fitness issues.

Kia kaha (take take, be strong, get going)
Many thanks,Alwyn. That’s really useful. I have hills (not mountains) around me and intend to increase my distance over the next few weeks. Didn’t get in any training last week, thanks to storms Ciara and Denis. More weight in the backpack next time.
 

Jackieduda

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF September (2018)
Another question. Counting down now, only 14 week until I can start. I'm intending to take the bus from Rennes to Bayonne, which arrives at silly o'clock in the morning. After a couple of hours there will be a train to SJPP, arriving around 8 a.m. I had originally thought that I'd be spending the night in SJPP, but maybe, instead of the long haul to Roncevalles in one day, it may be better to unclick my bones and muscles, from having a long bus trip, and go to Orisson, arriving early afternoon. I'll be 64 by the time I start and this is my first long adventure. I do have a finishing date, so I cant take too long, but this may be a good way to not shock my limbs too much at the outset?
Hello
Sue,
I completely agree with your logic here. Taking it easy the first day worked very well for me at age 68. No need to hurt yourself on the first day. Sjpdd to orisson is almost entirely uphill. If you can get a reservation for orisson at this late date, take it! You will also have a little time to enjoy the astounding view and not be in such a rush if you break the trip from sjpdd to roncessvalles into 2 days.
( it might be helpful to view my blog on this trip at https://jacscamino.wordpress.com. scroll all the way down to the bottom to get to the beginning of the Camino trip. And Buen Camino!
 

motero99

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
Camino Norte (2020)
Orisson is a good first day. I did the Camino starting in SJPP 9 months after having a serious heart attack. Orisson was the perfect distance to get used to hiking up steep terrain. I had to stop a few times on the hike to take a quick break when my pulse got a bit high. At dinner they have everyone stand up introduce themselves and say why they were doing the Camino. It was very interesting to hear the different places everyone was from and the reasons they were doing the Camino. That made for a nice start to the Camino. A Basque guy I was sitting next to commented that no one said they were doing it for religious reasons.
The only downside to Orisson is that I could not find my glasses in the morning when I left. They were found a few days later and the Orisson staff email my daughter that they had the glasses and would let us know how much to send them once they went to the post office and knew the cost. Nine months later they have still not responded to the emails we have sent them and must not have made it to the post office yet.
 

mvanert

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Bits and pieces - 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020?
Another question. Counting down now, only 14 week until I can start. I'm intending to take the bus from Rennes to Bayonne, which arrives at silly o'clock in the morning. After a couple of hours there will be a train to SJPP, arriving around 8 a.m. I had originally thought that I'd be spending the night in SJPP, but maybe, instead of the long haul to Roncevalles in one day, it may be better to unclick my bones and muscles, from having a long bus trip, and go to Orisson, arriving early afternoon. I'll be 64 by the time I start and this is my first long adventure. I do have a finishing date, so I cant take too long, but this may be a good way to not shock my limbs too much at the outset?
My friends and I are in a similar situation, we arrive in Biarritz from Paris after a long flight from Western Canada around 10pm and plan on taking the 7am train to St. Jean, we know we'll be a bit bonkers from lack of sleep so we've booked Orrison for our first night on the camino. This will be my second camino starting at St Jean and their first so it will give them some time to see St. Jean.
 

Michael-FL

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portugues (2017)
Frances/Salvador/Primitivo (2021)
Another question. Counting down now, only 14 week until I can start. I'm intending to take the bus from Rennes to Bayonne, which arrives at silly o'clock in the morning. After a couple of hours there will be a train to SJPP, arriving around 8 a.m. I had originally thought that I'd be spending the night in SJPP, but maybe, instead of the long haul to Roncevalles in one day, it may be better to unclick my bones and muscles, from having a long bus trip, and go to Orisson, arriving early afternoon. I'll be 64 by the time I start and this is my first long adventure. I do have a finishing date, so I cant take too long, but this may be a good way to not shock my limbs too much at the outset?
Sue, why not be even kinder to yourself and spend the day in SJPdP, overnight there and head out the next morning? That’s my plan after a translant flight Followed by bus and train rides. I start walking 18 April.
 

Tony Walsh

Tony in Perth
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria last 120km 2014, Full Camino Frances 2017, Via Francigena 2018, Coast Caomino Portugues 2020

Bronte DownUnder

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain 2013 (Roncesvalles to Santago de Compostela)
France 2015 (Le Puy to Roncesvalles)
Portugal 2017 (Porto to Santiago de Compostela)
You're one of the "young ones" at 64 Sue. I can remember being so inspired by an 81yo American woman I met on day 1 at Roncesvalles (where I began my Camino Frances). I couldn't imagine why anyone would want to hike across the Pyrenees on their first day but discovered that most pilgrims did (I tried not to feel guilty).
My suggestion would be to do as you originally planned and spend your first night in SJPDP - it's a beautiful little village and you'll get the rest you need before you embark on your Camino. I hadn't realised a shuttle operates to bring you back down the mountain and return you the next day - what a great option.
I (together with my husband) finally crossed the Pyrenees at the end of our 2nd Camino (across France). By this time we were very fit (began in Le Puy en Velay) and hiking from SJPDP to Roncesvalles was not nearly as challenging as doing it on day 1 would be.
Whatever you choose, enjoy the experience. Buen Camino
 

Seamiller

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2020
Hi! Sounds like a good idea, but make sure you reserve a bed at Orisson asap, as there are few of them and they are very popular! You can book online now, from what I hear, though they are notorious for delayed replies. Give it a good try right now! If you can't get a bed, you might still get a room/bed in St Jean, walk up to Orisson, get a taxi back for the night, and get a taxi or mountain shuttle back up again in the morning. You'll still cut the distance and you will probably thank yourself for it in the morning.
We tried to book Orisson online through Refuge-Orisson and the site says they are closed until April. We are planning our first walk in August 2020, is there another online site where we could lock up the reservation sooner for a room in Orisson? Thank you so much!
 

Molly Cassidy

Travelling light
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to start the Camino Frances from St Jean at the end of May (2020).
We tried to book Orisson online through Refuge-Orisson and the site says they are closed until April. We are planning our first walk in August 2020, is there another online site where we could lock up the reservation sooner for a room in Orisson? Thank you so much!
They are closed till April but you can still book for when they are open. I booked through their website a week or so ago.
 
Camino(s) past & future
French Camino in 2020
Thank you all for the wonderful information and encouragement. I’m starting to panic a little as something at home is preventing me from making a firm booking and I am now worrying about not getting a place. I guess I’ll just have to play it by ear. Impressed at the many approaches.
 

Eibhlís

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2000 I walked 300km of the Camino Frances.
2020 I plan to walk the whole 800km.
They are closed till April but you can still book for when they are open. I booked through their website a week or so ago.
Were you able to pay to secure your booking? All I was able to do was go in my details and the date I wanted to stay.
 

FooteK

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to SdC, 2013; Lourdes to SdC, 2015; ??? to SdC (2020)
Thank you all for the wonderful information and encouragement. I’m starting to panic a little as something at home is preventing me from making a firm booking and I am now worrying about not getting a place. I guess I’ll just have to play it by ear. Impressed at the many approaches.
I did walk the entire first day from SJPdP to Roncevalle in one day. I was 63 at the time. Ignorance is bliss - I didn't know that most try to NOT do that! Anyway, I wasn't the worse for wear at the end of the day. I'm just a Mom, not an adventurer, had never done anything like that before. Don't let your fears take over.
 

Molly Cassidy

Travelling light
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to start the Camino Frances from St Jean at the end of May (2020).
Were you able to pay to secure your booking? All I was able to do was go in my details and the date I wanted to stay.
They send you an email a few days later and you follow a link to make the payment. You don't pay when you make the booking through the website.
 

Barney12

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2021
In May there will may be 100+ pilgrrrims starting each day.

So the Mountain Express that @trecile suggests is a good option. The consequence is that you will pass through Roncevaux the next day and continue towards Pamplona.

And @VNwalking has suggested stopping at Valcarlos on the first night. The steep rise will then be on day 2.

Another option is (the 78 year-old says nonchalantly) is to increase your confidence in the strength of your body and mind.

Without knowing what your training regime has been, I suggest you work up to, before stopping for breakfast/coffee/whatever:
1) 10-12 km
2) 400 metres of elevation gain
And all gear you will take with you on your back.

Getting elevation gain as part of training is awkward in most places. One work around is using stairs in multistorey buildings. A particular advantage of going up and down stairs is they better exercise muscles from knee to hip than walking on paths.

Then there is finding a technique (that works for you) to just keep going (stopping for mothing) when going up (and down) hills.

A technique that seems to work for me includes the following:
1) Avoid casual stops while underway
2) dress for the entire ascent (or descent). For example if setting off about daybreak dress for mid/late morning: you can expect to warm up quite quickly (i only use gloves for my fingers)
3) on the steepest sections take short (very short) steps - about 100 mm to 120 mm. This means you dont have to waste energy lifting you legs very high.
4) breathe in on one foot fall and breathe out when the other foot hits the ground - this can help you maintain a steady rate
5) increase the step length of less steep sections.

Using that technique, together with the fitness from three weeks of walking from Le Puy, allowed me walking at a snails pace, to pass everyone going up to Leopoeder.

The Pyrenees is not the only hill. As well as the ups and downs after Astorga and the vicinity of O'Cebreiro there is hill work much of the way to Burgos and after Sarria and Portomarin. So specific hill training is not a waste of time.

You will need to work out you own regime for yourself over the next 14 weeks. My suggestions are intended to help you complete you intended pilgrimage without fitness issues.

Kia kaha (take take, be strong, get going)
 

Barney12

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2021
OH kiwi on camino!! Lovely to see the Kia Kaha which of course identifies you straight away as kiwi.. I am planning my camino for 2021 and am keen on gleaning helpful info to help me prepare for my jouney. How lovely to see your post.... just wondered if you would be happy to be contacted directly? I live on the Kapiti Coast. And if theres any other kiwis out there who plan on walking in 2021 Id love to hear from you!!
 

Seamiller

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2020
They are closed till April but you can still book for when they are open. I booked through their website a week or so ago.
Molly, when I pull up the website, it just says closed till April. It doesn’t give any option to book when there open. What am I doing wrong? The site I pull up is Refuge-Orisson.com Thank you
 

Molly Cassidy

Travelling light
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to start the Camino Frances from St Jean at the end of May (2020).
I can't remember how I got around that message on my laptop but it doesn't work on my phone.
What did work just now was doing a Google search for refuge orisson, then opening the link for the contact page, rather than the home page. You can then navigate to the refuge page through the menu. There is a booking link on the refuge page.
Hope that makes sense and you manage to make the booking.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Molly, when I pull up the website, it just says closed till April. It doesn’t give any option to book when there open. What am I doing wrong? The site I pull up is Refuge-Orisson.com Thank you
Try this link

 
Camino(s) past & future
French Camino in 2020
Molly, when I pull up the website, it just says closed till April. It doesn’t give any option to book when there open. What am I doing wrong? The site I pull up is Refuge-Orisson.com Thank you
I just booked (well I'm waiting for confirmation) - when the closed until April bit comes up - click on the cross (RH corner) and then you can click on Le Refuge Orisson or Kayola to get to the booking part. I'm hoping that mine gets accepted as I have booked the bus!
 

Attachments

Camino(s) past & future
French Camino in 2020
You're one of the "young ones" at 64 Sue. I can remember being so inspired by an 81yo American woman I met on day 1 at Roncesvalles (where I began my Camino Frances). I couldn't imagine why anyone would want to hike across the Pyrenees on their first day but discovered that most pilgrims did (I tried not to feel guilty).
My suggestion would be to do as you originally planned and spend your first night in SJPDP - it's a beautiful little village and you'll get the rest you need before you embark on your Camino. I hadn't realised a shuttle operates to bring you back down the mountain and return you the next day - what a great option.
I (together with my husband) finally crossed the Pyrenees at the end of our 2nd Camino (across France). By this time we were very fit (began in Le Puy en Velay) and hiking from SJPDP to Roncesvalles was not nearly as challenging as doing it on day 1 would be.
Whatever you choose, enjoy the experience. Buen Camino
Well that gives me hope! :) . I have sent in my booking - awaiting confirmation. Roll on end of May!
 

Eibhlís

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2000 I walked 300km of the Camino Frances.
2020 I plan to walk the whole 800km.
They send you an email a few days later and you follow a link to make the payment. You don't pay when you make the booking through the website.
Would you believe I just checked my email and have seen that they have just now sent me the link to payment. Excited! 😁
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I just heard from a friend who made her booking request at Orisson just over a week ago. ( on Sunday) She received her payment request today. So don't panic if you don't hear back from them immediately.
 

Seamiller

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2020
I can't remember how I got around that message on my laptop but it doesn't work on my phone.
What did work just now was doing a Google search for refuge orisson, then opening the link for the contact page, rather than the home page. You can then navigate to the refuge page through the menu. There is a booking link on the refuge page.
Hope that makes sense and you manage to make the booking.
Molly, my husband and can’t thank you enough. Your guidance led us to the website where you could make reservations. Phew, a sigh of relief for first timers.
 
Camino(s) past & future
French Camino in 2020
I did walk the entire first day from SJPdP to Roncevalle in one day. I was 63 at the time. Ignorance is bliss - I didn't know that most try to NOT do that! Anyway, I wasn't the worse for wear at the end of the day. I'm just a Mom, not an adventurer, had never done anything like that before. Don't let your fears take over.
I have a bed booked in Roncesvalles and am waiting for confirmation at Kayola - after that, I'll be stopping as and when needed. I've not done anything quite as far as this before - the furthers was the Coast to Coast in the UK, a few yers ago.
 

thejoker

Member
Camino(s) past & future
many
I have a bed booked in Roncesvalles and am waiting for confirmation at Kayola - after that, I'll be stopping as and when needed. I've not done anything quite as far as this before - the furthers was the Coast to Coast in the UK, a few yers ago.
The Camino Frances is very different from the Coast to Coast. I found the C2C very challenging over the 18 days it took me, especially all the boggy moors after Shap and that really long road section after Richmond. The CF is a breeze with its infrastructure and as I take over 60 days to enjoy a very slow, relaxed camino I think the walking side of it is far more enjoyable and less physical.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I just booked (well I'm waiting for confirmation) - when the closed until April bit comes up - click on the cross (RH corner) and then you can click on Le Refuge Orisson or Kayola to get to the booking part. I'm hoping that mine gets accepted as I have booked the bus!
I’m confused. You have booked a bus and are booking Orisson?
 

2020Pilgrim-hopeful

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Newcomer! (Frances hopefully in 2020)
Seems like a reasonable plan! I don't know what the rest of your journey/travels looks like, but if there are flights involved, definitely have a contingency plan for flight delays!
 
Camino(s) past & future
French Camino in 2020
Hi Sue, one thing to keep in mind on your first day it that it puts real pressure on the calfs of your legs. I did a simple exercise for about 4 weeks, prior to beginning my Camino, to stretch my muscles. Stand on a step or stair on your toes. Gently drop your heal down as far as you can go without hurting yourself. On coming up you need to stand on your tipi-toes to stretch in the opposite direction. Do hold on to something and slowly does it. When walking up to Orrison drink plenty of water as a lot of muscular issues are due to dehydration. Finally, I think walking poles are essential for us over 60s. If you decide to only bring carry on baggage on your flight you may have a problem with the poles. I bought an inexpensive pair in SJPP. It was less than paying the extra to put into the hold of the airplane. Buen Camino
Thanks for the exercise tip. No problem about carrying poles, I’m already in France, so coach and train to get there.
 
Camino(s) past & future
French Camino in 2020
The Camino Frances is very different from the Coast to Coast. I found the C2C very challenging over the 18 days it took me, especially all the boggy moors after Shap and that really long road section after Richmond. The CF is a breeze with its infrastructure and as I take over 60 days to enjoy a very slow, relaxed camino I think the walking side of it is far more enjoyable and less physical.
That sounds wonderful. I loved the CTC and am really looking forward to the Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
French Camino in 2020
Il y a un train qui arrive de Bayonne à SJPP aux alentours de 7h 45. Si vous avez l'intention de dormir à Orison il faut réserver très tôt surtout au mois de mai période de forte affluence. La nuit à Orison est obligatoirement en demi-pension.
De toute façon à votre arrivée passez au bureau des pèlerins 39 rue de la citadelle à Saint Jean Pied de Port, les bénévoles présents vous donneront votre premier tampon et toutes les infos dont vous avez besoin surtout en matière de météo. Ils vous donneront aussi gratuitement la liste de toutes les auberges en Espagne. Ce sont d'anciens pèlerins qui pourront répondre à toutes vos questions
Merci pour les informations. Je visiterai vraiment le bureau des pèlerins pour mon premier tampon (je suis très, très excitée). Ma réservation au Kayola est confirmé et j’ai réservé aussi à Roncesvalles pour le lendemain. J’ai passé par le bureau l’annee dernière et j’ai reçu le liste des auberges/cafés etc., mais peut-être les infos changes de temps en temps. J’attend maintenant avec les droigts croisé contre les fermetures des auberges.
 

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