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Live - Camino Francés SJPP is Packed with Pilgrims.

2020 Camino Guides

Lucy Keenan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Northern Route - 2016
Santiago to Finestiere and Muxia - 2017
Frances Route - May 2018
Camino Ingles
I'm in a sports hall in SJPdP tonight with about 60 other pilgrims. I'm a bit too long in the tooth for sleeping on floors.
I left the Le Puy route yesterday because of difficulties finding beds.
I'll get the train back to Bayonne tomorrow morning, have already booked 2 nights in an hotel there, and get a flight to Dublin as soon as I can. It seems September isn't a good month for older pilgrims anymore.
So sorry. That's rubbish that you are going to have to give up your camino
 

Nigel Clark

Member
Camino(s) past & future
May /June 2017
September / October 2019
Where and when did you start, @Nigel Clark? The bottleneck is Saint-Jean / Roncesvalles / next villages until Pamplona, from about 1 September onwards this year apparently. 1 September was a Sunday this year. What was your experience in that section?
I started from SJPdP on the 31 st August and apart from booking Roncesvalles have not booked any where else and have not failed to get a bed. Currently in the municipal in Calzadilla and still plenty of beds available.
 

Happypilgrimgirl

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (from Pamplona), Camino Portuguese (from Porto)
Buen Camino!
Please, can You tell smth about situation in SJPP early of October?)) Will it be still overcrowded?
Many thanks!)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(15,16,18)CheminduPuy(16) Portuguese(16 VDLP(17)Primitivo(17)Ireland-3000K(18) Norte18Vasco17
I am starting my first camino from SJPDP next week, September 21st. I have booked my first night in SJPDP, but nothing after that. Do you think that the September peak is over by then?
Yes. You should have no problems with crowding.
 

Nigel Clark

Member
Camino(s) past & future
May /June 2017
September / October 2019
I am currently in Bercianos del Camino and have had no problem in finding a bed at all.You should be fine so go and have a great Camino .
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis SJPP April 2016,
August 2017, May 2018
Camino Portuguese
2019, May Porto, Sept Lisbo
Started on September 7th and today just the two of us walking .... It's very hot though I think that keeps people away ... I've seen maybe 20 all up. It's very good at the hospitality ends but there are no fountains working, no stones to sit on, generally no offers of water. They all just watch us limp by. Some stages are unavoidably long (30+KLM)
There was a lot of lovely ripe fruits coming into Ansiao today. Mixed feelings....
Love
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Last time I walked the Francés I took the Valcarlos route and stayed in the albergue there. A leisurely breakfast in SJPDP watching the eager beavers rush off to the Napoleon, then a lovely walk through the Basque countryside (with a stop off at Arnéguy for coffee and a meander through the duty free shops), then on to Valcarlos and the excellent albergue there, where I stayed. Only two pilgrims in the albergue, a scrumptious dinner meal, and the next day a stroll through the beech woods, and I arrived in Roncesvalles ahead of the Napoleon crowd, with no trouble getting a bed.
Exactly my experience, Kanga! I've walked it twice and have no regrets!
 

Bob from L.A. !

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
I just finished the Portuguese yesterday. Started the first week of September from Porto. Not too many pilgrims until Tui, then the crowds began.
Thank you................................
 

Teej41

Member
Camino(s) past & future
April/May 2018
I am starting my first camino from SJPDP next week, September 21st. I have booked my first night in SJPDP, but nothing after that. Do you think that the September peak is over by then?
Hi Jan79. I'm starting from SJPP on September 21 too. I'm booked in to some place in SJPP tomorrow September 20, booked into Roncesvalles for September 21, then some place in Larrasoana for September 22. After that it's 'nada'. Like you I'm hoping it's quiet enough for obtaining accommodation not to be a problem. We'll find out fairly soon. Buen Camino. It's been good making this virtual acquaintance with yourself.
 

deanfromoz

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - October 2019
I'm starting from SJPP on September 21 too. I'm booked in to some place in SJPP tomorrow September 20, booked into Roncesvalles for September 21, then some place in Larrasoana for September 22. After that it's 'nada'. Like you I'm hoping it's quiet enough for obtaining accommodation not to be a problem.
Likewise. I leave SJPP on 5 October, with accommodation booked at Beilari in SJPP and Roncesvalles, but nothing after that. Fingers crossed!

Buen Camino :)
 

Nigel Clark

Member
Camino(s) past & future
May /June 2017
September / October 2019
Where and when did you start, @Nigel Clark? The bottleneck is Saint-Jean / Roncesvalles / next villages until Pamplona, from about 1 September onwards this year apparently. 1 September was a Sunday this year. What was your experience in that section?
I have only booked in Larrasoaña in the San Nicolas Albergue as the municipal has limited numbers. Since then I have not booked and have had no problem finding a bed. I am currently in Ambasmestas in the excellent Das Animas Albergue.
 

deanfromoz

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - October 2019
Any updates on accommodation availability during the first few days of the Camino Frances?

In particular, is it still difficult to get something on the day in Roncesvalles, Zubiri or Larrasoana?
 
Last edited:

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
Any updates on accommodation availability during the first few days of the Camino Frances?

In particular, is it still difficult to get something on the day in Roncesvalles, Zubiri or Larrasoana?
This thread was started two weeks ago, and the pilgrim crowds on the Frances change literally day to day. One day large masses of people, the next day a trickle. Nobody walking will be able to predict what it will be like when you walk in October. The time I walked the Frances in October, I found overall the pilgrim numbers to be low and never saw a full albergue. In fact several times I spent the night in albergues with fewer than ten fellow pilgrims. The only places I made advance reservations was in Saint Jean and in Santiago.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis SJPP April 2016,
August 2017, May 2018
Camino Portuguese
2019, May Porto, Sept Lisbo
Started on September 7th and today just the two of us walking .... It's very hot though I think that keeps people away ... I've seen maybe 20 all up. It's very good at the hospitality ends but there are no fountains working, no stones to sit on, generally no offers of water. They all just watch us limp by. Some stages are unavoidably long (30+KLM)
There was a lot of lovely ripe fruits coming into Ansiao today. Mixed feelings....
Love
Sorry.... I'm talking about the Portuguese Camino
Love
 

mcpilgrim

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I've walked as far as Leon and
plan to pick up there in April
I am currently in Agés and despite many saying it is crowded there are still empty bunks, it was the same in Belorado. However there were many bags deposited at the entrance to my Albergue from the non-carriers .
I’m always surprised at the judgemental attitude of some pilgrims. As a carrier and someone who has walked 4 Caminos, I have encountered very brave pilgrims who for many reasons have not been able to carry their packs. Several have been terminally ill and have since died ... walking the Camino, their final achievement. Be grateful you are able to carry your pack Nigel. Ultreia!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre and Muxia 2017, Camino Aragones 2018
Currently walking, crashed two days ago because of severe back pain. Greatful for the gentlemen who helped me to the next bar. I have learned to give up my stubbornness to always carry my pack and use transport for a few days.
 

Karl Oz

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Portuguese
Aragones
Sanabres
Piamonte
Elizabethpfad
I’m always surprised at the judgemental attitude of some pilgrims. As a carrier and someone who has walked 4 Caminos, I have encountered very brave pilgrims who for many reasons have not been able to carry their packs. Several have been terminally ill and have since died ... walking the Camino, their final achievement. Be grateful you are able to carry your pack Nigel. Ultreia!
Well, without question the infirm and terminally ill should not be judged for having their packs transported, but there must be a fine line between being able to walk 800 km without a pack, and being able to walk it at all. All power to those that can manage it under such circumstances. However, my point is that, with all respect to the terminal pilgrims you met, we cannot assume that the majority of people having their bags transported are doing it because of a health condition. My albeit somewhat limited experience on the Portuguese was that this was not the case, in that quite a number of people without packs just didn't want to carry one. Didn't bother me as they had pre-booked hotels, but had they been competing for sought-after albergue beds I might have felt vexed to find their packs lined-up outside awaiting me. On the other hand, perhaps Nigel's comment could have been phrased in a way that you would have found less provocative.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
LePuy, Frances, Aragones, Ingles, Vezelay, Toulosana, Muxia, Fisterra, Portugues, Sanabres
I might have felt vexed to find their packs lined-up outside awaiting me.
A pack usually does not mean you get a bed, particularly at municipal/parochial albergues. Reservations at private albergues are separate from getting a bed, in general. Transport companies take the money and drop the bags where told (they have a list of places that will not accept packs; take a look at the hospitalero's list if you can, and head for a place that is not on it!) reservation or not.

With crime on the uptick on the Camino. I don't know why thieves have not exploited the opportunity of unattended packs sitting for half a day without being observed. Many of the pack lines are outside and hospitaleros disappear between about 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. A group of snatch thieves have easy pickings! Instead they are sneaking through windows in the middle of the night. There are more wallets and phones in the middle of the night, but it only takes one awake pilgrim to foil the plot, so it is much riskier. Enough pilgrims have valuable items in their packs in order to spread the risk of loss, so there must be some value among the stinky clothes!
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Well, the packs set out by the transport companies arrive first usually and have the obvious tags attached. That is what can be disheartening to see after walking with your own, but they pay, so are getting something for their investment. I actually really like the feeling of wearing my pack...when I take it off for lunch or end of day my body feels kinda weird. 😊
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
It's been my observation that packs lined up outside an albergue were put there by pilgrims who got there before it was open and went off to find food etc., and that transport companies left bags inside a place. If the albergue was unstaffed when the transport company arrived, they'd leave the bags elsewhere so that the merry pilgrims could play seek.

Did that change?
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
It's been my observation that packs lined up outside an albergue were put there by pilgrims who got there before it was open and went off to find food etc., and that transport companies left bags inside a place. If the albergue was unstaffed when the transport company arrived, they'd leave the bags elsewhere so that the merry pilgrims could play seek.

Did that change?
I think you are correct. I go in spring and rarely see any packs lined up outside. When I step in the albergue vestibule, hoping to not be too late to get a bed, is when I see the transported bags on the floor and get a little worried if there will be beds left for me and mine. 😊
 

Nigel Clark

Member
Camino(s) past & future
May /June 2017
September / October 2019
I
I’m always surprised at the judgemental attitude of some pilgrims. As a carrier and someone who has walked 4 Caminos, I have encountered very brave pilgrims who for many reasons have not been able to carry their packs. Several have been terminally ill and have since died ... walking the Camino, their final achievement. Be grateful you are able to carry your pack Nigel. Ultreia!
I am not being judgmental but simply stating a fact .
I’m always surprised at the judgemental attitude of some pilgrims. As a carrier and someone who has walked 4 Caminos, I have encountered very brave pilgrims who for many reasons have not been able to carry their packs. Several have been terminally ill and have since died ... walking the Camino, their final achievement. Be grateful you are able to carry your pack Nigel. Ultreia!
 

CowboyJoe

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015
There’s got to be close to a hundred people in line at the Pilgrim’s Office at 4:30 today. Locals are saying the first two weeks in September are always the most crowded. Second most crowded is a stretch in May! By 5PM it seemed all the albergues and hostals on Rue de la Citadelle were full. Should be an interesting Camino. 😂

PS:

Just talked with nice Australian woman at Pilgrims Office and she told me they told the pilgrims arriving yesterday to wait a day if they could as today was dark and rainy. Hence there are well over 500 pilgrims queued up for a hopefully a beautiful day tomorrow. The locals are opening the gymnasium and providing mats for late arrivers aas the night train is coming in soon.
Your report jives with what a friend of mine, who just returned from arriving in Santiago, texted me: "You now have to go to the Compostela office and pull a number when you get to town. At noon I was number 1,032. By 2 pm they stopped giving out numbers, which meant anyone completing the walk after 2:00 would have to wait until the next day to get their certificate. Many people fly out the next morning (as we did) so there were a lot of tears from those who didn't have a number."
Obviously, the numbers arriving each day fluctuates, but needless to say, it's high and needs to be taken into consideration by those on the road now...
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
I’m always surprised at the judgemental attitude of some pilgrims. As a carrier and someone who has walked 4 Caminos, I have encountered very brave pilgrims who for many reasons have not been able to carry their packs. Several have been terminally ill and have since died ... walking the Camino, their final achievement. Be grateful you are able to carry your pack Nigel. Ultreia!
I am surprised at your criticism of @Nigel Clark . Unless there has been some editing, I do not see anything that he wrote that was in any way "judgemental" of those pilgrims. He was adding information to a thread on crowding and availability of beds. He observed that while there were still many empty beds, there were bags waiting. That indicated that some of the beds would be taken before the end of the day. It was relevant information and not a judgement on the bag owners.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Let me mention three albergues, two of them donativos: Zabaldika and Trinidad de Arre, and the third is Municipal, in Huarte. To be honest, it is taking me too long to find out if you can book Huarte! I do know they have a decent number of beds.
Zabaldika is open from 15 April till 15 October. Trinidad de Arre, March to mid December.
Not possible to book in Zabaldika, but yes in Trinidad de Arre.
Zabaldika is approx 34km walking from Roncesvalles, so less if you move further after crossing from STJPdP. There are approx 18 beds there.
Trinidad de Arre is approx 3km further on, and thus 5km from Pamplona.
There are more than 20 beds. So, roughly two hours from Zabaldika to Pamplona, as you will want to stop for breakfast in Arre! and then you are all set up to either stop in Pamplona or continue to Cizur Menor, or still more, continue to either Uterga or on to Muruzabal, Obanos or Puente La Reina. The stopping points are up to the individual.
I think it is a pity that people are becoming afraid and are having to tie themselves down ahead of time. If you can go without booking, and there is no bed when you need to or choose to stop: a taxi will take you either back or forward, and you can return next morning to your finish/start point.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
and the third is Municipal, in Huarte. To be honest, it is taking me too long to find out if you can book Huarte!
In general, you can't make reservations at municipal albergues. It took me a couple of minutes to hunt down this one in Huarte. Gronze.com doesn't list it, but I found it on the Eroski, and reservations are not accepted.


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