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Spend a day in SJPP, or just start the walk?

Past OR future Camino
June 2022: Frances + Primitivo
I've never been to SJPP. Is it a place that people usually want to stay for a day/night before beginning their walk, or is it more of a "just get there and go" kind of thing? I'll be coming from a few days in Bayonne.
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
I've never been to SJPP. Is it a place that people usually want to stay for a day/night before beginning their walk, or is it more of a "just get there and go" kind of thing? I'll be coming from a few days in Bayonne.
I would recommend staying the night if nothing else, then you can get a good start in the morning. We missed out on that (accidentally; long story) and arrived in SJPdP in the morning by train from Bayonne. By the time we’d been to the pilgrims’ office and looked around a bit, it was 10am before we started walking, which was not ideal.

If you arrive the afternoon before, you can have a look around town and potentially meet some people you’ll see on the trail the next day.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
2012
For me it would depend on how much you enjoy small provincial French towns. There are some interesting old buildings, some decent restaurants, some shops for last minute purchases and lots and lots of Pilgrims. My practice has been to check in with the Pilgrims Office and spend the afternoon walking to Valcarlos.
But that’s my inclination. I don’t like throngs. The mellow atmosphere of Valcarlos gives me a gentle re-introduction to Camino
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
By the time we’d been to the pilgrims’ office and looked around a bit, it was 10am before we started walking, which was not ideal.
However, it is ideal if you have booked at Orisson or Auberge Borda to break up the first stage. Last time I walked the Napoleon route I started out around 11:00 and got to Orisson in the early afternoon.
 
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Richard of York

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I arrived latish into Biarritz and spent the night in Bayonne, first train next day to SJPP, visited the pilgrim office mid-morning and walked. It was dusk arriving at Roncesvalles, and in retrospect, coupled with 2 days of downhill after that I wish I'd taken it easier, spending the day/night at SJPP and an early start the next day.
 

henrythedog

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
X
I've never been to SJPP. Is it a place that people usually want to stay for a day/night before beginning their walk, or is it more of a "just get there and go" kind of thing? I'll be coming from a few days in Bayonne.
I’ve only been there twice and I’ve no intention of going back having switched my starting point to Pamplona; so - no - get the stamp and get going; unless it’s too late in the day.
 

Helen1

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
Wont you need to spend a half a day there anyway? I am sure plenty of people get the morning train and then walk the Napoleon route but you'll be starting a good few hours after most (which might suit you if you want it quieter). If you want to get a stamp, visit the Church, have a second breakfast, etc time will be getting on especially if you're not walking in the summer.

SJPP is a nice place to spend an afternoon, relax, do a few tourist things, visit the pilgrim office and say hi to a few people and then enjoy a French meal before setting out the next day (although a nice lunch in Bayonne by the river would also be good but you'll probably have already done this). Arrive too late in the evening and accommodation could become more difficult if you've not booked.
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
Since all that mention a route have only mentioned the Napoleon Route, I will stick up for the Valcarlos Route. A half day will get you to Valcarlos, an easy walk of about 10 km. The next day, you would still be in Roncesvalles, for lunch. That leaves time to contemplate either staying there and resting or, continue, maybe to Espinal, should the spirit move in such a direction.
 
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Icacos

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013)
Since all that mention a route have only mentioned the Napoleon Route, I will stick up for the Valcarlos Route. A half day will get you to Valcarlos, an easy walk of about 10 km. The next day, you would still be in Roncesvalles, for lunch. That leaves time to contemplate either staying there and resting or, continue, maybe to Espinal, should the spirit move in such a direction.
Good suggestion, but Tinker - in post #4 - mentioned the Valcarlos route. 😊
 

Katherine Radeka

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés (2022 after failed attempt in 2018)
We had a day in SJPP and we were glad to have it.

We spent it exploring, making some last minute purchases, organizing our packs and recovering from jet lag. We could visit the Pilgrims Office without feeling rushed and had two good dinners.

Then we made it to Orisson early enough to enjoy that, too.

A great, gentle introduction to the Camino.
 

Stryder

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Plan 2016 or 2017
I've never been to SJPP. Is it a place that people usually want to stay for a day/night before beginning their walk, or is it more of a "just get there and go" kind of thing? I'll be coming from a few days in Bayonne.
We stayed two nights (a full day) before heading out and loved it. We found it a great place to get completely in the spirit, buy some last minute items, dispose of a few things we decided we didn't really want to carry, explore the town, its history and enjoy its ambiance, great food and fine wine. It was also fun to watch all the other pilgrims as they prepared for their Caminos. Being from Canada Europe is always a wonderful adventure and SJPP was no exception. A great place to get in the spirit.
 
Past OR future Camino
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
I had spent SO much time researching and preparing that I was delighted to spend a night there! It's a beautiful little town. Take a look at the shops, the fabric shop, the outdoors store--I got some walking sticks there--the pilgrim's office, climb the stone steps for a stunning view of the city. The church is beautiful, and the stained glass lights up the floor.

If you have worked so hard to get someplace, "be" there for a night, at least. There is a tendency to move, move, move and get used to the notion of existing and enjoying yourself for an evening. The excitement of pilgrims is palpable! I am smiling remember how deeply excited I was. It was such a pleasure.
 
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