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Starting first week of March--a few Questions

viajero

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2008
I am begining my Camino the first week of March from Roncesvalles. I have read many of the postings on this site and have gathered a lot of information. Most of what I have read seems to apply to summer or late spring. As I'm starting the first week of March, I'm wondering if the information is the same for this time of year where it might be less crowded. Here's what I'm wondering:
1) I understand that when the bus from Pamplona arrives in Roncesvalles, the pilgrims all go to register for their credentials at the office and then go to mass and then to the albergue. Does this occur every day all throughout the year? Is the mass everyday? Is the office open every evening when the bus arrives? If there are only a few pilgrims (instead of a bus load) will the process be the same?
2) A couple of Spanish friends may join me enroute. Likely they would be meeting up with me in smaller towns. In small towns, can they get a credential at the albergues or somewhere else in town?
3)Is the office in Santiago (where you go upon completing the Camino) open on Saturdays and Sundays? What are the office hours?

4) Any other tips or suggestions for starting out when it might still be quite cold?
 
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sillydoll

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Hi there,
The first week in March could be beautiful with sunshine and blue skies - or - it could be snowing a blizzard! Its unpredictable at that time of the year so listen to the locals about which routes to take and take warm clothing. You can always post it ahead to Santiago if it warms up sufficiently.

When I arrived by bus, we were herded into the office to register for the credential, then shown to our dormitory where we left all our gear on the bed (quite a shock for someone from a crime riddled country like mine!) then told to put our name down for dinner at the tavern (if we wanted it) which is in two sittings, before and after mass, then off to mass (beautiful) and then back to the albergue which had a light's out at 10pm policy.
It all works very well and before you know it you are lying on a bunk in a canvernous old mill with beautiful old wheel lighting and the sounds of the wind in the trees. (If you hear a wailing in the wind, it could be the sound of "Oliphant', Roland's horn that is said to still haunt the woods above Roncesvalles!)

Masses at Roncesvalles are: Sundays and holidays: 8'30h - 12'00h - 18'00h. (from November to June) 19'00h.; (from June to October)
Saturdays and holidays eve: 18'00h. (from November to June) 19'00h. (from July to October)
Working days (from Monday to Friday) 20'00h. (During the whole year)
The Pilgrim's blessing is given at the end of the last mass of the day, during the year, as long as the pilgrim ask for it. The confessions are heard half an hour before the mass.

The albergue Itzandegia is staffed by volunteers from Holland from end of March to November and is run by the monks in the winter. There is also a Youth Hostel and the Royal Collegiate of Roncesvalles, together with the Youth Hostel are planning to build a boarding house for pilgrims during July and August, with prefabricated units with showers, toilets, etc. It will have 80 bunk beds. Price: 5 euros.

Your friends (or any pilgrim for that matter) can collect a credential from most albergues, some churches, tourist offices and even some police stations.

The pilgrim's office was open until 9pm every day of the week in September. You will be able to check on this once you are in Galicia.

Don't worry - be happy! Go with the flow! What will be, will be! Just enjoy!
 

viajero

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2008
Thanks for the information. Yeah, I'm trying to prepare for any kind of weather. I have some items for cold weather that I can either mail ahead or even discard as I go. I'm very excited and can't wait to get started. I appreciate everyone's posts and comments on this site that I have been reading over the past few months. It's all been very helpful.
 

spanglej

New Member
Hi, I'm starting from there in 1st week of March too. It was good to have some of my Qs answered. maybe see you on the road.

Walk well.

Anna x
 

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