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Starting in St. Jean


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My friend and I are planning to start our camino June 9th or 10th in SJPdP. We are planning to fly into Paris, train to Bayonne, then train(bus?) to SJPdP. We would like to stay in St. Jean the night before so we can get an early start, what are the odds that we would be able to stay in an albuerge or pilgrim hostal, given that we haven't officially "started" our camino yet?

Also, does everyone else go through what I'm going through. On one hand I'm SUPER excited to start, then I'll have moments of "What the heck are you doing? You get winded walking up stairs!" Is this normal?

Muchas Gracias!
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You are as normal as anyone that wants to walk 800 km, sleep cheek by jowl next to strangers (though many will become friends), get wet, get cold, get hot...get fed up but press on...just to see old cathedrals, peasant churches, statues of the Virgin, Crosses, bridges, swollen rivers and streams and sheep. You'll eat fantastic meals...while at some point...any meal will seem fantastic.

You should book ahead when possible in SJPDP and some of the larger cities if you choose not to stay in an albergue/refugio.

Read the many threads on accommodation and what may be ahead. In that this will be a Holy Year...the Spanish G'ovt may be putting up tent cities.

Buen Camino,


Veteran Member
Year of 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:


Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
Hi Carrie,
Don't worry you may be 'huffing up the stairs' before you go but you won't be when you get back that's for sure :lol:
No matter how fit you become before your journey take is gently for the first ten days. If you haven't been able to keep to your intended training plan (we tried to keep to ours....but didn't :oops: ) just use that 1st two weeks a period of 'on the road' training. Sils suggestion of breaking the first stage from SJPP to Roncevalles into two stages with overnight at Orisson would be perfect and it's a lovely place.
I don't know why but I was breathless at the start of everyday so I learned to keep the chest and waist bands of my pack a little loose for the 1st hour or so of walking until I 'warmed up' and then adjusted the bands. This process reminded me of a recalcitrant pony who used 'blow up' to prevent his girth being pulled tight enough when I was putting his saddle on. My solution was to give Toby a sharp knee in the stomach so that he exhaled (who wouldn't) and then I'd pull the girth up a notch or two....I'm really glad my walking partner never tried out this technique with me!

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