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Thinking of starting from SJPdP in September? Consider this

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
September has become the most popular month to start from St Jean Pied de Port. A couple of years ago I remember reading accounts of 400+ pilgrims per day setting out from SJPdP, and the statistics from the Pilgrims Office in St Jean bear this out.

I snipped a couple of charts

SJPdP.JPG

2019 SJPdP statistics.JPG

As you can see, 11,064 pilgrims started their Camino from SJPdP in September 2019. If they were divided evenly throughout the month that's 369 pilgrims per day! But according to this chart (I don't know which year it's from) the first week of September is especially popular!

Screenshot_20190315-232013_Firefox.jpg

The idea that you will avoid crowds by going in September is not true at all. The summer crowds on the Camino tend to be only in the last 100-150km or so.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
September has become the most popular month to start from St Jean Pied de Port. A couple of years ago I remember reading accounts of 400+ pilgrims per day setting out from SJPdP, and the statistics from the Pilgrims Office in St Jean bear this out.

I snipped a couple of charts

View attachment 100687

View attachment 100688

As you can see, 11,064 pilgrims started their Camino from SJPdP in September 2019. If they were divided evenly throughout the month that's 369 pilgrims per day! But according to this chart (I don't know which year it's from) the first week of September is especially popular!

View attachment 100689

The idea that you will avoid crowds by going in September is not true at all. The summer crowds on the Camino tend to be only in the last 100-150km or so.

Very informative, Trecile. I last started in SjPdP in 2018 toward the end-of September and it was mobbed. Luckily, I had made reservations so I wasn’t stressed out. But I know up to at least Logrono pilgrims had trouble finding accommodations (except in Pamplona)...and some were lamenting that they had not made reservations previously.
 

Rj7797

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017
I'm wondering how these numbers look post pandemic for this fall and next. As someone not planning to be one of the first to dive back in the numbers in general for the whole year will be fascinating to me.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I'm wondering how these numbers look post pandemic for this fall and next. As someone not planning to be one of the first to dive back in the numbers in general for the whole year will be fascinating to me.
Yes, it will be interesting to see what happens this year, and in the next several years. I have a feeling that this September will probably be the busiest month of 2021, based on the fact that it's historically a popular month and that this year it's just far enough out from things opening up that the people who are waiting to see how the next few months go will feel more comfortable. And also based on chatter on this forum and various Camino Facebook groups.
 

dick bird

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
Yes, it will be interesting to see what happens this year, and in the next several years. I have a feeling that this September will probably be the busiest month of 2021, based on the fact that it's historically a popular month and that this year it's just far enough out from things opening up that the people who are waiting to see how the next few months go will feel more comfortable. And also based on chatter on this forum and various Camino Facebook groups.
Plus there may well be a backlog of people who would have started in 2020 or earlier this year. Add to that the fact that many accommodation providers have gone out of business or are operating under restrictions that limit capacity and things could get very tight. Incidentally, it is reckoned that in Mediaeval times there would have been between 250000 and 500000 pilgrims a year (and they walked both ways), so not a new problem.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2021
September has become the most popular month to start from St Jean Pied de Port. A couple of years ago I remember reading accounts of 400+ pilgrims per day setting out from SJPdP, and the statistics from the Pilgrims Office in St Jean bear this out.

I snipped a couple of charts

View attachment 100687

View attachment 100688

As you can see, 11,064 pilgrims started their Camino from SJPdP in September 2019. If they were divided evenly throughout the month that's 369 pilgrims per day! But according to this chart (I don't know which year it's from) the first week of September is especially popular!

View attachment 100689

The idea that you will avoid crowds by going in September is not true at all. The summer crowds on the Camino tend to be only in the last 100-150km or so.
Great to see the black and white. When I do the Frances again, I just may choose July and pace myself in the heat.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2017), Primitivo (2019)
Yes, it will be interesting to see what happens this year, and in the next several years. I have a feeling that this September will probably be the busiest month of 2021, based on the fact that it's historically a popular month and that this year it's just far enough out from things opening up that the people who are waiting to see how the next few months go will feel more comfortable. And also based on chatter on this forum and various Camino Facebook groups.
I am hoping that 9/31-10/15 ish will be a good time for the Le Puy- Cahors. It is really a weighing of weather and crowd numbers. Then it’s off to Ponferrada for the Invierno into Santiago... I think as long as I don’t get drenched every day, I should be comfortable and not too crowded... but, I could be entirely mistaken! This is a very unusual year
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2015, 2017, 2019) and plans for 2021 (Sept, Oct)
Trecile, your statistics are consistent with our experience hiking the CF in 2015, 2017 and 2919. Each time becoming increasingly crowded. We had advance reservations all but a few nights in 2017 and every night in 2019. With the uncertainty of COVID backlog and Jubilee year in 2021, we have reservations every night.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
September has become the most popular month to start from St Jean Pied de Port. A couple of years ago I remember reading accounts of 400+ pilgrims per day setting out from SJPdP, and the statistics from the Pilgrims Office in St Jean bear this out.

I snipped a couple of charts

View attachment 100687

View attachment 100688

As you can see, 11,064 pilgrims started their Camino from SJPdP in September 2019. If they were divided evenly throughout the month that's 369 pilgrims per day! But according to this chart (I don't know which year it's from) the first week of September is especially popular!

View attachment 100689

The idea that you will avoid crowds by going in September is not true at all. The summer crowds on the Camino tend to be only in the last 100-150km or so.
Very good info mi amiga. I started about October 24, 2019 and I can tell you the
albergue Jesús y María in Pamplona only had the room to the right when you walk in open and it was about 75% full. I was surprised it was that crowded. A few days before Burgos I stayed in an albergue and the owner told me she had seen more
Pilgrims the first 5 or 6 days of November than the entire month of November in 2018.
I have never walked in the summer and I am sure you are right about the crowds but I will take a 35F degree day (is that about 2C) anyway over 90+ day on the Meseta any day and twice on Sunday’s. Started more than one day in Galicia below freezing and had to walk on the road going up to O’Cebreiro and then down for a day and a morning because of snow. All those days within 20 minutes I had removed my down parka. Probably will experience the same this year. I am more worried about the heat in the south of Spain feo Sevilla in mix October to the cold in early December. Just me of course. Either way wayyyy to many people for me too!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2015, 2017, 2019) and plans for 2021 (Sept, Oct)
One way to tell how crowded Sept 2021 will be is to check room availability on Booking.com. I checked Roncesvalles for the night we'll be there (Sept 17) and there are only two rooms available in Hotel Roncesvalles and four available in Posada de Roncesvalles. In Zubiri the next night, there are only 3 private rooms available across two private albergues. With the camino almost 4 months from now, this suggests the trail will be quite crowded. Bob
 
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Walton

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
Incidentally, it is reckoned that in Mediaeval times there would have been between 250000 and 500000 pilgrims a year (and they walked both ways), so not a new problem.

That's a good point dick bird.

What was I thinking? that they returned by train, bus or plane as we do. 😂

I never thought about them returning by foot.

I bet some of them didn't either until after arriving in Santiago de Compostela.

Imagine departing in September, arriving in October, departng again in late October and walking home during the winter. Brrrrrrrrr!
 

dick bird

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
That's a good point dick bird.

What was I thinking? that they returned by train, bus or plane as we do. 😂

I never thought about them returning by foot.

I bet some of them didn't either until after arriving in Santiago de Compostela.

Imagine departing in September, arriving in October, departng again in late October and walking home during the winter. Brrrrrrrrr!
They were a pretty tough lot back then. They didn't have nice, friendly helpful forums (or fora as they would have correctly construed it in Latin) and being mostly illiterate they wouldn't have been able to read them anyway, so I imagine returning pilgrims being regularly ambushed for information about routes, accommodation etc. Have a look at the Codex Calixtinus, you can find it on the net. The bits about the pilgrimage are fascinating. My favourite is about the rascally ferrymen.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Many pilgrims did not return.
Consider the immense social impact of the camino path across northern Spain; the path became the 'main street' with ‘burgos de francos’ or independent neighborhoods settled by former pilgrims nearby and, thus, the towns developed.

These ideas were stressed
in courses by the great medieval art/architecture historian Meyer Schapiro. Several erudite lectures focused on the architecture along the Camino Frances, not only great monuments but also simple vernacular buildings. He stressed the importance of carved shells as the major iconic motif for identifying all related to Saint James as well as the social développent along the route.
 
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dick bird

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
As you say, mspath, many indeed did not return. I discovered recently via the Universidad de Santiago's MOOC that the Hospital de los Reyes in Santiago had a special dormitory for orphans who were raised, educated and later employed by the Hospital.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
As you say, mspath, many indeed did not return. I discovered recently via the Universidad de Santiago's MOOC that the Hospital de los Reyes in Santiago had a special dormitory for orphans who were raised, educated and later employed by the Hospital.
I did the MOOC, too, and I know, btw, that it is not reckoned that in Mediaeval times there would have been between 250000 and 500000 pilgrims a year. Whether this statement is regarded as true was even one of the questions in the test and I got the answer right the first time. 🤭 🤓

I and a few hardy MOOC souls also ploughed through the text of all the articles of the Hospital Real's founding charter of 1590, most of them not dealing with pilgrims specifically. It is my understanding that the orphans section of the Hospital Real de Santiago de Galicia served mainly for caring for orphans from the town and the region. There are a few articles with instructions about how to proceed when a pilgrim dies during his/her stay in the pilgrim's dormitories or in the rooms for the sick in general, so numerous pilgrims did indeed die in Santiago and were buried there. Many had been ill before the start of their pilgrimage and had hoped for physical cure in the Cathedral.

But that was then and now the former hospital with its former pilgrims accommodation is a hotel and we can stay there against payment. But first we have to pass through Roncesvalles and Zubiri and so on and find a bed for the night there. ☺️
 
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dick bird

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
I did the MOOC, too, and I know, btw, that it is not reckoned that in Mediaeval times there would have been between 250000 and 500000 pilgrims a year. Whether this statement is regarded as true was even one of the questions in the test and I got the answer right the first time. 🤭 🤓

I and a few hardy MOOC souls also ploughed through the text of all the articles of the Hospital Real's founding charter of 1590, most of them not dealing with pilgrims specifically. It is my understanding that the orphans section of the Hospital Real de Santiago de Galicia served mainly for caring for orphans from the town and the region. There are a few articles with instructions about how to proceed when a pilgrim dies during his/her stay in the pilgrim's dormitories or in the rooms for the sick in general, so numerous pilgrims did indeed die in Santiago and were buried there. Many had been ill before the start of their pilgrimage and had hoped for physical cure in the Cathedral.

But that was then and now the former hospital with its former pilgrims accommodation is a hotel and we can stay there against payment. But first we have to pass through Roncesvalles and Zubiri and so on and find a bed for the night there. ☺️
Mea culpa. I am a naughty student. But there were a lot of pilgrims, whatever the exact number. I don't think many pilgrims stay in the Hospital Real nowadays. It is very expensive.
 

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