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Traveling to SJPdP - is this feasable?

Discussion in 'Traveling to/from the camino' started by Gumba, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. Gumba

    Gumba Member

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    Just in the initial planning stages, no tickets booked - do you think this is feasable?

    Traveling from Australia to Paris (arriving early), stay overnight in Paris. With jetlag from Aus we will go to bed late afternoon and wake up very early in the morning which means catching a 7am flight wont be too much of a hardship for us.

    We will get to Biarritz around 9am which gives us about 2 hours to get to the train station, arriving at SJPdP around 12.30.

    Here's the question!
    Will we have time to get lunch, go to the pilgrim office, get info and passports and then head off to Valcarlos all in the same day or am I pushing it? Sunset is 7pm

    We are starting at the beginning of March next year and walking with two children (9 and 11)

    I would love nothing more to stay overnight in SJPdP but as we are time poor I would rather save up my days for rest days along the way, especially as we don't know how the children will travel.

    Also, no idea what backpacks we are taking but assuming Camino size-appropriate - can I carry these as hand luggage (including 4 sets of poles) on the Paris budget airlines?

    Thanks
     
  2. falcon269

    falcon269 sidra; no commercial interests

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    With the kids I think you are pushing it. If you want them to enjoy it, a strenuous first day may be a bad choice. You would have time to get to the Pilgrim Office and eat lunch, but you might do better to grab a picnic-type lunch, and head for Valcarlos. Keep in mind that in March the weather may be awful. Even the road to Valcarlos is unpleasant with snow and snowplows!

    SJPdP is not a large town, and in March it will be a very quiet town with many gites closed. It takes only about five minutes to get through the process at the Pilgrim Office. You can see the town in an hour. You may want to consider making a final decision after you arrive in SJPdP and have evaluated your jet lag and the weather.
     
  3. Kanga

    Kanga Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    My thoughts @Gumba - as you have not booked yet. At the beginning of March and with some time constraints, I would not go through Paris, but through Madrid, and I would not start walking in SJPDP but either Roncesvalles or Pamplona. Really, at that time of the year it makes no sense to start in SJPDP.

    Assuming you are flying from the Australian east coast - Emirates flight via Dubai - good connections and, when you factor in saving the cost of accommodation in Paris, competitive with the cheapest alternatives. Stay overnight in Madrid if you want to get over the jet lag (or stop-over in Dubai) and then catch a bus or train to Pamplona. Buses go direct from Madrid Airport to Pamplona.
     
  4. Gumba

    Gumba Member

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    Thanks Kanga, hadn't considered Madrid. I will look in to it. Yes, East Coast. I would prefer to start at Roncesvalles but hubby has his heart set on starting at SJ. Will give it more thought.

    "Keep in mind that in March the weather may be awful. Even the road to Valcarlos is unpleasant with snow and snowplows!"
    Thanks for the input Flacon. This has me worried... To be honest, I know the weather could be vile, but I have yet to really grasp the concept, coming from a warm climate....
     
  5. Kanga

    Kanga Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    @Gumba, think the same latitude as Hobart, but at a much, much higher altitude!
     
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  6. falcon269

    falcon269 sidra; no commercial interests

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    Several have died in the last decade. That fact can make it easier to grasp!;)
     
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  7. Marc S.

    Marc S. Active Member

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    Seems to me you are pushing it. Understand that due to time constraints, you want to save some time for rest days later on. However, you cant be sure how things will turn out : you may not need rest days, you may want to bus a stage, you may walk faster than expected, its all hard to predict. (your train can be delayed...)
    Personally I preferred spending an afternoon / overnight in St Jean: its a lovely little town & this leaves some time to actually appreciate / look forward to your forthcoming camino, instead of rushing and pushing before you have even started walking. Whatever you decide to do, Buen Camino !
     
  8. Felipe

    Felipe Veteran Member

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    I think it is feasible. Just keep your options open and decide on the spot.
    In early March, lodgments would not be a problem. Just ask in the pilgrim bureau.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017 at 1:49 AM
  9. Kazza57

    Kazza57 New Member

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    I am travelling from Brisbane in September through Paris arriving early in the morning. Taking the bus into Paris then travelling by train to Bayonne and connecting on to St Jean for two nights. You could do this but maybe overnight in Bayonne then catch the train to St Jean the next morning. I have booked the direct train out of Paris taking just under four hours to Bayonne. Could save overnight in Paris and very early start back to the airport in Paris for the children. Just a thought.
     
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  10. Gumba

    Gumba Member

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    "Several have died in the last decade. That fact can make it easier to grasp!;)"
    A rather sobering thought, Falcon. Kanga's reference to Hobart has given me a better understanding of the conditions (than previously held). Hot weather I understand - cold - not so well!

    Kazza, sounds like a good plan. We flew to London last year arriving at 6am. We had enough puff before we collapsed at about 3pm. What time do you arrive in Bayonne/sjpdp? Who are you flying with? Wishing you a Buen Caamino.

    Thanks for your thoughts. I am now thinking of making out way to sjddp and going to Valcarlos (still not sure of logistics) and next day walking some of the way with the husband and children until the road appears less safe - and then I will return back to Valcarlos with our children, collect the luggage and get a taxi to Roncesvalles. Depending on the weather. Our youngest does not have the best road sense and juggling him, narrow walking on the road plus cars on potentially icy roads/snow is not a risk I want to take. My husband said he may or may not hail the taxi as we pass him lol.

    Felipe - I am finding a number of places are still closed in March - thank you for reminding me that the Pilgrim Office will be able to offer me advice - I dont think we will need to rush to book our accommodation for early March!

    Thanks again for the advice and input.
     
  11. JMac56

    JMac56 Active Member

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    Hola Gumba,
    Ah, the tyranny of distance (a fellow Brisbanite here)! Firstly, I have my doubts about your walking poles being allowed as carry on luggage in Europe, unless they are the type that collapses down enough to fit inside your backpacks? I use Leki's and have never tried to take them as carry on, either on the long haul flights or the short hops. I put my pack and sticks in a cheap ($5) Ikea "Frakta" trunk bag which I fold up and shove into my backpack for walking (weighs next to nothing). This bag affords my backpack a bit of protection from rough handling, and gives me a bit of extra room for the inevitable post-Camino shopping.
    With regards to your proposed timetable, I guess jet lag from the trip from Brisbane to Europe affects different people to varying extents. Personally, I like to have at least a couple of days "in country" before I start walking. The stretch from SJPdP to Roncesvalles, via either route, can be very challenging even in early April. I would not discourage you from your plans, however I respectfully suggest it might be pretty tough on the kids.
    Whatever you decide, be gentle with yourselves, and I wish you Buen Camino.
     
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  12. Kazza57

    Kazza57 New Member

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    Hi Gumba
    I am flying Singapore Airlines and get in around 7.30am. I am not getting the train until 1pm as I have some things to do in Paris. I am arriving into Bayonne at about 4.30pm. You might be able to get an earlier train or even one that leaves from Paris airport. Just check the schedules for that day as they do change from day to day. This was the best option for me but as Kanga said maybe Madrid may suit if you decide on not starting in St Jean. I am taking my time and having two nights in SJPDP to hopefully get over jet lag and then just walking on to Orisson the following day. Getting very excited now.... good luck with your plans and Buen Camino.
     
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  13. Kanga

    Kanga Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    @Gumba the walk from SJPDP to Valcarlos is quite easy and if you can take the path the whole way - a delightful introduction to the Camino. The albergue at Valcarlos is also excellent. The following day, the walk from Valcarlos to Roncesvalles, is quite tough but not too far. From your comments you have obviously researched the walk, and as you say the road is quite narrow in places, but traffic is light. Consider some reflective strips on clothing and/or walking poles (cheap rolls available from Bunnings) or reflective vests on your lead/last person.
     
  14. mspath

    mspath Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Do be aware that from Valcarlos upto Roncesvalles monastery there are neither shops nor potable water. Be prepared!
     
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  15. Gumba

    Gumba Member

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    Thanks for the info Kanga. I was thinking of vests but didn't want the extra items lol - thanks for the tip re strips from Bunnings - I never would have thought of that. Will buy some and plaster the poles the boys as well lol. Actually, something like this might not be a bad idea for the days walking on the road when it is raining or grey... Or do you think it is overkill?

    upload_2017-7-18_14-30-42.jpeg
    (image from safetybright.com)

    Thanks for that mspath. I assume the shops in Valcarlos will be open during the first week of March and we can get supplies before we head out.
     
  16. mspath

    mspath Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Valcarlos is a small village. It might be best to buy the supplies you need when you first arrive in the village. That way you can leave when you wish in the morning. Often I have left just at dawn well before most shops are open; the albergue has a pleasant kitchen so you can prepare your own breakfast.

    Buen camino to you and your family!
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017 at 7:23 AM
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  17. Gumba

    Gumba Member

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    Oh, thanks for that. We probably will leave quite early too - great tip.
     
  18. Kanga

    Kanga Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    @Gumba I don't think safety vests are overkill at all. Maybe not too visible under a backpack. The reflective tape comes in a big roll, enough to do everyone's trekking sticks, backpacks and sleeves of rain gear. It peeled off my trekking sticks unless I wound it right around, so it was sticking to itself. Have a play at home - plus a bit of fun for everyone!

    On the Norte I had an orange trekking umbrella - that was useful too.
     
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  19. Jose chemin

    Jose chemin New Member

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    Sorry but it is not a good idea, as said before the weather can be bad in March and the passage of the pyrenees are very often close in March due to snow. you can find many storries on the web. You can check before you leave.
    On the camino, you have to take the time, don't put aim or target to be reached within a a tight program, the important part of the camino is the camino itself; to be on the way, just to be on the way. You can have a plan as a basis but just follow every day and adjust every day what you can do the next day. This is especially true for the children; the camino is not so easy and everything can happen.
     
  20. SYates

    SYates Camino Fossil AD 1999 Donating Member

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    @Jose chemin The Valcarlos route is very rarely closed to walkers in March and the Route Napoleon is always closed to walkers from November to March including. Buen Camino, SY
     
  21. camino07

    camino07 Veteran Member Donating Member

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    My son has just booked flight to Barcelona and will train to Pamplona and bus to st Jean.
     
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  22. Gumba

    Gumba Member

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    Ooohhh, do you know is travel times and how he is getting to SJ? How dong will it take from Barcelona to SJ? Is he flying from Perth to Barcelona? (My home town - Subiaco, not that I remember much :) ) Hope he has a wonderful time.
     

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