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Turning toward Spain

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mary_mh

Buen Camino
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept (2019)
Hi everyone,
Firstly, a huge thank you to all the people who post and share on this forum. What a wealth of experience and care is here.
My plans are finally set for my pilgrimage - I’m spending a lot more time in the forum now and just want to share. I say ‘finally’ as I’d hoped to start in 2014, but life....well, you know...
I’m going to walk the CF commencing early September. I live in Oz, so entry point is London, then Paris for a few days before train to SJPP. Paris to recover from jet lag 😍. I’d hoped to attend the pilgrim mass in Notre Dame, but I’ll see what alternatives there are (any ideas?)
My son will meet me in Bayonne (he lives in London) and walk with me as far as Pamplona. We’ve trekked in the Himalayas together and these experiences are a very special way to be together.
My loose plan is to walk around 20k each day with rest days weekly or as needed, along the ‘typical’ CF route, though I’m going to divert and spend a few days at Santa Dominga de Silos. This really ‘calls’ to me and I hope it will be very nourishing.
As my plans evolve, I find myself turning toward Spain and the adventure that awaits. I’m not as physically prepared as I’d like to be, but there’s still some time (and I am getting older). I know how to pack light, and my several trips to the Himalayas have taught me about footwear. But I’m sure there are many other lessons to be learnt... I’ve learnt so much already from this forum before my boots are even on the ground (about patience and kindness toward others as well as practical things).
Looking forward to sharing more.
Mary
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
Shalom and Greetings from Jerusalem!
Just a few thoughts, two concerning Paris. Notre Dame was and perhaps still is a good place to get your first stello - since the catastrophe, they probably haven't reorganized but do ask the security guys at the entrance. Even on the busiest of days, they would escort a pilgrim to the head of the longest line back to the sacristy for the stamp. A short 10 minute walk away is Tour Saint-Jacques found in Square de la Tour Saint-Jacques (Where else). Around the side is a kiosk which also has a sello!
Santa Dominga de Silos 60k+- from Burgos and can be walked. There is a bus every afternon1700-ish from the Burgos bus station - meaning with luck you arrive in time for Vespers, the return is 0800 the next morning meaning if you wish to enjoy all that Santa Dominga de Silos has to offer, it's a two-day affair. Just up the street, Villa de Silos has better rooms opposite Hotel Meson has better food. 10 Plaza Mayor. Enjoy the Gregorian chants but don't consider leaving until you have visited the cloisters!!! Buen Camino!
 

mary_mh

Buen Camino
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept (2019)
Shalom and Greetings from Jerusalem!
Just a few thoughts, two concerning Paris. Notre Dame was and perhaps still is a good place to get your first stello - since the catastrophe, they probably haven't reorganized but do ask the security guys at the entrance. Even on the busiest of days, they would escort a pilgrim to the head of the longest line back to the sacristy for the stamp. A short 10 minute walk away is Tour Saint-Jacques found in Square de la Tour Saint-Jacques (Where else). Around the side is a kiosk which also has a sello!
Santa Dominga de Silos 60k+- from Burgos and can be walked. There is a bus every afternon1700-ish from the Burgos bus station - meaning with luck you arrive in time for Vespers, the return is 0800 the next morning meaning if you wish to enjoy all that Santa Dominga de Silos has to offer, it's a two-day affair. Just up the street, Villa de Silos has better rooms opposite Hotel Meson has better food. 10 Plaza Mayor. Enjoy the Gregorian chants but don't consider leaving until you have visited the cloisters!!! Buen Camino!
Shalom Scruffy,
Thanks for all the information - really helpful! I’ll take your advice in Paris for sure. I’m planning to spend 3 nights in Santa Dominga da Silos, going by bus from Burgos so that I have 2 complete days there and will definitely visit the cloisters, thanks. I’m also planning 2 nights in Samos to spend time at the Monastery. Any other suggestions welcome.
Warmest wishes to you.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
I’d hoped to attend the pilgrim mass in Notre Dame, but I’ll see what alternatives there are (any ideas?)
@mary_mh, you may want to ask this in a separate thread with a title like "Pilgrims mass in Paris?". I've never heard of pilgrims masses at Notre Dame de Paris for pilgrims going to Santiago and not many people leave from Paris for Santiago on foot each day. There are two camino associations with offices in Paris who may know whether there are any pilgrims masses dedicated to Saint James pilgrims in Paris. One of these associations is Compostelle 2000.

Notre Dame is closed for the public, of course. A mass, only for clergy and a few guests, was held a few weeks ago in a chapel inside Notre Dame but it was an exceptional and symbolic event. Even the parvis, the open space in front of Notre Dame, is closed for the public. I googled it just now. One reason is further decontamination work due to high lead content in the dust and on the ground.
 
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Hilarious

Hilarious
Camino(s) past & future
Planning stage Camino Frances from SJPdP (Sept. 2019)
Hi everyone,
Firstly, a huge thank you to all the people who post and share on this forum. What a wealth of experience and care is here.
My plans are finally set for my pilgrimage - I’m spending a lot more time in the forum now and just want to share. I say ‘finally’ as I’d hoped to start in 2014, but life....well, you know...
I’m going to walk the CF commencing early September. I live in Oz, so entry point is London, then Paris for a few days before train to SJPP. Paris to recover from jet lag 😍. I’d hoped to attend the pilgrim mass in Notre Dame, but I’ll see what alternatives there are (any ideas?)
My son will meet me in Bayonne (he lives in London) and walk with me as far as Pamplona. We’ve trekked in the Himalayas together and these experiences are a very special way to be together.
My loose plan is to walk around 20k each day with rest days weekly or as needed, along the ‘typical’ CF route, though I’m going to divert and spend a few days at Santa Dominga de Silos. This really ‘calls’ to me and I hope it will be very nourishing.
As my plans evolve, I find myself turning toward Spain and the adventure that awaits. I’m not as physically prepared as I’d like to be, but there’s still some time (and I am getting older). I know how to pack light, and my several trips to the Himalayas have taught me about footwear. But I’m sure there are many other lessons to be learnt... I’ve learnt so much already from this forum before my boots are even on the ground (about patience and kindness toward others as well as practical things).
Looking forward to sharing more.
Mary
Buen Camino Mary. I will follow your journey with much interest. We fly out from Sydney on 15th September and arrive in Paris. Couple of nights in Bayonne then start from SJPdP on 19 September. How fantastic your son is walking with you to Pamplona!
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Buen Camino, Mary!
One thing to consider...having walked a lot in the Himalayas and on several Caminos, I can say that the footwear needs are totally different. You can get away with trainers or hiking sandals. Boots are a total overkill on the Camino Frances, unless you're walking in winter. In fact, they can create a lot of unnecessary suffering. So consider bringing whatever your choice of trail runners or hiking sandals are. I walk in Keen Mackenzies, which are actually water shoes...and they're brilliant.
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
Shalom Scruffy,
Thanks for all the information - really helpful! I’ll take your advice in Paris for sure. I’m planning to spend 3 nights in Santa Dominga da Silos, going by bus from Burgos so that I have 2 complete days there and will definitely visit the cloisters, thanks. I’m also planning 2 nights in Samos to spend time at the Monastery. Any other suggestions welcome.
Warmest wishes to you.
The monastery in Samos has many good qualities several less so. I was bothered by the cold, freezing cold even in May, there was/(is) a petrol station right by the entrance which adds nothing to the atmosphere, a bit cramped space-wise but you are woken pleasantly to music. Do take the tour, the second floor is a bit funky but it finishes off in an amazing reliquary room - well worth suffering through the frescoes - and no, the guy appearing in the uniform, is not Franco. If you enjoy religious architecture take the side trip from Azorfa for the Cistercian abbey in Cañas-forewarned it is Cistercian and rather austere - the magic word is Cistercian, I love the place. You can stay at the Monasterio de San Juan de Ortega from my experience the place is best suited to those who enjoy the aroma of mould and mildew - step in but walk on to Agés. Just before Palas de Rei turn right at Portos for Vilar de Donas - signposted for a short walk for a wonderful church/museum. There is an albergue in Portas cafe/bar/light food the landlord is more than a bit grumpy. After arriving in SdC and if you really enjoy religious architecture why a short walk out to the Church of Santa María a Real do Sar Rúa de Sar, 0 is a treat and a quick lesson in why the buttress was invented! A church trying it's very best to fall in on itself for centuries!
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
Welcome to the forum, Mary.
We have many opinions and experiences here. I love Samos and have stayed in their albergue twice, a traditional albergue experience, but probably cleaner and with wonderful helpful hospitaleros. But it tends to be chilly and damp. Lots of warm woolen blankets available. I wouldn't miss it. As for footwear, I have always worn boots on three long caminos: 800, 900, and 1,000 km and I shall wear a pair on my pilgrimage this fall. If your boots are comfortable and have enough kms left in them, I think that they would be fine. But if you want to switch to lighter footwear, do so soon and be sure to wear it enough to be confident of comfort. I am a mountain walker and think that you will find the camino tame in terms of walking challenges, except possibly for the first couple of days. But that is fine. The camino is a different experience. I hope that you will find what you are seeking there. If you pass through Najera in the second half of September, you will be welcome in the municipal albergue, where I shall be a hospitalera. Buen camino.
 

mary_mh

Buen Camino
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept (2019)
@mary_mh, If you don't get any replies to this question you may want to ask it in a separate thread with a title like "Pilgrims mass in Paris?". I've never heard of special pilgrims masses at Notre Dame de Paris for pilgrims going to Saint James. There are not that many people who leave from Paris to Santiago on foot each day. There are at least two quite active camino associations with offices in Paris, they may have some information about whether there are any pilgrims masses dedicated to Saint James pilgrims in any of the many churches of Paris. One of these associations is Compostelle 2000.

You are of course aware that Notre Dame is closed for the public. There was a token mass, only for clergy and a few guests, a few weeks ago in one chapel inside Notre Dame but it was an exceptional and symbolic event. Even the parvis, the open space in front of Notre Dame, is still be closed for the public. I googled it just now. One reason is decontamination work (due to high lead content in the dust and on the ground).
Hi Katerina,
Thanks for the info about the Paris associations - I’ll follow that up. I realise that Notre Dame de Paris is closed to the public. Prior to the fire there were regular pilgrim masses at Notre Dame, which I discovered on the Catholic Travel Guide website, so I’m hoping there’s an alternative. Of course these may be for a diverse group of pilgrims, not just those of St James, but that would be special too. I’ll try your suggestion of a new thread though, good idea. I’ll update if I find out anything. Thanks again...
 

mary_mh

Buen Camino
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept (2019)
Buen Camino, Mary!
One thing to consider...having walked a lot in the Himalayas and on several Caminos, I can say that the footwear needs are totally different. You can get away with trainers or hiking sandals. Boots are a total overkill on the Camino Frances, unless you're walking in winter. In fact, they can create a lot of unnecessary suffering. So consider bringing whatever your choice of trail runners or hiking sandals are. I walk in Keen Mackenzies, which are actually water shoes...and they're brilliant.
Thanks VN - I wondered about that. My hiking boots though are the most comfortable boots I own. They really support my ankles and give me confidence. I’m going to send my pack forward for the first couple of days, so I might pack my sandals (I wear the NZ brand Kathmandu) and trainers, but wear my boots over the Pyrenees and then send whatever I don’t want back with my son. Definitely worth thinking about. Thanks!
 

mary_mh

Buen Camino
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept (2019)
The monastery in Samos has many good qualities several less so. I was bothered by the cold, freezing cold even in May, there was/(is) a petrol station right by the entrance which adds nothing to the atmosphere, a bit cramped space-wise but you are woken pleasantly to music. Do take the tour, the second floor is a bit funky but it finishes off in an amazing reliquary room - well worth suffering through the frescoes - and no, the guy appearing in the uniform, is not Franco. If you enjoy religious architecture take the side trip from Azorfa for the Cistercian abbey in Cañas-forewarned it is Cistercian and rather austere - the magic word is Cistercian, I love the place. You can stay at the Monasterio de San Juan de Ortega from my experience the place is best suited to those who enjoy the aroma of mould and mildew - step in but walk on to Agés. Just before Palas de Rei turn right at Portos for Vilar de Donas - signposted for a short walk for a wonderful church/museum. There is an albergue in Portas cafe/bar/light food the landlord is more than a bit grumpy. After arriving in SdC and if you really enjoy religious architecture why a short walk out to the Church of Santa María a Real do Sar Rúa de Sar, 0 is a treat and a quick lesson in why the buttress was invented! A church trying it's very best to fall in on itself for centuries!
Well Scruffy, thank you! You’ve given me lots to think about and I’ll be musing over my maps shortly. I appreciate all the detail (and no, mould and mildew do not appeal 😊). The Cistercian abbey sound really interesting.
 

mary_mh

Buen Camino
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept (2019)
Welcome to the forum, Mary.
We have many opinions and experiences here. I love Samos and have stayed in their albergue twice, a traditional albergue experience, but probably cleaner and with wonderful helpful hospitaleros. But it tends to be chilly and damp. Lots of warm woolen blankets available. I wouldn't miss it. As for footwear, I have always worn boots on three long caminos: 800, 900, and 1,000 km and I shall wear a pair on my pilgrimage this fall. If your boots are comfortable and have enough kms left in them, I think that they would be fine. But if you want to switch to lighter footwear, do so soon and be sure to wear it enough to be confident of comfort. I am a mountain walker and think that you will find the camino tame in terms of walking challenges, except possibly for the first couple of days. But that is fine. The camino is a different experience. I hope that you will find what you are seeking there. If you pass through Najera in the second half of September, you will be welcome in the municipal albergue, where I shall be a hospitalera. Buen camino.
Hi Albertagirl, thanks for your thoughts, appreciate your comments. I’m very happy in my boots I must say, so I was pleased to read that you wear boots too, so I’ll see how I go. Regarding challenges, I think I will find the Camino to be a walking challenge indeed - it’s a long long way - but my intention is about the pilgrimage itself and the challenges and new experiences it presents. I hope my body, heart and soul are up to it!! Hope to see you in Najera 😊
 

mary_mh

Buen Camino
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept (2019)
Buen Camino Mary. I will follow your journey with much interest. We fly out from Sydney on 15th September and arrive in Paris. Couple of nights in Bayonne then start from SJPdP on 19 September. How fantastic your son is walking with you to Pamplona!
Hi Hilary, good to hear from you and great to know that your plans are in place. September is getting closer now!!
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Hi Katerina,
Prior to the fire there were regular pilgrim masses at Notre Dame, which I discovered on the Catholic Travel Guide website, so I’m hoping there’s an alternative. Of course these may be for a diverse group of pilgrims, not just those of St James, but that would be special too.
Please do update if you find out anything. I had a look on the Catholic Travel Guide website. It seems to me that the daily and weekly mass timetable listed on the website is the timetable that Notre Dame had in 2013 which was a special year for them with a particular emphasis on pilgrimage to Notre Dame. It was a jubilee year for them - their 850 years anniversary. Anyway, I’m sure other forum members would be interested to know about dates and times for a pilgrim mass in Paris.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017
Hi Mary. Your prose style has an evocative and inviting quality to it which I appreciate, and I'm confident others in the forum do as well.

It's not a pilgims mass, but if you wish for some solitude, and a few deep breaths before you embark on your Camino, may I suggest a small church called Saint Severin. It is directly across the river from the Notre Dame (less than 5 minutes walk) and around the corner from Shakespeare & Company bookstore. I like being present there when I am in Paris. I rarely see more than 5 people sitting in the chairs, although that may have changed now that the Notre Dame Cathedral is out of commission. I'm not remotely religious, but I find sitting in the Saint Severin (especially after a hard business negotiation) to be a positive place for quiet reflection. Stop in if you have a chance.

Turning toward Spain is turning toward sunshine, warm embraces, exuberance, and appreciation for Mother Nature and life. I've been there perhaps 45-50 times. If I may, don't concern yourself with physical fitness. The pace you've set for yourself (20 km per day) is, in my view, ideal. After two weeks you will gain your Camino legs and rejoice in every dawn that breaks over the trail. Age becomes irrelevant; the trail fills us with a joie de vivre that elevates our spirits, and our legs levitate to accommodate that exulted state of mind.

All the best,

John
 

mary_mh

Buen Camino
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept (2019)
Hi John, your message is lovely, thank you. I know Saint Severin church and I agree, it’s a place for quiet repose and I’ve definitely added it to the itinerary. Fortunately I don’t have any hard business negotiations to manage!
Thanks for the encouragement about fitness too. There’s so much advice on the forum about physical preparation that I’ve become a bit anxious about it.
Turning toward Spain also means to me the non-physical preparation, reflecting on intention and history. I’ve only been to Spain a couple of times yet, but loved being there. Spent a month in a hillside village called Comares and saw fields of almond trees come into blossom on my last day there.
All the best, Mary
 

OxFyrd

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese 2018, voie arles 2019
Hi John, your message is lovely, thank you. I know Saint Severin church and I agree, it’s a place for quiet repose and I’ve definitely added it to the itinerary. Fortunately I don’t have any hard business negotiations to manage!
Thanks for the encouragement about fitness too. There’s so much advice on the forum about physical preparation that I’ve become a bit anxious about it.
Turning toward Spain also means to me the non-physical preparation, reflecting on intention and history. I’ve only been to Spain a couple of times yet, but loved being there. Spent a month in a hillside village called Comares and saw fields of almond trees come into blossom on my last day there.
All the best, Mary
Buen camino.
discoveredr the camino last year (Portuguese) and I start this year a one time trip from arles to SdC. I'm a hiker and a moutainer.. Not a multi camino soldier.
So relax, the game for you will not be the physical.. Camino is mentally challenging... Start with 15 or 25km as you feel at least for one week. You will learn how to deal with albergues and companions. We are not alone on the camino. Never, so many people.. You may discover solitude among theoothers. After one week, routine will take place. HYOH as one says. It is your life... And St Jacques will make it. Relax and, enjoy! All the best.
 

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