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Walk of shame

#1
I read a comment a while back about the "walk of shame" describing those who returned to SJPdP from Roncesvalles because they had not trained & couldn't do it. I am one of those, except, even worse, I never got as far as Roncesvalles! I did train, but not NEARLY enough, and I only made it to Orisson. MAYBE if it hadn't stormed all night, soaking my clothes on the line, maybe if it wasn't cold, bitter, and pouring that morning at Orisson I would've tried the trail (3x harder than Day 1) ahead of me on Day 2--but I doubt it. Just the thought of being isolated on a mountaintop in God knows what weather, Mountain Hut probably not being unlocked--OMG! Let's just say: be prepared, be really fit! Almost everyone I met/saw was in top form, unrelated to age. I'm 63 y/o woman and I did train, but not nearly enough! And backpack too heavy (by the time I added water & food for the SJPdP-to beyond Roncesvalles about 20#). Maybe I'm just a wuss, but this is just a warning. Train well.

However, I had a great vacation in SJPdp, Biarritz, Pamplona, & Santiago de Compostela via train, bus, and air!
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
#2
Hi Toobizy!

No shame involved. It sounds like a bit of a nightmare and worse weather than anything I've had to go through. At least you attempted to go over the mountain. I was such a wuss I didn't even attempt it and went via Valcarlos instead.

Glad you enjoyed your trip anyway, peregrina!

Buen Camino!
 

crackmrmac

Veteran Member
#3
Hi Toobizy! You're a hoot. I haven't read your other posts but I see you've made a few. Most contributions here are positive but there is the opposite experience which is seldom posted. I think you had your own adventure on that occasion which is a camino.
Regards,
Brian.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#4
If we were there with you Toobizy we would have persuaded you to return and go via Valcarlos.
It would have been the correct way, as we had to do this in May 08.
Cars were being swept into rivers and the ferries from the Uk to Spain were closed down.
We took our time and the weather took pity on us.
You are to feel no shame mate as most start in Spain .
We ended up going over the mountain when walking from Le Puy years later.
keep well and best wishes Toobizy,
David.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Mar 2010, May/Jun 2016, Sep 2011, 2012, Apr 2014, St Olav's Way 2018
#5
I hope that with time you realise there is no shame in making the attempt. While you did not reaching a further goal, you did start your pilgrimage - something many might contemplate by never achieve.

Take comfort that even having crossed the Pyrenees (on Route Valcarlos) there were several days when I would cheerfully have found my way to the nearest airport. You are not alone in finding it difficult.

Don't let this one unfortunate outcome deter you from trying again.
 

mralisn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SdC (2005), Camino Norte-Fisterra (2010), SJPdP-Muxia-Fisterra (2012), Camino Norte w/Primitivo-Muxia-Fisterra (2014), Camino Portuguese (2016)
#6
[As above, please don't be discouraged from trying again. You obviously have the spirit to walk. Now with experience, perhaps give a go another time whether from SJPdP or another town. I admire your honesty and the way you make the best of it. No shame.

I would enjoy walking with you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Too many caminos to list in the permitted 100 characters!!
#7
I took a month off in May to walk the VdlP starting in Salamanca. I had to give up after six days. I felt ashamed, that I had let down so many friends around the world who were supporting me in prayer. I gave up after day after day of rain, and feet so blistered I had to get medical help from an emergency aid centre. I was not the only one to go home - several others were thinking of it, and one dear French peregrina - limping worse than me - actually came with me, sharing taxi and bus to Santiago and thence home. On the bus we were driving through heavy rain, and could see the snow still on the mountain tops
I was totally depressed and ashamed for two weeks. After all, last year I walked the Camino Portuguese with no problems. I feel better now, and hope you do, too, Toobizy. Then we saw on this forum the warning from the Spanish Rescue Services, who had had to go to the aid of twelve peregrinos in trouble on the mountains. Thank God it wasn't me - or you - up there. We did the right thing!
Pension funds permitting I have started to think again of the Camino Ingles ... maybe in a couple of years time!
God bless you, Toobizy! And Buen camino for your next walk.
Stephen.
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#8
I think it is important to post that the difficulty of the Route Napoleon is usually very overstated.
In my opinion...it is strenious..but not really that hard. I just came over again around the 1st of May. The pilgrim office in SJPdP was telling people it was too dangerous to cross and to take the lower route.
We did not get the word. It snowed and was cold and a lot of ground level cloud. It was not dangerous in my opinion.
Don't get me wrong. It is not easy to walk up and over the mountain but it does not raise to the level usually posted here and other places.
I am afraid that many newer Pilgrims are frightened by the harsh descriptions and do turn back or do not attempt the route.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2000-2004,2006), Via De La Plata, Camino De Madrid, The Oberstrasse, Camino Ingles
#9
I walked the Route Napoleon in May 2001 having walked the Val Carlos Route the previous year inadvertently having come off the trail halfway up and getting lost!

I was not particulary fit and it was foggy all the way up to the cross. By the time I reached the border crossing and the fountain it was snowing quite hard.

I still made it though, there was no option really and I did not want to spend the night outside in the snow so I was motivated!

I just took it really slow and carefully, finally arriving at Roncesvalles in the dark after taking the winding road route option to the pass.

I immediately booked a room at the inn and had a long hot bath to try and recover!
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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:
#10
The guide books - modern ones that is - start the first stage of the Camino Frances from St Jean. The only reason they do this is because it is a great hike with wonderful views. There is no historical reason to start your pilgrimage from St Jean and I'm pretty certain the medieval Spaniards did not walk over the pass to start walking to the tomb of their patron saint from France! The original route (according to the Liber Sancti Jacobi) was through Saint Michel to Val Carlos, Ibaneta, Roncesvalles and Viscarret.
And, although most people walking the last 100km start at Sarria, Aimery Picaud didn't mention it in his book. By the 13th C it was a stop on the way and the hospital of La Magdalena was built to shelter pilgrims.
So, next time, give St Jean a miss and start at Roncesvalles rather!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Too many caminos to list in the permitted 100 characters!!
#11
grayland said:
The pilgrim office in SJPdP was telling people it was too dangerous to cross and to take the lower route.We did not get the word. It snowed and was cold and a lot of ground level cloud.... I am afraid that many newer Pilgrims are frightened by the harsh descriptions and do turn back or do not attempt the route.
Well, Grayland, you are much more experienced than I am. But if the pilgrim office say something is too dangerous to cross, I truly believe that 'newer pilgrims' should heed their advice. How many of us actually prepare for the camino in conditions of "snow, cold and ground level cloud"? If it was like that when we were practising, we'd go back home!
Buen camino - not "snowy camino"!
Stephen
 
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (2016)
Camino Madrid (planned 2017)
#12
I read a comment a while back about the "walk of shame" describing those who returned to SJPdP from Roncesvalles because they had not trained & couldn't do it. I am one of those, except, even worse, I never got as far as Roncesvalles! I did train, but not NEARLY enough, and I only made it to Orisson. MAYBE if it hadn't stormed all night, soaking my clothes on the line, maybe if it wasn't cold, bitter, and pouring that morning at Orisson I would've tried the trail (3x harder than Day 1) ahead of me on Day 2--but I doubt it. Just the thought of being isolated on a mountaintop in God knows what weather, Mountain Hut probably not being unlocked--OMG! Let's just say: be prepared, be really fit! Almost everyone I met/saw was in top form, unrelated to age. I'm 63 y/o woman and I did train, but not nearly enough! And backpack too heavy (by the time I added water & food for the SJPdP-to beyond Roncesvalles about 20#). Maybe I'm just a wuss, but this is just a warning. Train well.

However, I had a great vacation in SJPdp, Biarritz, Pamplona, & Santiago de Compostela via train, bus, and air!
You might want to consider the Madrid Way next time???
 

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