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Walking from SJPDP to Roncesvalles around 10 in the morning. Would it be too late?

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Dpark77

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I will be walking camino frances in may
Hi all! I am starting the camino on this friday, and I will be arriving SJPP by taking the earliest train of the day from Bayonne.
It departs SJPDP at 7:30 and arrives Bayonne at 8:45. I think the time would be around 10 - 10:30 after I receive credential and information from the pilgrim office.
I am planning to get to Roncessvalles on the first day by taking Pyrenees route, but I am not sure weather it is a good idea. I think it will take me up to 8 - 10 hours to get there, which means that I will arrive 7-8 in the evening. I know pilgrims usually start their journey early in the morning, so I am concerning that the albergue does not have any bed for me.
Does anyone had similar experience?
I would like to hear if it is doable.

Thanks!
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, Soulac, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés
Yeah, it’s doable, if you really want to do it. I was sitting on the terrace at Orisson one sunny afternoon, when I saw a girl, who I’d met on the way up, walking away towards Roncesvalles. I was surprised, as, looking at the time, it was 3pm. She made it to Roncesvalles, but she told me, when I bumped into her later, that she received a very severe scolding at the albergue for walking so late, and arriving in the dark. I assume you are an experienced hiker, and fit? Getting a bed for the night may be less doable. I have heard that it’s quite busy at this time of the year . . . . . may be a good idea to pack a poncho, paracord, tent pegs and space blanket (as per another thread) in case you have to sleep out . . . . :eek:
 

Dpark77

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I will be walking camino frances in may
Yeah, it’s doable, if you really want to do it. I was sitting on the terrace at Orisson one sunny afternoon, when I saw a girl, who I’d met on the way up, walking away towards Roncesvalles. I was surprised, as, looking at the time, it was 3pm. She made it to Roncesvalles, but she told me, when I bumped into her later, that she received a very severe scolding at the albergue for walking so late, and arriving in the dark. I assume you are an experienced hiker, and fit? Getting a bed for the night may be less doable. I have heard that it’s quite busy at this time of the year . . . . . may be a good idea to pack a poncho, paracord, tent pegs and space blanket (as per another thread) in case you have to sleep out . . . . :eek:
Hi, thanks for your reply. I believe I can make it to Ronccesvalles, but I don't bring any equipment for camping outside :/ Moreover, I just read a post says that SJPDP and Ronccesvalles have too many pilgrims at this moment. All I am worrying about is that if I can get any place to sleep in Roncessvalles even if I arrive late.
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
I simply suggest you reconsider & slow down. Book Orison so you at least have an option. I booked it & donated it once reaching Orison mid morning. There are also small alburgues an hour past Roncevalles

I only suggest this in case a high wind & rain storm hits the mountain as it does at times.
Buen Camino
Keith
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
Hi, thanks for your reply. I believe I can make it to Ronccesvalles, but I don't bring any equipment for camping outside :/ Moreover, I just read a post says that SJPDP and Ronccesvalles have too many pilgrims at this moment. All I am worrying about is that if I can get any place to sleep in Roncessvalles even if I arrive late.
The post about too many pilgrims is an unsubstantiated rumour. We are not getting any accurate information to verify it.

It takes people about 9 hours to go from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. Sunset should be around 22h00. The last 2 or 3 km is on steep downhill under trees ... its a place where you could get disoriented in the dark. I would suggest 10h00 is sufficiently early departure time to make it.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
You might walk it but you also may find the Albergue FULL that late.
 

Olivares

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 1997 (Leon to Santiago); Sections Camino Frances: May 2011, May 2012, May 2013, October 2013, June-July 2014 (Sahagun to Santiago).
It gets darker around 8:30-9pm during that time in May, so you have that going for you. Friday weather looks pretty decent, but it appears there will be some rain the day before. Consequently, expect some slower pace to maneuver puddles, muddy terrain, slippery hill, and overall extra caution on roads.

I am going to give you a heads-up so please read this carefully: when you get to the Collado Loepeder, the highest point in the route SJPDP-Roncesvalles, you will find a wooden post indicating that you can go either left or right descending on to Roncesvalles. The left trail is steep and very slippery. MANY Caminos have finished on that trail with broken legs, injured knees, etc...etc.... The trail to the right is 400 meters longer, but it is much less steeper and much MORE easier on knees and hips. Go right, specially if it has rain. It also goes by the medieval chapel where locals used to ring a bell to guide the pilgrims who were crossing late in the dark.

Also, agree with planning ahead and mitigate risk: reserve a bed at a Posada, Hotel in Roncesvalles. Walk smart.

Buen Camino!!!
 
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billmclaughlin

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP/Burgos 2012; Le Puy/SJPP 2013; Aumont Aubrac/Aire sur l'Adour 2014; Burgos/Santiago 2016.
And for what it's worth, you'll probably be out of SJPP earlier than you've estimated. You'll want to move fast from the train station to the pilgrim office!
 

Dpark77

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I will be walking camino frances in may
The post about too many pilgrims is an unsubstantiated rumour. We are not getting any accurate information to verify it.

It takes people about 9 hours to go from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. Sunset should be around 22h00. The last 2 or 3 km is on steep downhill under trees ... its a place where you could get disoriented in the dark. I would suggest 10h00 is sufficiently early departure time to make it.
I see! I was worried that 10h00 is quite late to departure SJPDP. Have you seen any pilgrims leaving around that time?
 

Dpark77

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I will be walking camino frances in may
It gets darker around 8:30-9pm during that time in May, so you have that going for you. Friday weather looks pretty decent, but it appears there will be some rain the day before. Consequently, expect some slower pace to maneuver puddles, muddy terrain, slippery hill, and overall extra caution on roads.

I am going to give you a heads-up so please read this carefully: when you get to the Collado Loepeder, the highest point in the route SJPDP-Roncesvalles, you will find a wooden post indicating that you can go either left or right descending on to Roncesvalles. The left trail is steep and very slippery. MANY Caminos have finished on that trail with broken legs, injured knees, etc...etc.... The trail to the right is 400 meters longer, but it is much less steeper and much less easier on knees and hips. Go right, specially if it has rain. It also goes by the medieval chapel where locals used to ring a bell to guide the pilgrims who were crossing late in the dark.

Also, agree with planning ahead and mitigate risk: reserve a bed at a Posada, Hotel in Roncesvalles. Walk smart.

Buen Camino!!!
Thank you so much for the valuable tips! It is my first Camino and I definitely don't want to get injured in the beginning of the trip. I will also try booking the place in advance as well :)
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Thank you so much for the valuable tips! It is my first Camino and I definitely don't want to get injured in the beginning of the trip. I will also try booking the place in advance as well :)
Be sure to book the albergue in Roncesvalles by email at least 5 days in advance of your arrival.
Use this email address.
 

Dpark77

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I will be walking camino frances in may
Be sure to book the albergue in Roncesvalles by email at least 5 days in advance of your arrival.
I sent the booking request to Roncesvalles albergue just few hours ago. Meanwhile, I did some research, but isn't the one in Roncesvalles municipal? I heard public albergues dont accept booking requests.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
I sent the booking request to Roncesvalles albergue just few hours ago. Meanwhile, I did some research, but isn't the one in Roncesvalles municipal? I heard public albergues dont accept booking requests.
Roncesvalles monastery has received pilgrims for the last 1000 years. With the recent expansion of the interest in pilgrimage the monastery albergue ( is not municipal ) has evolved to accept email reservations.

Read the monastery multilingual web to discover more re the long history, on site treasures, and various accommodation possibilities.
 
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Dpark77

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I will be walking camino frances in may
Roncesvalles monastery has received pilgrims for the last 1000 years. With the recent expansion of the interest in pilgrimage the monastery albergue( is not municipal ) has evolved to accept email reservations.

Read the monastery multilingual web to discover more re the long history, on site treasures, and various accommodation possibilities.
Thanks for the information! I hope that it is not too late to book in online. Have you had any experience booking the albergue in Roncesvalles? I was trying to find the information whether they require pilgrims to pay for booking in advance or not.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Thanks for the information! I hope that it is not too late to book in online. Have you had any experience booking the albergue in Roncesvalles? I was trying to find the information whether they require pilgrims to pay for booking in advance or not.
I usually walk off season so simply walk in to the albergue.
Send them an email to the address I posted above stating your date for arrival and asking how to pay. You can write the request in English if you wish.
 

Olivares

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 1997 (Leon to Santiago); Sections Camino Frances: May 2011, May 2012, May 2013, October 2013, June-July 2014 (Sahagun to Santiago).
Another note: I found the descent into Zubiri the next day much more tough on knees and hips than the descent into Roncesvalles. PACE YOURSELF; Roncesvalles-Zubiri is NOT easy, specially the last few kms. I found that walking poles were extremely useful for this type terrain. Do not ever, ever compete with anybody on the Camino; many first-time pilgrims tend to do this and it can very well cause the premature end of your Camino.

I found the 6pm Pilgrim's Mass at Roncesvalles to be one of the most beautiful experiences I had while walking the Camino. The Pilgrim's Blessing in 12 languages was very special. Hope you can make it!

Leaving Roncesvalles you will find yourself in a dense forest known as the Sorginaritzaga Forest. Sorginaritzaga means the "Witches Oakwood" or "Robledal de las Brujas". This forest was the meeting place for the region's best well-known witches of the XVI Century (covens). These ladies merely used natural remedies and plants for healing, but sadly, natural healing practiced by women was not well appreciated by the Church and medical establishments at the time. There was a huge repression from the Church and authorities. Many were burned at the stake with the pedestal cross you will find when you exit the forest marking where some of the burnings took place. A plaque on the cross states that it also intends to provide "Divine Protection" to the forest.

The first town you will find after this forest is Burguete; a wonderful village bordered by the Irati River-- Ernest Hemingway's favorite fishing hole. He even wrote about this town in his 1926 masterpiece "The Sun Also Rises", the book that turned the Running of the Bulls Festival in Pamplona into a worldwide phenomenon.

Have a safe, Buen Camino!
 

bunnymac

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2012 SJPP-Logrono, 2013 Logrono-Burgos, 2014 Burgos-Leon
CF August/September 2016 SJPP- Santiago
You might also want to book dinner in Roncesvalles. Ask the albergue to do it for you.
 

SeaHorse

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015 (SJPDP-Finisterre), planning Norte
May be it is doable. But is it worth? If you have time, enjoy the walk! Not that you are going to return next week to look closer at what you missed this time. Bayonne is beautiful, no problem to spend a day or two there. Or at least the day and arrive in SJPdP later and spend the night there, SJ is very beautiful too. Walk the old town, go to see the citadel. Maybe not a day, but the evening definitely. Use the pilgrim shop to stock up if you need something for the walk. Start out in the morning.
And now note that it is the Pyrenees, you didn't say how fit you are and if you are accustomed to walking over mountains. And terrain with ups and downs alternating doesn't count :))) I'm reasonably fit but it took me 9h from Orisson (wise to book it) to Roncesvales. Arrived around 5pm with flying colors. The main 2 buildings were full and they had set up a trailer park, there were places enough. Pilgrims continued to arrive till late and got beds. But they sure missed the mas and guided tour of Roncesvales (they take you in the Silos de Charlemagne and the small old church - other than where the mas is held, don't mis those). The village is tiny, just 50 people living there, but very beautiful and rich history.
Yes, after Loepeder take the "easy" path to the right, that is also more interesting, Roland's battlefield is there. I missed it although I really wanted to see it, there were no signs except "easy" path.
And the walk to Zubiri was probably even more difficult than actual crossing of the mountains. All day downhill. It is wise to make a reservation in Zubiri. Although some pilgrims do walk different stages still for most the stop in Zubiri is the most natural thing to do and the town is overcrowded.
 

MartinZ

Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino frances 2012 ... 2017
From SJPDP to Roncessvalles is a very strenuous walk even under the best of weather conditions.
It wipes the grin of most of the first time pilgrims.

You would make it in time but I wouldn't want to walk it with any sort of 'haste' in mind even with a reserved bed waiting for me!
Once arrived you still want to take a shower, change clothes, relax, find a meal and be flabbergasted by the difficult day behind you :)

I would definitely opt for enjoying SJPDP and all the incoming pilgrims that will start their walk the next day,
stock up on food and drinks and trail-munchables in the big supermarket,
and get a good big meal and an early bed for the big day to come.

Even on a really tight time schedule were loosing a day is not really an option I would rather stay in SJPDP (or even better: Orisson) and make up for the lost day in the next 5..6 days.
Have a great camino!
 

Phil W

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2016; Hospitalero 2017, 2018
Then the solution is easy - reserve a bed ;-) http://www.alberguederoncesvalles.com/reservas.php Buen Camino, SY
Thank you for the information. I emailed the reservation request, but found that I had to do a bank transfer or give a credit card number by email or phone. The bank transfer is not like electronic banking we have here in the US and I do not feel comfortable sending credit card info in an unencrypted email. Without knowing whether someone who speaks English is available I am hesitant to make a phone contact as well. We will have to take our chances since we are only three days out from leaving the US and will not be able to meet the 5 day in advance deadline set by the organization. If I had a few more days to work on it I would certainly reserve based on reports of difficulty finding beds. In the meantime we will just pray that God will give us the ingenuity to find a place to rest when our day is finished.
 

bernhugo

Active Member
Spend the first day in SJPDP, it's a nice town. Quite a bit to see and do.
Set off a bit earlier than 10am on the second day.
 

minaleigh

Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2016
Thank you for the information. I emailed the reservation request, but found that I had to do a bank transfer or give a credit card number by email or phone. The bank transfer is not like electronic banking we have here in the US and I do not feel comfortable sending credit card info in an unencrypted email. Without knowing whether someone who speaks English is available I am hesitant to make a phone contact as well. We will have to take our chances since we are only three days out from leaving the US and will not be able to meet the 5 day in advance deadline set by the organization. If I had a few more days to work on it I would certainly reserve based on reports of difficulty finding beds. In the meantime we will just pray that God will give us the ingenuity to find a place to rest when our day is finished.
I had this issue as well. I emailed them, in English, with a date and request to reserve two beds on the 30th of May. They replied in Spanish, which luckily I can read. Even with that, I couldn't understand what they wanted me to do. I don't know how I would transfer funds to their bank account, as it seems wholly different than here in the states. You'd think they have a Paypal account or something, considering they're one of the more popular places to stay. Like you, I didn't feel comfortable just emailing them my info. We won't be getting into town until about 4:30 pm, so here's hoping we have a bed...
 

DJ King

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances May-June (2016)
I know there will be another in the not too distant future!
I completely agree with everyone who has advised you to either leave the next day or make a reservation at Orisson, if possible. I started the Camino on May 7th in SJPP and only went as far as Orrison. It was wonderful for two reasons: it broke up the pass over the Pyrenees and I formed deep lasting bonds with several pilgrims there. The next day, May 8th, we crossed over the Pyrenees in freezing rain and a constant 50mph headwind. The path down was steep and slippery. There were many injuries.

Everyone has their own Camino, and you will have yours. You will learn it as you go. Listen to what is right for you. Buen camino!
 

Roger Deee

Member
Camino(s) past & future
May/June 2016
I had the same dilemma and decided to enjoy Orisson and the Pyrenees. Got a month of walking ahead so I decided to go slow and enjoy the mountains
 

Lance Chambers

Lance Chambers
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria (2015), SJPdP (2016), Burgos (2017), SJPdP (2018), Burgo (2019), SJPdP (2023?).
I hope I'm not to late to help?

If you have an android device I strongly suggest you download this app - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.moemke.android.mycamino

It is possible to download a map that will not require WiFi, it shows you the whole route and every village, town, and city on the route with facilities in each hostel and their locations, contact details, prices, etc., etc. If you zoom into each town, village and city you can see the locations of restaurants, hotels, post offices, stores, cafes, etc. Absolutely invaluable.

It is free to download. The developer asks for a donation and it is well worth giving them one.

All the best and Buen Camino
 

JayPR

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2016
Hi all! I am starting the camino on this friday, and I will be arriving SJPP by taking the earliest train of the day from Bayonne.
It departs SJPDP at 7:30 and arrives Bayonne at 8:45. I think the time would be around 10 - 10:30 after I receive credential and information from the pilgrim office.
I am planning to get to Roncessvalles on the first day by taking Pyrenees route, but I am not sure weather it is a good idea. I think it will take me up to 8 - 10 hours to get there, which means that I will arrive 7-8 in the evening. I know pilgrims usually start their journey early in the morning, so I am concerning that the albergue does not have any bed for me.
Does anyone had similar experience?
I would like to hear if it is doable.

Thanks!
I suggest you stay in St. Jean overnight or make a reservation in Horizonte (near half way) because crossing the Pyrinees is a beatiful but challenging endeavor, bring plenty of water because there is none after Horizonte until you get to the border with Spain, make sure you drink 1 full litter and have at least 2 litters on you when you depart Horizon, by the time you get to Roncesvalle the Albergue (which was excellent) may be full and you will have to stay in the hotel, not a problem if you have the $$$. Take your time, your legs will thank you.
 
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JayPR

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2016
I suggest you stay in St. Jean overnight or make a reservation in Horizonte (near half way) because crossing the Pyrinees is a beatiful but challenging endeavor, bring plenty of water because there is none after Horizonte until you get to the border with Spain, make sure you drink 1 full litter and have at least 2 litters on you when you depart Horizon, by the time you get to Roncesvalle the Albergue (which was excellent) may be full and you will have to stay in the hotel, not a problem if you have the $$$.
Few weeks ago I left St. Jean at around 7:30 and got to Roncesvalles at around 4:30 with resting stops because I was in good shape and still felt the "pain of the uphill way" no complaints just sharing my experienceimage.jpeg
 

JayPR

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2016
I just did El Camino Frances this month and getting Albergues is no issue, there are plenty of beds, keep in mind that although the municipals are the first to fill up there are many more options around, I only had a "problem" in Puente de la Reina where the municipal had only one bed left and I decided to seek further in order to spend the night with the friends I met along the way, few meters further we found an old seminar for 5 Euros, really nice and only half of the beds were taken. El Camino always provides
 

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