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What have I done? I just made a point of no return decision!

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Hi all,
First, thanks for a great forum! I have been reading as a guest for several months, and it has helped me a lot.

Anyway, I am now sitting here with a one-way ticket to Barcelona, late in August! I have been to and from for several weeks, but my ticket is non-refundable (on purpose), so I'll walk!

What made me go for it was a friend of mine who did a 2-week trip last year, then another 2 weeks this year, plus he lent me a book on the Camino, + I read Paulo Coelho's pilgrim book, + I have done a lot of Internet reading about it.

As said, I made a one-way reservation: I have decided to spend as much time as needed for the walk, in order to remove atleast that stress factor from the journey; also allowing myself more time to reflect/walk/stay over as I like, not being bothered by the calendar.... I only have a target of going back home somewhere in the last part of Oct.

So I will arrive in Barcelona at 13.05 Aug. 24 (Monday), and will need to go to the main railway station and get me a seat to Pamplona, and from there, get a bus to Roncesvalles, right? (most likely the next day?)

If so, where can one sleep for a few hours in Pamplona when arriving very late?

In Roncesvalles (my planned starting point), I can get my credential at the Abbey, right?

PS: I ordered the camino book from http://www.csj.org.uk : It arrived in my mailbox after 7-8 days (to Norway). Combined with the intelligent route planner at http://www.godesalco.com/plan/frances , I have a pretty good starting point. I will print the routeplanner and getting it laminated (5 pages), but first, I will mark every village reported worth staying in from the csj guide that I bought.

Asking more experienced pigrims: Where have I missed in this initial plan?
 
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Canuck

Veteran wanderer
Past OR future Camino
?
alexwalker said:
Where have I missed in this initial plan?

Nowhere! You've done enough.
Let it rip and things will fall in place.
Nothing to worry about...got to have a bit of excitement along the way.

Buen camino!
Jean-Marc
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Tank you both very much.

I am only worrying a little about arriving in Pamplona very late, without a credential and all refugios closed... Well, I guess it will sort out, eventually. If warm weather, I can always sleep out, but where is the bus for Roncesvalles leaving from...?

Anyway; the bridge is now crossed, and I know I will be on the Camino for atleast 1 1/2 month 8)

(Takk, Ivar!)

Edit: On afterthought; Can't I just start in Pamplona? If, so, where can I get my credential?
 

keilnirby

Member
Alex,

I started in Pamplona in 2007. When I asked most people about their favorite day on the Camino, they invariably said St. Jean to Roncessvalles. It may be worth it to hop on the train in Pamplona in the morning to go to St. Jean. I bet you'd find a bunch of pilgrims in the morning doing the same thing.

Best,

Neil
 
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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Thank you, Neil! I guess I'll do that (to get started properly...)

So there is a possibility of a morning train from Pamplona to SJPDP? Or to Roncesvalles by train, adn then SPDP by (which) other means?
 
Sounds like you have a plan, Alex! Don't sweat the details, everything happens on the Camino for a reason. Lots of us will be there on the Frances in September, so who knows, you may meet a few forum members! :) I'll be about a week behind you, starting from SJP on Sept 1. :)

Kelly
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
WolverineDG said:
Don't sweat the details, everything happens on the Camino for a reason.
I believe you: Last night I bought the non-refundable ticket. Today as I was out shopping (new rucksack, medical stuff, and a Spanish parlor etc.) I ran into an old friend who told me to come stay in their apartment in Malaga after my walk: I didn't know they had one... They were coming there in late Sept, staying for a month... Incredible :!:

Lots of us will be there on the Frances in September, so who knows, you may meet a few forum members! :) I'll be about a week behind you, starting from SJP on Sept 1. :)
I suppose you will catch up; seems I'll be starting from Roncesvalles/SJPDP on 26th August, and will not push my walking hard.

Feeling better/more confident today, for sure.

Thanks!
 

zeke00

New Member
Hej Alexwalker, fellow nordbo!

I did the Camino Frances 2006, in may-june, and I just want to tell you how I did. I went to Barcelona like you (I was there for five days and watched the F1-race at Circuit de Catalunya).
I had ordered traintickets on the Internet, one from Barcelona to Irun on the nighttrain, and from Irun to SJPP via Biarritz (if I remember correctly, it feels like it was an eternity ago). Arrived in SJPP at lunchtime and had lot of time to spend in SJPP, getting the credential and a place to sleep, starting the Camino the next day. Worked fine for me.
But the most important lesson I learned from that trip was: Do not plan to much, just go. All will be just fine.

Buen camino
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
zeke00 said:
Do not plan to much, just go. All will be just fine.

Hi Zeke! I guess you're right. Too many choices... I've been working the Internet today, and it seems that I will have to find a cheap hostal in Barca for the first night. Next morning a train to Pamplona (9.20), and a bus to Roncesvalles a few hours later. Arriving in RV at 19.10 the 25th. Seems to work out well. I am now heading to the local airport to check that my rucksack will pass as hand luggage (The shop lady said it will; but I'm checking anyway).

I am following the advice of the CSJ handbook: Throw away all unneccessary items, pack, and then throw away etc, etc. Having a smaller sack (32 ltrs., 1.450 gr.) will force me to travel light :wink:
 
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Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
...and if it all just seems like too much hassle once you get to Pamplona, just start walking from there. I know plenty of pilgrims who did it that way and had Caminos just as "increible" as anyone else´s.

Reb.
 

anniethenurse

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances.Vasco del Interior.Camino Finisterre& Muxia. Camino Portugues. Ruta del Ebro.
keilnirby said:
Alex,

I started in Pamplona in 2007. When I asked most people about their favorite day on the Camino, they invariably said St. Jean to Roncessvalles. It may be worth it to hop on the train in Pamplona in the morning to go to St. Jean. I bet you'd find a bunch of pilgrims in the morning doing the same thing.

Best,

Neil

I agree with Neil. If you can and have time you should maybe get yourself to SJPP and start walking over the Pyrenees. Otherwise you would maybe regret afterwards not starting in SJPP when you here all the fellow pilgrim stories. The mountains and walking across them was an amazing experience! It gave me strength, I knew I had walked across the mountains so all the ´small hills ´after the Pyrenees felt smaller than they actually were!

annie
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Thank you all!

Yes, I have the freedom to spend time getting to SJP. Will seriously consider it. But I am sure that Rebekah's saying is quite right: It will be quite a walk from wherever...

BTW: The airport confirmed that my rucksack would pass as hand luggage!! I am currently having 7.5 kg. to carry, wich is 10% of my weight. :wink:

Edit: I started yesterday learning Spanish: I do not want to offend locals by being ignorant of their language.
 
Hi Alex! Good for you! I've found that most people are quite polite & helpful when you make any attempt to speak Spanish, no matter how badly you speak it. :) As for numbers, concentrate on learning 1 through 10; anything higher, most people will write it out for you. :)

You should be able to quickly pick up the "pilgrim lingo" & it's amazing how well you can communicate with others by using various languages & charades. :)

Kelly
 
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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Re: Pamplona v St Jean de Pied Port

Interesting question. The majority of pilgrims to Santiago remains Spaniards who all start in Spain - e.g. Roncesvalles or Pamplona. They wouldn't consider starting in a "foriegn country"!
 

Nicki2009

New Member
alexwalker said:
Yes, I have the freedom to spend time getting to SJP...

I agree with the others that said the walk from SJPP to Roncesvalles was very special. That was my favorite day of walking because of the challenge. And my favorite morning was in Roncesvalles being woken up by the "Alleluia" chant.

alexwalker said:
...I started yesterday learning Spanish: I do not want to offend locals by being ignorant of their language.

Spending your energy to learn Spanish as much as possible will greatly enhance your experience. You'll be able to have at least small conversations with local people. I found that EVERYONE I talked to was very patient with my beginner Spanish. I would say something like, "Una pregunta, por favor" (a question, please) and they would smile and wait for me to say whatever it was. And then they'd respond with whatever was appropriate!

Your camino has already started... Buen Camino!
 
Nicki2009,
Did you walk SJPP to Roncesvalles in one day,how long did it take,how did you feel,as a sixty two year old I am slightly concerned about day one.I leave on the 25th of August.
Buen Camino,
stpatricksbhoy. :) :arrow: :arrow:
 

anniethenurse

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances.Vasco del Interior.Camino Finisterre& Muxia. Camino Portugues. Ruta del Ebro.
stpatricksbhoy said:
Nicki2009,
Did you walk SJPP to Roncesvalles in one day,how long did it take,how did you feel,as a sixty two year old I am slightly concerned about day one.I leave on the 25th of August.
Buen Camino,
stpatricksbhoy. :) :arrow: :arrow:

I walked it in two days - stayed in Orisson where I had prebooked. It took me 10 (4 + 6) walking hours to get from SJPP to Roncesvalles.

If you are going walk this distance in one day - start as early as you can from SJPP and have some supplies with you. You can have some lunch in Orisson but no other cafeés or bars before Roncesvalles.

But it is worth all the struggle to walk over the Pyrenees - what an experience!

annie
 
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anniethenurse

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances.Vasco del Interior.Camino Finisterre& Muxia. Camino Portugues. Ruta del Ebro.
stpatricksbhoy said:
Annie,
I am leaning towards stoping in Orisson better safe than sorry.
Regards,
Buen Camino ,
stpatricksbhoy.


well, it´s clever to prebook Orisson if you are not sure about your walking skills. It took me 4 hours to Orisson, the day after 4 hours upwards and two hours down to Roncesvalles. The hardest part was the two hours downwards - my knees were like spagetti and I was happy to use my walking poles.

Orisson is inclusive pilgrim`s dinner were all the pilgrims sit and have a three course meal together. After the dinner everybody was standing up and introducing themselves. Pretty cool!

You get breakfast - coffee and some bread with butter and jam. Then off you walk!
Good to have some supplies with you for a little picnic on the mountains perhaps!
annie
 

anniethenurse

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances.Vasco del Interior.Camino Finisterre& Muxia. Camino Portugues. Ruta del Ebro.
DOB shouldn`t be a problem - many people on the camino are in their sixties. I´m 50.
 
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I started in St Jean last year (August 2009) and I am glad that I did. Roncesvalles was great (complete with pilgrim's mass in the evening), but I agree with previous comments that getting up and over the pass was harder than anything that you meet in Galicia, so it mentally prepares you for what eventually lies ahead (while your body and feet are still fresh). If you want to break it up into smaller chunks, Orrison (on the way up to the pass from St Jean) looked like a great place to stay.

St Jean is quite a pretty town, so it is a nice place to start. Roncesvalles isn't town. It is more like a peregrino village. The St Jean Aceuil des Pelerins people are very helpful and also give you useful photocopied sheets (along with your credencial). If you have plenty of time, which it sounds you do, I would definately start in St Jean. Maybe I arrived at the rush hour in Roncesvalles when I went in to get my sello, but the hoards of people starting there were more or less processed like they were on a assembly line. So. St Jean was the friendlier place to start from what I experienced.

What I regretted when I did the Frances is that we didn't leave enough time for Finisterre and Murxia. We will hopefully rectify this this August when we return to Santiago via the Camino Portugues.

Buen Camino
 

tmpcoleman

New Member
I've just returned from my first camino, SJPP to Burgos. Great experience, can't wait to continue. I'm 61 and I walked from SJPP to Roncevalles in one day. No problem. Just start early (7am), take it easy and enjoy the walk. The problem with Orrisson is that you get there too early in the day. However, do it whichever way is best for you.
Buen Camino
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Thanks all!

Nicole, I have the time I need to get to SJPDP. It may be just me who is stressing the start, when there really is no need to stress it. :wink: I just found out that I can take a night train from Barcelona to Pamplona (no need for a hotel), get on a bus the next afternoon to Roncesvalles, and then a higher helper will surely send me to SJPDP without problems. As one said earlier, "the camino will take care of you". I believe in that.

The Camino is now in my thoughts every day, and it is such a relief that the ticket is in my drawer, and I KNOW i'm going :!: :D
 

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