- Year of past OR future Camino
- March, 2017
Why do so many people insist on starting in St. Jean? I recently completed my first Camino with my wife in March and for various reasons chose to start in Pamplona. For one, the chance of heavy snow and the potential closure of the Napoleon Route out of St. Jean was likely in late February, early March. Secondly, I didn't want to start my wife, who's not an experienced hiker like me, on such a difficult and potentially dangerous hike (even the Valcarlos Route is not without its difficulties as I heard from other pilgrims who did it in late February) and discourage her from the get-go. Thirdly, and perhaps more to my point here, is that it's my understanding that St. Jean is as random a starting point for the Camino as any other, so why not go with an easily accessible, almost as distant starting point that's also a fun, enjoyable city to hang out in for a couple days beforehand? Okay, maybe this was all just my rationalization to get my wife to come with me (and it was successful!), but seriously, along the way, all the "I started in St. Jean, and I'm a bad-ass" crowd started to annoy me when I'd say I started in Pamplona. As though I, and everyone else who didn't start in France were somehow slightly less pure than the Holy Hikers from SJPP. Anyone else get this atttidude? Ultimately, I didn't care, nor did most people I met along the way, especially after Leon where I met lots of people who were just starting out. Suddenly we who'd started "way back" in Pamplona felt a little more respected. I met a guy who'd started as far back as Carcasonne, who made the SJPPers seem like ninnies anyhow -- he told me "it's not a competition" and he's right. It doesn't matter where one starts. Still, I'd like to know why, despite the inconvenience and arbitrariness of starting points so many still insist on starting in St. Jean?