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After The First Day.

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Terry Wilson, Aug 21, 2018.

  1. Terry Wilson

    Terry Wilson Well-Known Member

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    I know this post is directed at people who have walked already and especially the day after out of st jean pied de port . Either over the pass or through the valley. I have done both and one did not seam much easier than the other. Many people planning to start their Camino may be interested in the comments.
    So what were your thoughts and your fears how did you feel as to how you would survive the rest of the Camino after such a arduous first day.
    I will post my experience later.
    Please to people starting out it is absolutely doable I did it I am nearly seventy
     
  2. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Terry - What an excellent question! Since so many treads focus on the first day crossing the Pyrenees, there isn’t much talk about days 2 and 3. As arduous as the first day was, I actually found the second day, not more difficult, but very demanding because I hadn’t yet recuperated from the climb. Due to the fatigue factor, two things jump out at me. First, be as fit as possible for crossing the Pyrenees. It’s a long uphill hike of nearly 20 km. Fitness not only makes the mountain day easier, but it also helps quicken your recovery time and makes your second day better. Second, pack light! I carried too much leaving SJPP and by the time I reached Roncesvalles, my back and shoulders felt every ounce of weight that I had brought. Beginning at that point and on into Pamplona, I discarded a number of items to make my load lighter. Since then, I’ve gotten my pack weight down to just 6 kg. Because the first three days are tough and most of us will be tired by the time we reach Pamplona, I’d recommend taking a rest day there. Recharge so as to better enjoy rest of your travels through Navarra and on. As you’ve heard many of us say, listen to your body and rest when you need to. Finally, after a few days on the Camino, you’ll know what pace and distance each day works best for you. Walk your own Camino and not necessarily someone else’s. Good post Terry! Buen Camino!
     
  3. Terry Wilson

    Terry Wilson Well-Known Member

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    Hi Willy. Yes at ronchavar ( something like that) I got told to sit down before I fell down then he checked my bunk three time to make sure I was still alive I ditched alot of stuff out that night I knew I wasn't going to make it with the load I had, but it is amassing how you come right after a few days.
     
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  4. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    Yes, good question, Terry. Many are a little apprehensive about these first few days. My thoughts and fears and how the next days were: 1.) Don't try to walk over the Pyrenees in a high CAT 1 hurricane (as measured down in St. Jean Pied de Port). If you haven't hiked in mountains in high winds, the higher you go, the worse it gets. I was absolutely knocked out by the time I got to Roncesvalles, moreso than after a career of working 13+ hour shifts at a dead run and commuting 3 hours/day, and slept for 12 hours straight until they came in singing the Alleluia. 2.) As Wily and others will say also, a better way to get down into Roncesvalles is by the road instead of the beech forest after the Col de Lepoeder, especially in hail and sleet, as was the case on the second hike over the Pyrenees. 3.) Make use of the left-items table at Roncesvalles to ditch whatever you can or pick up what you might need. In case you haven't brought a sleeping bag and it's colder than expected, they sell inexpensive ones at the desk in the albergue at Roncesvalles. 4.) Always use your backpack cover in even light drizzle to avoid the entire contents getting damp, even if you've lined your pack with a plastic bag - unless you don't mind being freezing and wet for hours while they run your laundry through their service at Roncesvalles. 5.) I was ready for the next days after a long sleep, but as to me they were uninspiring, the second time I took the morning Artieda bus from he gates of the compound in Roncesvalles to Pamplona. Others, however, like some of the churches and the monastery at Trinidad de Arre on this section. And 6.) Make use of Bouricott Express to shave off a few of the most grueling km on the Camino Frances at the beginning of the first day if you think you might need to - the views get more spectacular after the first few km anyway. They can also take your backpack onward from St. Jean Pied-de-Port. I did this the second time - to Orisson - and it worked out well.
     
  5. Terry Wilson

    Terry Wilson Well-Known Member

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    Hi my first time over the pass was a beautiful day in fact to beautiful 33 deg, Also thats a fantastic laundry service at Roncesvalles. Is it not.
     
  6. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    The fitst time I went up to Orisson and then got dehydrated in the forest and quit. The second time I used Express Bourricot which got me to Rochavells and then I got to Pamplona. Eventually I got to Burgos and quit.

    If you know where you plan to stay each night I recommend using one of the baggage transfer services and carrying a small day pack inbeteen.

    Being 76 these are easy things to say from home, difficult in spain.
     
  7. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Good advice UnkleHammy. I remember meeting a woman some 80+ years young in Villar de Mazarife at the Albergue San Antonio de Pádua. We hiked together the next day for quite a while. She knew what she needed to do to be successful. Since SJPP, she had been transferring ahead her backpack every day carrying just a day pack with what she needed while hiking. It seemed to work out splendidly for her! She had come up with a strategy for making it to Santiago. We should each feel comfortable walking our own Camino even if it’s different from the mainstream. Buen Camino!
     
  8. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    For our first camino in the fall of 2015, I vividly remember the bus ride from Pamplona to St Jean. There were so many winding curves and up-and-down hills, it make us anxious that we'd be covering the very same terrain the very next day. We were fit and had the right gear, but worried alot. We were fine.

    We've hiked the ruta Napoleon and ruta Valcarlos. Both were nice. Better views from Napoleon, but a few small towns to stop on the ruta Valcarlos. Also, on Valcarlos, we enjoyed walking through forests and alongside streams. We've not yet decided which route we'll take for our third CF next fall.

    Our experience with the Roncesvalles laundry was disappointing. First of all, we left St Jean walking in the dark at 7 am. It took us 8 1/2 hours to reach St Jean which was 3:30 pm. After checking in and finding our beds, we went to the laundry. There are staff members there that do the laundry. Our socks and shirts were Icebreaker, merino wool. We told the staff to only wash our clothes - not put in the dryer. I circled back awhile later and they had washed our clothes - and had just placed them in the dryer ! We took our damp clothes to hang on the lines outside, but it was cloudy and just an hour or two before sunset, so they remained damp. We packed them up the next morning and dried them out at an albergue in Zubiri. For our second camino, we decided to have our laundry done in St Jean at Gite Izaxulo. This worked much better for us.

    Other lessons learned from camino one was sending my wife's backpack ahead via Express Bourricot. And my wife wore much more comfortable Salomon trail running shoes compared to hard sided Vasque boots during the first camino. Bob
     
  9. Bryan Morlock

    Bryan Morlock Pilgrim Bryan

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    What an excellent question.

    We did our Camino Sept/Oct 2017. After the travel to get there we stayed at Orisson overnight as part of our 7 time zone adjustment. The next day to Roncesvalles the uphill was a little work but not too bad. We were in off and on light rain. The downhill portion just about did me in. It was so steep and slippery from rain and mud and in all of my training I never thought about conditioning for long steep downhills. I took a fall on the steep section and was so tired I needed help getting up. Once up I rested for a while on a fallen tree and then kept going taking frequent rests. The funny part was when I came to the two uphill sections in that stretch those I could do just fine. By the time I got to the bottom I had to keep my knees locked to keep from going down. Then I got to stand in line for almost an hour to check in, then climb three flights of stairs to the top. Once I had my bed made and got cleaned up I seriously thought my Camino was over. I could barely walk. In the morning I woke up and my legs hurt quite a bit. But off we went and the day went well, even the rocky steep downhill to Zubiri. I really hurt by the time we got to Pamplona, but from that point on the muscles got better. My backpack was about 18.5 lbs. without water, but I managed to ditch a few items that I determined weren't needed over time. I did carry a 1.5 lb. Kindle Fire to use for blogging on our website (pilgrims4blog.wordpress.com) that failed to communicate properly with the website software so that was unnecessary weight. I didn't dare throw it away since it is my wife's so I carried it 560 miles. If I do the Camino again, my backpack will be lighter by about 4 lbs. I did not have any shoulder or back issues as the waist band took 100% of the backpack weight. A backpack with the waist band is an absolute must for carrying.

    The laundry service at Roncesvalles kept the waist button from my pair of pants (I made it all the way without a button on the waistline of one pair of pants). I also lost a very small pocket knife with a scissors, file, tweezers, and screwdriver somewhere there.

    If I should be fortunate enough to do the Camino again, my backpack will be lighter, my downhill conditioning will be better, and I will have even more fun!
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
  10. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Bryan, during our 2015 camino, we also experienced the same steep descent downhill to Roncesvalles. We had trekking poles and these helped prevent a tumble downhill. My wife developed several blisters the first day, no doubt due to the downhill.

    In 2017, we walked the Valcarlos route and arrived around 3 pm, and faced a long check in line like you did. Both of our caminos, my wife and I could not get any sleep in the albergue, so will go upscale next year and stay in Hotel Roncesvalles. Also, since I've now completed 2 CFs, I will no longer carry my Osprey backpack every Km the entire way. I've done it twice, so with no need to prove my pilgrimage to anyone, I will ship it ahead any days with steep uphill climbs.

    The second day hike to Zubiri is easier and more enjoyable with several towns to walk through, although the last descent into Zubiri over slippery rocks (when raining in 2017) was treacherous. Bob
     
  11. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Bryan - I had the very good fortune at the Pilgrim’s Office in SJPP to receive the advice to avoid that path through the woods down to Roncesvalles and instead take the road. It was just the opposite of the path you describe being a most pleasant stroll down a winding road. Although a slight bit longer, it was definitely the way to go considering the 20 km uphill that I had just clicked off. Sound advice that I was lucky enough to benefit from.

    I guess timing is everything, I arrived in Roncesvslles around 1:15 with just a handful of pilgrims ahead of me. Although the dorm wasn’t yet open, I was able to check-in and buy my dinner ticket. With this early arrival, once the doors did open, I was still one of the first to hit the showers and then make it over to Casa Sabrina for a nice cold beer with fellow hikers.

    Although I enjoy walking with my pack, weight is all important. Through a bit of trial and error, I have mine down to between 12-13 pounds which seems extremely light compared to my first day on the Camino crossing the Pyrenees carrying a load similar to yours. To walk far, carry less! Buen Camino!
     
  12. Bryan Morlock

    Bryan Morlock Pilgrim Bryan

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    Bob and Wily,

    Thanks for your responses. Should I get the opportunity to do the Camino again, I think that I am more likely to carry my backpack, but it will be lighter. As to which route to take down the hill to Roncesvalles I don't think that I could commit at this time as to which route it would be, although I can now say I have done the direct route and don't need to do that. It is possible that doing the steep downhill was nasty due to the rain, I don't know for sure but that did sure make it slippery. I already do know that I would do SJPDP to Santiago again. There is just so much to see and not enough time to do it.

    As for the accommodations at Roncesvalles, we were on the top floor and that was very nice. I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and it was absolute quiet in there. Not one person snoring. Out of forty beds that was incredible.
     
  13. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Top floor and otherwise at Roncesvalles.

    20170513_050717.jpg 20170513_050450.jpg
     
  14. James Orrock

    James Orrock Active Member

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    Thanks for the great pics, UnkleHammy. The accommodation at Roncesvalles looks splendid. A fine reward for the considerable effort to get there. "Casa Sabrina for a nice cold beer with fellow hikers" sounds very inviting, Wily. I can't wait to set out on my Camino Frances next year.
     
  15. Bryan Morlock

    Bryan Morlock Pilgrim Bryan

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    Just remember: more beds = greater opportunity for snoring! o_O
     
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  16. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    We stayed at the municipal albergue in Roncesvalles during both our caminos. Neither time did we get a good sleep due to the loud snoring (second camino was my brother, one bunk over). For our third camino next year, we just booked a private room at Hotel Roncesvalles. A bit pricey, but will give us the comfort and privacy we enjoy. Bob
     
  17. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    For the Camino, there is no better gear investment than a good quality pair of ear plugs. I have to admit, snoring didn’t bother me in Roncesvalles (or elsewhere), probably too tired after the climb over the Pyrenees, but with the ear plugs in, I was pretty much able to get a good night’s sleep even in crowded dormitories. Buen Camino!
     
  18. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Collect moments, not things Donating Member

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    I understand, that snoring in the albergue is all part of the Camino experience. Before I left for Spain, even a light snoring would bother me. Now....a medium snoring habit doesn't really affect me. But I have to admit....that I have never heard such LOUD snoring in my life, where every inhale sounded like a wounded lion and scared me! There were three days in a row that I didn't sleep much at all because the lion followed me to the next albergue. I thought that the ear plugs I purchased were sufficient, but they didn't even muffle the racket. I met a pilgrim who slept thru it all. I asked her how she coped....she said that her Dr. made them especially for her ears, and she could not hear one peep. Aha....a short visit to my Dr. before my next Camino! :D
     
  19. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Note that there are no blankets available at Roncesvalles.
     
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  20. danvo

    danvo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    For all my caminos I used 3M earplugs... very cheap - only few cents - but perfect attenuation. I couldn't sleep only one night - first one in Saint Jean, when my earplugs were "somewhere in backpack" :D From that day I slept like a baby every night :D
     
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  21. Terry Wilson

    Terry Wilson Well-Known Member

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    You sure sleeping like a baby didnt have something to do with being absolutely stuffed at the end of each day.:);):p. Just a thought.
     
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  22. danvo

    danvo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    One of best stories on Camino with my son was in Triacastela(?). We get beds in room with two ladies - and Martin said: finally I can normally sleep. I started to laugh but he didn't understand why. Just few minutes after they slept, they started snoring - and I started laughing again....
     
  23. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Collect moments, not things Donating Member

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    Danvo....ha, I can relate. After a few days of not sleeping, I finally got a room with two other girls. Petite, sweet young girls. I was so excited because I thought NO WAY are they going to be snoring! Surprise! :D
     
  24. Bryan Morlock

    Bryan Morlock Pilgrim Bryan

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    My backpack weighed about 21 lbs., including 3 lbs. of water. So, 18 lbs (just over 8 kg) without water. I had an excellent backpack with a good waist band and 100% of the backpack weight was on my hips. I had literally no weight on my shoulders so my shoulders and back had no issues. As I learned things along the Camino I lowered the weight of my backpack as I jettisoned a few unnecessary items. If I ever get to go on another Camino I am pretty sure my backpack will be about 2 kg less weight, maybe even less. But key for me was having a backpack that took all of the weight off of my shoulders.
     
  25. James Orrock

    James Orrock Active Member

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    I used to think that snoring in the albergues at night was all part of the Camino 'vibe' but after hearing about hindsfeet's wounded lions and actual sleep deprivation for for 3 days / nights I'm not so sure...
     
  26. Bryan Morlock

    Bryan Morlock Pilgrim Bryan

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    Good earplugs are an absolute must, unless you are a very sound sleeper (and source of the snoring!). I used earplugs the whole trip, except for the one night that we could not find a place to stay and wound up in a hotel. I had a room with a queen sized bed all to my self. Heaven!
     
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  27. danvo

    danvo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    :D Yes, as Bryan said: good earplugs are an absolute must. For me best earplugs were 3M , probably cheapest (here in Slovakia one of cheapest) but they have perfect attenuation (about 37dB). On earplugs there is nothing more important than this parameter...
    @James Orrock - yes, it is part of Camino experience :)
     
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  28. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Collect moments, not things Donating Member

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    James.....those were some challenging days, but as I reflect on those sleepless nights and grogginess the next day.......I still wouldn't trade any of it. That was my Camino.....It taught me patience (whoops, even though I did throw a pillow at the bunk with the wounded lion at one point) but the only thing that came out of that was...I lost my pillow for the night! Along with the patience gained, tolerance and an extended unconditional love that I needed myself also, it was amazing. :D The next Camino, I will have specially made earplugs just for me that cuts ALL noise out. :D :D Great to see you back on the forum James.....always enjoyed your imput.
     
  29. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey James - As Danvo and Hindsy indicated, snoring is part of the Camino experience, but so should be a good pair of ear plugs. Although I didn’t buy anything at all fancy, from experience wearing them shooting clay targets, I knew they’d do the job. Field and Stream packages 50 pairs of simple foam plugs for about $10. I usually carry three or four pair since I tend to occasionally loose one and besides, they weigh next to nothing. Although I was tired every night after 20-25 km of walking, having ear plugs guaranteed a good sleep. It never seemed to fail that even in a small albergue dorm, there’d be at least one snorer and that's all it takes ruin sleep for anyone with unprotected ears. Buen Camino!

    https://m.dickssportinggoods.com/p/...ugs-15fnsufsfmrplg50ptgs/15fnsufsfmrplg50ptgs
     
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  30. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    I never had a problem with snorers, perhaps i was the probldm!
     
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