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"best Place" To Stay On Day 1 Of The Camino

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by Maurice Marr, Oct 25, 2016.

  1. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Freetobe - I walked starting late April last year. I booked most of my beds in March. If places close up for the winter, you may have to wait until spring anyway. I had no difficulties getting reservstions by sending a simple email to the albergue requesting a bed for a particular date. Nearly every request was responded to positively unless they didn't take reservations. Nearly all the private albergues will reserve a bed for you. You can also find a number of them listed on Booking.com which I also used and found helpful. Finally, in places where I couldn't make reservations online, I simple asked hospitaleros where I was staying to call ahead for me a day or two in advance. Without fail, I was able to reserve a bed. Although not everyone likes to reserve beds, I found that after a long day walking that I didn't want to be searching for a place to sleep. May is a very busy month, so reservations were helpful to have.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2016
  2. freetobe

    freetobe Member

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    Thanks Wily. This is just so useful. I have never used forums before and I cannot help but being grateful for the prompt and supportive information so thank you once again.
     
  3. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Some places close in the winter. I got a reservation at Orisson , but I had to pay in advance. I sent an email in February and finally got a response in early April. everything worked out but there was some nervous time waiting. Orisson does have a Web site and that was helpful.
     
  4. Tina-Marie Brownie

    Tina-Marie Brownie Well-Known Member

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    Morning Wily, Would you say that you could do the Ronscevalle walk from SJPD easier without a backpack (only a daypack) with relative ease? I am looking at my options because I know of the limited number of beds available which could mean I miss out on a booking and trying to work out if it is doable for myself (taking in account of my lower back issues).
    I have always intended to send my pack forward for the first couple of days to get myself used to the long walk required each day. I am currently managing 15kms a day at the moment but as I said previously that is on a treadmill to ensure hip balance is restored after all that surgery (building muscles back up again from prolonged amount of time required for recovery) and on a treadmill I can get on and off as much as I like with creature comforts of my home around me :D I only intend to do a 20km day walk throughout the Camino and have allowed myself 8 weeks to get to Finisterre and factored in down days as well.
     
  5. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Tina Marie - Good to hear from you. You ask a lot of excellent questions. First, I'm glad you're sending your pack ahead at least until you get used to hiking the trail. With eight weeks to complete the CF, there really isn't any need to rush into the hike. Your back condition is the only issue that makes me hesitant to suggest going all the way to Roncesvalles in one day. Even without a pack, it's still a 20 km. hike to the top of the Col de Lepoeder with an elevation increase of about 1,250 meters. You then have an additional downhill into Roncesvalles of another 5 km. With the elevation taken into consideration, the 25 km. stage is more like 32 kms.

    I know you're training on a treadmill and 15 kms. a day is excellent! However, how much are you cranking up the incline on the treadmill? You need to gradually increase the incline so that you are able to walk a significant distance with a good amount of incline.

    In American football, to use this analogy, no one wants to see the quarterback get hurt and go out on the first play of the game. SJPP to Roncesvalles is a demanding day for everyone. I'd hate to see you overdo it right out of the gate and regret it perhaps even before the end of the first stage.

    Play it safe! Start your Camino by only going as far as Orisson the first day. You will find that this first 8 kms. is the steepest part of the climb over the Pyrenees. Although it may not take you more than three hours to reach Orisson, this will allow you the ability to wait until late morning to leave SJPP, have a nice lunch at the albergue part way up the mountain, and get a tough part of the climb behind you. You're then more refreshed for rest of the trek into Roncesvalles. You definitely will need to reserve a bed in Orisson as it only sleeps about 30 people. Make this reservation well in advance of your trip.

    As you walk, you will find your stride. Take it easy to Pamplona and adjust to what it means to walk day after day. Your feet, your back, and your spirit will thank you.
     
  6. Dylan Price

    Dylan Price Member

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    HI Wayne

    My wife and I did the Camino last year and as any have said day 1 is a challenge. we had tried to book Orisson

    I would look at booking NOW. The people at Orisson are very hard to get hold of - they don't seem to reply to emails - at least that was our experience and we tried around 5 months prior to arriving to book a room for the night (and again when we arrived at SJPDDP). Best option is to call them but again when we did they appeared to only speak French.

    That said my wife and I managed the whole day. It was a LONG day for us - 13 hours all up - but in the end just such an amazing gruelling experience and a small badge of honour to wear on the Camino as one of those who did the whole day.
     
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  7. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi Tina-Marie

    As always wily and the rest of the crew give excellent advice. There is one other alternative for those who want to walk a bit further than Orisson but can't or won't make it all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day. Express Bourricot run a shuttle service which will collect you from different points on the mountain and return you to St Jean Pied de Port. They will then drop you back up to your new starting point the following morning. This allows you the choice to stay in St Jean for a second night with a greater choice fo accomodation. This is an extract from their website:-

    "Departure at 08h30 from the tourist office of St Jean Pied de port, arrival at 09h15 at La Croix Thibault. Departure at 09h20 from La Croix Thibault, arrival at 10h00 in St Jean pied de Port.
    Departure at 14h00 from the tourist office of St Jean Pied de port, arrival at 14h30 at La Virgen. Departure at 14h40 from La Virgen, arrival at 15h15 in St Jean pied de Port."

    [​IMG]

    Their website is

    http://www.expressbourricot.com/persons-transport/

    We used their service to get from Biarritz Airport to St Jean and found them to be very efficient and friendly.

    As everyone has said the first day can be challenging and for us it took 11 hours (we did stop to view the scenery/catch our breath). Like Wily suggests we brought a picnic lunch (there is a very good little Lidl supermarket just outside St Jean) and ate it high up the mountain. It was wonderful with the wild ponies, buzzards and kites all around. It is still my favourite day so far, albeit exhausting.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
  8. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Wayne - We all walk out our Camino, but I wouldn't want you to think that it typically takes 13 hours for most people to go over the Pyrenees on Day 1. At 64 and in good condition to hike in the mountains, I walked from SJPP to Roncesvalles in 7 hours. If I were to estimate a more typical time for the average pilgrim, I'd say it would take around 9-10 hours to make the trek maybe a little less (based on when I saw modt pilgrims arriving). If you leave early in the morning, I left around sunrise that first day, you shoukd make it to the monastery by mid-to late-afternoon.
     
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  9. Randy Dickow

    Randy Dickow Donating Member Donating Member

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    As Wily notes, a reasonably fit person should be able to go from SJPdP to Roncesvalles in 7 hours or less. Last year (2015) I went over in less than 6 1/2 hours walking time, 8 1/2 hours total. Took a picnic lunch which I ate in the lovely grassy area near the summit. 70 y/o last year. The toughest segment in the first 5 mikes (8km.) Went down through the forest both last year and this.
    Buen Camino
     
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  10. Tina-Marie Brownie

    Tina-Marie Brownie Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for this information Greg, it is good to know that I have some alternatives to consider :) my ego wants me to walk the whole way and send my pack ahead haha ------ ego's can really get out of control some times :p
     
  11. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi Tina Marie

    Egos can get out of control and that's not always a bad thing :)

    As others have said the first day is far from impossible. It's not easy but it is a wonderful wonderful day. Once you get past Orisson (and that first climb is steep) the rest of the way is not too bad, again it's not easy (a couple of sections seem to go on forever - we did a lot of singing!!!), but not so bad. But it can be a long day and I would recommend starting as early as possible.

    But the may thing to remember is it is not a race. You walk the Camino entirely at your own pace and set your own goals. It can be easy to get sucked into pushing yourself but when you feel that happening it's time to stop and reassess. The most important thing is to experience the Camino, take time for yourself, take time to meet others, take time to enjoy the beauty and splendour or everything. Sometimes you have to actually tell yourself to do it but it is worth it everytime. And don't worry if you walk 10km or twenty or thirty each day, you set your own pace. and don't worry if you decide to carry your pack or have it transported - it's your Camino, your experience.

    The other main thing is preparation

    The other main thing is good supportive but light walking shoes

    The other main thing is to remember Wily's advice "to walk far travel light".

    Lots of main things!!! but you get my drift.

    As for sending your bag on we have used Jacotrans a lot and they are excellent. Their website is http://www.jacotrans.com/p/english.html and they have a great table you can input your start and finish points for each day and it calculates the distance. You can book in advance on their website or you can decide each day whether to use their service or not. The albergues/hostels and hotels along the route can provide a tag and envelope where you can pay daily.

    So for now good luck and Buen Camino (I see you are an Aussie so I can't say good luck for tomorrow - hope we beat you guys ;))

    Greg
     
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  12. Tina-Marie Brownie

    Tina-Marie Brownie Well-Known Member

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    Haha Greg :p Hope not
     
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  13. C.C Williams

    C.C Williams New Member

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    While a lot of posts are about distance etc. I’d say stop at Orrison for the community of the Camino. The communal meal and meeting so many other pilgrims made Orrison one of the highlights of my Camino. I continued to meet people from that first night all along the way, even in a cafe in Santiago. For me, the Camino was not the distance covered, but the experience in it’s entirety. Enjoy!
     
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  14. MichaelSG

    MichaelSG Active Member

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    THE story of my first Camino was a woman we met in Orrison at lunch time and didn't meet again until she arrived in Santiago a month later. I was sorry that she walked on that day to Roncevalles and missed the fantastic community dinner that night in Orrison. The friends we met that night were awesome too.
     
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  15. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    There have been some complaints about the dinner at Orisson, but it was one of the high points of my trip. Having everyone stand up and say something was great. Then the outside area where we could/did drink and unwind after a nice climb up the hill was also good and a chance to meet and make many "trail friends". Many say that you can make it "over the hill" in one day, I prefer a somewhat more relaxed approach where more different hikers may be met
     
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  16. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey All - I don’t think that the value of the albergues can be overstated. I started making Camino acquaintances in Paris and Bayonne, but I began friendships at my first albergue in SJPP. And, it just built from there! Although I didn’t stay in Orisson, I’d second what everyone has said about the opportunities to start Camino friendships early on on your trek. The camaraderie that develops between pilgrims seems to get cemented in the albergues after a long day of hiking. Although I primarily walked alone on the CF, chatting with people along The Way or while enjoying a cafe con leche, I particularly looked forward to seeing which of my friends, at the end of the day, might be staying at my albergue. It was always great fun to share a drink or a meal and talk of our adventures. And best of all, there were always the new people one continually meets that makes the “Camino family” even larger and all that more special. It’s always heartwarming to walk into a town and see a Camino friend sitting at a cafe or on a park bench. As we each have our own walking pace, we walk a Camino that works best for us. But at the close of day, it’s most wonderful to share the afternoon or evening with kindred souls who are on this same path. For me, walking the Camino is all about the people you meet. When I arrived in Santiago, over a dozen others who I had met in one town or another were also there. Our final dinner together was a fitting conclusion to our 500 mile pilgrimage across Spain. Buen Camino!
     
  17. Snoopy

    Snoopy New Member

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    I am 70 years old and I walked my first Camino during April and May 2017 . I also tried to do the first day from Saint Jean pied de port to roncesvalles and I must say I the rued my decision later !

    This is a killer stage and although I thought I was fit and I trained a lot for the Camino I found this first stage devastating and it took me 13 hours to finish the 30 kilometres it is steep and merciless and really I would from bitter experience advise you to sleep over in the Orisson . If you don't get a place in the in the Orisson or you have no answer from them in a reasonable time, do what many people do ; walk to the Orisson on the first day take, a taxi back to an allberg in Saint Jean pied de Port and the next day you take the taxi back to the artisan and from there from there you you walk the remaining 20 kilos to Roncesvalles . I think that is much easier than trying to get an answer out of the Orisson


     
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  18. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Snoopy - Welcome to the Forum. Some great observations! That first day from SJPP to Roncesvalles is tough. You walked the Camino about the same time of year that I did except a year later. When I left SJPP on that late April morning, I was told some 300 other pilgrims were doing the same thing. With the limited number of beds in Orisson, not many will be able to stay there when the number departing SJPP is that large. For folks wanting to stay there, work on getting that required reservation well in advance.

    My experience crossing the Pyrenees was a bit different that yours. With breaks, I walked the route in seven hours (certainly my longest day on the Camino). My training really paid off. What did suffer were my shoulders. With all the training and conditioning that I did, I didn’t do enough with weight on my back. Although my wife and I exercise everyday, we now include a couple long walks every week wearing weight vests to get the back and shoulders ready for this spring’s return to Spain. If there is any doubt about your fitness or if you’re not accustomed to mountain hiking, Orisson is a great option for the first night out.

    For folks still making their plans, let me throw out one other option particularly if you want or need to make it to Roncesvalles in one day. Have your backpack transferred across the mountain to the monestary. Express Bourricot, right near the Pilgrim’s Office, will take care of this for just a few Euros. Walking across the Pyrenees with just a light day pack of essentials will make this long first day much easier. Pack you lunch, sunscreen, water, and camera and head to Roncesvslles. Your pack will be waiting there for you when you arrive. Do stop in Orisson fir breakfast and a tasty cafe con leche before heading on.

    We all figure out pretty quickly what works best. The learning curve is very steep those first days before Pamplona. But, becoming a pilgrim is half the fun! Buen Camino!
     
  19. Mark Stevens

    Mark Stevens Peregrino

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    We arrived in SJPP and walked a few km to Hunto about 7km short of orison and then set off on the frances first thing. Worked for us
     
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