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Camino In April

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Jennifer, Feb 17, 2017.

  1. Jennifer

    Jennifer New Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    I am hoping to start my Camino from SJPP in April. Will everything be open? I am, in particular thinking about Easter. Does that affect the opening of accommodation etc.

    Would also be great to hear from anyone travelling around the same time.

    Thanks,

    Jen
     
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  2. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Hi Jen

    I have walked over Easter on a few camino’s and seeing the “Semana Santa” Parades will be an unforgettable experience – However Ester weekend doesn’t coincide with some other countries (Like the UK) so this is worthwhile checking before you set off !!



    Most Refugio’s will be open by April, Certainly book Orison in advance as beds will soon fill up there, also book your beds in Saint Jean Pied de Port, then just see how crowded the Camino is before deciding on whether there is a need to book further beds in advance, a lot will depend on what time you intend to finish your days walking and what sort of budget that you are travelling with.



    Accommodation could well be at a premium, especially over the Easter weekend and certainly hotels will get booked up some time in advance, however Municipal Refugio’s work on a first come, first served basis and even after all the beds have gone, there are often extra mattresses and then after that, sometimes floor space.



    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
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  3. Jennifer

    Jennifer New Member

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    Thank you so much, Rob. That's really helpful. Thank you for taking the time to reply. Much appreciated :)
     
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  4. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Jenn - Easter falls mid-April this year. I, too, would expect the Camino to be starting to get busy. I began a bit later than that last year, April 29 from SJPP along with 300+ other pilgrims. But, most everything will be open for you.

    As Rob said, definitely book a bed in advance in SJPP. You may or may not want to spend the first night out in Orisson as it is only 8 km out from the start. As the Refuge Orisson only has 28 beds, most pilgrims go all the way to Roncesvalles in one day. However, on Easter weekend, particularly if you are in a city, I'd reserve ahead and it's not too early to do that now.

    Reservations are not everyone cup of tea particularly those who want to stay flexible on how far they walk every day. As for me, I had a very definite schedule so I knew where I'd be stopping at the end of each day. Knowing that, I booked ahead in many of the private albergues. It was really very easy and unfolded without a glitch. For some of my reservations, I used booking.com and their reservation service. Although a credit card was required for the booking, I paid in cash at the albergue. In many more places, I simply sent an email requesting to reserve a bed. In all but a very few cases, they responded affirmatively to me within a day or two. Some places have their own secured booking link like the Gite Ultreia in SJPP where I stayed. I would suggest that you take a look at the website gronze.com as it lays out each stage of the Camino quite nicely listing albergues, hostels, and hotels. Many have direct links to more information and their websites.

    Buen Camino!
     
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  5. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    No Problem Jen – Pleased to be of help :)



    Wily is correct, this year Semana Santa starts on April 9th (Palm Sunday) and then continues throughout “Holy Week” (Holy Week, according to the tradition of the Orthodox Catholic Church, begins with the Saturday of the resurrection of Lazarus, this year it is the same week as in the UK)


    With whether to stay at Orrison, my own views are that unless you are a strong and experienced walker than you should seriously consider this option as apart from splitting what many regard as the hardest day of the entire Camino Frances into two separate days, it also gives you the opportunity for a ½ days sightseeing around Saint Jean Pied de Port, you can do this in the morning of your first day, then take a light lunch before setting of on the 8km uphill walk – I have yet to meet anyone who has done this and been disappointed with their decision ;-)


    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
  6. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Jen - I can tell by your photo that you have youth on your side, but I don't know what condition you are in. Walking the Camino Francés isn't your typical walk in the park. Some individual stages are more difficult than others, but the entire trek is a good 500 miles long. No matter how you slice it up, that's a long way!

    I hope you've been physically preparing for your Camino. Being in the best physicsl shape you can be in will be to your advantage as you walk. Fatigue has a cumulative effect that you will notice later in your Camino. As you still have some time before you leave, train or continue training for this walk. All the physical preparation you do prior to the Camino will pay off for you on the trail. The one specific training tip that I would offer you now is to definitely hike wearing your loaded backback. Get your back and shoulders use to carrying weight. Plus, with that in mind, don't overpack. Keep your backpack weight down as low as possible as you won't really need all that much on the Camino. No sense carrying "extra" stuff. Get good hiking shoes and break them in well! Finally, and perhaps you're already done this, build in some rest days along The Way. Recharging from time to time will definitely help you in the latter parts of the walk. Buen Camino!
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
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  7. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    If you plan to starting Saint Jean, then be sure to include walking uphill in your training. The road is not flat and has 3 sections with a 12% grade and one of 6%.
     
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  8. Gerry Vandermaat

    Gerry Vandermaat Donating Member Donating Member

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    My wife and I started our Camino on April 14, 2015. That was after Easter, but we had no problems with crowds.
     
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  9. Gerry Vandermaat

    Gerry Vandermaat Donating Member Donating Member

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    UnkleHammy, I'm sure it was steeper than that :) -- well it sure felt that way -- i suppose it was the length of those climbs as well that make it difficult. -- but doable.
     
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  10. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Gerry - I think UnkleHammy is in the ballpark with his percentages. 12% is by most standards a very steep grade. Luckily, more of the Napoleon Route is in the 6% range. For pilgrims yet to walk this, what does make it more manageable is that the path from Orisson up is paved. Steep as it may be, even the terrain from SJPP to Orisson isn't like scrambling up a goat trail. Overall, it is very hiker friendly! Although it is the toughest day on the CF, conditioning for the climb is the key to an enjoyable day crossing the Pyrenees (or climbing any mountain). If one hasn't hiked in the mountains, one needs to understand that this stage is a long 20 kms/12 miles uphill. It doesn't take any great experience to hike it as long as the person has trained for it and is in good physical condition. As Hammy said, if you're training on a treadmill, crank up the incline!
     
  11. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    I got those percentages from the Michlan map 160.
     
  12. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    If you want to get some of the "flavor" of the Camino, I recommend loading Google Earth. It is free and has many contributed pictures of the Camino. In many places it also has Street View data. Where Street View data is available you can see what typical pilgrims are wearing and what their surroundings are like. Unfortunately the time of year and the date when the pictures were acquired is not listed.
     
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  13. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Donating Member Donating Member

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    Thanks everyone, this is some great information. I am so excited about this adventure. I am not leaving until the end of April 2018 though. It seems like a long time away, but I too want to be in the best shape of my life. I have never felt so 'called' to do something like this before, no doubts.....apprehensions, or fears about the commitment. I NEED to do this. It is strange, but I am already learning about myself in new ways since making the decision to walk the whole way. But sometimes I lack the patience needed...right now I am icing my knees because I overdid my hike yesterday! During my hike I was imagining my walk in Spain, meeting new people, enjoying tranquility (things I lacked because of my busy schedule). Before I knew it, several hours had gone by and I had a longer hike back than I had anticipated. My will is MUCH stronger than my actual capability. Also, to my detriment is my competitive spirit. Please oh please go away so that I can really enjoy and slow down the voice in my head to turn everything into a challenge. Do I need the Camino! Ha! Indeed!
     
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  14. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    There is a theory that says "You start your Camino when you first decide to go and are making preparations ". By this theory you just started your Camino! Good luck and Buen Camino.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2017
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  15. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Donating Member Donating Member

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    Thanks UnkleHammy.....:D
     
  16. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Hindsfeet - You've got a great, wonderful journey ahead of you, but as Hammy said, it's already begun. Although it's still aways out, getting in the best possible shape you can is the thing to do. But, take it easy and gradually build up to it. You've got the time. What you don't want to do is to injure yourself training. Go slowly and build up to longer and longer hikes.

    The average day on the Camino is about 20-25 km. I usually got started early, took frequent breaks, and finished in the early afternoon. As you plan out your Camino, try to schedule rest days. Remember that it's not a race, so you will determine the pace that works best for you. Even though that first day in the mountains is tough, keep in mind that every day offers physical, psychological, and spiritual challenges. There is a cumulative fatigue factor that builds across the length of the Camino, so all the preparation you do now will definitely pay off. As you train, do walk with a pack. Second, do you use walking poles? I found these to be of great help (I have old knees). Finally, travel light. Keep your backpack weight down. Your adventure has started. Buen Camino!
     
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  17. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Donating Member Donating Member

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    Thanks Wily, Yes....I feel like it has already begun...how fun! They say you need three things for sure in life at all times to have balance. SOMEONE TO LOVE, SOMETHING TO DO AND SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO! I should have stayed off the trampoline yesterday, today I am nursing a pulled hamstring! sheesh.....But I will be back hiking really soon. I have access to great hiking here in Arizona. You know, I never really liked using walking poles. Or maybe I just never gave it enough of a chance. Starting next month I will start hiking with a pack on. I am sure that I have never experienced that cumulative fatigue factor. I want to hike back to back long days for training. This is the first time in my life where I have time to do this and I feel so blessed and excited about the next chapter of my life. This forum is just what I needed! I am so excited! Thanks again.....all of you! Buen Camino
     
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  18. Ric Flair

    Ric Flair New Member

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    Hi Jen:

    My wife and I will be continuing our Camino starting April 9th or 10th in Estella, Spain. Last summer, we walked from SJPP to Estella. We will be taking 12-14 days to visit Pamplona, walk to Burgos, and enjoy Burgos for a few days. Perhaps we'll run into you?

    I have made similar inquiries and even went so far to call a couple of albergues. Of the three that I called, all of them said there would not be a problem getting a bed during the Easter period. Keep in mind that this only encompasses Estella to Burgos. It might be different outside of this part of the Camino.

    Bring your rain gear. The wettest month of the year is in April with particular heavy rains from SJPP to Burgos.

    Good luck.

    Buen Camino.
     
  19. DeeDee Fl

    DeeDee Fl New Member

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  20. fraluchi

    fraluchi 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015

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    Take it easy at the start. Walking poles are not sine qua non where a sturdy stick (locally acquired) could do perfectly well. Also, the North of Spain is not Arizona, so you may have to count on changing weather conditions along the more than 500 miles to Santiago. By the time you reach Pamplona (at the early stage) you'll have figured out the pros and cons.
    Just don't let your pack weigh more than of 10% of your body weight. Most "must have" items can be purchased locally: Spain is quite civilized.
    Ultreya!;)
     
  21. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Donating Member Donating Member

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    Thanks fraluchi, I am definitely going to purchase two walking poles. Before I joined this
    forum (naïve) I had thought that poles were just a crutch. Well, I wasn't going to have
    anything to do with that! Raw, au natural walking....that's for me!! Ha.....I love learning
    new things.
    Indeed, the North of Spain is NOT Arizona. Rain? What is that? But I am one of those
    strange individuals who love the CHALLENGE of adverse weather. We'll see about that,
    right? Work in progress on getting pack down in weight, along with the one carrying the
    pack.
    Appreciate your comments!
     
  22. fraluchi

    fraluchi 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015

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    To see is one thing, to feel is another. April weather can be tricky at times to the trail.:rolleyes:
     
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