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Getting From Pamplona To Saint Jean

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by RalphA, Feb 12, 2017.

  1. RalphA

    RalphA New Member

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    Hi,
    This is my first Camino. My wife and I are flying into Madrid and then plan to take a train to Pamplona on 17 April. My question is about the Pamplona to Saint Jean link. At that time of the year is there a bus? If not, what are the other options? I'd appreciate any advice on this.
    Thanks.
    Ralph
     
  2. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Active Member

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    Hi Ralph - The bus is a Conda bus, but their site (conda.es) doesn't seem to let you book it there. The old way of booking it through GoMarbella doesn't seem to work either at the moment. BUT, just go to the ALSA.es site and you can book it there. Make sure to plug in Saint (Jean), rather than just "St." Make sure it's the one that takes (edited - sorry, recent cataract surgery - 1 Hr + 45 minutes) and goes through Zubiri and Roncesvalles and Valcarlos (Valcarlos is on the lower route through the Pyrenees). If you wait to get it at the bus station in Pamplona, just be aware that most of these smaller bus companies have limited hours for buying tickets at their ticket windows. The site for the Pamplona Estacion de Autobuses lists individual bus companies' ticket window opening hours.

    It April, there seems to be only one bus/day at 14:30. They add a second bus at some point on in the season - at 17:30. There are lots of winding roads on this 1 hr + 45 minute ride.

    You can can also take a taxi - probably an expensive option. Buen Camino!
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2017
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  3. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Excellent Information already posted by Crepes4Suzette and only a couple of snippets to add



    This is the Alsa link where you can book your bus tickets https://www.alsa.es/en

    There are 2 busses on 17th April, one at 14.30 and one at 17.30 and both cost 22 Euro and take 1 ¾ hours



    One other thing to mention is that, are you aware that The Route Napoleon will still be closed in April ?? - Further info and details of the alternative “Valcarlos” route can be found at

    http://caminoways.com/route-napoleon-valcarlos



    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
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  4. RalphA

    RalphA New Member

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    Thanks Crepes4Suzette and Rob. Your replies were very helpful.
    The bus situation seems fine.

    I had thought that the Route Napoleon would be open in April. Rob, the article for which you provided the link for states that it is closed until the end of March, which could be extended dependant on weather conditions. Perhaps there's some information that I don't have.

    Ralph
     
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  5. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Sorry Ralph, I meant to say “Could Be Still Closed” and thought that it would be useful to give you the link to the info on the alternative “Valcarlos” eoute IF this was the case

    Best Regards

    Rob
     
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  6. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés May 2016

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    Hey Ralph - The point to remember about leaving from SJPP is that you're in the Pyrenees. The weather in the mountains can be unpredictable. Although the Napoleon Route opens the start of April, snow storms can still come in and close the route. In which case, you still have the Valcarlos Route that Rob sent you infirmation about. It's certainly not the option most pilgrims want to use, but sometimes the reality of Mother Nature forces us to change plans. I crossed the Pyrenees late last April on what was a most beautiful and sunny day. The following day it snowed making the same crossing on the Napoleon Route still doable, but much more difficult. One just has to be prepared for the unexpected. Buen Camino!
     
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  7. RalphA

    RalphA New Member

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    No problem, Bob. All advice and suggestions are appreciated. I guess our route will be substantially determine by the weather on the day.
    Kind regards,
    Ralph
     
  8. RalphA

    RalphA New Member

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    Wily,
    Thanks for your comments. By nature I'm cautious so if the weather is questionable, we'll be be taking the Valcarlos Route.
    Regards,
    Ralph
     
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  9. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés May 2016

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    Hey Ralph - There's a lot to be said about cautiousness particularly on the first day of your journey. With any luck, you'll have a nice day to cross the Pyrenees on the Napoleon Route. When the time comes, just check in with the Pilgrim's Office for trail conditions. On a nice day, the views are magnificant! It's a great first stage of The Way. Buen Camino!
     
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  10. DeeDee Fl

    DeeDee Fl New Member

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    Hi Ralph, I too am taking the bus to Roncevalles (my start point,bypassing the pyrenees) on April 17,2017. Thanks for the great questions on the bus sites!
     
  11. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés May 2016

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    Hey DeeDee - If the weather is cooperative, I'd really encourage you to start your Camino in SJPP. Crossing the Pyrenees can be a long, tough day, but it is so worth it. All along the Camino, friends I met and I regularly talked about what an accomplishment it was going from SJPP to Roncesvalles. Some people break it into two parts with an overnight at the Refuge Orisson (8 km from SJPP, but the steepest part of the hike). Others transport their pack using the Jacotrans service to make hiking more manageable. Express Bourricot also provides people shuttling if the hike were to prove to be too much. For me, crossing the Pyrenees was one of my Camino highlights. I think you should think about this some more. Buen Camino!
     
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  12. DeeDee Fl

    DeeDee Fl New Member

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    AWW Mannn, now thats in my head but I am a novice trekker. Are ya sure about this Wily? I'm willing to go that route but a lot uneasy. Put my mind to ease please....Also while I've got you here I'm looking for a descent jacket for the journey any recomendations?
     
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  13. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés May 2016

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    Hey DeeDee- I'm glad I got you thinking about SJPP as your starting point. In addition to the information in my first post, let me add a couple more ideas here.

    The day I walked out of SJPP last April, some 300 other pilgrims left that same morning. Because Orisson only has 28 beds, almost all of my fellow hikers were heading to Roncesvalles. Guess what? They all made it! It's definitely a long hike, but the paved path from Orisson up makes it easier. The second thing that I'd tell you is that if you're a novice hiker, you're in good company. The Camino Francés is a long hike, but the terrain is not difficult. As a novice hiker, anywhere on the Camino, you'll be fine. Since it's your Camino, you go at your pace, no one elses. An issue that I think is even more important than hiking experience is your overall physical condition. The stronger and more in shape you are, the easier your Camino will be. You still have about two months before you start. If you haven't already done so, commit to getting in as best shape possible before you leave.

    But, if you're still unsure, do this. Do the mountain stage in two parts. Orisson is only 8 km from SJPP. It's the steepest part of the climb over the Pyrenees, but not overly long. Make a reservation at the Refuge Orisson. You won't get in without one most likely. Leave SJPP late morning or around noon and leisurely pace yourself up to Orisson that will take between 2-3 hours. Relax, enjoy the scenery, have dinner, and overnight at the albergue. After breakfast, continue rest of the the way up the mountain. Once at the top, definitely take the road down to Roncesvalles and not the path through the woods.

    If you don't already have them, get a pair of walking sticks. I had never used them before the Camino, but now I don't hike without them. They really help! Make sure your hiking shoes are well broken in and that you have high quality socks. Finally, keep your backpack weight down. Laurie Ferris has a great couple pages on this forum about clothing and gear that I would recommend. Pack light! You don't need that much out on the Camino. You might walk to Orisson with your pack and see how it feels. Jacotrans can always take it rest of the way to Roncesvalles the next day for you if necessary.

    I honestly don't think you'll regret crossing the Pyrenees. However, you might reget not having done it later on.

    Regarding a jacket, I carry a very lightweight Gor-tex shell from Northface. I love layers. So along with my jacket, I pack two t-shirts, a long-sleeved under layer, and a down vest. My poncho takes care of me on those very rainy days that one does encounter.

    Don't hesitate to ask more questions on the Forum. I know you'll have a great Camino!

    Buen Camino!
     
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  14. oldman

    oldman Oldman Donating Member

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    Hi Dee Dee. I have done all three, all in bad weather . First started in Roncesvalles got a taxi share (4) from Pamplona second SJPP to Roncesvalles all the way, third stopped in Orisson .next time I will book into Roncesvalles and spend all the hours of daylight walking over the hill if the weather is good if not I will go the Valcarlos rout .I still want to see the hill in all its splendour .
    Burn Camino
     
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