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Important Notice Regarding The Albergue In Roncesvalles

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by Greg Canning, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    It is more likely that I might have two beers and not think of you at all. I hope to have several nice talks with people that I had just met during my nicer walk.
     
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  2. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    Tell Caroline Hi from us all if you think of it, UnkleHammy. Her English is very good.
     
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  3. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    In reality I will probably never forget the dozen or do of this group that I have met through various postings here. That goes double for the few I have sent PMs to.
     
  4. El Condor 2014

    El Condor 2014 Active Member Donating Member

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    Hi @Greg Canning , thanks for the info. a friend of mine left Australia ( 1st time pilgrim ) a couple of days ago and I told him not to worry about making reservations for the albergue in Roncesvalles. ( He starts the Camino in 2 weeks )
    Thanks to you , I have made a reservation for him and all is well.
    Greatly appreciated !
    That is one of the many reasons I LOVE this forum !

    Regards

    Jose
     
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  5. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi Jose

    No problem. Over the last couple of years I've received great advice on lots and lots of subjects on this forum. From gear and packing to travel advice so it's nice to be able to make a small contribution.

    As I said in another post yesterday this forum has become an essential part of my own Camino. The positive approach from everyone on here and the openness in helping others is all just another part of the great Camino experience.

    Hope all goes well for you and your friend.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
  6. Mary

    Mary Member

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    I made reservations for myself and my daughter including the 7PM meal. So glad I did! I will bring the confirmation paperwork with us just in case. I only paid for 4 night stays in advance. All the other places we just made reservations. There are still many nights though that we are just going to have to wing it! We also got an AirBNB apartment in Santiago. Wanted to make sure we had a nice place to relax when we get there! 5 more weeks to go!!!
     
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  7. El Condor 2014

    El Condor 2014 Active Member Donating Member

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    Something to consider when making your reservation at Roncesvalles.
    When making the reservation there are 2 options for Dinner , @ 19.00 and @20.30.
    There is a blessing of pilgrims Mass in the church at 19.00, therefore if you intend going to the Mass ( which is really nice, in the little church ) make your dinner booking for 20.30

    Buen Camino

    Jose
     
  8. pathfinder

    pathfinder New Member

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    I was just able to reserve a bed for May 10, 2017 at Roncesvalles without any problem, the credit card went though and reservation confirmed, so have that one covered I think, though I have to admit I'm not looking forward to the huge room of bunk beds, never done that before, outside under the stars sounds better but I guess I'll have to get used to it if I'm going to do the Camino this way. My issue is with Orrison, I wanted to take that little chunk off the first stretch from SJPP to Roncesvalles, but the website for the albergue in Orrison only has a comments section, unless I'm missing something so I used that and asked for a reservation for May 9th, have not had any reply, when I tried to call, the first guy acted very upset that I had the nerve to call if I don't speak french, I tried, but not up to his standards I guess and he made very strange mocking sounds at me and told me to call back another time when someone was there that spoke english. I called back, got a gal that did speak english but she didn't seem to want to talk either and just kept telling me to go to the website, that I couldn't reserve a room over the phone, but the website says you can. I'm a little concerned but I guess it will be what it will be, not much else I can do at this point. Hunto is an option I guess but it's so close to SJPP, might just stay in SJPP an extra night and do the full stretch to Roncesvalles the next day.
     
  9. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi Pathfinder

    We did the crossing in one go so I can't help with advice on Orisson. In fact when we tried to stop there for lunch it was so busy we kept walking. Luckily we had brought some bread and cheese we had bought in the Lidl supermarket in St Jean because there was nowhere else to get food once past Orisson.

    You could consider using Express Bourricot. They provide a shuttle service on the mountain. You can climb as far as the Virgin of Orisson and they will collect you and bring you back to St Jean. They will then drop you back the following day to where you stopped.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
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  10. El Condor 2014

    El Condor 2014 Active Member Donating Member

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    Hi @pathfinder, Don't know if you have tried this ,
    Go to www.refuge-orisson.com/en
    Refuge Orisson
    Once the web page opens , scroll all the way down till you see Contact Us
    Fill the form and submit
    You should get an email back with confirmation and payment method.

    You may also take a chance and check once you get to Orisson in case someone have cancelled

    Hopefully it works out for you.

    Buen Camino
     
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  11. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Pathfinder - Don't be overly concerned about the dorm in Roncesvalles. The renovated section has it divided up into four bed sections which offers a bit of privacy. You'll quickly get used to dorm sleeping. It's not all that bad, but do have earplugs with you. There's always a snorer in every room it seems!

    Like Greg, I, too, passed by Orisson and did the SJPP to Roncesvalles trek in a single day. I know some stay in Orisson, but since they only have 28 beds, most pilgrims walk over the mountain with a stop in Orisson only for coffee or something to eat. If you're in good shape for a day in the mountains, you'll be fine going all they way in one shot.

    I looked at the Refuge de Orisson website and it appears that you reserve, as you tried to, via their "Contact Us" link. I don't see any other way to do it. As a number of folks on this Forum have reserved there, maybe they can offer some further advice. Because you have emailed them, you may already have a bed reserved. But, I agree with you, I, too, would like a confirmation of that. Buen Camino!
     
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  12. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    I initially had problems with Orisson. Eventually I got a confirmation email and everything worked out. I think that you hit on their problem in that their englishh is limited and they have to get a translator to help. It might be someone's child has to get home from school, etc. Eventually it all worked out OK for me, but it took longer than I expected.
     
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  13. Pam Simpson

    Pam Simpson Member

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    Oh my! If I'd have reached Roncesvalles and not been able to find a bed last year I think I might have cried and cried and cried! I was absolutely shattered! It was a fabulous first day's walking but I didn't reach the albergue until approx. 1730 - thank the Lord my friend and I got a bed! Watch out - there'll be a Premier Inn or Travelodge there in a few years ;)
     
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  14. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi Pam

    When we did our first crossing we left St Jean very late (9.00 am) and didn't get to Roncesvalles until 8pm. We had made a lot of stops to take in the beautiful sights and to chat with fellow pilgrims and also made the mistake of taking the forest route down. By the time we reached Roncesvalles it was getting dark. Luckily we had reserved a room for the three of us in the Casa de los Beneficiados (at the time we didn't know you could reserve at the Albergue). I think if we had not had that safety-net we would have been very worried indeed.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
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  15. Wazza

    Wazza New Member

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    Hello, my wife and I are doing our first Camino in September. We are in our late 60's and quite fit. Based on what I have read we're planning on doing the Volcarlos route and staying a night at Volcarlos. That way we would limit the risk of no beds in Roncesvalle. Alternatively, if we're tired we'll book into a hotel if hostel accommodation is not available. Would be interested to know if many people do the Volcarlos route?
     
  16. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi Wazza and welcome to the forum.

    I'm afraid I can't really offer much advice on the Valcarlos route as I haven't walked it. I do understand that some of it involves walking alongside a very busy road.

    What I can say is that I wouldn't have missed the Napoleon route for anything. If as you say you are reasonably fit then you should be well able for it and the views and experience are well worth it. There are lots of options to make it easier too. You could choose to stay at Orisson or use the Express Bourricot service to drop you up part way. There is also the possibility to reserve a bed at the Albergue in Roncesvalles or , as we did, reserve a room at the Casa de los Beneficiados.

    Whatever you choose you will have a wonderful day and I hope a wonderful Camino.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
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  17. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Wazza - Welcome to the Forum. Like Greg, I have not walked the Valcarlos Route. However, I will say that my day crossing the Pyrenees on the Napoleon Route was my single best day on the Camino! Granted, I had an exceptionally beautiful late April day for hiking which made the walk all that much better. The views are, IMHO, unmatched by any others you'll have on the CF.

    As Greg points out, there are options even if you do cross via the Napoleon Route. As you are quite fit, you'll have no trouble with the SJPP to Roncesvalles stage. Being fit myself made the hike not just doable, but also enjoyable. Don't get me wrong, it is an uphill climb for 20 km., but most of the trail is paved. Fitness makes all the difference in how folks do hiking in the mountains.

    Nevertheless, there are other options to consider. Start out from SJPP mid-day and plan an overnight in Orisson. As Greg said, use the Express Bourricot service to bring you part way. There are luggage services like JacoTrans that can deliver your backpack to your destination. You could then hike comfortably with just a small daypack. Finally, because the albergue in Roncesvalles accepts reservations, you don't have to worry about arriving there and not getting a bed. In any case, options are something that you'll find all along the Camino. So, as you plan your Camino, don't necessarily cout out going by way of the Napoleon Route as I think you'll find it an amazing first day on your Camino.
     
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  18. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Wazza, my wife and I walked camino frances and the napoleon route in Sept 2017. I was 58 years old and she was almost 58. It was a clear day and the views were breathtaking. We walked straight through to Roncesvalles in one day. It took us slightly more than 8 hours hiking. We were/are quite fit and carried our backpacks. My wife developed several blisters the first day. Due to the steep climb down through the forest, I developed "black toe" and eventually lost my toe nail. The blisters on my wife's foot altered her gait for the following days. This turned into knee and ankle pain. We were successful getting to Santiago, but she later found out she developed two stress fractures. We are walking CF again this fall and my brother and his wife will join us for the entire CF to Santiago. My wife and I will walk the Valcarlos route this time. She will use Jakotrans to forward her backpack for the entire CF. My brother and his wife can decide whether to walk the Napoleon route (both age 59 and in good shape) or join us on the Valcarlos route.
     
  19. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Donating Member Donating Member

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    Hi BrowncountyBob, As I have yet to walk the CF (April 2018), my biggest fear are blisters
    affecting my Camino. I am curious, did you and your wife use hiking poles? Was wondering
    if that helps on the downhill? I know people also say that putting merino wool inside your
    toe box helps also. Don't really think I have enough room in my shoe for that. It seems if
    I don't develop blisters on my long training hikes, that I wouldn't get them on the Camino, but I don't think that is a sure thing! Ha.....nothing is guaranteed! I like to glean as much
    info as I can from you experienced pilgrims!
    It sounds like you have a great Camino planned in the fall. I am doing my first one solo,
    but I really would like my son or Grandson to join me in the future! Buen Camino
     
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  20. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Donating Member Donating Member

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    Sorry BCB, just read a may 7th post that said you DID use hiking poles. I guess some injuries
    can't be prevented. Just need to toughen up my feet! :)
     
  21. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Hindsfeet, yes, we both used trekking poles and they were absolutely essential for our successful camino. They helped us climbing hills nad on steep descents. Also are useful to keep your balance walking on rocks over streams or on rocky paths. We never lost our balance using them for the full camino. For parts of the meseta, I collapsed my trekking poles since it was easy walking. Regarding socks, we followed the advice from this forum - we bought boots that were one size larger since feet tend to swell after walking 15 miles per day, day after day. Also we used a double layer of socks, a silk liner then a merino wool sock. I only had one blister the entire walk and that was the day I walked in rain all day long. For our next camino, my wife has several pair of "toe socks", she'll wear merino wool sock as a second layer, she has foot glide roll on, and we'll bring a few rolls of paper tape. She's leaving the Vasque boots from her last trip home and will wear Soloman trail shoes. Finally, she'll ship her back pack ahead every day from St Jean all the way to Santiago. We are hopeful that all the measures above will really help her feet. A bonus for us is if we need special medical treatment, we are walking with my brother and his wife - both are medical doctors ! We had such a wonderful first camino, we're excited to experience it again in a few months.
     
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  22. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Hindsfeet - Bob really summarizes the "foot/shoe" issue very well. We all seem to have our owns preferences and twists on how to take care of our feet. Here are mine.

    Although I don't buy extra large shoes, I do pay close attention to the space I have in the toe box. I don't want a tight, crapped shoe. So, the shoe that's best for you might not be what someone elses chooses. You need to try on a number of shoes to see which one fits best. The other shoe issue for me is breaking them in well. For some folks, they wear them right out of the box. I prefer to log a substantial number of miles on them before taking them on a journey such as a Camino.

    You've read how both Greg and I advocates of Superfeet insoles. For me, they give that added support when hiking day after day.

    Trying to keep your feet as dry as possible may also help with avoiding foot problems. Between a Gor-tex lined shoe and low, lightweight gaiters, you have a better chance of keeping your feet dryer on those very rainy days.

    I, too, went to Injinji toe socks on my last Camino. If your toes aren't rubbing together, you're less likely to develop blisters. That's where mine started on the CF. Alternating toe sicks with a good mid-weight mereno wool sock worked perfectly last time. I've not needed to double sock or wear a liner.

    Body Glide is a great product and one I put on daily. It will help reduce the friction. I found that applying it in the morning was all I needed to do for the day.

    You may remember an earlier discussion on blisters and the "Spanish Method." As soon as one starts, address it immediately and keep it small. Keeping it drained and covered with paper tape will allow it to heal quickly. I'd avoid any product like Compeed.

    Finally, keep in mind that Spanish pharmacists may be the pilgrim's best friend. If a problem occurs, don't hesitate to seek their advice and assistance.

    Buen Camino!
     
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  23. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Donating Member Donating Member

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    ah....thanks gentlemen. I think I will be fine, will be sampling all of your suggestions on my
    daily hikes. You know, right now....even though I live in a place where the climate is pretty
    much amazing all year around, I have SPRING FEVER...and just want to run to the Camino!!
    Thanks again for all of your imput!!!!
     
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  24. Dabo

    Dabo New Member

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    Use the translator app. I speak no French and submitted my request in French with the help of the app. Good luck.
     
  25. Wazza

    Wazza New Member

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    Hello,
    Thankyou for responding to my post. We're still tossing up whether Napoleon or Volcarlos. I'm leaning to the Volcarlos as last December we did the Heathy track in NZ and my wife had feet and leg problems (first day was 7 hours uphill to 950 metres). As our aim for the Camino Frances is to enjoy, I want to derisk the first few days. We've made bookings at Roncesvalles so we still have the options open.
    By the way, we purchased some merino wool (known as Hikers Wool) and it's a small packet - it was a god send for my wife on the Heaphy track. Just wrap the wool around your toes and it minimises any blisters. We also purchased a pair of "ArmaSkin" socks to wear under our outer socks. They are brilliant and are guaranteed to make trekking blister free - we can recommend them!
     
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  26. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Wazza, during our last camino my wife developed several blisters which contributed to other problems as mentioned above. I've heard of Hikers Wool but not used it before. We'll purchase some so my wife will have a variety of options to prevent blisters during our second camino in September. Bob
     
  27. leebs6

    leebs6 New Member

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    I emailed Orisson, then called them when I had no reply (luckily I can speak French) and they said wait for the email reply, and after about a week or so they replied to say they were full but that we had two beds at Gite Kayola, their overflow, about 15 mins before Orisson. It was definitely worth booking, (and waiting) as we met some great people that night, who we've stayed in touch with even though we only walked to Pamplona that time. If you've just flown in from far and are jet-lagged, that climb up from St Jean is gruelling, especially in the heat - several people were ill on the day we did that small section ( we hadn't flown in, we'd just done our last ten days in France, but we didn't want to walk to Roncesvalles in one day) The atmosphere at the evening meal in Orisson is brilliant, such a good preparation for the Camino
     
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  28. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Leebs6 - Welcome to the Forum. That's really good information about Gite Kayola. As they only have 28 beds in Orisson, I'm sure that the overflow accommodations help a number of pilgrims out as it did in your case. One question for you. Did the people at Orisson transport you back and forth? The other thing your post reminds me of is that if one is going to make reservations, particularly at small albergues, do so well in advance. As you found, Orisson itself was already booked up. Even if your Camino is a few months out, it's not too early now to make reservations. Buen Camino!
     
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  29. leebs6

    leebs6 New Member

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    We booked several months ahead, as we knew Orisson is small. There was no transportation offered from Kayola to Orisson for the evening meal or for breakfast the following morning, so we had to walk (but then, to be honest, we didn't ask for a lift). At Kayola there is one dorm upstairs with 8 up-down bunk beds and a (rather damp) room downstairs with a double bed. There is a kitchen, but I didn't look to see if the cooker worked as we'd booked meals at Orisson.
     
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  30. arun

    arun New Member

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    I just tried to book it for July 24 and other dates in July and the message is " The date indicated is out of Season". Really?
    Buen Camino.
     
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