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Is September Too Late?

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by Garrett, Aug 7, 2017.

  1. Garrett

    Garrett New Member

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    Guys,

    I am planning to walk the Camino this September, starting early September and hopefully being done late September or first week of October. Is this too late to walk? I head mention that many of the hostels will be closed as the season comes to an end and I really dont want to run into the issue of not having anywhere to sleep!

    Thanks!
    Garrett
     
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  2. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Garrett - Welcome to the Forum! September is said to be one of the great months for walking the Camino. In fact, a number of regular participants on this forum will be on the trail the same time you plan to walk. The season really doesn't come to an end until later in November so you will have no worries regarding the albergues being open. You will find plenty of places to sleep, but there will be a certain amount of competition for beds due to the number of pilgrims on The Way at that time. September isn't far away. Hopefully, you've already started getting ready. Be sure to reserve a bed in SJPP. I'd recommend doing that in Roncesvalles as well. Buen Camino!
     
  3. Garrett

    Garrett New Member

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    Great! That is such a relief to hear, thank you for the response! Are those usually just busy being that they are the first two nights for all other pilgrims?
     
  4. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    It is both the first one or two night and limited beds. Orisson has the least and many people pass it by.
     
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  5. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    I would aim for the very beginning of September as I set off from Saint Jean Pied de Port in October a few years ago and although I had fabulous weather as far as Burgos, it then really deteriorated with a cold rain that soon turned the paths into quagmires of glutinous mud that stuck to the soles of my boots making them weigh several kilos each and making me stop every few yards to clean the worst of it off – Not a pleasant experience at all !!

    Luckily for me, I had planned to walk the Camino in two stages, so after 3 days of this I flew home and came back 2 years later in the September to complete the Camino, and again had a lot of fabulous weather,



    With your accommodation –

    1. Definitely reserve your bed / room at Saint Jean Pied de Port – Sites like booking.com have both beds in private Albergue’s and rooms in hotels, but book ASAP as the cheaper / better options get booked up early
    2. If you are considering staying at Orisson then it’s essential to book your bed there http://www.refuge-orisson.com/en/ – Many pilgrims walk from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles in a single day (I did so myself, but at that time there wasn’t the option of staying at Orisson) – However, I now recommend that unless you are a hardened experienced trekker then staying at Orisson is a good idea and has the advantage that this allows you to do some sightseeing in Saint Jean Pied de Port before you start your walk (Many Pilgrims miss doing this and Saint Jean Pied de Port is a really beautiful; place and far too nice to miss) – So, apart from the obvious of it easing you into your pilgrimage by splitting the first and usually considered as the hardest day of the walk into two. You needn’t set off until you have taken an early lunch and can then walk the 8k uphill to Orisson and have a leisurely start to your pilgrimage.

      Just one thing to be aware of when making your booking and that is Not to use the contact from on the above website, but to reserve your beds using the email address next to the contact form, then, as there have been a few reports of people who haven’t had confirmation emails sent, if it were me, I would telephone them just so that I was 100% sure that I had a bed waiting for me when I arrive :)
    3. It is now also possible to book a bed in the municipal Refugio at Roncesvalles on their website at http://www.alberguederoncesvalles.com/
    4. closer to Santiago de Compostela – The closer you get to Santiago de Compostela, the busier the “Way” will get – You will see this slowly happen and be able to judge for yourself when there is a need to book a bed in advance, but I would certainly expect that, IF you are intending walking well into the afternoon then you will have to book in advance after Sarria and probably even before – But if you are stopping walking soon after mid day then it might well be possible to walk all the way from Orisson without reserving a bed
    Usually (Apart from Roncesvalles) if you need to reserve a bed, you can only do so in private Albergue’s and hotels, Municipal Refugio’s operate on a first come, first served basis – But If you need to reserve a bed, you will be able to do this on a day to day basis, so will still be able to maintain most of your flexibility.

    I hope the above info helps

    Best Regards

    Rob
     
  6. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Garrett - During the season, SJPP is usually busy so a bed reservation is recommended. Here's a pretty good list of albergues along the Camino and you will see the SJPP choices.

    http://caminoteca.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/List-of-Albergues-2016.pdf

    Regarding Roncesvalles, the number of beds they are now offering has been greatly reduced and there are no other good cheap options in town. So, best to book there on their website.

    http://www.alberguederoncesvalles.com/

    With maybe as many as 300 pilgrims leaving SJPP on an early September day, it's best to reserve ahead.

    From there on, the crowd does begin to space out a bit. If it looks like there is a lot of competition for beds, ask an hospitalero to call ahead for you and check on bed availability at a particular albergue.

    Generally speaking, if you arrive early in the afternoon, beds are readily found. I always aimed at ending my walking day by 1:30. I was often the first one at an albergue and beds were available. Later in in the afternoon, it might be a different story. So, leave early, stop early. That way you'll also be able to enjoy a relaxing afternoon at your destination. Buen Camino!
     
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  7. NOQ1015

    NOQ1015 Member

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    Hi Garrett! I am leaving the end of August and have made reservations at SJJP, Orisson and Roncesvalles.
    From that point on, it's day by day. All this on recommendation from Wily.
    I have to tell you, knowing I have a place to "land" those first few days makes all the difference in my peace of mind. But make them now. This is my first Camino but from the reading I've done, things get booked up quickly. Perhaps we will meet along the way. Buen Camino!
     
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  8. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    I was under the impression that Wily booked his accommodation in advance all the way to Santiago de Compostela when he walked his own Camino Frances ??



    Please pop up a posting letting us all know how you get on

    Buen Camino

    Rob
     
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  9. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Rob - I did book almost all of my reservations before leaving home. Worked out quite well! I think what NOQ is referring to was my recommendation to definitely book SJPP and Roncesvalles. Like you, I've never overnighted in Orisson. Although I liked the flexibility reservations gave me, others like to play it more by ear. We all figure out what works best as we move along The Way. Buen Camino.
     
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  10. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the clarification Wily – Hopefully NOQ1015 will post again to clarify his own comment and then everyone will understand :)

    Figuring out what works best as we move along The Way can be quite a steep learning curve, and also an expensive one if you find yourself at a Refugio that is full and need to get a taxi to the next available place with beds !!

    Best Regards

    Rob
     
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  11. Ginamarie

    Ginamarie Member

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    FYI-I tried to book Orisson for 8/31 several days and they are already full on that date.
     
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  12. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to hear that Ginamarie – But if you have only just tried to reserve your bed at Orisson in the past few days, then, as it’s only 2 ½ weeks away, it’s not that surprising that they are already full.



    I usually recommend people to book their Saint Jean Pied de Port beds (Rooms), their Orisson beds and now, their Roncesvalles beds as soon as they have their flights booked – Sorry if this info is no use to you Ginamarie, but it might just be to someone else :)



    Best Regards

    Rob
     
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  13. Paloma

    Paloma New Member

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    Garrett, I walked the Camino sept. 14, 2016 and it was perfect!! Not too many crowds , weather good, some rain in Galicia, which is to be expected, but never had a problem with finding places to sleep! Go! Buen Camino.
     
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  14. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Gina-Marie - If you've been getting in shape for your Camino, you'll be fine crossing the Pyrenees in a single day. As there are very few beds in Orisson, most pilgrims do the SJPP to Roncesvalles as one stage. Leave early, take a nice break in Orisson, and just walk at a slow, but steady pace. At the top, take the road down not the trail through the woods. Do reserve a bed in Roncesvalles if you haven't already done so. Ideally, you'll have a beautiful day in the mountains and enjoy a relaxing evening and well deserved rest in Roncesvalles. Buen Camino!
     
  15. Ginamarie

    Ginamarie Member

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    Thank you Wily. Yes and have reservation for 2 nights in Pamplona for a break and check out the City and eat tapas!
     
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  16. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Wonderful! My regret is that I simply passed through Pamplona. I would have loved a second day there, but that gives me reason to return. As both Greg and I have mentioned before, breaking in Pamplona is a good idea. Although it may seem early in your Camino, you will be tired after three full days of hiking as you're still adjusting to life on the Camino. Plus, it's such a great city for tapas, sidewalk cafes, and charming narrow streets. Do treat yourself to something to eat and drink at Bar Gaucho or Cafe Iruña. Both are great places either on or just off the main plaza. There is so much to enjoy on the Camino. Glad you're planning a rest day in Pamplona. Buen Camino!
     
  17. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    Garrett - exactly as above. I walked my first in Sept/Oct and had great weather right up until about October 9th. Then it rained for 3 days straight in Santiago (although Santiago is beautiful in the rain). One thing to remember is that most places don't turn the heat on in Spain until very late in the year, making rain gear and some warm clothing options a good idea.

    The place I didn't book ahead that I wished I had on that Camino was in Los Arcos. There is a long stretch before and a long stretch after, so people seem to bottleneck there. I ended up in the last lodging with any availability in Los Arcos - in a room with at least 100 dead flies for roommates and a drunk guy sunning himself on the patio outside my door.:0)).
     
  18. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Ginamarie - Just a couple of thoughts that have occurred to me overnight





    When you tried to reserve your bed at Orisson, did you also ask if they had any beds available at the nearby
    Kayola gîte ??



    There was a recent thread on here where someone also wanted to break the Saint Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles section into two stages and couldn’t find accommodation to enable them to do this, so, they walked up to Orisson one afternoon, returned to Saint Jean Pied de Port by taxi, then spent the night at Saint Jean Pied de Port, caught a taxi back to Orisson the next morning and continued their walk to Roncesvalles.

    Now this may sound somewhat convoluted, but, especially if you aren’t an experienced walker, better than burning out on your first day.



    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
  19. Ginamarie

    Ginamarie Member

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    Rob, Yes actually the kind man at Orisson said there was another place nearby I could stay and meet back at Orisson the next morning. But it took him so long to reply back to my email that I had already made plans to do exactly what you said in the second paragraph. I am pleased with anything.
     
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  20. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    That’s (Almost) Perfect Ginamarie and as you wanted to split this, your first and hardest day of your Camino into two parts, a Much Better idea than attempting the crossing of the Pyrenees in a single day.

    Buen Camino

    Rob
     
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  21. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi Ginamarie

    You must be getting very excited at this stage. Only a couple more weeks! My wife and I will start from Fromista on the 25th of September to walk as far as Leon. Out paths might cross but I suspect you will be way ahead of us.

    On your question re breaking up the first day, have you tried Express Bourricot. They provide a service (the Mountain Shuttle) which will pick you up from different points on the Route Napoleon and return you to St Jean. They will then drop you back up to that same place the following day. Here's the link:-

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

    They also provide a very good transfer from Biarritz airport to St Jean.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
  22. Ginamarie

    Ginamarie Member

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    Hi Greg, Yes, beyond excited. Losing sleep excited. If I continue to stay on pace with Tina-Marie we will be in Leon for two nights starting Sept. 26th so unfortunately probably miss you both. So nice to see your return! Enjoy every minute! Thank you for link. I will certainly be using them. But I will be arriving from Madrid-Pamplona-AltaBus.

    Buen Camio
     
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  23. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi Ginamarie

    You have a wonderful adventure awaiting you. That first day over the Pyrenees is one of the most challenging but surely my greatest memory on the Camino. As Rob and others have said so many times, make sure to take time to stop and smell the roses. I remember my first day and thinking "well we need to get moving, it's a long road and we need to get there". Thankfully my wife managed to insist we stop and take it all in.

    One final piece of advice, given that you are allowing yourself an extra day in Pamplona, can I urge you to take a little detour on the way from Larrasona to Pamplona to visit the church of St Stephen at Zabaldika. It is truly one of the gems of the Camino.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017 at 11:01 AM
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