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Pilgrims In St Jean

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by BROWNCOUNTYBOB, Sep 19, 2019.

  1. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    I read a few threads recently regarding how overcrowded St Jean was with pilgrims. One report said there was a queue waiting to get in at the pilgrims office several hundred long. My wife and I took the bus from Pamplona this morning. We knew that the Pulgrim’s office closed at noon from our prior Camino. As soon as we arrived in St Jean, we grabbed our backpacks and briskly walked the steep uphill street to the Pilgrims office. We arrived at 11;55 and walked in with no one in front of us . We walked right up to an English speaking staff person and were promptly processed. I noticed just as I put my backpack on the floor the door was closed behind us. When the doors reopened after lunch there was a queue of 30 or so pilgrims waiting to get in, Certainly not huge numbers like reported a few weeks ago.

    Speaking with several pilgrim couples today, I was surprised that many are planning to stay at Roncesvalles in a day or two, but most had not made reservations . Time will tell if they will get beds when they arrive.

    Bob
     
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  2. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Glad to see that you are actually starting. Have a great trip. Buen Camino!
     
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  3. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Well the trend of many pilgrims but too few beds continued. Cindi and I had reservations at Hotel Roncesvalles and it was a deluxe room in a centuries old building, we celebrated our arrival at Casa Sabina with beer and wine and met many other joyous pilgrims. We met two wonderful lassies from Ireland. They were not able to make reservations at the Roncesvalles allergies or other options in town. After a few drinks, they headed down the road for beds in Espinal - 90 minutes further. We are staying in Zubiri this evening and all places we saw were complete. Glad we have advance reservations . Bob
     
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  4. Bryan Morlock

    Bryan Morlock Pilgrim Bryan

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    Have an absolutely great walk and great time.
     
  5. Maya Grandmother

    Maya Grandmother Active Member

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    So happy to hear of your next adventure. Enjoy your trek together.
     
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  6. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Bob - We are just two weeks behind you. We start off from SJPP, Friday, October 4. I certainly appreciate your comments about the crowds. As before, my wife and I have reservations in albergues and small inns for the entirety of our two-week trek. Although we’re walking on past Roncesvalles to Burguete this time, we do plan a celebratory stop at Casa Sabina for a drink before tackling the last three kilometers. I think you walked the Valcarlos Route, correct? That’s our plan as well. Safe travels and Buen Camino!!
     
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  7. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    @Wily glad to see you heading out again, Buen Camino
     
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  8. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Thanks Unklehammy. Really looking forward to sharing the CF with my wife. Because of our new business, we can only be away two weeks, but that’s plenty of time to make it to Burgos. We’ll complete the Camino either this coming spring or maybe another fall trek. We’ll be going a bit slower than I did the first time so as to see a few things along The Way that I missed. Taking more time to smell the roses (or perhaps the grapes as it’s harvest time). In any case, the magnetism of the Camino has pulled us back again and we can’t wait to take those first steps out of Saint Jean. Take care and Buen Camino!
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
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  9. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Wily, thanks for the message. Great that you will be sharing CF with your wife. Yes we walked the Valcarlos route to Roncesvalles. We really liked it. Lots of hiking through quiet county lanes at the beginning. There are two places we stopped for cafe con levee and to refill our water bottles. Then there is a nice walk through the forest, and of course a steep uphill climb at the end.

    Like you we have reservations each night and have not been disappointed. Several have been fantastic. After carrying my backpack every step in 2015 and 2017, I used a transport service for the first day and yesterday (alto de perdon) and carried a light daypack. It worked great! Also we are taking the time to smell the roses. Yesterday we took the detour to see Enuare. Quite fascinating.

    Enjoy your final days of preparation. You and your wife will be on the trail soon. Buen Camino! Bob
     
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  10. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Cindi and I stayed in Ventosa last night, which is no longer on the Camino route, but just a small detour off the Camino. We stayed in a Casa Rural which was great. Not much going on in the town - not a single grocey store!

    Apparently the overcrowding of the Camino continues . The albergue in Ventosa was completo early afternoon. The owner of the casa rural saidthat no rooms were available in Nejers or Azofra. Throughout the afternoon pilgrims arrived on foot and on bike asking about beds but none were available .

    Today Cindi and I hiked 19.5 miles. Long walk but the weather was great and tomorrow we only hike 15 kms. Bob
     
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  11. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Looks like the heavy pilgrim traffic have subsided. There have been very few pilgrims on the trail the last few days. It’s now split between pilgrims with reservations or just finding a place when they arrive.

    The weather continues to be fantastic blue skies and high 70 temps. Today was hiking day 11 since we left St Jean. Just arrived in Villafranca de Montes de Oca and are staying at San Anton Abad. What an incredible place! A former monastery that had been a pilgrim hospital dating back to the 14th century. We have a huge luxurious room with breakfast included for 72 euros!

    Hiking into Burgos Wednesday. Bob
     
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