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Discussion in 'General Chat' started by PALAWAN, Feb 19, 2017.

  1. PALAWAN

    PALAWAN New Member

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    I'm the type of person that simply buys a plane ticket, get off, get a hotel, and then figure out what to do from there. Usually get something to eat!

    But this time, I'm thinking that I have to get a pass book, so that I can get a bed, if beds are available, so I have to reserve a bed, but I have no idea where I'm going or where I will be at any given time. Only thing is certain, I will be enjoying the food where ever I am.

    I was instructed a long time ago, to listen to good advice. Now, that's what I'm going to do here. I'll share my idea, and if you could simply share what to do next that would be a big help. (Please remember, I'd like to get a bed for the night, and NOT have to reserve it, and walk!

    I would like to walk from France to Spain. If I take a month to do it, that's fine! I'm not really interested in going over the tops of Mountains.

    Question which airport do I land in.
    I can figure out how to get to the starting line, if I simply have a town name!
    Can I purchase the Pass Book, I guess where they put a stamp in, but more important it allows me to get a bed.
    What is the best time to travel? I was thinking April, now I read, Easter is in the middle of April and this place may be crowded and beds may be taken. I can go after April, or even before. No problem for me? So is it better to go in March? When exactly, or end of April?

    Thank you,

    Joe
     
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  2. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Joe - Lots of good questions and welcome to the Forum.

    If you don't want to cross the mountains, then start in Pamplona. However, starting in SJPP and going over the Pyrenees is pretty magnificent. In any case, many pilgrims start in Pamplona and cross Spain in about 30 days arriving in Santiago.

    The Pilgrim's Credential or Passport can be purchased in any number of places and it only costs 2€. In Pamplona, you can get it at the municipal albergue. One can also pick it up at pilgrim offices and churches. In a sense, it is your admission ticket to the albergues or hostels. It recognizes you as a pilgrim. One gets it stamped along The Way as proof of the journey. In Santiago it is what shows you are qualified to receive the Compostela.

    The spring months are wonderful for walking the Camino. Summer will be the most crowded time. From town to town you generally have a choice between the municipal and the private albergues. You cannot reserve ahead in the municipales so it is a first come first served situation. In general, if you arrive at your destination early in the afternoon, you will find a bed. The positive side of having a reservation in a private albergue is that you know a bed is waiting for you at the end of the day. During the busy months, you will find some pilgrims hitting the trail as early as 4:30 am to get to the next town and get in line for a bed at the municipal albergue. Not really something I wanted to do so reservations worked quite well to walk the Camino my way. If you want to check out the number of albergues across the Camino, go to gronze.com. It will give you a good sense of the size and number of accomodations by town.

    You won't find the month of April overly crowded even during Easter week. Get to your destination early and you'll find a bed. Finally, since you mentioned food twice, the food across Spsin is extraordinary particularly the tapas in Navarra. Buen Camino!
     
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  3. PALAWAN

    PALAWAN New Member

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    I'm going to follow your suggestion. May I ask about where do I land in France (What's the name of the airport?
     
  4. PALAWAN

    PALAWAN New Member

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    I agree with starting early, in the a.m., and your correct 0430 is way to early. But, I hope to do short walks, and then spend the rest of the afternoon just walking around the village. Good advice about getting pass port when I get there. As for clothes hope to keep it to a minimum. I'll wear sneakers for now, and hope to purchase some walking shoes when I land. Oh, just to make conversation, what does it cost to spend the night in a hostel or where the beds are for those that walk? Roughly?
     
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  5. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Joe - Most pilgrims fly into Paris or Madrid. If you are going to skip the mountain stage, I'd suggest flying into Madrid (MAD) or even Barcelona (BCN). From either of those cities, it's an easy train ride to Pamplona. However, if you were to start in Saint Jean Pied de Port and cross the Pyrenees, fly into Paris (CDG) and take the train to Bayonne and then on to SJPP.
     
  6. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    I like your plan of short walking days and then enjoying life in the small towns in the afternoons. A bed in an albergue typically runs 5-10€. The municiples tend to be less expensive. However, one might pay as little as 5€ at a private albergue although I found the majority of them to be around 10€.

    Your idea of going light will work very well on the Camino. You don't really need much! Keeping your pack weight down will also make the walking more enjoyable. If you do start out in Pamplona, you'll find any number of outfitters who can help you with a good pair of shoes and good socks as well. To walk far, carry less! Buen Camino!
     
  7. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    If you fly into Madrid then you can fly into Biarritz grab a taxi to Bayonne and get the train there. At the Biarritz air port many of the people there are hikers and it is easy to find some to share a taxi. Hikers wear hiking clothes, no suits and ties, and tend to carry a backpack.
     
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  8. PALAWAN

    PALAWAN New Member

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    I am beginning to realize, I just may have to cross the Pyreneese. I wanted to start in France, and walk to Spain! So, it sounds like I'm going to Paris then take a train to Bayonne! Got it! Hope I got that right?
     
  9. PALAWAN

    PALAWAN New Member

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    So in short, fly to Paris, take a train to Bayonne (will this get me to Saint Jean Pied de Port?) Looks like I have a starting point. I'll buy my passport there, socks and walking shoes, and pack very light.

    What to wear? Shorts? jeans? t-shirt anything else I should bring?

    "if rain, I'm NOT walking!" I'll be eating!
     
  10. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Hi Palawan

    You already have quite a few answers to your questions – BUT, I can’t help noticing that all these answers relate to one Camino that is the Camino Frances – This isn’t surprising as most posters are giving you info based on their own experiences and as 63.37% of All pilgrims walk the Camino Frances and the remaining 36.65% are divided between ALL the other Caminos !!



    So – You initially said that you want to walk from France to Spain, so you could either walk from Saint Jean Pied de Port as already mentioned – Two routes from here and both options are explained at http://caminoways.com/route-napoleon-valcarlos

    Or

    You could walk over The Col de Somport on The Camino Aragones

    http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/50192/2c/

    Or

    As you said that you had no real interest in crossing the mountains, why don’t you walk across the border from Hendaye to Irun and walk The Camino Norte

    http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/50192/42d90/

    and

    http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/50192/bc/

    If you opt for this idea then flying into Paris and out of Madrid would probably be your best option

    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
  11. danvo

    danvo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Closest airport to Saint-Jean is Biarritz (BIQ) so you can combine your flights (to and from Paris, Madrid or London) often with very good price. Just search :) I flew to SJPP from Bratislava through London :)
     
  12. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    I hiked in long pants that had legs that zipped off to make shorts. I used long pants up to Orisson and used shorts from Orisson to Rochevalles.
     
  13. PALAWAN

    PALAWAN New Member

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    Rob, your giving me something to think about. Late right now, just refereed a basketball game, and want to check email. I'll reread everything you shared tomorrow morning, (Philippine time) where I am located now and then give everything some serious thought. Thank you, and thanks for sending me the links too! I'll be checking them all out!
     
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  14. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Joe - If you're walking in the spring, plan on some rain. It's part of the Camino experience! My best advice to you is simply be prepared for it by having the correct clothing and equipment.

    With regards to clothes, first visit some of the threads on this Forum regarding equipment. As you already indicated, you know to pack light so leave the jeans in the Philippines. You want both lightweight pants and shirts. I travel with two pairs of pants, one that can be zipped off into shorts. My couple t-shirts are made from a moisture wicking material. I also carry a long-sleeved underlayer for chilly mornings and to sleep in. Get a lightweight waterproof jacket. It's also helpful to have a cover for your backpack to keep it dry in case you do get caught in the rain.

    What I would suggest to you is to research what a pilgrim's kit generally consists of and go from there. You can buy a great deal of it in France or Spain, but you should know in advance what you're looking for. Buen Camino!
     
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  15. PALAWAN

    PALAWAN New Member

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    Great advice, thank you. I guess getting out of the rain is not as easy as one would think. Maybe when I see clouds in the sky, I just stay put for the day. One day more won't hurt me. Yet, in case I do get caught in the rain, I'll purchase a jacket to help keep the rain off. Thank you for the suggestions. Ya, I'll do a bit more reading in the equipment area!
     
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  16. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Joe - To quote Professor Henry Higgins from My Fair Lady, "The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain." Well, that's just not true! One might encounter rain anywhere in northern Spain particularly in the spring. When I walked last April-May, the rain was generally very light except in Galicia, the province one goes through at the end of the Camino. So, except for a couple heavy rain days, rest of the walk was very manageable regarding spring weather. Nonetheless, if you were to encounter a really bad weather day, just hunker down and "eat".
     
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  17. PALAWAN

    PALAWAN New Member

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    Got it! "Eat" will do!
     
  18. PALAWAN

    PALAWAN New Member

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    I looked over all of the links that you shared. I wrote down land in Paris, take train to SJPP, and begin my walk there. (I like to keep things simple) I'd also like to stay away from the Mts. What are your thoughts? Will I be successful with these simple directions?
     
  19. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    To Be Honest Palawan, IF you want to avoid the mountains (Pyrenees) then it doesn’t make any sense starting your Camino in Saint Jean Pied de Port as even if you don’t cross the Col de Lepoeder (at 1,450m) and opt for the Valcarlos route, you still have a lot of ascent !! – Whereas walking across the border from Hendaye to Irun and walk The Camino Norte is starting off more or less at sea level and roughly following the coast to Ribadeo where you turn your back to the sea and head inland towards Santiago de Compostela – But the reality is that there aren’t any Flat Camino’s whichever one you chose :)

    Best Regards

    Rob
     
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  20. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Joe - I know you said you wanted to walk from France to Spain, but truely, all you're doing is walking past a marker in the trail. To avoid the mountains, you don't want to start in SJPP. But, at the same time, I think the best Camino for your first and maybe only one is the Francés. This is the Camino that most pilgrims walk! Therefore, think seriously about starting in Pamplona and walk to Santiago. All you're doing is cutting off three stages. Pamplona is a common starting point for many and it avoids the climb over the Pyrenees. It's also simple enough to fly into Madrid or Barcelona and take the train to your starting point. But as Rob indicated, there really aren't any flat Caminos. You will have some climbing regardless of the one you choose although some have tougher mountain days than others. Most of the Francés is very hiker friendly.
     
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  21. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    I have to Disagree with you Wily

    When you have walked a few more camino’s yourself, you will be in a better position to advice, but as, so far, the Camino Frances is the only one you have walked you really don’t have the experience to make comparisons

    Best Regards

    Rob
     
  22. PALAWAN

    PALAWAN New Member

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    Thank you for sharing Rob. I am beginning to see the light! no flat lands, so over the top I go. Not a problem, in pretty good shape....and the objective is to enjoy the view, not race through it. Right!
     
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  23. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Not making a comparison Rob, just stating a fact that most pilgrims choose the Francés for their first Camino for lots of very good reasons. That doesn't mean there aren't other good options, of course there are. Joe will make the right choice for himself based on lots of good comments we all offer him. That's what the a forum is all about! Buen Camino!
     
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  24. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Not wishing to pick a fight with you wily, but don’t you think that the reason at least some Pilgrims choose The Camino Frances is that they think that it is the Only Camino??
    I certainly didn’t know that there was So Many to choose from when I set of on my 1st Camino 16 years ago – And, Yes, you are right, that was also The Camino Frances. in fact some of my friends sill think that I keep returning to Spain to walk the same paths !!

    Take yourself, when you set off last year on your Camino Frances, were you aware of how many other Caminos there were to choose from.

    I used to say that Camino walking was one of Spain’s best kept secrets, but, alas, “The Way” put an end to that.

    One of England’s most prolific Camino walkers was a friend of mine called Piers Nicholson and I used to take photos for his website, this website was sponsored by several differing “Authorities” in Spain and part of the remit of this site was to promote lesser known Camino’s so that the crowds that already walk The Camino Frances didn’t become even more excessive, however, with the European financial crisis’s, unfortunately the funding dried up for the project

    In fact, getting info on lesser known Camino’s can be very hard, so forums like this can really help.

    I Hope that you don’t think my earlier post was too harsh and that once you have competed your planned Camino Portuguese, you will then have a better understanding that all Caminos differ greatly and just because a Camino is less walked than The Camino France, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a lesser Camino :)

    Best Regards

    Rob
     
  25. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    In fact Rob, I would agree with most of your post here except rather than using the word "many" I might tend toward "most" pilgrims, meaning first time pilgrims, go toward the Camino Francés as the ONLY one that they know of. In the States there is little knowledge of the others and it's likely to be the same elsewhere. Few Americans even know of the classic CF.

    I, too, have learned a great deal this past year from folks like you and others about other Caminos that now top my interest list to walk before returning to the CF for a second time. After I walk the Portugués next month, I'll let you know if I chose the wrong one to do first! Buen Camino!
     
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  26. Dominique

    Dominique Member

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    You've had lots of good answers and I haven't read them all.. Where are you flying from? For me, that would inform my answer..
     
  27. Donna

    Donna Member

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    If you have already purchased round trip tickets to Madrid for August what is the likely hood you could change to Biarritz? I don't fly out of the country so my knowledge is nil
     
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  28. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Donna - Because of the penalties involved with changing a ticket, it would problably be cheaper to simply buy a one-way ticket from Madrid to Biarritz. From what I found on Iberia, you might get a ticket for as little as $60.
     
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  29. Donna

    Donna Member

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    That's not bad :)
     
  30. Rainyday woman

    Rainyday woman Member

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    [QUOTE="PALAWAN, post: 44161 I'll wear sneakers for now, and hope to purchase some walking shoes when I land. [/QUOTE]
    Hi Palawan, it might be better to get your walking shoes before you go and break them in. If the fit isn't right you could end up with blisters on your first day out :( Hope all your plans go smoothly, Buen Camino
     
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