1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Refuge Orisson

Discussion in 'Albergues - Hostels' started by rnwinters, Mar 9, 2018.

  1. rnwinters

    rnwinters Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2018
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    31
    Trophy Points:
    13
    Does the Refuge Orisson accept advanced reservations? I have been having trouble communicating with them. After three tries, I finally got a response to my e-mail question about availability and booking for a night in September. "OUI DANS LA JOURNEE" was the reply. Does this mean they only take reservations a day or two in advance? Their website says reservations can be made by mail, payable in cash or French check, but they don't provide a mailing address. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks. -- Bob
     
  2. danvo

    danvo Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2014
    Messages:
    685
    Likes Received:
    681
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Bratislava, Slovakia
  3. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2016
    Messages:
    460
    Likes Received:
    1,110
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Bob, is there any more text in the email? "Oui, dans la journee" isn't a response that would be very useful to anyone by itself. People have had trouble getting responses from them for years, but with persistence, usually they get around to responding eventually. It's as Danvo says - they book up far ahead. I never stay there, and have either done the day in one go or used Bourricot Express for a ride up with the luggage transfer van to the point where the really scenic parts start, which misses the worst first 5K up to Hunto. Some people really like staying at Orisson for the group spirit that they promote. At dinner people say they lead a "group session" where people are called on to each share their thoughts and feelings about doing the Camino. I'm just not the kind that appreciates those. They have a deck out front with stunning views, but there are other ways to do this if you continue to be unable to get a clear response from them.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
  4. rnwinters

    rnwinters Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2018
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    31
    Trophy Points:
    13
    Very helpful. Thanks. I'm not one for a "group session" kind of thing myself, but I do think it's best for me to break up the walk to Roncesvalle in two days and I want to carry my pack. The response I got from Orisson was just that one phrase, nothing more. I guess I'll just have to be persistent. Don't want to offend anyone but I would like some clarity about what they expect from me and what, exactly, I need to do to insure a confirmed reservation.
     
  5. rnwinters

    rnwinters Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2018
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    31
    Trophy Points:
    13
  6. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2016
    Messages:
    460
    Likes Received:
    1,110
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Pennsylvania, USA
    It's kind of an ongoing issue, and unfortunately, beyond Huntto, Orisson is the only place. It's about 20K onward to Roncesvalles, the next lodging. I've not heard of anyone who learned of a sure way to get them to respond. Some day my hope is that another one will open on the land where the route to Arneguy turns off about halfway.

    You might feel better to know that there IS a place in Huntto called Ferme Ithurburia. http://www.gites-de-france-64.com/ferme-ithurburia/. It's maybe 2.5km before Orisson, so only about 5K along....although that's far enough to take off the very worst km! Sometimes people get in to SJPP, have a look around, and then head up the mountains for Orisson (or Huntto) in the afternoon. Don't miss spending a little time SJPP, though. It's shared with bus tourists, but it's fun to soak up the atmosphere and be among excited hikers ready to start.

    I don't want to assume, but in case you don't know how they do hiker lodging in French rural areas, the Ferme Ithurberia is typical. They have a few vacation gites (vacation cottages usually rented by the week), some chambres d'hotes (a "hote" can refer to either the hosts or the guests of the hosts in this case)=they rent you a room to yourself, and you have a communal meal that they provide if you choose "Demi-Pension" - evening meal + breakfast. Then there are the "gites d'etape" which means beds in smaller shared dorms (in France they tend to be smaller rooms than in albergues in Spain, anyway, because they're in old houses and beds are in what used to be bedrooms).

    So, there's another option.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
  7. danvo

    danvo Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2014
    Messages:
    685
    Likes Received:
    681
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Bratislava, Slovakia
    Probably they don't respond because of winter period in Pyrenees. This time is Napoleon route closed. Be patient :)
     
  8. rnwinters

    rnwinters Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2018
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    31
    Trophy Points:
    13

    Thanks so much. All good to know.

    Orisson finally responded to my forth e-mail with a letter of explanation, an invoice for half the fee (balance payable in cash at the aubergue) and instructions to pay with PayPal. I guess persistence paid off. Reservations have been confirmed. I appreciate your help.

    Bob
     
  9. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2015
    Messages:
    734
    Likes Received:
    963
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Fresno, California
    I had the same problems with Orisson and they did finally respond. I recommend that you take a hard copy of their response, it should help with any language problems. I had my hard copy and it all worked out great and the weather was nice in early May.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
  10. Chuck

    Chuck Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2017
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    41
    Trophy Points:
    13
    Location:
    Paso Robles, CA, USA
    They do take reservations. However it took me 4 emails to get a response last January when I was setting up my September camino. So be persistent. Jacques was the person I was in contact with.

    I had to pay thru PayPal half the total cost (there was two of us so I paid 36 euros) to get the reservation. My only issue was that about 3 weeks after paying we decided to walk all the way to Roncesvalles so I lost the 36 euros. Since it's the only place to stay until Roncesvalles and it was 7 months before I was staying Jacques would obviously have no problem booking the two beds so a refund would have been nice but I was "politely" told to forget that notion. It was a beautiful place to stop to rest however.
     
  11. Bryan Morlock

    Bryan Morlock Pilgrim Bryan

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2017
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    120
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    Minnesota, USA
    I understand that people may not like the "group" thing as I am one that typically does not enjoy it that much. But it was a great time for us. We chose to stop at Orisson because after two days of travel to get there, seven hours of time change, we wanted a short first day to get acclimated and to start slowly. After our experience from Orisson to Roncesvalles the next day I seriously doubt that we would have made it all in one day. It was a great time for meeting people, people that we kept bumping into all along the Camino. We took our time in the morning and got to Orisson by about noon, spent the afternoon playing cards and talking with people. A very good introduction to the atmosphere of the Camino. Even with the stop at Orisson, by the end of the second day at Roncesvalles I was in serious doubt that I would complete the Camino (I did). The most tired I have ever been in my life. If I ever do it again (I would like to) I would stop at Orisson again.
     
  12. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2016
    Messages:
    1,818
    Likes Received:
    3,568
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Upstate New York
    Hey Bob - Glad things have worked out for you at Orisson. Even though I didn’t stay there, I did thoroughly enjoy stopping for breakfast and coffee while enjoys their great view. For anyone walking to Roncesvalles in one day, it’s a great rest stop for refueling and water.

    Perhaps you’ve already done so, but I would recommend reserving as well at the albergue in Roncesvalles. As September is a busy month on the CF and since the Colegiata now only offers 183 beds, a reservation might serve you well since a large number of pilgrims might be crossing the Pyrenees the same day you are. You’ll see on their website instructions for reserving a bed. I also found the pilgrim’s meal there more than satisfying plus there is a good cafe just outside the monastery gates. Buen Camino!

    http://www.alberguederoncesvalles.com/
     
  13. rnwinters

    rnwinters Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2018
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    31
    Trophy Points:
    13
    Thanks Bryan. We chose to stay in Orisson for exactly the same reasons. I'm no spring chicken anymore and thought it best to ease into the trek. After four e-mails, I finally got my reservation nailed down. After no replies to my first two, I thought I'd try it in French. That seemed to do the trick. I heard back in a short while and all ended well. I also made reservations at Roncessvalles, which was a piece of cake. They seem well-organized there.
     
  14. rnwinters

    rnwinters Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2018
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    31
    Trophy Points:
    13
    Thanks Wily. Made the reservations at Roncesvalles as well. That was easy. Really looking forward to September. -- Bob
     
    Wily likes this.
  15. Martin (Ozzy) Osborne

    Martin (Ozzy) Osborne Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2017
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    79
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Why, If you do not mind me asking? Did you go on and not stop there for the night. This is what my wife and I are planning on staying there then on to Roncesvalles the next day or further. My problem is I do not know what day we are arriving in SJJP being as we are just leaving the states around May 15th on a military hop so have no idea when going to get started and want to make reservations. I suppose it would not be to hard to go all the way thru to Ron from SJJP. Is it hard? We are used to 1500 to 2500 foot elevation gain on day hikes here in AZ. So is that comparable?
     
  16. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2015
    Messages:
    734
    Likes Received:
    963
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Fresno, California
    On my second trip, I planned to spend two nights in Saint Jean to help with jet lag. That way I could plan the next two days knowing that if there were any problems getting to Saint Jean I would be covered where reservation are needed.

    On the Michigan map 160 of the Camino it points out that there are three sections where the incline is greater than 12% and two are greater than 6% front saint Jean to Orisson . After Orisson there are not real steep sections before Rochavells. Going from Saint Jean through to Rochavells is a long difficult walk. Doable if you are young and well trained, but difficult for those of us over 40, or so. (Autocorrect would not let me name the actual map from the well known tire manufacturers)
     
  17. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2016
    Messages:
    1,818
    Likes Received:
    3,568
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Upstate New York
    Hey Ozzy - Although Orisson is usually filled, keep in mind that there are only around 30 beds (I believe they also have an overflow place with about another 12 beds). Most pilgrims hike the SJPP to Roncesvalles stage in one day. The day I left SJPP in late May, some 300 pilgrims were setting out that morning most going all the way. Now, is it hard? I will say that it’s the single hardest stage on the CF. However, how hard it is really depends on a person’s level of fitness. At the age of 64, I found it a solid day of mountain hiking, but many of the peaks here in northern NY are much more difficult. Having trained a great deal to get ready for this first tough day made all the difference. The steepest part of the climb is the route up to Orisson. But, on the positive side, most of this is road walking. After Orisson the slope is not as severe and the trail is paved. If you’re used to hiking in AZ with an evevation change of 1500 to 2500 feet, you’ll do fine. Leave SJPP early, plan a breakfast break in Orisson, and slow and steady will win the day. At the top of the Col de Leopoder, take the road down to Roncesvalles. Most likely, you’ll reach the monastery by mid-afternoon and be able to relax at Casa Sabina with a cold beer in hand basking in a the glow of having had a great day of hiking crossing the Pyrenees. Buen Camino!
     
  18. Martin (Ozzy) Osborne

    Martin (Ozzy) Osborne Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2017
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    79
    Trophy Points:
    18
    sounds great from a person that has done it. I leave this Monday for a job in Texas and return home here in AZ around 20th of April. Being as we are working 6 days a week 12 to 13 hour days all the hiking I have been doing since late December will probably go away. So my plan is to get hot and heavy training upon my return and do what you said and go with the flow of 300 others! LOL Thanks
     
  19. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2016
    Messages:
    1,818
    Likes Received:
    3,568
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Upstate New York
    Hey Ozzy - Other than your training preparation for the Camino, another thought that I’d offer you is that of keeping your backpack weight as low as possible. As the book title suggests, “To Walk Far, Carry Less.” On my first Camino, I brought far too much stuff! My pack weighed approximately 9 kg. Although I was physically ready for that first day over the Pyrenees, by the time I reached Roncesvalles, my back was saying enough! Ibuprofen did the job, but between Roncesvalles and Pamplona, I shed at least three pounds of clothing and equipment that I felt I wouldn’t need rest of the way. On the Camino, the learning curve is steep! Three days out, I had my backpack weight down to a pretty manageable level. Last year on the Portugués my wife and I only carried 6.25 kg including our water. What a difference! As we head to the Inglés in less than two weeks, I continue to evaluate our gear for this trek. Shedding a few more items to get closer to the 5.25-5.50 kg mark will be where we end up this year. Carrying as light a pack as possible will really make the uphills easier, I’d suggest using poles as well, but over the course of a 500 mile Camino, every pound that you don’t need to carry will pay off on how you feel along The Way. Buen Camino!
     
  20. MichaelSG

    MichaelSG Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    Messages:
    177
    Likes Received:
    121
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Singapore and/or underwater
    Just for thee fun of it, this is the blog entry from our day & stay in Orisson in 2012. It was an amazing experience for us and I am happy we stopped there.

    The train trip to St. Jean Pied de Port took only about an hour and a half. In some ways, I wish it took longer. The views out the window were nicer than the day before. There were several other pilgrims on board but they seemed to know each other well already. They sounded Canadian but were as loud as the reputations for Americans. We kept to ourselves partially to enjoy the view but also I was a bit nervous. 800kms?!?!? What were we about to do?

    Once we arrived in St. Jean, I got my bearings and headed towards the old part of town to the Pilgrims’ Office. We had to register and get our credencials (pilgrim passport) before finding a place to stay for the night. Most fellow pilgrims seemed to help keep each other heading in the right direction and I hope that’s a good sign of what our next month will be like. At the Pilgrim Office, the woman who is the English speaker is busy so I told the amigo speaking French that I will be able to understand him. Much to my amazement, I actually can remember enough from high school classes. He told us that we are starting a little late to go to Roncevalles and asks us if we want to stop in Orisson. Huh? We were not planning to walk at all today but what and where is Orisson? Roncevalles is the Spanish town 27kms on the other side of the Pyrenees and I wasn’t about to walk there today. He explained that Orisson is the site of the first real refuge, only 8km up the mountain (630m up though). We could stop there and get a head start for the next day to Roncevalles. When fate calls, we listen. The amigo called the refuge for us as we need reservations. There are only two spaces left but they are in tents. Fate seems to have hung up on us but we decided to give it a try anyway. We’re on our way! Sort of. About 100 meters down the road, Melanie turns to me and asks, “why are we doing this again?”

    It’s a steep 8km but we have made headway. We passed a woman from Kentucky and another from Indiana. We briefly chat but keep going. It starts to rain as a young woman catches up to us. While we get soaked trying to get our rain gear on, this woman casually tosses a poncho on herself without missing a step. I’m very impressed. By the time we get to Orisson, we’re tired but not drained – at least until it hits us that we have just completed only 1% of the whole Camino! We were told by the hospitalero that he may have beds for us, rather than a tent, if we want to wait to see if others with reservations arrive. That sounds good as I am not sure staying in a cold, wet tent is a great idea anymore. While waiting, we had lunch. We also met a Japanese man who is cycling from Paris but is now resting before going on to Roncevalles. We had a fun chat in broken English but we’re amazed that he is doing this – in his 70’s! We also met the young lady with the poncho that passed us earlier. She looks shattered both physically and emotionally. Melanie tries to comfort her but it turns out that she is from Brazil and speaks only Portuguese and German. Through sign language and a few words in a variety of languages, we learn she still has 19km more to go to Roncevalles. It is going to be a long slog for her as most people walking that far left long ago. It’s cold and wet outside, the kind of weather that chills you to the bone. She looked thoroughly dejected and I briefly consider giving her my bed and letting Melanie catch up the next day. The thought of abandoning Melanie on this first day in a country where she does not speak any of the language makes me think twice though so we see the woman off with our best wishes and encouragement. For the balance of her incredible story, you have to fast forward to Santiago where we meet again. Like her, the Japanese biker, “Kentucky” and “Indiana”, as well as all the 30+ people who stayed at Orisson, we often think of these people along the next 790km. Initially these are our Camino family although we walk at different speeds and not all plan or are able to go the whole way to Santiago de Compostela.

    Before I forget, I should tell you that not only did we get dry accommodations that night but we were assigned to one of the only two private rooms in the refuge. Also, while at lunch, a few young girls got into an argument with the hospitalero. They “demanded” rooms as they were tired and they didn’t have reservations. Apparently Jacques, the hopitalero, is known to have a short fuse and eventually kicked them out the door with one of my favorite dismissal quotes of all times: “Go to Spain!”

    We had a communal dinner that was fun and everyone had to stand, and introduce themselves. Most people said their names, where they were from and why they were walking. I, being the smartass, said “My name is Michael and I am an alcoholic.” After a few seconds of silence while everyone translated what I said into their native tongue and figured out that I was not serious, they finally had a great laugh. I asked “What, is this the wrong meeting?” Always the joker. Our clothes dripped on us all night long from the makeshift clothesline in our room but we were luckier that the other folks in the communal rooms. All in all, a good first day.
     
  21. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2015
    Messages:
    435
    Likes Received:
    1,063
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Dublin

    Hi Ozzy

    I'd agree with Wily. The walk to Roncesvalles is challenging to do in one day but it is entirely doable with good preparation. Just two pieces of advice to add to Wily's piece about reducing weight:-

    1. Don't underestimate the effect of walking carrying a backpack on a daily basis particularly after that first climb over the Pyrenees. The first three days are tough and shouldn't be underestimated at all. If you can, plan a break in Pamplona. I know this may seem a bit early in your Camino but it will allow you recover and reinvigorate you.

    2. The anticipation of the Camino is wonderful but don't let that overwhelm your first day. There can be a tendency to rush that first day and dive in. Take the time to step back and really realise that you are at last on Camino. I know everyone wants to get going and get to Roncesvalles but remember it is 28 kms and in parts a pretty steep climb so no matter how fast you go it's going to be a long day. If you reserve in advance at Roncesvalles, and there are a number of options, you can take the time to stop and appreciate the beautiful scenery, meet some of your fellow pilgrims but most of all to take in the fact that you are finally on the Camino.

    Finally, for now, don't forget the Church of San Esteban at Zabaldika.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
  22. Bryan Morlock

    Bryan Morlock Pilgrim Bryan

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2017
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    120
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    Minnesota, USA
    My issue was not the uphills. At 65 years old I handled those pretty well. It was the downhill (the regular path and not the alternate route) into Roncesvalles in the rain that absolutely tortured me. Totally different muscles than the uphill sections. By the time I reached the bottom I had to walk with my knees locked. If I bent my knees I did not have enough strength left to keep from going to the ground. There was a slight uphill section close to the bottom and I could handle that fine. But the downhill uses totally different muscles and they were in mutiny mode. Then to top it off I had to stand in line for almost an hour to get checked in. :eek:
     
  23. Martin (Ozzy) Osborne

    Martin (Ozzy) Osborne Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2017
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    79
    Trophy Points:
    18
    We're you able to do your Camino with all that pain. That is really something. I used to do a lot of running in my Navy days and marathons, half marathons tri Athlon and a whole bunch of 10ks. Believe me I know downhill is a lot harder using muscles that you do not normally use. Thank you for that good heads up and hopefully it will not rain! LOL
     
    Greg Canning likes this.
  24. Bryan Morlock

    Bryan Morlock Pilgrim Bryan

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2017
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    120
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    Minnesota, USA
    Luckily for me the next stretch in the trail is relatively flat for a few miles and I was able to get loosened up the next morning before hitting the hills again. I did complete the Camino and managed pretty well except for the three steep downhill sections (into Roncesvalles, the downhill after La Cruz de Ferro, and one more after that). I actually did a face plant into rocks on the downhill from La Cruz de Ferro but just wound up with a few scrapes and a sore cheek bone for a few weeks. A woman staying at our albergue also fell on the downhill from La Cruz de Ferro, finished the downhill stretch and took a taxi back to a town with medical facilities. She got her face stitched up, wrapped in bandages, and was back on the trail the next day. She looked pretty beat up. We did not see her again after that day so don't know if she made it to Santiago. We saw way too many people who did not complete the Camino due to injury. So sad.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2018
Loading...

Share This Page