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Roncevalles or Orrison?

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by philbrake, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. philbrake

    philbrake New Member

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    I'm starting from SJPDP on May3. I'm male, 57, fair shape, play basketball once or twice a week, have been walking 5-10 or so miles every couple of days the last couple of weeks on flat land. Should I start slowly and stop at Orrison or try for Roncevalles? What does your average guy experience first day up steep inclines for 16 miles to Roncevalles? I'm kind of thinking Orrison but if your average schlep can make it to Roncevalles then I'll go for it. I understand I need to book it in advance so I need to decide before I go. Advice from the Camino pros?
     
  2. HuskyNerd

    HuskyNerd Super Moderator

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    Hi Phil ~
    Hands down I'd recommend walking all the way to Roncesvalles. I've done it twice now, both times in my 50's, and I found it tiring but not overwhelming. I'd suggest:
    • Get an early start so you don't feel rushed. By early I mean leave at dawn, which means you'll want to have visited the pilgrim office the night before for the weather forecast and your credential stamp;
    • Take your time going up the hill. There's no need to rush. Most of the walk is a gradual climb on paved roads; some is a steeper climb on gravel and rocks. If you feel winded, just pause to catch your breath. It's not a race. Have some coffee and a croissant when you get to Orisson. If you haven't already bought a lunch, get a bocadillo from the restaurant there. I usually start at around 08:00 or so and generally get to Orisson before lunch.
    • Take plenty of food and water. Many people underestimate the amount of water they'll need. My sister ran out last May when we walked over and I gave her some from my CamelBak. If you sweat heavily during cardio exertion and/or if the weather is warm (good luck on that in May) you'll want plenty to drink.
    • Remember that the downhill is harder. Your note seemed to imply that it's steep uphills all the way to Roncesvalles -- in reality it's about 2/3 uphill then 1/3 steep downhill to Roncesvalles. That means the path stops being a cardio challenge and becomes one of footing and muscle strength. A few miles after you reach the top you'll know just what I mean. So take your time here, too. Folks tend not to rest much on downhill stretches because they're not winded, but rest just to give your legs a break. It will always seem like Roncesvalles is just around the corner, but it takes surprisingly long to get there. The path is basically a gravel/dirt road, so the footing can be a little slippery even in good weather;
    • Since this is the first day out this is the stretch that will test your blister prep. The uphill sections stress the skin on the backs of your heels; the downhill stresses the skin on your toes and the outer sides of your feet. Both up and down stress the skin at the bottom of your feet, particularly if your foot is slipping front/back within your boot. On this day it's most important that you be aware of any "hot spots" that are developing blisters. If you catch these pre-blisters by taping or treating them, you'll save yourself many days of blister pain. If you tough it out and ignore the developing blisters your upcoming days will be full of pain (and regret).
    Go for it! Buen camino ~
     
  3. philbrake

    philbrake New Member

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    OK! I'm goin' all the way to Roncevalles. I've got some good shoes and now some merino wool socks and I've been very comfortable walking locally in them so I feel good about that. I've followed the packing advice here, got a 40L backpack, a 10C and 0C two sided sleeping bag, new polyester wicking shirts, undies, shorts/pants, rain poncho, and whatever else. I'm taking my Sony DSLR, got a rapid strap for it thanks to this forum as well. Got my phone unlocked today as well and I'm getting a Spanish SIM card on Ebay thanks again to this forum. The info here about getting to SJPDP via air, train, bus and taxi was also a big help. Thanks to all. My biggest concern now is if one fleece, no jacket of any kind will keep me warm enough in May. Ya think?
     
  4. HuskyNerd

    HuskyNerd Super Moderator

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    Wow, you've read the Forum very carefully. That's great. One fleece jacket plus a rain layer is fine for May in my experience. The rain layer also gives some wind protection. In May I also have one long-sleeved technical t-shirt to keep my arms a little warmer. Let us know how it goes. Buen camino!
     
  5. Lipka149

    Lipka149 Active Member

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    Hi phil -

    Sandy's suggestions are right on the money and your preparation is perfect. Your reward for shuffling into Roncesvalles will be the smiles and congratulations of those who made it there before you. No shame in bringing up the rear, brother ! As I recall, the bar as you enter the town has Heineken on tap ... that cold beer will taste wonderful !

    Being welcomed by friends that arrive first, and welcoming friends that come in after you, are two of the best feelings the Camino offers. Enjoy them both !

    All the best -
     
  6. Heliman1965

    Heliman1965 New Member

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    Hi All,

    I've already booked and paid for a nights stay at the Refuge d'Orisson and am reading the posts here and another Camino Forum... I'm now thinking whether I stop or go onto Roncevalles...? "Dilemma"
    Well...! I could always see how I feel on the day and if all is going well, I could let someone who need to rest up have my bed for the night...

    I'm still in training for the longer stretches of the Camino... 12.5k one day 15k the next rising by 2.5k each week until the my start date of 19th May... I've been given a 6 week pass from both the Boss at home (Wife) and the Boss at work (FBHeliservices), so no real rush..

    Buen Camino.... :)
     
  7. Lipka149

    Lipka149 Active Member

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    Wonderful idea ! I suspect that you will get to Orisson and merely stop for a breather. The bed you leave behind will be a Godsend to someone else. Your attitude of generosity and your consideration for others certainly speak well of you, Heliman ! :D
     
  8. Maur

    Maur New Member

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    Physically, I'm sure you can make it to Roncesvalles. But i stayed in Orisson and just loved it. It gave me time to see more of St. Jean. I didn't have to rush out in the morning. I got to Orisson about 11.30. Spent the day saying Hi to folks and relaxing. The view is beautiful. The dinner was a great experience...good food and great company. Those were the folks that I kept hanging with and meeting u p with and running into all the way to Santiago. So, it might be something to think about.

    Maureen
     
  9. philbrake

    philbrake New Member

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    Maur! That's a big wrench you threw in my coggy legs. I was gonna walk right past Orisson (for sure stop for a coffee and croissant though) and now I'm thinking hmmmm, hanging out there for the day sounds nice. It sounds like you had a great stay there. However, I think I will still plan for Roncesvalles. I'd hate to miss out on anything though. Thanks to all for your time and input.
     
  10. harbour

    harbour New Member

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    Like Maur I was very glad that I booked a bed at Orisson on my first camino last year. I didn't do it because I was afraid I couldn't make it all the way to Roncesvalles, but because I wanted to take it easy and not getting exhausted the first day and because I wanted to give myself an extra day in the Pyrenees. The view from Orisson is absolutely beautiful. Breathtaking! Especially if the weather is good. When I stayed there the weather was great, sunny and warm. I reached Orisson at noon and had lots of time to talk with the other pilgrims and just enjoy this wonderful place. To get up there the following morning and see the sun rising behind the mountains is indescribable. That was a privilege. Of course you can't be sure that the weather is great when you get there, but if the weather is bad it is probably even harder to walk all the way to Roncesvalles.
    I am starting my second camino from St Jean the 4. of May, and I have booked a bed at Orisson again.
    I am not trying to persuade you to stay at Orisson. I am just telling you about my personal experience and motives. You may ask yourself what is important for you. Why would you want to walk all the way to Orisson versus why would you want to stay at Orisson? Good luck!
     
  11. philbrake

    philbrake New Member

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    Orisson does sound really nice and I like the idea of an easy first day. I arrive by train from Barcelona at 7:20pm on May 1st. I need to get to Roncesvalles and then SJPDP the next day. Can anybody give me their best advice on doing that? Seems like I read there's a bus that leaves once a day to Roncesvalles at 6:00 or 8:00pm, correct? Or I can possibly share a taxi? That sounds better than waiting all day for the bus. How and where does one go about finding people to share a taxi or van? Should I call the Express Bourricot and tell them I need a ride on May 2?
    Anyway, I should be able to get to SJPDP on May 2nd and start on the Camino on the morning of May 3. Harbour, I look forward to meeting you! Looks like we're only one day apart!
     
  12. philbrake

    philbrake New Member

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    Ok, I emailed Express Bourricot in Pamplona. Got a reply this morning and there's a van leaving at 11:00 May2 with 3 other people from train station to SJPDP for 21E. That was easy.
     
  13. harbour

    harbour New Member

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    Dear Philbrake.
    I made a mistake in my reply. I wrote Orisson twice in the last sentence. I meant the first to be Roncesvalles. I hope you will enjoy it at Orisson and, of course, the rest of the way. Wish you luck on the camino. We might meet at some point. I am from Denmark.
     
  14. SparrowGirl

    SparrowGirl New Member

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    Can someone please tell me how I go about booking at Orisson. I was going to go all out from day one, and head straight for Roncesvalles, but have recently had a knee issue and think I'd best start off slowly and stop in Orisson. I know the downhill section will be a challenge for the knee and I can take it a little slower on day two from Orisson. Will I still be able to book Orisson for the middle of May or might it be fully booked by now?
     
  15. YogaWalk

    YogaWalk Member

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  16. MaryDanaher

    MaryDanaher New Member

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    Thank you Sandy, you inspire me to go for the long haul. Do you kniw if one can book ahead for the new place in Ronccevalles? If so, how do I do that? should hit there on Sept 6th with food luckMary
     
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