Our Detailed Camino Itinerary – April and May, 2013

February 24, 2018

This time in 2013 Anita and I were doing a lot of hiking to prepare ourselves for our Camino Santiago hike across Northern Spain: our favourite trip of all time.

I know many of you are preparing for your own pilgrimage. I am therefore re-posting our own experience. You will find much detailed information and lovely photos of our own experience plus places to stay along the route and iconic things to see and stories.

Sincerely hope that this helps!

Our Camino Frances with more info:

Passport Page 1
Passport Page 1
Passport Page 2
Passport Page 2
Our Eclectic Camino Map
Our Eclectic Camino Map

Mon Apr 22, 2013: In transit from Toronto to Paris

Tue Apr 23: In transit from Paris to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port

The plan:CDG to Paris Gare du Nord every 5 to 7 minutes; takes ~25 min; TGV 8537 dep Paris Montparnasse 12h27 arr Bayonne 17h32; TER 67331 dep Bayonne 18:07 arr  Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port 19:33 Note: We missed our train from Montparnasse by buying the wrong ticket from the airport. Human help is sadly absent or too far away in Paris stations and we let a local buy our tickets for us. Our ticket didn’t let us on the subway at Montparnasse – the right one should have. For these tricky situations take the time to find an information kiosk. Don’t panic. We caught a later train to Bayonne (more money) and took a taxi from there to SJPdP for € 110!!

Stayed at Hotel Itzalpea 5 Place du Trinquet,  SJPdP Tel 33559370366  itzalpea@wanadoo.fr (€78/nt)

Wed Ap 24:  SJPdP

Got our Carnets de Pèlerin (Passports), bought hiking poles at La Boutique du Pèlerin, walked around St. Jean to check the way out of town, ate a lunch by the river, walked up above the town to the citadelle and ate dinner for the second time at Chez Dédé. Yum.

Thu Ap 25:  Begin Camino: Walk 8 km from Saint-Jean to Orisson

Stay at Private Refugio Orisson – Half Board 32 € (yes, that’s thirty-two monopolistic euros per person)   refuge.orisson@wanadoo.fr  Tel: 34681497956

Fri Apr 26: Walk 17.1 km from Orisson to Roncesvalles

Stay at Hotel Roncesvalles,  Mayor, Roncesvalles Tel +34948760105info@hotelroncesvalles.com Cost: 70 € using booking.com Arrived at 17:30 after a cold, wet 10 hour hike from Orisson. Borrowed rice to save my camera and we washed and dried our very muddy boots and rain pants in the lovely suite’s huge shower area. Ate our pilgrim meal at the hotel.

Sat Apr 27: Visit Roncesvalles; Taxi to Pamplona

Roncesvalles: Visited the Real Collegiata de Santa María (see above photos), Capilla de Sancti Spiritus, Capilla de Santiago, Battle of Roncesvalles Monument, the Silo of Charlemagne and the Museo.Ate lunch at nearby Casa Sabina, whose chef is also responsible for the kitchen at H. Roncesvalles.

Taxied (€55) to Pamplona, skipping one stage – Zubiri.
Book Early the Hostal Navarra Nr bus stn Db-€60 Calle Tudela 9, tel 948-225-164 There was no room when we called the day before. We stayed at Pension Arrieta (€ 40)  34-948-228-459, which has two nearby locations. The wifi is in the building with no elevator. Felt like we were disturbing the family whenever we went back there to ask questions or use the Internet, but they were nice and polite.We visited the cathedral: Choir contains “Mary of the Adopted Child; Mary is original but child is not; Tomb of Chas III in nave ooh aah.Ate supper at the Bar La Granja for € 33. A local bride-to-be, dressed in toilet paper and accompanied by friends, was one of the customers.

Continue reading “Our Detailed Camino Itinerary – April and May, 2013”

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Camino Santiago – April 2013

Pyrenees Horses, April 26
Last photo taken in the French Pyrenees on April 26, 2013. After snapping these horses I put my camera away. We were soaking wet.

Our Camino Santiago began on April 25, 2013 in St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port, French Pyrenees. The weather April 25 was beautiful. Perfect for hiking, meditating and snapping photos. We spent the  night of April 25 in the “honeymoon suite,” a tiny but private room at the Refugio Orisson, eight kilometres from, and about 800 meters higher than, our starting place in St.-Jean. Note: we did not ask for, or even have a clue about, the “suite,” the boss at reception just gave it to us.

April 26 was a mystical, but scary, experience. We set off very early and were careful to follow the well-marked trail with its yellow arrows. A mistake could have caused a sad mishap. Anita had sent her pack ahead to Roncesvalles’ public refugio; a wise decision that turned out to be…

Camino marker - French Pyrenees
Camino marker West of Orisson

Photos 3 and 4 in the set below show just the start of our walk from the Refugio Orisson across the mountains into Spain, where we had a night booked at the Hotel Roncesvalles. It was cold and very wet – a fine, persistent rain that did not let up. I put my Sony NEX-5N DSLR camera away after shooting the beautiful horses. It was already damp just from condensation when I removed it to shoot. Terrible visibility caused us to miss the Statue of the Virgin, a landmark that overlooks the valley no more than 30 metres from the trail, even though I knew when we were passing it! Continue reading “Camino Santiago – April 2013”

Sunday In Pamplona

 

Encierro (Running of the Bulls) Monument
Encierro (Running of the Bulls) Monument

This is an email I sent to friends and family a year ago April that I just re-read today. Thought it would make a good post with some photos and a little editing:

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Breakfast at a cafeteria 50 m from our Pension Arrieta.

Also found the bus station (for tomorrow’s departure to Órbigo) 3 minutes walk from our door.

Viewed the mountains from the fortified lookout: El Rincón del Caballo Blanco:

Took in high mass (missa capitular) at Santa María Cathedral. Surprised that the Latin Gloria was still stored in my brain cells. Beautiful pipe organ :))) Great singing if you’re OK with all men’s voices. Unparalleled setting.

Presbytery - Pamplona Cathedral
Presbytery – Pamplona Cathedral (on Saturday

Met Jesús and Pinte outside the cathedral while looking at our map to find the beginning of the San Fermin bull run route. Jesús was dressed in black with the classic large black beret worn by Basques here. They assumed we needed serious help (we didn’t) and walked us to the Coralillos where 6 fierce and 6 less fierce bulls are corralled prior to the run. Continue reading “Sunday In Pamplona”

The Cockleshell and the Camino

Sewer cover in Arzúa sports the Cockleshell symbol of the Camino Santiago
Sewer cover in Arzúa sports the Cockleshell symbol of the Camino Santiago

Last year in Spain on our Camino Santiago my wife and I noticed that many sewer covers in towns along The Way contained motifs that showed the ancient symbol of the Camino: the cockleshell.

This shape of shell is found on the Atlantic coast beyond Santiago de Compostela. Early on in the 1000 year history of this pilgrimage, pilgrims returning home used the cockleshell as proof that they had completed The Way.

Among the blessings one, whether religious or non-theist, experiences are the reflective walk itself, the ancient architecture, the completely unspoiled countryside in some parts, researching the crazy, sacred HISTORY (omg!), the making of new, lasting friendships and, an unnecessary but wonderful bonus for us, spending tons of quality time preparing for the challenge, sharing the walk and sharing the memories – and talking about our next one!

Check out my posts in my Category, Camino Santiago. They vary from brief to very detailed with lots of photos and tips.

A Year Ago Today I Was A Geek

With backpack and MEC duds at Mount Chinguacousy
Anita with backpack and MEC clothes  at “Mount Chinguacousy” on Feb. 15, 2013

Last year I wrote this post and scheduled it to be published when we were already over in France/Spain doing our modified Camino Santiago. Somehow I messed up and it wasn’t posted, so it’s going in as an anniversary note, of sorts:

“Began real early preparing for our Camino Frances (the popular French route to Santiago de Compostela). First stage was to be through the Pyrenees. I estimated the “lowest freaky possible temperature ever” for our passage on the highest point at Col de Lepoeder (1427 metres above sea level) to be -7 degrees C on April 25 (when we expected to be doing it) My estimate was done by  checking the lowest temperature ever recorded for Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on that date and subtracting about 0.65 degrees for every 100 m increase in altitude.”

I know, I was a geek. Still am.

We actually crossed the high point on April 26, 2013. The weather was terrible, Continue reading “A Year Ago Today I Was A Geek”

Open Our Hearts – A Song

Eunate Church near Óbanos, Navarre
Eunate Church near Óbanos, Navarre

Open Our Hearts is a religious song I wrote years ago for our church’s Lenten liturgy. I’ve added photos from our recent Camino Santiago in April and May, 2013. There are more songs (not all religious) to come; I add them when the spirit moves… You will find the ones I’ve “You-Tubed” on the My Songs page. You-Tubing my music files is “hard work,” which is why they aren’t all up yet…

Perspective

Anita on our scary Day 2 crossing the Pyrenees into Spain, complete with fog, rain, ice pellets, wind and snow. Luckily, not all at the same time.
Anita on our Camino Frances’  scary Day Two crossing the Pyrenees into Spain, complete with fog, rain, ice pellets, wind and snow. Luckily, not all at the same time.

I liked this photo right away and, after thinking about why, a few reasons come to mind. The way the shapes work, for one: the mountainside divides the image into two almost equal triangles, which simplifies things so that one’s eye is drawn to the end of the road that continues on to the left. The fog creates a feeling of mystery and uncertainty of what the figure in red will encounter along the way. (As it turned out – more fog.) The small,  red figure stands out almost like an apparition against the green and grey.

Size is important symbolically here: I can’t help feeling a humility when I compare the size of the human form with the vastness of the Pyrenees. We felt isolated walking here, though the faint sound of an invisible cow-bell hinted that this lonely place was occupied by other humans who were making a simple living by farming nearby.  I was moved by the evidence that humans here were living in a great deal more harmony with the land than humans like us who live on what was once prime Ontario farms and now is mostly asphalt, brick and concrete.

The cow-bell, it turned out, was a horse-bell. Three horses eventually appeared around the bend, almost invisible to the right of our path in the mist. The photo works better when I show only two.

The last photo I took on our hike from Orisson to Roncesvalles. Too wet to use my camera safely.
The last photo I took on our hike from Orisson to Roncesvalles. Too wet to use my camera safely.

The crossing from France into Spain occurred simply without kiosks, toll-booths and guards. It was marked by a sign that said Navarre.