Thursday, January 29, 2009


Half of the fun of going on a long trek is in the planning. Where to start? How to get to the start? How many days to walk? Ordering the guide book, reading other people's diaries. Then the big decisions - boots or shoes: sleeping bag or liner: fleece or thermals.
I have the Arles to Puente la Reina guide from the CSJ UK - also the Miam Mian Dodo guide that includes the Aragones.

We decided on starting at Lourdes so we have booked our multi-flight tickets from Durban to Johannesburg to Toulouse and home from Santiago on Iberia.
Remember to change to your country and your language (top left of the screen) before you start searching the timetable - and click on mulitple-routes to get to the window that allows you up to 6 changes.

We will get a tain to Lourdes from Toulouse.
There is a train at 12h09 that arrives at 15h04: Then there is a train at 14h00 that gets in at 15h53. So we have to decide, do we want to rush to get the 12h09 train that takes almost 3 hours or do we wait for the 14h00 train that takes less than 2 hours. Decisions, decisions!

We have decided to stay in a hotel in Lourdes to get over the Jet lag. It is the Hotel Saint Etienne ** 61, Boulevard de la Grotte. Triple room 46€. 250 metres from the entrance to the sanctuaries (Porte St Michel) Continental breakfast is not included - 4.50€ Services: Souvenirs/Gift Shop, Packed Lunches

We want to take part in the Torchlight Marian Procession which takes place each evening at 9.00 pm (as it has done since 1872.) During the Procession, the pilgrims walk in groups behind their pilgrimage banner. Everyone is invited to carry a lighted candle in their hand – a reminder of Baptism. The procession lasts about 1½ hours. Candles are bought in the town before entering the Sanctuary.At the end of the Procession, the Priests and Bishops present give the Blessing.
The welcoming of pilgrims and announcements begin at 20.45. The Evening Procession begins from the Grotto and ends in the square in front of the Rosary Basilica. Between torches, pilgrims carry a statue of Our Lady (a copy of the Cabuchet statue of the Blessed Virgin).

Our schedule for the walk to Puente la Reina is almost complete but, hey, one never knows how it will change once we are walking! The comments on the accommodation is from pilgrims who have walked this route.

Pilgrim accommodation: Accueil Saint Jacques, 3, rue des Pyrénées , Asson Tél : 05 5 71 04 83 Capacité : Sleeps 4 Prix : 10 € / nuit,399*#=52

B&B facilities and camp site:

Oloron Ste Marie:
Pilgrim accommodation: Relais du Bastet, 12, place de la Résistance Tel. 06 77 19 82 85 12,50 € per night 2€ for sheets.
Or: “Maison Guerra Laroque, run by a very helpful Canadian named Pierre who advised me that the way is well marked to Somport (the stretch I did from Urdos, along the 'route ancienne d'espane' was fine). It is a really beautiful area. You can get a Credential from Pierre, and his Refuge in the Rue Revol is a delight.” Sleeps 5
Or: Patchwork Pilgrims/walkers : (accommodation up to 4/7 pers.) : 12 euros/pers./night, without sheets/towels: option breakfast: 5 euros; option evening meal 8.50 euros

Former monastery, phone in advance! Les Fontaines d’Escot, a former monastery and St James study Centre has been for centuries a refuge for St James pilgrims. We are 200m from the path you just have to cross the river bridge. We offer special discounts for pilgrims: Two pilgrims in a twin or double room is €13 each pilgrim

Pilgrim accommodation:

"This former hospital St Jacques (also known as Hospitalet), is recognizable because it is shaped like a chapel with a steeple. It has been redeveloped into a museum and refuge for pilgrims and hikers. Sleeps 6 .

(Many of these photos are from the Aspe website)

Pepito Grillo.Habitaciones hostel multiple sleep-sac, should be open all year. Price: 8€ Tel: 974-37-31-23 CANFRANC TOWN The hostel offers a place to rest pilgrims going to pass 4 bed room 56.00 € - Habitación 4 personas Incl breakfast.
Albergue Sargantana 55€ 4 bed-room sleep sac in multiple rooms, open all año.Teléf: 974-37-32-17 Villanúa Tritón hostel in the old town, 8€ in rooms sleeping bag múltiples.Teléf: 974-37-82-81

Refugio, newly built, Tel: 974-35-51-16. Excellent rehabilitation of the old hospital of pilgrims in the streets Conde Aznar. 6€

The following photographs are from:

Shelter, run by volunteers, comfortable and fraternal, has 20 beds.
“Arres is a little like Hontanas on the Meseta in that it just suddenly "appears". The path meanders around the hillside, turns a corner, and lo and behold, there is the village! It is a beautifully restored house (as is Santa Cilia - cared for by a woman in the village at that time) and when I was there the hospitalero took it upon himself to cook dinner for us (there was no shop in the village - there was in Sta Cilia). Arres is a special place, and all the pilgrims were taken to a place to watch the sunset, then to the church for a special "blessing" and in the morning we were woken early for breakfast, given a sandwich and sent on our way in the dawn light, a wonderful experience clambering down the hillside path stopping frequently to watch the magical sunrise.”

Refuge in the two houses rehabilitated. 72 in bunk beds, hot water, heating, blankets, lounge and dining room. Sleep is 10 € - breakfast 3.50€ more. They also provide meals for 7 euros and prepare food bags for 4 euros. Phone: 948-39-80-82.

Refuge in Labrit street. Run by the Daughters of Charity, who kept clean and cozy. It is essential to have a credential. Keys from the City residence. Phone: 948-87-00-42. 8€
Hotel Yamaguchi. Tel: 948-87-01-27; double with bath, from 40 euros.
The pension Navas. Tel: 948-87-00-77; double with shared bath, 25 euros.

Refugio, new construction. Eight beds in bunks, with hot water, kitchen and lounge. Open from May 15 to October 15. The keys are in the sale of Izco. Phone: 948-36-21-29. It costs 6€


Refugio, very basic, but serves for the night.. To shower, use the front of the locker room or the pool. Voluntary donation. Keys, Jose Mari. Tel: 948-36-02-22

Puenta La Reina:
We will take a bus from here to Pamplona as Val has to fly home the next day.


Albergues, hostals, hotels etc., We will probably stay at the Hostal Dom Luis in San Nicolas.
Val will be leaving us from here so it will be nice for her to have a place to spread out her stuff and repack for the return journey home.

Saturday 20th June: Camino Ingles
Marion and I take a train from Pamplona to Lugo. We leave at 12h36 from Pamplona and arrive in Lugo at 21h00 (costs 46.10€ ). We will spend the night at a Hotel and get a bus or train from Lugo to Ferrol the following day.
Bus - ± 2 ¼ hours. Week days - 11:00, 13:15, 16:15, 18:30. Saturdays - 11:30, 16:15, 18:30 and Sundays - 16:15 and 18:30.
Train: 7h08 arrives 09h13.
We might have to have an early morning and take the train. I'd like to visit the Tourist Office for a stamp and a map and their Sunday hours are 10:00 to 12:30. The CSJ guide says:

The Tourist Office is on the first floor of a modern office block tucked into
the left hand side of the Plaza España (if facing the direction of the port)
They provide pilgrims with:
Map out the route (showing 2 alternatives) from the city to the outskirts
A copy of the Xunta Guide in English
A schematic of the distances and elevations on the route (which isn’t terribly accurate!)
A Gallego phrasebook (which is perhaps too heavy to carry)
And…they have good toilets if setting off immediately from there!

This is the suggested itinerary for the Camino Ingles:

Ferrol – Pontedeume 25 kms (Albergue at Neda - 11km)
Pontedeume – Betanzos 20 kms (Albergue at Mino - 27km)
Betanzos – Hospital de Bruma 29 kms
Hospital de Bruma – Sigüeiro 24 kms (Hospital de Bruma 38km)
Següeiro – Santiago de Compostela 16 kms


Felipe Castro said...

Dear ladies: Toulouse is a wonderful, very pleasant city. It is also a pilgrim place by itself, with an important presence of Saint Jacques (that is, Santiago Apostol) in the Saint Sernin basilica and Saint Etienne cathedral. So, do consider some time to visit, take a look and have some crepes at the rue du Taur.
The city is just half an hour from the airport; there is an efficient bus service (la "navette") every 20 min. The train station is also close to downtwown.
Buen camino, peregrinas!

Anonymous said...

hey there nice to meet you I did part of the Camino last May until I got a bad chest cold and had to stop at going back in July and start again from interested in Lourdes also am very devoted to Our Lady of Lourdes..but it's the cost and time and suggestions.

Anonymous said...

starting my Camino in July and beginning at Burgos where I left off would like some info on a place to stay..last year stayed at the huts in park..awful place..I hear it is closed..would like to hear of a place to stay at and nd if anyone else is starting from Burgos.ciao.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Hi Nathanael,

I dream of doing this myself someday, so I read plenty of blogs from those who have already done the camino. I was reading one from "Anna" in NZ recently where she happened to mention a new refugio in Burgos that might interest you.

" In terms of albergues Burgos has always been a bit lacking, the municipal albergue Paral was some huts on the far outskirts of town and most people had to get buses back to get any kind of a look at the Cathedral.

Paral has closed and there´s now a new (as in opened in August) municipal albergue just round the corner from the Cathedral. In terms of albergues it´s positively palacial, clean,shiny,personal lights and plugs on each bunk thick mattresses...lifts!!! This is better than some hotels and it´s only 3€.

This place is so new that it´s not even in the guide books, I only knew to look for it because of the Atapuerca albergue having a notice about Paral closing."

hope this helps,


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