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Internet Cafes?

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by ggilmer1@nc.rr.com, Apr 24, 2010.

  1. ggilmer1@nc.rr.com

    ggilmer1@nc.rr.com New Member

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    I am not planning to carry a phone on this pilgrimage, but hope to check in with family every few days via email. Does anyone know if there are internet cafes around in the towns? Is this a good plan? Thank you.

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  2. ivar

    ivar Administrator Staff Member Donating Member

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  3. ggilmer1@nc.rr.com

    ggilmer1@nc.rr.com New Member

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    Ahhh... thank you Ivar. My question is answered. The phone will stay at home. Sounds like I should have no trouble checking in from time to time. :D
  4. WolverineDG

    WolverineDG Member Donating Member

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    stock up on 1 euro coins, as most internet places in the albergues at least are coin-operated. how many minutes you get does vary, although the best was the new albergue in santo domingo, 1 euro for almost an hour. :) obviously the best places are internet cafes, but most are only found in the larger towns. there is a really good one in Leon around the corner from the hostal albany (which is close to the cathedral). the person at the check-in desk can give you directions. :)

    Kelly
  5. Alan Pearce

    Alan Pearce Member

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    The best value albergue internet I found on my 2008 walk was at Jaca [beside the cathedral] and at Burgos [the little 18 bed albergue over a church in the centre of town]. In both places the internet was free. And at Burgos we got the added bonus of a very traditional hospitalero.

    Alan

    Be brave. Life is joyous.
  6. Kardan

    Kardan New Member

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    I found one of the best ways to keep in contact & also very cheap was to use the International Calling Cards which were available at tobacconists. They were able to be used at all the public telephone boxes along the way. Hope this may be an alternative way for you to keep in contact.
  7. amtrakker

    amtrakker New Member

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    Most towns / villages in Spain have a public library, (opening hours can be irregular and you may have to wait in line), that also provide free internet access for visitors / pilgrims.
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  8. jl

    jl Member

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    Just a reassurance for those planning not to take a phone. I do not own a mobile phone, and have made 3 Caminos lasting between 9 - 12 weeks. On each occasion I used emails to remain in contact with my family and friends, and, apart from one home that I stayed in on the Vezelay path where the owner insisted that I call home using his internet phone, I never made one phone call. (got the time wrong on that one and ended up ringing my 82yr old Dad at 3a.m.!). Even in France where the internet is not as readily availbale there were enough places to keep in touch several times a week. France is not as well set up with internet cafes as (del Norte) Spain is, but I never found any shortage of them along the way, and many albergues on the Camino Frances have internet access.

    Might add that this is the reverse when it comes to laundromat access - nil / or VERY expensive in Spain, wheras almost every village has one for only a few Euros in France!

    Cheers, Janet
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  9. renegadepilgrim

    renegadepilgrim Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler

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    I found a wi-fi hotspot in the cafe in Ventosa, outside the Bar Sevilla in Azofra and today, in Cirueña at Cafe Jacobeo. I have my Blackberry Storm with me, it has wi-fi capabilities, not using it as a phone at the moment, just an expensive alarm clock and the occasional wi-fi use.

    Internet is available at most of the Albergues.
  10. Alyssa

    Alyssa Member

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    Checking in on this thread 4 years after the last post as I am curious about Internet cafes. Do they even exist anymore? Reluctant to carry a computer/tablet on my camino but DO want to keep up with my blog and keep in touch with my family/friends by email. I love that there are public libraries available to visitors. I would imagine that is still the case...
  11. koilife

    koilife Member Donating Member

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    @SometimesSheTravels --- Yes, but given the prevalence of keyloggers, bots, and other malware, I would avoid using ANY public terminal (cafe or library or albergue) if I was going to enter any personal information, such as account/password for blog, email, banking, etc. Otherwise, you are at risk of someone hijacking your digital identity, and possibly your financial identity as well. I would ONLY use a personal device. Even on public wifi, you're largely safe if its your device and you follow safe computing habits.

    I used my smartphone exclusively over wifi for Skype, blogging, and financial transactions (including lodging reservations and online banking). Less convenient than a full size screen and keyboard, but it worked and it was secure.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
  12. vagando2011

    vagando2011 Member

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    I walked in Fall 2012 and carried no personal devices... I relied only on internet cafes and computer in albergues, and I managed to get online practically everyday- and really probably could have every single day if I wanted, just skipped it some days. You will have no problem finding resources like this!

    As one of the original responses on this thread said, make sure you have lots of coins. The internet tends to be a little pricey- could be a couple euros for 10 minutes in some places...just depends! But yes, you will need change to insert :)
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  13. biarritzdon

    biarritzdon Member Donating Member

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    I used albergues, libraries and cafes in 2012 and 2013 and have never had a problem with security issues:rolleyes:. I guess it all has to do with how much stuff you want to access like bank accounts, etc. Yes, 1 euro per hour is pretty standard, but considering the cost of a phone call and possible damage to your portable device; it's quite a bargain.
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  14. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Member

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    Future: Sometime during the summer of 2014, I hope......
    I walked the Camino last summer. Since I did it immediately after finishing a work contract overseas and also because I did additional travelling after the Camino, I walked it with a mini-laptop in my pack. Not really something I recommend though. It was about one kilo of extra weight and you really get pack weight conscious (at least I did) while walking the Camino. It was handy for keeping in touch, and quite a few of the albergues you encounter have free wi-fi, as do the cafes and bars in the villages and towns along the Way, but when I do it again I am going to carry an 8"-10" tablet (in a waterproof, protective case). Way lighter and will enable me to keep in touch with family. I'm all for letting go of life's daily constraints and such, but out of love I also want people back home to know I am okay. I think a tablet would would fit that bill. Besides, I enjoyed posting photos of the Camino to my Facebook page. It was cool sharing the beauty of it with others.

    Also, using the pay as you go internet while doing the Camino can get quite expensive. I think the tablet would be way cheaper. I would take my mini-laptop to a cafe/bar with free wi-fi, get a beer or a meal and get on the net.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
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  15. falcon269

    falcon269 No commercial interests Donating Member

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    Internet cafes have always been rare. About half the albergues have computers, but they seem to be falling into disrepair. WiFi is increasing, and can be found in bars, hostales, and some albergues. Accommodation listings in Mundicamino and Eroski provide information on what each albergue has, so you can check there if you have a question about a specific place.

    Eroski example:
    • Información al peregrino: En Pamplona, 11 km antes
    • Cabina de teléfono: En Cizur Menor, a 6 km
    • Cajero automático: En Pamplona, 11 km antes
    • Asistencia médica: En Pamplona, 11 km anteso
    • Farmacia: En Cizur Menor, a 6 km
    • Taller de reparaciones: En Pamplona, 11 km antes
    • Ultramarinos: Sí
    • Carnicería: En Pamplona, 11 km antes
    • Panadería: En Pamplona, 11 km antes
    • Bar-Restaurante: Sí
    • Internet: Sí, un ordenador de moneda
    • Cobertura de móviles: Sí
    • Enchufes para cargar la batería: Sí
    Alyssa likes this.
  16. PANO

    PANO Member

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    Just wondering: What is the logic of pursuing the "purity" of not carrying your smartphone whilst still wanting to connect to the world by means of (mostly outdated, slow and unsafe) PC's in internet cafes and albergues?
    I've said it before on this forum:
    Smartphones have become parts of our life and are a blessing if used diligently. they replace maps, dictionary, flashlight, camera, video-corder, compass, altimeter, printed tickets, tourist guides, notebook, pencil, wristwatch, weather station, give geographic position, walking distance, provide music, news, lists of albergues, hostals and restaurants; and last, not least let you write and send a daily blog to an interested audience back home....but most importantly: they give you peace of mind in the event of an emergency situation. Think of it as a practical, modern "Swiss Army knife" saving a lot of weight.
    I deeply respect a pilgrim's decision to shun all amenities and to walk the Camino in total frugality but cannot help to side with those enjoying good food, good wine, comfortable beds and an iPhone in the pocket. The accomplishment of reaching Santiago is equal to all peregrinos.
  17. koilife

    koilife Member Donating Member

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    For the crowd that embraces the suffering and ascetic purity of the Camino, going without any communication back home for six weeks brings with it the ever growing torment of wondering if, when they return home, there will be anyone there to pick them up? Did their spouse say enough is enough, take the children, drain the bank accounts, and set out for greener pastures? That much mental anguish is bound to bring great grace and to spring a thousand souls from purgatory!

    Obviously, the above is meant as satire, but in these forums there always seems to be this tension between comfort and struggle. I know pilgrims for whom their Camino has more in common with Mardi Gras than with Lent. I've also met a few pilgrims who approached the Camino as a penitential act, or as St. Francis might with Holy Poverty. And sometimes religious wars break out over the different perspectives.

    Most pilgrims live somewhere in the middle ground of a larger continuum. We go with less gear to save our aching feet, knees, and backs. Sometimes we deliberately forego distractions (MP3s players, games, mindless reading, etc.). And yet, we crave comforts like clean rooms, hot showers, good food, fair weather, and plenty of vino tinto.

    As for me, I brought a smart phone to blog (I was walking for a charity and had to keep donors informed), to Skype my wife (so she would still be there when I returned), to transfer money into my account when I got ready to withdraw at an ATM (so there was never much to take if someone skimmed my card), to listen to Audible books (St. Teresa of Avila's Way of Perfection and Interior Castle, if you're curious), to read Kindle books (the companion texts to my audio books, plus my Camino guide), and to pray the Hours (who needs to haul the breviary anymore?!). On the flip side, I had the discipline NOT to play games, listen to music, surf the Internet, etc. I walked the middle ground (and probably risked the ire of idealists and purists and extremists). Vive la difference!

    Even twenty years ago, what pilgrims worried about Internet access, Skyped their families, conducted online banking, or maintained a blog for a devoted bands of followers?
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
  18. Alyssa

    Alyssa Member

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    Ah, online security was something I hadn't given much thought to. Thank you.
  19. Alyssa

    Alyssa Member

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    I appreciate this information Bdon. Thank you.
  20. Alyssa

    Alyssa Member

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    Mark, that all makes sense. Thank you for sharing your experience.
  21. Alyssa

    Alyssa Member

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    Pano, I'm going to assume that you wrote this in response to the comment I posted yesterday since mine is the first post on this thread since 2010. Then (and I do note the irony), I am going to give you a little grief for assuming I have a smartphone and for assuming that my statement, "Reluctant to carry a computer/tablet on my camino" had anything remotely to do with "purity"; believe me, I am the last one you will find "shunning amenities". ; )

    My reluctance to carry a computer or tablet has everything to do with weight, finances, the challenges of typing on an on-screen keyboard, and the possibilities of damage, loss, or theft, and nothing to do with any type of asceticism. Bringing my own device would require either that I carry my laptop (2.38 pounds) or purchase a smart phone or a tablet, which I have been considering but would prefer to avoid if public computers are available.

    It would be ridiculous, I think, to bring such a heavy laptop, and I thought I would check in with prior pilgrims about the availability of public computers before running out and spending money to purchase a new device. Oh, and regarding the keyboard, I've been borrowing a friend's iPhone to try it out and I find blogging next to impossible with an onscreen keyboard, especially one that tiny (I keep hitting the wrong keys!)

    My apologies if you were referring to someone else's post. : )
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
  22. Alyssa

    Alyssa Member

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    As far as I can tell, until Pano's post, this thread had nothing to do with a debate over the merits of asceticism vs. comfort. I read carefully through all the old posts and from my perspective, it is simply people exchanging information about what technology is available along the route!
    newfydog likes this.
  23. RobertS26

    RobertS26 Active Member

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    Sadly, "public" computers on the Camino, such as those found in albergues, cafes, and libraries are frustratingly slow because of countless viruses. It can literally take 2 or 3 minutes for a computer to respond to a command because it is so infected it can barely operate. Computers found in 3 and 4 star hotels are usually much better. As previous noted, there is very good wifi up and down the Camino. So, your options are limited if you do not want to lug a heavy laptop or purchase a smaller tablet before you go.
  24. koilife

    koilife Member Donating Member

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    My apologies. The debate regularly breaks out in threads on this and similar topics---tablets and technology are lightning rods. I read through about a half dozen of them today looking for a specific piece of information, and the debate was on my mind. It was meant as a musing on the debate, not as criticism of any particular poster, certainly neither Pano or Mark Lee, whose perspectives I share. I didn't mean to hijack your post.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
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  25. Alyssa

    Alyssa Member

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    I have actually been tossing around the idea of taking my MacBook Air but it seemed ridiculous to do so considering its wait. Thanks for confirming my speculations. I've also been considering a tablet but wanted to see if public computers would be convenient before purchasing one.
  26. Alyssa

    Alyssa Member

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    It's all good, KoiLife. It's always interesting to see people's thoughts on various subjects and I've noticed that the technology debate seems to be quite a hot topic!
  27. Alyssa

    Alyssa Member

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    Thanks Robert. All this information is definitely helping move me toward a decision (probably to purchasing the Mini.)
  28. koilife

    koilife Member Donating Member

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    Something to consider as well in your decision is the device charger itself, especially if you have other USB charged devices, such as a digital camera. If not, then probably not an issue.

    Not sure about the Mini, but some tablets are fine charging off a standard USB charger, and other require higher amperage. It's fairly easy to get lightweight, two-port chargers in the 12W 2.4A range with that can handle a wide variety of devices (and only take up one outlet where outlets are so often at a premium). My particular tablet requires higher amperage, and that requires a special charger that only has one port, so I'm limited in number of devices that I can charge unless I carry multiple chargers.
  29. Alyssa

    Alyssa Member

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    That's great advice. I heard from an employee in REI that all of the "i" products from Apple don't have an issue with the volt range or amp range but I will double check if I get one. Thank you.
  30. NicoZ

    NicoZ Member

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    He isn't talking about 110V/220V.

    A phone will normally charge off a 1V output USB charger. A tablet might need a 2V. Some times you'll only notice this if you try using it while charging. My old one would charge fine while off but if it was in use the 1V phone charger struggled to handle things.

    But if you use the charger included with the device this shouldn't be an issue.
  31. Alyssa

    Alyssa Member

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    I see you're right, Nico. I was thinking about converters rather than chargers. Sadly, I shut down the moment I see things like this, "12W 2.4A". ; ) Okay, we're talking about chargers *deep breath* not converters. Ugh. Someone else suggested the following:


    Are these pertinent to this conversation? It's all Greek to me...
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  32. NicoZ

    NicoZ Member

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    The first one seems fine. No idea on the quality of that unit.
  33. Bajaracer

    Bajaracer Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre Donating Member

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    If you get the iPad mini, it comes with the 10w power USB power adapter that I was describing, the only thing you would need is a US to EU plug adapter.
  34. Alyssa

    Alyssa Member

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    I bought an adaptor but I think it's for a regular plug not a USB.
  35. PANO

    PANO Member

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    I am sorry if my post upset you in any way, it was not my intention, nor in fact targeted as a response to your thread.
    I totally agree, to carry a laptop on the camino of course would be an overkill, unless you are a professional writer, and even then. Also agree that blogging on an iPhone is indeed a bit tedious and I would recommend one of those attachable keyboards which take very little space; but even better is your choice of an iPad mini, which offers the best balance of size, weight and functionality. All you'll need is a two-pin EU adapter to the US plug of the original charger, and you're perfectly equipped for the journey of your life.
    Buen Camino!
  36. Alyssa

    Alyssa Member

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    Not to worry, your post didn't upset me; it just seemed completely out of the blue! The attachable keyboard seems like a great idea, even for the iPad Mini (again, not being a fan of the onscreen keyboards). Thanks for the advice!
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  37. StuartM

    StuartM Active Member

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    What amazes me is the willingness (and often encouragement) to reject both common sense and, worse, the advice of most outdoor rescue organisations. The Camino Frances in particular is a fairly benign walk in general but there are also stretches through mountains, solitary treks or the potential for navigational errors in lonely places. An injury or wrong turn could have serious consequences especially if the weather turns and carrying a mobile phone is basic outdoor safety advice. On other caminos there is increased risk. On the very mountainous and remote Salvador I was utterly amazed at the total lack of respect the one other pilgrim I met had for the mountain environment. Had the weather been less kind he'd have been in real trouble. A lot of people have a worrying attitude that nothing bad can happen because it's a pilgrimage rather than any other trek and that simple safety/survival rules dont apply because they walk with a higher purpose.

    I have no doubt that the pilgrims of the past would've adopted every bit of technology they could afford. I really doubt there would have been people railing against compasses, pocket sundials, etc in their day. Assuming a mediaeval pilgrim wouldnt run away screaming at the sight of a phone I'd bet cash money they'd trade their best pig for one.

    I have never owned a phone that did not have an off switch or the ability to disconnect the network/flight mode.
  38. Alyssa

    Alyssa Member

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    I'm going to point out that until a couple posts ago, this thread wasn't remotely a debate about how much technology a pilgrim should or shouldn't have on the Camino but simply a fact-finding thread about what technology is available.

    Since it has become that (much to my bafflement), however, I will put forward my confusion about why anyone would care what technology any other pilgrim chooses to bring or not bring on his or her journey. I have seen this debate in several places on this forum now and quite frankly, don't understand it. "Live and let live," "to each his own," etc. If someone chooses to bring not a single electronic device, how is that a problem? And if, on the other hand, someone is checking his or her device constantly for updates about the Kardashians, who am I to judge?

    We each have our own path, both on the Camino, and in our lives. May all our paths be blessed and beautiful!
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
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  39. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Member

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    Yeah, the tablets seem like a good compromise to me (weight and size issues), and I believe they all run 110/220 v. A plug adapter would probably be all you need.
    Like it was mentioned before, quite a few of the albergues have wi-fi, as do cafes and restaurants. The albergues are all different, and quite often the private ones have more amenities such as wi-fi, etc. Usually they are only a few euros more to stay in. For example, if a municipal albergue cost 5 euros a night, the private one down the road might be 8 euros a night. I stayed in a mix depending on availability etc. A few times I got my own room in a pension house or hostel. That was a nice change of pace and a break from the communal living of the albergues and they all had wi-fi. You should have no problem being able to update your travel blog with a tablet.
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