2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
2011 is probably going to be bussier in relation to 2010 as people delay their walk so as not to walk with the crowds of a Holy Year.
Five years ago, when I walked the camino Frances in May and June of 2002, we did it in 27 days walking an average of 28km per day. This actually meant walking under 20kms some days and over 40kms on others. On the days we walked 20kms we always got a bed. On the days we walked 40kms we ended up sleeping on the floor.
In 2004 I walked in June/July – averaging under 25kms per day - and although it was a Holy Year and a busy time of the year, we always got a bed.
Last year I walked in late August and all of September. We averaged 20kms per day – very rarely walking more than 25kms – and we got a bed every time. The closest to not getting a bed was at Obanos – not because it filled up quickly but because we only arrived there at 6pm. We had waited until 5pm at Eunate for the albergue to open only to be told that there was no hospitalero so it was not going to open, so we had to walk the 3km on to Obanos. We got the last three beds and a few pilgrims who came later than us slept on mattresses. This time we also chose the smaller albergues in smaller villages and tried to avoid those suggested in the Guide books as most pilgrims follow the daily stages in their guides.
We made friends with pilgrims from Belgium who walked the same distance as us each day and stayed in many of the same albergues. But, they got up at the last possible minute, spent longer on the road, parked off in a bar in the afternoon and rolled up at the albergues after 6pm. They nearly always slept on the floor.
Many of the albergues have a policy of not turning pilgrims away. However, in Galicia they are quite strict about not having pilgrims sleep on the floors and provide them with taxi numbers to get to the next place!
There is a strange phenomenon on the camino. You can walk all day and hardly see any other pilgrims and yet when you get to the albergue they are full! Sometimes you wonder where they all came from.
Don’t worry about the crowds.
Don’t worry about the weather.
Just go and walk
What will be, will be!