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A small and easy gesture that may help

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
Hi fellow Perigrinos,
If I have posted this in the wrong location sorry to you moderators and please move it to the appropriate place.
On my morning walk today I was thinking about how to everyone could help albergues now and when we can walk again.
My daughters downloaded Wise Pilgrim and the Buen Camino apps to my telephone.I have also found myself using Gronze.com alot on my last few caminos. I use them almost exclusively (especially Gronze and Buen Camino to check out what people have written about albergues. My number one concern is cleanliness. If there are alot of very low ratings for cleanliness I will check out another option. (They are also great for winter caminos to check out which albergues are open. But call ahead as I have found they are only about 60% accurate).
Now that many of us have alot of time on our hands and when we can walk again I would recommend going to these sites. Gronze can be accessed on the web so no need to download an app. With Chrome it will translate to English and it does a pretty decent job. Please go to your favorite albergues and some that were not so favorite and write a recommendation or an honest criticism. Let people know it was clean and the facilities were adequate for the basic needs of pilgrims. Check out what others have written as some people give bad recommendations because someone was snoring or the hospitalero was grumpy. In my opinion that is not a legitimate reason to give a neutral or negative review.I also have seen bad reviews because for some reason some people think a donativo should just be a small step down from a Parador! I have seen endless bad reviews that there are these great kitchens in Xunta's that have nothing to cook with. Well that is just the way it is and doesn't reflect on the overall cleanliness and comfort and safety. The more good reviews that can be posted the more appealing an albergue will be. I have stayed in lots of small albergues that had only a few reviews that were quiet because another albergue had great reviews. Sometimes after I have stayed in both I usually found no difference in overall quality.
If where you stayed was bad, with dirty mattresses and bathrooms and any other number of really inferior conditions than write that and give a place the review it deserves. Not because it didn't have enough pins to hang your laundry but because it truly deserved it. Maybe that will force the owners to spend more time to upgrade their albergue. When you think about it I don't think most improvements need a big investment of money. Most of the bad albergues can be improved with better cleaning and better management.
Usually at my first coffee break I spend just a minute or two writing on review on Gronze/Wise Pilgrim and giving stars on Buen Camino reviewing where I had stayed the night before. If more and more people check out these sites maybe, just maybe it may generate a little more interest especially in some of the "lesser known" but still wonderful albergues.
I am a budget Pilgrim on a fixed income but I have gathered some extra coins staying home these months. On my next camino I will be giving larger donations at donativos and at any albergue that has given me an opportunity to meet wonderful people and have a roof over my head. For those of us that can afford this be generous on our next caminos it will really help I am sure and if you can afford it it may just cost us about 150 or 200 Euros more. For some it is a big expenditure but for many others it is manageable. Imagine with thousands of us walking and if we are able be a little more generous, we can really help lots of albergues across lots of Caminos. Stay safe everyone.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
I've stayed in a lot of Albergues, and not often left a review, possibly because I'm too idle, sometimes because it would have just been "me too" Possibly also that it didn't seem right to complain when people were trying hard but just somehow not getting it right.
It always used to be (back in the day when we called them pilgrim refuges) that the USERS were responsible for the cleaning. Which, I admit, did result in some sloppy work at times. Actually, most of the time. But then, that was before mobile phones were common, and we certainly couldn't use them for anything other than 'ahem" making phone calls. There were internet cafes, often on dial-up, and let's face it, even then life was too short to write a review that nobody was going to see before they got home.
I don't remember bedbugs in 2001, but I do t remember mouldy showers and kitchens best not looked at too closely. Unfortunately, the grubbiest ones were often the friendliest ones. Unless run by the Junta, when they were just grubby.
We didn't have internet fora to find all the newest and best gear, either. Or to ask about the weather in Galicia in November. Which may be why I got very wet more than once. Funnily enough, we managed to survive and even get to Santiago and actually attend Mass along the way. Note the way in lower case. Because the idea was to arrive.
Anyway, back to the point. I like the idea of helping by review. Perhaps we could also help with our hands, possibly holding a mop or duster. And reminding other people that donativo does not mean free. As well as leaving, when we can, enough to cover our bed and maybe meal, plus a bit extra for the genuinely poor and the congenitally tight fisted. Because it's not the fault of our hosts that some people exploit them.
And if you think it's too expensive to do that ( obviously the OP is already doing what I am suggesting here) then please add up the cost of your gear, air fares, and drinks on arrival each evening. Non drinkers can give more to make up for being tedious.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
Nice tip about paying back with a recommendation - I often do so. But I won't be following the OP's editorial line.

I don't know why grumpy hospitaliers should be off limits for reviews. The grumpy hospitalero in Ourense has garnered 8 negative comments about his attitude from 18 reviews in the last couple of years. When future pilgrims see a pattern like that, they are better equipped to make a choice.

As for lack of utensils in Xunta albergue kitchens - Sure, it's an almost redundant observation.* What's more, it's like shouting into the wind insofar as a hundred complaints haven't provoked a remedial action at the Xunta level, But there's no denying that a kitchen with the basic essentials to cook a meal is makes a material difference to pilgrims on a budget or with special dietary needs.

* But not quite redundant. In most Xunta albergues one can improvise with the few bits and bobs that are available. In Ourense, people have complained that the kitchen lacks even the most basic of basic items (e.g. no spoons or glasses).
 
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