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Live - Camino Francés Accomodation...or lack of

Rich1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (May 2015)
Camino Frances (2016-2018)
A complicated Camino from Madrid (Aug/Sep 18)
Just as a word of warning, the Camino Frances is incredibly busy at the moment.
I did the Camino last year at exactly the same time and had no problem showing up at 4pm and getting a bed.
This year all accomodation is going very quickly usually by 2 or 3 pm. Some even earlier. We have deliberately stayed in the middle of "Brierley" stages so goodness knows what the stage ends are like.
Last year i rarely booked ahead but this year we are having to.
 
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LindaH

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to SdC May/June (2016)
Just as a word of warning, the Camino Frances is incredibly busy at the moment.
I did the Camino last year at exactly the same time and had no problem showing up at 4pm and getting a bed.
This year all accomodation is going very quickly usually by 2 or 3 pm. Some even earlier. We have deliberately stayed in the middle of "Brierley" stages so goodness knows what the stage ends are like.
Last year i rarely booked ahead but this year we are having to.
My experience exactly Rich1. We are now in Fromista and booking 2-3 days ahead after needing to walk an additional 8 km through two villages with no beds before finding 2 beds several nights ago. Everyone we meet seems to be booking ahead. In addition, we are finding accomm prices seem to be increasing as we walk - good old market forces operating? Or maybe it is normal as we travel further west to pay more? (My first Camino so nothing to compare with.). Still having a great time, just not as spontaneous as expected ( if nothing else, the Camino teaches us that we are better off without any 'expectations'.)
 

RENSHAW

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks every year on CF reaching Burgos or Leon. Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
Rich , It could be that you moving with a 'rouge wave' of pilgrims. It would be interesting to know what the situation is like a few days before and after you.
So, the 'bed race' has become a reality?
 

John Finn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances - Sarria to Santiago (2013), Burgos to Leon (2014), St Jean Pied de Port to Logrono (2015), Logrono to Burgos (2016), Leon to Sarria (May 2017).
A friend of mine was in Hontanas a few days ago and all the alburgues filled up very quickly. In the one he was staying in the proprietor had to put mattresses on the floor in order to accommodate as many people as possible. I walked from Logrono to Burgos last week and I had booked my accommodation a couple of months ago. I was very glad I did - I was able to set out that bit later than usual and took more stops along the way to enjoy the countryside without having to worry about getting a bed for the night. I met several people who had set out before dawn in order to get to their destination as early as possible so as to get a bed. I shudder to think what it must be like in the busiest section - Sarria to Santiago - for those who haven't booked ahead.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
Some of us, myself included, have consistently stated that Pilgrim numbers during this "Year of Mercy" were going to behave much the same way as a formal Holy Year, at least insofar as observant Catholics are concerned. The spiritual benefits are largely identical.

Then there is the increasing "uptake" by commercial travel agencies and organized groups soaking up reservable bed space formerly occupied by solo pilgrims, like me. This pushes the single, walking pilgrim more into albergues, than before. The net result is increase daily pressure at places of lodging at virtually everyplace along the Camino, whether at a formal Brierley stage or not. I am concerned that our anecdotal observations are all coming to be facts, and sooner than originally predicted.

Finally, there is just the human phenomenon of more people doing the Camino, relating their wonderment and positive experiences, and inducing more people to do it, whether as solo pilgrims or in an organized tour group. I admit to being very guilty of spreading the good word. But is that wrong?

THAT is the paradox. We are bound to harm the overall Camino over time by our admiration and kind words towards it as an institution. It is like putting too much plant food on a growing plant. We end up killing it with kindness.

All in all, and taken together, what we are seeing is a "snowball" effect of increasing popularity, of at least the Camino Frances, compounded by the effect of the papal-proclaimed Year of Mercy (cum Holy Year). I predict this will continue into the future. I submit it will reach critical mass before the next formal Holy Year in 2021.

By then, the provincial and regional juntas and localities along the Camino Frances had better have a plan sorted for dealing with this increasing wave. The alternative will be large numbers of disgruntled pilgrims, with many saying and writing negative things about their experiences. THIS, in return will have an out-year downward effect on the Camino pilgrim numbers. But the long term damage to Northwest Spain's tourism industry, what there is of it, will have been done. Once this happens, turning it around will NOT be easy.

Learning from prior mistakes, juntas building modern albergues by failing to equip kitchen so they can actually be used is NOT an answer. If you are going to do something, do it right. If you do not want people cooking in junta albergues, so they are compelled to patronize local eateries, do not build-in a kitchen in the first place. Apply the funds towards adding square footage with more beds and more bathroom facilities, or coin-operated laundry facilities.

Within 10 years, if enough quality bed space is NOT added to the Camino Frances, one of two things will happen:

1. People will stay away from this historically popular and central route, this hurts all the villages and towns along The Way; or

2. An enterprising entrepreneur WILL build a network of private albergues to a simple, efficient standard that puts all the extant albergues to shame for standards and value for money. They would be located in small hamlets or villages, now not at any standard daily stage end-point.

I am thinking micro-sized versions of the Dutch-operated Roncesvalles albergue, housing perhaps 30 - 40 pilgrims in single or double private alcoves., with Euro operated rucksack lockers and electrical outlets at every bed space. Place them along the sendas, on leased farm land, in villages or hamlets between the Brierley stages, make them all reservable online (just build an app for that) and provide clean, safe, convenient and customer-friendly overnight accommodations, and watch the profits flow.

Any Spanish farmer who would pass up a predictable, annual rental payment for a hectare or two of their under-utilized or fallow land would be a fool. It is easy and free money for most of them, at least those who are land poor in a faltering economy. Also, I am willing to bet that millennials would prefer staying in a very standard, clean, compact, predictable, affordable, private McAlbergue, to what is currently found on a hit and miss basis now. Whether you agree or not, these 20 somethings ARE the future of the Camino. Build what they expect, and they will come...

If I could obtain the venture capital, I would already be on the ground developing this accommodation model. The business model is easy. The political model for obtaining local permission and acceptance is a little more difficult, but not insurmountable with the correct approach. I have developed that approach, but as is the case with most good business ideas, it exists solely in my head for now. I am many things, but stupid ain't one of them. If anyone out there wants my ideas, write me a private communication and we can discuss terms.

There you go. What was predicted, IS HAPPENING. I am surprised that it is happening sooner than I (and others) thought it would. However, it is developing along the lines I (we) thought it would. First the private, reservable lodging is oversubscribed, then albergues at the Brierley stages are oversubscribed, and lastly even the off-stage albergues and hostals are being fully occupied. AND IT IS ONLY MID-MAY!

Watch what happens once the universities empty for the summer break. At the very least, I hope the local juntas start to lighten up on ad hoc camping along the route. Because that is the only accommodation many late-arriving people will find this coming summer.

For me, personally, if my doctors determine that I am able to continue walking the Camino, I will plan to do my future Caminos on alternative Camino routes, plan my Camino for off-months (the autumn is starting to appeal to me), and seek more clever ways to adapt and overcome this developing problem.
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
T2andreo,

Re your "enterprising entrepreneur" see this 2012 post by Laurie.
I just saw this article in the Diario de Leon.

http://www.lacronicadeleon.es/2012/08/2 ... 158808.htm

It describes a construction project to be undertaken by the company Santiago Punto, which is going to build pilgrim accommodations at 64 different points along the Camino Frances and the Camino from LePuy to the border. The accommodations will be rooms with two beds in a prefabricated module, each with private bath. There will be a self-service restaurant, 25 rooms at each place, and a "cyber point" at each facility.

The project is expected to employ 320 people, 60 of them working in the restaurants, 25 in the "Reservation Central," (you can reserve your entire Camino from LePuy in one fell swoop!) and the rest will be working on building the facilities.

Each module will be financed and owned by an individual who lives in each one of the designated stages, perhaps with municipal assistance. The company will then rent the facilities back from each of the owners and operate the albergues.

These modules will be run by the company for 150 days a year, and for the other days of the year, the owners can decide how to use the facilities.

Not quite sure how to react to this.
As we used to bemoan in NYC Landmarks Commission "there goes the neighborhood" !
 
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Cayou

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Villafranca to Santiago
2016 St Jean to Los Arcos
2018 24-Sept Leon to Finnisterre
In his book, " I'm Off Then " German comedian turned author Hape Keperling wrote of Night Pilgrims .... whose that began walking very early to secure lodging for themselves and their group.
This was his journey in June 2001. I'm guessing that the Camino is just a wee bit more popular now?
Have not seen anyone in this forum with Camino travels that far back, but it appears to have been an issue 15 years ago.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
but it appears to have been an issue 15 years ago.
Yes, but many more beds have been added, many for the 2010 crowds. That left a lot of empty beds for a few years until growth caught up. It has caught up! In 2010 the juntas built temporary accommodations in several of the cities in the last 100 km. They have not done so this year, and the numbers will certainly be above 2010. Next year may see a bit of slackening in demand, but that is not certain. To those with a time machine, I suggest that you go in a previous year...
 

newgabe

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Francis May (2016)
This is a version of what I posted in the 'bed shortage' thread:

I've been walking fromPamplona since May 5, and yes there are a lot of people. Accommodation is certainly an issue/ talking point, and I've been in towns that (according to albergue managers) are 'completo' that night (Estrella and Los Arcos around 10th ) including private guest houses. One manager said that the week had been like peak time August in previous years.

I'm sure in big places like Burgos, people just go more upmarket (I did) as a rest day . But not all places have this option. Many people (who didn't expect to) are having to book ahead at least a day. which of course means deciding where you will walk to. Once you've done that, you may as well send yr pack ahead, as a way of ensuring that your booking is honoured, not given away if you don't get there by a certain time (often 3pm). As the weather has been harsh, it's sometimes been desirable to be in that early, before the rain/wind got too cold; other days it's cleared up and the late afternoon would have been a lovely time to walk. Personally I've adopted the strategy of sending my pack ahead to a place I guesstimate I will like then taking time in the day to picnic somewhere pleasant,making sure to phone to say "I really am coming, I'm an old lady, I walk slowly, my pack is there, please don't give away the bed." I saw a woman turned away in a howling rainstorm although she'd sent her pack to a hostel as she hadn't reconfirmed her booking and arrived 'late' (around 4). (Also perhaps cos she was rather rude when she arrived.)

To me this strategy has given me best of both worlds.. security of accommodation as well as time to enjoy the day. Though I have ended up walking through some places that I might otherwise have like to stay in (e.g. the lovely little Riego de Ambros had plenty of space in the lovely little albergue). But I'm just accepting that as 'each day is what it is'. And hallelujah, The weather is now delightful, in Ponferrada.

(by the way if my timings/weather comments seem confusing, I took the train for a bit to meet with a long ago pre-arranged singing group here in Ponferrada. I think it's going to be like I'm having two different Caminos. The first 2 weeks cold and solo , the next 2 warm and plush)
 
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John Finn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances - Sarria to Santiago (2013), Burgos to Leon (2014), St Jean Pied de Port to Logrono (2015), Logrono to Burgos (2016), Leon to Sarria (May 2017).
Some of us, myself included, have consistently stated that Pilgrim numbers during this "Year of Mercy" were going to behave much the same way as a formal Holy Year, at least insofar as observant Catholics are concerned. The spiritual benefits are largely identical.

Then there is the increasing "uptake" by commercial travel agencies and organized groups soaking up reservable bed space formerly occupied by solo pilgrims, like me. This pushes single, walking pilgrim more into albergues, than before. The net result is increase daily pressure at places of lodging at virtually everyplace along the Camino, whether at a formal Brierley stage or not. I am concerned that our anecdotal observations are all coming to be facts, and sooner than originally predicted.

Finally, there is just the human phenomenon of more people doing the Camino, relating their wonderment and positive experiences, and inducing more people to do it, whether as solo pilgrims or in an organized tour group. I admit to being very guilty of spreading the good word. But is that wrong?

THAT is the paradox. We are bound to harm the overall Camino over time by our admiration and kind words towards it as an institution. It is like putting too much plant food on a growing plant. We end up killing it with kindness.

All in all, and taken together, what we are seeing is a "snowball" effect of increasing popularity, of at least the Camino Frances, compounded by the effect of the papal-proclaimed Year of Mercy (cum Holy Year). I predict this will continue into the future. I submit it will reach critical mass before the next formal Holy Year in 2021.

By then, the provincial and regional juntas and localities along the Camino Frances had better have a plan sorted for dealing with this increasing wave. The alternative will be large numbers of disgruntled pilgrims, with many saying and writing negative things about their experiences. THIS, in return will have an out-year downward effect on the Camino pilgrim numbers. But the long term damage to Northwest Spain's tourism industry, what there is of it, will have been done. Once this happens, turning it around will NOT be easy.

Learning from prior mistakes, juntas building modern albergues by failing to equip kitchen so they can actually be used is NOT an answer. If you are going to do something, do it right. If you do not want people cooking in junta albergues, so they are compelled to patronize local eateries, do not build-in a kitchen in the first place. Apply the funds towards adding square footage with more beds and more bathroom facilities, or coin-operated laundry facilities.

Within 10 years, if enough quality bed space is NOT added to the Camino Frances, one of two things will happen:

1. People will stay away from this historically popular and central route, this hurts all the villages and towns along The Way; or

2. An enterprising entrepreneur WILL build a network of private albergues to a simple, efficient standard that puts all the extant albergues to shame for standards and value for money. They would be located in small hamlets or villages, now not at any standard daily stage end-point.

I am thinking micro-sized versions of the Dutch-operated Roncesvalles albergue, housing perhaps 30 - 40 pilgrims in single or double private alcoves., with Euro operated rucksack lockers and electrical outlets at every bed space. Place them along the sendas, on leased farm land, in villages or hamlets between the Brierley stages, make them all reservable online (just build an app for that) and provide clean, safe, convenient and customer-friendly overnight accommodations, and watch the profits flow.

Any Spanish farmer who would pass up a predictable, annual rental payment for a hectare or two of their under-utilized or fallow land would be a fool. It is easy and free money for most of them, at least those who are land poor in a faltering economy. Also, I am willing to bet that millennials would prefer staying in a very standard, clean, compact, predictable, affordable, private McAlbergue, to what is currently found on a hit and miss basis now. Whether you agree or not, these 20 somethings ARE the future of the Camino. Build what they expect, and they will come...

If I could obtain the venture capital, I would already be on the ground developing this accommodation model. The business model is easy. The political model for obtaining local permission and acceptance is a little more difficult, but not insurmountable with the correct approach. I have developed that approach, but as is the case with most good business ideas, it exists solely in my head for now. I am many things, but stupid ain't one of them. If anyone out there wants my ideas, write me a private communication and we can discuss terms.

There you go. What was predicted, IS HAPPENING. I am surprised that it is happening sooner than I (and others) thought it would. However, it is developing along the lines I (we) thought it would. First the private, reservable lodging is oversubscribed, then albergues at the Brierley stages are oversubscribed, and lastly even the off-stage albergues and hostals are being fully occupied. AND IT IS ONLY MID-MAY!

Watch what happens once the universities empty for the summer break. At the very least, I hope the local juntas start to lighten up on ad hoc camping along the route. Because that is the only accommodation many late-arriving people will find this coming summer.

For me, personally, if my doctors determine that I am able to continue walking the Camino, I will plan to do my future Caminos on alternative Camino routes, plan my Camino for off-months (the autumn is starting to appeal to me), and seek more clever ways to adapt and overcome this developing problem.
Excellent analysis, Tom.
 

mcopeland

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - April-June, 2016
Portuguese Lisbon-Santiago - October, 2017
Some of us, myself included, have consistently stated that Pilgrim numbers during this "Year of Mercy" were going to behave much the same way as a formal Holy Year, at least insofar as observant Catholics are concerned. The spiritual benefits are largely identical.
We have yet to meet anyone who is doing this because it is a Holy Year. We are Catholic and have been planning this for way before it was declared a Holy Year. We see very few pilgrims at Mass on Sundays, Catholicism is pretty dead in Europe - we see church after church closed and few priests left to take care of the few who still do attend. Person after person have told us that there are more Americans on the Camino this year than in the past but we don't have any idea.
PS We're not taking any chances and have been booking ahead.
 

NancySpencerTracy

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
September (2015)
We are almost finished with the Sarria to Santiago stage and have seen very few Americans or Canadians. Lots of Germans and French though. There has been so much rain that we have had the trails to ourselves much of the time, and getting a bed has not been a problem; however, since the sun has come out there has been a dramatic increase in day trippers and people being bussed in by tour companies.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Lets not go there, again, pilgrims. Cultural distinctions can be debated all over the .net with varying degrees of moderation from firm to absent. Opportunities for vilification abound. Meanwhile, on this forum we discuss Camino related topics in an open, friendly (most of the time) manner. And we try very hard not to be distracted into personal criticisms, factional religious debate or generic racial comments that might offend. Don't we?

MODERATOR
 

Schildawg

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances (2016)
My son and I will be starting this Sunday, and we are carrying tents with us as well. I'm hoping the albergue owners will be amenable to us staying on their grounds.
 

jimb01930

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from Pamplona (Sept - Oct 2012)
Caminho Portugal from Lisbon (Aug-Sept 2013)
European Peace Walk - Vienna, AU to Trieste, IT (2014)
Via Fracigena - Sienna to Rome (2015)
We are on our 5th and last camino .I am sitting in Carrion de los Condes. Two albergues here were full by 2pm. The other two are mostly full. We have had to book ahead two or three days but have occasionally found private alburgues already booked solid two days out.

There is no solitude anywhere. The meseta was more a matter of crowd control than contemplation. Yes , there are more organized groups with bus support than were here in the past but the overall majority are regular pilgrims.

This is not a happy situation. I felt so badly the other night when we were waiting to check into a private alburgue and two women were turned away crying for they did not have a reservation.

General rule of thumb, make reservation or find a bed by 1300. We will reevaluate when we reach Leon. We may just go home from there.
 

jennie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
from st jean - estella 2013 ponferrada-santiago 2012.hope/expect to do full camino with y
sister in sept 14. we completed our walk in 2014?puenta la reina to belarado june 2016,
I am starting from SJPdP next week and already trying to book a few days ahead. I will have a tent as well and will report back on camping availability, particularly within the grounds of Albergues.
please do report back,i am heading out the 2nd week of june and dont want to book ahead if i can avoid it, only going for a short time and prob will start in pampalona this time,so look forward to seeing how you find things, have a great time,
 

Schildawg

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances (2016)
Yikes! Are there any problems with being able to find meals as well?
 
Camino(s) past & future
April 25, 2016
We left SJPDP on April 25 and will be in Leon tomorrow (May 18). We've been booking A double room in private albergues, small hotels, or pensions since we started. At first we booked 1-2 days ahead, then found it hard to find a room in smaller towns so started booking 3-5 days ahead. We've had to adjust our schedule a few times because ewe couldn't find a room to book and didn't want to risk showing up in a town and all the albergues are full. However, if you want to stay in the bunks in the albergues it is easier but you must get there early.

If you book rooms online like on booking.com, they will (usually) honor your reservation, but if you call or email an Albergue or pension to book a room, you MUST call to confirm before 14:00 on the day of arrival and let them know what time you will be there or they will give your room away.

Personally, I like booking ahead so I can relax and walk slowly and not worry about finding a place when I get to the town. Now that I know my body, I'm ok with booking a week ahead but I wouldn't have wanted to have done that in the first 2 weeks.

We've even met a number of people who have their entire Camino pre booked.

I've seen no trouble finding food although I suppose sometimes if you are showing up late for a pilgrim's meal, you may have to wait for a 2nd seating or a table to open up.

Buen Camino!
 
N

nathanael

Guest
Rich , It could be that you moving with a 'rouge wave' of pilgrims. It would be interesting to know what the situation is like a few days before and after you.
So, the 'bed race' has become a reality?
bed race a reality and there goes the spirit of the Camino
 

long trails

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012
The thought of having to start really early and then rushing to the next destination does fill me with dread.

I did a bit of the Camino in August 2012 and never had an issue finding a bed, indeed I pretty much got my first choice albergue, often rolling into town late in the afternoon.

Will be interesting to see what's changed in 4 years!
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
What about switching to another Camino? The Salvador/Primitivo come to mind. Buen Camino whatever you decide, SY
No, please. Let's leave those routes the way they are. Or try the Salvador and risk the skock of how hard it is, how little service it has, as well as limited socialising.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
And in exchange we let go the CF to pieces? SY
Honnestly... yes. Let it implode and regroup,mand call this a sad period for it.

I don't see how spreading the presure to other routes who a) are more difficult, mentally and / or physically, and b) even less able to cope will help. Just imagine all the albergues that are "selfhelp", with no hospitaleros, being swarmed by hundreds looking for service?

I really am getting a kick watching the people in Portugal,set boundaries for pilgrims, not letting people stay at their albergues just because they could.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
There are so many other routes that the "pressure" would be nicely distributed. And I have no idea whatsoever what you mean with "I really am getting a kick watching the people in Portugal,set boundaries for pilgrims, not letting people stay at their albergues just because they could." SY
 

DanielH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2015 (SJPP to Burgos)
September 2016 (Burgos to Villafranca del Bierzo)
May 2017 (Villafranca del Bierzo to Santiago de Compostela)
I am starting from SJPdP next week and already trying to book a few days ahead. I will have a tent as well and will report back on camping availability, particularly within the grounds of Albergues.
I'd like to hear how the tent worked out when you complete the Camino. I only saw one tent from St. to Burgos last year, but have thought of taking mine. Buen Camino
daniel
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
There are so many other routes that the "pressure" would be nicely distributed. And I have no idea whatsoever what you mean with "I really am getting a kick watching the people in Portugal,set boundaries for pilgrims, not letting people stay at their albergues just because they could." SY
Beds not being open even if they are available, people being told to keep walking even if they havd reservations if their attitude is not a pleasant one.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francis 2013-2014-2015,16 and June 2017,May 2018,Sept 2018.
I'm planning on walking mid August but reading these post make me think i might postpone until sept.
 

RENSHAW

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks every year on CF reaching Burgos or Leon. Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
I'm planning on walking mid August but reading these post make me think i might postpone until sept.
Naawww Bernie! Stick to your plan although in August it is so hot that in Pamplona the grass turns brown. It can get blazing hot in Navarra or the Meseta for that matter. I had great fun sleeping in my tent some of the time - I could snore to my heart's content. There was the small problem of getting going in the morning packing a tent away as well. Up until that time I had only ever walked in spring and autumn but beware the heatwave. During my August Camino a few years back there was no chance that one could start out at 8 and finish at 3 - I finally understood why pilgrims leave at 5am.

My tent just below Alto Perdon overlooking Pamplona.

a.jpg
CAMINO 2013 053.JPG

This was just the start , it got hotter! At 7 in the evening one expects the temperature to cool down ........ uhuhhhh! Just enjoy Bernie , the rest will happen itself.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francis 2013-2014-2015,16 and June 2017,May 2018,Sept 2018.
Naawww Bernie! Stick to your plan although in August it is so hot that in Pamplona the grass turns brown. It can get blazing hot in Navarra or the Meseta for that matter. I had great fun sleeping in my tent some of the time - I could snore to my heart's content. There was the small problem of getting going in the morning packing a tent away as well. Up until that time I had only ever walked in spring and autumn but beware the heatwave. During my August Camino a few years back there was no chance that one could start out at 8 and finish at 3 - I finally understood why pilgrims leave at 5am.

My tent just below Alto Perdon overlooking Pamplona.

View attachment 26058
View attachment 26057

This was just the start , it got hotter! At 7 in the evening one expects the temperature to cool down ........ uhuhhhh! Just enjoy Bernie , the rest will happen itself.
Cheers,yes i walked last June n my it was sooo hot,another reason i may delay until Sept as well as the news that the Francis is pretty busy this year.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francis 2013-2014-2015,16 and June 2017,May 2018,Sept 2018.
Come to think of it i snore pretty bad so i may just bring a ground mat n sleep/wash where i can,deprive others of my dulcit nasal tones,we Irish are a hardy lot :)))
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
T2andreo,

Re your "enterprising entrepreneur" see this 2012 post by Laurie.


As we used to bemoan in NYC Landmarks Commission "there goes the neighborhood" !
Thank for the link, but it appears to have "gone down Route 404..." It is not there any longer. But, point taken. Some enterprising Spanish firm got the jump on me. But, I note that article was from nearly four years ago, the year BEFORE I did my first Camino. I am accustomed to things happening slowly in Spain, but four years? Does anyone have updated information on this development initiative?

I think it is not a mater of "IF" someone standardizes and "Disneyfies" the Camino Frances. Rather I submit it is a question of when, and what the final reality will be. It can be done in a subdued, yet modern approach (better), or it can have twin "Golden Arches" (very bad IMHO). I do not mind being "scooped." But, as a peregrino who is in it for the duration (of life) I do have concerns about the final product, if any.

Based on my many informal discussions over several years along the Camino with hospitaleros(as), lodging proprietors, and cafe owners, I well understand the local political dynamic in play here. The folks with small places of lodging do not want further competition, of any kind. Increasing bed space means (to them) that they might have a bed go vacant because there is an adequate or excess supply. As business persons, they prefer a tight housing market. This makes perfect sense from their perspective.

The hospitaleros just want clean, safe, affordable beds for all comers. A private albergue owner would likely think in a similar fashion as the hostal owner. But the municipal albergues frequently are the choice of last resort. That is why many municipalities sometimes revery to using mats on athletic facility floors for overflow lodging. A good "plan B," if funds could be found (always the rub), would be to expand locker room bathroom and shower facilities in these sports centers, and obtain added matting to provide to pilgrims affected by the coming surge over this summer, and beyond.

The "sweet spot" is the area between these two competing camps. However, and I would be willing to bet that, the original 2012 initiative resulted from the problems experienced in the last formal Holy Year in 2010. THAT is NOTHING compared to what will be seen by 2021. The officials in Sanitago are informally bantering about annual volumes in the 400,000 range.

Clearly more pilgrim lodging must be identified and developed as soon as possible, but certainly well before 2021. But, in addressing this coming "bunk gap," I do believe that there is a combination of NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) syndrome, and gentle but perceptible business self-interest. I stop well short of calling this behavior greed or selfishness, because I do not think it actually is.

Honestly, if I ran a small, family-owned privater albergue or hostal, I would likely feel and behave the same way. I would likely attend local town and area junta meetings and speak in opposition to added competition. If "all politics are local "(quoting the late US Speaker of the House Thomas "Tip" P. O'Neill from Boston, MA), this behavior is normal and to be expected of any small business person.

On the other hand, being the analyst that I was and remain, as that small business owner, I would also be looking at cost-effective options for adding more affordable bed space for surge times. This is a realistic response to the coming surge.

Perhaps a new out-building, expansion "bunkhouse" with bathroom facilities that can be operated only seasonally? Or, perhaps I have a large enough attic space above my hostal or private albergue, that could be converted into the overflow bed space at a reasonable cost. While I would have to seek building permits and maybe local permission for renovations or limited expansion, such an approach would likely fall short of the highly public scrutiny that a developed building a chain of standard properties in direct competition would foster...

...just some thoughts.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Traditionally this surge time spaces where provided by the local Juntas/Xuntas in form of tent camps in Holy Years. Anybody knows if they are planning this also for this year? Buen Camino, SY
 

Older Guy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis -May 2016 by bike---Loved it
I finished my Camino today. I thought that I would provide a slightly different perspective on the volume of Pilgrims. I stood in line for about an hour and 40 minutes to get my Compestela. That seemed to me like an awfully long time. I think that there are a lot of Pilgrims out there.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
It seems to me that we already have a version of new and standardized albergues in the Xunta albergues in Galicia, staffed by employees, not hospitaleros, and deliberately lacking cooking gear, because, as one such employee explained, they do not want to clean up after pilgrims. There are currently problems with the business model and I would only use one for a bed if there is no alternative. They are not even reliable to be open year round, although they seem to be officially committed to this. I came close to having to sleep in the woods in the rain last November, because the local Xunta albergue had decided, with both private albergues in the neighbourhood, that November 15 was a good date to close for the season. Anyone else considering opening a string of albergues along the camino frances would be bound to look at the situation in the Xunta albergues and consider carefully how they could make a profit on the investment.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
I finished my Camino today. I thought that I would provide a slightly different perspective on the volume of Pilgrims. I stood in line for about an hour and 40 minutes to get my Compestela. That seemed to me like an awfully long time. I think that there are a lot of Pilgrims out there.
I am checking, both in fascination and horror, the daily arrivals here http://peregrinossantiago.es Yesterday the numbers reached 900+ Buen Camino, SY
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francis 2013-2014-2015,16 and June 2017,May 2018,Sept 2018.
September is a great time to walk. The European holiday season is over, the real heat has diminished, and there is little chance of prolonged rain.
Regards
Gerard
Totally agree,i walked in sept a few years ago n it was lovely,the rain don't bother me n i guess there will be less pilgrims on the road.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Lol, no secret service here, just scroll down the home page and it says "On Wednesday 370 pilgrims arrived in Santiago
LAST UPDATED: TODAY AT 14:14"

just under the map. It gets updated twice daily as far as I can see ;-) Buen Camino, SY
 

cotton0226

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
July 2016
My friend just returned and intimated that her problems were related to it being "off season" and not all the alberques are open yet. Could this be a factor?
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
I'm not sure why but I've had no problems at all. I don't get up before daylight and take my time having a second breakfast and sometimes lunch along the way. Today I left Pamplona about 8am and rolled into Punta La Reina an hour ago (4pm). I had no problem getting a bed at the Padres Reparadores Albergue.
 

jirit

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007,
Via Francigena Italy, 2008,
Jakobsweg Austria 2010,
Camino Frances 2011,
Le Puy to Lourdes 2012,
Via de la Plata 2013,
Future:
Ökumenischer (Via Regia), Germany,
Lycian Way, Turkey
Ivar booked that for you because you're a Moderator (oh woops another Camino rumour started) ;)
I heard also she got a real bed - not some lumpy well used bunk bed;)
 

kristeL

Peregrina
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (May-June 2016)
Le Puy to Cahors (summer 2017)
Dear all,
I really nead some advise....

I am leaving tomorrow for the South of France, starting to walk this Friday. I am recovering from a burn-out, so I have some nervous issues and also know that on good days I will be able to walk a lot on the bad ones no....

So, I planned to start walking from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Orisson to take it easy on the first stage, but this seems no option now.
(For those who want details: I did make a reservation by mail and got no answer, then called and they tell me just now that they are fully booked (and also very unfriendly and not willing to help on the phone :'( )

I also have read your messages here about how busy it is now on (the first part of?) the camino and I am really worried. If there is one very thing that really makes me nervous it is not being sure to have a place to rest. (of course)

I am not bound to any date and I just want to walk, let's say a month and see where I can get. For some reason I'd like to stay on the Camino Frances. Maybe I have to change my plans and take a bus, and start from somewhere else, maybe where its' less crowded after the Pyerenees? Logroño? Or change to the North Route?
Can you give me any advise?
Thanks a million.............!
 

Schildawg

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances (2016)
So if there are 300 beds available, and 900 pilgrims show up, what are the other 600 doing to sleep?

We have a budget of $3200 for the two of us for 40 days, so $300 hotel rooms are out of the question for us.
 

PeterD1951

Member
Camino(s) past & future
First Camino May 2016
So if there are 300 beds available, and 900 pilgrims show up, what are the other 600 doing to sleep?

We have a budget of $3200 for the two of us for 40 days, so $300 hotel rooms are out of the question for us.
We start Saturday from Logrono. From what I've read you might have a bigger problem if you were trying to find a $300 hotel room.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
@kristeL unless you have a special and personal reason to walk the Napoleon walk the Valcarlos instead. Stop in the lovely Albergue in Valcarlos where Kanga encountered only 2 other pilgrims a few nights ago. Its a beautiful walk and a gentle-ish introduction to the Camino. Plan short days and be prepared to walk a little farther.

Buen Camino
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
With big numbers arriving in Santiago there is a good chance that one or more big groups are included in that number. This kind of groups has normally pre-booked their accommodation (sport halls etc.) so they do not affect the "normal" albergues so much. I personally would now either start in Pamplona, a lot of people do drop out there because it wasn't what they imagined, or choose another route, for example the Portuguese. http://caminodesantiago.consumer.es/los-caminos-de-santiago/frances/ has a good overview in the side bar of the different ways in Spain and Portugal and there is always France ... On second thought starting in Somport/Jaca and walking the Aragones Way is also a lovely option ... Or Leon/Oviedo/Santiago, there are so many routes to choose from, don't limit yourself to the CF. Buen Camino, SY
 

RENSHAW

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks every year on CF reaching Burgos or Leon. Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
I'm not sure why but I've had no problems at all. I don't get up before daylight and take my time having a second breakfast and sometimes lunch along the way. Today I left Pamplona about 8am and rolled into Punta La Reina an hour ago (4pm). I had no problem getting a bed at the Padres Reparadores Albergue.
Is Luis the 80s footballer from PALMA MAJORCA still there - such a nice chap.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
@kristeL you will have no problem with accommodation if you take the Valcarlos route from SJPDP to Roncesvalles. It is very pretty. Plenty of space in a very nice albergue at Valcarlos, a nice easy distance, you can book if it worries you, and you will get into Roncesvalles the next day well before the mass of people doing the Route Napoleon, so will get a bed there without stress. And an excellent dinner can be had at Valcarlos in the restaurant near the end of the village!
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
So if there are 300 beds available, and 900 pilgrims show up, what are the other 600 doing to sleep?

We have a budget of $3200 for the two of us for 40 days, so $300 hotel rooms are out of the question for us.
@Schildawg are you referring to this post Rumours of Pilgrims being held in SJPP due to crowding? If so, don't worry there are more than 900 hundred beds on the Camino. Just not necessarily all in the same place. There are reports of a significant wave of pilgrims on the road at present, placing stress on the infrastructure in some places. In the past pilgrims have been accommodated in Sports-halls, Churches and even temporary tent cities. I've slept on the floor of a bar before now. Though that wasn't due, in particular, to the volume of pilgrims. Buen Camino
 

RENSHAW

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks every year on CF reaching Burgos or Leon. Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
So if there are 300 beds available, and 900 pilgrims show up, what are the other 600 doing to sleep?

We have a budget of $3200 for the two of us for 40 days, so $300 hotel rooms are out of the question for us.
WHAT!! the 900 have been freed!!??
Seriously , your Budget is more than ample but even pensions and hostals will fill up if you do not stop at a decent time - say 14h00 or earlier.

EDIT! Sorry but also to add that these hoards of pilgrims seem to come in waves - the hamlet just ahead may be half empty?
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
In Burgos, the albergue municipal with 150 beds was full shortly befor 5 PM on May, 2nd. I know, because I got one of the last 4 beds.

Even in Moratinos, which is only a small pueblo, the first albergue was full (when I passed on my way to the Peaceable Kingdom there) at 4 PM on May 7th, and the other was about to be full. In Hornillos del Camino (first stop after Burgos), private albergues were full at around 3PM on May 3rd. Don't know about the municipal. Truly high traffic throughout all of May so far this year.
 
Last edited:

lettinggo

Active Member
Dear all,
I really nead some advise....

I am leaving tomorrow for the South of France, starting to walk this Friday. I am recovering from a burn-out, so I have some nervous issues and also know that on good days I will be able to walk a lot on the bad ones no....

So, I planned to start walking from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Orisson to take it easy on the first stage, but this seems no option now.
(For those who want details: I did make a reservation by mail and got no answer, then called and they tell me just now that they are fully booked (and also very unfriendly and not willing to help on the phone :'( )

I also have read your messages here about how busy it is now on (the first part of?) the camino and I am really worried. If there is one very thing that really makes me nervous it is not being sure to have a place to rest. (of course)

I am not bound to any date and I just want to walk, let's say a month and see where I can get. For some reason I'd like to stay on the Camino Frances. Maybe I have to change my plans and take a bus, and start from somewhere else, maybe where its' less crowded after the Pyerenees? Logroño? Or change to the North Route?
Can you give me any advise?
Thanks a million.............!
Hola Kristel

I think a good advice right now could be not to read to much on the forum about how busy the Camin Frances is right now.
It will, of course, make anyone new to the Camino nervous and maybe not so rightfully.
It sounds to me that you have decided to spend some time walking and contemplating about your life.
Good.
The Camino may be the perfect place for that. Many pilgrims have stated that their Camino changed their life somewhat. Maybe it will also have some profund impact on your life :)

If you have your backpack almost ready, then you are ready.
Make your way to Saint Jean and take it a day at the time.
Go slow the first week and get a feel for what you have begun.
As suggested in other posts, you can opt for the lower route, Valcarlos. It is certainly a splendid walk, and as you will meet many pilgrims you will get and share information about places to stay the upcoming days.
Do not stress yourself to much about this right now, is my suggestion.
If indeed you feel that things are difficult on Frances, you have 3-4 days walking before you enter Pamplona.
From there you can take a bus to Irun and walk the Norte or skip ahead on Frances or just stay some days and think about what you want to do. You say you have the time, so use it and enjoy your time in Spain.
There is no race unless you choose to enter one.

As you write you are nervous that you may not have a place to sleep for the night.
I firmly believe that it is very rare that pilgrims do not have a place to sleep.
The locals are very friendly and often arrange temporary sleeping quaters or even drive pilgrims to places to sleep, as well as many pilgrims 'team up' with fellow pilgrims they do not know and share a double room in a hostel or hotel.

You write that you burned out and now you are taking action by walking which will change your life.
That is inevitably.
So remember the most important for you right now: relax, walk in your own pace, smell the fresh air, eat good food, make friends with strangers, be friendly, be excatly who you want to be and allow yourself to simply be walking the camino as millions have done the last 1000 years. I think it is a perspectiv that most people could benefit from experiencing.
I hope this helps.

Everything flows
Flow with it

Buen Camino
Lettinggo
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member 36903

Guest
Dear all,
I really nead some advise....
Kristel. I would echo what other forum members have said, go ahead and stay the first night in Valcarlos, it is an easy walk from SJPDP and the albergue is cosy. There are numerous options for eating out but also there are two shops (one is also a restaurant/bar) where you could buy bread, cheese, fruit for the next day's walk into Roncesvalles or further. take it gently, enjoy your journey. Buen Camino!
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
Thank for the link, but it appears to have "gone down Route 404..." It is not there any longer. But, point taken. Some enterprising Spanish firm got the jump on me. But, I note that article was from nearly four years ago, the year BEFORE I did my first Camino. I am accustomed to things happening slowly in Spain, but four years? Does anyone have updated information on this development initiative?

I think it is not a mater of "IF" someone standardizes and "Disneyfies" the Camino Frances. Rather I submit it is a question of when, and what the final reality will be. It can be done in a subdued, yet modern approach (better), or it can have twin "Golden Arches" (very bad IMHO). I do not mind being "scooped." But, as a peregrino who is in it for the duration (of life) I do have concerns about the final product, if any.

Based on my many informal discussions over several years along the Camino with hospitaleros(as), lodging proprietors, and cafe owners, I well understand the local political dynamic in play here. The folks with small places of lodging do not want further competition, of any kind. Increasing bed space means (to them) that they might have a bed go vacant because there is an adequate or excess supply. As business persons, they prefer a tight housing market. This makes perfect sense from their perspective.

The hospitaleros just want clean, safe, affordable beds for all comers. A private albergue owner would likely think in a similar fashion as the hostal owner. But the municipal albergues frequently are the choice of last resort. That is why many municipalities sometimes revery to using mats on athletic facility floors for overflow lodging. A good "plan B," if funds could be found (always the rub), would be to expand locker room bathroom and shower facilities in these sports centers, and obtain added matting to provide to pilgrims affected by the coming surge over this summer, and beyond.

The "sweet spot" is the area between these two competing camps. However, and I would be willing to bet that, the original 2012 initiative resulted from the problems experienced in the last formal Holy Year in 2010. THAT is NOTHING compared to what will be seen by 2021. The officials in Sanitago are informally bantering about annual volumes in the 400,000 range.

Clearly more pilgrim lodging must be identified and developed as soon as possible, but certainly well before 2021. But, in addressing this coming "bunk gap," I do believe that there is a combination of NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) syndrome, and gentle but perceptible business self-interest. I stop well short of calling this behavior greed or selfishness, because I do not think it actually is.

Honestly, if I ran a small, family-owned privater albergue or hostal, I would likely feel and behave the same way. I would likely attend local town and area junta meetings and speak in opposition to added competition. If "all politics are local "(quoting the late US Speaker of the House Thomas "Tip" P. O'Neill from Boston, MA), this behavior is normal and to be expected of any small business person.

On the other hand, being the analyst that I was and remain, as that small business owner, I would also be looking at cost-effective options for adding more affordable bed space for surge times. This is a realistic response to the coming surge.

Perhaps a new out-building, expansion "bunkhouse" with bathroom facilities that can be operated only seasonally? Or, perhaps I have a large enough attic space above my hostal or private albergue, that could be converted into the overflow bed space at a reasonable cost. While I would have to seek building permits and maybe local permission for renovations or limited expansion, such an approach would likely fall short of the highly public scrutiny that a developed building a chain of standard properties in direct competition would foster...

...just some thoughts.
Simple wall tents that are used by the military or by outfitters would fill the overflow need in many of these places. Shower tents could be set up just as easily. The question is will the land owners think of this..
 

kristeL

Peregrina
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (May-June 2016)
Le Puy to Cahors (summer 2017)
Hola Kristel

I think a good advice right now could be not to read to much on the forum about how busy the Camin Frances is right now.
It will, of course, make anyone new to the Camino nervous and maybe not so rightfully.
It sounds to me that you have decided to spend some time walking and contempletating about your life.
Good.
The Camino may be the perfect place for that. Many pilgrims have statet that their Camino changed their life somewhat. Maybe it will also have some profund impact on your life :)

If you have your backpack almost ready, then you are ready.
Make your way to Saint Jean and take it a day at the time.
Go slow the first week and get a feel for what you have begun.
As suggested in other posts, you can opt for the lower route, Valcarlos. It is certainly a splendid walk, and as you will meet many pilgrims you will get and share information about places to stay the upcoming days.
Do not stress yourself to much about this right now, is my suggestion.
If indeed you feel that things are difficult on Frances, you have 3-4 days walking before you enter Pamplona.
From there you can take a bus to Irun and walk the Norte or skip ahead on Frances or just stay some days and think about what you want to do. You say you have the time, so use it and enjoy your time in Spain.
There is no race unless you choose to enter one.

As you write you are nervous that you may not have a place to sleep for the night.
I firmly believe that it is very rare that pilgrims do not have a place to sleep.
The locals are very friendly and often arrange temporary sleeping quaters or even drive pilgrims to places to sleep, as well as many pilgrims 'team up' with fellow pilgrims they do not know and share a double room in a hostel or hotel.

You write that you burned out and now you are taking action by walking which will change your life.
That is inevitably.
So remember the most important for you right now: relax, walk in your own pace, smell the fresh air, eat good food, make friends with strangers, be friendly, be excatly who you want to be and allow yourself to simply be walking the camino as millions have done the last 1000 years. I think it is a perspectiv that most people could benefit from experiencing.
I hope this helps.

Everything flows
Flow with it

Buen Camino
Lettinggo

Everything flows... yes this helps!

Thank you very very much, I will try the Valcarlos route then.
 

Kuznitz

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2016 (May/June)
For what it's worth, we're currently on the CF staying in Estella and have had no trouble getting beds booking one night out at the private albergues. In Pamplona, one of our group walked in at 1 or 2 at our albergue and still was able to get a bed. Spaces appears to be tight, but a little planning so far has worked for us. Hopefully our luck will hold.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Simple wall tents that are used by the military or by outfitters would fill the overflow need in many of these places. Shower tents could be set up just as easily. The question is will the land owners think of this..
And those on an inexpensive yet luxurious holiday! :cool:
 

Rich1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (May 2015)
Camino Frances (2016-2018)
A complicated Camino from Madrid (Aug/Sep 18)
Here are a couple of examples
Today - Ages completely full before 3
Last week - Zariquiegui full at 13.30!
Viana was also chaos by 3

Basically, most are finding they have a choice:
1. Book ahead and have a relaxing day walking to your destination
2. Go with the flow but worry about finding somewhere after 2.

I'd much rather go with the flow and stop where it feels right but this has proven very hard to do especially with the 2 of us.

I am loving the Camino again this year but it is a different experience....but still a wonderful place to be :)
 

lettinggo

Active Member
Everything flows... yes this helps!

Thank you very very much, I will try the Valcarlos route then.
You are welcome Kristal.
In a few days you will be tired, overwhelmet and learning things about yourself you didn't know.
Pace yourself. And smile.
Lettinggo
 

NorthernLight

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Today, May 18, some 907 pilgrims registered at the Santiago pilgrim office before 20:57.

Yikes
 
Camino(s) past & future
April 25, 2016
I'm not sure why but I've had no problems at all. I don't get up before daylight and take my time having a second breakfast and sometimes lunch along the way. Today I left Pamplona about 8am and rolled into Punta La Reina an hour ago (4pm). I had no problem getting a bed at the Padres Reparadores Albergue.
We didn't have too much trouble finding a place in the first week. It didn't start getting busy until a little later on. But with any luck, we are in the midst of a large group and you are behind it. Fingers crossed that it stays that way for you!
 

Stellaluna

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Coast to Coast (2015)
Frances (July 2016)
I wonder how the 907 arriving in Santiago compares to the number arriving by foot in Sarria?
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
I just have to ask this: why do you find it amazing that 907 pilgrims were registered at the Santiago pilgrims office yesterday, ie. May 18, 2016?
In May 2015, they registered 31 078 pilgrims, that is 1002 per day on average.
Probably because early to midweek are usually the low-points of the week, and weekends are materially higher to produce the average. In this case, the low point is approaching last year's average.

The overall numbers throughout this week (so far) have definitely been higher than last week, and suggests a larger incoming wave than just those generated each weekend by the "Sarria surge". Given the anecdotal descriptions from @Kanga, the really high volumes rolling through the early stages of the CF appears to have subsided to something probably closer to normal based on the recent past years. If that's the case, then an earlier postulation (I think by @annakappa) in a different thread was spot on that the early timing of Easter was likely to produce exactly such a wave at this time.

In 2013, I rolled into Santiago on a Saturday along w/ well over 2,000 of my closest Camino friends, and although it was crazy busy, I never had issues (and didn't meet anyone who did) with finding a bed between Sarria and SdC. I didn't even have a line at the pilgrim's office because I went in the evening shortly before closing (the day's rush had passed).
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
We are on our 5th and last camino .I am sitting in Carrion de los Condes. Two albergues here were full by 2pm. The other two are mostly full. We have had to book ahead two or three days but have occasionally found private alburgues already booked solid two days out.

There is no solitude anywhere. The meseta was more a matter of crowd control than contemplation. Yes , there are more organized groups with bus support than were here in the past but the overall majority are regular pilgrims.

This is not a happy situation. I felt so badly the other night when we were waiting to check into a private alburgue and two women were turned away crying for they did not have a reservation.

General rule of thumb, make reservation or find a bed by 1300. We will reevaluate when we reach Leon. We may just go home from there.
Jimb01930:

Switch to the Salvador in Leon and then jump to the Primitivo in Oviedo. They are both great Camino's.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
Jimb01930:

Switch to the Salvador in Leon and then jump to the Primitivo in Oviedo. They are both great Camino's.

Ultreya,
Joe
NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! :eek:

Everybody keeps sending folks that way, and that's the route I've been planning for over a year. Please please please don't tell anyone else about it until I finish in late June. ;)

Or perhaps I could start a rumor about 1,200 pilgrims held in Leon and allowed onto the Salvador in daily groups of 20 . . .
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
I just have to ask this: why do you find it amazing that 907 pilgrims were registered at the Santiago pilgrims office (May 18, 2016)?
In May 2015, they registered 31 078 pilgrims, that is 1002 per day on average.
In May 2014, they registered 27 354 pilgrims, that is 882 per day on average.
907 pilgrims does not seem to be extraordinary for a day in May.
Early May 2014 arrival it simply did not seem there was that many pilgrims no bed issues ever, no big groups. Room in the cathedrals. Nothing to suggest those numbers per day.
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
Dear all,
I really nead some advise....

I am leaving tomorrow for the South of France, starting to walk this Friday. I am recovering from a burn-out, so I have some nervous issues and also know that on good days I will be able to walk a lot on the bad ones no....

So, I planned to start walking from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Orisson to take it easy on the first stage, but this seems no option now.
(For those who want details: I did make a reservation by mail and got no answer, then called and they tell me just now that they are fully booked (and also very unfriendly and not willing to help on the phone :'( )

I also have read your messages here about how busy it is now on (the first part of?) the camino and I am really worried. If there is one very thing that really makes me nervous it is not being sure to have a place to rest. (of course)

I am not bound to any date and I just want to walk, let's say a month and see where I can get. For some reason I'd like to stay on the Camino Frances. Maybe I have to change my plans and take a bus, and start from somewhere else, maybe where its' less crowded after the Pyerenees? Logroño? Or change to the North Route?
Can you give me any advise?
Thanks a million.............!
KristeL:

Why not just walk the Norte or just start in Leon and walk the Salvador/Primitivo.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

craigmiller

Senior Walker
Camino(s) past & future
2012: Astorga to Palas de Rei
2013: SJPP to Burgos
2014: Burgos to Astorga/Palas to Santiago
2015: Camino Aragones
2016: Muxia/Finisterra
Today, May 18, some 907 pilgrims registered at the Santiago pilgrim office before 20:57.

Yikes
To put those numbers in perspective: 907 is very manageable. The day we arrived in Santiago (Sept 4, 2014) there were 989 - and we had no problems getting beds in pilgrim albergues during the last week of our walk (granted, we usually stopped walking about lunch time). When we got to Santiago we stayed at the Seminario Menor in a large dorm which was nearly empty - it was almost spooky how quiet it was.
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
I was just about to post once more, one of my theories about this sudden surge this May, Koilife!
Easter was very early this year. During May, a more than usual amount of Public Holidays have popped up. These involve 'pontes' or bridges, whereby should this particular holiday fall on say a Thursday or Friday or Monday, people take advantage of the paid extra day holiday and then join them up with a week or two and they get a bonus of time out of the office.
1st May is a holiday. Then came Ascención Thursday. 10 days later came Whitsun. Some of the Northern Europeans have Whit Monday off. And last, but not least comes Corpus on 29th May.
Add to that a couple of local Feast (Saint's days). San Isidro, patron Saint of Madrid comes to mind, when the whole of Madrid shuts down, you have the exceptional situation when many, many people have decide to do a 'ponte' or two. Especially the Spaniards and Northern Europeans, especially the Germans.
I am very curious as to how June shapes up, considering the boom of holidays during this month of May.
Personally, I do not think that the Holy Year has much to do with this influx, as Santiago is not the only Cathedral to offer the facility of walking through the Holy Door. This year, it's available World wide! I have been watching the Webcam focused on the Holy door and I see very few people entering. Nothing like the queues that went for hundreds of metres all across the Plaza and continued out of site down the far side street. That I saw in October 2010 ( more or less out if season by then). Apart from that, you don't have to be a Pilgrim to walk through the Holy Door. It has nothing to do with the Pilgrimage.
For those worried about the large amount of Pilgrims walking in July and August, remember that groups are usually put up in the sports centres and therefore do not flood out the Albergues.
 

IowaPilgrim

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (SJDPP to Burgos) - September, 2015; Burgos to Santiago - April, 2016
Just as a word of warning, the Camino Frances is incredibly busy at the moment.
I did the Camino last year at exactly the same time and had no problem showing up at 4pm and getting a bed.
This year all accomodation is going very quickly usually by 2 or 3 pm. Some even earlier. We have deliberately stayed in the middle of "Brierley" stages so goodness knows what the stage ends are like.
Last year i rarely booked ahead but this year we are having to.
What a difference a month makes. I was in Azura on April 18. I was the only pilgrim in an albergue with 36 beds. I left Burgos on March 30 and arrived in Santiago on April 20. I never saw a full albergue. Of course, there is a reason for this. There were many cold, rainy, windy, and muddy days.
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
I was just about to post once more, one of my theories about this sudden surge this May, Koilife!
Easter was very early this year. . . .
I think your analysis is a spot on match to the anecdotal information on the ground. I tend to agree that this Jubilee Year is not going to cause the full-fledged spike of a Jacobean Holy Year, in part because the holy doors are open everywhere, and in part because the last Jubilee Year was barely more than normal growth. In the end, the numbers will prove it, or disprove it.

But, going on the assumption that there really won't be that big an overall volume spike throughout the summer compared to last year, perhaps this would be a good time to stop redirecting people on to the Salvador and Primitivo. After all, those are planned for my Camino, and I should be able to walk my Camino my way. Right?:cool:
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
I have a feeling I made comment about "accommodation saturation" sometime last year - roughly predicting what this post as now confirm. The 2021 Holy Year will be a nightmare (accommodation wise) especially on the Frances and I doubt it will be significantly better on the alternative (shorter ?) northern routes. It may result in (as I think was referred to) the golden goose being killed before it was ready for the oven. I am hoping to start in early May 2017 - I would not even countenancing a visit in 2021 - mores the pity. So all out there on the meseta, or climbing up from Astorga to Rabanal and the Cruz - Buen Camino.;)o_O:cool:
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
I finished my Camino today. I thought that I would provide a slightly different perspective on the volume of Pilgrims. I stood in line for about an hour and 40 minutes to get my Compestela. That seemed to me like an awfully long time. I think that there are a lot of Pilgrims out there.
For the third week of May, it IS a long time to wait. But, as expressed here and elsewhere in the Forum, this year is starting to behave more like an actual Holy Year than is normally the case for "off years." Waiting in excess of one-and-a-half-hours is the typically the queue length each day, but in July and August, not usually in late May.

You CAN mitigate the wait by being at the front gate on Rua Garcia-Sabell when the Pilgrim Office first opens in the morning, or by arriving at about 1800 - 1900 in the late afternoon / early evening. In my experience, from the past two years as a Pilgrim Office volunteer in June, July and August, there is a daily "lull" in the queue around that time - it is also in the heat of the afternoon...

There are still waiting lines, to be sure, but they are typically shorter than late morning and early afternoon (straddling the noon Pilgrim Mass). At the end of the day, it has been the practice to only admit to the courtyard or garden as many pilgrims as can be processed by closing time. The outer doors are then closed. But, if you have been admitted "off the street" you WILL be interviewed and processed. Please consider that the staff DO have families and other outside responsibilities, and staff (including volunteer) resources are finite.

Things being what they are, you should presume you WILL have to wait for access to the grounds, as there is security screening of all rucksacks (mochilas) being brought into or near the Pilgrim Office building. Also, there is a much shorter, internal queue to get into the actual Pilgrim Office. These now routine, but time-consuming "speed bumps" MUST be factored into your end-of-Camino plans. Failure to do so, will only increase your stress level, and diminish your experience.

PLEASE, DO NOT presume you can swan into the Pilgrim Office, collect your Compostela, attend the Noon Mass, then take a 1500 bus, train or plane out of Santiago, all on the same day. It ain't gonna happen! This is 2016. There are valid security concerns all over town. Rucksack (mochilas) are NOT permitted in the Cathedral. Plan ahead and allow extra time for security screenings, checking your rucksack in to a consgina, etc.

So, avoid the stress. Please book a lodging in advance. The Tourist Information Office for the City of Santiago is located at #63 Rua do Vilar, just before the square with the fountain. They can help you locate lodging if you arrive empty-handed in this regard.

Stash your mochila in a consigna. Attend the noon Mass in calmness, and do your welcome ritual with Santiago at the Cathedral, THEN head over to the Pilgrim Office for a Compostela, after a leisurely lunch...

Also, and IMHO, the new Pilgrim Office is a much better place to wait than the former location. There are restrooms and vending machines in the large garden courtyard. There are ample bicycle racks and a rucksack consigna. The garden has several stone "picnic" tables and a large lawn area. In addition, the property is safer for pilgrims and their possessions than at earlier locations. ONLY PILGRIMS WITH A CREDENCIAL ARE ADMITTED BEYOND THE MAIN GATE BY SECURITY.

On site, there is also a Correos, and ALSA reservation and ticketing booth (mostly morning, from 0900 - 1400 (?), if I recall correctly from my April visit). The Correos is open normal business hours. Both are just a step off Rua das Carretas. Look for the Correos letter box just next to the open door. The junta evidently refused permission for an exterior Correos or ALSA sign, as the building is apparently a historic edifice.

The entry to the Pilgrim Office courtyard / garden and the Pilgrim Office proper is actually around the corner to the left on Rua de Domingo Garcia-Sabell. After entering the courtyard, the Pilgrim Office is UP THE STAIRS located to your left. I note, in wry humor, that the Camino ALWAYS has one more UP to challenge you with...;) Heck, even walking the final 100 meters to the bus station is UP a staircase...

There is a daily surge of pilgrims seeking Compostelas before the Noon Pilgrim Mass at about 1000-1030, and after the Pilgrim Mass at about 1300-1400. The daily "peak time" for pilgrims arriving for Compostelas is about from 1100 - 1600, as pilgrims walk in directly to Sanitago and the Pilgrim Office to get their Compostela, first-thing before arranging for accommodation, etc. Too many arriving pilgrims think they can get a Compostela, attend the noon Mass, then depart Santiago, all in one continuous and convenient process. This is not McDonalds's folks...:eek:

I suggest and recommend that pilgrims FIRST arrange lodging, place their mochila in a secure place, then come to the Pilgrim Office. The P/O keeps regular hours and is open seven-days a week. It is not going away any time soon.

If getting through the process early and making the noon Pilgrim Mass at the Cathedral is your primary goal, then I strongly suggest placing your rucksack into a consignment place, THEN attending Mass, THEN seeking your Compostela. Here are three recommendations for convenient consignas to stash your rucksack for about €2 for the day:
  1. Top of the stairs to the right, on the corner, immediately before the primary entry to the Cathedral on the SOUTH transept side of the Cathedral, on Praza das Praterias. It is run by school teachers as a not-for profit.
  2. The large Correos (post office) on Rua do Franco, on the right corner, about two short blocks from the fountain in Praza das Praterias; or
  3. The Pilgrim Office - there is a large consigna at the rear of the large courtyard, just next to the Netherlands "Huiskamer" for Dutch speakers. You must tell the security guard at the sole gate that you need the consigna.
MAKE CERTAIN YOU HAVE YOUR CREDENTIAL ON YOU. No credencial, no admission to the secure garden behind the Pilgrim Office and Welcome Center. The days of providing casual and easy access to the non-pilgrim, general public are over. If you have a credencial, you are considered to have valid business there. Security considerations aside, it is likely a good thing to keep your credencial on your person AT ALL TIMES, as many merchants in Santiago will offer discounts or special deals for pilgrims. The credencial is the sole proof of pilgrim status...anyone can buy a scallop shell...

I hope this helps.
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
I think your analysis is a spot on match to the anecdotal information on the ground. I tend to agree that this Jubilee Year is not going to cause the full-fledged spike of a Jacobean Holy Year, in part because the holy doors are open everywhere, and in part because the last Jubilee Year was barely more than normal growth. In the end, the numbers will prove it, or disprove it.

But, going on the assumption that there really won't be that big an overall volume spike throughout the summer compared to last year, perhaps this would be a good time to stop redirecting people on to the Salvador and Primitivo. After all, those are planned for my Camino, and I should be able to walk my Camino my way. Right?:cool:
Well....if we do manage to get away this year, we most probably walk the Camino de Invierno!
 

stopley

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Salvado 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, (2016)
Camino Frances 2012 (2016)
Camino Ingles 2013
I start to walk from St Jean on 2 June. I'd heard it was getting busy so decided to prebook the whole thing about three weeks ago. Even then I couldn't get into my first choice of accommodation, and it looks like being a more expensive walk this time. But I'm relieved to have accommodation sorted, despite having a few longer sections than I'd like. But a true pilgrim accepts every kindness given, and I'm dead grateful for a bed!
Sally
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017) SJPDP-SDC
Camino Norte 2018
Pilgrims Office Volunteer 2018
@kristeL unless you have a special and personal reason to walk the Napoleon walk the Valcarlos instead. Stop in the lovely Albergue in Valcarlos where Kanga encountered only 2 other pilgrims a few nights ago. Its a beautiful walk and a gentle-ish introduction to the Camino. Plan short days and be prepared to walk a little farther.

Buen Camino
This is great advice!!!
 

Seeker43

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to start Camino Frances end of September.
What about switching to another Camino? The Salvador/Primitivo come to mind. Buen Camino whatever you decide, SY
The primitivo is very busy also. I have taken to booking private accommodations ahead in the morning as those seem to go fast and I am walking alone. The albergues can't be counted on. I am a slow walker and stop to look a lot and prefer that to getting someplace early. So, I would be careful about recommending the primitivo though it is probably better than the Frances. Good luck to everyone.
 

sierrakn

New Member
I'd like to hear how the tent worked out when you complete the Camino. I only saw one tent from St. to Burgos last year, but have thought of taking mine. Buen Camino
daniel
If the alburgues are full, will tent camping be a realistic alternative? It has been recommended to me and I am thinking about bringing mine for Sept/Oct camino. I have gotten conflicting information about tent camping on the camino. Some indicate it is fairly easy and other info suggests it is not tolerated well at all.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
Well, I don't want to be Pollyanna, and maybe I will be proved wrong in time, but there is no bed shortage as I walk now. I am in Viana and I just checked at the muni albergue. It is 7:30pm and they still have beds available.
 

TracyBatonRouge

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances June 2016
Hello all,
This is my first post. I arrive in Madrid on June 8th and begin my walk (I think from Burgos) on the 9th. This thread scared me and I prebooked a few places (nights 2, 3, and 4). Should I book them all? Even the small towns are filling up this far in advance. Some folks on here aren't having any problems, others the opposite. I like the idea of a pillow and private shower or tub, but I also like the idea of meeting interesting folks which the albergues seem to promise. This 47 year old, solo, first timer needs some good advice.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
@TracyBatonRouge if you look at the numbers of people leaving SJPDP you will see that June is a less popular month than May. It is also hotter and you may find yourself wanting to stop sooner each day than you have planned.
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
Hello all,
This is my first post. I arrive in Madrid on June 8th and begin my walk (I think from Burgos) on the 9th. This thread scared me and I prebooked a few places (nights 2, 3, and 4). Should I book them all? Even the small towns are filling up this far in advance. Some folks on here aren't having any problems, others the opposite. I like the idea of a pillow and private shower or tub, but I also like the idea of meeting interesting folks which the albergues seem to promise. This 47 year old, solo, first timer needs some good advice.
Welcome, and may you have a wonderful Camino.

The question really boils down to what you are seeking. If you want absolute certainty, then booking ahead is fine, but it can become its own prison, and you the prisoner. In return for the guarantee of a bed, you give up the spontaneity and discovery (and, yes, even risk of hardship) that resides deep within the pilgrim experience. If you decide you want to stop short (perhaps because a town is charming, or you spent extra time in a church or museum along the way, or your feet hurt worse than you expected, or the weather was too hot or too wet) then your reservation needs to be cancelled, or you actually contribute to the panic of other pilgrims who fear they will not get a bed, when in fact, most of the time, there are beds available.

I would encourage you to risk the adventure, the unknown, the spontaneity, the surprise, the delight of just being present to every experience and opportunity as you go along. Will that result in undesirable circumstances from time to time? Probably. BUT, I suspect it will produce an overall greater sense of wonder and accomplishment than if you play it safe and comfortable. I think it's a risk-reward scenario, and the choice is yours.
 

wotbus@

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Way of St James by bike (2017)
Hmm, disturbing reading. My partner is currently almost half way along the CF with high morale and making good progress, starting SJPDD 5 May and staying tonight in Villacazar de Sirga. She has had to walk on another 5k because of Complete on one occasion and again by choice (full of animals and not very hygienic) on another. She is tough however and refuses the more upmarket accommodation ;-)
My dilemma is whether to pass on the information I have just read or leave her to continue as she is; left to her own devices or interfere with her Camino? To the best of my knowledge she has not booked anywhere in advance.
I intend to be established in accommodation in Santiago to welcome her when she arrives :)
Any advice please as I am naturally concerned.
 
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