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Advice for Sleeping Options and Other Advice for Inaugural Pilgrims

Diarmad

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Na
Hello Fellow Pilgrims,

We are beginning our Camino on the 15th of May for the first time and have one or so questions we hope fellow veterans could help us with.

Our route is below, would it be wise to bring a tent to camp if the albergue spaces fill up?

Can any of the albergues or pensions on our route be booked?

Can water be found regularly?

This is our route (with a few options), below - any other advice for these first timers would be bountiful :)

15 May 2024
Santander to Leon (Bus 5 hours)
Arrive 7pm
Stay in Leon, purchase provisions

16 May 2024
Leon to San Martin del Camino
(305.7 - 280.9)

17 May 2024
San Martin del Camino to Astorga
(280.9 - 256.9)

18 May 2024
Astorga to Rabanal del Camino*
(256.9 - 236.9)
or
Astorga to Foncebadon
(256.9 - 231.7)

19 May 2024
Rabanal del Camino to Molinaseca
(236.9 - 212.4)
or
Foncebadon to Ponferrada*
(236.9 - 205.1)

20 May 2024
Molinaseca to Villafranca del Bierzo
Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo
(205.1 - 180.9)

21 May 2024
Villafranca del Bierzo to Las Herrerias, La Faba** or Laguna de Castilla
(180.9 - 160.9, 157.4 or 155km)

22 May 2024
La Faba (or other options) to Triacastela
(157.4 - 131.8km)

23 May 2024
Triacastela to Barbadelo
(131.8 - 109.6km)

24 May 2024
Barbadelo to PortomarÃn
(109.6 - 91.7km)

25 May 2024
Portomarín to Pallas de Rei
(91.7km - 67.4km)

26 May 2024
Pallas de Rei to Melide
(67.4 - 52.7km)

27 May 2024
Melide to Arzúa
(52.7 - 38.5km)

28 May 2024
Arzúa - O Pedrouzo (Arca do Pino)
(38.5 - 19.4km)

29 May 2024
O Pedrouzo (Arca do Pino) - Santiago de Compostela
(19.4 - 0km)


Cheers and warmly
 
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Camping is quite a controversial topic. There are very few offical camping spots and wild camping is largely illegal. But some people do all the same. I usually settle for a halfway position and carry a bivvy bag which allows me to spend the odd night in the open if conditions are right. So far always by choice and on quieter routes than the Frances - I have not yet failed to find a bed on the Frances. I think that carrying a tent "just in case" is a step too far.

Gronze lists most of the accommodation along the route. The entry for each albergue will say if they accept reservations and gives email addresses or links to websites where they exist.
 
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...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
To the best of my knowledge there aren't any real bottlenecks between Leon and Santiago. You should be fine. Not that i ever had problems getting a place in albergues, but i decided that it is a lot easier to carry a credit card than a tent and if that rare "just in case" scenario would occur i'd just get a hotel or taxi to somewhere with beds...

Two offtopic things:
- you might want to walk the alternative route from Leon to Astorga (via Villar de Mazarife). The main route is lots of walking next to a highway.
- Personally I'd rather take it a slower before Sarria and speed up on the circus that is the last 100k. Also with the benefit that you usually are in better shape once you get there.
 
Thank you for your reply - another consideration is the Pilgrim Passport. Do you need pilgrim passports in order to stay at the albergue or at the pensions? Can they be issued obtained in Leon, for example? Or anywhere else?
Currently we are in UK.

Cheers and warmly
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Thank you for your reply - another consideration is the Pilgrim Passport. Do you need pilgrim passports in order to stay at the albergue or at the pensions? Can they be issued obtained in Leon, for example? Or anywhere else?
Currently we are in UK.

Cheers and warmly
For public albergues, known as municipales and parroquiales you definitely a ‘credencial’ aka pilgrim’s passport. You can get one from the confraternity of Saint James in the UK or Léon cathedral.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Thank you - do you know whether the passports are free in Leon?
For public albergues, known as municipales and parroquiales you definitely a ‘credencial’ aka pilgrim’s passport. You can get one from the confraternity of Saint James in the UK or Léon cathedral
 
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The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Water is not a problem. Check any of the many many guidebooks, websites, etc to see which albergues take reservations and which do not (Gronze.com is an excellent site for this - use your browser to translate it from Spanish). Generally, public/municipal/parochial/donativo do not, but privates generally do. Do not bring a tent - you won’t use it enough (if it all) to justify the weight. Only book ahead of there is a specific albergue you want to experience, though there is a certain element of surprise to just walk into town and take whatever is available.
 
The cathedral in Leon sells pilgrim passes too.
 
For public albergues, known as municipales and parroquiales you definitely a ‘credencial’ aka pilgrim’s passport. You can get one from the confraternity of Saint James in the UK or Léon cathedral.
To my best knowledge and as far as i remember - you will need it even in private alberuges. The credencial is what "identifies" you as a Pilgrim and extends the Pilgrim special nightly rates in the places (i.e. albergues, hostals etc) that cather to Pilgrims (I also think some of them wont even allow you to stay if you dont have credencial, but don't quote me on it). In addition there are discounts in various places (both Burgos and Leon Cathedrals give entry discount if you show the credential; don't recall it Astorga does as well; in any case - some extra benefit)
Not to mention that it is a proof that you walked at least 100km from Sarria to SdC (even if you start prior to that) if you want to obtain the Compostela in SdC. Collect stamps (sellos) at the rate of at least 2 per day (technically that requirement is only applies to said 100km, but I say get into the habit form the get-go)
YOu can obtain one at the albergue you stayed the night in and another anywhere along the way for a given day of walking (I usually got it in the 1st bar I stopped for Desayuno)
I can also mention that for some folks this credential thus filled with sellos is more valuable than the Compostela - they say it is the "TRUE" representation of their Camino

Good Luck and Buen Camino
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
To my best knowledge and as far as i remember - you will need it even in private alberuges. The credencial is what "identifies" you as a Pilgrim and extends the Pilgrim special nightly rates in the places
And sometimes you can get a special price on a meal or admission to a museum or cathedral with your pilgrim credential.
Plus, to me, it's the best souvenir of my Camino.
 
One suggestion for your itinerary, for your second to last day, skip O Pedruzo and continue on to Lavacola. It will add about 10k to your day but it's fairly flat, easy walking.

This will leave you with about 90 min to Santiago on your last day and if you start early you will arrive before the hoards that stayed on stage do. It's quite magical walking in as Santiago is waking up and the plaza in front of the cathedral has yet to fill up.

Accommodation can be limited in Lavacola so you might want to book a few days in advance.

A fellow pilgrim made this suggestion to me when I was walking my first camino and I appreciated it so much I have been paying it forward ever since!
 
Tap water everywhere is safe and delicious. That would include bar bathrooms and albergue and hotel taps. I think it tastes a lot better than the water from plastic bottles. Certainly more environmentally friendly. I think water at fountains is safe as long as you don't see a sign that says it is non-potable. (But I admit I am always a little nervous. Sometimes depends on how thirsty I am.)
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).

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