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Albergue Locked Doors?

Camino(s) past & future
Francais 2017, Portugues 2018
#1
Is this common, do any of you know what is going on, should I be picky about which albergue to stay in?

From a current Camino Facebook post:
“I’m on day 14 of the Norte and stayed at Santa Marina Pilgrims Hostel in Buelna last night.

Albergue was average but the albergue owner locked everyone in the upstairs until 8:20am this morning.

Pretty unusual by itself but if there had been a fire there would have been NO way out. Windows have bars over them so no way out“
 

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LakeMcD

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015
Portuguese 2016
GR10/Norte/Primitivo 2017
Chemin LePuy: 2018
#2
I had that happen at two different albergues on the Francis
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#4
Yes, you will occasionally run into albergues like that. Fortunately all the ones I stayed in that had locked doors, but upon closer examination of the doors I (and a couple of other pilgrims) saw that they could easily be forcibly opened if need be. In fact one morning, the hospitalero was running late, just about everyone was up and ready to leave and the doors were still locked. We were all standing around the door and we started to exam them and saw that they could swing backwards a bit (double doors with a hasp on other side). We teamed together, pulled them in and someone reached in with a pocket knife and unlatched them. Out we streamed, into the courtyard area just as the hospitalero was arriving and he had a "what the heck" look on his face, ha ha.
If there was a fire we could have just shoved them open, breaking the hasp.
 

linkster

Nunca dejes de creer!
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 05/17 brazo roto Portomarín
Francés 09/17 SJPdP - Santiago
(Portuguese: 09/18)
#5
I was a little creeped out when a hospitalero didn't want to show us the room, and then had to remove a padlock from the door. There was one or two places that were locked in the morning, but could be opened easily enough. I was more concerned about being locked out at night. Luckily it didn't happen even when I exceeded curfew. One night I bought the hospitaleros and the priest a couple of rounds after curfew ... I figured I was safe with them. I understand the need for curfew in a shared environment, BUT ...:D:cool:
 

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Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017
#6
Hmmm. I was at a hostel in Dublin (1980) and the adjacent building caught fire. We were all evacuated at 2 am. We were all standing on the streets barefoot holding onto our passports. -- Three people died in the adj. building. -- Since then, I've always look for a way out. I would not be happy with the lock in. Thanks for the heads up, I'll remember to ask from now on.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#7
Yes, you will occasionally run into albergues like that. Fortunately all the ones I stayed in that had locked doors, but upon closer examination of the doors I (and a couple of other pilgrims) saw that they could easily be forcibly opened if need be. In fact one morning, the hospitalero was running late, just about everyone was up and ready to leave and the doors were still locked. We were all standing around the door and we started to exam them and saw that they could swing backwards a bit (double doors with a hasp on other side). We teamed together, pulled them in and someone reached in with a pocket knife and unlatched them. Out we streamed, into the courtyard area just as the hospitalero was arriving and he had a "what the heck" look on his face, ha ha.
If there was a fire we could have just shoved them open, breaking the hasp.
Hahahaha, I agree. Some street-wise knowledge always come handy. Happened to me in albergues in Estella, Ourense and in places I won't mention ;)

Nobody will deprive me of that last before the sleep cigarette!!! Never! Nobody! Nowhere!
OK, cancer might ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
(2019: Planning to return!)
#8
Is this common, do any of you know what is going on, should I be picky about which albergue to stay in?

From a current Camino Facebook post:
“I’m on day 14 of the Norte and stayed at Santa Marina Pilgrims Hostel in Buelna last night.

Albergue was average but the albergue owner locked everyone in the upstairs until 8:20am this morning.

Pretty unusual by itself but if there had been a fire there would have been NO way out. Windows have bars over them so no way out“
This topic has come up on the Forum a few times and it has been established that it is totally illegal to lock people in at night so they have no way of getting out (This earlier thread is one of the discussions on the topic). Different from locking doors to prevent more people entering after a certain hour. If you come across an albergue which locks pilgrims in and has no emergency exit (this may be away from the main doors), please report them to the authorities. This is a very dangerous and, as I say, illegal practice which is thankfully rare now but still seems to happen occasionally.
 
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RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#9
Hahahaha, I agree. Some street-wise knowledge always come handy. Happened to me in albergues in Estella, Ourense and in places I won't mention ;)

Nobody will deprive me of that last before the sleep cigarette!!! Never! Nobody! Nowhere!
OK, cancer might ;)
Ha ha...I hear you.
Another night I helped younger pilgrims who stayed beyond curfew back in. There was stone wall, not very high, but too high and smooth to climb over. I threw them a plastic chair out the common area to use as a step-up to climb over. They were sober, and only about one hour late. Nice young people. Just stayed out too late for dinner and food.
 

Karl Oz

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Portuguese
Piamonte
Aragones
Elizabethpfad
#10
This topic has come up on the Forum a few times and it has been established that it is totally illegal to lock people in at night so they have no way of getting out (This earlier thread is one of the discussions on the topic). Different from locking doors to prevent more people entering after a certain hour. If you come across an albergue which locks pilgrims in and has no emergency exit (this may be away from the main doors), please report them to the authorities. This is a very dangerous and, as I say, illegal practice which is thankfully rare now but still seems to happen occasionally.
I endorse this. We see tragic stories often in the media describing the consequences of fires in locked buildings. Does anyone have to be one of the the next victims? Report it to the police if you encounter it.
 

Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#11
Happened to us once, in Ages. Quite a few places have bars on the windows, but being locked in , Not good.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#12
Is this common, do any of you know what is going on, should I be picky about which albergue to stay in?

From a current Camino Facebook post:
“I’m on day 14 of the Norte and stayed at Santa Marina Pilgrims Hostel in Buelna last night.

Albergue was average but the albergue owner locked everyone in the upstairs until 8:20am this morning.

Pretty unusual by itself but if there had been a fire there would have been NO way out. Windows have bars over them so no way out“
In an albergue I know well, the door is closed around 10pm, but anyone inside can open it. There is no way in without a key, but the handle turns from inside. Also, no reason for anyone to miss the curfew as there is nothing else in the vicinity! Except for the last smoke: kinky one, the only person who will deprive you of that is - yourself!
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#14
Albergue was average but the albergue owner locked everyone in the upstairs until 8:20am this morning.
That is too controlling for my taste (and dangerous and illegal). It is one thing to have a rule that no one rises before a certain hour (Ruitelan has such a rule, and it is one of the pilgrim favorites), but obstructing exits is another. Go elsewhere; vote with your wallet, I say. :)
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#15
That is too controlling for my taste (and dangerous and illegal). It is one thing to have a rule that no one rises before a certain hour (Ruitelan has such a rule, and it is one of the pilgrim favorites), but obstructing exits is another. Go elsewhere; vote with your wallet, I say. :)
I must have been extremely lucky or very unobservant. In many walks on the Spanish caminos spread over a period of 28 years I cannot recall ever being locked into a building overnight without some fire escape route available. If I did find myself in such a situation I would not only "vote with my wallet" but I would have no hesitation in posting a warning here and in other pilgrim forums and also reporting the matter to the local and provincial authorities. Starting with the albergue's own hojas de reclamaciones if it ran to such a thing. I am very much in favour of simple basic accommodation and I am opposed to much of the recent trend towards tighter regulation and official oversight of pilgrim albergues by provincial tourism boards. But jailing people in a potential death trap is a step too far even for me.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#16
In Terradilla at Albergue Templarios, I stayed in a private room. I decided to leave early in the morning, 6am, only to find that the private room 'wing' was locked with no way out.

Thankfully it was on the ground floor. I left via the window !
 
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata
#18
In Terradilla at Albergue Templarios, I stayed in a private room. I decided to leave early in the morning, 6am, only to find that the private room 'wing' was locked with no way out.

Thankfully it was on the ground floor. I left via the window !
Yes I stayed there also but there is a way out from one of the back doors
 

Prentiss Riddle

Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada
Camino(s) past & future
Poco a poco: we're nibbling away at the Francés. (2015, 2016 & 2017)
#19
This topic has come up on the Forum a few times and it has been established that it is totally illegal to lock people in at night so they have no way of getting out (This earlier thread is one of the discussions on the topic). Different from locking doors to prevent more people entering after a certain hour. If you come across an albergue which locks pilgrims in and has no emergency exit (this may be away from the main doors), please report them to the authorities.
Totally illegal in my home country, too, and if it happened here I wouldn’t wait till morning - I would call the emergency services on the spot.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#20
Yes I stayed there also but there is a way out from one of the back doors
In the private room 'Wing' there is no back door.
There is an emergency fire door but I was concerned that may be alarmed.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many
#21
One of the problems is that the locking of doors doesn´t necessarily happen until you are already asleep, or it happens in a way that is otherwise not obvious when you are checking in.

Having worked in the hotel business for most of my adult life I would comfortably say that I concur with one of the comments above... you will lose your door if you lock me in. Then you will get a visit from the Guardia Civil. There simply isn´t a justification for doing so, and it is most likely the result of an owner not wanting to spend the money on a proper set of locks and doors designed for security and safety.
 
Camino(s) past & future
April 2017 or Sept 2017
#23
I stayed in a number of hostels and hotels that locked the front doors at night. I never would have known except I wake up early and thought I’d get up and go outside and read until others were up. I couldn’t get out which then made me panic. It seems to be very common in the smaller places in Spain.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#24
How can they be that inconsiderate and still be nice?;)
In my experience, meal times in Spain can represent a cultural challenge. On a recent pilgrimage, I decided one evening to eat in a nice restaurant with a friend. The meal was expensive, the dinner hour late, and the service not very rapid. We ate fast, and still had to skip the postre to get back to the albergue before the doors were locked. As someone whose body is used to eating a main meal in the evening, and because I do not want to look for a restaurant and stop for my main meal of the day halfway through my day's walk. I need a substantial meal in the evening. But the hours kept at pilgrim albergues and the hours kept at Spanish restaurants are very different. Not being young, and not being on my first camino, I knew that I needed to juggle restaurant times and albergue times. Young persons on their first pilgrimage may not be as well informed, or perhaps as reluctant to sleep on the street.
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#25
The albergue rules and the restaurant times are often in a disconnected state. This has changed to a great deal on the Camino Frances but is still troublesome on the other less pilgrim populated routes.
On the CF it seems that most towns have at least one bar that offers a Pilgrim Menu at an early time. The problem is when there is only one or two bars in a town. Very good idea to check things out when you arrive in a town.
Ask the hospitalaro what they advise for dinner/curfew.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances in 2015 & 2016. Hoping to do Frances to Leon, San Salvador, Primitivo, Muxia next.
#26
My wife and daughter ended up in one of these places in SJPP in 2014. One of the ones right neat the Pilgrims office. They referred to it as the Cat Lady's place. Not only can you smell the cats at the door but she locked the Pilgrims in their rooms without access to even the bathroom overnight. I almost ended up there myself in 2015 fortunately she did not have space. I was letting the Pilgrim office help me find a place and as we walked to the door I could smell what my wife and daughter had described. I would have stayed out of courtesy to the volunteer but I was relieved when she said she did not have a room.
 

E V Waight

It's the journey, not the destination.
Camino(s) past & future
September (2017)
Possible September (2018)
Holy Year (2021) (all three Gladys, John and I)
#27
Is this common, do any of you know what is going on, should I be picky about which albergue to stay in?

From a current Camino Facebook post:
“I’m on day 14 of the Norte and stayed at Santa Marina Pilgrims Hostel in Buelna last night.

Albergue was average but the albergue owner locked everyone in the upstairs until 8:20am this morning.

Pretty unusual by itself but if there had been a fire there would have been NO way out. Windows have bars over them so no way out“
I stayed in quite a few albergue that supposedly "locked" doors. In fact, in each of these I was able to open from inside. In Najera, for example, I had to go outside for fresh air as I began to feel a bit claustrophobic. Not sure if an alarm would go off, I hesitated before I turned the lock set. Eureka! There I was. Stepping outside. I had a similar experiences in Foncebadon.
 
#28
Is this common, do any of you know what is going on, should I be picky about which albergue to stay in?

From a current Camino Facebook post:
“I’m on day 14 of the Norte and stayed at Santa Marina Pilgrims Hostel in Buelna last night.

Albergue was average but the albergue owner locked everyone in the upstairs until 8:20am this morning.

Pretty unusual by itself but if there had been a fire there would have been NO way out. Windows have bars over them so no way out“
Report immidiately. Always always check fite exit
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#29
I helped younger pilgrims who stayed beyond curfew back in.
The good and bad about sleeping near the window:)
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#30

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#31
For those who encounter locked doors and are concerned that they may be alarmed. I would not hesitate to open them. If the alarm goes off...so be it. You are simply opening an exit door and have every right to do that... If it does not open you have a problem that needs to be addressed.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata
#33
It was mentioned a few days back on the practice of some Albergues being locked at nite and pilgrims having no access to get out . One place that has come to mind to me is the Albergue run by the Benedictine Sisters in Sahgun. This place is also locked and no way of getting out.
 
#34
Not strictly on topic perhaps but very much related ; wedging open of fire-doors in hotels.

This happened to us in 2017 in Leon in a 3-star establishment with a large stairwell which would act as a chimney in a fire, sending smoke and flames along our corridor. When I complained to the desk-clerk her reply was that "you may close the door if you wish"! So I did, removing the wedge and throwing it into a very dark corner of an adjacent storage room.
 
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RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#35
My wife and daughter ended up in one of these places in SJPP in 2014. One of the ones right neat the Pilgrims office. They referred to it as the Cat Lady's place. Not only can you smell the cats at the door but she locked the Pilgrims in their rooms without access to even the bathroom overnight. I almost ended up there myself in 2015 fortunately she did not have space. I was letting the Pilgrim office help me find a place and as we walked to the door I could smell what my wife and daughter had described. I would have stayed out of courtesy to the volunteer but I was relieved when she said she did not have a room.
Hmmm....definitely a place I want to avoid, and the cat smell, gross.
 
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