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Albergue San Juan de Ortega -- a question

Nelle

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - Sept/Oct 2023; July 2024
Hi everyone --

After walking the Frances from SJpdP last October, I'm planning to revisit the bit between Logrono and Burgos this July, following different stages. It's the section where I had the most trouble in terms of blisters and mental fatigue last fall, and I'd like to give it another chance. In planning this year's route, I've read some dismal reviews of the parroquial albergue in San Juan de Ortega (the big one connected to the monastery), but for those who have walked many caminos over the years, how bad it is really? How does it stack up against, say, the Monasterio de Samos donativo, which is also pretty basic, but which I liked very much when I stayed there last October. I don't mind a basic room with a lot of bunks, and as long as a place is fairly clean and bedbug free, I'm OK. Any and all input is welcome. Thanks and buen camino.
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
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.
It’s bad, but so historic that it’s worth a stay. And be sure to visit St John himself in the attached church!
 
Sounds like me on a late autumn Camino. Made the Sopa de Ajo even more welcome. Not been there for years now. Do they still do that marvelous soup?
Less than a month ago, so that would make it spring. 3 degrees overnight.
The food offering is now pasta with tomato sauce and those who had it ate as fast as possible in order to get back outside in the sun!
Would I stay there again? Absolutely!
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
I was there less than a month ago. There was no heat (below 0 C overnight), standing water in the toilets/showers and a hospitalero who showed less than zero concern. Those are firsthand and recent facts. In my youth I’d stayed in worse when I had no choice which is why we stayed there on my just completed, 3rd Camino. Our only other choice was to try to get a taxi to Burgos as everything was booked by 2 groups. So, we all have to make our own choices, if I had it to do all over again, I’d taxi to/back from Burgos. If I recall, it’s reputation was not good in 2017.Not trying to be a downer but that was my experience on late April.

Sorry, I just checked my credential, we were there April 18th.
 
Hi everyone --

After walking the Frances from SJpdP last October, I'm planning to revisit the bit between Logrono and Burgos this July, following different stages. It's the section where I had the most trouble in terms of blisters and mental fatigue last fall, and I'd like to give it another chance. In planning this year's route, I've read some dismal reviews of the parroquial albergue in San Juan de Ortega (the big one connected to the monastery), but for those who have walked many caminos over the years, how bad it is really? How does it stack up against, say, the Monasterio de Samos donativo, which is also pretty basic, but which I liked very much when I stayed there last October. I don't mind a basic room with a lot of bunks, and as long as a place is fairly clean and bedbug free, I'm OK. Any and all input is welcome. Thanks and buen camino.
I stayed there June 2021. Probably record cool temps for June and July during my walk. The albergue was standard older style with large dorm and bunks. No heat, no blankets per Covid protocol. I had no issue, but those with only silk liners were cold. I have been in much worse. I do not recall it as crowded as Samos.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Thanks for all of the input. I’ll be on the camino in July, so a cooler room might actually be welcome. I’ll probably give it a go. Too bad about the garlic soup, though. Ultreia!
 
Hi everyone --

After walking the Frances from SJpdP last October, I'm planning to revisit the bit between Logrono and Burgos this July, following different stages. It's the section where I had the most trouble in terms of blisters and mental fatigue last fall, and I'd like to give it another chance. In planning this year's route, I've read some dismal reviews of the parroquial albergue in San Juan de Ortega (the big one connected to the monastery), but for those who have walked many caminos over the years, how bad it is really? How does it stack up against, say, the Monasterio de Samos donativo, which is also pretty basic, but which I liked very much when I stayed there last October. I don't mind a basic room with a lot of bunks, and as long as a place is fairly clean and bedbug free, I'm OK. Any and all input is welcome. Thanks and buen camino.
I has been a “foreign legion barracks” for many years . I checked in about 2010 and when I saw bunks , ventilation , showers, I walked on after a good meal the local cafe. I stopped in about 10 yrs back and “ new management “ but still the same . Walk on-
 
I haven’t posted anything since my experience dates back to 2000 and my very first Camino. But it sounds to me like nothing has changed. We checked into the albergue and went up to claim our bunks. My walking partner immediately started having an allergic reaction to the mold, so we had to leave. That also happened to us in O Cebreiro.

I know the albergue in O Cebreiro has been renovated, but it seems like this one has been left in its garlic-soup-era days.

For years (more than 10), there have been renovations going on at the monastery and church, but nothing seems to have touched the albergue. An article from 2023 announces the end of the first phase of a ten-year period of renovations. An article from 2013 announcing the beginning of the renovations described the scope of the project as including a renovated albergue. That obviously hasn’t happened. I’ll bet there are lots of behind the scenes conflicts between church and state, financial issues, and who knows what other sources of intrigue.

I think our choice is to accept it for what it is or go somewhere else. The church has some of the most beautiful romanesque carving on the camino Francés, IMHO, so I am very glad that the church was a priority for renovation.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
I’ll bet there are lots of behind the scenes conflicts between church and state, financial issues, and who knows what other sources of intrigue.
No doubt.
The net result is a bare-bones experience, with gruddging hospitality. If you want to time-travel to a simpler Camino era, this is your place. I stayed in April 2015, after a snowy then extremely muddy crossing of the Montes de Oca. None of us bathed and it was a frigid night. 🤣
Would I do it again? You betcha!

The church has some of the most beautiful romanesque carving on the camino Francés, IMHO, so I am very glad that the church was a priority for renovation.
Indeed. Very beautiful.
IMG_7538.JPG IMG_7534.JPG IMG_7535.JPG IMG_7525.JPG
 
Years past I often ate in San Juan Ortega at the simple Bar Marcela which had good hearty food. Their black morcilla sausage was great especially in winter! It is located just after the monastery complex.
Similar experience to me, but you had to eat in shifts because that was the only eatery in town, at least in 2013.
 
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No doubt.
The net result is a bare-bones experience, with gruddging hospitality. If you want to time-travel to a simpler Camino era, this is your place. I stayed in April 2015, after a snowy then extremely muddy crossing of the Montes de Oca. None of us bathed and it was a frigid night. 🤣
Would I do it again? You betcha!


Indeed. Very beautiful.
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Indeed. So would I do it again. Read/see why in this earlier post.
 
I think I stayed three or even four times over the years and always enjoyed.
Certainly got the garlic soup the first time (2009). That little bar next door is a gem. What I remember most is a great air of conviviality. Lot of people staying and sitting out on the benches, and lot of people passing by.
Also the only time I remember seeing a robin in Spain, (but i am not an especially keen observer!!) That is August 2017.
Yes the accommodation was very basic, but it is actually big and airy and dark so quite good for the hot weather. Would i stay again? Yes definitely.
 

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I stayed in Sep 2023.

I won't ever return. It was dirty. Matteres coverings were cloth instead of plastic. They smelt! The showers/toilets were flooded. The "welcome" was as cold as any I have got from anyone. The food was pasta in a tomato sauce and was served cold with a long queue for the one microwave.

The good points were the church next door. Beautiful mass in the evening. and the bar on the other side of the Albergue. The food we had at lunchtime was lovely. Should have returned for the evening meal.
 
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I've stayed there three times over the past twelve years.
Is it basic? Yup. Did I mind? Nope.
It served its purpose for me. A bunk, a bathroom with showers and a meal. I have very simple tastes and don't walk the Camino for posh accommodations.
 
I haven’t posted anything since my experience dates back to 2000 and my very first Camino. But it sounds to me like nothing has changed. We checked into the albergue and went up to claim our bunks. My walking partner immediately started having an allergic reaction to the mold, so we had to leave. That also happened to us in O Cebreiro.

I know the albergue in O Cebreiro has been renovated, but it seems like this one has been left in its garlic-soup-era days.

For years (more than 10), there have been renovations going on at the monastery and church, but nothing seems to have touched the albergue. An article from 2023 announces the end of the first phase of a ten-year period of renovations. An article from 2013 announcing the beginning of the renovations described the scope of the project as including a renovated albergue. That obviously hasn’t happened. I’ll bet there are lots of behind the scenes conflicts between church and state, financial issues, and who knows what other sources of intrigue.

I think our choice is to accept it for what it is or go somewhere else. The church has some of the most beautiful romanesque carving on the camino Francés, IMHO, so I am very glad that the church was a priority for renovation.
Thanks for the update. Unfortunately that town has almost no accommodtions and the town following Ages neither. Seems like a jump from Belorado is justified? Not sure...
 
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Thanks for the update. Unfortunately that town has almost no accommodtions and the town following Ages neither. Seems like a jump from Belorado is justified? Not sure...
San Juan de Ortega is not really a town! Not really a village even. The church and old monastery and a couple of BnBs is most of it.
But the next two places (in neither of which I have stayed), that is Ages and Atapuerca have multiple listings on Gronze for beds of varying sorts, and I know people who have stayed in each of those places.
 
You know, it’s okay to be uncomfortable for a night. You might be a bit grouchy and tired and cold and hungry, but you won’t die. Ortega was an early albergue in the Camino revival (as well as an early hospital back in the original pilgrimage!) and it’s an education as to what can happen when the traditional pilgrim welcome spirit leaves a place. The church is worth the inconvenience and the history of the site is truly amazing.
 
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You know, it’s okay to be uncomfortable for a night. You might be a bit grouchy and tired and cold and hungry, but you won’t die. Ortega was an early albergue in the Camino revival (as well as an early hospital back in the original pilgrimage!) and it’s an education as to what can happen when the traditional pilgrim welcome spirit leaves a place. The church is worth the inconvenience and the history of the site is truly amazing.
Totally agree with that, and I have stayed in other equally uncared-for monastery albergues, and would go back without a second thought. But I did want to give a heads up to anyone with potential allergy problems; my walking partner’s throat began to close up because of the mold covering the walls.
 
Thanks to everyone for their feedback on the San Juan de Ortega parroquial -- the good, the bad and the ugly. I think I have a pretty good sense of what to expect -- much better than what I was getting from the Gronze and Wise Pilgrim reviews. As for the surrounding villages -- last October, I stayed in Atapuerca at La Plazuela Verde, a new albergue, and I highly recommend it. The village is lovely, has as a couple of bars, a well-reviewed restaurant (Como Sapiens), a little store, and a variety of places to stay.

This July, I think I'll give the monastery in San Juan de Ortega a try just to mix things up. Thanks for the tip on the mold....I had some problems with that in SJPdP last fall, though not to the extent described in this thread. I'll pack a couple of antihistamines, just in case. Buen Camino!
 
2022: Everyone i talked to that stayed there said they would never do so again. period. We stayed at Fagus in Ages, and while dinner was nothing to write home about, the 4-bed rooms with their own bath were rather nice.
 
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Everyone i talked to that stayed there said they would never do so again. period. We stayed at Fagus in Ages, and while dinner was nothing to write home about, the 4-bed rooms with their own bath were rather nice.
Well, it's a choice.
Creature comfort or a bonding experience in an ancient pilgrim's refugio with a ton of history behind it.
 
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