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Albergues and markers

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#1
Report from Rosina


The bids to manage privately the public albergues have been studied and the three surviving candidates are a company from Vigo (Limpiezas del Noroeste Linorsa), one from Corunha (Aulen) and one from Santiago (Alvite Servicios Integrales). Reportedly, a decision will be made before the end of the year.


Xacobeo and Raxoi have taken the first steps on behalf of pilgrims to put clear and visible signs leading pilgrims to the Cathedral once they near Santiago. As most of us know, such signs have been non-existent and have caused concern and confusion to arriving pilgrims, particularly if they don’t speak Spanish. The signs will be multi-lingual.
 

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vinotinto

Active Member
#2
sillydoll said:
Xacobeo and Raxoi have taken the first steps on behalf of pilgrims to put clear and visible signs leading pilgrims to the Cathedral once they near Santiago.
That's good news. What a bummer it was to get lost within Santiago, trying to find the endpoint and having to ask person after person until I finally found the right way! A couple of us half-joked that we were expecting solid gold arrows in the pavement pointing towards the cathedral...but anything would've been better than the reality... :arrow:
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
#3
A point on clarification: The "Albergues" are not the same as the refugios...correct?

It seems there are several places to stay...some take a donation (refugio), some charge a modest fee (Albergue) and others are full service hotels. if I'm correct, then I've answered my own question. If not...then some help please.

Another point...refugios are for peregrinos only and in this order, walk, horse, bike...you cannot make a reservation at a refugio.

Albergues and hotels (of course) do allow pre registration.

thanks in advance.

Arn
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#4
Arn, it is a bit confusing but in Spain albergues and refugios are the same thing. (Hardly anyone in Spain calls them refugios though).
There are four main different kinds of albergues (refugios): Church sponsored, municpal, private and those run by Confraternities and other organisations. Some charge, some don't.
You can't reserve beds ahead at the church, municipal, donativo albergues but you can at some private albergues.
There is a chain of fairly up-market albergues called Red de Albergues where you can book ahead. You can download their brochures at: (If it doesn't open at the brochure, open the main URL and click on Folletos)
http://www.redalberguessantiago.com/documents/211.html
Then you get 'habitaciones' in some places - above shops, bars, restaurants.
Hostales, hotels, fondas etc.
In 2004 the tourism institute of Spain - Turespana - published an official guide of hostals, pensions, hotels, and camping sites on the Camino called "Guia Oficial de Hoteles y Campings del Camino de Santiago". It is available in French, German, Spanish and English and lists all accommodation authorized by the appropriate municipal and national tourism authorities You can obtain the booklet free of charge in any tourist office or from TOURSPAIN E-mail: manuel.jurado@tourspain.es.
 
#5
the usual word used for a pilgrim hostel in Spanish is 'albergue de peregrino'. This will generally appear on signs in the towns. Some people, especially the CSJ for some reason, use 'refugio', the word normally used for a mountain shelter. If you see a sign pointing to 'refugio' it may well be the old folks home. Whether there is a charge or not depends on who runs them, not what they call them :) Until now, the ones built by the Galician government have been free, tho they're introducing a charge on Jan 1. The government-run ones outside Galicia generally have a small charge. Some church- or volunteer-run ones have a voluntary donation type of arrangement. Some of the privately run ones are more expensive than cheaper hotels, especially for couples who can share a double room. Some hotels now have a dormitory space which they call 'albergue'. And to confuse matters for English speakers, the cheaper sort of hotel are called 'hostal'.

[ha, looks like Sil replied at exactly the same time as me. I would just add that you can always get lists of hotels/hostals from the local tourist office, in person or online.]
 

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Arn

Moderator
Staff member
#6
Sil and Peter,

That really clears it up...though the "old folks" home may be just what I'm looking for at some point.

Is there any idea what will be the charge when the private concern takes over the operation of the currently state run Albergues?

Also, on the subject of reserving a space. From what I can understand from the Red Follios, precedence is still given to walkers, Horseback, then bikers...on a first come first placed list. Is that still policy?

Gracias,
Arn
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#7
I saw a sign on the camino leading to a Refugio del Burrito (You don't want to end up there!)
The amount mentioned for a night at an albergue was 3 euro but this only applies to those that fall under the jurisdiction of the authorities.
We stayed at a few private albergues and saw backpacks being unloaded and others being collected. People book ahead and even have their backpacks taken dropped off for them.
Some private albergues offer a variety of accommodation with different charges. eg: a dormitory with 20 people might cost 6 euro; a 4 bed dorm with en suite bathroom 8 euro; a room for two 10euro.

You can seek out the 'best' albergues ie the most comfortable or upmarket. But it will enrich your pilgrimage experience to stay at some of the more basic, traditional, spiritual albergues. Here is my Top 10 list:

Estella - just outside is an albergue run by people with special needs.
Granon - You sleep in a bell tower on matresses on the floor. Donativo with a communal cook-up and sing-a-long at dinner time.
Tosantos - Matresses on the floor - donativo - communal dinner - pilgrim service in the attic.
Arroyo San Bol - 10 places - atmospheric refuge just off the camino - medicinal spring - no electricity, running water or toilet. Sleep on bunks, communal dinner cooked for you buy an aspiring Italian Rastafarian chef.
Convento San Anton - In the ruins of the San Anton Monastery
San Nicolas - Sleep in the chapel on matresses on the floor - no electricity - monks wash your feet -pilgrim service (Only open late June to September)
Bercianos - large, friendly, straw and clay house - watch the sunset before a communal dinner
Manjarin - stay with Tomas the Templar - no electricity, running water or toilet - sleep on matresses in the stone barn.
Villafranca del Bierzo - Ave Fenix run by Jesus Jato and family. He is a healer - communal dinner
La Faba – Albergue Vegetariano run by a German hippie who grows his own food - communal dinner
 
#8
one thing I failed to state in my original post was that the contract has 2 basic responsibilities:
* collecting the overnight charge in all 59 publicly-owned albergues in Galicia
* cleaning/maintenance, which covers only those 29 maintained directly by the Xunta (Galician government)
I expect there's a list of these somewhere on the web, but I don't know where
 

Deirdre

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
#9
Hello to all,
I was able to do the Camino from Roncesvalles to Santiago and stayed in Albergues every night. None cost more than 7 Euro (and that was only twice) Most were 5, a couple 4...Many of them were private and included a restaurant or a place where breakfast was served (for a small fee) or you could make your own. We stayed in two new albergues on either side of Leon = one in Villarente which was wonderful! Courtyard, new beds, wonderful clean, showers, internet (free). You signed up for dinner (10E) and it was worth every penny! For 2E in the morning they made toast and jam, cereal and coffee or chocolate...as much as you wanted! I said that it was a good thing that all the albergues didn't provide breakfast, or I'd never have been on the road in the morning!

The one beyond Leon, at Virgen del Camino...was also new. We followed the sign, past a closed school that looked like a factory with broken windows...and I thought, "Where are we going?" There was a sign saying "5 Star albergue" which I thought was a joke. Suddenly there it was, clean, new, beautiful with a large kitchen, comunal room with (of all things, a TV!), books, chairs and washers and dryers in the bathrooms! A group of us who had been walking together went shopping and made dinner... and as always we invited others to join as we always ended up with more than enough food! It was a memorable experience!

I found the albergues to be one of the highlights of my Camino. The variety and scope of the accomodations, the communal atmosphere, the laughter and sharing of experiences, quiet evening strolls, chats over a glass of wine, constant invitations to join and be part of the "group", whatever group it was at that moment.

Buen Camino,
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
#10
Is there no end to the wonders of the Camino? A Rasta Cook...a veggie gardner, bats...er, peregrinos in the belfry and, vino...all round. Does anyone lose any weight? I am a light sleeper...my snoring keeps me awake...just kidding, I've been told I don't really snore.

April can't come quick enough!

Arn
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#12
Deirdre said:
I found the albergues to be one of the highlights of my Camino. The variety and scope of the accomodations, the communal atmosphere, the laughter and sharing of experiences, quiet evening strolls, chats over a glass of wine, constant invitations to join and be part of the "group", whatever group it was at that moment.
I second that. Arn, I'll post a couple of my favorites later, after I dig out my credencial and ensure I have the right names. One thing you may notice on the Way: I (and others) tended to forget the name of whatever town/albergue I slept in the night before. It's funny how that happens - you are on the move so much, and living in the present, that the past easily fades away. Perhaps that will happen to you as well...

sillydoll said:
Arroyo San Bol
sillydoll said:
Holy moley, Sil - you kind of roughed it...those two are hard-core bare-bones albergues. I confess that they didn't appeal to my latte-loving pampered American self. But from what I've heard, if you want an experience, then those and others like them are certainly places to stay... :wink:
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#13
Neither San Bol or Manjarin have electricity, running water or toilets. They use gas to cook, have bottled water and spring water for washing and if you need the toilet you go in the field. But, they cook dinner for you, you sleep inside on mattresses, all which beats camping any day! Someone like Arn who has walked the AT will find it a doddle.
I would like to spend more time at San Bol one day and explore the ruins of the abandoned village nearby. I would also like to spend more time at Manjarin just to experience Tomas' Templario ceremony more than once. Both places have no rules as such - you can stay up late, get up late and stay more than one night.
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
#15
Ok folks...so I will lose weight, but I won't remember it...I will take part in ceremonies...but am unlikely to remember it...there's a quazi-hermit...who's very social able and can really cook.

Sil, I was up on the AT doing a training (oh, no...I didn't say training did I?)run today...the up hill, about 5+ miles, approximates sections from SJpDp to R'valles and then another 5 miles on hard packed cinders.. the cool part is I met a fellow I met in 96 as we both thru hiked. His name is SunDog...it was a great reunion...the thing that's even more...way cool...is that Sun Dog actually "lives" on the trail. He works during the day as a trail outfitter, but at night, he takes off and hikes into the wild and camps out. Every night in a shelter or a tent...all year long. You gotta love it!

Arn
 
#16
What about the two gay guys at Ruitelan? Lovely communal meals again, but you can't beat being woken at 6.30 to the sound of Ave Maria at full blast!
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#17
Charles said:
What about the two gay guys at Ruitelan? Lovely communal meals again, but you can't beat being woken at 6.30 to the sound of Ave Maria at full blast!
That was a good albergue - the meal was excellent, and they were nice folks (although that narrow stairway to the attic bunk room was a bit disconcerting, especially at night). In fact, one of them gave me a Cuban cigar he had lying around in a tube - guess he got it somewhere and wasn't into stogies. So I enjoyed it with some vino left over from dinner while talking with an intriguing German woman. The bar right across the street was a nice place to chill out as well.
 

Deirdre

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
#19
Oh, Arn,
Make sure you stay in Roncesvalles! You're gonna love the Gregorian chant at 6am!!!!! :lol:
Buen Camino
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#20
Arn said:
Have you considered a "trash can" kicked down between the bunk beds?
I think I'm the only one who got that reference, hard-charger...perhaps they do that kind of wake-up call at the "Full Metal Albergue?" :lol:
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#21
Deirdre said:
Make sure you stay in Roncesvalles! You're gonna love the Gregorian chant at 6am!!!!!
Yeah, plus you get your very own flash-back to your old Jarhead barracks-days...that place is like a massive boot camp squad bay...pretty cool, though - nice intro to the albergue lifestyle... :arrow:
 
#22
About the question,

Albergues and refugios are basicly the same way to refer to the place where pilgrims stay during the night.

When you are walking by the mountain (outside the Camino) you can find "Refugios de montaña".

In many Caminos (not in the Camino Frances) the albergues are used for other appliances, not only for pilgrims.

You can find, too, hoteles, hostales, pensiones, where you have to pay depending on the kind of stablishment. This is a business and, even you are a pilgrim, you have rights and you can ask for them. It doesn't mind if it's cheap or expensive.

And the "Paradores" are a high kind of hotels, normally the most expensive but also the best. There are several along the Caminos.

Buen Camino,

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#23
Javier Martin said:
And the "Paradores" are a high kind of hotels, normally the most expensive but also the best. There are several along the Caminos.
You should at least check out the Parador in Santiago, right next to the main cathedral. Apparently they provide a free meal upon presenting your compostela, but I'm not sure how that works. I stayed there one night, just for the heck of it (despite it's 5-star rating, it costs around 180 euros per night). I felt a little out of place among their normal clientele, but so what?

I figured I deserved one night of luxury. The service is exemplary - it was the first time I ever stayed anywhere with a "chambermaid" on staff. The morning breakfast buffet is to die for, and the gift shop is nice as well. :arrow:
 
#24
About the free mail, is offered to the first 10 pilgrims who stay at 07:00 (breakfast), 13:00 (lunch) and, I'm not sure, ¿20:00?. I've never tried. You have to go with your compostela.

Several years ago I had the option to stay two nights (media pension) in the Reyes Catolicos Hotel. It was fantastic, the inside is incredible nice. I'm not sure but possibly is possible to visit it.

Buen Camino,

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#25
vinotinto said:
Reyes Catolicos Hotel. It was fantastic, the inside is incredible nice. I'm not sure but possibly is possible to visit it.
Well, they let me and other pilgrims look around the lobby before I elected to stay there (for clarity's sake, the Parador and the Reyes Catolicos are the same thing - the full name of the place is: Parador Santiago de Compostela Hotel Hostal dos Reis Catolicos). To go beyond the lobby, you have to be an actual guest with an ID card.

It was an amazing place to stay - nice rooms, comfy beds, big bathtub, etc. They had live music and flamenco dancing in the courtyard, and a bumping dance club (neither of which I partook of - I simply saw that action in passing as I was heading out to or returning from hanging out in the city).

But, it was a one-night-only thing for me. I much preferred the cheaper hotels down by the pilgrim office. The 3-star one that's just down and across the street is very nice for less than half the price of the Parador. Nice front desk gal, and a great breakfast. :arrow:
 
#26
Sil usually posts news from Rosina but here is a relevant piece of news to this topic:

"Santiago’s Archbishop, Msgr. Barrio, has issued an invitation to a conference concerning the Camino that will be held at the Parador’s auditorium in Santiago on December 19th, at 7:30 p.m.

In a related way, perhaps, the administrators of the Parador have announced their intent to double the number of free breakfasts and dinners that the hotel will offer to Compostela-awarded pilgrims.

To receive a pass for such breakfasts, or dinners, a pilgrim needs to show his/her Compostela, and some form of ID, at the Parador’s garage early in the morning the day after receiving the Compostela. Further occasions for the Parador’s recognition of pilgrims are being sought by the Cathedral. The hotel, after all, was created by the Catholic Queen Isabel, and her husband, King Ferdinand, for the benefit of Camino pilgrims. "

and a real live experience from Grant Spangler:

" I have partaken in the meals offered by the Parador twice. They offer three separate meals per day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. You need to make one photocopy of your Compostela for each meal you wish to receive. The first ten Peregrinos to arrive in the parking garage before each meal are the ten who get fed. Numbers eleven onward can try again next meal or next day. They lead you through a labyrinth of back hallways and you end up in a small dining room with just enough room for ten. It appears to be a place where the hired help eats when Pilgrims are not present. There’s no choice of the fare, it’s a menu fixta, but quite palatable. But then you’ve been a pilgrim for a month or so and your demands are low, and thankfulness high."

Looks as if the 10 is to become 20.
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
#27
This is going to be such an experience...and believe me...I've had many, but my Camino!

I've stayed at the best hotels in the world, had 3 hour haircuts and, yes Vinotinto "genuine chambermaid service. I can see indulging a bit at the end...but, honestly, I'd like to make My Camino a true experience! That's not to say I'm against a bit of comfort along the way...a straw mattress would be fine.

As to Gregorian Chanting...it ranks at the very top of my :mood music" choices.

VT...how about we open the FMJ refugio...steel trash cans and all...what a hoot!

Arn
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
#29
VT....that's laugh out loud funny...I'm still smiling!

There was a bennie to being a Catholic in Boot Camp. Since confession was Sat evening during chow hours...the "mackerel snappers" were allowed to squad up and march ourselves to church and, in order to get chow..we would advance on any platoon in line and "request permission to join your platoon" We soon found that, outside our battalion area...NO one gave a shit who we were...soooooooooooooo, I would take my 6 fellow Catholics to chow before confession and AFTER confession. We did eat well. Then, I noticed boots standing at the phone banks...with no DI around. I stopped my squad -6 and listened to what was being said. When a DI did approach. Sometimes the boot's response would be..."Sir, we've fired Expert on the range...or, scored 100% on the history test!" We were in business...by the time our 12 weeks were up...I had converted 6 more into my squad of mackerel snappers!

With the jelly donuts...how about some SOS!

Arn
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
#31
VT said, ...Sure - we could call it "Santiago On a Shingle" and say it's a traditional pilgrim dish.
VT...your one liners are worth the price of admission!

Now, would that be Beef or Sheep do do and, what kind of shingle would we use?
Arn
 

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