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Alternative accomadation on the Camino Frances

#1
I realise that not everyone on this forum will agree with what I have to say but for what it's worth here goes.! At the very least perhaps I will stimulate some interesting discussion!

Last September I walked from St JPdP to Fromista and stayed every night in albergues along the way. Some of these were pretty good , especially the Albergues Privado , but some were pretty awful and some downright dreadfull. With cramped rooms , no privacy, not very clean showers and often no hot water.

I realise also that the volunteers who run these municipal albegues do their very best but the increasing numbers of pilgrims must mean that conditions are getting worse rather than better.

I realise that the Camino was never intended to be a walk in the park and that many people are walking on a tight budget, but for me I felt I deserved just a little comfort after a long days walking and queeing for a cold shower is not one I relish any more. Talking to pilgrims I met along the way last year I came to realise that many many stay in Hostals or pensions, some every night , some ocassionaly.

This year my wife and I walked to Santiago and stayed every night in private accomodation. For those who are interested I attach here a list of the Hostals\Pensions we stayed in , how much they cost and our own personal comments on each.

I do not feel that we missed out on any way on the "magic" of the Camino as we met many many wonderfull people during each days walking and some of these pilgrims alternated between albergues and hostals.


Note: These Comments are entirely personal.
Note: Cost of room is for double room for 2 people with Shower
Note: Cost of Dinner is for two people with wine and water and unless stated was eaten in Hostal
Town Name of Hostal/Pension Cost of room Comments Dinner Comments
Day 1 Leon Padre Isla 50 Just OK, location central 30 Good meal in nice restaurant not far from Hostal
Day 2 Hospital de Orbiga El Caminero B&B 50 Very good Lovely full breakfast included in price 24 Very good restaurant in village
Day 3 Astorga Hotel Corúna 40 Room OK 20 Dreadfull food
Day 4 Rabanal Hostería el Refugio 45 Lovely Hostal 18 Lovely food
Day 5 Molinaseca Bar - Forget Name 40 Just about OK
Day 6 Cacabelos El Molino - Bar 35 Very noisy night In La Gallega across street Good food
Day 7 Herrerias El Paraíso del Bierzo 48 Fantastic Hostal, beautiful peacefull location 24 Lovely food
Day 8 Bibuedo Meson Betularia 35 OK to good 20 Good food
Day 9 Rente Casa Nova de Rente 28 Fantastic Best so far,lovely room & friendly family 16 Fantastic Best so far
Day 10 Portomarin Pension Arenas 40 good new clean 2 star pension, friendly staff 20 Lovely meal
Day 11 Palas de Rei Casa Curro 35
Day 12 Arzúa Casa Teodore 36 New clean pension 20 Lovely meal our "amazing"complaint was that portions are too big !
Day 13 Lavacolla San Paio 42 Room not bad 18 Another lovely meal
Day 14 Santiago Hostal Babantes 43 Friendly , clean Hostal just yards from the Cathedral 30 Restaurant down steps from Parador, nice meal in busy restaurant

The formatting is not great but if I can find out how to attach a spreadsheet to a post I will repost this later, perhaps Ivar you can help?
 

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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:
#2
Alternative accommodation

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 including camping sites, refuges, hotels, hostales etc.,
You can obtain the booklet free of charge in any tourist office or from TOURSPAIN E-mail: manuel.jurado@tourspain.es.
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
Donating Member
#3
if I can find out how to attach a spreadsheet to a post
Right now we can not attach documents to a post, but in the new version of the forum software that I am planning to use this will be possible. We will be starting to use this new version some time this sumer (I still need to work
on it some more).

But if you e-mail me the document I can put it up for you and add a link to it in this post?

Saludos,
Ivar
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Donating Member
#4
Thanks for this information. I don't think it should be at all controversial because I suspect many people who might walk to Santiago are put off by the idea of sleeping in communal siutations in circumstances as you describe. It is great that there are real options open to everyone.
 

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oursonpolaire

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
#6
To answer Spursfan's question; the hostal/casa rural will stamp it with their own sello. One can also get a sello from the parish church or form the anunciamento or even the guardia civil (or, if you frequent them, bars). On my second Camino, most of my accommodation was in private quarters rather than albergues as I felt like it, I had trouble sleeping in the albergues, and I could afford it; and the Archdiocese' office didn't blink an eye and issued me a Compostela.
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Donating Member
#8
In my experience hostals, hotels and Casa Rurales have their own sellos as do local offices of the Red Cross, tourist offices in ayuntamientos and even the national chain of Paradores! For those attending evening Mass along some of the routes local parishes are happy to imprint the parish sello on pilgrim records.
 

Magnara

Maggie Ramsay
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago de Compostela (2005) Via Francigena (2010) Le Puy to St Jean (2014)
#9
We walked in winter and found that lots of the albergues were closed, so ended up staying mostly in hostals and pensions, it added a great deal to the cost, but that was not our main issue and we did love having a hot shower (or bath!) and privacy.
 
#10
N11284 said:
I realise that not everyone on this forum will agree with what I have to say but for what it's worth here goes.! At the very least perhaps I will stimulate some interesting discussion!

Last September I walked from St JPdP to Fromista and stayed every night in albergues along the way. Some of these were pretty good , especially the Albergues Privado , but some were pretty awful and some downright dreadfull. With cramped rooms , no privacy, not very clean showers and often no hot water.

Thank you for bringing out into the open one of the biggest drawbacks of doing the Camino------ arriving at the albergue and not knowing whether you have a place to stay, and if there is a place whether you can have a hot shower. We stayed at private hostal and hotels, the price ranged from E30 to E60 for a double with shower/bath. This allowed us to clean up before we went out, it enabled a good night sleep without disturbing other pilgrims, and not having to wake up at an unholy hour to rush off to queue for the next bed.
We booked ahead and it took a load off our mind to know that you will have a nice hot shower and a room reserved.

A lot of the more dramatic postings on this forum deals mentions snoring, bedbugs, cold showers, woken up at dawn by those rushing off to secure a place----it can be very upsetting after a few days. These posting made us look for alternative accommodations.

The accommodation can be more expensive but still cheap by London or Paris standard. We worked harder and saved more for this Camino, so expense is not the critical factor to choose not to stay in the albergue.

It is a pity that the ready availability of alternative accommodation is not made more known to pilgrims. There should also be a more formal and uniform approach to the running of the albergues. There should be paid inspectors and not left to volunteers. All albergues have telephones and should all be on the internet, there should be a list of alternative accommodation on all the albergues.

We certainly spent more inspirational hours without worrying about accommodation, we are over 65 and got much more out of the Camino by knowing accommodation and a hot shower is avilable at the end of a hard day's walk.
 
#11
It's comforting to see that many people seem to agree with my sentiments on this topic. I do not believe that to be a genuine pilgrim it is necessary to endure penance as well.

We found the Hostals and pensions in almost every case to be clean with hospitable and friendly staff. A few of the younger people we met ,(we are both in our fifties) especially the younger women, said that they felt a little intimidated in albergues by the lack of privacy.

It's good to know that one can do the Camino without suffering !

Regards

John
 

oursonpolaire

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
#12
John errs in thinking that the Camino can be done without suffering. What we are discussing here is an alternative to the albergues, which pilgrims can choose or not, depending on their circumstances and their preferences. A basic rule of the Camino --indeed, the beauty of the Camino-- is that one size does not fit all.

Discussing alternative accommodations with others, and having done my first Camino primarily in the albergues, one suffers greatly in losing the comradeship of other pilgrims, in the very real spiritual equality from shared discomfort, and the deep and lasting bonds which are built in such settings. Those of us who are prosperous sometimes need to be booted into the reality in which much of the planet lives, and the Camino was a good and safe place to take that lesson. I balanced my habits of privacy and my need to sleep against these losses, and most of my second Camino was spent in alternative accommodation. But that was my choice--- it was convenient for others in freeing up space for pilgrims who must first consider costs, especially students, but that is only a side-effect of my choice.

But don't worry, John, there'll be blisters and exhaustion and backaches and other things to help you with your suffering. Offer it up, lad, as my Irish friends used to tell me. :twisted:

A useful list can be found on the English Canadian pilgrims' group page :
http://www.santiago.ca/bursan.html.
 

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