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John Brierley Camino Frances Guide
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Basic pilgrim experiences on the Camino Frances

Year of past OR future Camino
2016
I've read with interest on this forum about the pilgrim experiences at Albergues S. Juan Bautista in Granon and S. Francisco de Asis in Tosantos. Are there similar albergues elsewhere on the Camino Frances?
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Every albergue is different.
However if you are seeking religious/spiritual expériences perhaps you might find my list of active
Monasteries, Convents and Chapter Houses
on the CF which host pilgrims to be useful for your planning.

Prepared in 2015 this is not up to date but much is still valid.

Happy planning and Buen camino.
 
Last edited:
Year of past OR future Camino
2014
Every albergue is different.
However if you are seeking religious/spiritual expériences perhaps you might find my list of active
Monasteries, Convents and Chapter Houses
on the CF which host pilgrims to be useful for your planning.

Prepared in 2015 this is not up to date but much is still valid.

Happy planning and Buen camino.
Thank you! I just posted asking about monasteries along the way. This will be helpful!
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
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Pingüigrino

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, Aragones, Vasco del Interior, Baztanes. (Frances Winter, La Plata, Camino de Invierno, Mozarabe, Norte, Primitivo.)
I've read with interest on this forum about the pilgrim experiences at Albergues S. Juan Bautista in Granon and S. Francisco de Asis in Tosantos. Are there similar albergues elsewhere on the Camino Frances?
You can find similar ones in Parish albergues of:
Viana, Logroño (Santiago el Real), Bercianos del Real Camino, Burgo Ranero (Domenico Lafti), Foncebadon (Domus Dei)
The spirit you can find in those and other albergues depends mainly of the volunteers that are working there, sometimes it can be wonderful, sometimes not as good.
That said you can live amazing moments in many other places, private or public acomodations.
Please be aware that due COVID measures, all previously named albergues are currently closed, mainly in order of no compete with private albergues whom are the livelihoods of their owners, and because the volunteer hospitaleros, mainly retired people, are members of the high risk group.
Probably some of them will re open its doors at demands dictated.
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
Every albergue is different.
However if you are seeking religious/spiritual expériences perhaps you might find my list of active
Monasteries, Convents and Chapter Houses
on the CF which host pilgrims to be useful for your planning.

Prepared in 2015 this is not up to date but much is still valid.

Happy planning and Buen camino.
Wonderful list @mspath. You are an invaluable resource. Even though I have about as much religion in me as a wall I still love the spirit and the experiences that I have encountered at monasteries and Convents. Do you know of a similar list for the VDLP. I always check Gronze when I walk but you can always miss one.

I've read with interest on this forum about the pilgrim experiences at Albergues S. Juan Bautista in Granon and S. Francisco de Asis in Tosantos. Are there similar albergues elsewhere on the Camino Frances?
Don't know if this is your first Camino or not Cathy G but remember the wise words of mspath; "Every albergue is different". It is not the albergue it is the people you encounter and make memories with. I have stayed in really beautiful, clean and inviting albergues that to tell you the truth I can't remember a thing about. I have also stayed in some dark, cold albergues with basically no services that I can remember like it was yesterday because of the great people I met. Buen Camino
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
". It is not the albergue it is the people you encounter and make memories with. I have stayed in really beautiful, clean and inviting albergues that to tell you the truth I can't remember a thing about. I have also stayed in some dark, cold albergues with basically no services that I can remember like it was yesterday because of the great people I met
Likewise for the "boring" parts of the Camino. When I'm enjoying good conversation while I'm walking the scenery is secondary.
 

O Peracha

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago (2014)
Annapurna Base, Nepal (2014)
GR 5 - Holland to Pompey, France (2015)
Lisbon to Finesterre (2016)
I think that Refugio de Manjarín is as basic as it comes. I haven't stayed there myself, but knew a couple of peregrinos who did.


Manjarin is at a basic level all its own. I stayed there in 2014 and it may have changed since then.

They serve dinner.
There is no running water. I didn't find out about this until mid-dinner.
There is no power in the hut/shack where you sleep. Can't recall if the "reception/store/kitchen" had it. I was there in July. So, it was pretty hot in the shack during the afternoon and early evening but cooled down at night. The sleeping shack smelled. Bad. Realized it was the mattress when I laid down. Then the smell was really bad. There are no sheets or pillowcases, unless you bring your own.

The mattresses are on top of wooden boxes that are next to each other - similar to huts in the Alps. There is also a loft with more "beds". It's a donativo.

Toilet was an outhouse across the road.

Dinner was outside under the thatched roof thing you see right in front and it was a beautiful setting.

Ahhhh, good memories. It was a helluva experience. I'm glad I stayed there. Once. I wouldn't go it again.
 
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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I've read with interest on this forum about the pilgrim experiences at Albergues S. Juan Bautista in Granon and S. Francisco de Asis in Tosantos. Are there similar albergues elsewhere on the Camino Frances?
Refugio Ave Fenix in Villafranca del Bierzo can be a very special experience if the old patron gives you his ceremony of burning liqueur and praise, with all the lights turned off. Seriously a special evening. Also with communal meal. I will stay there next time I stop there. (did it two times already).

However, their website www.albergueavefenix.com is not currently up & running, so maybe they are another victim of the pandemic...
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Manjarin is at a basic level all it's own. I stayed there in 2014 and it may have changed since then.

They serve dinner.
There is no running water. I didn't find out about this until mid-dinner.
There is no power in the hut/shack where you sleep. Can't recall if the "reception/store/kitchen" had it. I was there in July. So, it was pretty hot in the shack during the afternoon and early evening but cooled down at night. The sleeping shack smelled. Bad. Realized it was the mattress when I laid down. Then the smell was really bad. There are no sheets or pillowcases, unless you bring your own.

The mattresses are on top of wooden boxes that are next to each other - similar to huts in the Alps. There is also a loft with more "beds". It's a donativo.

Toilet was an outhouse across the road.

Dinner was outside under the thatched roof thing you see right in front and it was a beautiful setting.

Ahhhh, good memories. It was a helluva experience. I'm glad I stayed there. Once. I wouldn't go it again.
I walked by for the first time on a foggy chilly day in April 2015. I'd read in my Brierley (I think) that the toilet was an outhouse. I was glad it was early afternoon and so I was happy to "push on". That said, I can only imagine the vivid and unique memories those who have stayed there have had. In hindsight, I wish I had shared in those memories...possibly.🤔
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
That's where I stayed, in El Acebo, in the pilgrim section of the lovely hotel...twice.
All I'm saying is that one night out of forty staying at Manjardin wouldn't have been all that bad. 🤷
 

Flog

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020
A few days further on, In Ruitelan, just a few km before the climb to O'Cebreiro is a very special albergue that I feel is worthy of a mention. I have stayed there twice and would happily stay again. You would walk by and hardly notice it and it looked nothing special from outside, how wrong I was: Albergue Potala Pequeña. The hospitality shown by Carlos and Louis is the very essence of the camino spirit, something that is becoming harder to find these days...
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Year of past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
Refugio Ave Fenix in Villafranca del Bierzo can be a very special experience if the old patron gives you his ceremony of burning liqueur and praise, with all the lights turned off. Seriously a special evening. Also with communal meal. I will stay there next time I stop there. (did it two times already).

However, their website www.albergueavefenix.com is not currently up & running, so maybe they are another victim of the pandemic...
Ave Fenix is very much alive. It stayed open right through the pandemic!
 
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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Year of past OR future Camino
2012
It was at Santiago el Real that Elizabet sent us all further down the road with "¿Buen Camino? (a shrug) Mejor, vive una Buena Vida.

I try Elizabet, I keep trying...

The best, the very best Albergue on all the Caminos is that one where I lay my weary head at the end of the day. There are none better.
 

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