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Beware of price gouging

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Past OR future Camino
2021
I just finished the Camino Frances on 9/29. What an amazing experience! The scenery was magnificent, the other pilgrims were wonderful, and most of the local people were very supportive and helpful. The prices were amazingly good. For example, I stopped many days for second breakfast and got 2 eggs, toast, and coffee. The price was usually 3-4 euros. I stopped at a bar after Sarria for my second breakfast ( you will recognize it because it has hundreds of beer bottles everywhere as decorations). I ordered my usual breakfast. It was 7 euros. I thought, OK, things are more expensive as you get closer to Santiago. I was eating and the owner came outside to my table and said something about tostada. My Spanish is poor, so I told him I did not understand. He then brought out a note pad and started writing down each thing I got and said that I hadn’t paid for the piece of toast. I owed him 2 more euros….for 1 piece of toast 😳. So 9 euros for eggs, toast, and coffee. This may be the pricing for American women walking alone, but I felt taken advantage of. I paid it because I don’t have the Spanish skills to question the price. I want to make sure to say that most of the bars are very inexpensive and very honest and helpful. I just want to warn other pilgrims (especially women who travel alone) to beware at this bar.

Been Camino and I hope everyone who walks has the wonderful amazing experience that I had, without any negatives like the beer bottle man.
 
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Stephen Nicholls

Steve Nicholls, Suffolk, U.K.
Past OR future Camino
Too many caminos to list in the permitted 100 characters!!
This happens especially in the larger towns and especially in Santiago. My diaries note how I might expect to pay up to10 Euros for a menu del dia, including a filling meal and either a bottle of local wine or a caraffe. I was then often charged 9 Euros for the Mdd .... plus 15 Euros for the wine! And if you sampled any of the little offerings left on the table, they were all extra, though you didn't know it until you got the bill. Some pilgrims even asked for those 'tempters' to be removed from the table.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
It’s understandably frustrating to encounter pricing obviously inflated - most often in ‘popular’ spots; but I live in a part of the UK where in tourist season that’s the norm.

I can express surprise and displeasure in acceptable, but heavily accented, Spanish and I make a point of not returning next time if I feel blatantly ripped off.

But - I do at least consider what a similar offering might have cost me in the UK and I can reconcile myself to having paid for an expensive cheap meal once in a while.

I made the mistake - once only - of sitting on a pavement table in Venice and ordering a beer. Out came the comedy ‘English’ bucket-sized glass and a bill to match.

Scandinavians must think that Spain is almost free.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
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
F

Former member 31048

Guest
Sorry if slightly off topic - and with the disclaimer that I appreciate how inexpensive food and wine seem to be in Spain and Portugal compared to home. (Australia).

In all our walks and travels in Spain, there always seemed to be so many freebies - bread, olives, nuts, pinxtos - offered at the start of a meal or with our vino tinto apero. When we then walked in Portugal - first up on the Rota Vicentina - of course we assumed it was the same and enthusiastically enjoyed everything put on our table - only to discover many of these items added individually to our bill! A bit of a surprise.

But no complaints - we were the ones unfamiliar with the local customs. 😎
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
In all our walks and travels in Spain, there always seemed to be so many freebies - bread, olives, nuts, pinxtos - offered at the start of a meal or with our vino tinto apero. When we then walked in Portugal - first up on the Rota Vicentina - of course we assumed it was the same and enthusiastically enjoyed everything put on our table - only to discover many of these items added individually to our bill! A bit of a surprise.
This is standard in Portugal and it is known by the French word 'couvert', but obviously international visitors wouldn't be expected to be familiar with this local custom. When these things are brought to your table, if you don't want them, it's perfectly fine to decline them.
 

RENSHAW

Official Camino Vino taster
Past OR future Camino
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks on the CF frequently.
Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
Fortunately I have never had such an experience , in fact rather the opposite such as the free obligatory small bowl of olives pushed in front of me when ordering a beer.
I can tell you if you had been accompanied by a Spanish woman , she would have given the proprietor absolute HELL!! This chap sounds like a bully to me:mad:
 

SantiagoCruzB

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2023
I just finished the Camino Frances on 9/29. What an amazing experience! The scenery was magnificent, the other pilgrims were wonderful, and most of the local people were very supportive and helpful. The prices were amazingly good. For example, I stopped many days for second breakfast and got 2 eggs, toast, and coffee. The price was usually 3-4 euros. I stopped at a bar after Sarria for my second breakfast ( you will recognize it because it has hundreds of beer bottles everywhere as decorations). I ordered my usual breakfast. It was 7 euros. I thought, OK, things are more expensive as you get closer to Santiago. I was eating and the owner came outside to my table and said something about tostada. My Spanish is poor, so I told him I did not understand. He then brought out a note pad and started writing down each thing I got and said that I hadn’t paid for the piece of toast. I owed him 2 more euros….for 1 piece of toast 😳. So 9 euros for eggs, toast, and coffee. This may be the pricing for American women walking alone, but I felt taken advantage of. I paid it because I don’t have the Spanish skills to question the price. I want to make sure to say that most of the bars are very inexpensive and very honest and helpful. I just want to warn other pilgrims (especially women who travel alone) to beware at this bar.

Been Camino and I hope everyone who walks has the wonderful amazing experience that I had, without any negatives like the beer bottle man.
Not sure if I'm allowed to post Youtube links here but BDE Travels on his video posted on Aug 7 2021 told about a very similar incident. BDE and his wife stopped at this bar with huge iron ant sculptures somewhere between Portomarin and Palais del Rey (I've seen this bar on other videos) and his wife was telling him how she saw the owner actually raised the price of food on the blackboard menu after listening in on his conversation with other pilgrims when they were talking about what they do for a living. BDE didn't even know about it until his wife told him. Its at 12:44-14:30.
 
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crhutch

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
(2010) March/April SJPP to Santiago and hence to Finisterre
(2016) Hospitalero Grañón 15-31 March
(2016) April Logroño to Santiago
(2017) Hospitalero Zamora 15-31 March
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CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
In all the years I've been walking, I have had a bad experience exactly thrice. That's 3 times in 15 years.
Once was in a little town on the VDLP where the lady insisted we had not paid her. We had.
Once was in a little town on the route from Lourdes where the lady in the albergue insisted we had not paid her. We had.
Once was in a little village on the Camino Frances where the lady insisted we had not paid for a bottle of wine. We had.

On the VDLP, we paid again and felt angry.
On the Frances, we paid again and felt angry.
On the route from Lourdes, LUCKILY, another pilgrim had SEEN us pay, so we refused to pay again.

I guess things like this just happen.
The bottom line is that the prices are SO low, compared to what we'd pay here in the USA, it's difficult to STAY angry. I just hope the person is not doing it on purpose - and I often ask for a receipt now.
 

The Austrian

Member
Past OR future Camino
CF Nov 11, 2016
CF Oct 31, 2018
I honestly know that this happens all over the world where tourists pile up.
Even in Togo my cab rides would cost five times as much as when a local rode with me.
Maybe it stings a little harder on such a beautiful way as the Camino, where 99.9% of people have nothing but good intentions and expect that back?
 

MaxHelado

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Planning to walk the Camino Portugués Tui to Santiago
I agree with Crhutch - the complaints books is the way to go when you feel that the service you have received or the prices you have been charged are wrong or unreasonable and when a polite conversation with the owner doesn't bring the result that you think would be fair. My understanding is that that every bar and restaurant is required by law to have a Complaints Book ("Hoja de Reclamación") and any client is entitled to ask for it and to write their complaint in it (you can keep a copy of your complaint).
I believe it is also the case that all bars and restaurants are required to display a list of prices and cannot charge for any item that was not specifically ordered.
 

S.Duffenais

Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Not sure if I'm allowed to post Youtube links here but BDE Travels on his video posted on Aug 7 2021 told about a very similar incident. BDE and his wife stopped at this bar with huge iron ant sculptures somewhere between Portomarin and Palais del Rey (I've seen this bar on other videos) and his wife was telling him how she saw the owner actually raised the price of food on the blackboard menu after listening in on his conversation with other pilgrims when they were talking about what they do for a living. BDE didn't even know about it until his wife told him. Its at 12:44-14:30.
This is so coincidental as I am actually here right now.
 

Christine Leneghan

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2018) and Portuguese Coastal Camino (2019)
Not sure if I'm allowed to post Youtube links here but BDE Travels on his video posted on Aug 7 2021 told about a very similar incident. BDE and his wife stopped at this bar with huge iron ant sculptures somewhere between Portomarin and Palais del Rey (I've seen this bar on other videos) and his wife was telling him how she saw the owner actually raised the price of food on the blackboard menu after listening in on his conversation with other pilgrims when they were talking about what they do for a living. BDE didn't even know about it until his wife told him. Its at 12:44-14:30.
BDE is one of my favorites! So informative!!
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
This is standard in Portugal and it is known by the French word 'couvert', but obviously international visitors wouldn't be expected to be familiar with this local custom. When these things are brought to your table, if you don't want them, it's perfectly fine to decline them.
I have traveled to Brasil 3 or 4 times and have many friends there. Many restaurants (I found it true especially in Salvador) have what you think are slightly expensive dishes only to find that the portion is meant for 2 people. It was lucky that my first trip I was with my cousin and her ex husband who is Brasilian. When my cousin and I ordered the same thing (a house specialty) her ex told us to only order 1/ When the food came we could see why. When I walked the CP with a friend in 2017 in a few towns (Combria comes to mind) we would eat way off the main roads and central areas and had dinners like this also. Is this common in Portugal in many restaurants? Just wondering.
 

Scott Sweeney

Active Member
I'm not sure I would call that price gouging as much as your not being aware of what the cost what of you ordered. I would agree and say if the price you were charged was doubled. And I agree the closer you get to big cities the price expectedly would be more. You wouldn't get a breakfast and toast with coffee for $10 in Virginia. But you enjoyed your Camino. Congrats.
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
I have traveled to Brasil 3 or 4 times and have many friends there. Many restaurants (I found it true especially in Salvador) have what you think are slightly expensive dishes only to find that the portion is meant for 2 people. It was lucky that my first trip I was with my cousin and her ex husband who is Brasilian. When my cousin and I ordered the same thing (a house specialty) her ex told us to only order 1/ When the food came we could see why. When I walked the CP with a friend in 2017 in a few towns (Combria comes to mind) we would eat way off the main roads and central areas and had dinners like this also. Is this common in Portugal in many restaurants? Just wondering.
I don’t think it’s that common in Portugal but we also experienced it in Salvador (e.g. with dishes like moqueca).
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Just a little anecdote (told several times already by me here on the forum) that I always think about when the topic of getting ripped off on the camino comes up.

I was in the town of Aljucén when the only game in town was the municipal albergue, and only one of the two bars gave meals. A group of five or six of us went to the bar for dinner and many complaints ensued about the price/quality ratio. It was overpriced, overcooked, just plain bad. But we were fed. As many of the people sitting around the table were complaining about the quality or price of the food or the wine, one guy from Andalucía looked at us all and said — “pero hombre, ¿de qué van a vivir si no es de nosotros?” (What are they going to live off of if it’s not off of us?). I tell this not to say I approve of price gouging or being taken advantage of, but keeping it in perspective helps.
 
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F

Former member 31048

Guest
Just a little anecdote (told several times already by me here on the forum) that I always think about when the topic of getting ripped off on the camino comes up.

I was in the town of Aljucén when the only game in town was the municipal albergue, and only one of the two bars gave meals. A group of five or six of us went to the bar for dinner and many complaints ensued about the price/quality ratio. It was overpriced, overcooked, just plain bad. But we were fed. As many of the people sitting around the table were complaining about the quality or price of the food or the wine, one guy from Andalucía looked at us all and said — “pero hombre, ¿de qué van a vivir si no es de nosotros?” (What are they going to live off of if it’s not off of us?). I tell this not to say I approve of price gouging or being taken advantage of, but keeping it in perspective helps.
Talking about perspective ... whenever we return home from France or Spain, it's always a shock to see a glass of red wine on a menu at $15! What, not 1 or 2 euro?
 

Schamber

New Member
Past OR future Camino
May and June 2022
Sorry if slightly off topic - and with the disclaimer that I appreciate how inexpensive food and wine seem to be in Spain and Portugal compared to home. (Australia).

In all our walks and travels in Spain, there always seemed to be so many freebies - bread, olives, nuts, pinxtos - offered at the start of a meal or with our vino tinto apero. When we then walked in Portugal - first up on the Rota Vicentina - of course we assumed it was the same and enthusiastically enjoyed everything put on our table - only to discover many of these items added individually to our bill! A bit of a surprise.

But no complaints - we were the ones unfamiliar with the local customs. 😎
Good to know about the extras on the tables you and someone else mentioned. I'll have to remember that and ask. This is the first I've heard of this!
 

JohnnyWalker

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Talking about perspective ... whenever we return home from France or Spain, it's always a shock to see a glass of red wine on a menu at $15! What, not 1 or 2 euro?
Got stuck coming back to home from CF at the DFW airport due to mechanical issues with the plane. What we paid for one glass of wine in the airport hotel would have paid for two pilgrims meals on the Way. Yup, all about perspective ...
 

truenorthpilgrim

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Norte post-pandemic
A one time 2 euro charge in Sarria compared to the endlessly cheap coffees, slices of tortilla and 10-15 euro bed each night should offset the pain. You may have felt taken advantage of, but this comes with territory of traveling, imho. I've traveled alone all over the world and it's not necessarily an American woman thing. It's a tourist/foreigner thing. It doesn't feel great, but you shake it off and move on. As I've stated recently on previous posts on this forum, living in Indonesia for almost 2 years, I didn't go to the morning market because I didn't want to spend half the morning bargaining hard, and even then I wouldn't get a great price. My skin color, my passport and the fact that I bought a plane ticket (pre-pandemic) and could renew my visa multiple times tellsthe Balinese I have cash to spend (not to sound crude), so I was a prime target.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
I walked with another pilgrim for a few days on one of the lesser-walked routes. One day, we had a second breakfast at a busy place that had a lot of truckers and business people. We described what we wanted without checking the price. When the bill came at about 8 Euros each, we both thought "Oh that is a bit more than expected" but it was essentially a plato combinado with juice and coffee, and very good. I think one of us questioned it, and the proprietor pointed to a price list on the wall. My companion grumbled as we paid and left, but she could not let it go. After an hour or 2 of listening to her complaints about having been ripped off, and me trying to placate her, I was fed up. I told her bluntly that I had made my peace with the matter in about 3 minutes, had heard enough about her opinion on the incident, and did not want to hear anything more about it. We did not develop a lasting Camino friendship!
 
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CAJohn

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances Sept/Oct 2019
I stopped at a town that had a large albergue with this large outdoor sitting area with trees and tables and older local men who were funny as could be to talk with. It was lunch time, and just as I arrived, a large bus of German tourists showed up. The owner told me to just grab whatever I wanted and sit at a table and he would get back to me.

The tourists were done in about 15 to 20 minutes and the owner came out with a hat full of money that he used for giving change. I kept all my stuff on the table so I would know what to pay him. He counts the drink, the sandwich and something else. Then he asks me about the piece of fruit. I look at the table and I am a little confused. He then points to the fruit that I was holding in my hand.

Well, he got me. We all had a good laugh and I paid up.
 
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2014, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
Various routes...
I told her bluntly that I had made my peace with the matter in about 3 minutes, had heard enough about her opinion on the incident, and did not want to hear anything more about it.
Very wise. Yours is a camino version of this wonderful Zen story!:
Two traveling monks met a young woman at the bank of a swiftly flowing river. Wary of the current, she asked if they could help get her across. One of the monks picked her up without hesitation and carried her across the river, putting her down on the opposite bank. She thanked him and left.

As the monks continued on their way, one was brooding and preoccupied. After some time, unable to hold his silence, he blurted out, "Brother, our training rules require us to avoid any contact with women, but you picked that one up on your shoulders and carried her!"

The second monk replied, "Brother, I put her down on the riverbank. Why are you are still carrying her?"

Yes, we occasionally get taken advantage of or charged more than locals. It goes with the territory - I think of it more as a local discount rather than a surcharge for tourists. People have to make a living, and one of my roles as a pilgrim is to offer that. So I loved your story, @peregrina2000 .
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Not sure if I'm allowed to post Youtube links here but BDE Travels on his video posted on Aug 7 2021 told about a very similar incident. BDE and his wife stopped at this bar with huge iron ant sculptures somewhere between Portomarin and Palais del Rey (I've seen this bar on other videos) and his wife was telling him how she saw the owner actually raised the price of food on the blackboard menu after listening in on his conversation with other pilgrims when they were talking about what they do for a living. BDE didn't even know about it until his wife told him. Its at 12:44-14:30.

If there is one thing the Camino has taught me, it is.....
Don't jump to conclusions.
Question your first impressions,
And if there are two perspectives, negative and positive, pick the postive!

OK three things :)

Maybe he didn't even hear the conversation?
I doubt cafe owners eves drop that much, they are too busy!

Maybe he forgot that he needed to update the price list?

As my wife always tells me "don't think too much"....

BTW. I have stopped at the cafe/albergue and had great food and service.

 
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SioCamino

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2015, CPo 2016, VDLP[Sev-Các] 2017, VDLP[Các-Sal] 2018
Very wise. Yours is a camino version of this wonderful Zen story!:


Yes, we occasionally get taken advantage of or charged more than locals. It goes with the territory - I think of it more as a local discount rather than a surcharge for tourists. People have to make a living, and one of my roles as a pilgrim is to offer that. So I loved your story, @peregrina2000 .

I must that is one of my favourite zen stories, have found it to be instructive on manys an occasion for myself and others!
 
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Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
I walked with another pilgrim for a few days on one of the lesser-walked routes. One day, we had a second breakfast at a busy place that had a lot of truckers and business people. We described what we wanted without checking the price. When the bill came at about 8 Euros each, we both thought "Oh that is a bit more than expected" but it was essentially a plato combinado with juice and coffee, and very good. I think one of us questioned it, and the proprietor pointed to a price list on the wall. My companion grumbled as we paid and left, but she could not let it go. After an hour or 2 of listening to her complaints about having been ripped off, and me trying to placate her, I was fed up. I told her bluntly that I had made my peace with the matter in about 3 minutes, had heard enough about her opinion on the incident, and did not want to hear anything more about it. We did not develop a lasting Camino friendship!
Funny, isn’t it… how quickly people get used to and feel entitled to the very cheapest of everything out there…. Something to do with power I think.

On my Portuguese walk I walked alone every day, stopped where I wanted… pondered, talked to cats at leisure…. One morning, maybe my morning out of O Porrino I stopped into the first café that was open. It was a dark morning, a dreary one, and the light coming out of the café was a beacon for me. I went in and ordered a tortilla de patatas, and a café con leche. My bill was something around 8 euros. It was a bit unusual that the owner had me pay before giving me the food, but I soon saw the crowd coming in and her reason for doing do. I was stunned by the price… BUT, I was starving and I held my tongue and remembered that 8 euros still makes about half of what one pays for a hot breakfast with coffee where I live.

… and then my plate came. It was a *whole* plate of tortilla. Bigger than my face! I ate what I could, and then the lady gave me tin foil to warp it in, and some paper toweling to help keep it warm. I did not have to stop anywhere for lunch…. And needed only a very small supper.

8 euro breakfast could have made me cranky, but I chose to be grateful.
 

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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I don’t think it’s that common in Portugal but we also experienced it in Salvador (e.g. with dishes like moqueca).
EXACTLY! That was the first dish my cousin and I ordered. Thanks. (Next year I will walk from Faro and I will definitely be in touch with you guys for some help if you don't mind. I have saved your podcast from the spiritual variant. I walked in 2017 and didn't do it. Next year for sure! Buen Camino
 
Past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
This reminded me of the first time I visited Portugal - not Camino related - but the first time I paid in Euros.
The taxi ride was €2. I happily gave the ALSO HAPPY driver EIGHT "Quarters!"
So he got tipped €6 - stinker never said a word.
Didn't take me long to figure that one out!
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I just finished the Camino Frances on 9/29. What an amazing experience! The scenery was magnificent, the other pilgrims were wonderful, and most of the local people were very supportive and helpful. The prices were amazingly good. For example, I stopped many days for second breakfast and got 2 eggs, toast, and coffee. The price was usually 3-4 euros. I stopped at a bar after Sarria for my second breakfast ( you will recognize it because it has hundreds of beer bottles everywhere as decorations). I ordered my usual breakfast. It was 7 euros. I thought, OK, things are more expensive as you get closer to Santiago. I was eating and the owner came outside to my table and said something about tostada. My Spanish is poor, so I told him I did not understand. He then brought out a note pad and started writing down each thing I got and said that I hadn’t paid for the piece of toast. I owed him 2 more euros….for 1 piece of toast 😳. So 9 euros for eggs, toast, and coffee. This may be the pricing for American women walking alone, but I felt taken advantage of. I paid it because I don’t have the Spanish skills to question the price. I want to make sure to say that most of the bars are very inexpensive and very honest and helpful. I just want to warn other pilgrims (especially women who travel alone) to beware at this bar.

Been Camino and I hope everyone who walks has the wonderful amazing experience that I had, without any negatives like the beer bottle man.

Susan, a number of places do not actually include toast with bacon and eggs. I have paid 6.50 for bacon and eggs and another 2 euros for toast. One may order bacon and eggs…you may get tomato or potatoes with it or nothing else or a piece of toast. It is not so uncommon that the toast is an extra 1.5 to 2 euros more. Has happened to me..now I look more carefully….look at what is included. We Amercans..obviously assume toast is included…but it is not so in Spain.
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I’ve noticed a few things most posts like this have in common:
1. Quibbling over a few euro on one meal out of 90 or so on the (average) 30 day journey
2. Inability to read or understand Spanish despite purposely traveling to Spain and spending 30 days there
3. Assumption it was done out of spite or malicious intent rather than (a) reaction to pandemic prices/supply & labor issues (b) price variation due to location/holiday supply/demand (c) honest error (who has never been accidentally over/under charged at home)
 
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Past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I’ve noticed a few things most posts like this have in common:
1. Quibbling over a few euro on one meal out of 90 or so on the (average) 30 day journey
2. Inability to read or understand Spanish despite purposely traveling to Spain and spending 30 days there
3. Assumption it was done out of spite or malicious intent rather than (a) reaction to pandemic prices/supply & labor issues (b) price variation due to location/holiday supply/demand (c) honest error (who has never been accidentally over/under charged at home)
True this
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Also, in three months of walking as an American woman alone, I never once felt my nationality or gender was being used against me. On the contrary, I felt people went out of their way to be gracious. I had trouble getting fed in bars because I’m not a very big person and don’t like to shove my way to the front. More than once, either bartender or gallant customer would notice me jostled about and insist that I was next.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I just finished the Camino Frances on 9/29. What an amazing experience! The scenery was magnificent, the other pilgrims were wonderful, and most of the local people were very supportive and helpful. The prices were amazingly good. For example, I stopped many days for second breakfast and got 2 eggs, toast, and coffee. The price was usually 3-4 euros. I stopped at a bar after Sarria for my second breakfast ( you will recognize it because it has hundreds of beer bottles everywhere as decorations). I ordered my usual breakfast. It was 7 euros. I thought, OK, things are more expensive as you get closer to Santiago. I was eating and the owner came outside to my table and said something about tostada. My Spanish is poor, so I told him I did not understand. He then brought out a note pad and started writing down each thing I got and said that I hadn’t paid for the piece of toast. I owed him 2 more euros….for 1 piece of toast 😳. So 9 euros for eggs, toast, and coffee. This may be the pricing for American women walking alone, but I felt taken advantage of. I paid it because I don’t have the Spanish skills to question the price. I want to make sure to say that most of the bars are very inexpensive and very honest and helpful. I just want to warn other pilgrims (especially women who travel alone) to beware at this bar.

Been Camino and I hope everyone who walks has the wonderful amazing experience that I had, without any negatives like the beer bottle man.
The first time we got bacon and eggs it did not come with toast. So I had to order it separately, after we got the breakfast. I was surprised…I looked again at the picture and realized that there was no toast in the picture.
Frankly, I didn’t care if it cost two more euros…I was hungry and happy for the warm heat from the fireplace, great cafe leche, and delicious breakfast.

That said, I found US Susan’s comments generally positive regarding the Camino, the people of Spain and other pilgrims. She clearly misunderstood, and admits there were language barriers. So I can understand why she might think that she was being overcharged when her experience likely is that toast is always included. On her next camino😀, after such a positive experience, she will know better.
 
Past OR future Camino
2021
Maybe this experience on the Portuguese Camino will cleanse the palate, so to speak. Walking solo, north of Tui, cold, rainy, dreary morning just before dawn, stopped in a café for breakfast and some warm liquids (tea). Pretty much miserable start to the day. Ordered the full American type breakfast (had pictures on the menu) - great! Dumped all of my wet gear and jacket and the breakfast arrived he had included a hot bowl of soup with the breakfast. I didn't leave a speck of food on that table. Packed up and went to the counter to pay and he placed a small glass of some sort of liquor in front of me which I drank toasting him. The soup and liquor were not on the bill-just the breakfast! Will never forget that act of hospitality and kindness.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
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
This thread is a bit disturbing to me. After many Caminos, what I remember the most, is the hospitality and friendliness of the Spanish people (it helps to at least have learnt some phrases of politeness and basic questioning).

I never recall to have been taken advantage of, on the contrary: Ordering a beer, and receive some snack I didn't expect, like a tortilla/ham bite. Will never happen in Norway or any other European country, or USA.

I once (on the VdlP) shared some dried Norw. cod (stockfish, an expensive commodity in Spain) with 4 old Spanish men at a terrace outside a cafe. (I carried it as emergency ration: full of proteins). Had a wonderful conversation, even with my lagging Spanish.They were literally throwing free beer at me in return...

Not to mention: Every time I return home, I have more money in my bank account than when I arrived in Spain.

Bad apples are found everywhere, but not so many in Spain IMHO.

Edit: One of the most important phrases you can learn, is saying Thank You : Muchas gracias. This is more important then you'll expect: It is a sign of respect, and if you are in doubt, just say it. It is about honoring the one who gives you something for nothing.

I wish all people was as respectful and polite as the Spanish people.
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Maybe this experience on the Portuguese Camino will cleanse the palate, so to speak. Walking solo, north of Tui, cold, rainy, dreary morning just before dawn, stopped in a café for breakfast and some warm liquids (tea). Pretty much miserable start to the day. Ordered the full American type breakfast (had pictures on the menu) - great! Dumped all of my wet gear and jacket and the breakfast arrived he had included a hot bowl of soup with the breakfast. I didn't leave a speck of food on that table. Packed up and went to the counter to pay and he placed a small glass of some sort of liquor in front of me which I drank toasting him. The soup and liquor were not on the bill-just the breakfast! Will never forget that act of hospitality and kindness.
That is Portugal for you. I love the people in that country.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Next year I will walk from Faro and I will definitely be in touch with you guys for some help if you don't mind. I have saved your podcast from the spiritual variant. I walked in 2017 and didn't do it. Next year for sure! Buen Camino
Sounds great, feel free to get in touch! You're planning walk the Caminho Central from Faro to Santarém and then connect with the CP? Walking the entire length of Portugal as we did this year on the Nascente+ really is a cool experience.
 
Past OR future Camino
2018
Very wise. Yours is a camino version of this wonderful Zen story!:


Yes, we occasionally get taken advantage of or charged more than locals. It goes with the territory - I think of it more as a local discount rather than a surcharge for tourists. People have to make a living, and one of my roles as a pilgrim is to offer that. So I loved your story, @peregrina2000 .
That story of the 2 monks is timelessly appropriate!
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
This is a useful thread about peoples’ experiences of paying a bit more than one expected. It is interesting on that basis, as it makes us all more aware of the pricing in different countries, and how best to avoid being stung.

We should be able to conduct this exchange about our experiences, without negative personal comments directed at each other. A few posts have been deleted or edited for drifting into that judgmental style of discussion.
 
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