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Booking Ahead on the Camino Madrid?

Stripey Socks

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
Hello Brains Trust.
I am on the countdown for my Camino Madrid/San Salvador/Primitivo Combo starting from Madrid on Fri 19 May. Following this forum and a few groups on Facebook, there seems to be a lot more activity on the camino generally with people walking now and/or planning to walk. Is it now recommended to book ahead?

My last camino was back in 2016 and then you could just rock up or book at pinch points. I do admit to feeling a bit rusty with this whole international travel thing and I am hoping that the camino still retains it relaxed vibe, especially on the paths I am walking this time.

Your thoughts?
Muchas gracias
Mel
 
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On the Camino de Madrid, like other routes with few pilgrims, I think that booking a day or two ahead is wise mainly because in the small villages, you cannot be sure what will be open when you arrive. You will be doing a favour to the people responsible for the albergue, by giving them some advance notice so they can plan their own lives accordingly. If you haven't seen it yet, this thread has some current information.
 
On the Camino de Madrid, like other routes with few pilgrims, I think that booking a day or two ahead is wise mainly because in the small villages, you cannot be sure what will be open when you arrive. You will be doing a favour to the people responsible for the albergue, by giving them some advance notice so they can plan their own lives accordingly. If you haven't seen it yet, this thread has some current information.
Thanks for that and Yes, I have been following this thread. I have booked the first few nights at Tres Cantos and with #rayyrosa, plus Segovia. I know which town/village I am aiming for each night, so perhaps it will reduce stress levels if I let them know I am coming and would like to stay.
 
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I understand and agree with the logic of booking a couple of days in advance... especially C clearly's point of showing respect to those taking care of the albergue.
My problem is that I'll be looking of detours and am lucky enough not to be on a strict time-table. I'm already leaving the Camino at Wamba for a detour to Uruena (otherwise known as Villa del Libro)... simply because I want to spend a day in a town of 200 people that boasts 12 bookstores. God only knows what other such awaits me....
 
I understand and agree with the logic of booking a couple of days in advance... especially C clearly's point of showing respect to those taking care of the albergue.
My problem is that I'll be looking of detours and am lucky enough not to be on a strict time-table. I'm already leaving the Camino at Wamba for a detour to Uruena (otherwise known as Villa del Libro)... simply because I want to spend a day in a town of 200 people that boasts 12 bookstores. God only knows what other such awaits me....
12 Bookstores!!?? Heaven on a stick!
 
12 Bookstores!!?? Heaven on a stick!
I know! I've always said... wouldn't it be great if there were more bookstores than bottle shops? When I found that there WAS such a place, it became one of my 'have-to-dos'.
It's 27 k off to the west, from Wamba. I plan to take a rest day in the town and browse...buy a book written in Spanish (which I don't read) and translate it myself, once I get back home...as a way to help with my Spanish lessons.
The town looks beautiful.
Definitetly worth a 27 k wander.

AS for booking ahead... I'm packing equipment should I get stuck out. I'll be respectful and discreet and pray the Camino provides
 
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Is it now recommended to book ahead?
My last camino was back in 2016 and then you could just rock up or book at pinch points. I do admit to feeling a bit rusty with this whole international travel thing and I am hoping that the camino still retains it relaxed vibe, especially on the paths I am walking this time.
Hi Mel
Previous to the Madrid (last October) I never booked anything in advance. But as there aren't any pilgrim albergues between Madrid and Segovia I was forced to adapt. And by the time I'd done it for 5 nights it sort of became habitual..
My concern after Segovia was slightly different to yours - whether places would be open at the end of the season. And several weren't.
Ultimately none of us here know how busy/quiet it is going to be from 19 May onwards and whether there'll be competition for albergue beds. So it'll be your on-the-ground assessment of the pilgrim numbers that will be most important in informing how you proceed. You'll have a good idea of how busy it is by the time you reach Segovia and then you can set your tactics accordingly..
If there's only a few pligrims around then you can mostly just arrive in the little town/village unannounced, and expect the quasi-donativo pilgrim albergues to have beds - places like Alcazaren with its 8 beds, Villeguillo 10, and even Nava with its 4 beds..
As you will have seen mentioned on other posts, someone should ring Arturo the night before if staying at Puente Duero as he travels in from Valladolid to open the albergue.
If it's really busy then you're going to be pushed towards either participating in a bed race or else booking more expensive private accommodation in advance - where it exists
Actually, if I got to Segovia and found that I was walking with lots of pilgrims I'd be tempted to pick up a sleeping mat, as albergues like the one at Hornija have lots of floor space even though they only have 8 beds...

PS San Ildefonso. You will have seen this detour recommended in other posts. Take it, don't miss it!
It works out pretty well because the following day you have 3 hours into Segovia (very pleasant beside the embalse), giving you plenty of time for sight-seeing before being on your way the following day.
Cheers, tom
 
I think that booking a day or two ahead is wise mainly because in the small villages, you cannot be sure what will be open when you arrive. You will be doing a favour to the people responsible for the albergue, by giving them some advance notice so they can plan their own lives accordingly
I think this is great advice and shows respect for the local townspeople. I believe this advice should be followed for all less traveled caminos.
 
Actually, if I got to Segovia and found that I was walking with lots of pilgrims I'd be tempted to pick up a sleeping mat, as albergues like the one at Hornija have lots of floor space even though they only have 8 beds..
Tom, if I had to sleep on the floor you would need to fly down the next morning to help me up. It would be all over for me but the crying. I always wonder how long I will make it when the Zombie Apocalypse hits!
 
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I’ll start walking the Madrid from Tres Cantos on May 7. I’ve booked rooms until Segovia. I don’t plan to book forward from there, but I will call the albergues (or whatever accommodation is available) two days ahead to be sure a bed is available. Sounds like even that won’t be a guarantee in Añe, but we’ll see. And of course if my plans change I’ll notify any place that’s counting on me to appear.

Mel, I’ll do my best to keep you and others on the forum advised of my experiences. If you (or others) have a specific question for me as I go along, you’re welcome to DM me.

Buen Camino to all!
 
I am in Santervás right now. I have been calling or using WhatsApp to let hospitaleros know the day before. They have all been great! And the albergues have been pretty empty!
That is good to hear @mla1 There can always be hiccups, but good that your overall experience is so good. I like to think that (if we wish) we can still get by by NOT booking every day along the way before we leave home!! And I know some people prefer this and I don't argue with that either.

I think on the Madrid, (very much like on the Via Francigena) the necessity to ring/whatsapp ahead is very real, not so much to secure a place - as you said you may well be by yourself - but to let the very willing and welcoming volunteers or hosts know that you will come - they may need to go to the shop!! :)

Buen camino. You are getting close to Sahagun. How will you continue? Tim
 
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Buen camino. You are getting close to Sahagun. How will you continue?
Good question! I’m having a clara in Grajal, where I will stay tonight, thinking about that!

I have really liked the quiet of the Madrid, so, to get more of that, one option is to continue on to the Invierno (either via the last few days of the olvidado or, big maybe, the CF, just to be more direct. But Salvador/primitivo also an option. I don’t think I am up for busy albergues - but maybe it’s early enough to avoid that?. But I feel like I could use some mountains after so many days of flat! They are both good options. The S/P option maybe works better with my return flight date! Three days to make up my mind!
 
Good question! I’m having a clara in Grajal, where I will stay tonight, thinking about that!

I have really liked the quiet of the Madrid, so, to get more of that, one option is to continue on to the Invierno (either via the last few days of the olvidado or, big maybe, the CF, just to be more direct. But Salvador/primitivo also an option. I don’t think I am up for busy albergues - but maybe it’s early enough to avoid that?. But I feel like I could use some mountains after so many days of flat! They are both good options. The S/P option maybe works better with my return flight date! Three days to make up my mind!
I had hoped to do the Salvador-Primitivo when I finished but other things intevened....!

I did Invierno a few years ago and did enjoy it. Entirely solitary, although prodigious amounts of rain - but that was November. In 'feel' it compares very well with CdM.I hope the crowds on CF won't be too much of a shock to the system! But I think that is often exaggerated.

Whatever you choose, buen camino.
 
The S/P option maybe works better with my return flight date! Three days to make up my mind!
Hi ml
It’s easier when there isn’t a choice .
I continued with the invierno back in 2018 and it was solitary, but enjoyable at the time (was what I needed).
If you have time to do S/P combo, and haven’t walked either route before …. I’d recommend the S/P ❤️🌈❤️🌈❤️. So beautiful and the far reaching views from many spots .. wow. It’s really hard to beat . It would also afford you some camaraderie. Not too much like the CF in busy times but usually a good collection of pilgrims.

As others have said - whichever you choose, it will be the best option for you ❤️❤️❤️
Buen camino.
 
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Hi Mel
Previous to the Madrid (last October) I never booked anything in advance. But as there aren't any pilgrim albergues between Madrid and Segovia I was forced to adapt. And by the time I'd done it for 5 nights it sort of became habitual..
My concern after Segovia was slightly different to yours - whether places would be open at the end of the season. And several weren't.
Ultimately none of us here know how busy/quiet it is going to be from 19 May onwards and whether there'll be competition for albergue beds. So it'll be your on-the-ground assessment of the pilgrim numbers that will be most important in informing how you proceed. You'll have a good idea of how busy it is by the time you reach Segovia and then you can set your tactics accordingly..
If there's only a few pligrims around then you can mostly just arrive in the little town/village unannounced, and expect the quasi-donativo pilgrim albergues to have beds - places like Alcazaren with its 8 beds, Villeguillo 10, and even Nava with its 4 beds..
As you will have seen mentioned on other posts, someone should ring Arturo the night before if staying at Puente Duero as he travels in from Valladolid to open the albergue.
If it's really busy then you're going to be pushed towards either participating in a bed race or else booking more expensive private accommodation in advance - where it exists
Actually, if I got to Segovia and found that I was walking with lots of pilgrims I'd be tempted to pick up a sleeping mat, as albergues like the one at Hornija have lots of floor space even though they only have 8 beds...

PS San Ildefonso. You will have seen this detour recommended in other posts. Take it, don't miss it!
It works out pretty well because the following day you have 3 hours into Segovia (very pleasant beside the embalse), giving you plenty of time for sight-seeing before being on your way the following day.
Cheers, tom
Thanks for all these tips, Tom. Much appreciated. I note your recommended detour. I will have to check my schedule and see if I can detour to San Ildefonso. I am having a rest day in Segovia so I do have some wriggle room. Thanks again, Mel
 

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