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Bringing a group to Santiago

#1
Hi, everyone. I am a priest from the United States and in June I will be bringing a group college students to Santiago. We will start in Cebreiro. Originally, we were going to make all our reservations through a travel agent, but she want to make us reservations in hotels (usually two and three star hotels) which would not give us a good feel for the pilgrimage element. We've decided instead to find hostels as we go along. We are figuring on having about 10 in the group.

My question is this: Is it imprudent to do it this way- not having a guaranteed spot to sleep each night? Will it be difficult to find a place each night and one that will accomodate all of us? While I want to be spontaneous, I also don't want to sleep in the woods, especially with a group of young people!

Please help me plan.

Blessings,

Fr. Marc
 

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ivar

Administrator
Staff member
Donating Member
#2
Welcome to the forum Marc!

In June things are starting to get busy, with more and more pilgrims arriving... if I am not mistaking the top is usually during the Saint James celebrations in July.

For lodging in Santiago, I would definitely book ahead. Have a look here for a list or use your travel agent (I would recommend a hotel in the "City center").

I like "Virxe Da Cerca Hotel" a lot. 3-star, new, clean and 50 meters from the Cathedral. Some member feedback on some hotels here:
viewforum.php?f=3

Another (may be a bit outdates) list of hostels/hotels in Santiago, have a look here:
http://www.santiago-today.com/hotels/

When it comes to what to do while walking, I would say that if you stop walking early enough, you will have a better chance of getting room for 10. I don't think you will ever sleep in the woods, but worst case your group might have to split up, some at this hostel and some over at this albergue...

I think you should be fine... does anyone else have an opinion on this?

Buen Camino and welcome to Santiago!

Ivar
 

Dave

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Via Podiensis 2015
#3
Hi Marc-

For the last two years, I've led groups of American high schoolers on pilgrimage, twice on the Camino (St Jean to Finisterre) and once on the Via Francigena (Lucca to Rome). We'll be back in Spain again this summer - it can definitely be done!

Galicia can be tricky in the summer, but June is much better than July or August. We've never made reservations and have always found beds, but it has been close at times. We do tend to maintain a faster pace than other pilgrims, though, and depart daily by 6am; if you would like a more leisurely pace, you might have more of a challenge. If that happens, though, you should be able to make reservations one day at a time, while walking. You can't reserve beds in most albergues, of course, but some of the private ones allow it and they advertise.

In my mind, the larger concern than finding beds is becoming part of the greater pilgrim community. Many pilgrims cast a nervous eye at groups of young people, but showing respect for the common behavioral expectations in the albergues, engaging in the generosity of spirit characteristic of most walking the Camino, and breaking into smaller groups whenever possible helps greatly with that.

It's a remarkable journey - and a remarkably taxing one. Walking the Camino alone is challenging enough; overcoming your individual pain while shepherding young people through theirs is a huge endeavor. Enjoy it, though. The relationships that you will be able to establish are well worth it.

Let me know if I can help you with anything else.
 

Peter Robins

Veteran Member
Donating Member
#5
according to the figures just released, 12,620 compostelas were issued in June last year. Assume 9,000 of those were on the Camino Frances = an average of 300 a day. This is far more than the available accommodation, and it looks like the trend this year is still significantly upwards. Of course you can trust in St James to look after you, but many of those on their own worry about finding a place each night - you in addition have your little flock to worry about.

If you want to reduce this worry, I would suggest trying another route, perhaps the Camino Portugues, which is far less busy and has plenty of accommodation.

A disadvantage of booking in advance, btw, is that it ties you to a preconceived plan, even if that plan turns out to have been completely impractical, or needs changing due to weather, tiredness or whatever.
 

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