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LIVE from the Camino Busy Albergues?


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Not quite "live" from the camino - I got back yesterday after walking the Camino Frances from Villafranca del Bierzo - Fisterra.

Before I left I read on this forum some worries about how busy the albergues were and how there was a "race for beds" and thought it might be helpful to give an update on the situation.

There are certainly some problems with overcrowding, especially in Galicia where sleeping on the floor is no longer permitted. I arrived at some albergues at 5pm and still got a bed and at others at 1.30pm and found they were "completo". The worst section was on the Camino Fisterra, especially at Negreira where the albergue had provided tents as overflow accomodation (the exceptionally wet weather meant this option was a very cold and damp experience for some) and at Oliveiroa where the queue for the 30 beds was about 60 people long. (I got the last bed but only because two girls in front of me didnt want to be separated) The hospitalera was very patient and tried to help everyone but as for most it had been a 22 mile walk from Negreira and a two hour wait to be turned away there was a lot of frustration on everyones part. There is a new pension in Olveiroa which took some people but for others the only option was a further 10 miles to Cee or a taxi.

The municipal albergues in Galicia charge 3euros and the private ones I stayed in charged 10 euros. A room in a pension was usually about 30 euros for two and if you are on your own there will usually be someone in the same situation willing to share.

To conclude, I would say there is almost always some accomodation and it is really only a problem if you are unwilling, or cant afford, to seek an alternative to the municipal albergues. I certainly spent a lot more money on accomodation this year than I have in the past but that is not to say that it is still not very good value. I understand this could be difficult for students, for example, who are travelling on a very tight budget and unfortunately their only option may be to join the the dreaded race for beds in order to secure a cheap place to sleep.

Whatever you do try not too get too stressed and listen to advice as you go. There are many more accomodation options available than are listed in the guides. I really enjoy staying in the albergues but sometimes a little privacy, plenty of hot water, clean sheets and a snore-free environment was very resorative!

Good luck and buen camino

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Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
From Roncesvalles to Navarrete there has been no problem getting into municipal albergues for walkers thus far, unless you arrived after 5pm in a few cases. Still plenty of room this end.

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