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buying train tickets??!!

Bill Krueger

Member
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Camino Frances (2016)
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We have been trying to purchase train tickets on renfe.com. We are trying to get from Barcelona to Pamplona on August 18, and there is a train listed for 9:30, (also listed on rome2rio) but though we have checked back many times over the last months, it says that tickets are not available and to check back later. It has been suggested that the tickets may not be available until 1 month before that date. Is that true/possible? What have others experienced in similar situations? Many thanks.

bill
 
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rlm

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I never had much luck with Renfe. It was always a challenge to get payment in etc. so I ended up going with the Trainline app. I just checked that app and oddly, all of the other trains between those two locations are available now on that day with that particular one saying not available at this time. No idea why. Sorry.
 

rlm

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
We have been trying to purchase train tickets on renfe.com. We are trying to get from Barcelona to Pamplona on August 18, and there is a train listed for 9:30, (also listed on rome2rio) but though we have checked back many times over the last months, it says that tickets are not available and to check back later. It has been suggested that the tickets may not be available until 1 month before that date. Is that true/possible? What have others experienced in similar situations? Many thanks.

bill
I will amend my reply slightly. It actually says not available to buy. Nothing about timing. Again, I don’t know where that is but I hope you can get it sorted.
 

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Former member 95219

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We have been trying to purchase train tickets on renfe.com. We are trying to get from Barcelona to Pamplona on August 18, and there is a train listed for 9:30, (also listed on rome2rio) but though we have checked back many times over the last months, it says that tickets are not available and to check back later. It has been suggested that the tickets may not be available until 1 month before that date. Is that true/possible? What have others experienced in similar situations? Many thanks.

bill
Just done a search and it seems that train is on sale up until 31 July at mo so suggest a timescale issue. Other trains aeem To be on sale so not quite sure why that one is different. Think RENFE generally has a 90 day sale policy!
 
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SabineP

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some and then more. see my signature.
Or you might take the bus with Alsa.
It takes longer but tickets are already available on their website.
 
F

Former member 95219

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Just done a search and it seems that train is on sale up until 31 July at mo so suggest a timescale issue. Other trains aeem To be on sale so not quite sure why that one is different. Think RENFE generally has a 90 day sale policy!
My guess is that they may not have had
Or you might take the bus with Alsa.
It takes longer but tickets are already available on their website.
There are trains on sale on that day on sale just not the 0930 for some reason. Only released to 31 July at mo.
 
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F

Former member 95219

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My guess is that they may not have had

There are trains on sale on that day on sale just not the 0930 for some reason. Only released to 31 July at mo.
The same applies to the 1732 from Barcelona to Pamplona that is on sale to 21 July but not beyond. Wild guess - possible waiting for clearance to operate from Regulators.
 

Marbe2

Active member
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According to Trainline the 9:30 train is sold out on August 18th
 
F

Former member 95219

Guest
My guess is that they may not have had

There are trains on sale on that day on sale just not the 0930 for some reason. Only released to 31 July at mo.
According to Trainline the 9:30 train is sold out on August 18th

With respect I think that is highly unlikely. It is probably a ‘catch all’ for no availability in their system.
 
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SabineP

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some and then more. see my signature.
Just found this or Sumatra variations .

Renfe tickets for Alvia and Avant trains are available 62 days before travel. You can buy AVE train tickets up to 90 days in advance.

with respect I think that is highly unlikely. It is probably a ‘catch all’ for no availability in their system.


Renfe search worked for the 18th of August.

 
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Quote: According to Trainline the 9:30 train is sold out on August 18th

With respect I think that is highly unlikely. It is probably a ‘catch all’ for no availability in their system.
I agree: Third party sites like Trainline and Omnio have 'catch all' phrases when train tickets are not available for booking on the actual train operator's site, ie Renfe.com in this case.

The 9:30 Alvia train from Barcelona to Pamplona has the same entry on Renfe.com on every day from 1 August until 18 September: El tren consultado no se encuentra disponible para la venta en estos momentos. Inténtelo de nuevo más adelante y disculpe las molestias.

The 15:30 Alvia train from Barcelona to Pamplona, however, is bookable during the same period.

I have no explanation but "train full" and "too early to book" appear not to be a likely explanation.

I'd follow the recommendation and either book the ALSA bus or the afternoon train. Or wait a bit longer.
 
F

Former member 95219

Guest
Bit of a hunch but I I wouldn’t be suprised if the 0930
Tickets for august are released in the next few days but who knows.
 
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Marbe2

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2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Bit of a hunch but I I wouldn’t be suprised if the 0930
Tickets for august are released in the next few days but who knows.
That may be?? However ,my experience with trainline over the years has been that if the train is not posted yet, they just don’t list it. In this case Trainline is stating that it is sold out!
 
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F

Former member 95219

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That may be?? However ,my experience with trainline over the years has been that if the train is not posted yet, they just don’t list it. In this case Trainline is stating that it is sold out!
Maybe but this is how I think it Generally works.

Trainline is fed by hundreds of different train companies.
It won’t have the capability or desire to reflect the bespoke individual train comanpies messaging

In its feed from RENFE it will see a line of zeros at each price point which its system will interpret as sold out.

The fact that a Pamplona to Barcelona train same time period is shoring exactly the same info I think supports this.

.
 
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Bill Krueger

Member
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Camino Portugues (June-2018)
many thanks for all of your replies...I will keep checking over the next days to see if they become available. We have a car rented in case the train is unavailable.
 
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Not sure where you live Bill, but if time diff allows may be worth checking 0001 Spanish time on a regular basis! Again a hunch!
 

henrythedog

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If you use ‘Rail Europe’ you can set an alert for when tickets on your chosen train go on sale. You don’t have to buy through them and pay their booking fee (although I do), if you’ve got plenty patience and (ideally) a PayPal account you can use RENFE direct.

Spanish rail ticket availability is a mystery - BUT - book early as prices increase as capacity is filled and it’s quite common for there to be no ‘walk up’ availability.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
If you use ‘Rail Europe’ you can set an alert for when tickets on your chosen train go on sale. You don’t have to buy through them and pay their booking fee (although I do), if you’ve got plenty patience and (ideally) a PayPal account you can use RENFE direct.

Spanish rail ticket availability is a mystery - BUT - book early as prices increase as capacity is filled and it’s quite common for there to be no ‘walk up’ availability.
You can pay Renfe with a credit card as well.
 
F

Former member 95219

Guest
If you use ‘Rail Europe’ you can set an alert for when tickets on your chosen train go on sale. You don’t have to buy through them and pay their booking fee (although I do), if you’ve got plenty patience and (ideally) a PayPal account you can use RENFE direct.

Spanish rail ticket availability is a mystery - BUT - book early as prices increase as capacity is filled and it’s quite common for there to be no ‘walk up’ availability.
Yep. This train offers up some good prices and seems to be a good seller. Great tip re raileurope!
 
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trecile

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You can pay Renfe with a credit card as well.

You can indeed but for some people (reported on here in the past) using non-Europe-issued credit cards, PayPal was more reliable. I don’t know why.
I know that I was once able to use my US credit card on the Renfe site, but on subsequent attempts it wasn't accepted, and I switched to PayPal.
 
F

Former member 95219

Guest
I have always used Trainline and Busbud, and have had good experiences with both for purchasing tickets online ahead of time.
Can you clarify what you mean by ‘ahead of time’ please’. Are you suggesting RENFE release inventory through third parties before their own site? I don’t think you are? I would encourage people to book direct assuming all other variables are equal.
 
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frjuliangreen

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Vía de la Plata/Camino Sanabrés (2020)
I will amend my reply slightly. It actually says not available to buy. Nothing about timing. Again, I don’t know where that is but I hope you can get it sorted.
I have come across this before. It may be because the three trains in your screenshot are different types of train. The two on sale are AVE and Avlo. The one you want to buy is Alvia. These are operated by different parts of the Renfe network, and may have different release days for tickets. You could always email Renfe to ask. They might even reply!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Fwiw, I remember that already in 2018, and perhaps earlier, the Renfe website required 2-factor authentication (2FA) for payments by credit card but they also offered payment by PayPal at the same time where you can use your credit card without 2FA. At the time I did not have my authentication device with me and I did not want to use Paypal so that was a bit of a problem but only a bit because my companion had her device with her and ordered our tickets online without a problem.

2FA apparently poses a problem from some holders of credit cards issued in the USA because they are not automatically equipped with this function while those issued in European countries are.

I don't find the Renfe website particularly difficult to use.
 
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F

Former member 95219

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I have come across this before. It may be because the three trains in your screenshot are different types of train. The two on sale are AVE and Avlo. The one you want to buy is Alvia. These are operated by different parts of the Renfe network, and may have different release days for tickets. You could always email Renfe to ask. They might even reply!
I this is highly likely to be the reason. Had a google yesterday and some answers inferred this. They seem to release tickets in month blocks as opposed to ‘rolling days, ’ too.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
The two on sale are AVE and Avlo. The one you want to buy is Alvia. These are operated by different parts of the Renfe network, and may have different release days for tickets. You could always email Renfe to ask. They might even reply!
That is not what I see: There are two Alvia trains from Barcelona to Pamplona, one departing at 9:30 and one departing at 15:30 and the issue is only with the one at 9:30. Tickets for the 15:30 can be bought.

This is the current situation for 18th August and every other day in August.
 

henrythedog

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
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The difference between the RENFE. site and the other resellers is not availability as they all draw data from the RENFE system; but ease of use - which comes at a cost. I find Rail Europe to be simple. Some have expressed frustration with the RENFE site in the past. Others find it OK. The cost difference isn’t life-changing.
 
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I had a closer look at the 9:30 Alvia train on Wednesdays from Barcelona to Pamplona. Until 31 July its destination is Vigo Guixar and from then on and until 18 September its destination is Salamanca. This may be the reason for the conundrum: the web app does not cope well with such technical changes and that is why tickets can currently only be bought online until 31st of July. It reminds me of a similar issue with the line Bayonne to SJPP where the most elaborate explanations were given why tickets could not be bought while the timetable was clear: the trains would run. And they did. And closer to the days in question the web app got fed appropriately and allowed ticket purchase, too. This was a TER train, btw, so no ticket contingents, no special offers etc etc. anyway.

Unlike for the 9:30 Alvia train, no such trajectory changes are scheduled for the 15:30 Alvia train from Barcelona to Pamplona. Its destination is and remains San Sebastian until 30 November. Tickets for this train can already be bought for travel on the 30th of November!
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
many thanks for all of your replies...I will keep checking over the next days to see if they become available. We have a car rented in case the train is unavailable.
We could take bets :cool:. My current bet is: online tickets will be available on the 1st of August.
 
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F

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I had a closer look at the 9:30 Alvia train on Wednesdays from Barcelona to Pamplona. Until 31 July its destination is Vigo Guixar and from then on and until 18 September its destination is Salamanca. This may be the reason for the conundrum: the web app does not cope well with such technical changes and that is why tickets can currently only be bought online until 31st of July. It reminds me of a similar issue with the line Bayonne to SJPP where the most elaborate explanations were given why tickets could not be bought while the timetable was clear: the trains would run. And they did. And closer to the days in question the web app got fed appropriately and allowed ticket purchase, too. This was a TER train, btw, so no ticket contingents, no special offers etc etc. anyway.

Unlike for the 9:30 Alvia train, no such trajectory changes are scheduled for the 15:30 Alvia train from Barcelona to Pamplona. Its destination is and remains San Sebastian until 30 November. Tickets for this train can already be bought for travel on the 30th of November!
Absolutely fantastic detective work…hats off. A ‘return’ Pamplona to Barcelona train much later in the day seems to be the same in sales terms. I wondered why such a gap between arriving and departing Barcelona without engaging brain and thinking it may go on to another destination!
 
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Can you clarify what you mean by ‘ahead of time’ please’. Are you suggesting RENFE release inventory through third parties before their own site? I don’t think you are? I would encourage people to book direct assuming all other variables are equal.
Hi Chef,
I cannot fully answer your question, but in the past, it was frustrating trying to use the Spanish and French websites to pre-book train and bus tickets; possibly because I live in the US. I was not necessarily allowed to book many months in advance, though. I was able to use my credit card easily on the booking sites I mentioned.
Like @henrythedog said, the price difference was probably negligible and the ease of booking was worth it.
 
F

Former member 95219

Guest
Hi Chef,
I cannot fully answer your question, but in the past, it was frustrating trying to use the Spanish and French websites to pre-book train and bus tickets; possibly because I live in the US. I was allowed to book months in advance, though. I was able to use my credit card easily on the booking sites I mentioned.
Like @henrythedog said, the price difference was probably negligible and the ease of booking was worth it.
Hi there! Cool, thank you for replying. Yes definitely a range of customer experiences! Yes sometime you just need to ‘get it booked’!!!
 

JoanL

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2021
Are refunds possible? We can’t be certain my friends plane and immigration clearance will go fast enough to catch train from Madrid to Sarria (only one train that day)
 
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HelenVanW

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2017
We have been trying to purchase train tickets on renfe.com. We are trying to get from Barcelona to Pamplona on August 18, and there is a train listed for 9:30, (also listed on rome2rio) but though we have checked back many times over the last months, it says that tickets are not available and to check back later. It has been suggested that the tickets may not be available until 1 month before that date. Is that true/possible? What have others experienced in similar situations? Many thanks.

bill
I don't know where you live, but we were never able to buy train or bus tickets ahead from the USA. Nor could we use the handy little ticket machines at the bus stations with our American credit cards. We were told that transportation services would not accept reservations with our American credit cards because they can't check to see if they will actually get their payments. We could buy them in person at the ticket windows for train and bus, and use our card there. Maybe the system has changed, but it might be the same as it was in 2018, the last trip we made to Spain.
 

henrythedog

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Are refunds possible? We can’t be certain my friends plane and immigration clearance will go fast enough to catch train from Madrid to Sarria (only one train that day)
Only if you buy a premium flexible fare and then it’s with a 5% charge. How it works and how long it takes will require some research and a degree of optimism.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
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I was always able to purchase my train and bus tickets all ahead of time from home, well before I traveled, but usually only a month in advance. The booking sites I have always used in my post #37 accepted my credit cards with no problem.
 

JoanL

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
Only if you buy a premium flexible fare and then it’s with a 5% charge. How it works and how long it takes will require some research and a degree of optimism.
Thanks! Am a little concerned about the extra time (needing as much buffer time as possible), but your advice is well taken.
 

JoanL

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
I don't know where you live, but we were never able to buy train or bus tickets ahead from the USA. Nor could we use the handy little ticket machines at the bus stations with our American credit cards. We were told that transportation services would not accept reservations with our American credit cards because they can't check to see if they will actually get their payments. We could buy them in person at the ticket windows for train and bus, and use our card there. Maybe the system has changed, but it might be the same as it was in 2018, the last trip we made to Spain.
Hi one YouTube video suggested that PayPal works better than US credit cards. Might help?
 
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Are refunds possible? We can’t be certain my friends plane and immigration clearance will go fast enough to catch train from Madrid to Sarria (only one train that day)
It's highly unlikely that there is only one train, though it is highly likely that there is only one direct train.

Try searching for trains to Ourense and then connections to Sarria.

You might find this thread helpful: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/trains-from-madrid.71669/#post-959519
 

JoanL

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021

witsendwv

Active Member
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(2015)
We have been trying to purchase train tickets on renfe.com. We are trying to get from Barcelona to Pamplona on August 18, and there is a train listed for 9:30, (also listed on rome2rio) but though we have checked back many times over the last months, it says that tickets are not available and to check back later. It has been suggested that the tickets may not be available until 1 month before that date. Is that true/possible? What have others experienced in similar situations? Many thanks.

bill
I just checked the Renfe website. The 9:30 train is not available for booking, but the 3:30 PM train can be booked. I have found that some trains are not available if they are more than 60 days out from the day you are looking. Keep trying. I use Renfe and paypal.
 
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I recommend booking early and using Omio. I recently tried booking a next day train: Renfe (impossible), Trainline (timed out), but Omio went through with credit card. Later, I checked for an earlier train and ALL were completely booked.
So, get distance tickets in advance.
The exception is getting commuter tickets (e.g. Madrid Barajas to Atocha or Chamartin)...those just get at the gate...much easier!
 
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Just for fun while we are waiting:

The 9:30 train from Barcelona to Pamplona on the 18th of August 2022:
  • Omio does not even list it.
  • Trainline says that it is sold out.
  • German Rail DB lists it and says that it will run until 18th of September but won't let you book because it is "tariff abroad" - their website is good for finding trains and their departure times in Spain and France, though.
  • Renfe lists it and says that you cannot book right now, they are sorry, try later.
    For the record, that's what Renfe says about the 9:30 train from Barcelona to Pamplona also for the 1st of August, the 2nd of August and all other days in August. 1st of August - that's only 41 days from now (not 90, not 62 and not 60 either 😉)
 
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JoanL

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2021
I recommend booking early and using Omio. I recently tried booking a next day train: Renfe (impossible), Trainline (timed out), but Omio went through with credit card. Later, I checked for an earlier train and ALL were completely booked.
So, get distance tickets in advance.
The exception is getting commuter tickets (e.g. Madrid Barajas to Atocha or Chamartin)...those just get at the gate...much easier!
Sound advice! I wish the Saturday schedule from Madrid was better. I fear we are stuck with a car service.
 
F

Former member 95219

Guest
We could take bets :cool:. My current bet is: online tickets will be available on the 1st of August.
Are you also assuming, given the expected block release of of tickets by month, that tickets for travel 01 August will be released that same day! 😁

I am picturing the digital marketing manager at RENFE sitting at his/her desk today abd seeing a report on weekend search activity and wondering who so many people are searching on this train. They may even decide to just sell the higher fares based on that and will perplexed when the bookings don’t materialise! 😀

At the very least I think the Pamplona Tourist Board’ will be getting a call from RENFE asking ‘what the hells going on in Pamplona in mid August’ !!
 
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JoanL

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
Update on my Saturday dilemma Madrid to Sarria. There is only one train and my friend couldn’t arrive at the airport early enough to catch it. So shame is arriving a day early. Solved! But a warning: arriving on the weekend on international flights is risky unless they arrive quite early. Train options on the weekend are not the same as weekdays. 😎
 

Bill Krueger

Member
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Camino Frances (2016)
Camino Portugues (June-2018)
UPDATE! Yes, the tickets were down loaded as of July 1 and we have booked out train trip from Barcelona to Pamplona! We will get transport then to San Jean Pied de Port and begin our Camino on the 19th of August! The good Lord willing and hoping our flights are not cancelled again! many thanks to all for your input and good wishes! and buen Camino! be well!

bill
 
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Great. Look lab like a good prices available too! Good work!. Seats been released to 04 September. Then back to ‘not available to 18 Sep’ and then not train listed from 19 Sept!
 
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aK_os

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instead of opening new thread, ill just jump in here, as it is related.
Im finally doing my very first camino. I;ve already booked a (night) train ticker from Paris to Bayonne. If it arrives on time, I should be able to hop on the bus to SJPdP. However, im pretty anxious if its doable. Does anyone has any experience with night trains of SCNF? Are they on time? my experience on trains in germany is, that you can count they will be late...
Thanks in advance and buen camino
Camino newbie
 

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