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Camino with a group

I will be walking the Camino with a group from my church in May. We have been planning this for months- meeting to discuss plans and equipment and trying new Spanish recipes and taking hikes together-it has been a wonderful experience just preparing for the Camino. We are walking together in the sense that we are going to try to meet nightly at the same locations but we are not necessarily planning to actually walk together during the days- we are hoping that everyone in some sense can walk their own Camino. We have 11 walking days beginning May 23rd and plan to walk from Astorga to Santiago. I have a few questions that I am hoping some of you can help me with.
- we will be arriving in Madrid from the US- should we take a bus or train to Astorga?
-credencial- we have a full day in Astorga before starting our Camino- should we get our credencial in Astorga or get one before we leave? If we get one in Astorga where do we go to get it?
-communication- what is the best way for us to communicate in case of emergency?
-will we be able to find beds in the places listed on our itinerary so that we can all sleep in the same places?
-itinerary-below is our planned itinerary- thoughts and opinions?
Astorga to Rabanal del Camino
Rabanal del Camino to Molinaseca
Molinaseca to Cacabelos
Cacabelos to Ruitelán
Ruitelán to Fonfría
Fonfría to Samos
Samos to Mercadoiro
Mercadoiro to Palas de Rei
Palas de Rei to Arzua
Arzua to O Pedrouzo
O Pedrouzo to Santiago de Compostela

Thanks so much for all of your help- love this forum and have learned so much from it!
 
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D

Deleted member 3000

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There are five buses from the Madrid airport to Astorga each day (except Sunday), and two trains from downtown. One train is 1140, the other is 2230.

Your schedule is ambitious for a group. You may find it is too strenuous for some members.

The best way to communicate is with text messaging using a Spanish cell phone. If you have an unlocked GSM phone, you can get a SIM chip for about 5-10 Euro.

If possible, get credentials before leaving. In Astorga you can get one at the San Javier albergue, and perhaps other places.

Beds in May for a group may present a problem in the last 100 km, but there are a lot of beds in some places.
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
Hi!

I like the informal way you want your group's Caminos to develop. It will allow much more interaction with other pilgrims that I think the bus tours sometimes miss out on.

Falcon is right. Make sure everyone has mobile phones and check in by text message each evening to say where they are - if not with the main group - and whether they've got any problems so the group can support them.

How many in the group?

Buen Camino!
 

zammy

Active Member
Take in consideration that a group walks 30% slower then an individual.
I am looking at your plan , from Astorga to Santiago it's about 270 km =average of 24 km a day which is quite a distance for a group. I don't know what time you land in Madrid and what time you take the bus, can you add more info?.
Rememebr to book seats on the ALSA bus from MAdrid.
I suggest you start from Ponferada, it's too tight schedule and long daily distance if you start from from Astorga. Starting from Ponferada will enable the group to have at least one "zero" days which is a must.
This wil also enable you to have a day rest ant tour of Santiago.
The same bus that arives to Astorga continues to Ponferada.
if you do wish to pass by the Cross de Fero you get of the bus in Astorga and take a taxi from there to Foncebadon, 5 km before the cross. There are many taxi services in Astorga nadd you can call them before leaving, the price 2009 was 34 Euros per taxi.
more questions: what time is your flights from madrid back home? how are you planning to return to Madrid from Santiago? book seats on easyjet from santiago airport.
have you booked at private albergues? I recommend you do so, it's better for a group , this will enable the group to hike slower knowing they have a sure bed at the albergues .
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
How wonderful to walk with a group of like-minded people!
If you have alread planned your stages, and are hoping to keep to them, it might be worth booking ahead in private albergues. May is a very popular month and there is every chance that you won't all get beds in the same albergue if your group is large. The traditional albergues don't accept groups - usually not more than 5 people. (You don't have to book them all before you go and could do so a couple of days ahead for each one).

Astorga to Rabanal del Camino You can book beds ahead at the Nuestra Señora del Pilar who accept groups. Or, if there are 12 of you, you can book a 6 bunk-bed room at Albergue el Tesin.

Rabanal del Camino to Molinaseca You can book at the albergue Santa Marina

Molinaseca to Cacabelos There is one albergue in Cacabelos with 74 beds in small cabins - no bookings. There are a number of small pensiones and hostales in the town

Cacabelos to Ruitelán There is one albergue in Ruitelin (34 beds) no bookings allowed and nowhere else to stay.

Ruitelán to Fonfría One albergue, Hostel Reboleria - 30 beds - can book ahead

Fonfría to Samos Albergue Val de Samos is the private one where you can book ahead.

Samos to Mercadoiro 36 bed albergue - you can book ahead

Mercadoiro to Palas de Rei Buen Camino - you can book aehad

Palas de Rei to Arzua A couple of private albergues where you can book ahead

Arzua to O Pedrouzo 36 bed private albergue - you can book ahead.

O Pedrouzo to Santiago de Compostela
I recommend you treat yourself to the pilgrim rooms in the Hospederia San Martin Pinario - right behind the cathedral - double rooms with buffet breakfast are €46

Everyone should have a little card with emergency numbers on it:

112 is the Europe-wide emergency number. It works even if you have no money in a pre-paid mobile phone or even if your supplier has no network. It works 24/7 365 days – and the operators speak many languages.

092 is the number for the Police

062 is the number for the Guardia Civil

061 is the number for the ambulance

080 is the number for the Fire Brigade
 
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D

Deleted member 3000

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In Samos, groups are accepted here:

http://albaroque.es/precios.html

There is a new albergue right across from the tourist office next to the bar El Progresso. It was already closed for the season in November, so I don't know the size, and it is not on anyone's list, or even on Google street view. Everything else was closed except the monastery albergue, so our group stayed in the Hostal Victoria across the street from the closed Albaroque. We had its restaurant brew up a queimada!
 
Thanks for all the information! There are 10 of us in the group. We arrive in Madrid on the 22nd of May and plan to head straight to Astorga- we were planning to have a free day in Astorga so we wont start walking till May 24th. I am not sure this is necessary but might help get over the jet lag. We have a day and a half in Santiago- the day we arrive and then the next full day. We plan to fly back to Madrid the day following our free day- so there is a little flexibility should something happen.
How do we book in advance? Do we email or call and I am assuming this needs to be done in Spanish? We were planning to stay in private albergues so sillydoll your list is great with many of the ones we planned to stay at - we just didn't know you could book in advance. We have discussed the fact that there may be times when we cannot all stay together in the the same albergue so if this happens it shouldn't be a problem - we just don't want to feel like we have to rush for rooms.
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
You can book over the internet for the ones with websites. Otherwise a phone call may be necessary. If you won't be using a reservation, they will appreciate it if you call the preceding day to cancel so they can let someone else have the bed. By May in certain sections of the route, pilgrims will be searching for empty beds, and they will appreciate you releasing the beds, as well.
 
Thanks Falcon and we will be sure to cancel any reservation that we can't keep. Back to the cell phone issue - for those of us that don't want to bring our cell phones or pay for international rates- for the prepaid phone are they easy to find to purchase and how much do they cost? I am assuming we can text as well as call on them?
I am also concerned about planning to stay in Ruitelan- I have read so many great things about it but am concerned about getting beds- does anyone have any thoughts on this?
Again everyone - thanks for helping!
 
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D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Public phones are disappearing because everyone has a mobile phone. The post office once sold prepaid phone cards, but I have not looked for that service recently.

Ruitelan has 34 beds, and is the only accommodation in that town, though there are many places just before it, so you could retrace your steps if Ruitelan is full.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
private albergue ‘Albergue Las Herrerías’
A great place! The husband is American, and the menu vegetarian. It makes the next day a lot easier. If it, too, is full then it is back to "before Ruitelan" or ahead to La Faba!!!
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
falcon269 said:
private albergue ‘Albergue Las Herrerías’
A great place! The husband is American, and the menu vegetarian. It makes the next day a lot easier. If it, too, is full then it is back to "before Ruitelan" or ahead to La Faba!!!

....and if La Faba is full sure you could stroll up to O'cebreiro :shock: (only joking).
 

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