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Crowded Camino in the Holy Year?

TheBoat

New Member
Hey pilgrims,

I'm debating between doing the Norte or the Frances this July, which would be my first time on the camino, and a large factor is the amount of people on the trail.

Can any pilgrims who have been on the frances this year tell me if it's very crowded? I'm assuming that this year, and in the weeks leading up to july 25, the frances will have loads of people on it. I don't care about sleeping in albergues since most nights i'll probably camp out under the stars, but I think it might take away from the experience a bit if there are tons of people on the trail. Don't get me wrong, I like walking with other people (especially since I just hiked three weeks in the desert alone), but not too many people.

Anybody know?
 
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marianne22_9

New Member
Hi The Boat,

I returned yesterday from walking only three sections of the 'camino' and was very surprised to see so few pilgrims. My husband and I spent most of the three days alone which was very different from last year. I was told by the owner of the hostal where we stayed in Zubiri that many pilgrims stay away during the holy year to avoid the crowds but I'm sure that in July it will be more crowded as it is every year. Last year we went from Sarria to Santiago and though most pilgrims tend to start at the same time in the morning, and it seems a bit crowded, everyone goes at a different pace so after a km or so you'll find that the crowd has dispersed and you will have space.

I think you were very brave hiking in the desert alone!
 

renegadepilgrim

Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler
Past OR future Camino
2010: Camino Frances, 2011: Santo Domingo de la Calzada (Hospitalera), 2012: Camino Portuguese from Porto, 2015: Camino Norte
I'm currently 50km from Santiago, in Meride and yes, there are loads of people on the Camino Frances. It started in O'Cebreiro and has been building up since Sarria. Lots of people walking without packs, in large, loud (and sometimes rude) groups. I am trying to stay away from the larger cities/albergues to avoid these people in the morning. Today I walked from Portos to Melide and managed to avoid them until about 11a. I like the solitude of the morning....listening to the birds and in some cases, frogs....watching the sunrise and the fog fade away....by mid to late morning, then I am ready to have conversations with people. I'm weird like that. :)

I know the volcano messed up some people's travel plans too, so people had to reduce their walk to make up days or start further along. Anyways, there are people on the Camino and there are large groups of people. So, don't be surprised the closer you get to Santiago on the Camino Frances, the more people you will see.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
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This is taken from a South African peregrina's Facebook entries:

18th May: Walked from Trabadelo today. O´Cebriero full, so I walked on.
Hospital completo - Alto completo - Fonfria completo.
Not a single place in Triacastela, not even the hostals or pensions. My feet were completo. Got a lift to Samos, still everything full.
Spending the night in Sarria, will backtrack tomorrow.

19th May: After a short night in Sarria, I taxi´d back. Then backpack and all to Casa Banderas. Over 40km. For the last 25km before Vilacha all the accomodation was completo. I was just so happy to get a bed at Gordon's place.

20th May:
I was only going to do 10km, but once again no accomodation available. I arrived in Palas de Rei (just over 30km) and completo. All albergues for the next 15km too!!!

21st May: Another 30 km & I´m in Arzua. 42km to go to Santiago. Dealing with the crowds has been a true test.
 

dmmorris

Member
Hi Sil,

Does this mean there was also no vacancy at hotels? Should I know consider a tent or perhaps a pad to go between my sleeping bag and the ground?? Or will I find refuge in a barn, restaurant floor, spare room of a family... I'm telling myself NOT to worry...

Grazie~ Denise
 
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renegadepilgrim

Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler
Past OR future Camino
2010: Camino Frances, 2011: Santo Domingo de la Calzada (Hospitalera), 2012: Camino Portuguese from Porto, 2015: Camino Norte
One of my mantras on the Camino has been this:

The Camino Provides

I have not had any problems (knock on wood) with finding a place to sleep. I have heard stories and in fact there was one story floating around about a woman who stopped in Foncebadon and the Albergues were full, so she kept walking, thinking she might be able to thumb a ride (Spanish people tend to not pick up pilgrims or hitch hikers as a rule) since it was late (5p) and she was looking at having to climb up to La Cruz del Ferro a bit late. Well, she was picked up by an Italian news crew just outside Foncebadon and they took her to all the Albergues between there and Ponferrada, finally finding the one in Ponferrada with an open bed. If they had not picked her up, she would have walked another 28km to find a bed. I actually met her in Samos and heard the story from her.

That being said, the albergue in Melide is closed, with a provisional albergue at the start of town. I chose to get a room last night for 30€, with a shared bathroom, and it was divine! It's looking like towards the end of the Camino you might have to get creative with housing....but I would just trust that you will find a place to sleep....it will all work out!
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
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:
Albergues don't usually accept pilgrims who arrive in taxis.
Just be careful about accepting lifts: eldiariomontanes.es reported on Wednesday that a man was arrested for the attempted rape of a Korean pilgrim.
The girl of Korean nationality, 25 years old, came to Santoña last Saturday, as part of her pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago. The girl, who speaks no Spanish, went to a bar for help to find a hostel for pilgrims in the area. One man who was there offered to take her to the place in his vehicle.
The alleged perpetrator attempted to rape the Korean woman, who offered strong resistance. The pilgrim ran for help and found the agents of the local police Santoña who offered her protection. The agents then called the local shelter to see if free places were available to accommodate her, but it was full, so they opted to take her to the shelter Guemes, in Bareyo. The victim spent the night accompanied by an Italian pilgrim there who spoke English and served as her translator.
The next morning, the young Korean, accompanied by Italian pilgrim, went to the Civil Guard barracks Santoña to testify. In the afternoon, the two decided to continue walking the Camino de Santiago in the direction of the province of Burgos.
The Civil Guard deployed a wide operation in the area to try to locate the attacker. The investigation concluded two days later with the arrest of a man who answered the initial J. R. G. E, 43, and a native of a village near Santoña. The coroner ruled his immediate entry into prison.
 

renegadepilgrim

Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler
Past OR future Camino
2010: Camino Frances, 2011: Santo Domingo de la Calzada (Hospitalera), 2012: Camino Portuguese from Porto, 2015: Camino Norte
I have seen pilgrims arrive with no bags and get into Albergues, only to have their backpacks delivered a bit later. With the private Albergues, you can make reservations (if you have a phone or can figure out how to use the public phones) and they don't seem to care how you get there. I am sure with the Municipal Albergues it is different, but so far, I have seen all kinds of people showing up to Albergues and getting beds, no matter how they arrived.

That's quite a shame about the attempted rape. So sad. I had an interesting situation in Cacabelos that I don't think I have caught up on in my blog yet. Let's just say I observed Rule #1 from self-defense class and listened to my gut. I got out of there ASAP. I won't go into details here, but it is Day 29 of my blog, renegadepilgrim.blogspot.com.

Today I arrived in Arzua and am staying at the Ultreia Albergue. I cannot recommend this place enough! Nice, clean, well organized and 10€.
 

Nandy61

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2010 CF StJPP to Santiago
2014 CF Leon to Santiago
2015 Primitivo
I am really surprised that the hospitaleros wouldn't , on their own, try to ensure that the real pilgrims (ie the ones who carry their own packs) get first dibs on accomodation. Its rather discouraging. My daughter and I start walking from StJPP on the 15th of June. I'm not too worried about the first half, but I'm concerned that after Leon there will be considerable trouble.
@Sil, I downloaded the list of private albergues that take reservations. Do you have any suggestion as to how far in advance one should ring? A day, or two or three? As it looks like these are filling up as well.

Thanks!
Nancy
 

renegadepilgrim

Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler
Past OR future Camino
2010: Camino Frances, 2011: Santo Domingo de la Calzada (Hospitalera), 2012: Camino Portuguese from Porto, 2015: Camino Norte
I think calling the day before or the day of is sufficient. You may change your pace, slow down or speed up, so usually you know the day before about how far you think you are going to walk the next day.

I have two more days of the Camino and am hoping the bed situation is good the next couple of days. Hoping to Couchsurf in Santiago.

Don't worry, just trust that it will all go well. It usually does.
 
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Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
The private albergues in our neighboring towns (Terradillos de los Templarios and San Nicolas del Real Camino) take reservations. So far, you can phone them in the morning and save a bed for that evening.
Private albergues are in this for their living, so they will accept any pilgrim willing to pay, no matter what kind of luggage he has or how he gets there. Only the charitable and municipal places purport to distinguish between hikers and "others," and even they get overrun or lied-to or just quit caring sometimes when the Bed Race hits their doors.

Forum members who want to stay in Moratinos can email or phone us in advance and let us know when to expect you, and if you have special dietary needs. (We restrict ourselves to nice pilgrims traveling under their own steam.) 664 539 188 is the best number...
We are donativo, but we are not free.
(We are not a business, so I trust this isn´t interpreted as an advertisement.)
 

Frances73

New Member
Hm, the idea of not finding a place to sleep sounds very unappealing and disturbing :(

Calling in advance is only an option for me if there is someone speaking English, I'm afraid I won't be able to learn enough Spanish in one month (I will start in about one month) to be able to have a telephone conversation in Spanish.

Hm...hm... :|
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Good advice Rebekah, and it is possible to learn simple phrases in a couple of weeks for booking by phone a few days ahead in private accommodation, there are some basic spanish language programmes with discs and phrasebooks available at bookshops. Apart from that I can assure you that there will be plenty of other pilgrims who will help you with phoning ahead if need be, that is part of the culture of the way to help each other out. Also by the time you leave there may be fewer people as most poeple this year are trying to get to Santiago by 25 July, or am I wrong here? Cheers Gitti
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
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:
Pilgrims on the CF sent me a text message from Vilacha (outside Portomarin) to ask for names and numbers of places to stay in Arzua. They had tried three and all were booked up.
It might be worth booking a few places ahead before you leave for Spain.
Check my blog for a list of companies that will do that for you.
http://amawalker.blogspot.com/2009/12/2 ... amino.html
 
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surlechemin

New Member
gittiharre said:
Good advice Rebekah, and it is possible to learn simple phrases in a couple of weeks for booking by phone a few days ahead in private accommodation, there are some basic spanish language programmes with discs and phrasebooks available at bookshops. Apart from that I can assure you that there will be plenty of other pilgrims who will help you with phoning ahead if need be, that is part of the culture of the way to help each other out. Also by the time you leave there may be fewer people as most poeple this year are trying to get to Santiago by 25 July, or am I wrong here? Cheers Gitti

It is possible to learn some simple phrases in a couple of weeks, the problem is understanding the native speaker at the telephone. :? I speak French quite well, but making phone calls can still be quite difficult if the connection is bad.
 

Frances73

New Member
gittiharre said:
by the time you leave there may be fewer people as most poeple this year are trying to get to Santiago by 25 July, or am I wrong here? Cheers Gitti

You're right, I hope that I'm late enough to avoid the big crowd.

Thanks all the others for the tips.

I think surlechemin is right, that making a phonecall is more difficult than having a real life conversation. But it's good to know that other pilgrims are probably willing to help.
Also I think I will try to book some places in advance, although I feel a little resistance against the idea; somehow it's not very compatible with my idea of a pilgrimage. But then I realize that it's my own fault to plan this pilgrimage is this particular year.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
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:
Frances, don't agonize over booking beds ahead!
I've never had to do it on the camino but in 2006 I walked the Via Francigena to Rome. One of the main gripes about the new route was the lack of accommodation. Pilgrims had arrived in villages or towns only to find that the only hotel was booked out and they had to bus back (or ahead) to find somewhere to spend the night.
Our little group made the decision to pre-book every night of the 30 day walk. There were no guide books and the mileages between towns on the accommodation guide we'd been sent was often out by up to 10km. I can't tell you what a difference it made knowing that there was a bed waiting for us at the end of the day. No matter how far we had to walk, how difficult the terrain, how hot or wet the weather, we were drawn like magnets to that room with a bed and a shower at the end of the day!
 

dkp

New Member
Is it possible to call to reserve a bed the day before it's needed, in the afternoon of arriving at a preciously reserved albergue? Is there always someone at the albergues who can make a call for pilgrims who need help with a call, maybe for a price? Is there always a phone available for pilgrims who might be willing to make the call for themselves?

I want to start walking early so thinking the calls need to be made the day before.
thanks
Donna
 
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sillydoll said:
Pilgrims on the CF sent me a text message from Vilacha (outside Portomarin) to ask for names and numbers of places to stay in Arzua. They had tried three and all were booked up.
It might be worth booking a few places ahead before you leave for Spain.
Check my blog for a list of companies that will do that for you.
http://amawalker.blogspot.com/2009/12/2 ... amino.html

I stayed at Albergue Ultreia in Arzúa and it costed me 10 Euros, very nice, clean and modern facilities... And the fact that only 7 of us pilgrims staying in a place that could hold 30+ pilgrims was a plus...

¡Buen Camino! :arrow:
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
I can second the vote for Ultreia. It was an efficiently run albergue with washers and dryers, common rooms and very near to the local restaurants. The folks who ran it (looked like a dad and his daughter and son) were very friendly and helpful. All in all a good vibe.

lynne
 

dmmorris

Member
This may seem a silly question, but because of the expected crowds, I've already considered a 1 person tent as Rebekah mentioned (although I don't want the extra weight even if less than 2 lbs)... however, can I still pay the fee to an albuergue/refugio so that I may use all other facilities other than a bed? I recall somewhere reading that pilgrims sometimes slept in back yards or church steps and such. Otherwise, I would need to find camp grounds... I guess that would be a separate thread topic??

Grazie~ Denise
 

dmmorris

Member
Thanks Rebekah,

Is it common for albergues to have camping available and is this also true for refugios and hostels? Also, would I be ok just in my sleeping bag or would you recommend a single tent? I really don't want to pack any extra weight yet don't want to wake up to a stray dog licking my face or sniffing my pack for my snacks... or am I thinking a bit silly?

Am also thinking that I'm totally free and open and therefore, may switch to the Norte Route with all the updates trickling in on the crowds on the CF... was worried about my physical shape but now feel more confident about listening to my body and taking each day one step at a time... which route is your albergue located?

Grazie~ Denise
 
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Yesterday, 1,029 pilgrims arrived in Santiago. That is over 30,000 per month, a level reached last year only in August. It appears that the Jubilee surge has arrived!
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
falcon269 said:
Yesterday, 1,029 pilgrims arrived in Santiago. That is over 30,000 per month, a level reached last year only in August. It appears that the Jubilee surge has arrived!
The last few days it has been between 500-600, then we hit 1029...and this morning the lines were long as well... I think "High season" is here...

Greetings from Santiago,
Ivar
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
and the way the systems works some of the data is not loaded immediately so the numbers are acutally a little higher. I got an e mail from the Office saying that yesterday they received 1400 pilgrims! As soon as the number creeps towards 1000 per day the queues start in earnest.

Hasta Agosto!
 
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Nandy61

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2010 CF StJPP to Santiago
2014 CF Leon to Santiago
2015 Primitivo
I read somewhere on this forum that the best time to go to the Pilgrim Office for the Compostela is in the evenings. Does that still hold true?
 

walkmag

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
leon to Santiago (2006),
SJDP to Santiago (2009)
Porto to Santiago (2010)
Minturno to Rome (2012)
Siena to Rome (2012),
Fidenza to Siena (2013)
Lausanne to Fidenza (2014)
Bilbao to Ribadeo Sept (2015)
CMD Maybe (Sept 2016)
Santiago Hotels Mid Sept

Hi

Does anyone have information on the availability of hotels in the old part of Santiago
round the week of September 20th ...

I am trying to gauge if there will be difficulty getting a booking considering the Holy Year aspect.

I shall be walking from Porto

cheers..

Maggie
 
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alesgaba

New Member
falcon269 said:
1,743 this Saturday! That implies about 1,100 on the Camino Frances. That is about twice the capacity of Monte do Gozo.

What about the capacity of albergues along the way of Camino? I plan to go from Astorga in June 26th and i little afraid about the overcrowding.
 

markss

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances from SJPP (3/10 & 10/10); Primitivo (6/12)
The number of pilgrims this year is unprecidented and it is anyone's guess what conditions might be like in terms of overnight accomodations. One should expect not only albergues but any other hostels or hotels to be filled beyond capacity. Plan accordingly both in expectations and attitude. There is a certain element of fulfillment in spending a few nights in a sleeping bag outdoors underneath the stars. Go with the flow and all will be fine.

Buen Camino!
 

zammy

Active Member
My guess is that it's crowded close to Santiago

We managed to book beds in privet albergues from Ponferrada (did it yesterday, from June 15th onwrads), maybe the public ones are full and maybe it's crowded last 100 km. Book ahead, seems like the best if you want to walk and arrive.
 

dkp

New Member
i've made reservations but don't know how i'll call the day ahead as requested to confim that i'll be there. will the places you stay call for you? what's the best way to call ahead? thanks
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Yes - ask the place you are in one night to phone ahead to confirm the next night. If you have little or no Spanish you will also meet pilgrims who will be happy to make phone calls for you. YOu might also do what I had to do first time on the Via de la Plata and write down in Spanish what you need to say and give it a go!

All will be well.

John
 
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johns

RIP 2018
Past OR future Camino
CF "2010" Ingles and Finisterre "2011" CP - L-P-S "2012" F /M "2013" c norte may 2014 CP 2015
got to santiago 29 may set of 28 april sjpp very little probs for a bed till sarria got in a bit late so got a pension
smelly not to clean first one since sjpp then the no packs walkers all the way to santiago the neare you get try and not bed chase it will spoil youre camino ask for help in booking ahead privite refuges albergue only walked from arzua to lavacolla to find a bed but only 10 k to santiago next day then so many people a friend waited over two hours to get into a mass i found a small church a short walk away john :D
 

dkp

New Member
night walking... how very cool. i assume that a head lamp is adequate lighting?
the biggest problems is seeing the markers?
wild animals?
thanks for the idea
Donna
 

zammy

Active Member
How to deal with dogs at night-
Point your flash light straight in their eyes
Hold your pole with two hands up high
Walk slowly and never never turn your back to the dogs
Once you will leave their teritory they will leave you alone.
Question- what about mosquitos at night? don't snakes go out at night because it;s cooler and lay on the trail? I saw it when walking the Appalachian trail.
One other problem- no COFFEE, no BARS, NADA.
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
[
One other problem- no COFFEE, no BARS, NADA.[/quote]
Yes... but just think how delicious that first coffee will taste when you find your first bar open in the morning. You will have deserved it! Anne
 
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zammy

Active Member
And we all have forgotten the main issue- you don't get to see the view! the landscape! the mountains, the morning fog, the black clouds of approaching rain, wild dog runing towards you, you might forget something on the ground when resting....
 
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Deleted member 3000

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1,396 today (a nice, round 1,000 yesterday). We should start a pool to guess the first day there will be more than 2,000!
 

Telluridewalker

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (1988)
Piligrimin said:
One strategy when you find the albergues full by mid-afternoon is to plan for a night walk.

While I never did any true overnight walks, some of my most vivid memories on the Camino are of getting up very early (3/4 am) and starting out my day's walk under the stars. It was cool, quiet and ethereal. And experiencing daybreak on the Camino itself was a treat. I'd recommend some night perambulating, too. :)
 
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The busiest day so far this year -- 1,821 pilgrims received at the Pilgrim Office.
 

mrtrok

New Member
I'll be going in July and have read how busy it is near the end. But what about the rest of the camino? I'll be leaving from sjpp and may not make it all the way to santiago. I'd like to know what the experience has been for other pilgrims.
 
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In the last Holy Year almost 1/2 of the pilgrims started at Leon or later (33.5% from Sarria or O Cebreiro). About 80% walked the Camino Frances. Not all pilgrims report to the Pilgrim Office to get a piece of paper, but there are only anecdotal statistics on how many don't report. When the lines are long, it is reasonable to assume that repeat pilgrims do not bother with the wait for another wall-hanging. So, yes, the real crowding is at the end, and there are more folks looking for a bed than the official numbers indicate.
 

skilsaw

Veteran Member
Yes, until now there has only been one office that distributes the compostela. (I picked up my "compostela" May 25)

There are about 6 clerks distributing them at one time. Assuming they each distribute 20 per hour for 14 hours per day (7:00 am to 9:00 pm) their capacity is issuing nearly 1700 per day. The office is nearing maximum capacity.

I suspect that special arrangements will be made as the summer progresses. Unfortunately, as the line-up gets longer, and the time issuing each compostela gets shorter (faster), pilgrims will start to feel like meat in a sausage machine.

I hope this important closure ritual for the pilgrimage remains significant for the many pilgrims who have endured so much.

David, Victoria, Canada
 
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Maybe...

"Villafranca del Bierzo was inhabited by Franks and stood in the shelter of a Cluniac monastery. When sick pilgrims reached the (12c) Church of Santiago at the entrance of the borough, they were allowed to consider themselves entitled to jubilee, as the "Door of Forgiveness", framed by four pairs of columns on the northern entrance was endowed with the same spiritual grace as that of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela for those pilgrims who found it impossible to continue and is unique as being the only place along the Pilgrim's Route that offers this indulgence to the sick and infirm."

Has anyone received modern "spiritual grace" at Villafranca??

"En 1186, el obispo de Astorga obtuvo una bula papal para fundar una iglesia en suelo próximo a Villafranca, que pudiera ser la de Santiago, donde los “concheiros” imposibilitados de concluir la ruta jacobea podrán aquí ganar el jubileo."
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
The total staff of the Pilgrims Office is 25 + volunteers working in two shifts per day. 9 - 3 and 3 - 9pm. They are already seeing 1800 pilgrims per day at weekends. David is right that as the year progress in the busy months there will be little interaction and few questions asked
 
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Rebekah Scott

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Past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
...and if the pilgrims feel like meat in a sausage machine, just imagine how those volunteers behind the counter must feel after the 75th pilgrim of the day! Be sure to bring a measure of kindness with you when you climb those stairs.
 
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Rebekah Scott said:
...and if the pilgrims feel like meat in a sausage machine, just imagine how those volunteers behind the counter must feel after the 75th pilgrim of the day! Be sure to bring a measure of kindness with you when you climb those stairs.

-- excellent point! In '06, when i received my first "paper", the lovely/kind folk behind the counter made the end of my pilgrimage into a warm welcome! maybe i should enter this time-'round with a gift basket or some such present to thank them!
 

hieronimus

New Member
dmmorris said:
This may seem a silly question, but because of the expected crowds, I've already considered a 1 person tent as Rebekah mentioned (although I don't want the extra weight even if less than 2 lbs)... however, can I still pay the fee to an albuergue/refugio so that I may use all other facilities other than a bed? I recall somewhere reading that pilgrims sometimes slept in back yards or church steps and such. Otherwise, I would need to find camp grounds... I guess that would be a separate thread topic??

Grazie~ Denise

last may (2010) I walk from Trabadello to Tricastella, finding that there was no bed anywere, at the end of the day we slept in church up in the choir. There were three mattresses, enough for four of us, and 8 pilgrims were sleeping on the floor near the altar. Outside was freezing cold, next morning everthing ouside was frost white, however inside the church was not to bad. That was only my problem with accomodation on Camino in aprill - may , these year.
 

skilsaw

Veteran Member
The albergue at Granon, which is attached to the church, lets pilgrims overflow into the choir loft and down on the main floor. I don't know of other churches that do this.

David, Victoria, Canada
 
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walkingnomads

New Member
Hi. Chris and Cathy (Brisbane Australia) reporting that we arrived in Santiago yesterday, and the VDLP all the way from Sevilla still isn´t very crowded. Yesterday we walked from Puente Ulla, and saw no walking pilgrims until we reached the Cathedral environs at Santiago.
We have loved every minute of this route, and not one albergue has been full to capacity!
The queue at the pilgrim office for Compostela would not have been longer than 10 to 12 people when we arrived about 11am.
The pilgrim mass at 10am this morning with BOTOFUMEIRO (thanks to a group from Santander) was very special and the Cathedral not very full.
We have been blessed.
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
Congratulations on completing your camino!

Relax and enjoy Santiago!

lynne
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
Hi all,

Just as a fyi... I stopped by the pilgrims office about one hour ago... 1 pilgrim. Emtpy.
http://twitter.com/xacobeopilgrim/status/16943449507

So I think it really depends on the day of the week you are in town, weekends are more busy. The weekends were there is a Spanish holiday on a Thursday-Friday or Monday-Tuesday, there are a lot more pilgrims.

Other than that, if you know when to show up... not so bad :)

Greetings from 30c Santiago!
Ivar
 
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In the month of June, 33,721 pilgrims were received at the pilgrim office. Only August of last year had more at 35,100. June of 2004, the last holy year, had 19,924 pilgrims.
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
falcon269 said:
In the month of June, 33,721 pilgrims were received at the pilgrim office. Only August of last year had more at 35,100. June of 2004, the last holy year, had 19,924 pilgrims.
Wow... large numbers... but the feeling in Santiago is not of chaos... yes, many pilgrims...but so far so good... let's see how it will be around July 25th and when the pope comes... I have a feeling that around those dates, it will be.....very very busy... :)

Greetings from Santiago, 29c and sun!
Ivar
 

MoLudlam

New Member
TheBoat said:
Hey pilgrims,

I'm debating between doing the Norte or the Frances this July, which would be my first time on the camino, and a large factor is the amount of people on the trail.

Can any pilgrims who have been on the frances this year tell me if it's very crowded? I'm assuming that this year, and in the weeks leading up to july 25, the frances will have loads of people on it. I don't care about sleeping in albergues since most nights i'll probably camp out under the stars, but I think it might take away from the experience a bit if there are tons of people on the trail. Don't get me wrong, I like walking with other people (especially since I just hiked three weeks in the desert alone), but not too many people.

Anybody know?
I have just returned, on the 16th June from Santiago. Generally we found accommodation along the way. The private alburgues will take advance bookings. We found that the nearer we got to Santiago the busier it got and the more pressure there was on beds. Some people took to getting up at 4.30am to be able to get to the next destination early and be there when the alburgue opened. I found this really difficult as it spoiled the experience for me, so together with my friends we booked ahead the night before if we could towards the end. There are a number of newly opened private alburgues. I learnt basic phrases in Spanish, just enough to book something. The only problem we had was at Tricastela. Two of us arrived at 4.30pm to find everything 'completo'. We went to one of the alburgues and they phoned a 'casa rural', this is a house, barn, that has been converted to offer accommodation. The owner picked us up. It wasn't great though because there was no food on offer and she locked the kitchen!!. There are a lot of scare stories around but generally something turned up even if it was a pension or hostel. Just make sure you can afford the odd more expensive night.
 
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AJ

Guest
I arrived in Leon 5 days ago and comments from hospitaleros, restaurant owners etc all the way from SJPdP were that numbers are lower than usual.

Suggested reasons: the crisis, fear of large numbers putting people off, the world cup.

However, predictions are that they will increase dramatically from July.

The Camino de San Salvador was practically empty. I met 4 other walkers, 3 of them on the last day.

I leave Oviedo tomorrow in the Primitivo. I have been told by tourist info here that the bad rains of a few weeks ago have not affected the Primitivo, but have affected the Norte.

And yes there are chinches on the Frances. I met a woman in Leon who had been bitten. Her gear was wrapped in plastic and was being zapped by the hospitaleras.
 
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AJ

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The Primitivo was not at all crowded, but Albergues are small and some were full. The larger Albergues did not fill up.

I write from Arzua and there are shitloads of peregrinos, but I doubt that there are many more than August last year. The municipal Albergues fill as soon as they open, but there are lots of other options. In Palas I stayed in a Pension - the first I tried, and today in a private Albergue that was almost empty when arrived.
 

amado

Member
Yesterday, when I arrived in St. Jean pied de Port there was still some empty bunks in the Municipal Albergue, although the Esprit de Chemin was already completo when I arrived at around 4 pm. Around 60 started in SJDPP this morning.This afternoon, when I reached Roncesvalles there was still enought bunks in the Albergue.
 
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AJ

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Arrived Santiago this morning.

There seem to be less people around than in August last year, however there was a very full house for the midday pilgrim Mass. The owner of the apartment I am staying in stated that numbers are down and business is bad compared with normal.
 
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Today was the busiest Wednesday of the year with 1,347 pilgrims at the Pilgrim Office. Only Fridays and Saturdays have had more.
 
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Rebekah Scott

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Past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
We have two German guys staying tonight who say they´re very glad they brought a tent, even though they´re freezing at night. People are sleeping on church porches, etc. these days, even this far back on the camino (we´re almost perfectly halfway, near Sahagun.)

Also hearing complaints about prices. Albergue charges evidently are higher than indicated in many pilgrim guides, which leads to some of those people sleeping outside.

Nighttime temperatures are diving down, and the wind is up... it´s not so hot in the afternoons now. But the gnats are flying, and the dust is killer. Bring a bandana to wrap round your nose and mouth. And buen camino to you all!
 
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The busiest Monday so far this year. It may have been a catch-up day on paperwork from the nearly 1,800 who arrived yesterday. The first shift today did 712, but there were only 1,260 for the day, indicating a quiet afternoon.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
22 Jul 2010, 21:17

The busiest Thursday so far, 1,541.

Thanks Falcon for the statistics on July 22nd.

Returned back to The Netherlands on Tuesday (via Finisterre) but arrived in Santiago on the 22nd so I am that "1" in 1,541 :D !!!

As I arrived early into Santiago (around 8.00a.m.) I almost immediately got into the Pilgrim's office once it opened up at 9. I just placed by back-pack in line and went off for a Cola-Cao and pan tostada.

Up until O Cebreiro I had NO PROBLEMS finding a bed. Got the last bed in Estella one time when arrived at the Municipal at 4 p.m. but otherwise easy sailing. The "Camino Train" as I called it started the moment I stepped into Galicia and arrived in O Cebreiro. What a rude awakening!!!!
From July 3rd leaving SJPdP up until then I had been able to walk HOURS upon HOURS alone (walked also in the afternoon which was even quieter). I arrived in O Cebreiro on a Sunday July 18th (full of tourists + peligrinos/as) at 4 p.m. and there was not a bed ANYWHERE. I thought that I had landed on another planet. The following 3 nights would be the same. In fact I only regained the "peace" I had experience prior to Galicia when I walked to Finisterre.

I was determined to walk my Camino as I had done up until O Cebreiro. Which meant walking as long as I felt good, rest when I wanted and have faith that I would find a place to sleep - albeit not always comfortable!

Here is how it went:

July 18: O Cebreiro. Slept in the portico or entrance to the church with 8 pelegrinos/as on cardboard boxes. As I only had a silk liner a Spanish gentleman gave me his mat and a German woman gave me one of those emergency blankets. Given that we were huddled together I was able to stay warm. The muncipal auberge was charging euro 5 to shower which I refused. A picture of the lines of Pelegrinos/as was on the front page of the Galician papers the following day.
July 19: Sarria. Yes, another full house. The hospitalero at the municipal auberge said to go to the police station. A Spaniard who had a bed at the auberge had overheard my conversation and when I stepped outside to head for the police station was stopped by his group of friends eating lunch and they said, "pull up a seat, have lunch with us and we will get you into the auberge - don't worry!!! And they did. They took my backpack in and I walked into the auberge in the evening as if I belonged there and slept on the floor on one of their mats.

July 20: Os Chacotes (1 cm before Palas de Rei) Same story no room there nor at Palas de Rei nor in the following town. As I had already walked around 46 km continuing on to Melide was not an option. I asked if could sleep on the floor (not allowed). Was pissed-off by this time and said (luckily speak Spanish) that I thought that it was a disgrace that Galicia was not providing sufficient beds or tents, etc. for the overflow. Got chatting with a Galician woman and her husband who were also looking for a bed. She agreed with me totally and I don't know how but she organized that we all got mattresses on the floor of an auxillary building. Her name was Maria (do I need to say more???).

July 21 Pedrouza/Arca. Long day 49 km. Arrived in Arzua at 12 and as auberge full town was to open a gym at 4 pm. Didn't feel like waiting so walked on. Santa Irene was small so also full and would not allow anyone to sleep on the floor. She said that a gym was being opened up in Pedrouza/Arca and that there were mattresses available. This was true but only for the lucky few who were early. The prospect of sleeping on the hard floor without a mat and only a liner was a bit troubling but I asked a French couple who had a mattress if I could use one of their mats. Luckily that was no problem.
Sleeping with hundreds on people on the hard floor was something else. Needless to say I did not have a restful sleep and in fact woke up every hour and so...did the craziest thing thus far on the Camino:
I got up at 2.40 a.m. and walked to Santiago ALONE! Wow, what an experience. I literally walked 5 hours in the dark. Got to Montes de Goza and descended into Santiago when it was just becoming light. I am SO GLAD that I did that. It was so amazing finishing off in peace! That changed within the next few hours but that was o.k.

So yes, the Holy Year was busy during the last few days but before Galicia and after Santiago was just wonderful. In fact many a store-keeper complained that this year was quieter than last!
 
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During the month of July 2010, 42.359 pilgrims were received at the Pilgrim's Office. The number of pilgrims in the past Holy Year, 2004, during the same period was 31.896. Of those pilgrims, 19.781 (46,70%) were women and 22.578 (53,30%) men. 37.551 (88,65%) pilgrims arrived on foot, 4.596 (10,85%) by bicicle, 203 (0,48%) on horseback, and 9 (0,02%) pilgrims on wheel-chair.
Pilgrims by sex
Men (53,30%)
Women (46,70%)
Pilgrims by medium
Foot (88,65%)
Bicicle (10,85%)
Horseback (0,48%)
Wheel-chair (0,02%)

Pilgrims' Age:
17.001 pilgrims were younger than 30 years old (40,14%), 21.689 were between 30 and 60 years old (51,20%), and 3.669 were aged above 60 years old (8,66%).

Pilgrims' Motivation:
Religious: 23.175 (54,71%)
Religious and Cultural: 16.771 (39,59%)
Cultural: 2.413 (5,70%)
Pilgrims by age
30 - 60 (51,20%)
< 30 (40,14%)
> 60 (8,66%)
Pilgrims by motivation
Cultural (5,70%)
Religious (54,71%)
Religious and Cultural (39,59%)

Pilgrims' Nationality:
Spanish: 30.632 (72,32%); Most of the pilgrims came from Madrid: 6.043 (19,73%); Andalucía: 4.840 (15,80%); Comunidad Valenciana: 3.015 (9,84%); Cataluña: 3.009 (9,82%); Galicia: 3.006 (9,81%); Castilla León: 2.326 (7,59%); Castilla la Mancha: 1.632 (5,33%); Pais Vasco: 1.331 (4,35%); etc.

Foreigners: 11.727 (27,68%); Most of the pilgrims come from the following countries: Italia: 1.982 (16,90%); Alemania: 1.631 (13,91%); Francia: 1.231 (10,50%); Portugal: 854 (7,28%); Estados Unidos: 672 (5,73%); Polonia: 635 (5,41%); Holanda: 288 (2,46%); Irlanda: 275 (2,35%); etc.
Spanish Pilgrims
Madrid (19,73%)
Andalucía (15,80%)
Comunidad Valenciana (9,84%)
Cataluña (9,82%)
Galicia (9,81%)
Castilla León (7,59%)
Castilla la Mancha (5,33%)
Other regions
Foreigner Pilgrims
Italia (16,90%)
Alemania (13,91%)
Francia (10,50%)
Portugal (7,28%)
Estados Unidos (5,73%)
Polonia (5,41%)
Holanda (2,46%)
Other countries

Pilgrims' Profession:
Regarding the professional fields, the majority of pilgrims are Estudiantes: 12.741 (30,08%); Empleados: 7.865 (18,57%); Tecnicos: 4.337 (10,24%); Profesores: 4.329 (10,22%); Liberales: 3.483 (8,22%); Jubilados: 2.608 (6,16%); Funcionarios: 2.084 (4,92%); Obreros: 1.634 (3,86%); etc.

Starting Points:
Most of the pilgrims received in this period started their Way to Santiago in: Sarria: 10.423 (24,61%); Cebreiro: 3.294 (7,78%); Tui: 3.049 (7,20%); S. Jean P. Port: 2.552 (6,02%); Ponferrada: 2.259 (5,33%); Roncesvalles: 1.805 (4,26%); León: 1.715 (4,05%); Astorga: 1.500 (3,54%); etc.

The Chosen Routes:
Most of the pilgrims chose Frances-Camino de: 29.343 (69,27%); Portugues-Camino: 5.316 (12,55%); Norte-Camino de: 3.228 (7,62%); Via de la Plata: 2.123 (5,01%); Primitivo-Camino: 1.128 (2,66%); etc.
 
D

Deleted member 3000

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A new Thursday record yesterday - 1,884. However, the first number posted after the Pilgrim Office closed was just over one thousand. Then the number jumped up. Earlier in the week, the daily total was about one thousand per day, but the youth pilgrims were bearing down on Santiago. So the jump could be from catching up on data entry for arrivals from earlier in the week, a big group at closing that the office processed late, or an incorrect early post. Regardless, this weekend should see some real record arrivals!!!
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
Look for a large number tomorrow...just passed the pilgrims office and the line at 12.20 was out the door, around the corner and 150 meter up the street.... :?

Just as a tip, the lines are a lot shorter in the afternoon (the office is open until 20.00).

Buen Camino!
Ivar
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Hola Ivar - the sign is wrong. We are open until 9pm :) I have my suspicions why it is not corrected! The doors are closed at 8.30 leaving the queue on the stairs inside to be dealt with - the staff do not leave until everyone is gone.

The queues of pilgrims are unrelenting. Much of the records are being kept on paper as it slows the process to enter the data. All hands are being applied to writing Compostelas. The data is entered as people get time to catch up. Therefore the daily figures on the website are good rough estimates. The final figures will be announced when the statistics are published. The 24th July broke all records with over 2,500 compostelas being issued. The 15th August, the Feast of the Assumption on a bank holiday weekend is also going to be spectacular.

Post food parcels including the hard stuff to JW c/o the Pilgrims Office please
 
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New record - 2,297 today. Johnny Walker said they have had over 2,500, so the record keeping may lag a bit. Still, that number fills Monte do Gozo four times!
 

valleyo

New Member
Hello,

Is there a webpage where a daily number of arriving pilgrims is recorded? http://www.peregrinossantiago.es shows the number of pilgrims on the current day, but after each day, the number is gone. I wish I could compare the numbers on a day-to-day basis - the monthly summaries are not so helpful... Thanks!
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Hola

Things have calmed down a little this monring after a very busy weekend. Yesterday people are saying "only" 1700 people came through the office. We had around 20 people working and managed to get the queue down to well under an hour for most of the day. Saturday was different - at one point the police visited to tell us the queue was out the door, round the corner up the street, along the next street the Rua Nova and all the way almost to the Plaza Galicia. However that was short lived as they bumped everyone up to give access to the shops. It is taking a long time to catch up on data entry and the figures WILL change when they are fully up loaded.

Phew.

John
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
ok Saturday´s stuff looks as if it is finished at 2,346 pilgrims registered. But I´m posting this because today (holiday Monday in Santiago) there is a trickle of pilgrims - 10 mins waiting in the queue. ¿Que pasa?
 

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