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Devastated in the albergue municipal in Monte do Gozo

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Emia

Member
Hi fellow pilgrims,


This might be complaining on a very low level, but...

It was very hot and I was extremely tired after a 30 km walk, so I decided to stay the last night in the albergue municipal in Monte do Gozo, in order to reach SdC fresh and relaxed the next morning. Mind you - not in the low season, but on May 31th 2019.

The pilgrim's monument was hidden behind red/white tape, so you really couldn't have a close look. The part that calls itself a "park" just consisted of some concrete tables and dito benches. The "plaza" was under construction - no bar, no mensa, no outdoor area to sit and enjoy the last night with other pilgrims. Maybe a couple of tables & chairs & parasols in front of the albergue could have saved the last evening, but... nothing, niente, nada. It was the most depressing and sad stay on my whole camino.
In general there wasn't any atmosphere at all, no joy, no connecting with other pilgrims... just a lot of abandoned concrete which reminded me of good old East-Germany. Put a closed fence around it and you could call it a prison. If that is the visiting card just in front of the "gate" to Santiago, it's a bl**dy disgrace.

Maybe they are preparing the area for the next holy year? But all those poor pilgrims will have to wait till 20121 for a little bit of joy & happiness (& drinks & food).

My advice: take a short break on Monte do Gozo and then push on to Santiago.
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012-2018 Frances, Norte, Salvador, Aragones, Portuguese, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakibspaad.
This might be complaining on a very low level, but...
Hmm., I'm afraid it is... :oops:

Monte de Gozo albergue is a peculiar place indeed, I liked it for being different (and for its warm showers). If I remember well, there are soms bars down the road - if you are looking for a more cosy 'ambiance'.
Buen camino!
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
Sorry you had a bad experience...I know, we hope to find a cool and special place for the final day, with the company of fellow souls.
But I have heard good things about the hospitaleros (and the bar "A Chisca", that is in the Camino, just before the Monte do Gozo)
It should be noticed, too, that it is not only a pilgrim's albergue, but also a youth hostal and a place for people attending conventions..
For many reasons, this day becomes difficult for many of us, apart from some fortunate souls who walk to the cathedral feeling that it is the most enthralling moment of their lives.
I stayed in the Maristas hostal in Compostela, which was good...but I felt I was just another tourist. The magic, this kind of aura that was all around me in every moment, for many weeks, was gone. 😑
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. Next: Gd St Bernard to Rome
Hi fellow pilgrims,


This might be complaining on a very low level, but...

It was very hot and I was extremely tired after a 30 km walk, so I decided to stay the last night in the albergue municipal in Monte do Gozo, in order to reach SdC fresh and relaxed the next morning. Mind you - not in the low season, but on May 31th 2019.

The pilgrim's monument was hidden behind red/white tape, so you really couldn't have a close look. The part that calls itself a "park" just consisted of some concrete tables and dito benches. The "plaza" was under construction - no bar, no mensa, no outdoor area to sit and enjoy the last night with other pilgrims. Maybe a couple of tables & chairs & parasols in front of the albergue could have saved the last evening, but... nothing, niente, nada. It was the most depressing and sad stay on my whole camino.
In general there wasn't any atmosphere at all, no joy, no connecting with other pilgrims... just a lot of abandoned concrete which reminded me of good old East-Germany. Put a closed fence around it and you could call it a prison. If that is the visiting card just in front of the "gate" to Santiago, it's a bl**dy disgrace.

Maybe they are preparing the area for the next holy year? But all those poor pilgrims will have to wait till 20121 for a little bit of joy & happiness (& drinks & food).

My advice: take a short break on Monte do Gozo and then push on to Santiago.
Sorry to hear of your experience. Are there no other pilgrims staying there ?
I never found the place very pretty 😳 but at least the atmosphere was nice (we made it so lol).
Is there no restaurant any more? There used to be a self-service place and also a laundry area with washing machines and dryers....
Has it changed that much since I last stayed there? (2013).
The good thing is, it is only a very short walk to Santiago and you can get there nice and early 😎
Enjoy your last day 🙂
 

MarkyD

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 31/08/2018 - 20/10/2018
Hi fellow pilgrims,


This might be complaining on a very low level, but...

It was very hot and I was extremely tired after a 30 km walk, so I decided to stay the last night in the albergue municipal in Monte do Gozo, in order to reach SdC fresh and relaxed the next morning. Mind you - not in the low season, but on May 31th 2019.

The pilgrim's monument was hidden behind red/white tape, so you really couldn't have a close look. The part that calls itself a "park" just consisted of some concrete tables and dito benches. The "plaza" was under construction - no bar, no mensa, no outdoor area to sit and enjoy the last night with other pilgrims. Maybe a couple of tables & chairs & parasols in front of the albergue could have saved the last evening, but... nothing, niente, nada. It was the most depressing and sad stay on my whole camino.
In general there wasn't any atmosphere at all, no joy, no connecting with other pilgrims... just a lot of abandoned concrete which reminded me of good old East-Germany. Put a closed fence around it and you could call it a prison. If that is the visiting card just in front of the "gate" to Santiago, it's a bl**dy disgrace.

Maybe they are preparing the area for the next holy year? But all those poor pilgrims will have to wait till 20121 for a little bit of joy & happiness (& drinks & food).

My advice: take a short break on Monte do Gozo and then push on to Santiago.
Yeah, I tend to agree with your opinion.
When I saw it last year, and again this year, it looked like an abandoned barracks of some kind. I think the idea is that it's a kind of backstop for massive pilgrim arrivals, so they can open them one by one as needs require. Maybe if it's pouring rain and cold it could be just what someone needs at the time.
There is the lovely monument of two pilgrims pointing to SdC (not sure if that's the one that you were referring to), it's just across the other side of the hill, which would have made a great viewpoint to watch the sun go down on the city in the distance.
20190622_210743.jpg
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
I have stayed at that albergue twice in the past several years, and found it adequate, inexpensive, comfortable, friendly hospitalera, plenty of hot water and good showers, clean etc. Nothing to complain about at all. It was what I needed at the time in the walk, having decided to wait until morning to walk into the cathedral. The first time I stopped was because it was raining. I just plain did not want to walk into that wonderful plaza and look upon that wonderful cathedral in a pouring rain, so I stopped and glad that I did because the next morning the skies were blue and the air cool. The second time I stayed there simply because it was late in the afternoon and I was not keen on searching for a place to stay that late in Santiago.
It certainly bears no resemblance to a penal institution of any kind, believe me, and is hardly a disgrace. Sorry you were not able to connect with other pilgrims there. I did. One of times we had a communal dinner, and that bar nearby serves food as well and I had a lovely late lunch with three fellow pilgrims.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014; 2019)
Camino Primitivo (2016)
Camino del Norte (2016-2018)
San Salvador (2018)
Yeah, I tend to agree with your opinion.
When I saw it last year, and again this year, it looked like an abandoned barracks of some kind. I think the idea is that it's a kind of backstop for massive pilgrim arrivals, so they can open them one by one as needs require. Maybe if it's pouring rain and cold it could be just what someone needs at the time.
There is the lovely monument of two pilgrims pointing to SdC (not sure if that's the one that you were referring to), it's just across the other side of the hill, which would have made a great viewpoint to watch the sun go down on the city in the distance.
View attachment 59679
I think the OP was referring to the other monument, for the Pope's visit. That is surrounded by a cordon.
 

Raggy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
You have my sympathy. Nonetheless, I agree with previous comments that "devastated" is too strong a word for your reaction to Monte do Gozo. I understand that the park and plaza were underwhelming and there was not even a couple of tables, chairs, and parasols to save the evening. I feel your pain from the most depressing and sad stay on your whole camino. I can tell how disheartened you were by the gulag-like atmosphere. But that doesn't merit the word "devastated."

Save "devastated" for the moment you read Dominum Philippum's thread about the awesome Polish albergue around the corner.

😜😘
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
A very good alternative to staying at Monte de Gozo is to press on for perhaps another two km across the bridge over the autovia, into the outskirts of Santiago at San Lazaro. There is a very nice Junta albergue to the right, as well as several other albergues and hostals, restaurants, bars, etc. Some of the accommodation places are available on booking.com.

The walk from there to the Cathedral / Pilgrim Office is perhaps an hour.... on city streets / sidewalks. Plan on one-hour +/-.

If your intent was to have a rest, perhaps a final party with Camino friends, then walk into the Cathedral fresh, clean and early in the morning, this is a very good idea. Also, if you are trying to go directly to the Pilgrim Office, get your Compostela, then attend the noon Pilgrim Mass, this is far better, as it puts you at the Pilgrim Office at 09:00 or earlier, depending on when you leave your last night's lodgings.

The Pilgrim Office opens at 08:00 during the summer months. This also has the benefit of avoiding most all of the queue for Compostelas at the Pilgrim Office. Fortune favors the early bird...

FYI, as the Cathedral is still under serious internal renovations and no Masses can be held there, the noon Pilgrim Mass is being held at the Church of San Francisco, without the Botafumeiro. You CAN still enter the Cathedral via the South Transept (Plaza Praterias) to do the Embracero of the Apostle above the main altar and venerate the relics in the crypt below. The rest of the Cathedral can be walked through. Mind the scaffolding and plastic sheets. it is amazing to see the interior of the Cathedral 'naked' as it were.

Hope this helps.
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
Falcon is right. I've passed by Monte de Gozo three times and not stopped. I offered the San Lazaro pit stop as an alternative if you want an early morning arrival in Santiago - the Pilgrim Office.

From six consecutive years during July and August as a Pilgrim Office volunteer, I can tell you somewhat categorically that arriving at the Pilgrim Office at 08:30 or 09:30 means you will wait less than 30 - 45 minutes for a Compostela, even in the summer. HOWEVER, if you come even one hour later, the wait can easily be in excess of two hours and you WILL NOT make the noon Mass, PERIOD.

It is also a lot cooler in the early morning, before 10:00. Once "Lorenzo" is fully awake, we all bake in the hot Spanish sun.

FYI & BTW: "Lorenzo" is a colloquial name used to refer to the sun, as in "Lorenzo es muy fuerte hoy" (Lorenzo is very strong today). It comes from St, Laurence, who was flayed alive as a martyr for his Christian faith.

As an aside: You can see a very cool statue of the Saint / Martyr in his church in Pamplona... I once had an Anglican pilgrim, attending Mass with me there, ask what was up with the guy holding a 'barbie' (barbeque grill) in his hand. This statue has St. Laurence holding a palm frond in one arm and a rectangular stove grill in the other hand. I do admit, it is an interesting statue. Anyway, I explained about his martyrdom...

Hope this all helps.
 
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TheSparrow

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese (2019) Walking Lisbon North

I think some albergues are more trying than others for sure. But, I think that is what you sign up for and certainly the joy of the cathedral the next day more than compensated for the lonely night? I might be exaggerating, but, I think we are all a little "devastated" that we are ending the pilgrimage "tomorrow."

When I got into Vila de Amorosa Spain, after a really (for me, but I am below average) long day of walking on the Spiritual Variant, the albergue was in a "sporting center" and our beds were on a floor sandwiched above the refereed basketball games, and below a Zumba class (lol) that did not end until about midnight. BUT, it was authentic, we were placed with local people being local people, and there really was nothing else to do but dance some Zumba around the bunk beds and laugh a bit at our predicament to cheer ourselves up a bit.
Sorry you have to scroll so far down on my blog to find this-- but -- if you read my post the Path of Water and Stone and then Losing my Patience you can read more about my "Sporting Center" alburgue and also me just kind of losing it towards the end of my Camino.
 

alhartman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2005 2007 Frances
2016 Leon to Santiago
I stayed at Monte do Gozo June 2016. I felt as if I was on a set for some movie on mankind's dystopian future. No real maintenance except at the one Quonset hut that is the Albergue-- and nothing open in the huge complex. It was abandoned and a bit spooky.
That said, the hospitalero was just as welcoming as any other alb, the beds were good, the showers were hot, the facility was clean, and the kitchen actually had pots and pans so I could cook my emergency ramen. I took it all as a gift from the camino to show me how great it really was--even when contrasted to some of the other fantastic communal experiences.

Monte do Gozo has an interesting history you can find prowling the internet--including a Prince concert there for its 1993 opening. And Rolling Stones in 1999. And festivals in Jubilee Years of 2004 and 2010.

And it is my example of how 'trickle down' economics does not work as well as 'trickle up economics" (Foncebadon). I also suspect that it is an example of junta vs church.

Maybe its soul will return for the next holy year in 2021!! I think I read somewhere -- 900 beds there and they will be needed.
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
Voie de Paris / Tours Aulnay to Saintes 2017
Camino del Baztan 2018
A friend once described that big Monte do Gozo Albergue as being like a USSR holiday camp.
In 2016 we passed it and very much enjoyed the comforts of the Polish albergue, once we'd managed to locate it.
 
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terryvinet

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances/Finest September 2013
VDLP September 2016
Salamanca to Santiago/Finesterra/Muxia 2017

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
My son and I stayed in Lavacolla, and then left early the next morning for our walk into SdC and to the Pilgrim Office. I remember at how amazed I was at the sight of the Monte do Gozo alburgue complex as we walked by. I knew about it, but the size of the complex was still pretty amazing. We didn't see a soul there, and the access entrance was blocked with something like a chain or a bar across the lane.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
Personally, I prefer staying at Lavacolla on my last night, then leaving at 07:00 and walking into Santiago mid-morning. I usually do not go to the Pilgrim Office the day of arrival anyway. I prefer to go to my hotel, get human, then arrive later in the day, or the next day. But to each his or her own.
I'll second the suggestion to stop at the San Lazaro albergue! Just love the place.

YES! That is the place. It is very clean and well run. A lot of folks, arriving in Santiago, pass it by.

In fact, during the peak season, we at the Pilgrim Office often send folks back out there if there are no beds or rooms available in the old town near the Cathedral. The easiest way to go backward is the #6 bus (€1,00) from Plaza de Galicia. However, the more expensive airport shuttle bus (€3,00 - every 30 minutes) also stops right across the street from this albergue on its way OUT to the airport.

Note, we will often send folks all the way out to Monte de Gozo, using the same #6 bus, for several days around the Feast of Santiago on 25 July, when there is NEVER any last minute sleeping space closer in.

Hope this helps.
 
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tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
Hi fellow pilgrims,


This might be complaining on a very low level, but...

It was very hot and I was extremely tired after a 30 km walk, so I decided to stay the last night in the albergue municipal in Monte do Gozo, in order to reach SdC fresh and relaxed the next morning. Mind you - not in the low season, but on May 31th 2019.

The pilgrim's monument was hidden behind red/white tape, so you really couldn't have a close look. The part that calls itself a "park" just consisted of some concrete tables and dito benches. The "plaza" was under construction - no bar, no mensa, no outdoor area to sit and enjoy the last night with other pilgrims. Maybe a couple of tables & chairs & parasols in front of the albergue could have saved the last evening, but... nothing, niente, nada. It was the most depressing and sad stay on my whole camino.
In general there wasn't any atmosphere at all, no joy, no connecting with other pilgrims... just a lot of abandoned concrete which reminded me of good old East-Germany. Put a closed fence around it and you could call it a prison. If that is the visiting card just in front of the "gate" to Santiago, it's a bl**dy disgrace.

Maybe they are preparing the area for the next holy year? But all those poor pilgrims will have to wait till 20121 for a little bit of joy & happiness (& drinks & food).

My advice: take a short break on Monte do Gozo and then push on to Santiago.
Or try the Polish albergue further in to the area. Which monument are you referring to. The large ugly thing on the hill or the statues of the pilgrims pointing at Santiago. There is more to Monte do Gozo than many know about. The 'barracks' are not the nicest but they were built to accommodate huge numbers and they do have good laundry facilities and a bar down in the centre
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I had never heard of this municipal albergue at Monte de Gozo in 2015 when I walked through the grounds in midday. It looked closed down with not a soul to be seen. Debris and dead leaves were blowing in every corner of the buildings and property. I was very confused at the time as not only did it look defunct, but like it was in disrepair and something ready to be demolished in the near future. I heard later that one of the many buildings was open for pilgrims. It still looked exactly the same way in 2017.
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
Apparently the mammoth albergue at Monte de Gozo is now opened after the massive renovations this past year.

Check it out:


It might be worth another try... I had heard about the renovations, trying to re-expand the capacity to bring the place into full use in time for the coming Holy Year. Camino Frances pilgrim volumes are expected to be DOUBLE the 2018 volume, or about four-five times what they were in 2010, the last Holy Year.

Hope this helps.
 

El Mayordomo

#MyLongWalk2019
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Invierno) 2019
Apparently the mammoth albergue at Monte de Gozo is now opened after the massive renovations this past year.

Check it out:


It might be worth another try... I had heard about the renovations, trying to re-expand the capacity to bring the place into full use in time for the coming Holy Year. Camino Frances pilgrim volumes are expected to be DOUBLE the 2018 volume, or about four-five times what they were in 2010, the last Holy Year.

Hope this helps.
I've bitten the bullet and decided I will give it a go! At least rooms will be new!
 

Mr Magoo

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pilegrimsleden ( 2016).
Camino Primitivo ( 2017).
Yes, monument redolent of Gdansk Shipyard,& vast accomodation blocks a bit soviet in appearance, but I found the albergue to be clean and well run. Nice little chapel up by. I went to Mass there, with about 10 others, led by a West African priest playing his guitar.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France's (2016) Portuguese 2017
Hi fellow pilgrims,


This might be complaining on a very low level, but...

It was very hot and I was extremely tired after a 30 km walk, so I decided to stay the last night in the albergue municipal in Monte do Gozo, in order to reach SdC fresh and relaxed the next morning. Mind you - not in the low season, but on May 31th 2019.

The pilgrim's monument was hidden behind red/white tape, so you really couldn't have a close look. The part that calls itself a "park" just consisted of some concrete tables and dito benches. The "plaza" was under construction - no bar, no mensa, no outdoor area to sit and enjoy the last night with other pilgrims. Maybe a couple of tables & chairs & parasols in front of the albergue could have saved the last evening, but... nothing, niente, nada. It was the most depressing and sad stay on my whole camino.
In general there wasn't any atmosphere at all, no joy, no connecting with other pilgrims... just a lot of abandoned concrete which reminded me of good old East-Germany. Put a closed fence around it and you could call it a prison. If that is the visiting card just in front of the "gate" to Santiago, it's a bl**dy disgrace.

Maybe they are preparing the area for the next holy year? But all those poor pilgrims will have to wait till 20121 for a little bit of joy & happiness (& drinks & food).

My advice: take a short break on Monte do Gozo and then push on to Santiago.
It’s 3 years today I walked in Santiago.
I would say 90% of pilgrims don’t realise that by turning left and walking about 1k you reach the bronze pilgrim statues pointing to the Cathedral. So much nicer and inspiring than the awful ( in my opinion) new monument built for the visit of the Pope a few years ago.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Camino Portugues, June 2019
If Emia felt "devastated" by the experience I'm not sure we have any right to criticize her terminology or diminish how she felt about it.
I think there is a psychological component, anticipating Santiago and the end or near-end to the pilgrim experience, that can amplify the sense of sadness or disappointment that some people can feel then if something doesn't go quite right.

Here's my story about Monte do Gozo:

A couple of years ago on the CF, I headed up the hill toward Monte do Gozo with a couple of buddies I'd made along the way. We were all a little giddy, headed to Santiago that day. Half-way up the hill, a small yellow arrow pointed right and a larger yellow arrow pointed left, to continue climbing. I distinctly remembered from the time before that I had turned right there and gone downhill toward a bridge over the highway to the entrance of Santiago (and the Wise Pilgrim app on my phone confirmed this route, too). So my friends followed the arrow going up hill and I headed alone downhill. I didn't see any other walkers taking my route, and I felt a little smug.

Down, down, down to finally see that the bridge was under construction and the whole crossing was closed off. Ugh. I'd walked a long way that day and didn't feel like backtracking.

So I walked back up to the busy street and kept following it, figuring it would continue around the mountain to the other side and I could rejoin the Camino.

Cars were whipping by and there was no shoulder on the road. It was too dangerous to walk further with the speeding traffic. So I spied an overgrown path heading up the hill and I thought "well, I'll just bush-wack my way up there and make a beeline to the top of the mountain." Vines with thorns wrapped around my ankles. Nettles stung me. I had to throw my pack over low tree limbs and either climb over or crawl under them. But I was making progress uphill. Finally, almost to the top, I was stopped by a 4 meter tall brick wall. So I took off my pack and explored the options. I climbed up on a chicken coop, jumped across to an Horreo (that was precariously slanted to the side) and I could see over the wall. The Camino was Right..There.. But it was too far away to jump. A woman watched me from her garden with a quizzical look on her face.

With exasperation and gloom, I turned around and tromped, sidled, and slid in the mud back down the hill to the road. Started to walk one direction and a rear view mirror breezed past my face. Turned the other way and a large truck forced me to jump into the bushes not to be hit.

At this point I did something I often do in such situations; I started laughing. This was absurd. I'm so close to Santiago.. how can this be happening??

Just then a taxi slammed on his brakes and did a dangerous U-Turn to pull up in front of me and wave for me to get in. He seemed to know what was up. He drove me around the mountain and up to where the Camino detour crossed on the other side. The first ride in a motor vehicle in a month and a half. He helped me with my pack, refused to accept any payment and wished me a Buen Camino.

Did I step out of the taxi cab in time for a large group of Pilgrims to come around the bend and see me doing so? Of course.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago, St Jean to Santuago, 2015
Camino Portuguese, 2018
Hi fellow pilgrims,


This might be complaining on a very low level, but...

It was very hot and I was extremely tired after a 30 km walk, so I decided to stay the last night in the albergue municipal in Monte do Gozo, in order to reach SdC fresh and relaxed the next morning. Mind you - not in the low season, but on May 31th 2019.

The pilgrim's monument was hidden behind red/white tape, so you really couldn't have a close look. The part that calls itself a "park" just consisted of some concrete tables and dito benches. The "plaza" was under construction - no bar, no mensa, no outdoor area to sit and enjoy the last night with other pilgrims. Maybe a couple of tables & chairs & parasols in front of the albergue could have saved the last evening, but... nothing, niente, nada. It was the most depressing and sad stay on my whole camino.
In general there wasn't any atmosphere at all, no joy, no connecting with other pilgrims... just a lot of abandoned concrete which reminded me of good old East-Germany. Put a closed fence around it and you could call it a prison. If that is the visiting card just in front of the "gate" to Santiago, it's a bl**dy disgrace.

Maybe they are preparing the area for the next holy year? But all those poor pilgrims will have to wait till 20121 for a little bit of joy & happiness (& drinks & food).

My advice: take a short break on Monte do Gozo and then push on to Santiago.
I found Albergue Acuario just beyond Monte de Gozo and off “the” path. A little tricky to find. Quirky. Not for pilgrims only. Can stay as long as you like if there is space.
 

Fearless0

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Completed Sarria to Santiago June (2016)
I stayed at Monte do Gozo June 2016. I felt as if I was on a set for some movie on mankind's dystopian future. No real maintenance except at the one Quonset hut that is the Albergue-- and nothing open in the huge complex. It was abandoned and a bit spooky.
That said, the hospitalero was just as welcoming as any other alb, the beds were good, the showers were hot, the facility was clean, and the kitchen actually had pots and pans so I could cook my emergency ramen. I took it all as a gift from the camino to show me how great it really was--even when contrasted to some of the other fantastic communal experiences.

Monte do Gozo has an interesting history you can find prowling the internet--including a Prince concert there for its 1993 opening. And Rolling Stones in 1999. And festivals in Jubilee Years of 2004 and 2010.

And it is my example of how 'trickle down' economics does not work as well as 'trickle up economics" (Foncebadon). I also suspect that it is an example of junta vs church.

Maybe its soul will return for the next holy year in 2021!! I think I read somewhere -- 900 beds there and they will be needed.
I also walked by it for a first time in June 2016, and agree wholeheartedly about a dystopian future, and everything that was said above. My thinking was, 'thank goodness we decided earlier NOT to stop here"! Wow, very scary looking place.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
In 2001 a group of us clustered around the Pope's monument and debated: stay here or go on? On we pressed and entered the square en masse.
It poured with rain solidly for the next three days. Never regretted that choice!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Leon - Santiago (2015); Ingles (2016); Baiona - Santiago (2018); Pamplona - Burgos (2020!)
In 2015, I arrived at Monte de Gozo on Pentecost Sunday, along with massive busloads of older folks coming in from regional churches to walk from there to Santiago. The bus drivers honked furiously at the peregrinos, annoyed that we were walking on "their" roads, the idling of the diesel buses filled the air with horrid fumes, and the older folks themselves of course didn't have any sense of Camino "etiquette," walking 5 and 6 abreast and glaring at those of us just trying to get past the scrum. Not my favorite moment on the Camino, but fortunately, it was soon supplanted by my favorite memory, my first arrival into Santiago. :)
 

cbacino

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte - Primitivo (2018)
Via Francigena (2017)
Appalachian Trail (2016)
Hi fellow pilgrims,


This might be complaining on a very low level, but...

It was very hot and I was extremely tired after a 30 km walk, so I decided to stay the last night in the albergue municipal in Monte do Gozo, in order to reach SdC fresh and relaxed the next morning. Mind you - not in the low season, but on May 31th 2019.

The pilgrim's monument was hidden behind red/white tape, so you really couldn't have a close look. The part that calls itself a "park" just consisted of some concrete tables and dito benches. The "plaza" was under construction - no bar, no mensa, no outdoor area to sit and enjoy the last night with other pilgrims. Maybe a couple of tables & chairs & parasols in front of the albergue could have saved the last evening, but... nothing, niente, nada. It was the most depressing and sad stay on my whole camino.
In general there wasn't any atmosphere at all, no joy, no connecting with other pilgrims... just a lot of abandoned concrete which reminded me of good old East-Germany. Put a closed fence around it and you could call it a prison. If that is the visiting card just in front of the "gate" to Santiago, it's a bl**dy disgrace.

Maybe they are preparing the area for the next holy year? But all those poor pilgrims will have to wait till 20121 for a little bit of joy & happiness (& drinks & food).

My advice: take a short break on Monte do Gozo and then push on to Santiago.
Be thankful you had a place to sleep.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Camino Portugues, June 2019
This gulag at Monte do Gozo sounds like maybe a fun challenge for some volunteers. Raise some funds for paint, flower gardens, tables and chairs. Pipe some music through the place. What other ideas do people have?

Edit: Never mind, it sounds like even bigger renovations (including a pool!) are in the works or completed. Looking at the aerial view, it does look like an interment camp.
 
Last edited:

Karl Oz

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Portuguese
Aragones
Sanabres
Piamonte
Elizabethpfad
I think there is a psychological component, anticipating Santiago and the end or near-end to the pilgrim experience, that can amplify the sense of sadness or disappointment that some people can feel then if something doesn't go quite right.

Here's my story about Monte do Gozo:

A couple of years ago on the CF, I headed up the hill toward Monte do Gozo with a couple of buddies I'd made along the way. We were all a little giddy, headed to Santiago that day. Half-way up the hill, a small yellow arrow pointed right and a larger yellow arrow pointed left, to continue climbing. I distinctly remembered from the time before that I had turned right there and gone downhill toward a bridge over the highway to the entrance of Santiago (and the Wise Pilgrim app on my phone confirmed this route, too). So my friends followed the arrow going up hill and I headed alone downhill. I didn't see any other walkers taking my route, and I felt a little smug.

Down, down, down to finally see that the bridge was under construction and the whole crossing was closed off. Ugh. I'd walked a long way that day and didn't feel like backtracking.

So I walked back up to the busy street and kept following it, figuring it would continue around the mountain to the other side and I could rejoin the Camino.

Cars were whipping by and there was no shoulder on the road. It was too dangerous to walk further with the speeding traffic. So I spied an overgrown path heading up the hill and I thought "well, I'll just bush-wack my way up there and make a beeline to the top of the mountain." Vines with thorns wrapped around my ankles. Nettles stung me. I had to throw my pack over low tree limbs and either climb over or crawl under them. But I was making progress uphill. Finally, almost to the top, I was stopped by a 4 meter tall brick wall. So I took off my pack and explored the options. I climbed up on a chicken coop, jumped across to an Horreo (that was precariously slanted to the side) and I could see over the wall. The Camino was Right..There.. But it was too far away to jump. A woman watched me from her garden with a quizzical look on her face.

With exasperation and gloom, I turned around and tromped, sidled, and slid in the mud back down the hill to the road. Started to walk one direction and a rear view mirror breezed past my face. Turned the other way and a large truck forced me to jump into the bushes not to be hit.

At this point I did something I often do in such situations; I started laughing. This was absurd. I'm so close to Santiago.. how can this be happening??

Just then a taxi slammed on his brakes and did a dangerous U-Turn to pull up in front of me and wave for me to get in. He seemed to know what was up. He drove me around the mountain and up to where the Camino detour crossed on the other side. The first ride in a motor vehicle in a month and a half. He helped me with my pack, refused to accept any payment and wished me a Buen Camino.

Did I step out of the taxi cab in time for a large group of Pilgrims to come around the bend and see me doing so? Of course.
Great story!
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Camino Portugues, June 2019
This is the group that is developing (has already developed?) the big renovations at Monte do Gozo: https://www.grupocarris.com
I would expect that it will especially cater to large groups.
 

lgella

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
March 2019
Hi fellow pilgrims,


This might be complaining on a very low level, but...

It was very hot and I was extremely tired after a 30 km walk, so I decided to stay the last night in the albergue municipal in Monte do Gozo, in order to reach SdC fresh and relaxed the next morning. Mind you - not in the low season, but on May 31th 2019.

The pilgrim's monument was hidden behind red/white tape, so you really couldn't have a close look. The part that calls itself a "park" just consisted of some concrete tables and dito benches. The "plaza" was under construction - no bar, no mensa, no outdoor area to sit and enjoy the last night with other pilgrims. Maybe a couple of tables & chairs & parasols in front of the albergue could have saved the last evening, but... nothing, niente, nada. It was the most depressing and sad stay on my whole camino.
In general there wasn't any atmosphere at all, no joy, no connecting with other pilgrims... just a lot of abandoned concrete which reminded me of good old East-Germany. Put a closed fence around it and you could call it a prison. If that is the visiting card just in front of the "gate" to Santiago, it's a bl**dy disgrace.

Maybe they are preparing the area for the next holy year? But all those poor pilgrims will have to wait till 20121 for a little bit of joy & happiness (& drinks & food).

My advice: take a short break on Monte do Gozo and then push on to Santiago.
Hmmmm interesting you mentioned this...I finished my Camino Frances in April and did a brief stopover at Monte de Gozo before heading straight to Santiago. The area did look pretty dead to me and my friend and I did comment that it might look different in the Summer peak period. Needless to say we were glad we pushed through to Santiago.
 

TerryB

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015
FYI & BTW: "Lorenzo" is a colloquial name used to refer to the sun, as in "Lorenzo es muy fuerte hoy" (Lorenzo is very strong today). It comes from St, Laurence, who was flayed alive as a martyr for his Christian faith.

As an aside: You can see a very cool statue of the Saint / Martyr in his church in Pamplona... I once had an Anglican pilgrim, attending Mass with me there, ask what was up with the guy holding a 'barbie' (barbeque grill) in his hand. This statue has St. Laurence holding a palm frond in one arm and a rectangular stove grill in the other hand. I do admit, it is an interesting statue. Anyway, I explained about his martyrdom...
The Oxford Dictionary of Saints gives St Laurence as being traditionally roasted to death on a gridiron. Hence the connection with being roasted by the hot sun. His emblem is a gridiron or barbeque grill. The saint who was flayed alive (tradition again!!) was the Apostle Bartholomew whose emblem is a flaying knife.
A list of saints and their emblems could be of interest.
https://christianiconography.info/

blessings
Tio Tel
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
The poor, old Monte de Gozo albergue. Obviously it was constructed with high hopes of filling a need, and with images of hundreds of pilgrims at a time staying there. Unfortunately it is a mere 5 kilometres from the cathedral. Hardly an hour's walk. Few pilgrims wanting to stop their walk while so close. So it became as they say, a "white elephant" and now get's it fair share of criticism and ridicule.
 

Mr Magoo

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pilegrimsleden ( 2016).
Camino Primitivo ( 2017).
I thought the complex was built for a World Youth Day un the 90's, and now they 're putting a small part of it to good use. Built cheap, cos sort of temporary, hence soviet look.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
I thought the complex was built for a World Youth Day un the 90's, and now they 're putting a small part of it to good use. Built cheap, cos sort of temporary, hence soviet look.
Is that what it was? Didn't know that. It looks like it had a restaurant in one of the buildings. Once when I stayed there I roamed about looking inside the different buildings. Didn't help the atmosphere much that it was cloudy, cold and gloomy outside. lol
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012-2018 Frances, Norte, Salvador, Aragones, Portuguese, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakibspaad.
Didn't know that. It looks like it had a restaurant in one of the buildings
It has indeed.

Funny thread this. Lots of people having opinions about the place, while not having stayed there. I did, and rather enjoyed it.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. Next: Gd St Bernard to Rome
The poor, old Monte de Gozo albergue. Obviously it was constructed with high hopes of filling a need, and with images of hundreds of pilgrims at a time staying there. Unfortunately it is a mere 5 kilometres from the cathedral. Hardly an hour's walk. Few pilgrims wanting to stop their walk while so close. So it became as they say, a "white elephant" and now get's it fair share of criticism and ridicule.
I think it’ll come into use again for the next Holy Year... and people will be grateful to have it 😎
 

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