• This section is a collection of FAQs on the Camino. No new questions can be posted here, but questions that are asked often will be move here by a moderator.
  • Missing the daily forum e-mail? Subscribe again.
A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

Luggage Transfer Correos

Do albergues refuse the pilgrims who don't carry their packs

2020 Camino Guides

Davie Blisters

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
Poor @anna*camino

Asked a question on 1st September 2011 and left on 22nd September 2011 - never to return!

I will always wonder if she made it into an Albergue (sans backpack). :)
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
.... and if you look into yours in the morning, look closely, he'll appear to you too!
 

Alan Pearce

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones 2008, del Norte 2009, VdlP 2011, Ingles 2014, Camino de Madri 2015, Frances 2017
The monastery at Rabanal refused pilgrims who didn't carry their packs. Only one I found that did that on recent Camino.
The monastery at Rabanal, or the unafiliated albergue that joins it?
 

Anto

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2017 SJPDP to Pamplona
Hi All,
this subject is getting a lot of attention/interest. Obviously whether to carry all your belongings on your back or get your pack transported is a touchy subject with some people .I suppose I should say I have travelled with a group of 4 for approximately a weeks walking at a time for the last 3 years (as far as Burgos this year) .We stay in 2 star or 1 star ( if there is such a thing ) budget hotels/guesthouses and get our main packs transported only carrying a relatively small pack for the days walk. We are ranging in age 55 to 58 .
I have found the Camino to be a marvelously spiritual experience really love the Camino and can safely say I have never experienced anything like it before in life.
Would I enjoy the experience any more if I had a few more lbs in my light backpack, I would say not .
When I retire I may go the albergue route with a full backpack and walk it all in one block God willing but for the meantime you may have to put up with the guy carrying the smaller backpack for another few years
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Hmm, I distinctly remember on Oct 23, 2013, I took a taxi from Astorga to Rabanal - not knowing anything about that policy - and was allowed to stay at Gaucelmo. I WAS asked if I had walked, and I said I hadn't. The hositalero said he thought he had heard a car door close... I said, yes, that was probably me. He mentioned their policy, but I was allowed to stay the night at Gaucelmo. There were four of us pilgrims that night in addition to the two hospis. Gratitudes... 🙏
I think the situation would have been considerably different if there had been 20 or 30 pilgrims waiting to get in when you arrived.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
I help to run a donativo albergue in Grado, Asturias, on the Camino Primitivo. We do not accept bags sent ahead. No, It's not because we discriminate against the ill, infirm, aged, or disabled. It's because our volunteers are not always there to receive the bags when the driver shows up. Our volunteers can't be responsible for unattended bags, esp. for people who don't intend to stay with us. And if a hiker can afford to send his bags ahead, he can probably afford to pay for a bed in one of the non-donativo albergues in town.
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
Yesterday I posted something that wasn't supposed to be taken seriously. I'm sorry, I just can't help myself. My brain is doing those things to me every now and then. More now than then...

But seriously, I cannot speak for others or determine how they should approach this subject. I can only speak for myself and how I feel about this.

Personally, I like to carry everything I need on my back. I'd like to start walking in the morning without knowing where I'll end up that day. So I don't like the idea of having to go to a certain place to collect my backpack.

Does that mean I'm opposed to transportation of backpacks? No, it doesn't and I am not.

What I enjoy most is to walk Caminos the way I want to. Regardless of how other pilgrims walk their Caminos. If I meet pilgrims that do things in a different way than me, I'm perfectly comfortable with it. I'm thanking God on my bare knees for creating people in such diversity. It makes life so much more colorful.

I like people. No, that's an understatement. I love people. I love to talk to them, I love to listen to them, I love to hang around with people, I love to laugh with them. I love to cry with them. I like to learn from them. I love it when they are like a mirror to me. Other people help me to reflect on myself (and the things I'm used to doing) and help me not to take myself too seriously.

So, when I meet other people (or pilgrims, who, in my book, qualify as being human beings) I'm interested in a lot of things. And I'd like to talk about or learn about a lot of things. However, transportation of a backpack is not one of them. There's so much more to a person than the fact that he/she has his/her backpack transported.

I think I'd like to be treated by other people in a friendly, loving, not judgemental way. And I believe that, in order to achieve that, I'm most likely to succeed if I treat other people the same way.

Buen Camino to you all, in whatever way you walk/bike your Caminos.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April 2020
As early as 1994, I have personally suggested to people on the Camino with such health issues to use the JacoTrans.

I think that if you can carry your pack that it's better to do so, and I'm particularly not keen on people transporting entire suitcases along the Francès, but the main reason for it is that if you transport your luggage, then you are programming your route in advance, which will kill versatility and spontaneity ; plus it can leave you in the lurch if you have a sudden emergency, and everything you need for the emergency may be elsewhere and out of reach.
I had shoulder surgery last year and my backpack hurts with any weight past 7 lbs. I plan on bringing a wheeled luggage bag to transport forward every day as I walk from SJPP to Santiago. My reasoning is if my bag is dropped in another spot and I need to carry it even a block or two, it might do some damage.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
To answer the original question.
I am pretty confident that I saw a sign on the Xunta albergue in Ocebreiro that ranked pilgrims in the order they would get a bed if it was busy. This was on Easter Sunday this year.
1. Walkers from SJPP
2. walkers from Burgos
3. Walkers from Leon.
4 Cyclists from the above
5. People with vehicle support.
This might not be totally accurate as I stopped worrying after item 1.
Blimey, so if I get there walking from home, no bed for me then ? grumbles ...
 

Via2010

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
I had shoulder surgery last year and my backpack hurts with any weight past 7 lbs. I plan on bringing a wheeled luggage bag to transport forward every day as I walk from SJPP to Santiago. My reasoning is if my bag is dropped in another spot and I need to carry it even a block or two, it might do some damage.
Hi Jeanne,
a wheeled luggage back is only one possibilty which may not be very comfortable to use on some tracks.
Another possiblity is to reduce the content and weight of your backpack as much as possible (easier in summer). I know people who manage to walk with less than 3 kg.

If this is still out of reach for you, it may be possible to combine a small back-pack and a hip-pack, like the "Osprey Talon 6".

I even know a german pilgrim, who only walks with an hip-pack, "bergans langevann 11". He did various Caminos with that, even Caminos where no backpack-transport was available.
Here is a link to his packing-list: hcbukowski and here to his Video on YouTube: packing the hip-pack

So you see that there may be different solutions for your problem.

BC
Alexandra
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April 2020
Hi Jeanne,
a wheeled luggage back is only one possibilty which may not be very comfortable to use on some tracks.
Another possiblity is to reduce the content and weight of your backpack as much as possible (easier in summer). I know people who manage to walk with less than 3 kg.

If this is still out of reach for you, it may be possible to combine a small back-pack and a hip-pack, like the "Osprey Talon 6".

I even know a german pilgrim, who only walks with an hip-pack, "bergans langevann 11". He did various Caminos with that, even Caminos where no backpack-transport was available.
Here is a link to his packing-list: hcbukowski and here to his Video on YouTube: packing the hip-pack

So you see that there may be different solutions for your problem.

BC
Alexandra
First of all thanks for the info about the Osprey Talon 6. I am probably going to buy it.

Wow, he packs very light. I'm traveling in early April, hence packing for rain too.
I didn't want to add to my other post, since it makes me sound wimpy, I've also had knee surgery. In training, anything over 7.5 pounds causes shoulder and knee pain. I want to get to Santiago and if transporting a wheeled luggage bag is going to let me, so be it.

I'll just keep my fingers crossed, I'm not judged too harshly. I'm not saying from you, just from other pilgrims who may not understand. I can walk with the best of them. Just not carry any weight. Maybe I should put some kind of sign on the outside of my bag, lol.
 

nathanael

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte Plata
Hi Anna,

I never saw a pilgrim turned away for not having a pack...the key to entrance being your pilgrim passport. A municipal albergue may require a sello from the previous night's stay to gain entrance though private albergues (Red Albergue members come to mind) seem to want a full house regardless of how you arrive.

Buen "walking with my pack" Camino

Arn
The St. James Albergue in Rabanal will refuse you if you didn't carry your backpack.
 
Camino(s) past & future
First Camino start 23.4.2020
Im a bit lost by this debate on here i thought it was about being able to send your bag on if you choose to while walking your camino, but its turned out to be about people getting buses taxis etc, I with my wife will be doing our first camino Francis April/May we both intend to carry our pack but on some stages i may need to move my pack on as i suffer from fibromyalgia. I will carry a smaller day bag on those days i won't be racing i won't be using buses or taxis ill be walking MY camino if anyone wants to judge me so be it and if you don't want to talk to me because i haven't a big pack on my back that's fine. BUEN CAMINO.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
@Jimliz83 this thread started way back in 2011!!!! So it has become a long and convoluted thread. Many things have changed over the years. If you get your pack carried you will probably find today you are in the majority. The answer to your question is : - Yes. It is easy to arrange to get your pack carried each day. Almost every accommodation provider has labels and envelopes you fill out and attach to your pack, with a 5 euro note inside, you place your pack somewhere near the front entrance (you'll be told where) and lo, your pack will be waiting when you arrive at your next stop.

There is only one albergue on the Camino Francés that I can think of that today refuses to accept pilgrims whose packs are carried, and that is the Gaulcelmo Albergue, in Rabanaul.

Go, enjoy your camino, all will be well.
 

danielle aird

La vie est belle
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018; September 2018; May 2019; Sept (2019)
I have been on the camino 4 times and plan to go back often. I almost never carry my bag. I am really surprised at some of the vitriolic judgment about this. I thought the Camino was a place of friendship and I have made so many lovely friends along it. All I can say is that one day, when I arrived at one albergue where I had sent my bag, I heard the baggage handler say proudly tothe hospitalera: "130 bags today!" and I thought, "wow! that is wonderful. We are really making a difference financially to these people." He had an employee and they were both working hard. I love to know that my Euros are contributing to the livelihood of Spaniards who might otherwise be unemployed. We are helping them, in a very small way, earn a living. They are hosting us generously. They are cooking for us or stocking products in their little grocery stores... The albergues, even the private ones are not raking in the money by any means. I am a business woman so I know the cost of doing business. Let's be generous and if we are not strong enough to carry our bags, like this 110 lb 71 year old woman that I am, let's just ship it and enjoy the hike in beautiful nature amongst very friendly people. I have never been refused entry to any albergue although I do usually stay in the private ones. Buen non-judgmental Camino, everyone!
 

danielle aird

La vie est belle
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018; September 2018; May 2019; Sept (2019)
I help to run a donativo albergue in Grado, Asturias, on the Camino Primitivo. We do not accept bags sent ahead. No, It's not because we discriminate against the ill, infirm, aged, or disabled. It's because our volunteers are not always there to receive the bags when the driver shows up. Our volunteers can't be responsible for unattended bags, esp. for people who don't intend to stay with us. And if a hiker can afford to send his bags ahead, he can probably afford to pay for a bed in one of the non-donativo albergues in town.
There was one albergue who could not receive the bags for the same reason as you so they were dropped off at a nearby restaurant.
 

Jimmy Smith

Jimbob
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017
I have read this thread with Mmmm let's say, interest.

I have decided that if I carry my pack all the way each day and ensure that it weighs at least 20kg then I should expect to get to sleep in a lower bunk next to an open window with a personal alarm call daily as my camino is clearly more worthy than some sneak who decides to flout the thought police rules by carrying ony 6kg daily or heaven forbid sending their luggage on. Given the fact that most walkers neither honour the Saint nor his God in any way, but treat the Camino either as a tick off a bucket list of things to do before their final demise or in many cases as an excuse to overfuel on cheap alcohol. But me with my 20 kg backpack I am above judgement and truly deserving of praise and a lower bunk. I will, of course, pray that God and his saints rain hell fire and damnation on all who flout the clearly defined and universally understood rules on what makes a Pilgrim.

What? There are no clear, universally understood rules?

Surely there are, don't you just make them up to suit personal belief and circumstance, I ask you.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I help to run a donativo albergue in Grado, Asturias, on the Camino Primitivo. We do not accept bags sent ahead. No, It's not because we discriminate against the ill, infirm, aged, or disabled. It's because our volunteers are not always there to receive the bags when the driver shows up. Our volunteers can't be responsible for unattended bags, esp. for people who don't intend to stay with us. And if a hiker can afford to send his bags ahead, he can probably afford to pay for a bed in one of the non-donativo albergues in town.
There was one albergue who could not receive the bags for the same reason as you so they were dropped off at a nearby restaurant.
If people want to game the system, that's on them.
But if the reason that bags are not being accepted is not some sort of judgement on people who send them, or a feeling that the donativo albergues should only be for people who carry their bags, but rather out of an inability to receive them and be responsible for unattended bags, then to have the bags go instead to a nearby restaurant is not "gaming the system". It is accommodating what the albergue is ready to do and not do.

Of course, while that was the only reason explicitly stated in the post quoted above, there was an implicit reason in the statement "if a hiker can afford to send his bags ahead, he can probably afford to pay for a bed in one of the non-donativo albergues in town" that implies that donativo albergues should be reserved for those who cannot afford to sleep anywhere else.

Personally, I think there are some challenges with this. On the one hand, if the donativo albergues are reserved for those who cannot afford the prices of municipal or private albergues, I worry that many will not receive enough in donations to sustain themselves. On the other hand, how to determine who can afford alternatives? Certainly, shipping a backpack might be one way (although for someone with limited means and health problems, the necessity of shipping a backpack may be precisely what makes them unable to afford other accommodations) but it is certainly not the only sign of affluence. Should people with too nice equipment or who have flown a great distance be sent to find accommodations elsewhere (surely, if someone can afford an airline ticket from halfway around the world, they can afford the few euros to sleep at a private albergue rather than a donativo, after all). It just seems a messy path to head down. But, of course, it is up to the people running each albergue to decide to whom they wish to offer hospitality.

If the reason that backpacks aren't being accepted was the first, explicit reason about there not being a willingness to receive and store them absent the presence of the owner, then to send them elsewhere and pick them up and bring them to the albergue is not "gaming the system". It is working within the rules and accommodating what the albergue is unwilling to do. If the reason is the second, implied reason that donativos are reserved for pilgrims without financial means which, by definition includes those who ship backpacks, then to send them elsewhere may indeed be gaming the system. But recognize that it is excluding people who may be unable to carry their packs and may be no better off or better able to afford accommodation elsewhere than some pilgrims who are being accepted at the albergue (and perhaps less able, because of the necessity of spending extra money every day on backpack transportation).

Or so it seems to me. I could be wrong. It wouldn't be the first time.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (2020)
that implies that donativo albergues should be reserved for those who cannot afford to sleep anywhere else.
@David Tallan , I don't think this is a legitimate conclusion. It certainly doesn't seem to me to the original statement by @Rebekah Scott that pilgrims who sent their bags forward would have other options suggests anything like these pilgrims should not use donotivo albergues. I think it is a legitimate to suggest that the statement be read on its face value, and that, in the case of the albergue she is discussing, there were other options for pilgrims who sent their bags by pack taxi.

That said, my earlier analysis of this matter stands, where I concluded that those who do use pack-taxis are effectively being supported by a vehicle, and these pilgrims should be complying with the conditions on the credencial to seek other accommodation. This is not a matter of whether or not the albergue is donotivo, it is a matter for all 'public' albergues.

Albergues can set their own rules on these matters, and I noted that the Spanish Federation of Friends of the Camino de Santiago Associations has made a statement on how this might be applied in a flexible manner that essentially favours those who carry their own pack during busy times on the Camino, but doesn't deny access to those using pack-taxis completely across the year.

Personally, I have no difficulty with this general approach. What I think it does do, though, is put a great deal of responsibility on the hospitalero who has to make the call on the ground when faced with refusing entry to those not carrying their packs. Gaming the system by having a pack delivered to another location, and then walking a relatively short distance to an albergue that doesn't accept pack delivery, only makes this even more difficult, and I personally think that is a noxious practice. It destroys the legitimate expectation of pilgrims who have walked with their own packs that they should not have to compete for accommodation with pilgrims supported by a vehicle.
 
Last edited:

Jimmy Smith

Jimbob
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017
@David Tallan , I don't think this is a legitimate conclusion. It certainly doesn't seem to me to the original statement by @Rebekah Scott that pilgrims who sent their bags forward would have other options suggests anything like these pilgrims should not use donotivo albergues. I think it is a legitimate to suggest that the statement be read on its face value, and that, in the case of the albergue is discussing, there were other options for pilgrims who sent their bags by pack taxi.

That said, my earlier analysis of this matter stands, where I concluded that those who do use pack-taxis are effectively being supported by a vehicle, and these pilgrims should be complying with the conditions on the credencial to seek other accommodation. This is not a matter of whether or not the albergue is donotivo, it is a matter for all 'public' albergues.

Albergues can set their own rules on these matters, and I noted that the Spanish Federation of Friends of the Camino de Santiago Associations has made a statement on how this might be applied in a flexible manner that essentially favours those who carry their own pack during busy times on the Camino, but doesn't deny access to those using pack-taxis completely across the year.

Personally, I have no difficulty with this general approach. What I think it does do, though, is put a great deal of responsibility on the hospitalero who has to make the call on the ground when faced with refusing entry to those not carrying their packs. Gaming the system by having a pack delivered to another location, and then walking a relatively short distance to an albergue that doesn't accept pack delivery, only makes this even more difficult, and I personally think that is a noxious practice. It destroys the legitimate expectation of pilgrims who have walked with their own packs that they should not have to compete for accommodation with pilgrims supported by a vehicle.
Like I implied earlier this is pure argument for argument sake to try to impose a personal interpretation of the rules. Rules which are at best nebulous. I say again do I get a better deal out of my daily choice of Albergue if I turn up with a heavier pack than anyone else. Should non religious walkers get benefits afforded that should only be afforded those of whatever religion. What if a walker is just, heaven forbid, out for a cheap walking holiday with no intention of seeking a Compostela, ergo not covered by any rules. Where do they stand on your hierarchy of privilege? What about those who see the walk as a rite of passage to prove themselves capable of flying across the world and spending 30 days in the comparitive lap of luxury in the walking world, or those whose aim, (plenty to be seen on YT), is to deplete Northern Spain of its wine by hook or by crook.
There is no definitive set of rules that cover every eventuality about anything. Personal interpretation is at best, an innocent interpretation, at worst a deliberate judgemental attitude.
 
Last edited:

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Should non religious walkers get benefits afforded that should only be afforded those of whatever religion. What if a walker is just, heaven forbid, out for a cheap walking holiday with no intention of seeking a Compostela, ergo not covered by any rules.
The Compostela is not the only element of the pilgrimage covered by an expectation of religious or spiritual motives. Perhaps you should consider what the pilgrim office has to say about the Credencial. "This Credencial is only for pilgrims on foot, bicycle or horseback, who wish to make the pilgrimage with a Christian sentiment, even if it is only with an attitude of search." If someone is clear in their own mind that their journey is not inspired by religious or spiritual motives of that sort then perhaps they should also seriously consider whether it is appropriate for them to carry the Credencial and make use of the albergues which require it.
 
Last edited:

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (2020)
Like I implied earlier this is pure argument for argument sake to try to impose a personal interpretation of the rules. Rules which are at best nebulous.
Really. The credencial text is far from nebulous - written in plain sight and if you cannot read Spanish or French, there are translations on the Cathedral web page or use one of the may on-line translators. Then tell me that this is a personal interpretation. It clearly isn't.

@Jimmy Smith, if you don't like my analysis, you are at liberty to undertake your own, using the same resources that I have used, or proposing new ones if you think they justify an alternative interpretation. Just don't stand there and mock this as a personal interpretation. Do the work to propose an alternative and don't be lazy!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I would like to travel light (this is not my first canoe trip) and not overpack the backpack, carry our own backpacks and just stay in the albergues.
I would not recommend using a canoe on the Meseta, at least. Will be tough days. There are also a few climbs along the Camino where a canoe is very impractical, IMHO.

Most albergues accept backpack transfer these days.
 
Last edited:

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!

Jimmy Smith

Jimbob
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017
The point is Dougfitz, you do actually try to fit the rules and your analysis to match your view point, now you may not mean to, but you do. To accuse me of laziness to justify your interpretations is insulting.

Bradypus has written much more clearly my belief on the matter. I agree with him, it is the misuse of the credencial and not the porterage of luggage which is the problem.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Personal interpretation is at best, an innocent interpretation, at worst a deliberate judgemental attitude.
Bradypus has written much more clearly my belief on the matter. I agree with him, it is the misuse of the credencial and not the porterage of luggage which is the problem.
Please do not assume that I am happy with the current situation regarding luggage transport. I do not have a window into the hearts and minds of others and try to avoid jumping to ill-informed conclusions about their motives and their practice. But I often fail in that attempt. I am in many respects a grumpy old pedestrian fundamentalist and very ill at ease with many aspects of the modern Camino. Not the least of which is the frequent insistence that we must not be judgemental. We are Homo sapiens: we are meant to be thinking creatures who consider a situation and then reach conclusions. That is the primary meaning of "judgment". I do not decide the "rules" of the Camino but I reserve my right to express my personal opinion on what they should be. Those who have considered their decisions and reached other conclusions are just as free to defend them too. Closing down genuine difference of opinion with a pejorative "judgemental" label does not get us any further forward.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
My plea to people to carry their own packs, if they can, is framed in terms of the advantages of doing so, rather than a judgment. Carrying a pack has many advantages and teaches so many camino lessons that do not come easily in our western society; how to discard the unnecessary, how to live simply, how to be self sufficient, how to strengthen the body, how to be spontaneous, how to eliminate choice.... This list goes on and on.
 

Jimmy Smith

Jimbob
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017
Please do not assume that I am happy with the current situation regarding luggage transport. I do not have a window into the hearts and minds of others and try to avoid jumping to ill-informed conclusions about their motives and their practice. But I often fail in that attempt. I am in many respects a grumpy old pedestrian fundamentalist and very ill at ease with many aspects of the modern Camino. Not the least of which is the frequent insistence that we must not be judgemental. We are Homo sapiens: we are meant to be thinking creatures who consider a situation and then reach conclusions. That is the primary meaning of "judgment". I do not decide the "rules" of the Camino but I reserve my right to express my personal opinion on what they should be. Those who have considered their decisions and reached other conclusions are just as free to defend them too. Closing down genuine difference of opinion with a pejorative "judgemental" label does not get us any further forward.
I tend to agree with most of what you say. Except for the fact that accusing me of laziness is in fact insulting, and certainly does not move anything forward.

As a previous respondent noted it appears that the same few people tend to swish aside all other points of view. If this forum wants to be that way inclined then fair enough. I will concede, I submit.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
@David Tallan , I don't think this is a legitimate conclusion. It certainly doesn't seem to me to the original statement by @Rebekah Scott that pilgrims who sent their bags forward would have other options suggests anything like these pilgrims should not use donotivo albergues. I think it is a legitimate to suggest that the statement be read on its face value, and that, in the case of the albergue is discussing, there were other options for pilgrims who sent their bags by pack taxi.

That said, my earlier analysis of this matter stands, where I concluded that those who do use pack-taxis are effectively being supported by a vehicle, and these pilgrims should be complying with the conditions on the credencial to seek other accommodation. This is not a matter of whether or not the albergue is donotivo, it is a matter for all 'public' albergues.

Albergues can set their own rules on these matters, and I noted that the Spanish Federation of Friends of the Camino de Santiago Associations has made a statement on how this might be applied in a flexible manner that essentially favours those who carry their own pack during busy times on the Camino, but doesn't deny access to those using pack-taxis completely across the year.

Personally, I have no difficulty with this general approach. What I think it does do, though, is put a great deal of responsibility on the hospitalero who has to make the call on the ground when faced with refusing entry to those not carrying their packs. Gaming the system by having a pack delivered to another location, and then walking a relatively short distance to an albergue that doesn't accept pack delivery, only makes this even more difficult, and I personally think that is a noxious practice. It destroys the legitimate expectation of pilgrims who have walked with their own packs that they should not have to compete for accommodation with pilgrims supported by a vehicle.
Doug, I didn't read Rebecca's original statement that way either. I read her original statement as saying that the reason backpacks were not accepted was that they volunteers couldn't guarantee being there to receive them and didn't want to look after them in the owners absence and nothing more. It was her later comment that people who had backpacks sent to nearby restaurants and then brought them to the albegues were "gaming the system" that made me look deeper. If it was just the surface reading of her original post, what system were they gaming? The ruleset that you offer, that people who use automobiles to assist by carrying backpacks are breaking the terms of their credencial is even less evident in her post that the interpretation I offered, although it may be what was behind her second response. I'm not a mind reader, however, so I looked to her words for an explanation.

I agree that albergues can set their own rules. I thought I was explicit about that in my post.
 

RemysMimi

Hooked on the Camino!!
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
Frances or Portuguese (2020)
Wow! I guess this is good information. The first time I walked the Frances I stayed in private rooms which had been booked ahead the entire route. There were several days (5-10) I had to have my pack sent ahead because of back problems.
I will be walking again in May/June 2020. This time the plan is to just go with the flow and stay in as many albergues as possible. I still have issues with my back so I suppose if I have to send my pack ahead I should book private rooms prior to arrival.
Whatever happened to doing it your way?
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
I have been a hospitalera at two albergues: Emaus in Burgos and the municipal in Najera. Neither permitted backpacks to be sent to the albergue. In both cases, there was a possibility to have the backpacks sent to elsewhere in the immediate vicinity for pickup by the owners. But some walkers each day expected that they could send their backpacks to where they were staying and posted that address or name on the pack. I would suggest that they ask the provider of the service, or whoever is in charge at the location where they acquire the delivery label, what the conditions are for the location to which they wish their bag to be delivered. I remember an incident when I was walking when a number of persons showed up at a municipal albergue in a town which had other albergues and expected their bags to be there, as that was where they had sent them. They had no intention of staying there, but had booked elsewhere. That municipal albergue did not accept delivery of packs, so they had been taken away. I believe that eventually they located them. You should try to stay on top of the requirements for where you plan to stay if you expect your pack to show up there.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
There have always been rules from the church and from the lodgings.
The rules from the church and the rules from the lodgings are not the same.

The church wants you to make pilgrimage in a Christian spirit, even if only searching, all the way from SJPP to Santiago; requires you to walk the last 100 km on foot if you want a piece of paper from them; doesn't care about your backpack or where you are staying.

The lodgings, if they are for pilgrims only which many aren't, just want to see your credential; it is my understanding that a number of church recognised credentials from abroad don't mention any spirit, be it Christian or otherwise; some lodgings want to uphold not so much the Christian spirit but what they call the spirit of the Camino and that excludes backpack transport for them; many accept it that a pilgrim has part of their belongings transported and delivered to them directly; some accept it that a pilgrim has part of their belongings transported but require it to be delivered to another place to be collected there - apparently more an organisational issue than an ideological issue; a few reject both delivery options.

I have no practical experience as I never used mochila transport but I know enough to say that the majority of pilgrims who make use of the option to have their backpack sent to a point where they collect it are not gaming the system. They play by the rules.

Two examples in this context: Roncesvalles which is a church owned albergue accepts only backpacks from Express Bouricot while Jacotrans backpacks have to be delivered to the hotel next doors and picked up there. The parochial albergue of Grañon, another church owned albergue, is on the list of albergues that accept Jacotrans backpacks, according to the Jacotrans booking page; their booking page lets you only select those lodgings that accept delivery of backpacks when you book backpack transport online. (These are just examples for the sake of simplicity, other transport companies 'may apply').
 
Last edited:

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (2020)
It was her later comment that people who had backpacks sent to nearby restaurants and then brought them to the albegues were "gaming the system" that made me look deeper.
@David Tallan I see where you are coming from now. I still think you might be extending this idea well beyond the mere words and the context would suggest to me would be warranted.
 

Paul Michetti

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese September "2019" Porto to Santiago
Via Francigena May "2020" Siena to Rome
My experience in September 2019 in Rates on the Porto to Santiago route was that our luggage was not at the albergue when we arrived. I presume the doors were not open when the truck arrived. We had to walk 300 meters to a bar to fetch them and upon our return we were given a lecture about only backpacking pilgrims should be using the municipal albergues. We were made to feel guilty about bringing luggage into the main room. They did not turn us away but we were not aware of this "requirement" in our research. The luggage transport company Tuitrans also did not make mention of it when they accepted to deliver the luggage to that albergue. At two other private albergues on this route we did not have any issues and there were plenty of bags delivered by other companies as well in these locations. Our other accommodations were apartments or rooming houses so that was the only time we had a little bit of a problem. We chalked it up to a learning experience.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
It might help if newer forum members knew that baggage transfer is a relatively new thing on the Camino. When I first walked in 2001 there were no organised or commercial baggage transfers. Everyone carried their own pack, unless they used taxis or had a friend driving a car. It was very clear that walking pilgrims, unsupported by vehicles, received priority in getting a bed at the albergues (or refugios, as they were then called). There was not much commercial accommodation, so few alternatives to the municipal and traditional “houses of welcome”, and it was only fair that those who carried their own packs got priority. Including over those on bicycles. My first guide book explicitly stated that.
The growth of commercial ventures on the Camino has brought some good things but also some disadvantages. It has made it more accessible for many, which is both good and bad. I love that we now see children and families walking, I love that those with physical ailments can walk. I’m not so keen on those to whom the Camino is just another holiday destination on their bucket list. I’m not so keen on those who aren’t prepared to put in any effort. I’m not so keen on those who expect conditions to be the same as in their home country. I’m really upset by those who think they can behave like mindless children, leaving a mess behind them, drawing senselessly on everything, being inconsiderate and whinging and complaining and not taking personal responsibility for themselves. In my experience those people are a tiny, tiny minority - but with the huge increase in numbers inevitably there will be more of them.

A bit of a rant!
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (2020)
It might help if newer forum members knew that baggage transfer is a relatively new thing on the Camino. When I first walked in 2001 there were no organised or commercial baggage transfers.
There is evidence that a form of baggage transfer was offered by Jesus Jato from Villafrance del Bierzo to O Cebriero as early as 1990. See http://www.verscompostelle.be/transport-de-sacs-a-dos.htm for an article on this matter from Pierre Swalus in Pactem, the Review of the Belgium Association of Friends of the Camino.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Yes, I remember that @dougfitz - we were very excited about the thought of getting our packs carried from Villafranca up to O Cebreiro. But it was only for that leg. We stayed with Jesús and the next day, after a late night quemada, Reb Scott tried to walk the mountain route and got lost and bitten by a dog... I can’t remember if Jesús carried our packs or not. I assume he did.
 

danielle aird

La vie est belle
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018; September 2018; May 2019; Sept (2019)
If people want to game the system, that's on them.
I am not sure what is meant by "gaming the system" but if it means "cheating the system" that is not what I meant. I meant that one albergue has an arrangement with the delivery man who delivers the bags to a restaurant and when the hospitalera arrives, she picks them up by car and takes them to the albergue.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
Heavens, I didn't know this was such a philosophical point!
There are several old-guard albergues that don't accept bag deliveries because their pilgrim model rose up with the modern albergue system. Back in the 80s, when this whole business sprang up, pilgrims stayed in a ragtag network of donativo or free places, many of them unheated, unfurnished, unattended, semi-abandoned schoolhouses and garages. The pilgrims who walked were assumed to be strong, healthy, motivated, and prepared to take whatever the road threw at them. They were often quite dirty, hungry, and hurt. When they found a clear space on the floor under a good roof, they were grateful.
The pilgrimage has become a much more touristic trip these days, with reservations, private rooms with en-suite baths, masseuses, bag deliveries, pilgrim menus, GPS and apps, and mobile phones. It's not hard to see how the albergues have changed, and how the pilgrims have changed.
The old-school albergues that have survived now offer hot water and clean beds, but they try to keep the old spirit of hospitality alive by hanging onto relics like volunteer hosts and the donativo principle. They are fundamentally pilgrim bunkhouses, run on a shoestring, so even the poorest pilgrim will have a bed to sleep in. They are not supposed to be tourist lodgings, catering to customer demand.
Requiring pilgrims to attend to their own belongings is not too much to ask.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Back in the 80s, when this whole business sprang up, pilgrims stayed in a ragtag network of donativo or free places, many of them unheated, unfurnished, unattended, semi-abandoned schoolhouses and garages. The pilgrims who walked were assumed to be strong, healthy, motivated, and prepared to take whatever the road threw at them. They were often quite dirty, hungry, and hurt. When they found a clear space on the floor under a good roof, they were grateful.
A little while ago @Kathar1na posted some statistics from 1987 which showed the difference in startling terms: mostly far younger, mainly students, almost all self-professed Roman Catholics walking for overtly religious reasons, and with half of all Compostelas being received by those who had walked nearly 800km from SJPDP. A very different business indeed. Personally I am glad to still find the occasional surviving remnant of that earlier more independent and less self-entitled spirit.

1580468538808.png
 
Last edited:
Thread starter OLDER threads on this topic Forum Replies Date
Ymanning Frequently Asked Questions 5
OLDER threads on this topic
Are the albergues heated?

Get on our Mailing list for new products on the Camino Store and news from the Camino Forum








Advertisement

Booking.com

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter






Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 16 1.3%
  • February

    Votes: 10 0.8%
  • March

    Votes: 53 4.3%
  • April

    Votes: 185 15.1%
  • May

    Votes: 298 24.4%
  • June

    Votes: 86 7.0%
  • July

    Votes: 23 1.9%
  • August

    Votes: 27 2.2%
  • September

    Votes: 351 28.7%
  • October

    Votes: 150 12.3%
  • November

    Votes: 17 1.4%
  • December

    Votes: 6 0.5%
Top
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website. For the best site experience please disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock