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Freaking a little about albergue availability in July

KFrances

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
July 2016
Hi everyone, My husband and I are walking the Camino in July starting at Ponferrada. We have 17 days which I think should be plenty. We're fairly set with equipment but I must admit to starting to freak out about the availability of albergues en route to Santiago. I am trying not to overplan by making reservations in advance because I feel this distracts from the entire point of the camino, however, I don't want to sleep outside or have to walk another 10K to find a bed. Any advice would be most appreciated!
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
I start in July from St jpdP. I don't know what to say to you except....we shall see what happens and no doubt ...cope? :)
It IS a crowded Camino in the Summer months.
But like me, you probably cannot go any other time... So be it !

I wish you well fellow pilgrims and ... buen camino:)
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
Been on the CF twice during the month of July (2013 and 2014).
I always found a bed for the night.
Don't sweat it, and the only advice I can think to give is perhaps avoid the really popular cities/towns that pilgrims stay in (especially the bigger ones on weekends) and avoid arriving in Santiago on a Friday or Saturday unless you have booked in advance. Otherwise, cheers and ultreia.
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
Hi everyone, My husband and I are walking the Camino in July starting at Ponferrada. We have 17 days which I think should be plenty. We're fairly set with equipment but I must admit to starting to freak out about the availability of albergues en route to Santiago. I am trying not to overplan by making reservations in advance because I feel this distracts from the entire point of the camino, however, I don't want to sleep outside or have to walk another 10K to find a bed. Any advice would be most appreciated!
@KFrances:
The only other option that I can think of is to start early each day and finish your daily walk while there are still beds in your chosen town or village, if not always in your preferred albergue. This might be a good idea anyway, as it will probably be hot in July. Ponferrada is only about 207 kilometres from Santiago, so with 17 days you will be walking about 13 km. per day, not allowing for days off. An easy walking pace is about 4 km. per hour, so you will need to walk about 3.25 hours. You will probably want to allow for some days in Santiago and possibly a day off en route, but you have more than enough leeway to allow for that. It sounds to me like you have done some excellent planning. Maybe you are just having pre-camino jitters? Buen camino.
 

Peter Fransiscus

Be a Rainbow in someone else's cloud.
Year of past OR future Camino
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
Hi everyone, My husband and I are walking the Camino in July starting at Ponferrada. We have 17 days which I think should be plenty. We're fairly set with equipment but I must admit to starting to freak out about the availability of albergues en route to Santiago. I am trying not to overplan by making reservations in advance because I feel this distracts from the entire point of the camino, however, I don't want to sleep outside or have to walk another 10K to find a bed. Any advice would be most appreciated!
Hi, I think everything is already said.
You have to let it come over you and embrace it.
Wish you both a wonderful journey and a Buen Camino, Peter.
 

Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
It's about being realistic, if you are of the "I will only stay in donativo/municipal albergues," then you'll have issues finding a bed, don't expect to show up at the municipal albergues in Burgos or Leon at 1900 and expect a bed to be available.
I started staying in private albergues because I wanted to walk till about 1500-1600, I felt it was a waste of the day to stop at noon, there is plenty of daylight since sunset is around 2100-2130. The last 150km before Santiago is when I started seeing large groups booking a majority of beds in private albergues, I no longer was able to walk late into the afternoon and expect beds to be available at private albergues, I stopped at 1400 to get a bed for the night.
 

Camino2010

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés
SJPP to Santiago (2010)
SJPP to Fisterra (2011)
SJPP to Fisterra/Muxia (2012)
SJPP to Fisterra/Muxia (2015)
SJPP to Fisterra/Muxia (2016)
Hi everyone, My husband and I are walking the Camino in July starting at Ponferrada. We have 17 days which I think should be plenty. We're fairly set with equipment but I must admit to starting to freak out about the availability of albergues en route to Santiago. I am trying not to overplan by making reservations in advance because I feel this distracts from the entire point of the camino, however, I don't want to sleep outside or have to walk another 10K to find a bed. Any advice would be most appreciated!

Dear KFrances, it tugs at my heart to read posts from first-time pilgrims getting ready to go to the Camino, worrying about albergues being full. I know it can be difficult to feel at ease about something when you haven't actually been there yet and experienced it. But please know that all is well and you need not fret.

I have walked the Camino Francés four times, twice in September-October, and twice in June-July. And I'm set to walk again this year, in July-August. Of the four times I've walked, only once have I arrived at the albergue where I wanted to stay and found it full. I think those are pretty greatly super odds! :) (And the time the albergue was full was in Ferreiros, a teeny tiny place after Sarria, at 7:30pm! Of course there were no beds by then!) But my friend and I could have stayed in a farmhouse just down the road from there that had space, though we decided on another adventure and continued on to Portomarin where there were still plenty of beds available at the municipal albergue.

Albergues do fill up, but the chances of you ever needing to sleep outside are slim to none in my opinion (and experience). The night I stayed in Tosantos in 2011, the place was technically full. But when I woke up in the morning and went downstairs I could see that the hospitalero had rearranged the furniture in the reception area and there were 4 or 5 pilgrims sleeping in there on mats, and a few more in the entrance hallway. In 2012 when I slept at the monastery albergue with the nuns in León (my fourth time staying there), there were extra mattresses all along the corridors downstairs and outside in the courtyard and entryway! And again in 2011, on the way to Negreira (walking from Santiago to Fisterra), there were 5 pilgrims sleeping in the dining area (and in 2015 it was the same). Kindness makes space. :)

Ponferrada is a beautiful place for you and your husband to start your Camino! You'll have a lovely time getting conditioned on the way up to O Cebreiro. You'll get to experience the rascally short steep climb to Alto do Poio! ;) And there will be plenty of possible places for you to stop and sleep for the night. It's summertime, so you'll likely want to start early in the morning to beat the heat (though once you're in Galicia it's cooler, which is lovely). Stay aware of how you're feeling (maybe you'll feel inspired to walk a little longer than you'd planned, as you get into your Camino rhythm), know that you can stop earlier if you want to, and know that there will most likely be beds wherever you're thinking of staying.

Last year I was full of energy and walking healthy and strong (I learned a lot about physical limitations and also shattered a lot of mental beliefs about what I thought was possible, a valuable gift and life lesson for me), and I walked from Ponferrada to Santiago in 5 days (my first year I did it in 10). So your 17 days should serve you well and really allow you to savour the experience with plenty of time.

Buen Camino! I wish you countless blessings on the Way.

Rachel
 

timr

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Several and counting...
I keep reading the anxious messages about shortage of accommodation, and I know it is a worry for people, especially before their first time on the Camino.
BUT
I have walked on CF 4 times, and Norte, and Primitivo in, variously, May, September, July, and August. I have never booked ahead (except on an odd occasion to stay in a hotel for a 'break'). And in Santiago when I wanted to stay for a couple of days.
I stay always in a mix of municipal, private and parochial albergues. I generally at the beginning of the day don't have an absolutely firm plan of where I am going to stop that night. I would say as often at the major 'end-points' as the 'half-way' points.
In all that time, I have only ever once turned up at an albergue and found it completo - about four weeks ago in Pedrouzo.
Interestingly it was a new-ish one which had many large adverts along the road, and sounded nice: Hostel Cruceiro Pedrouzo. It didn't 'look' full from the reception desk and I am guessing that it was full with pre-bookings, (possibly by phone in response to the adverts)? I say this because physically next door to it was REM hostel (50 beds) and it was barely a third full at the time Cruceiro (94 beds) was full completely. REM did not fill up by nightfall. And it was very nice.
I know that people DO turn up at places and find them full. All I am saying is my experience has been different. I don't, based on my own experience, think people need to worry all that much, though I know people will until they find out (I hope) it is not quite as bad as it is sometimes painted!
 
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JillGat

la tierra encantada
Year of past OR future Camino
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
C. Frances (Sept 2017)
Camino Portugues (June 2019)
If you stop early in the day in a less busy town, you should be fine. when in doubt (or if you might be arriving later in the day, it is easy to reserve a place in a private Albergue the day before. one Albergue owner told me there are half as many pilgrims in July compared to May/June. so I'm here in one of the busiest times. I have had absolutely no problem getting a bed. (it also helps not to be with a group trying to find beds together).
QUOTE="KFrances, post: 419197, member: 55396"]Hi everyone, My husband and I are walking the Camino in July starting at Ponferrada. We have 17 days which I think should be plenty. We're fairly set with equipment but I must admit to starting to freak out about the availability of albergues en route to Santiago. I am trying not to overplan by making reservations in advance because I feel this distracts from the entire point of the camino, however, I don't want to sleep outside or have to walk another 10K to find a bed. Any advice would be most appreciated![/QUOTE]
 

KFrances

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
July 2016
Been on the CF twice during the month of July (2013 and 2014).
I always found a bed for the night.
Don't sweat it, and the only advice I can think to give is perhaps avoid the really popular cities/towns that pilgrims stay in (especially the bigger ones on weekends) and avoid arriving in Santiago on a Friday or Saturday unless you have booked in advance. Otherwise, cheers and ultreia.
thank you! feeling a bit relieved
 

KFrances

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
July 2016
Dear KFrances, it tugs at my heart to read posts from first-time pilgrims getting ready to go to the Camino, worrying about albergues being full. I know it can be difficult to feel at ease about something when you haven't actually been there yet and experienced it. But please know that all is well and you need not fret.

I have walked the Camino Francés four times, twice in September-October, and twice in June-July. And I'm set to walk again this year, in July-August. Of the four times I've walked, only once have I arrived at the albergue where I wanted to stay and found it full. I think those are pretty greatly super odds! :) (And the time the albergue was full was in Ferreiros, a teeny tiny place after Sarria, at 7:30pm! Of course there were no beds by then!) But my friend and I could have stayed in a farmhouse just down the road from there that had space, though we decided on another adventure and continued on to Portomarin where there were still plenty of beds available at the municipal albergue.

Albergues do fill up, but the chances of you ever needing to sleep outside are slim to none in my opinion (and experience). The night I stayed in Tosantos in 2011, the place was technically full. But when I woke up in the morning and went downstairs I could see that the hospitalero had rearranged the furniture in the reception area and there were 4 or 5 pilgrims sleeping in there on mats, and a few more in the entrance hallway. In 2012 when I slept at the monastery albergue with the nuns in León (my fourth time staying there), there were extra mattresses all along the corridors downstairs and outside in the courtyard and entryway! And again in 2011, on the way to Negreira (walking from Santiago to Fisterra), there were 5 pilgrims sleeping in the dining area (and in 2015 it was the same). Kindness makes space. :)

Ponferrada is a beautiful place for you and your husband to start your Camino! You'll have a lovely time getting conditioned on the way up to O Cebreiro. You'll get to experience the rascally short steep climb to Alto do Poio! ;) And there will be plenty of possible places for you to stop and sleep for the night. It's summertime, so you'll likely want to start early in the morning to beat the heat (though once you're in Galicia it's cooler, which is lovely). Stay aware of how you're feeling (maybe you'll feel inspired to walk a little longer than you'd planned, as you get into your Camino rhythm), know that you can stop earlier if you want to, and know that there will most likely be beds wherever you're thinking of staying.

Last year I was full of energy and walking healthy and strong (I learned a lot about physical limitations and also shattered a lot of mental beliefs about what I thought was possible, a valuable gift and life lesson for me), and I walked from Ponferrada to Santiago in 5 days (my first year I did it in 10). So your 17 days should serve you well and really allow you to savour the experience with plenty of time.

Buen Camino! I wish you countless blessings on the Way.

Rachel
Thank you for your detailed notes & words of encouragement! May i ask if a sleep liner is sufficient in July; that's what we are planning to bring. I'm feeling loads better after reading everyone's replies. :)
 

Camino2010

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés
SJPP to Santiago (2010)
SJPP to Fisterra (2011)
SJPP to Fisterra/Muxia (2012)
SJPP to Fisterra/Muxia (2015)
SJPP to Fisterra/Muxia (2016)
Thank you for your detailed notes & words of encouragement! May i ask if a sleep liner is sufficient in July; that's what we are planning to bring. I'm feeling loads better after reading everyone's replies. :)

People will give you different answers on this one, and from what I've read here on the forum over the years, I may be in a minority with my opinion. ;) I've always taken my silk liner and sleeping bag and been happy and thankful for them. Even on the hottest nights for sleeping (like in Castrojeriz in 2012, and in Zubiri and Estella last summer -- all three of which were nights during a heat wave (oh my goodness!)), I appreciated both for extra protection against bedbugs and for hygiene reasons, and for extra cushioning on the mattress.

Plus, I tend to feel the cold, and in 2012 in July, the freezing cold mountain air in Rabanal led to the hospitalera building a roaring fire in the Confraternity of Saint James albergue fireplace. I was very happy for my two layers that night! (I don't trust albergue blankets because I don't know how often they get washed; I've only rarely used them, and besides, not every albergue has them.) I've also been thankful to have both my sleeping bag and liner on the coast as it can be quite damp and chilly at night in Fisterra and Muxia, even in summertime.

That said, you and your husband are going for 17 days, and the chilliest place you'd likely stay is O Cebreiro. I personally would take liner and sleeping bag (I will in August) but I reckon you'd be okay with just your liner for that long. It depends on what you want for comfort and weight, hygiene and temperature.

And you're most welcome! I'm glad you're feeling better. :)

Rachel

P.S. My sleeping bag is quite light anyway, it's quilted on one side and the other side is just a sheet. I'm including a link to it (though mine was a previous model to this one). I love that it's a rectangle because I found out the hard way on my second Camino that taking a mummy- or a barrel-shaped bag to try and save space and weight was a disaster for me. My legs need to move and kick around too much at night after a full day of walking, and I felt like I was trapped! http://www.mec.ca/product/5034-985/mec-intrepid-traveller-15-22c-sleeping-bag-unisex/
 
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Patch

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
St Jean to Santiago and Porto to Santiago
Before I started from Burgos on 4th June their was lots of talk about availability for beds due to record pilgrim numbers. We have found absolutely no problem with accommodation. In fact many places had spare beds. I have done this walk for three years now and only once I truly struggled
 

timr

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Several and counting...
Thank you for your detailed notes & words of encouragement! May i ask if a sleep liner is sufficient in July; that's what we are planning to bring. I'm feeling loads better after reading everyone's replies. :)
Hi @KFrances I walked the Norte (along the coast) last July/August and it was the first time and the only time to date I didn't bring a sleeping bag with me. I didn't miss it, though I have always brought a sleeping bag on other trips. MOST, but NOT all, albergues have blankets. There are occasions, but not I think in July on CF, when I know I would be cold without a blanket OR sleeping bag.
You have to decide for yourself(! :)) - if I was walking from Ponferrada in July next, I wouldn't bring a sleeping bag.
But I agree very much with @Camino2010 - most of the time I would bring it for that bit of security.
Have a wonderful time! Buen camino!!
 

timr

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Several and counting...
Dear KFrances, it tugs at my heart to read posts from first-time pilgrims getting ready to go to the Camino, worrying about albergues being full. I know it can be difficult to feel at ease about something when you haven't actually been there yet and experienced it. But please know that all is well and you need not fret......
Rachel
@Camino2010 Hi Rachel, I really appreciate what you say and somehow had replied in very similar vein before I read your reply to the OP. As we have both said, the situation is really not as bad as you might think, reading some of the (perfectly truthful and honest) messages on the boards.
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
I have walked the Camino Francés four times, twice in September-October, and twice in June-July. And I'm set to walk again this year, in July-August. Of the four times I've walked, only once have I arrived at the albergue where I wanted to stay and found it full. I think those are pretty greatly super odds!
I hear the sentiments expressed, and was generally of that opinion in my previous walks. However, this year seems unique. Already June is shaping up to have 5,000 more pilgrims than last June, and 7,000 more than the last Holy Year. Anyone who has walked in a Holy Year can tell you that it is a madhouse. Xuntas know that, so they open additional temporary albergues. That is not happening this year! With two hundred more pilgrims daily in June (compared to the last Holy Year in 2010), accommodations will fill rapidly.

We can all pine for the days of yore, or we can adjust to conditions as they exist. It is not clear that finding a bed will be easy, so stopping early in the afternoon, booking ahead, staying in hoteles/hostales, and avoiding the normal end stages are strategies that will work for some. However, if July and August follow the trend of May and June, even those strategies may not work if everyone is using them.:)
 

Camino2010

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés
SJPP to Santiago (2010)
SJPP to Fisterra (2011)
SJPP to Fisterra/Muxia (2012)
SJPP to Fisterra/Muxia (2015)
SJPP to Fisterra/Muxia (2016)
I hear the sentiments expressed, and was generally of that opinion in my previous walks. However, this year seems unique. Already June is shaping up to have 5,000 more pilgrims than last June, and 7,000 more than the last Holy Year. Anyone who has walked in a Holy Year can tell you that it is a madhouse. Xuntas know that, so they open additional temporary albergues. That is not happening this year! With two hundred more pilgrims daily in June (compared to the last Holy Year in 2010), accommodations will fill rapidly.

We can all pine for the days of yore, or we can adjust to conditions as they exist. It is not clear that finding a bed will be easy, so stopping early in the afternoon, booking ahead, staying in hoteles/hostales, and avoiding the normal end stages are strategies that will work for some. However, if July and August follow the trend of May and June, even those strategies may not work if everyone is using them.:)

Wow, that's a lot of extra pilgrims! It will be interesting to see how the rest of the year unfolds. My first Camino was in 2010, the Holy Year, but in late September and into October it wasn't crowded (from my perspective anyway). The most crowded I've seen the Camino was in July of 2012. That was like a "pilgrim parade" in several places, including early on!

But I still don't plan to book ahead this year, as I don't mind walking on if need be. And I also start walking quite early in the day to avoid the heat. Who knows, maybe if the next few weeks are insanely busy, some extra places will open up, at least temporarily. It pays to be flexible and open to other possibilities, I've found.

Rachel :)
 
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Carla Jean

New Member
Hi everyone, My husband and I are walking the Camino in July starting at Ponferrada. We have 17 days which I think should be plenty. We're fairly set with equipment but I must admit to starting to freak out about the availability of albergues en route to Santiago. I am trying not to overplan by making reservations in advance because I feel this distracts from the entire point of the camino, however, I don't want to sleep outside or have to walk another 10K to find a bed. Any advice would be most appreciated!
Freaking out? Really? Be a pilgrim. The Camino will provide.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
People will give you different answers on this one, and from what I've read here on the forum over the years, I may be in a minority with my opinion. ;) I've always taken my silk liner and sleeping bag and been happy and thankful for them. Even on the hottest nights for sleeping (like in Castrojeriz in 2012, and in Zubiri and Estella last summer -- all three of which were nights during a heat wave (oh my goodness!)), I appreciated both for extra protection against bedbugs and for hygiene reasons, and for extra cushioning on the mattress.

Plus, I tend to feel the cold, and in 2012 in July, the freezing cold mountain air in Rabanal led to the hospitalera building a roaring fire in the Confraternity of Saint James albergue fireplace. I was very happy for my two layers that night! (I don't trust albergue blankets because I don't know how often they get washed; I've only rarely used them, and besides, not every albergue has them.) I've also been thankful to have both my sleeping bag and liner on the coast as it can be quite damp and chilly at night in Fisterra and Muxia, even in summertime.

I agree with every word :) I too always take a sleeping bag and a silk liner but realise some people are perfectly comfortable with just a liner.

I was cold also in 2012, Rabanal and on the way to Fisterra, even though the rest of the time there was a heatwave.

I take very few clothes but wouldn't be without my sleeping bag :)
 

Zuzana

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(September 2015)
Dear KFrances, it tugs at my heart to read posts from first-time pilgrims getting ready to go to the Camino, worrying about albergues being full. I know it can be difficult to feel at ease about something when you haven't actually been there yet and experienced it. But please know that all is well and you need not fret.

I have walked the Camino Francés four times, twice in September-October, and twice in June-July. And I'm set to walk again this year, in July-August. Of the four times I've walked, only once have I arrived at the albergue where I wanted to stay and found it full. I think those are pretty greatly super odds! :) (And the time the albergue was full was in Ferreiros, a teeny tiny place after Sarria, at 7:30pm! Of course there were no beds by then!) But my friend and I could have stayed in a farmhouse just down the road from there that had space, though we decided on another adventure and continued on to Portomarin where there were still plenty of beds available at the municipal albergue.

Albergues do fill up, but the chances of you ever needing to sleep outside are slim to none in my opinion (and experience). The night I stayed in Tosantos in 2011, the place was technically full. But when I woke up in the morning and went downstairs I could see that the hospitalero had rearranged the furniture in the reception area and there were 4 or 5 pilgrims sleeping in there on mats, and a few more in the entrance hallway. In 2012 when I slept at the monastery albergue with the nuns in León (my fourth time staying there), there were extra mattresses all along the corridors downstairs and outside in the courtyard and entryway! And again in 2011, on the way to Negreira (walking from Santiago to Fisterra), there were 5 pilgrims sleeping in the dining area (and in 2015 it was the same). Kindness makes space. :)

Ponferrada is a beautiful place for you and your husband to start your Camino! You'll have a lovely time getting conditioned on the way up to O Cebreiro. You'll get to experience the rascally short steep climb to Alto do Poio! ;) And there will be plenty of possible places for you to stop and sleep for the night. It's summertime, so you'll likely want to start early in the morning to beat the heat (though once you're in Galicia it's cooler, which is lovely). Stay aware of how you're feeling (maybe you'll feel inspired to walk a little longer than you'd planned, as you get into your Camino rhythm), know that you can stop earlier if you want to, and know that there will most likely be beds wherever you're thinking of staying.

Last year I was full of energy and walking healthy and strong (I learned a lot about physical limitations and also shattered a lot of mental beliefs about what I thought was possible, a valuable gift and life lesson for me), and I walked from Ponferrada to Santiago in 5 days (my first year I did it in 10). So your 17 days should serve you well and really allow you to savour the experience with plenty of time.

Buen Camino! I wish you countless blessings on the Way.

Rachel

Thank you for such great post, I walked from SJPDP to Sahagun in September last year and this year I would like to finish my camino but I can only go in August. Even if I experienced the spirit of the Camino last year, I started to be worried about bed availability. However when I read your post it encouraged me not to be worried/stressed and just enjoy and take what camino should say/show me.
Thank you again :)
 

Patch

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
St Jean to Santiago and Porto to Santiago
Just got here in Santiago from starting in Burgos, although I did book hotel here two days ago. No problems with accommodation on the way and apart from one place their was always free beds on my first choice of Albergue.
 

Camino2010

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés
SJPP to Santiago (2010)
SJPP to Fisterra (2011)
SJPP to Fisterra/Muxia (2012)
SJPP to Fisterra/Muxia (2015)
SJPP to Fisterra/Muxia (2016)
Thank you for such great post, I walked from SJPDP to Sahagun in September last year and this year I would like to finish my camino but I can only go in August. Even if I experienced the spirit of the Camino last year, I started to be worried about bed availability. However when I read your post it encouraged me not to be worried/stressed and just enjoy and take what camino should say/show me.
Thank you again :)

You are welcome! I'm glad it helped you to change your perspective and feel better. I will be there again myself in August, maybe we will see each other! But I doubt either of us will need to worry about finding a place to sleep. As you say, we can take the gifts that the Camino offers, whatever they turn out to be.

Buen Camino!

Rachel
 
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