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"free alberques"??

lorax

Member
Camino(s) past & future
I tried in 09, it went horribly. Gonna try again. Aug/Sept this year
Hi all...

I keep reading about free alberques... can anyone tell me if this is true? It seems to be mostly the ones on the last 100k into Santiago and how its a race to the free ones? I'm just confused by all of it. Also the thing in Santiago about the first 10 pilgrims are put up in a parador for three days?? Can anyone enlighten me about this? It was my understanding that the alberques are 3-10 euros a night. I'm just trying to get as much information ahead of time as I can. Thanks.

Blessings...

Karla
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Hola Karla

There are no free facilities.

Generally speaking there are three kinds of albergues along some of the routes:

Municipal albergues: run by local councils or ayuntamientos. Until recently these were provided on a "donation" basis but have now changed to a standard charge of 3 euors per person per night

Church/Voluntary organisation albergues - such as those provided by the Confraternity of St James which remain provided on a donation basis

Privately owned albergues: which may provide a range of services and which will have a charge - for bed and breakfast for example

The small charge or donation is to enable these organisations to keep these places running for future pilgrims. We have an obligation to contribute what we can.

Parador: - alas it is not the case that the first 10 pilgrims each day get a free room in the Parador in Santiago. But there is a tradition that each day the first 10 pilgrims in the queue outside the side entrance to the albergue may recieve a meal in the staff dining room. I understand this is avialable at 9, 12 and 7pm - but check this at the Pilgrims' Office where you will recieve your Compostela of which you will also need photocopies to gain admission.

I haven't done this myself but others who have will advise and so will the Pilgrims' Office in Santiagio.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Hi Karla,
The refuges in Galicia used to be donativo but they started charging 3 euro per pilgrim last year.
There are many donativo albergues on the camino but don't treat them as free - treat them as a donation and give what you can.
A few places serve a donativo evening meal and what you get depends on what the pilgrims gave the day before. If you get a frugal meal it will be because the skint-flints who were there before you didn't donate much!
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
these are lovely and measured replies to a very good question.

You guys handled it much better than I do.

Reb (aka "Donativo Does Not Mean Free")
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
Well Karla, if a stranger spent the night at your place,used the shower,kitchen etc wouldn't it be nice if they offered some recompense?
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
Hello Karla,
I saw a notice in one of the "volunatary donation" albergues saying, to the effect "voluntary donation doesn't mean free".
In these cases you should give as generously as you can, this also applies to a communal dinner, where often the Pilgrims join forces, club together go and buy the necessary food and drink and divide up the costs between them.
Anne
 

aikisilvi

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Portuguese. Future: Via de La Plata 2019.
annakappa said:
Hello Karla,
I saw a notice in one of the "volunatary donation" albergues saying, to the effect "voluntary donation doesn't mean free".
In these cases you should give as generously as you can, this also applies to a communal dinner, where often the Pilgrims join forces, club together go and buy the necessary food and drink and divide up the costs between them.
Anne

Hi Anne,

Does this mean also that there's no meals provided? I guess I'm totally out of my mind, I thought that if you stayed in these Albuergues that meals where also included in a fixed price. Do most of the albuergues have kitchen facilities and what would I need to bring from home to cook a meal?

Thanks,
Silvi
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
The albergues/gites in france often have an option of accom/dinner and brekfast but this did not seem to be available in spain.Many albergues have kitchens but many of the utensils seem to go walkabout.I invariably ate in restaurants where the menu of the day usually comprised 3 (fairly basic) courses but bread and a bottle of wine. I found it a nuisance to buy stuff from the supermarket,jostle for space in the kitchen,find somewhere to sit etc.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Hi Silvi,
The albergues in Spain are not self-catering tourist hostels or cabins (as many Gites are in France) but are places assigned to cater for pilrims where they can have a shower, sleep the night and then move on. They might not be modern, attractive or even very hygenic but they beat camping or sleeping outdoors anytime!!
The majority of albergues are run by volunteers on a rotation basis, often past pilgrims who feel like giving something back to the camino.
The albergues come in many differents shapes, sizes and forms. Many are shelters, just like homeless shelters, in old municipal buildings, churches, reclaimed houses etc with no kitchens. The large albergue Itzandegia in Roncesvalles was rebuilt and fitted out in 1993, and the 'new' large modern albergue in the newly restored church of Maria y Jesus in Pamplona can sleep many pilgrims but don't offer meals and don't have kitchens. Some albergues have small kitchens but are not well equipped so you could eat out on those nights.
You'll soon find that the only albergues that offer a meal are those that are owned by individuals, families or organisations from other countries (Ave Fenix, Boadilla, Bercianos). Meals at these albergues is optional for a small charge.
Allow about 3 euro for breakfast, 5 euro for lunch (a bocadillo or bread and cheese bought at a supermecado) and, on average, about 10 euro for dinner.
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
aikisilvi said:
annakappa said:
Hello Karla,
I saw a notice in one of the "volunatary donation" albergues saying, to the effect "voluntary donation doesn't mean free".
In these cases you should give as generously as you can, this also applies to a communal dinner, where often the Pilgrims join forces, club together go and buy the necessary food and drink and divide up the costs between them.
Anne

Hi Anne,

Does this mean also that there's no meals provided? I guess I'm totally out of my mind, I thought that if you stayed in these Albuergues that meals where also included in a fixed price. Do most of the albuergues have kitchen facilities and what would I need to bring from home to cook a meal?

Thanks,
Silvi

Silvi, I think that Sil has summed the albergue situation up pretty well.
You can check out most albergue facilities by going into http://www.mundicamino.com which is produced in many languages (go to the British flag for English), then choose the FRENCH WAY. When that appears, go to DESCRIPTION on the left hand side of the page and choose REFUGE. Most refuges will appear under the village on this stage of the journey and you can click on each one and look at their facilities (how many beds, kitchen facilities, catagory, etc.).
There are other sites. I like http://www.consumer.es which is very complete (but it's only in Spanish). From this site, I download their guide, print it out, add my own comments in pen and that is my Camino Guide.
Hope this helps.
Anne
 

Alan Pearce

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones 2008, del Norte 2009, VdlP 2011, Ingles 2014, Camino de Madri 2015, Frances 2017
When we stayed in the 18 bed albergue in the centre of Burgos, the hospitalero had us sit down at his desk as he took our details and gave us a sello. On his desk was the moneybox in to which you placed your donation to cover your accommodation. The hospitalero was adamant that we put our donation in the moneybox before we stood up and left to find a bed. He did not look to see how much or how little it might have been that we gave, but it was obvious that, as others have said, donativo definitely did not mean free. We had a wonderful night there, and it was the only place we stayed at where the internet was free.
Buen camino
Alan
 

aikisilvi

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Portuguese. Future: Via de La Plata 2019.
sillydoll said:
Hi Silvi,
The albergues in Spain are not self-catering tourist hostels or cabins (as many Gites are in France) but are places assigned to cater for pilrims where they can have a shower, sleep the night and then move on. They might not be modern, attractive or even very hygenic but they beat camping or sleeping outdoors anytime!!
The majority of albergues are run by volunteers on a rotation basis, often past pilgrims who feel like giving something back to the camino.
The albergues come in many differents shapes, sizes and forms. Many are shelters, just like homeless shelters, in old municipal buildings, churches, reclaimed houses etc with no kitchens. The large albergue Itzandegia in Roncesvalles was rebuilt and fitted out in 1993, and the 'new' large modern albergue in the newly restored church of Maria y Jesus in Pamplona can sleep many pilgrims but don't offer meals and don't have kitchens. Some albergues have small kitchens but are not well equipped so you could eat out on those nights.
You'll soon find that the only albergues that offer a meal are those that are owned by individuals, families or organisations from other countries (Ave Fenix, Boadilla, Bercianos). Meals at these albergues is optional for a small charge.
Allow about 3 euro for breakfast, 5 euro for lunch (a bocadillo or bread and cheese bought at a supermecado) and, on average, about 10 euro for dinner.

Hi Sil,

Thank you for the advice. At least now I'm a bit more clear as to what is free isn't. The reason why asked is because when you're trying to save every penny for Europe it counts to know how much to budget for on an average. This at least tells me that maybe I would spend approximately $18e/day for meals (not including the Albuergue fees).

Thanks,
Silvi
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
You are welcome. Its all very confusing until you actually get there and then you quickly get the hang of it! In some of the albergues you help with the cooking and washing up afterwards. Those are my most memorable meals!
You don't have to spend 3 euro for breakfast - if you find an open cafe-bar you can have a coffee and tostado for about 1.50 euro.
You also don't have to spend 10 euro a night for supper but most 'Menu del Peregrinos' are between 8 - 10 euro for a three course meal with bread and water/wine.
We often bought salad ingredients, some sliced cheese or ham and had a feast for about 2 euro. If you can share the costs, so much the better.
I am a vegetarian and often bought a small box of soup - about the size of a fruit juice - and warmed it up in my metal cup with an immersion heater. With a crusty Spanish bread and a yogurt for dessert, I felt like I'd had a feast! All for about 2 euro.
In albergues that have kitchens you will always find left over rice, pasta, lentils, vegetables, cooking oil, salt etc., Pilgrims often club in with their contributions and make a communal meal.
You'll be fine - buy your own food along the way, treat yourself now and then to a 'platos' of some regional dishes, buy wine or beer from the supermecado rather than from a restaurant, and you will live like the queen of the road!
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
That is a really good Menu del Peregrino Falcon!
Many have Soup, Pork or Chicken and potato chips, a fruit or an ice-cream for dessert.
I very rarely found any menu with vegetables and most of the salads came with tuna.

The best meal we had on the camino in 2007 was at San Bol. The wanna-be Italian chef made marianted salmon steaks with orange, fried green bell peppers, risotto, leeks and onion bake and a dessert of honey and almonds. Yummy ... I can still taste it!!
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
'Meetballs' sounds interesting.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
I´m holding out for the 2-Q croquetas!

Seriously, most Menus have veg. You just have to know how to ask for it... the veg. stew they mention up there is called "menestra," and it´s everywhere. If you don´t see veg listed, ask the waiter if there are "judias verdes," or "alubias," or maybe "una ensalada normal, sin atun." Most of them are pretty tuned-up these days when you tell them you don´t want any meat. (although the alubias and judias will often show up with bits of ham in them... sometimes you just have to eat around them!)
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Vegetarians can double up on the first course in lieu of the second course, and have a salad and a vegetable stew. The carnivores, however, cannot double up on the second course! They spell better in English than I do in Spanish, I must admit.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
I told a waiter once that I don't eat meat or fish and he told me that tuna is not fish because it comes out of tin!
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Some have a similar view of alcohol...I was out with my friend in Seville and after the third beer I fancied something else. He said, " I'll stick to beer because I high blood pressure and I don't drink alcohol." Well, now we know :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
The very best meal we had was in Poblacion. Here is a photo of Joe eating, and you'll notice that the pork chop is RARE! This is something I'd never do in the United States. But we took one look at it, and decided we'd trust God and His Camino and just EAT IT!

And by golly, that was the best pork chop I've ever eaten. We also were served a very large, lucious salad (which we'd already eaten when this photo was taken). It was finished off with a coffee.



There were many other lovely meals. The fiesta at Azofra where we had lamb stew, paella, and a host of other wonderful treats, the lovely soup at Viana where the Priest did a special Pilgrim's Mass for us and sang and played the guitar, the meal at San Anton, San Nicholas... just too many to mention.

At the time I went, I had been on a 80% raw fruit/veggie diet. I found plenty of nice salads, fresh fruits and vegetables, and the wine was cheap and good.
 
Yep! Contrary to other replies here; there are free albergues and I've been very thankful for a few of them.

As I understand it, the law remains in place throughout Spain that a free meal, bed and shower should be provided to anyone passing through for One night only. Originally in place for 'genuine' perigrinos, but also now there for all that genuinely need it.

I've been walking around for a while now. If I have the cash in pocket to pay - I pay. Simple as that. If I don't, I head to policia local and ask where the albergue municipal is. Often run by church volunteers with a strict doors shut and lights out by 9PM (to avoid abuse from late night drinkers mostly) they have always been clean, warm, comfortable, friendly and dead boring!

I'm trying to find old/forgotten pilgrimage routes all over Spain and hopefully encouraging others to use them. The municipal albergues on the well used routes to Santiago are far from what you find in other places. Many have been refurbished at great cost and whilst continuing a donativo ask, they're pretty much catering for tourists, and, as such, they expect a decent drop. Other albergues are no more than the safe night shelter they offer homeless travellers (pilgrims of old).

Other than that, I've been offered countless free beds in the homes of strangers on my travels.

It's free if you genuinely need it, but don't abuse it I guess.
 

aikisilvi

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Portuguese. Future: Via de La Plata 2019.
Hi Y'All,

I'm so glad to hear all this advice! Now I can just relax a little. I'm a vegetarian as well, but I do eat fish now, but no chicken or turkey. It is good to know that I can at least have a nice salad, fruits, bread, cheese and wine along my travels. Thank you for the info.

Buen Camino,
Silvi
 

lorax

Member
Camino(s) past & future
I tried in 09, it went horribly. Gonna try again. Aug/Sept this year
Hi Everybody....

Thanks so much for all of the great information.... I AM soooo excited and can hardly wait for the months to pass so that I can begin my Camino. I wish that $ money $ wasn't an issue at all... but sadly, it is. I don't want my pilgrimage to totally affect my family... I am so thankful that my husband realizes how important it is to me and wants it to be the most amazing time. I know I will have to be frugal so I am trying to figure out ways to best do that. I really appreciate all the information I can gleen from this website.

I can't wait to begin my walk.... see you on the path!!

Karla
 

Javier Martin

Veteran Member
Hi,

In the "donation" basis albergues, difference with other albergues are not exactly how much it cost, but the philosophy of the albergue. Some of the offers you dinner and breakfast in the morning, and you don't have to pay for it, but you know that food, hot water, and so on is not exactly free. You can give what you consider, depending on your economy, how you've been there. But, it's different than albergues where dinner "cost" 9 euros, and bed "cost" 7 euros. Even, shower can cost 3 euros if you are not going to stay there.

I always prefer a donation basis place, and usually I feel better than in the others, so I left more money there.

And of course, in Galicia it's very difficult to meet one of this albergues.

Buen Camino,

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
I never thought of the 'donativo' albergues as being 'free', especially the meals.
In one albergue, the hospitalero told us that the meal they prepared for the pilgrims the next day would depend on what we were able to give today. We had a good meal, so the previous pilgrims must have been generous!
Give generously - pass it forward!
 

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