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From just before Burgos - 47 friggin kms to find a bed!!!

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Now it's done, and I'm showered, fed and generally numbed with alcohol, it was great. Fortunately, the weather was cool all day, the rain held off and the terrain was rolling countryside.

But sodding 'el. 47kms to Hontanas from the lovely place I stayed last night in Riopico!!! I've booked tomrrow this time and just got a bed 21kms away so basically a rest day. Others at my table saying they are struggling to book a bed tomorrow.

Maybe don't start on a Sat from Burgos? Is today a holiday? Unlucky? No idea, but I suggest you book the first three or four days in advance from Burgos at the moment, or be prepared for a seriously long day.
 
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As I was walking out of Burgos a few days ago, six pilgrims were walking back towards me. When Pilgrims 7&8 approached I stopped them to ask what had happened. Evidently there were no beds to be had for the next two “stages for at least two days”. I kept walking towards Tadajos and got a bed - and there were six free beds that night in that one wee donativo alone. Same story next night and the next. It seems to me that if you can turn up by opening time at a municipal or parochial (which is usually 1-2pm) you will get a bed. You then have time to get your washing dry, go and hang out at a bar, look round whatever hamlet or city you might be in and RELAX.
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

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I strongly second some of the observations above. Donativos and municipals that don't take bookings are the best solution. If you're there at 12.30 and they open at one you're cc retain to get in. So many people are reserving now there are lots of free places in the albergues that don't take reservations.

But 47 km is beyond a joke and those authorities responsible for the upkeep of the Camino are falling down on the job, imo.
 
But 47 km is beyond a joke and those authorities responsible for the upkeep of the Camino are falling down on the job, imo.
If you mean trail maintenance, provision of facilities (water, toilets) - perhaps, in some areas, but that’s not what is under discussion.

But accommodation? There are no "authorities responsible" !

Accommodation on the camino is not a right.
 
Learn proper bathroom protocol on the Camino and share this info with other pilgrims.
I might live to regret this: in my six Caminos I have never had a major problem finding a bed. I usually try to stay off the generally recognised stages and avoid starting at a weekend. I always book my first night but then play the rest by ear. Heading back to SJPdP in June. Will stay In Orisson as booked and then find an albergue in Espinal and skip Zubiri. It can be done, just don’t follow the herd. Buen Camino.
 
Having just arrived in Leon, I do not recognize this situation. I did not book anything and just turned up at each of the stages and got a bed. The only place where I received two “completes” was in Carrion de los Condes. But there the nuns had a bed for me. My suggestion is to stop stressing with the bookings and just go with the flow. It saves a lot of hassle and makes the experience far more enjoyable!
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
I strongly second some of the observations above. Donativos and municipals that don't take bookings are the best solution. If you're there at 12.30 and they open at one you're cc retain to get in. So many people are reserving now there are lots of free places in the albergues that don't take reservations.

But 47 km is beyond a joke and those authorities responsible for the upkeep of the Camino are falling down on the job, imo.
So are you saying it’s up to some “authority” to ensure there are beds available for every pilgrim that happens to be walking and at any and every place they may want to stop? That’s ridiculous and certainly an unattainable wish
 
Who would these authorities be??
It wouldn't be good publicity for Spain if people started dropping dead as they were forced to push on in search of a bed. Fortunately, it wasn't too hot. Some help, esp amongst non-Spanish speakers, getting a taxi forwards or backwards would have been welcome by the many people scratching their heads in Hornillos del Camino, wondering what to do. Perhaps info boards in Burgos clearly stating that the next free beds were in Hontanos etc - this was a holiday and someone in the municipality should have realised? It's not difficult to see how things could be improved.

Personal responsibility is accepted as the default, but that doesn't absolve eg a village like Hornillos, which is very reliant on CdeF business to think this through and mitigate risks to its business ....
 
Having just arrived in Leon, I do not recognize this situation. I did not book anything and just turned up at each of the stages and got a bed. The only place where I received two “completes” was in Carrion de los Condes. But there the nuns had a bed for me. My suggestion is to stop stressing with the bookings and just go with the flow. It saves a lot of hassle and makes the experience far more enjoyable!
Agreed. Just walk into town and check albergues as you go. No stress and always a bed somewhere.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
It wouldn't be good publicity for Spain if people started dropping dead as they were forced to push on in search of a bed. Fortunately, it wasn't too hot. Some help, esp amongst non-Spanish speakers, getting a taxi forwards or backwards would have been welcome by the many people scratching their heads in Hornillos del Camino, wondering what to do. Perhaps info boards in Burgos clearly stating that the next free beds were in Hontanos etc - this was a holiday and someone in the municipality should have realised? It's not difficult to see how things could be improved.

Personal responsibility is accepted as the default, but that doesn't absolve eg a village like Hornillos, which is very reliant on CdeF business to think this through and mitigate risks to its business ....
You are tired and have overcome a personal challenge, but please don't spoil your achievement by overplaying your hand!
You are correct that personal responsibility is the default.
Coping with uncertainty and managing some discomfort are part of the experience of camino, though there are 'softer' options to book the whole caboodle with a travel company.
There are almost always beds (or gym mats) in the parish or municipal albergues, and sympathetic hospitaleros who will help find an alternative if needed.
The only circumstance that people might 'drop dead' because of a shortage of beds is that they have become trapped in their own paradigm, unable or irretrievably unwilling to call and wait for a taxi or ask locals for help.
 
Bubbles and waves of pilgrims do happen, often influenced by holidays such as Easter, Pentecost, May Day etc., and weekends. So occasionally accomodation gets overwhelmed. Given most people stop in Burgos, either just overnight or for a rest day, it also creates affects the day after, especially as Hornillos is a nice 20km from Burgos which is doable for most pilgrims - but Hontanas at over 30km from Burgos is a stretch for many. Unlike Leon, another popular city stop, were the route splits after Virgin del Camino, and there are more options in the 20-25km range compared to Burgos.
Unfortunately OP got caught particularly as he walked through Burgos, resulting in a very long day.
But it is part of the camino to find no room at the inn... it always has been. The village is not required to magic up accomodation, we are grown ups....and like pilgrims throughout history we often have to solve things for ourselves. Nor is there really anyway to communicate albergue beds are filled already by "authorities" as there us no central body. (wisepilgrim have added an option that albergues can use to indicate beds left/full but only a small number have chosen it).
Whether we can walk another 10km, phone a taxi, sleep in the church porch, ask for help - there is a sense of self responsibility- including looking after our own wellbeing such as not pushing on if we can't or the weather including heat is against us.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
When reports come in of 'no beds' it would be helpful to clarify whether this is in regard to donativos / municipal / private albergues or ANY beds (including pensions, hotels, etc.). I recall reading reports last fall before walking and it was discouraging and made me apprehensive about the journey ahead. The reality was, only one time were there truly 'no beds' and that was in San Juan de Ortega.
 
I strongly second some of the observations above. Donativos and municipals that don't take bookings are the best solution. If you're there at 12.30 and they open at one you're cc retain to get in. So many people are reserving now there are lots of free places in the albergues that don't take reservations.

But 47 km is beyond a joke and those authorities responsible for the upkeep of the Camino are falling down on the job, imo.
That last is an unnecessary and thoughtless remark. The ‘authorities’ do a pretty good job. It isn’t their fault if the private sector doesn’t come up to scratch.
 
That last is an unnecessary and thoughtless remark. The ‘authorities’ do a pretty good job. It isn’t their fault if the private sector doesn’t come up to scratch.
Actually Dick I don't think it's up to the private sector either. And it's got nothing to do with them 'coming up to scratch'. By and large the private sector are doing a fantastic job. Bear in mind that it's only a couple of years since they went through the horrific effects of covid on their businesses. The numbers on Camino have been increasing, but the private sector has to know that the demand is going to be there for more than just a month or two of the year in order to make it worthwhile investing. The private sector is after all about supply and demand - and this is very much a situation where the demand has to be there before people will supply - simply because the Investment is so high.

Holidays, concerts and other special events, even major weddings happen and take away capacity very quickly. They are short-term, as is the effect.

The reality is is that there are always going to be occasions where the local resources are stretched or even overwhelmed. A little planning and for-fought by most pilgrims would negate most of the issues - even if the planning was simply along the lines of : Ok, if I can't find a bed then I will gather together other people in my situation and ask a cafe or Albergue owner for help to call a taxi.

As stated by others I very much feel this is about personal responsibility.
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
I strongly second some of the observations above. Donativos and municipals that don't take bookings are the best solution. If you're there at 12.30 and they open at one you're cc retain to get in. So many people are reserving now there are lots of free places in the albergues that don't take reservations.

But 47 km is beyond a joke and those authorities responsible for the upkeep of the Camino are falling down on the job, imo.
Who are the authorities that you feel are responsible and what would you have them do?
 
You are tired and have overcome a personal challenge, but please don't spoil your achievement by overplaying your hand!
You are correct that personal responsibility is the default.
Coping with uncertainty and managing some discomfort are part of the experience of camino, though there are 'softer' options to book the whole caboodle with a travel company.
There are almost always beds (or gym mats) in the parish or municipal albergues, and sympathetic hospitaleros who will help find an alternative if needed.
The only circumstance that people might 'drop dead' because of a shortage of beds is that they have become trapped in their own paradigm, unable or irretrievably unwilling to call and wait for a taxi or ask locals for help.
Absolutely agree!!!! Persistence and initiative is the key. Very rarely have I encountered a Peregrino who slept the night outside, and it usually was their choice.
 
Now it's done, and I'm showered, fed and generally numbed with alcohol, it was great. Fortunately, the weather was cool all day, the rain held off and the terrain was rolling countryside.

But sodding 'el. 47kms to Hontanas from the lovely place I stayed last night in Riopico!!! I've booked tomrrow this time and just got a bed 21kms away so basically a rest day. Others at my table saying they are struggling to book a bed tomorrow.

Maybe don't start on a Sat from Burgos? Is today a holiday? Unlucky? No idea, but I suggest you book the first three or four days in advance from Burgos at the moment, or be prepared for a seriously long day.
Too many "pilgrims"!!! The route has become more than just a walking trail!!! It's something for everyone!! "Bring your ebike!!" Pilgrims know this before they start so they shouldn't complain.
There are many other wonderful routes that pilgrims can walk but I suppose if one likes following the crowds the CF is the route to walk!! Last year I walked a section of the Francigena. Pilgrims were few but it was very peaceful and relaxing. Accommodation was scarce, and that makes it more challenging, (isn't that partially what we are looking for) but I carried a tent so I never had to worry about a place to stay.
In 10 days time I'll start walking on another route through France. There is enough accommodation on this route and I'm sure there will be a scarcity of pilgrims but I therefore won't have the stress of having to worry about "getting a bed" very night.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
It wouldn't be good publicity for Spain if people started dropping dead as they were forced to push on in search of a bed. Fortunately, it wasn't too hot. Some help, esp amongst non-Spanish speakers, getting a taxi forwards or backwards would have been welcome by the many people scratching their heads in Hornillos del Camino, wondering what to do. Perhaps info boards in Burgos clearly stating that the next free beds were in Hontanos etc - this was a holiday and someone in the municipality should have realised? It's not difficult to see how things could be improved.

Personal responsibility is accepted as the default, but that doesn't absolve eg a village like Hornillos, which is very reliant on CdeF business to think this through and mitigate risks to its business ....
I have no idea where you are from but if I were to arrive in your town/city/village say one afternoon and I found no accommodation for that night,
would it be alright for me to blame ‘the authorities’??? And which ‘authorities’ would that be?
I hope you are rested now. Buen camino 🙂
 
I had a feeling that when I suggested that the Camino authorities take more responsibility for the intermittent bed crisis that this would evoke an effusion of Uriah Heepery from the usual suspects, and also some new ones, about my modest suggestion, which was termed "ridiculous", "unnecessary" and "thoughtless". A pilgrim is responsible for himself or herself; there is no "authority" to assist and even if there were it would be a matter of the pilgrim's personal responsibility.
It's not just that I disagree; it's that these view are categorically wrong and display a fundamental failure to understand what the Camino was and is and must always remain.
The fact is that there are authorities responsible: the local municipal and parish officials; the regional government and its tourist board; the police and Guardia Civil, and the Spanish federal government. Plus a plethora of voluntary associations, Friends of the Camino and the like. These, to be fair, recognize what many on this forum do not: that they are in fact responsible for facilitating the welfare of pilgrims and other walkers. And they do a fairly good job. Galicia provides a network of fine municipal albergues, none of which take reservations. The Guardia and police are vigilant and attentive. The tourist agencies promote the Camino effectively and distribute information. The religious and voluntary associations operate a network of donativo and parrocjial albergues which are staffed by kindly and hardworking volunteers and designed to make the Way easier for poorer pilgrims.
So they recognize that they have a responsibility, in different ways, to the pilgrims, and they discharge this fairly well, on balance. Except in making sure that sufficient bed spaces are always available and accessible, at all times, especially holidays and at chokepoints. Here they are falling down on the job, as I said, and as the OPs experience illustrates.
This responsibility to pilgrims of the civil and ecclesiastical authorities is basic to the history of the Camino. For example: the city of Estella was founded by the King of Navarre Sancho Ramírez in 1090 with a view to protecting pilgrims on St. James' Way. Estella came into existence to serve the pilgrims, and so did many other towns along the way. Serving pilgrims has been their purpose for a thousand years.
It's worth bearing in mind that many who walk the Way are elderly or afflicted, and some of them are poor. This has always been the case. People feel the impulse to go on pilgrimage for urgent spiritual and existential reasons; the authorities recognize that assisting these people is an absolute imperative. In short, they have a right to undertake pilgrimage if moved to do so and those in authority, and everyone else, has a duty to assist them. This is what the Camino was in the beginning and will always be. If you can't see that . . .
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
This responsibility to pilgrims of the civil and ecclesiastical authorities is basic to the history of the Camino. For example [...] In short, they have a right to undertake pilgrimage if moved to do so and those in authority, and everyone else, has a duty to assist them. This is what the Camino was in the beginning and will always be. If you can't see that ...
A popular view that ignores several fundamental differences between the Middle Ages and now.

Of no importance of course to the contemporary Camino peregrino who is looking for a bed, and especially for a cheap "walk in" and not bookable albergue bed, in Burgos during the current Whitsun weekend or in fact on any other Friday or Saturday night, be it in Pamplona or Logroño or Burgos.
 
This isn't a popular view, as the comments above illustrated. It is the way the Camino has been from the beginning, is now, and will always be. A pilgrimage in which the duty of the pilgrim is to their soul, and the duty of others ... authorities and other pilgrims alike ... to assist them in this essential enterprise. This cannot change. The fact that we live in an individualist and materialist modern culture that refuses to recognise the truth of this has no relevance whatsoever. As for the predicament of a sick, old, tired, sore, afflicted or impoverished pilgrim unable to find a bed and forced to sleep outside ... Shame on all who have failed in their duty by permitting such a situation to have come about
 
A pilgrimage in which the duty of the pilgrim is to their soul, and the duty of others ... authorities and other pilgrims alike ... to assist them in this essential enterprise. This cannot change. The fact that we live in an individualist and materialist modern culture that refuses to recognise the truth of this has no relevance whatsoever
It is best to discusss this view, or general demand, in a separate thread.

One of the fundamental differences between now and the Middle Ages is the fact that the countries and societies where most of us here live or come from have put social security systems in place since the dawn of the Modern Age or of the Age of Enlightenment as it is called. It is an achievement that was not known in the Middle Ages.

Another fundamental difference is the often overlooked fact that the compensation or reward that those who financed pilgrim accommodation - free for the pilgrim - was not of an economic nature but spiritual and it was granted to, or hoped for by, the sponsors in their afterlife according to the prevalent belief systems in the European space of the Middle Ages.

Another fundamental difference was the belief that a person had to travel to the site where a saint's relics rested to be able to benefit from his or her intercession. Long-distance walking was not an obligation for a pilgrimage but the main means of travel to the pilgrimage site for the majority of the medieval population. Who were not even as free to travel as we are today.
 
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Learn proper bathroom protocol on the Camino and share this info with other pilgrims.
As I was walking out of Burgos a few days ago, six pilgrims were walking back towards me. When Pilgrims 7&8 approached I stopped them to ask what had happened. Evidently there were no beds to be had for the next two “stages for at least two days”. I kept walking towards Tadajos and got a bed - and there were six free beds that night in that one wee donativo alone. Same story next night and the next. It seems to me that if you can turn up by opening time at a municipal or parochial (which is usually 1-2pm) you will get a bed. You then have time to get your washing dry, go and hang out at a bar, look round whatever hamlet or city you might be in and RELAX.
I rarely get in at 1-2pm if walking 20k or more. I am not a fast walker, nor do I prefer to get up extra early in order to make sure I get a bed at an albergue. It sounds like the typical "bed race" to me, but lucky for the faster walkers and nice for those who have extra long legs.
 
I had a feeling that when I suggested that the Camino authorities take more responsibility for the intermittent bed crisis that this would evoke an effusion of Uriah Heepery from the usual suspects, and also some new ones, about my modest suggestion, which was termed "ridiculous", "unnecessary" and "thoughtless". A pilgrim is responsible for himself or herself; there is no "authority" to assist and even if there were it would be a matter of the pilgrim's personal responsibility.
It's not just that I disagree; it's that these view are categorically wrong and display a fundamental failure to understand what the Camino was and is and must always remain.
The fact is that there are authorities responsible: the local municipal and parish officials; the regional government and its tourist board; the police and Guardia Civil, and the Spanish federal government. Plus a plethora of voluntary associations, Friends of the Camino and the like. These, to be fair, recognize what many on this forum do not: that they are in fact responsible for facilitating the welfare of pilgrims and other walkers. And they do a fairly good job. Galicia provides a network of fine municipal albergues, none of which take reservations. The Guardia and police are vigilant and attentive. The tourist agencies promote the Camino effectively and distribute information. The religious and voluntary associations operate a network of donativo and parrocjial albergues which are staffed by kindly and hardworking volunteers and designed to make the Way easier for poorer pilgrims.
So they recognize that they have a responsibility, in different ways, to the pilgrims, and they discharge this fairly well, on balance. Except in making sure that sufficient bed spaces are always available and accessible, at all times, especially holidays and at chokepoints. Here they are falling down on the job, as I said, and as the OPs experience illustrates.
This responsibility to pilgrims of the civil and ecclesiastical authorities is basic to the history of the Camino. For example: the city of Estella was founded by the King of Navarre Sancho Ramírez in 1090 with a view to protecting pilgrims on St. James' Way. Estella came into existence to serve the pilgrims, and so did many other towns along the way. Serving pilgrims has been their purpose for a thousand years.
It's worth bearing in mind that many who walk the Way are elderly or afflicted, and some of them are poor. This has always been the case. People feel the impulse to go on pilgrimage for urgent spiritual and existential reasons; the authorities recognize that assisting these people is an absolute imperative. In short, they have a right to undertake pilgrimage if moved to do so and those in authority, and everyone else, has a duty to assist them. This is what the Camino was in the beginning and will always be. If you can't see that . . .
I think you are confusing efforts with responsibility and accountability. If someone offers a bed to a pilgrim, are they then  responsible to ensure that all pilgrims are housed? If someone redirects a pilgrim back to the path, must they stand there every day and ensure no pilgrim walks astray or be failing in their responsibility? That is absurd. And, if it were held to be true, it would be the end of the Camino as we know it because no one would take on such a responsibility. To be sure there are a number of organizations who are working in a number of ways, many staffed with volunteers, to improve things for pilgrims. I completely disagree, however, that this makes them responsible for the Camino. They are responsible for the limited amounts they take on. And if that isn't enough, it isn't up to us to say that they need to take on more. If anyone thinks more needs to be done, they are welcome to step up and fill the gap. As these folk did to the extent that their time, resources, and the other elements of their life permit.

Yes, the Camino is important to Spain. It does provide a helpful boost to local economies in some places (but if someone does the research, I expect it is a much smaller part of the overall tourist industry in the Spanish economy than we tend to think, compared to what is spent in Barcelona or along the Costa del Sol, for example). It is an important part of the Spanish cultural heritage. And Spain has invested a fair amount in it. I can certainly see the huge difference in available infrastructure since my first Camino! But if it isn't enough, no one is forcing you to continue. There are plenty of off ramps. It is up to everyone to decide if what the Camino has to offer (including in the way of accommodations) is sufficient for them.
 
'I want to walk across a country carrying a bare minimum of goods on my back, to continue a many-centuries-old tradition of long, risk-laden journeys to visit remains believed to be of a treasured saint?'
Tick!

'.... therefore all people and authorities along the route must take all steps to keep me in comfortable lodgings?'
Cross!

' ... or I will take my walking and my demands somewhere else!'
Tick!
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
Now it's done, and I'm showered, fed and generally numbed with alcohol, it was great. Fortunately, the weather was cool all day, the rain held off and the terrain was rolling countryside.

But sodding 'el. 47kms to Hontanas from the lovely place I stayed last night in Riopico!!! I've booked tomrrow this time and just got a bed 21kms away so basically a rest day. Others at my table saying they are struggling to book a bed tomorrow.

Maybe don't start on a Sat from Burgos? Is today a holiday? Unlucky? No idea, but I suggest you book the first three or four days in advance from Burgos at the moment, or be prepared for a seriously long day.
Hmmm. Now in Portomarin, 5 and 1/2 weeks out from sjpdp. The two of us have not prebooked anything and have had no trouble finding beds. We are among the slowest on the trail and rarely complete our day's hike by 3:00pm.
 
Hmmm. Now in Portomarin, 5 and 1/2 weeks out from sjpdp. The two of us have not prebooked anything and have had no trouble finding beds. We are among the slowest on the trail and rarely complete our day's hike by 3:00pm.
Whilst that is normally my experience too, to be fair it totally depends on how many people are in town on the day. And how many are travelling in your individual 'wave'. Even a day can make a difference.
Should you happen to be on the peak of a wave and hit a major town/tourist stop on a weekend or holiday it can become problematic to say the least.
 
One of the fundamental differences between now and the Middle Ages is the fact that the countries and societies where most of us here live or come from have put social security systems in place since the dawn of the Modern Age or of the Age of Enlightenment as it is called. It is an achievement that was not known in the Middle Ages.
Modern social security systems are inherited from Mediaeval systems put in place in Hospitals for the ill, the indigent, the excluded, and the pilgrims.
Another fundamental difference is the often overlooked fact that the compensation or reward that those who financed pilgrim accommodation - free for the pilgrim - was not of an economic nature but spiritual and it was granted to, or hoped for by, the sponsors in their afterlife according to the prevalent belief systems in the European space of the Middle Ages.
Indeed !! :)
Another fundamental difference was the belief that a person had to travel to the site where a saint's relics rested to be able to benefit from his or her intercession. Long-distance walking was not an obligation for a pilgrimage but the main means of travel to the pilgrimage site for the majority of the medieval population. Who were not even as free to travel as we are today.
A complex comment, but yes indeed. Though there's the element, true to present day, of pilgrimage for deeper veneration or worship purposes rather than from obligation or propitiatory ones.
 
New Original Camino Gear Designed Especially with The Modern Peregrino In Mind!
This isn't a popular view, as the comments above illustrated. It is the way the Camino has been from the beginning, is now, and will always be. A pilgrimage in which the duty of the pilgrim is to their soul, and the duty of others ... authorities and other pilgrims alike ... to assist them in this essential enterprise. This cannot change. The fact that we live in an individualist and materialist modern culture that refuses to recognise the truth of this has no relevance whatsoever. As for the predicament of a sick, old, tired, sore, afflicted or impoverished pilgrim unable to find a bed and forced to sleep outside ... Shame on all who have failed in their duty by permitting such a situation to have come about
Nice to know that it’s the responsibility of everyone else (authorities and fellow pilgrims) to ensure that I have a good Camino. With that in mind I’d like to offer you the chance to finance my next Camino. I’d prefer if you bought me a first class flight but would settle for business (economy cramps my legs) You won’t need to pay to check my bag as I’ll wait till I get to St Jean and have another pilgrim get one for me. Money? No, I won’t bring any since it’s the responsibility of others to help me along the way. Sounds like this is what you’re proposing. I believe that if you’re set on walking the Camino you need to be prepared for it in whatever way things happen and be willing to roll with the unknown. Those challenges (and overcoming them) are what makes the Camino such an amazing experience.
 
Congrats on your achievement, and lesson learned. Reminded me of a person I met who walked 43 km one day in 2020, but that's a different story. He eventually recovered from the strained adductors.

Despite the rants above, I don't think this is overly complicated.

Is this not like walking past Cafes, only to discover that there is no other Cafe open? There are 150 beds in the Burgos Hostel who do not take reservations.

Would it be wise to walk out of Carrión-de-los-Condes late in the morning without knowing a bed, or matt, would be available on the next 2-3 villages?
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Is this not like walking past Cafes, only to discover that there is no other Cafe open? There are 150 beds in the Burgos Hostel who do not take reservations.
Fwiw, the OP said that he started the day in Riopico which is just before Burgos. It is only about 10 km from there to the large municipal albergue near the Cathedral in Burgos.

The OP was obviously planning to walk more than 10 km until the next stop but had not expected that it would take an epic 47 km to reach his day’s destination. And yes, it was on a Saturday, and it was the Saturday of the Whitsun weekend so it is very likely that more pilgrims started from Burgos on that day than it is usual on other days of the Camino pilgrimage season.

Well done to @Undermanager and thank you for sharing!
 
The first edition came out in 2003 and has become the go-to-guide for many pilgrims over the years. It is shipping with a Pilgrim Passport (Credential) from the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
Fwiw, the OP said that he started the day in Riopico which is just before Burgos. It is only about 10 km from there to the large municipal albergue near the Cathedral in Burgos.

The OP was obviously planning to walk more than 10 km until the next stop but had not expected that it would take an epic 47 km to reach his day’s destination. And yes, it was on a Saturday, and it was the Saturday of the Whitsun weekend so it is very likely that more pilgrims started from Burgos on that day than it is usual on other days of the Camino pilgrimage season.

Well done to @Undermanager and thank you for sharing!
Yes, I learned to read in parochial school.

My point was that it is not clear that the OP was obviously planning. I congratulate the OP again for making the best of their situation..

Have you ever done a half day, when continuing further would require walking another 20 or more km. Several of us chose to walk a shorter day, when it appeared that all beds/rooms were booked on a Saturday in Pamplona, rather than do a double to Puente la Reina in March.
 
Several of us chose to walk a shorter day,
Sure. In such a situation, some people walk a shorter day than usual, some people take a taxi, some people walk on. Some forum members advise to prebook and others are against such an advice. Some forum members claim that one can always find a bed (and they did) and others report that they could not always find a bed when and where they had hoped or had wanted or had planned to stop. Not everyone can walk a marathon and a bit and some don't want to even if they could. @Undermanager obviously could. 😊
 
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Out of curiosity, I looked up Hornillos del Camino, a focal point here :cool:.

Poor little Hornillos. Unless I did not look carefully enough, it is a village of some 54 inhabitants (2023 - ES Wikipedia) or still 70 inhabitants in 2004 according to a census, with five establishments for accommodation, three with an "albergue" label in their name and two with "casa". In total about 86 dormitory beds and a few private bedrooms. Casa Abuela starts with €50 for a single person according to Gronze. Conveniently located at a distance of about 20 km from Burgos where many Camino walkers start or spend their night, and those who start often start on a weekend - draw your conclusions as to the bottleneck capacity of this village.

We stayed in Tardajos of course (many years ago), a mere 11 km from Burgos where we had also stayed. And we had booked ahead. We are just that kind of Camino peregrin@s. 😇
 
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Since so many pilgrims book ahead, it’s not unusual to find a bunk available in a municipal albergue.
If it's by about 1 PM on a weekend that is also a holiday.
Otherwise, a hostel or albergue not on booking.com and not on some of the hiking apps, is likely the only chance of finding a bed.
At least that was my experience last May, in Pamplona, on a Saturday, during a festival.
 
I strongly second some of the observations above. Donativos and municipals that don't take bookings are the best solution. If you're there at 12.30 and they open at one you're cc retain to get in. So many people are reserving now there are lots of free places in the albergues that don't take reservations.

But 47 km is beyond a joke and those authorities responsible for the upkeep of the Camino are falling down on the job, imo.
Who are they, then?
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Thinking that there are authorities responsible of all the accommodations on the Camino would mean recognising their right to say to any of us: "Stop ! You cannot start now, because the Camino is overcrowded".
My opinion is that each of us is responsible of himself: the Camino is not mandatory, there are plenty of others ways to do a pilgrimage, plenty of others ways to walk... So if we decide to start, we cannot blame somebody if we cannot find a bed.
It is also our responsibility to warn new pilgrim candidates that the Camino could be overcrowded and that it is not exactly a tour organised by somebody who will refund them if they are not satisfied.
 
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I have heard this before about sleeping outside in your sleeping bag. Not impressed. I am a 69 year old solo female who would never feel safe sleeping outside. I would stay awake all night sitting up.. I once caught an overnight bus to Madrid and gave up Camino del Norte in Summer because I couldn't get anywhere to stay. I have done the CF since in Autumn without accommodation worries.
 
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I have heard this before about sleeping outside in your sleeping bag. Not impressed. I am a 69 year old solo female who would never feel safe sleeping outside. I would stay awake all night sitting up.. I once caught an overnight bus to Madrid and gave up Camino del Norte in Summer because I couldn't get anywhere to stay. I have done the CF since in Autumn without accommodation worries.
I can understand why you might feel insecure sleeping outside, but having done this frequently in several European countries, I have found Camino routes as safe as, well, houses! Olive groves provided my favourite emergency accommodation and a more refreshing night’s sleep than an overcrowded and under-ventilated dorm.
 
I have heard this before about sleeping outside in your sleeping bag. Not impressed. I am a 69 year old solo female who would never feel safe sleeping outside. I would stay awake all night sitting up.. I once caught an overnight bus to Madrid and gave up Camino del Norte in Summer because I couldn't get anywhere to stay. I have done the CF since in Autumn without accommodation worries.
That is an excellent counterpoint.

How to sleep outdoors in safety is a skill that needs learning, and not anything that anyone could automatically be relied upon by anyone.

There are nevertheless extremes and most pilgrims are somewhere between them, even though sometimes one or the other extreme is where this or that individual pilgrim might need to belong to.

---

It's sad to hear that these concerns once led you to abandon a Camino, as in most cases a rest day should be enough.
 
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How to sleep outdoors in safety is a skill that needs learning, and not anything that anyone could automatically be relied upon by anyone.
Often I read the suggestion of sleeping in church porches or doorways in threads about bed shortages. Always makes me wince a little to see it. Perhaps if you have company but not something I would attempt solo. The biggest safety hazards when sleeping outdoors are other people. On the fairly rare occasions I have chosen to sleep outdoors it is always well away from towns or villages and well out of sight. I would never try to sleep solo outdoors in an inhabited area.
 
One of the shockers of this week of full-up camino stories is the group of American ladies traveling with a fully-booked and supported tour, complaining they "just aren't feeling it."
I asked them if any had slept at a municipal or parochial albergue, or met a volunteer hospitalero. They did not know what those are. They did not know they exist, or there is an infrastructure of welcome run by volunteers.
Saddest of all, they thought the idea was "kinda icky." Why are these people on a pilgrim road? What did they expect to "feel?"

I've been part of the non-profit infrastructure for 20 years now, and this made me think.
Back at the start, donativo and non-profit albergues were often the only game in town. Everybody stayed there because there was noplace else.
Then, private enterprises opened privados that charged a set fee.
After a while, we were peeved because our albergues were filled-up with low-cost tourists taking advantage of the pilgrim facilities. The poor and lowly were sleeping outdoors again.
Now the tourists have their own plethora of lodgings to choose from, and they don't even know we exist!
The commercial places send us the poor and lowly who can't pay. When everyone is full, the poor and lowly are still in the street. And in the off-season, when there's not a profit to be made, the for-profits close down and we are shouted-at to provide shelter for the winter pilgrims.
Full circle. The rich in their beds, the poor in the streets.
 
Learn proper bathroom protocol on the Camino and share this info with other pilgrims.
It's very sad. And of course they "just aren't feeling it." You can't add water to a full glass, and they're full of all sorts of things that are getting in the way.

they thought the idea was "kinda icky."
I've written and erased a few things.
Not that I have no words. I do - there's no shortage. But I might regret them.
 
Back at the start, donativo and non-profit albergues were often the only game in town. Everybody stayed there because there was noplace else.
There was a time when not even those existed.

On my 1994 from Paris, not until I reached Saint-Palais did I encounter anything even resembling that ; and not one single Albergue as such until SJPP. And even there, it was a spot on the floor.

The monk's cell in Saint-Palais was positively luxurious.
 
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Just a footnote to Gerard's declarations re: civic responsibility for pilgrims?
Wrong. Nobody owes a pilgrim anything. The pilgrim takes on his role voluntarily. He sets aside his privilege and becomes, effectively, homeless for a while, dependant on the good will of others to meet his needs. He rolls the dice and hopes for providence.
There are plenty of people on the Way who are willing to take care of him for money. There are also some who choose to help him out of the kindness of their hearts. But nobody owes him anything. He is responsible for his own well-being. (this only occurs to some pilgrims well into their trip.)
That's why the Camino is such a miraculous place. The pilgrim almost always gets to Santiago anyway, somehow, under his own steam.
 
One of the shockers of this week of full-up camino stories is the group of American ladies traveling with a fully-booked and supported tour, complaining they "just aren't feeling it."
I asked them if any had slept at a municipal or parochial albergue, or met a volunteer hospitalero. They did not know what those are. They did not know they exist, or there is an infrastructure of welcome run by volunteers.
Saddest of all, they thought the idea was "kinda icky." Why are these people on a pilgrim road? What did they expect to "feel?"

I've been part of the non-profit infrastructure for 20 years now, and this made me think.
Back at the start, donativo and non-profit albergues were often the only game in town. Everybody stayed there because there was noplace else.
Then, private enterprises opened privados that charged a set fee.
After a while, we were peeved because our albergues were filled-up with low-cost tourists taking advantage of the pilgrim facilities. The poor and lowly were sleeping outdoors again.
Now the tourists have their own plethora of lodgings to choose from, and they don't even know we exist!
The commercial places send us the poor and lowly who can't pay. When everyone is full, the poor and lowly are still in the street. And in the off-season, when there's not a profit to be made, the for-profits close down and we are shouted-at to provide shelter for the winter pilgrims.
Full circle. The rich in their beds, the poor in the streets.
I don't mind if people don't want to stay with us or even think we are "icky". There are enough pilgrims who want to be there either because of our traditional hospitality or because they need a bed.

It is kind of weird to travel overseas to spend my precious vacation time to sleep on a mat on the floor or in a bunk room with 50 of my new best friends. I still love it anyway from the moment I am offered a cool drink of water to the shared meals to the spartan, but purpose-built surroundings. I love to cook for an unknown number of pilgrim guests every evening and see them off again in the morning as a hospitalera. I love to listen to their stories and help them find ways to solve their own problems.

I don't mind that there are no reservations accepted. I know I will find a place to sleep, no matter how humble. It is hard to let go to what we know and find familiar.

Thank you, Rebekah, for all your passion and tireless work to keep the traditional pilgrimage alive.
 
I feel for all those pilgrims who can’t find a place on the camino francés.
I am going on a very quiet camino, very few pilgrims and yet….as luck would have it, I happen to walk the same stages as a group of 7, 3 adults and 4 teen-agers I’m told!

Every stage I try to book (you have to in France, at least a few days before) is full!! But the pilgrim’s gîtes are few and far between. I think it is hilarious, trying to avoid the crowds and here I am.
I will deffo bring my tent! 😁
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
And even if not, you could : Shock !! Horror !! put your sleeping bag down and sleep outdoors !!
I'm intrigued by this, because my "plan" in the event of not finding a bed is to find instead an out of the way spot under the stars to roll out my sleeping bag. How many have done this? Any problems?
 
I'm intrigued by this, because my "plan" in the event of not finding a bed is to find instead an out of the way spot under the stars to roll out my sleeping bag. How many have done this? Any problems?
Great Plan for some. Lousy idea for many.

Depending on the weather, you'll be hot, sweaty and possibly smelly from the day's efforts and will remain so, or you'll be soaked through, cold and in need of getting warm. Then you'll be hungry and may not have emergency rations and are far from a shop or bar. It might be pi33ing down and freezing overnight to add to the fun, or the air may be hot, humid and full of insects. You are assuming there will always be somewhere nice to unroll your sleeping bag. I can assure you that Spanish countryside can be twenty or thirty kms of fields, and zero else, nothing. But feel free to put your sleeping bag on the muddy ground, picking up bugs, getting it filthy and transferring that to your next albergue, making yourself highly popular in the process. Don't forget your spade for number twos, plus bog roll and water for washing afterwards.

For some, I'm sure a camino can be an extension of the fantastic days they were in the SAS with their mates, and they can prove they can still 'do it'. I suspect for the large majority of us, however, a camino still remains a fun holiday, pilgrimage or whatever, and we can do without sleeping outside 'under the stars'.

Nice idea, though 👌 😅😁.
 
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For some, I'm sure a camino can be an extension of the fantastic days they were in the SAS with their mates, and they can prove they can still 'do it'. I suspect for the large majority of us, however, a camino still remains a fun holiday, pilgrimage or whatever, and we can do without sleeping outside 'under the stars'.
I don't think that those are the only two options. For some it is an exercise in sacrifice fir spiritual gain. For some it is an exercise in trusting in Grace. And I'm sure there are many other approaches to the Camino other than holidaying or boot camp memories.
 
I'm intrigued by this, because my "plan" in the event of not finding a bed is to find instead an out of the way spot under the stars to roll out my sleeping bag. How many have done this? Any problems?
Forum members have done it, usually those with prior experience of camping in the outdoors but there are more who like and write about the idea of doing it on Camino than those who have actually done it on Camino. Most don’t even pack a mat or a sleeping bag.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
"Most don’t even pack a mat or a sleeping bag."

Absolutely! As someone who has done a huge amount of camping over the decades including 'roughing it', without a sleeping mat, you'll get a lousy night's sleep if any and will quickly get cold without something resembling a mat. And who wants to carry one, just in case ...
 
feel free to put your sleeping bag on the muddy ground
No idea why anyone would do that, as it's not a very sensible location for putting your sleeping bag down.

If you need to sleep out, don't wait for the last moment to choose a location, but scout one out during daylight. With preferably at least one wall, overhead cover, privacy, no sprinklers, and no street lighting.
 
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Our first Camino in 2016, many of the young people in school and church groups had an obligatory mat to sleep on the munipal sports hall floor or in the church. Last year they were all shipping their packs and walking only with a light daybag.

In 2016, if you needed a mat, you could borrow one from another pilgrim. Now that is rarely the case as few bring a mat. While I prefer to sleep inside, I am still ok to sleep outside if needed as I don't generally use reservations. More likely, I'd cab ahead, behind or off the Camino to get a place if needed, but I have never needed to do so.

I wasn't in the SAS, but was in the Army where communal living was common as was some time in the field so not that uncomfortable for me.
 
It is very rare to find yourself sleeping outdoors on the Way. I have done it twice, never alone. Both nights were pretty sleep-free, but I am still here to tell about it.
If you are there, take a hint from the ever-resourceful homeless and go to the blue recycle bin and pull out some sheets of cardboard. Flatten them out and stack them on top of one another, and voila! A sleeping mat! Just be sure to put them back in the bin the next day.
Sleeping on stacks of hay bales might seem like a good idea, but it's not. I am here to tell you. Hay is prickly. And those giant stacks in late summer have a way of falling down, each bale weighs hundreds of kilos.
When faced with a wet or cold night outdoors, when you've tried everything else, dial 112 and the police will find you a place to sleep. You might not like it much, but you will be indoors.
 
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The three solo Peregrinas I've met who slept outside did so out of necessity. In one case she had been on a true pilgrimage for 6-7 months when I met her, one cold and stormy night, partially summarized here and here.

The second Peregrina had challenges with claustrophobia. She had been struggling with blisters and her pack when another peregrino offered to help. When I walked with them between Carrión and Terradillos, he had been carrying her pack for over 15 days.

She tented in the yards of albergues, churches and parks with permission, and other nights stealthily leaving no sign she had been there.

The third solo Peregrina occasionally had difficulty finding places that would accommodate her dog, so would curl up together when necessary.

I have met Peregrinos who also slept outside - on beaches in Portugal and stealth camped on the central, but the people and the acts of kindness that make the Camino the experience that it is.
 
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It is very rare to find yourself sleeping outdoors on the Way.
Depends which route -- on some of them it can be 2-3 nights a week, sometimes higher ; on the major routes, the Francès or the Português etc, it will definitely be the exception rather than the rule. I was lucky in Redondela last time, because I had my inflatable mattress and sleeping bag, to get a spot on the floor of an Albergue -- very many were either sleeping outdoors or taxiing out.

And it's more often necessary in the off-season rather than in high Camino season, except in some bottleneck situations like that.

It's not just a question of finances, there are pueblos where there simply are no indoor possibilities whatsoever.

In 2022, on the portion between Medina de Rioseco on the Madrid Way and Areias on the Central Portuguese, it was roughly half and half indoors and outdoors, including on established and waymarked hiking routes, or historic pilgrimage ones.

Then there are routes like the French Catalan Way, where between Béziers and Le Perthus, about 120 to 150K or so, there is one Albergue ; else either expensive tourist accommodation (it is a VERY touristy part of France, and an upmarket one at that) or outdoors. Got accommodation from one church. I was thankfully outdoors less often in Catalonia between the Perthus and Igualada.
 
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Another holiday weekend. Hopefully you'll get some reprieve now for a while. May is just a busy month on the CF.
Is June any less busy? I might do it in reverse. I’m in Santiago having done the via de la Plata from Seville.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Yes, in my experience, June is less busy than May or September. Sarria to Santiago will still be busy compared to the rest of the route, but there are always beds. No holidays in June, but watch out for local festivals which are fun, but loud and sometimes make beds difficult to find.
 
Pentecost weekend, so yes, a huge one. Also yes, the weekends in Burgos and León are perhaps best avoided.

Good luck going forward !!
I’d add Pamplona to the list. Especially on weekends, can be very difficult for pilgrim accommodation. One time I ended up having to stay in an expensive four star hotel about 3 km out of the centre. And I got that only because a very kind local did a ring around for me.
 
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