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Galician Amigos call for regulation of private albergues

#1
http://www.amigosdelcamino.com/web/noti ... oc&cod=273
They don't object to private albergues as such - they often fill the gaps left by the Xunta's, particularly in the popular summer months - but claim that too often they are overpriced, with poor security, hygiene and facilities. "The Camino Frances is on the way to becoming a budget-holiday theme park."
It seems the Xunta plans to include regulation in forthcoming tourism legislation.
 

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Trudy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2006) Roncesvalles to Leon (2007) Leon to Compostela
#3
That's interesting. In my experience, it was the Galician municipal albergues that had poor security, were very dirty, and lacked the basics such as cleaning and kitchen equipment. The private albergues however, while costing more (municipals were donative last year), were very well set up and a pleasure to stay in.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#4
I found private albergues generally superior to those operated by the Xunta, particularly those in the Red Albergue network. Yes, they did charge a bit more, and sometimes it was worth it! The Red Albergues have agreed to a set of standards and practices; that was the point of the network, to bring some order to the growing chaos. As with all self-regulation, enforcement is a bit spotty.
 

Ulysse

Active Member
#5
In my experience the private albergues in Galicia were much superior to the ones run by the Xunta, especially when it came to cleanliness and security.

Strange that governments when inapt at running facilities only find regulations and more regulations to defeat the competition. Why not make an effort to beat the competition by making their facilities clean, sanitary and by hiring responsible people that will take good care of the properties.
 

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#7
The Camino Frances is on the way to becoming a budget-holiday theme park.
Many observers feel this is a real danger. Private albergues are just that - profit making private enterprises and I think the danger is that they don't care whether customers are pilgrims or not - they simply want their beds sold every night. But the reality on the Camino Frances is that they provide much needed accomodation. I think the central concern is that the pilgrimage routes become so commercialised some of the traditional characteristics are lost - there are already indications on the Camino Frances - the advertising of hotels, albergues and restaurants along the route - often a consderable distance away, signs offering Ham and Egg Breakfasts ( not quite the Full English of the Costa Brava but getting there ) and the worry that tour operators are abusing the network of albergues.

But 'twas ever thus and it is down to us pilgrims to maintain the authentic character.
 

jeff001

Active Member
#8
While the maintenance of the "Camino Experience" is desireable we need to keep in mind that the people who actually there have every right to make the best living they can. If this is by providing a service that is legal and that people are willing to pay for we "outsiders" have no right to interfere with them.
 
#9
jeff001 said:
While the maintenance of the "Camino Experience" is desireable we need to keep in mind that the people who actually there have every right to make the best living they can. If this is by providing a service that is legal and that people are willing to pay for we "outsiders" have no right to interfere with them.
Errrr...it is the Galician Amigos who are calling for the regulation of private albergues
 
#10
I suspect what the Amigos are mainly aiming at is profiteering at busy times: when the local albergue is full, people offer desperate pilgrims a mattress on the floor with minimal facilities at an inflated price, and call it 'albergue'. Those running a bona-fide albergue on a longer-term basis aren't likely to be a problem; they will want to gain a reputation for being a good place to stop and, if they charge too much for what they're providing, word will get around and people won't stop there. The Xunta are keen to encourage those sort of businesses, which can get grants from rural development funds.
 
#11
Johnny Walker wrote
down to us pilgrims to maintain the authentic character
What is "the authentic character" ?

they don't care whether customers are pilgrims or not
I think Sil has mentioned in many postings " the age old question of who is a pilgrim?" Perhaps you have the answer?

Jeff001 Thank you for your measured and tolerant replies, I loved in particular the practical way you advised those trying to get to Stansted, and other worthy feedbacks, in your other previous postings. Seeing the poorest of the poor scraping a living out of their farms and villages on the Camino route I agree with you that they are entitled to eke out an extra income from their property, whilst at the same time offering those in need of shelter a place to shelter. If there was a choice of sleeping on the floor and taking a cold or hot shower in an "official albergue", or paying an extra ten or twenty Euros to the person offering a better shelter in an "unofficial albergue/hostal it is up to the person to make the choice. Trying to stifle this offer of accommodation for whatever reason is in my opinion no worthy of any "pilgrims" day of good deed for the day. Remember it is an alternative offer, take it or leave it for others.

Even the best of the best has started charging a fixed price for use of their recently renovated place, at ten Euro a night it will take them more than a lifetime to earn back their expenditure, they however live knowing that we appreciate and acknowledge what they are doing, and giving to the Camino. Thanks Rebekah.
Kwaheri
 
#12
Kwaheri, forgive me if I didn't make myself clear. The point I was making is that it is Spanish people themselves who are expressing concern about this not us foreigners - although we might agree!

When Peter quoted: "The Camino Frances is on the way to becoming a budget-holiday theme" it is a direct quote from an article in the Glacian newspaper El Correo Gallego.

As for the authenticity question, I try never to stick my nose into someone else's pilgrimage - all I meant was that as these arguments rage, as they have done over the centuries, all we pilgrims can do is keep walking.

Best regards

John
 
#13
John,
Thank you for your considerate reply, there is nothing to forgive as I was just testing your tolerance :D . I agree with all your views and support your desire to stop any unscrupulous exploitation of those doing the Camino.
The month long trek is well known as a cheap holiday. Many start the journey as something cheap to fill in the time between events and not for soul searching or as a pilgrim. Many end the journey changed forever.
This happened to a young newly graduated New Zealand girl who could not get a suitable job in New Zealand and took off to London looking for work. Whilst waiting for replies in London she accepted the invitation of her friends to do the Spanish Walk who encouraged her by saying it was a cheap way of seeing the Continent. However after two weeks of walking and enjoying Spain, as only a Kiwi kid could, she received a message on her mobile phone whilst on the trek advising her that the New Zealand job she applied for was available and she was asked to take this job up asap. This was her dream job, received whilst on the Camino. She called back informing them where she was and her desire to complete the Camino, permission was granted for her to continue, and there was one happy girl who completed her Camino. Strange things happen on the Camino.
Upon returning to New Zealand she spent two fulfilling years work and was tapped to do a research doctorate in Australia where she is now. Her parents are pleased as Punch, so am I relating this to you.

Cheers

Kwaheri
 
#14
I completed the Camino a few weeks ago. On the way I stayed at several Red Albergues and found that although expensive (8-10 euros), they were clean and well maintained. Of course, this may only be due to the relative newness of the facilities.

I would like to point out that there were several instances where private albergues were the only places to stay during May. The Camino was so full this year that we were forced into hotels on several occasions and in one case (Los Arcos) we had to rent a house for the night. Some fellow walkers ended up on the floor of a garage.

My point is that with the increased traffic (and the coming influx of 2010) these private albergues will be needed. I'm all for standards and as long as all albergues have to follow the same regulations I don't have a problem with the idea. However, I have to say that in my experience the privates tended to be better run and cleaner.

It may interest people that one of the hospitaleros mentioned that there was talk amoungst some hospitaleros of creating a black list of tourigrinos (as he called them) that they would share so that the beds go to walkers and cyclists, not to people taking powered vehicles from place to place.
 
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scruffy1 Camino Frances 13

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