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How´s the vibe in the Camino right now?

iggy jay walks

New Member
Past OR future Camino
CF
I´m planning on walking on a week time the full length of it from the Pyrenees, and it would be my first Camino. I understand that sharing communal dinners at the Albergues is one of the treats and generally a good postive vibe.

I´m wondering whats the atmosphere out there right now? Is there bonding to be made despite the masks? Or perhaps the pandemic made this a more introspective experience which might also be a good turnout?
 
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Turga

Camino tortuga
Past OR future Camino
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
I´m planning on walking on a week time the full length of it from the Pyrenees, and it would be my first Camino. I understand that sharing communal dinners at the Albergues is one of the treats and generally a good postive vibe.

I´m wondering whats the atmosphere out there right now? Is there bonding to be made despite the masks? Or perhaps the pandemic made this a more introspective experience which might also be a good turnout?

I agree that communal dinners can be a great experience, but I personally don’t think that they are the only means of a “communal spirit”. I think it has to do with many other things like attitude and motivation, with walking an ancient pilgrim’s trail, with the people you meet on the trail all walking towards the same destination. So don’t worry so much about communal dinners, you can have a great experience anyway.

Jeg håber du får en god tur :)
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Sometimes albergues offer communal meals (though I understand that right now, not many do). However, you don't need to rely on albergues to provide communal meals. You can create your own at any bar or restaurant with the Pilgrims that you meet on the trail.
 

stevelm1

Recovering Perigrino
Past OR future Camino
CF 2015, CP 2019, Jakobswege Germany 2022 or 23.
I have walked two Camino's alone (so far) and found that at dinner if I looked around a resturant I could almost always spot other pilgrims. I would go by their table and politely ask if I could join them. I was never turned down by other pilgrims. However, I tried this a few times with non-pilgrims and they were not receptive at all. I met many folks this way, enjoyed some great company, and extended my Camino Family a bit each time.
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Sometimes albergues offer communal meals (though I understand that right now, not many do). However, you don't need to rely on albergues to provide communal meals. You can create your own at any bar or restaurant with the Pilgrims that you meet on the trail.


Exactly, I have also had some pretty memorable communal lunches, especially on the Norte. There were many afternoons that I would see friends sitting on a rock or lying on the grass overlooking one of about 10,000 spectacular vistas eating some goat cheese and bread etc. Before you knew it there were 3 or 4 of us sharing lunch or snacks, taking a break and taking in the beauty of the Norte.
 
Past OR future Camino
2021
From a first-timer on the CF (currently somewhere on the beautiful Meseta between Burgos and Leon):

We have found that it is a mixed bag for the albergues to offer dinner. Some still do and some do not.

The ones we’ve had did allow us to meet people and to get to know others better who maybe were just casual “holas” on the trail.

A couple of notable places for us were:

Orisson. The communal dinner here is great; everyone is eager to meet others and you introduce yourself to others. This made a big first step to getting to know others later on the walk and you have a sense of interconnectedness with a great majority from that first night. Borda is another option here that has been well reviewed. (And you get to split that hellish first day into two and have a nice morning climb over the top of the Pyrenees that you can enjoy more than doing all in one day).

San Anton Abad in Villafranca de Oca. The food and selections here are marvelous and the grounds are spectacular. We had a great meal with “old”’camino friends and made some new ones. This was a treasured place and night.
 

Mick O'Grady

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I´m planning on walking on a week time the full length of it from the Pyrenees, and it would be my first Camino. I understand that sharing communal dinners at the Albergues is one of the treats and generally a good postive vibe.

I´m wondering whats the atmosphere out there right now? Is there bonding to be made despite the masks? Or perhaps the pandemic made this a more introspective experience which might also be a good turnout?
So far we have only had one collective dinner. This may be due to the absence of municipal albergues. There is not much in the way of communal meals. People are mostly eating in restaurants at separate tables. The albergues are mostly functionning like restaurants. Eating is more expensive on a daily basis than what was said to be the case on many of the forums and videos we saw before coming. I hope it is only an aberration of the pandemic.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
So far we have only had one collective dinner. This may be due to the absence of municipal albergues.
Municipal albergues don't normally offer communal dinners. They are more common in parochial and some donativo and private albergues.
 

jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
I would go by their table and politely ask if I could join them. I was never turned down by other pilgrims.

If there was a single pilgrim (male or female) in our albergue, my sister and I asked him/her if he/she would like to join us as we're going out to dinner now. They ALL replied "yes", they would love to.
 

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Municipal albergues don't normally offer communal dinners. They are more common in parochial and some donativo and private albergues.
Perhaps the poster was thinking of the people who informally gather to cook together and eat together in the muni/xunta albergues… and not of the communal meals that some hospitaleros offer(ed) as part of the stay. I recall that the private albergue in Calzadilla de la Cazuela offered a communal dinner, as did La Morena in Ledigos, and the Irache in Foncebadon… And I think that La Fuenta in Hontantas had 2 designated seatings similar to the set-up at Roncesvalles…
Perhaps we need an operational definition for “communal dinner” but I have also heard of it being the way of things at the vegetarian place (private) in Hospital de Orbigo…
 
Last edited:

Becky 59

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (May 2018)
Camino Ingles (Aug 2019)
I am currently at San Anton Abad looking forward to a great dinner (thank you, @CrimsonBear ). Most kitchens are closed; the people (especially vegans) that want to cook are grouping together in AirB&B's every now and then to cook. I stayed in Granon, Casa de las Sonrisas which is a Donativo but took my reservation because of Covid, and had a true Donativo-style meal cooked by the hospitaleros. In terms of masks, everyone is masked as they enter the albergues and the hospitalero shows us to our bunks, but pretty much after that the masks come off. We mask up to enter a cafe/bar to order food, and take it off to eat and drink.

Many bars and tiendas did not survive Covid; it can be difficult to buy breakfast in the morning, or if I find breakfast I may not find lunch. I am trying to keep 1-2 meals of picnic food with me to cover the frequent times there isn't a bar or tienda where I want one.

As the crowds drop off, I see more and more people not booking ahead, and finding beds. There are still bottlenecks, and Saturdays can be problematic if you want to stay in a town that is also a tourist draw and you compete with locals for rooms.

There are fewer Spaniards walking, at least where I am. I try to have a discussion with my dorm-mates about cracking a window open, and most everyone seems enthusiastic about getting airflow, and not waking in a stuffy room. I heard about a place in Espinosa that had a German guest who wasn't vaccinated, so they required everyone to strictly mask during their stay.

I have also only heard about one pilgrim who got bedbugs (seems to have been in Logrono). Maybe the Covid cleaning protocols have helped combat bedbugs?

Buen Camino on your upcoming walk!
 

David with new Kit!

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Been here for 3 weeks so far and had no problems finding breakfast, it's not unusual to have a second breakfast either.

Lunch, choose to have a main meal at lunchtime wherever you are as dinner might be to late. Generally starts between 1900hrs and 2030hrs. We even found one in Mansilla de las Mulas that started at 2100hrs.

Due to that uncertainty I'd plonk for main meal at lunchtime.

Having said that, I'm going for pulpo at 1900hrs in the restaurant at O'Cebreiro.
 
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We are starting week three on the Frances. In Sahagun tonight. No difficulties finding restaurants or grocery stores. We are booking rooms ahead to get private rooms, and having almost no problem doing that. Spaniards wear masks much more than pilgrims do. I don’t think I have met anyone who is not vaccinated. Life is relaxed.
 

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