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Info on Albergues

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:
#1
There are many new albergues that don't yet appear in any of the guides and scouts come out to meet pilgrims with leaflets and brochures on their new albergues.
* We stayed in 32 albergues (refuges) along the camino Frances.
* Only two places didn't offer blankets - all the others handed out blankets to those who asked for them later in the day or evening.
* The majority charge between 3 and 5 euro and eight were 'donativo' - we gave 5 euro at these. The most expensive was 9 euro (Palas do Rei).
* 7 places offered an evening meal for a small charge (5 or 6 euro) or a dontation. Sometimes the hospitalero cooked the meal and sometimes pilgrims were asked to help with the cooking. (All help with the washing up.)
* You can reserve beds ahead at all of the private albergues listed on the Red de Albergues leaflet. (Downloadable at at http://www.redalberguessantiago.com) These charge between 7 and 9 euro.
* Most municipal and church sponsored albergues have curfews - lights off by 10pm. Many also request that you do not turn on lights before 7am in the morning. Private albergues have less stringent rules.
* Most albergues will only allow you to stay for one night but places like San Bol and Manjarin do not have rules and will allow you to stay for as long as you like.
* Many albergues have internet facilities as do the local cafe-bars. Some are free but with a restricted time and some are coin operated.
* Most of the albergues were clean and the only albergue we stayed in that was disgusting was at Melide. It was reported that Zubiri is pretty grim and the municipal albergue at Arca is much like Melide.
My favourite albergues?
Villamayor de Monjardin: Slept on mattresses on the floor, had a communal meal, wonderful hospitaleros.
Granon: Slept on mattresses high up in a bell tower of a church. We had to sing for our supper! The donation box has a sign, "Leave what you can, take what you need." Wonderful hospitaleros.
Tosantos: Slept on mattresses on the floor. Helped cook the communal meal. Evening blessing in the attic. Wonderful hospitaleros.
Arroya San Bol: No electricity, no running water (you can drink the water from a healing spring in a field at the back), no toilet (use the field lower down!) but does have double bunks. A young Rastafarian Italian chef cooked us the best meal we had on the camino. Only sleeps ten but never turns anybody away. Many musical instruments if you feel like a jamming session.
Bercianos del real Camino: Old spring beds in a straw and mud building. You have to watch the sun set before you can have dinner, cooked by Amor the hospitalero.
Manjarin: No electricity, no running water (except for a spring across the road), a long-drop toilet and mattresses in a stone barn. Meal cooked for a donation by the hospitalero eaten under lamplight. Templar ceremony at about 11am conducted by Tomas, the last of the Templar Knights. Wouldn't have missed it for the world.
Ave Fenix: at Villafranca del Bierzo is the home of Jesus Jato and his family and although there is a municipal albergue as you walk into the town, carry on to Ave Fenix where you will have a communal meal, perhaps a Reiki session performed by Jesus and, if you are lucky, witness a quemada (fire water) ceremony!
Note: Most pilgrims follow the stages listed by the various guides which lead to larger towns or cities. The smaller, less populated albergues are often more friendly and I would recommend to any wanna-be peregrinos to walk through the larger towns and cities and head for the smaller villages. And remember, even if the guide says "no beds, no running water, no electricity, no toilet" you will still be sleeping on a mattress, under a roof, with your meal being cooked on a gas stove, using lamplight or candles. It beats camping out anytime!
Pilgrim hugs,
Sil
 

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