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Is Courtesy Still Alive on the Camino? A Pre-Bookers Rant and more...

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
This post is going to contain some ranting. It's coming from fear. I've waited 7 years to finally have my opportunity for the Camino. I am hoping to leave in May but given what I've seen in all the FB groups on the Camino, there is a new trend that wasnt around in 2012 when I first got the call.

Pre-bookers. There were tour companies in 2012 for sure. I remember older pilgrims complaining about them. There was bag service (Maybe not as many now). But the boatloads of pre-bookers for Orrison who are also pre-booking additional albergues for days following Orrison is creating ALOT of fear in me. May is definitely pre-booked for Orrison.

So all those pilgrims who have been told "It's your Camino. Walk it any way you want..." Well given that I have a spinal condition but am otherwise fit I'm having to assess if I can make the push straight to Roncesvaille. And if I get there, there is no given I will have a place to sleep because all the other May pre-bookers will likely have left the day before and pre-booked there as well.

The mean judgy side of me wants to say "Don't they trust God?" The mature side of me asks me "Do you?" I know this is an internal struggle with fear and trust. I mean I don't even have my ticket to leave yet. But all this talk about "It's your Camino. Walk it however" might lead to some issues for others. Like how I despite my physical limitations might have to walk the alternate path from SJPdP just because some weren't sure how they were going to feel once they reach Orrison. Or how I despite my pain might be forced to carry on to Roncesvaille, bed availability still uncertain. I'm not techy and if you tell me to reserve ahead for Roncesvaille I might scream. I've waited seven years to do this. But I might not be able to do the "It's your Camino. Walk it like you want." thing because I do want to see the pinnacle. That's been part of my dream. Not walking some roadway to Valcarlos. I just wish people would stop telling people that it's okay to pre-book because it's really not. I mean you don't even know if you'll have to stop. In my opinion, pre-booking is okay if you are travelling with more than two in your party and especially if you have seniors or kids. Otherwise, you're leaving out that God the Universe whatever you believe in might be drawing people with needs to the Camino.

First come, first served. That's what people were b*tching about 7 years ago. The tours, the bag service, the clusterclod in Sarria, the race for a bed. At least early bird gets the worm is fair. This pre-booking thing has thrown me a curve ball. I'm actually considering that despite the money and freedom I now have that I should post-pone. I can barely figure out how to arrange my arrival because I've never traveled abroad. Before I knew that if I traveled that I might have to early rise, I might have to expect congestion the closer to Santiago I got but this is a whole other predicament. I barely use my phone's capability in my own life!

I went to my local chapter meeting of APOC. I paid my dues for two years, just as I have here on the forum. The presenter was discussing how in a Camino basics lecture you can send your bags ahead, you can pre-book your stays in albergues. I cringed when he couldn't tell the backpacker bent on the Alps what was so special about the Camino Frances. This was Tuesday. At REI. (also of which I'm a member).

"Because it's a pilgrimage." I wanted to scream. According to the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago, "Groups organised with support car or by bicycle are requested to seek alternative shelter to the pilgrim hostels. " https://oficinadelperegrino.com/en/pilgrimage/the-credencial/

I think this should be taught to individuals as well. Why? Because of common courtesy. If you have a credencial from Santiago (available in the forum store for a 2 E donation), you AGREE TO ABIDE BY IT. The spirit of this if you are booking ahead, do so at a hotel! Not a hostel or albergue!

So I hope people can help me to shed these fears Will I like and others like me, the technologically challenged, follow in the footsteps of Jesus? ""Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

I'd love to hear your stories. Reprimand me. Admonish me. But if you say to me "Book ahead" I will start another thread about bringing back pilgrim values.
 
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davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
This post is going to contain some ranting. It's coming from fear. I've waited 7 years to finally have my opportunity for the Camino. I am hoping to leave in May but given what I've seen in all the FB groups on the Camino, there is a new trend that wasnt around in 2012 when I first got the call.

Pre-bookers. There were tour companies in 2012 for sure. I remember older pilgrims complaining about them. There was bag service (Maybe not as many now). But the boatloads of pre-bookers for Orrison who are also pre-booking additional albergues for days following Orrison is creating ALOT of fear in me. May is definitely pre-booked for Orrison.

So all those pilgrims who have been told "It's your Camino. Walk it any way you want..." Well given that I have a spinal condition but am otherwise fit I'm having to assess if I can make the push straight to Roncesvaille. And if I get there, there is no given I will have a place to sleep because all the other May pre-bookers will likely have left the day before and pre-booked there.
Yours is a valid criticism. Fortunately, many alburgues do not take reservations, or they do like Roncesvalles and only allocate a percentage of available beds able to be reserved, leaving the rest on a first come-first served basis.

For Orisson, or any other location, if bed space is gone at an alburgue there are usually other lodging choices that are available. With the Napoleon route, you can have a taxi or shuttle meet you at Orisson and take you back to SJPdP for the night. Then taxi or shuttle back to Orisson the next morning and continue to Roncesvalles.

Another option if everything is completo is to get a taxi and travel to the next available lodging in another town. Then the next morning, take a taxi BACK to where you left off. I have done that a couple of times.

The most notable taxi back and forth occured at Maneru, which has limited bed space in the small village. My son and I arrived there after 46 kilometer walk, and I was beat. However, just ahead of our arrival in Maneru, a bus load of people were apparently disgorged near to the town. Every bed was gone in town.

Caleb was fine, but he would not let me continue walking to the next town ahead. We ended up needing to taxi to Estella to find bed space. Next morning, early, we taxied back to Maneru and picked up where we left off.

So don't worry. If you wish to -- as you walk your Camino -- at the end of the day when you are stopped at your lodging location, go ahead and pre-book the next night's lodging using a booking.com app. Or know that you can take a taxi or bus to the next town if rooms or beds aren't available.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
There will be plenty of space for you. Do not worry. If you are staying at albergues, consider that only SOME private albergues can be pre-booked. If you take the classic approach, and stop when you are tired, or at an albergue that others in the forum have raved about, you should be fine.

If you are following the Brierely guide, one of the unfortunate results is that most, if not all of the day's pilgrims are intent on staying at each of his prescribed stage stops. Depending on the day of the week and the month of the year, this can cause an abnormal demand for beds.

The best way to avoid this "pig in the python" syndrome, especially if you are not planning to book ahead, is to stop at the last albergue BEFORE the listed stage end, or at the entry to the town, village, etc. Alternatively, walk a little further and stay at the first place AFTER the listed day's end stage.

If you do plan to book ahead, most of us will recommend using www.booking.com to book 3-4 days out. You can find many private albergues as well as hostals, hotels, etc. The other very good accommodation resource is www.Gronze.com, however it is only available in Spanish. You can actually book a reservation on booking.com. Gronze is for information only. There is no direct booking available. However, you could obtain the website from the listings and see if their website has booking available.

The other thing that works very well is to ask someone where you are staying, and who can speak good Spanish, to call ahead using the Gronze.com information and make a phone reservation for you at the place you wish to stay at down the road. If they do not have a phone, your should offer use of your mobile.

Final note on making reservations, anywhere or at any time... PLEASE SHOW UP or contact the property to cancel at the earliest possible time. This frees up your unneeded reservation for another pilgrim. In some cases, it also avoids you being billed for the reservation. On Booking.com be aware of the deadlines for free cancellation.

Hope this helps.
 
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lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
The most notable taxi back and forth occured at Maneru, which has limited bed space in the small village. My son and I arrived there after 46 kilometer walk, and I was beat. However, just ahead of our arrival in Maneru, a bus load of people were apparently disgorged near to the town. Every bed was gone in town.

Caleb was fine, but he would not let me continue walking to the next town ahead. We ended up needing to taxi to Estella to find bed space. Next morning, early, we taxied back to Maneru and picked up where we left off.

So don't worry. If you wish to -- as you walk your Camino -- at the end of the day when you are stopped at your lodging location, go ahead and pre-book the next night's lodging using a booking.com app. Or know that you can take a taxi or bus to the next town if rooms or beds aren't available.
Thanks Dave that is good advice! I long gave away my judgement of others for the bag service. I'm barely talking anything with a 38L pack as it is but my question to you is did you have issues. I have tried and tried to learn to learn Spanish. I revert to French verbs, nouns and pronouns when in doubt without meaning to. Were you able to make your needs known in Spanish, English or broken pieces of the language?
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Don't worry about Roncesvalles. They only put aside a portion (less than half?) of the beds for advanced reservations. The rest are first come first served. My first year I stayed at Orisson my first night, and didn't leave particularly early in the morning, and arrived at Roncesvalles before they opened at 2:00. That was 2016, and I have no idea if they accepted reservations that year, but I definitely had no problem getting a bed.
 

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
Don't worry about Roncesvalles. They only put aside a portion (less than half?) of the bed for advanced reservations. The rest are first come first served. My first year I stayed at Orisson my first night, and didn't leave particularly early in the morning, and arrived at Roncesvalles before they opened at 2:00. That was 2016, and I have no idea if they accepted reservations that year, but I definitely had no problem getting a bed.
Thank God! Such good news thank you for your reply!
 

Antonius Vaessen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte (to Sobrado)
2019 Norte again
I walk on Camino but am not a pilgrim and don't consider my walk to be a pilgrimage. I don't understand the problem of booking ahead as long as the "real" pilgrimalbergues stick to the rule of not accepting reservations.
 

GettingThere

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
(Apr -Jun 2019: Roncesvalles-SdC)
@lizlane perhaps you would be better to direct your anger at the places that offer advance booking as an option, rather than at those who make use of the option. And rather than making assumptions about their reasons for doing so. Your disappointment at not being able to stay at Orisson is understandable. It has a relatively small capacity and as a private business has chosen to take bookings. Some of those who have booked for that night may, like you, have physical limitations. You cannot know their reasons. The month of May is one of the busiest times of year for pilgrim departures from Saint Jean.

I expect others will point out that the route via Valcarlos is quite beautiful and by no means all on the road. There are other options for breaking up that stage too as @davebugg has explained.

You may even find that the first day is not in the end the pinnacle experience of your journey! Whatever you decide to do, Buen Camino.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
As you admitted from the start, you have worked yourself up on the basis of fear and uncertainty. I understand many of your feelings but the logic is iffy.
pre-booking is okay if you are travelling with more than two in your party
Maybe not. The groups can fill up an albergue very fast, leaving the singles without. That is a common complaint.
boatloads of pre-bookers for Orrison
Orrison only has 30 beds or so.
At least early bird gets the worm is fair
How is it fair that the speedy and early get the beds?

My point is that "fair" is in the eyes of the beholder and there is no simple solution.

You will most likely be able to manage all this happily, if you can focus on solutions rather than anger. But at least you've got it out of your system!
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Thanks Dave that is good advice! I long gave away my judgement of others for the bag service. I'm barely talking anything with a 38L pack as it is but my question to you is did you have issues. I have tried and tried to learn to learn Spanish. I revert to French verbs, nouns and pronouns when in doubt without meaning to. Were you able to make your needs known in Spanish, English or broken pieces of the language?
No problems at all. Language can be a stumbling block, but I found it unusual that a service provider, like in various lodging options, would not be able to help me. Also, smart phone apps exist to help with translations. Write what you need to say, and the app will translate to Spanish for the provider to read.
 

sugargypsy

Member
Camino(s) past & future
First one planned for May 2019: Camino Francés
Dear Lizlane,

like you, I want to start my first Camino this May. I haven't booked my ticket yet, will do so the next couple of days.

A couple of days ago I had similar fears like you. Then I checked all my options, how to solve every problem which might turn up the first three days. Wrote them down plus phone numbers, adresses etc.

This is what I came up with:

I'll try to get a bed at Orisson, the night after for Roncevalles. If everythings booked, then I'll taxi back to SJPdP and stay there a second night (if you want, I can send you all my collected infos via private message).

I know, that's a very pragmatic way to deal with anxiety. But it helped, at least me - so far.

Whish I could say this with the same confidence about walking & finishing the whole way. That's the part where my insecurities turn up.

But I guess, that's one aspect, or better: part of the deal, when starting to walk the way which calls us somehow, for whatever reason: Not knowing how it's going to work out.



I'd like to share my favorite saying for the last couple of months with you:


Hope is not the conviction
that something is going well,
but the certainty
that something makes sense,
no matter how it ends.

Václav Havél
 
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Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Walked April/May 2018 and was surrounded by pilgrims who had prebooked or worried about beds. My wife and I just wandered and ended up with a bed each night in every town we stopped. I didn't begrudge those who prebooked (whom am I to judge there reasons?) nor did I let myself get caught up in the worry that so many non-prebookers expressed all day as they walked.

Stay in your own space mentally. Walk and then seek shelter. Perhaps it won't be where you expected, but it's not worth the stress and anger at other pilgrims to the be where you are right now mentally or spiritually.
 

CAJohn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sept/Oct 2019
I will be doing the Frances in September. I decided not to stay in Orisson, but also not going to Roncenvalles in one day. I am going to walk to the Vierge de Biakorri and come back to SJPDP on my first day of walking with Express Bouricot. Then the next day, they can take me up to Vierge de Biakorri with their mountain shuttle to continue my trip.

Not doing this because of difficulty getting a spot at Orisson, but because I want to. This allows me to walk further on the first day and spend the night in town for extra supplies or whatnot.

There are many ways to make it over the mountain.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
I will be doing the Frances in September. I decided not to stay in Orisson, but also not going to Roncenvalles in one day. I am going to walk to the Vierge de Biakorri and come back to SJPDP on my first day of walking with Express Bouricot. Then the next day, they can take me up to Vierge de Biakorri with their mountain shuttle to continue my trip.

Not doing this because of difficulty getting a spot at Orisson, but because I want to. This allows me to walk further on the first day and spend the night in town for extra supplies or whatnot.

There are many ways to make it over the mountain.
Your last line, above, is a gift to me today, in my ordinary non camino life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
 

IngridF

Intrepid Peregrina
Camino(s) past & future
2012, 2015 ,2017, 2019
Walked April/May 2018 and was surrounded by pilgrims who had prebooked or worried about beds. My wife and I just wandered and ended up with a bed each night in every town we stopped. I didn't begrudge those who prebooked (whom am I to judge there reasons?) nor did I let myself get caught up in the worry that so many non-prebookers expressed all day as they walked.

Stay in your own space mentally. Walk and then seek shelter. Perhaps it won't be where you expected, but it's not worth the stress and anger at other pilgrims to the be where you are right now mentally or spiritually.
One advice I used whenever I found myself in a place that was "fully" booked, I asked at the local bar to help me. Never failed, they always found a bed. Trust and walk with an open heart. You will be amazed on how your journey evolves. Buen Camino.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
Yours is a valid criticism. Fortunately, many alburgues do not take reservations, or they do like Roncesvalles and only allocate a percentage of available beds able to be reserved, leaving the rest on a first come-first served basis.

For Orisson, or any other location, if bed space is gone at an alburgue there are usually other lodging choices that are available. With the Napoleon route, you can have a taxi or shuttle meet you at Orisson and take you back to SJPdP for the night. Then taxi or shuttle back to Orisson the next morning and continue to Roncesvalles.

Another option if everything is completo is to get a taxi and travel to the next available lodging in another town. Then the next morning, take a taxi BACK to where you left off. I have done that a couple of times.

The most notable taxi back and forth occured at Maneru, which has limited bed space in the small village. My son and I arrived there after 46 kilometer walk, and I was beat. However, just ahead of our arrival in Maneru, a bus load of people were apparently disgorged near to the town. Every bed was gone in town.

Caleb was fine, but he would not let me continue walking to the next town ahead. We ended up needing to taxi to Estella to find bed space. Next morning, early, we taxied back to Maneru and picked up where we left off.

So don't worry. If you wish to -- as you walk your Camino -- at the end of the day when you are stopped at your lodging location, go ahead and pre-book the next night's lodging using a booking.com app. Or know that you can take a taxi or bus to the next town if rooms or beds aren't available.
It's good to have good kids, isn't it Dave? I probably ask my daughters once a month if they want to walk with me. That would be a dream come true. I am sure it was with your son. I think I will get my older daughter to do it one day. One out of two ain't bad.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
The obsession about beds leads to something called the 'bed race' on the Camino. This is when pilgrims rush from their accommodations to the next days' stop so they get there early enough to score a bed in their desired albergue.

Fundamentally, the problem with this is that the rush to get where you want to stop for the day tends to ruin the day's experience.

MANY of us have come to realize that the journey IS the destination, not the destination per se. It is not the urge to arrive at Santiago, or any intervening point that drives us. Rather, it is the expectations of each days' experiences, scenery, etc.. We try to savor each day for what it contains and can provide for us.

We, mostly, look forward to interacting with other pilgrims and the folks we meet along the way. We, generally, are not focused on the end of the day. With experience comes the realization that there is ALWAYS someplace to sleep.

With experience, and reliance on the advice of experienced pilgrims here in the forum, comes the understanding that the 'bed race' is silly, counterproductive and wholly unnecessary. Over the years, various techniques have been developed and tested to assure you of finding a bed. I mentioned several in my post above.

There are others. One of the least known methods is to go to a local bar / cafe and ask the bartender, owner, etc. if anyone takes in pilgrims who need a room. First, establish that this is Plan B or Plan C in your strategy. IMHO, you should have exhausted all other attempts before using this one.

In many very small towns or villages, the local bar / cafe is the information center for the town. Most all towns will have someone who takes in pilgrims who cannot find a bed the usual way, after they are 'vetted' by the bar / cafe worker...

Generally, this will be a older person who will give you a clean place to sleep, bathe and perhaps offer you food. While this is usually done on a donativo place, you should give an amount equal to what it would have cost you to stay in the albergue and feed yourself at a restaurant. Doing this, preserves this option in future for others in need.

Remember, if you use this last idea, you will be invited to spend the night in a private home, by a private person who does not know you. Please act accordingly.

Hope this helps.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-Santiago (Sep/Oct 2018)
I think it will help you a lot if you can try to let go of what you think your pilgrimage should be. It will take a few days before you find out what you are capable of doing. If you have to bus ahead to the next town, ship your bags, or spend an extra day somewhere along the way, it won't take away from the total experience. It's not a contest to see how much one can suffer. Use good judgement. You are likely to be on the Camino for 35+ days. Don't let pride in the first 3 or 4 days cause you to end your Camino early.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
This post is going to contain some ranting. It's coming from fear. I've waited 7 years to finally have my opportunity for the Camino. I am hoping to leave in May but given what I've seen in all the FB groups on the Camino, there is a new trend that wasnt around in 2012 when I first got the call.

Pre-bookers. There were tour companies in 2012 for sure. I remember older pilgrims complaining about them. There was bag service (Maybe not as many now). But the boatloads of pre-bookers for Orrison who are also pre-booking additional albergues for days following Orrison is creating ALOT of fear in me. May is definitely pre-booked for Orrison.

So all those pilgrims who have been told "It's your Camino. Walk it any way you want..." Well given that I have a spinal condition but am otherwise fit I'm having to assess if I can make the push straight to Roncesvaille. And if I get there, there is no given I will have a place to sleep because all the other May pre-bookers will likely have left the day before and pre-booked there as well.

The mean judgy side of me wants to say "Don't they trust God?" The mature side of me asks me "Do you?" I know this is an internal struggle with fear and trust. I mean I don't even have my ticket to leave yet. But all this talk about "It's your Camino. Walk it however" might lead to some issues for others. Like how I despite my physical limitations might have to walk the alternate path from SJPdP just because some weren't sure how they were going to feel once they reach Orrison. Or how I despite my pain might be forced to carry on to Roncesvaille, bed availability still uncertain. I'm not techy and if you tell me to reserve ahead for Roncesvaille I might scream. I've waited seven years to do this. But I might not be able to do the "It's your Camino. Walk it like you want." thing because I do want to see the pinnacle. That's been part of my dream. Not walking some roadway to Valcarlos. I just wish people would stop telling people that it's okay to pre-book because it's really not. I mean you don't even know if you'll have to stop. In my opinion, pre-booking is okay if you are travelling with more than two in your party and especially if you have seniors or kids. Otherwise, you're leaving out that God the Universe whatever you believe in might be drawing people with needs to the Camino.

First come, first served. That's what people were b*tching about 7 years ago. The tours, the bag service, the clusterclod in Sarria, the race for a bed. At least early bird gets the worm is fair. This pre-booking thing has thrown me a curve ball. I'm actually considering that despite the money and freedom I now have that I should post-pone. I can barely figure out how to arrange my arrival because I've never traveled abroad. Before I knew that if I traveled that I might have to early rise, I might have to expect congestion the closer to Santiago I got but this is a whole other predicament. I barely use my phone's capability in my own life!

I went to my local chapter meeting of APOC. I paid my dues for two years, just as I have here on the forum. The presenter was discussing how in a Camino basics lecture you can send your bags ahead, you can pre-book your stays in albergues. I cringed when he couldn't tell the backpacker bent on the Alps what was so special about the Camino Frances. This was Tuesday. At REI. (also of which I'm a member).

"Because it's a pilgrimage." I wanted to scream. According to the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago, "Groups organised with support car or by bicycle are requested to seek alternative shelter to the pilgrim hostels. " https://oficinadelperegrino.com/en/pilgrimage/the-credencial/

I think this should be taught to individuals as well. Why? Because of common courtesy. If you have a credencial from Santiago (available in the forum store for a 2 E donation), you AGREE TO ABIDE BY IT. The spirit of this if you are booking ahead, do so at a hotel! Not a hostel or albergue!

So I hope people can help me to shed these fears Will I like and others like me, the technologically challenged, follow in the footsteps of Jesus? ""Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

I'd love to hear your stories. Reprimand me. Admonish me. But if you say to me "Book ahead" I will start another thread about bringing back pilgrim values.
My wife assures me that the Camino is a forgiving place and that there always seems to be a way to find a bed for the night and a roof overhead. I was a long distance traveler and backpacker many years ago and spent many a night sleeping on floors, in churches, and a few times in jail cells that the local police offered me as accommodation. The Camino seems to be a journey that has been sheltering travelers for eons and can be relied on, albeit with the need for some flexibility and confidence. Buen Camino— looking forward to seeing you on the Way.
 

Delphinoula

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C Franconia 2019
Camino desde Algeciras Sevillia (2019)
You will get what you need. Let me quote my out of my favorite movie French Kiss:

Kate: I've spent most of my adult life trying to protect myself from exactly this situation. And you can't do it ! There's no home safe enough, there's no country nice enough, there's no relationship secure enough; you're just setting yourself up for an even bigger fall and having an incredibly boring time in the process.

So maybe you should tackle the problem when it arises, so you may just worry about things that may never happen.
A solution always presents itself.
I did not speak Portuguese and was so lost in the fields, someone came to my aid and drove me to an interpreter.
My money card was not working I made do with the cash I had and thought there is always western union if from the other end there was no solution with the card.
It was sorted out.
The only Albergue was closed and I was soaked through and it was 8 Celsius and I was just done and shivering without stop. I got hold to a taxi after walking another long stretch. I got a taxi and a warm Albergue.
My umbilical cord , my phone was not working for a while a fellow pilgrim sent a message to my family that I was still alive.
Could absolutely no more walk to get any kind of food, another pilgrim shared his bread.
Does not sound like a big deal, but then it seemed it to me like I was on the end of my robe, but always I was taken care of.

So the great moments of my pilgrimage was when nothing went as planned.

And since you like quotes:
Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” is an old Yiddish saying meaning, “Man Plans, and God Laughs.”
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Just be prepared to sleep in weird conditions as and when necessary, because crowds might prevent you sleeping otherwise, and you'll be fine.

The Camino is Parish to Parish, not bedroom to bedroom.

If you need a bed every night, well, stay at home and you'll find one -- the Way of Saint James is either something else, or it's worthless.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
Orisson has always required pre-booking. That is its standard practice. On the other side, the vast majority of pilgrims (young, elders, fit or not) make the SJPP-Roncesvalles in one stage, and do well. There is also the Valcarlos option, that can be split in two; this was my option, my first time.
As for the rest of the Camino...I generally avoid the peak season. If you have flexibility choose late March, or early October. Still a reasonable weather, and not so many people in the albergues.
Last time I walked in mid-October. I had a problem just one day, in Portomarin (apparently a big group of cyclist has arrived first); the hospitalera took the phone and got a bed for us in a "not enlisted" albergue (a hotel that moonshined as albergue). After this experience, as I was walking with my wife in her first Camino, I started to make reservations the day before arriving, or even in the same morning; no problem at all. Actually, there were free beds available until mid-afternoon. And there is good people in the albergues, they are not to let you in the street. Just make reservations when it seems reasonable.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
MANY of us have come to realize that the journey IS the destination, not the destination per se. It is not the urge to arrive at Santiago, or any intervening point that drives us. Rather, it is the expectations of each days' experiences, scenery, etc.. We try to savor each day for what it contains and can provide for us.
I disagree, even though what you describe is an extraordinarily important element of every individual Camino.

I could perhaps reverse it though ... into :

The Destination is the Way.

That makes more sense to my mind ...
 

Glamgrrl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Travel318
Liken it to giving birth. We all aspire to one thing, a healthy baby and easy labor and delivery. This process can be much anticipated for 9 months but you ultimately have no control over the outcome. To each their own. I will add my snarky bit to your rant which is a “true pilgrim” might not be pouring over pages and pages of content regarding the Camino if they had 100% faith in God. Rather they might just go and walk. But life is different for everyone. So leave the pages in peace and let go of your fear. Embrace the people, the beautiful journey and walk in a relaxed manner. Blessings to you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
The obsession about beds leads to something called the 'bed race' on the Camino. This is when pilgrims rush from their accommodations to the next days' stop so they get there early enough to score a bed in their desired albergue.

Fundamentally, the problem with this is that the rush to get where you want to stop for the day tends to ruin the day's experience.

MANY of us have come to realize that the journey IS the destination, not the destination per se. It is not the urge to arrive at Santiago, or any intervening point that drives us. Rather, it is the expectations of each days' experiences, scenery, etc.. We try to savor each day for what it contains and can provide for us.

We, mostly, look forward to interacting with other pilgrims and the folks we meet along the way. We, generally, are not focused on the end of the day. With experience comes the realization that there is ALWAYS someplace to sleep.

With experience, and reliance on the advice of experienced pilgrims here in the forum, comes the understanding that the 'bed race' is silly, counterproductive and wholly unnecessary. Over the years, various techniques have been developed and tested to assure you of finding a bed. I mentioned several in my post above.

There are others. One of the least known methods is to go to a local bar / cafe and ask the bartender, owner, etc. if anyone takes in pilgrims who need a room. First, establish that this is Plan B or Plan C in your strategy. IMHO, you should have exhausted all other attempts before using this one.

In many very small towns or villages, the local bar / cafe is the information center for the town. Most all towns will have someone who takes in pilgrims who cannot find a bed the usual way, after they are 'vetted' by the bar / cafe worker...

Generally, this will be a older person who will give you a clean place to sleep, bathe and perhaps offer you food. While this is usually done on a donativo place, you should give an amount equal to what it would have cost you to stay in the albergue and feed yourself at a restaurant. Doing this, preserves this option in future for others in need.

Remember, if you use this last idea, you will be invited to spend the night in a private home, by a private person who does not know you. Please act accordingly.
Hope this helps.
I would be careful about revealing oldtimer tricks: I'll walk later this year, and will need a bed... ;)

On a serious note: I completely agree with you.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Orisson has always required pre-booking.
And before 2004, which is only fifteen years ago, there was no ranting about pre-bookers at Orisson because Refuge Orisson simply did not exist. I think some of those who feel called to staying there or a similarly coveted place don't realise how spoilt we are for accommodation on the Camino Frances today.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
And before 2004, which is only fifteen years ago, there was no ranting about pre-bookers at Orisson because Refuge Orisson simply did not exist. I think some of those who feel called to staying there or a similarly coveted place don't realise how spoilt we are for accommodation on the Camino Frances today.
I've had to sleep twice so far outside on my (currently suspended) 2019 at about 0°C, and once just on the floor of a pretty chilly church, and whilst nobody would be reasonable in seeking out such poor conditions, I think it's important to always accept that they're possible.

The expectations of tourists are elsewhere.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
I've had to sleep twice so far outside on my (currently suspended) 2019 at about 0°C, and once just on the floor of a pretty chilly church, and whilst nobody would be reasonable in seeking out such poor conditions, I think it's important to always accept that they're possible.
I can only add that I admire this. Respect. But I think you are in a class of your own ;).

So just to reassure readers: this did not happen on the Camino Frances of 2019 between SJPP and Santiago, right? 🤔
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I can only add that I admire this. Respect. But I think you are in a class of your own ;).

So just to reassure readers: this did not happen on the Camino Frances of 2019 between SJPP and Santiago, right? 🤔
No, it's on the Provençal Way between Italy and Arles -- I've made it to Aix-en-Provence so far.

Still only a few dozen pilgrims /year on this route BTW
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Tom mentioned it above: To avoid worrying about the bed-racer cohort, buy Brierley's guidebook and avoid his staged, end of day stopping points.
Yes, it's a good start. But sometimes you cannot avoid/want to stop at some of those places. Having said that: What is wrong with sleeping on a bench/Church steps/other convenient places? After many Caminos the last 10 years, I have completely stopped worrying about a bed, and instead walking in the now and enjoying it. I will find a place to sleep. And, I have so far never been without a bed for the night.

The trick with the Camino is to live in the now and trust. It's like most things in life: your worst worries never happened.

But I can understand firsttimers' worries. Unchartered territory. But all will be well, and the Spanish are hospitable and friendly people.You will find a place each night. Put your energy into enjoying each day's walk instead.

Remember; the walk is the Way, not the destination. You will understand this somewhere along your walk, at least on the day you stand in front of the cathedral in SdC.
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. Next: Gd St Bernard to Rome
Remember; the walk is the Way, not the destination. You will understand this somewhere along your walk, at least on the day you stand in front of the cathedral in SdC.
Well said. Leave your fears behind. We all had them, the first time, only to discover...they just went....as we walked along...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
You will get what you need. Let me quote my out of my favorite movie French Kiss:

Kate: I've spent most of my adult life trying to protect myself from exactly this situation. And you can't do it ! There's no home safe enough, there's no country nice enough, there's no relationship secure enough; you're just setting yourself up for an even bigger fall and having an incredibly boring time in the process.

So maybe you should tackle the problem when it arises, so you may just worry about things that may never happen.
A solution always presents itself.
I did not speak Portuguese and was so lost in the fields, someone came to my aid and drove me to an interpreter.
My money card was not working I made do with the cash I had and thought there is always western union if from the other end there was no solution with the card.
It was sorted out.
The only Albergue was closed and I was soaked through and it was 8 Celsius and I was just done and shivering without stop. I got hold to a taxi after walking another long stretch. I got a taxi and a warm Albergue.
My umbilical cord , my phone was not working for a while a fellow pilgrim sent a message to my family that I was still alive.
Could absolutely no more walk to get any kind of food, another pilgrim shared his bread.
Does not sound like a big deal, but then it seemed it to me like I was on the end of my robe, but always I was taken care of.

So the great moments of my pilgrimage was when nothing went as planned.

And since you like quotes:
Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” is an old Yiddish saying meaning, “Man Plans, and God Laughs.”
Well said and true. You are wise.
 

zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
I have walked five Camino's now and I have never had an issue getting a bed. I have of course come across some albergue's full but there were always other options.
I am fundamentally against any pre-booking and wished that all albergue's were all on a first come, first served basis.
I only have a general idea of where I will end up each night when I start walking each day.
Pre-booking accommodations kind of kills the whole spontaneous nature of walking the Camino in my opinion.
I like to leave my regimented life at home.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I only have a general idea of where I will end up each night when I start walking each day.
Pre-booking accommodations kind of kills the whole spontaneous nature of walking the Camino in my opinion.
Exactly. Good attitude IMHO.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francé 2005; 2016
Inglés June 2017
del Salvador Sep 2018
Primitivo Oct 2018
Rebekah I believe you! You were here when I got here so there is an immeasurable amount of comfort I have from your words. Truly! <3
Hi LizLane - from what you've shared with this forum so far, it reads as though you have been on a long and arduous Camino for some time, and your journey to Santiago de Compostella is an essential continuation. You've come a long way already. The Camino Francés seems daunting, its your first adventure abroad. You will meet many fine and special people, make friends and have challenging and enlightening experiences, I'm sure. It seems to happen to all the pilgrims I have met as well as to myself, and not just upon the Francés. The accomodation situation can be a worry, but don't be absorbed by it. Once you get started you'll wonder what all the fuss was about and simply take whatever accomodation lies on your way and open to you. I've rarely booked in advance - apart from Santiago itself where I have a particular favourite location, because I always enjoy my stay there and meet fascinating people. Normally, I simply look for the municiple Alberques along each Camino - they vary greatly in size and quality but we're only there overnight and I've no complaints about any of them. Good luck, don't worry and trust in yourself, your soul, your angels and God. Very best wishes to you. Have a gooden'. Keith
 
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Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
On my first Camino, I had no expectations, and had done very little research. Basically just rocked up to SJPDP and started walking, minus guidebook just following the arrows. I loved that.
I didn't know about bag transport, booking ahead , or even that there were options other than albergues. But I always got a bed.
However, you shouldn't close your mind off to those options, as you never know what's ahead. I hurt my knee a week in, and using bag transport for about 5 days allowed me to keep walking, and my knee came right. I was on a tight time schedule, and that was an excellent solution for me. Not carrying my pack made all the difference.
Using bag transport you have to book ahead, so there is somewhere for your bag to be delivered.
I prefer to carry my own pack, and then stop where I like, but sometimes unexpected things happen.
It pays to keep an open mind, for me these options allowed me to keep walking.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I recognize that this is a rant and a vent, and I hope it helped to purge you of some frustrations. I echo others on this forum that have written that you don't need to worry so much. The Camino has a way of providing and, even if you should find your self in a place that is full (even, perhaps, with some people that have pre-booked, heaven forfend!) there are a number of strategies for ensuring that you can find accommodation, which have been written above and don't need repeating.

I also want to echo those who suggest leaving expectations behind when starting a camino. Some it won't meet, others it will exceed, but generally it will succeed best if you just take it as it comes (as you suggest otherwise do with accommodation).

I do, however, want to ask you to reconsider some of the things you have written in the heat of emotion.

"If you have a credencial from Santiago (available in the forum store for a 2 E donation), you AGREE TO ABIDE BY IT." I have such a credencial. I just pulled it out and looked at it. It does suggest that albergues are for walkers who are not supported by cars (presumably referring to baggage transfer). I don't see anywhere it saying that booking albergue accommodation is against the rules or spirit of the Camino. It may bother you a lot when people pre-book. But I think it is a stretch to indicate that it is against the terms set out in the credencial.

Similarly, you say that "first come, first served" is the only fair way to allot beds on the Camino. I'm not sure if I can agree with that. If someone walks 40 km, all day, are they less deserving of a bed than someone who walked 15 km and stopped before noon so they would be "first come, first served"? That's the kind of thinking that leads to the bed race that everyone seems to complain about. I remember an albergue we stayed at in O Pedrouzo didn't take reservations but did give preference to people who had started their caminos much further away over people who were just doing that last 100 km. That departed from "first come, first served" but at the time I didn't think it was unfair. There were plenty of other albergues for people who had started in Sarria.

I think the Camino is best served when all types of pilgrims are accommodated. There are plenty of albergues that don't take reservations. Why get so angry that some do? And if albergues are taking reservations, I don't think it is breaking any rules to do what they are permitting.

The best part of the Camino, in my experience, is when pilgrims are acting as each others cheerleaders, and doing whatever they can to help each other succeed. That is the secret behind the "camino magic" and "the camino will provide" and behind the success of these forums. I never did a lot of booking on my Caminos (although I won't say I did none - I don't think I could have stayed at the Casa da Fernanda on the Camino Portugues without pre-booking). But if I came across another pilgrim who felt pre-booking necessary to the success of their pilgrimage, I would do what I can to help them, not fume that they weren't a "real pilgrim".

You did ask us to admonish you. :)

But in the spirit of helping each other succeed, I will say that on the Camino there will be plenty of people ready to help you find a bed and that the strategies others have suggested really work so I don't think you will find yourself without.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Sept-Nov 2016)
Camino Podiensis/Le Puy (Sept 2019)
Camino Frances (Oct 2019)
With the exception of Orrison, I made no pre-bookings. I would walk into the town/village/city and maybe have an idea of where I wanted to stay based on a guidebook recommendation, or perhaps the municipal was the only option, or if it was a big city, I’d follow other pilgrims. My first night in SJPdP I got off the train, walked to the pilgrim office, got my shell and list of albergues that still had beds available, and picked one. Point being, I didn’t have a plan and that made it more of a faith-walk. Because the Camino is a faith-walk no matter how much one attempts to plan or control the journey. I cannot fathom why someone would pre book the entire walk but I realize people have different timelines, needs, etc.

The Camino has such a great built-in infrastructure that you’re always going to be fine and....here’s something else to consider: an important of the journey is to break away from the herd mentality and do your own thing. The mad dash to get up early, rush for beds, worrying you’ll be left behind...

The magic starts when you release the need to control and let the Camino carry you.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I didn’t have a plan and that made it more of a faith-walk. Because the Camino is a faith-walk no matter how much one attempts to plan or control the journey.
The best plan is to not have a plan. ;) Freedom.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Pre-bookers. There were tour companies in 2012 for sure. I remember older pilgrims complaining about them. There was bag service (Maybe not as many now). But the boatloads of pre-bookers for Orrison who are also pre-booking additional albergues for days following Orrison is creating ALOT of fear in me. May is definitely pre-booked for Orrison.

So all those pilgrims who have been told "It's your Camino. Walk it any way you want..." Well given that I have a spinal condition but am otherwise fit I'm having to assess if I can make the push straight to Roncesvaille. And if I get there, there is no given I will have a place to sleep because all the other May pre-bookers will likely have left the day before and pre-booked there as well.
The fact that some of the people who walk from SJPP to Roncesvalles in May don't get a bed in Orisson and not even a bed in Roncesvalles has nothing to do with pre-booking. It's because there are more people who want a bed than there are beds. From memory, there are about 40 beds in Refuge Orisson and currently a little over 220 beds or so in the Roncesvalles albergue. With May being now the most popular month for pilgrims from abroad in particular, with well over 300 people starting in SJPP on some days in May, there's a shortage. I fail to see what pre-booking has to do with this.

I wonder why it is that these days so many people feel that they are called to go on pilgrimage to Saint James in May, start in one particular small village in France and take one particular crossing of the Pyrenees and nothing else will do?
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
The best plan is to not have a plan. ;) Freedom.
Or: Freedom is not caring about whether other people pre-book or don't pre-book.

For me personally, freedom aka absence of constraints means that I can get out of bed and leave after 8 am when I feel like it and that I can arrive as late in the afternoon as I want without a care in the world because I know where my bed is waiting for me. And nothing that I have read in this thread has persuaded me personally to do otherwise. 🙂
 
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falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
This pre-booking thing has thrown me a curve ball.
Even a curve ball can be hit for a home run! Everyone has the opportunity to make reservations, so no one is taking advantage of anyone. It is a level playing field, not even a curve ball. If you use municipal albergues, few of which take reservations, you can walk trusting God. By the way, how do you know that he/she would not make advance bookings?:)
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
I think this should be taught to individuals as well. Why? Because of common courtesy. If you have a credencial from Santiago (available in the forum store for a 2 E donation), you AGREE TO ABIDE BY IT. The spirit of this if you are booking ahead, do so at a hotel! Not a hostel or albergue!
I hope your fears have been alleviated by the reassurances that others have given in this thread. I realise that you have not yet been to Spain and know the contemporary camino culture only through reading and hearing about it. There is a huge number of hostels and albergues along the Camino Frances, maybe even the majority overall, who are "oriented towards pilgrims" but not exclusively for pilgrims. They are often the ones who accept reservations and they are privately owned.

The credencial issued by the Santiago Cathedral refers to access to "albergues that offer the Christian hospitality of the Camino". It is not clear to me what that definition includes but I very much doubt that it includes each and every albergue and hostel between SJPP and SdC. Quite apart from the fact that the Santiago Cathedral has no say over them.

The Roncesvalles albergue is a bit the odd one out because they are owned by the Catholic Church, the Diocese of Pamplona in fact. I think they have a mind of their own and traditions of their own and do as they see fit, including allowing reservations of up to 60 beds per day (out of more than 180 beds).

Refuge Orisson is a small hospitality business with one owner and a few employees.
 
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Left behind

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
None
I do hope the answers you have already received will have reassured you and eased your fears.

My only comment is - please don't become a judgmental pilgrim, passing judgment on how other people do theirs. I am not convinced that being judgmental is part of the pilgrim journey (although there are plenty of those who do pass judgment on their fellow human beings)
 

James H

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ruta de la Plata (cycling)
This is only really an issue on the CF. Have you thought of doing a different Camino?
 

Ed Aster

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances May 2017
The Camino is not about being in control over what happens in an organized manner each day. It is about having ones own personal adventure with a little bit about
God in there to help us on our way. Take a deep breath and then take the first step, you will be amazed the feeling you get letting go of your fears and letting the Camino and the other Pilgrims lead the way.
Buon Camino
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Liz - how honest and perceptive you are - yes, it is fear .. all the pre-Camino worries and anxieties and over-planning and "what if" and "where will I" come from fear .... the trick is to put it all down, like a heavy rock, and walk away from it.
I have written this before, but - we have two minds, the frontal chattering one and the deeper usually silent one ... the chattering one lives in fear, that all will not be well, so it desires, needs, cries, for certainty - but here is the thing - it cannot work out what will happen on your Camino so it is really scared and is throwing up all sorts of problems that may happen .. and, as you know, fear leads to anger ...
your other mind, the still one - the one you dive deep into when you contemplate/meditate has no fears at all, it knows that all will be well ....

So - your pre-Camino thing is quite normal and should just drop away about day two or three into your Camino, when you realise that everything is, and always will be, ok.

However it may appear there are no good or bad things on Camino, just things - as Shakespeare has Hamlet say "there is neither good nor bad until the mind makes it so".

So, Liz, let it go .. step out your door with NO expectations and just take it all as it comes - all will be well.

Oh, and Orrison? Is the only place halfway over the Napoleon Pass so is commonly full - as for bed-racers, pre-bookers, light baggage carried walkers, etc etc etc - you do not know their stories, their individual lives .... so do not judge them, nor compare with them ... just go on your Camino as walk as if the Good God were walking by your side.

Buen Camino now!!!
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
From memory, there are about 40 beds in Refuge Orisson and
According to Gronze, there are only 28 beds.
This is only really an issue on the CF.
I disagree, I found the lack of beds, and the "bed race" to be a much bigger issue on the Norte during the summer.
 

Moonstruck

Moonstruck
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
When we were doing our research last year and first heard about the 'bed race', we were very worried like you. Since we had chosen to walk in May and everybody at this forum says it is the busiest month, we thought about booking beds ahead of time. After serious consideration, we decided not to do so simply because we could not foresee where and when we would stop. I have a back problem and my partner has knee problem. We could not guess how many km we would walk on any given day. So we took a leap of faith and hoped someone would take pity of two limping pilgrims and let us sleep on their couch. That never happened. We stopped walking whenever our body told us to and found a bed everyday. For that we are forever grateful. Thank you Camino.
 

Jacobus

Pilgrim since 2008
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2008 09 14
Del Norte 2011. Portuguese 2015, 2017Ingles 2015 Fisterre 2015.
This post is going to contain some ranting. It's coming from fear. I've waited 7 years to finally have my opportunity for the Camino. I am hoping to leave in May but given what I've seen in all the FB groups on the Camino, there is a new trend that wasnt around in 2012 when I first got the call.

Pre-bookers. There were tour companies in 2012 for sure. I remember older pilgrims complaining about them. There was bag service (Maybe not as many now). But the boatloads of pre-bookers for Orrison who are also pre-booking additional albergues for days following Orrison is creating ALOT of fear in me. May is definitely pre-booked for Orrison.

So all those pilgrims who have been told "It's your Camino. Walk it any way you want..." Well given that I have a spinal condition but am otherwise fit I'm having to assess if I can make the push straight to Roncesvaille. And if I get there, there is no given I will have a place to sleep because all the other May pre-bookers will likely have left the day before and pre-booked there as well.

The mean judgy side of me wants to say "Don't they trust God?" The mature side of me asks me "Do you?" I know this is an internal struggle with fear and trust. I mean I don't even have my ticket to leave yet. But all this talk about "It's your Camino. Walk it however" might lead to some issues for others. Like how I despite my physical limitations might have to walk the alternate path from SJPdP just because some weren't sure how they were going to feel once they reach Orrison. Or how I despite my pain might be forced to carry on to Roncesvaille, bed availability still uncertain. I'm not techy and if you tell me to reserve ahead for Roncesvaille I might scream. I've waited seven years to do this. But I might not be able to do the "It's your Camino. Walk it like you want." thing because I do want to see the pinnacle. That's been part of my dream. Not walking some roadway to Valcarlos. I just wish people would stop telling people that it's okay to pre-book because it's really not. I mean you don't even know if you'll have to stop. In my opinion, pre-booking is okay if you are travelling with more than two in your party and especially if you have seniors or kids. Otherwise, you're leaving out that God the Universe whatever you believe in might be drawing people with needs to the Camino.

First come, first served. That's what people were b*tching about 7 years ago. The tours, the bag service, the clusterclod in Sarria, the race for a bed. At least early bird gets the worm is fair. This pre-booking thing has thrown me a curve ball. I'm actually considering that despite the money and freedom I now have that I should post-pone. I can barely figure out how to arrange my arrival because I've never traveled abroad. Before I knew that if I traveled that I might have to early rise, I might have to expect congestion the closer to Santiago I got but this is a whole other predicament. I barely use my phone's capability in my own life!

I went to my local chapter meeting of APOC. I paid my dues for two years, just as I have here on the forum. The presenter was discussing how in a Camino basics lecture you can send your bags ahead, you can pre-book your stays in albergues. I cringed when he couldn't tell the backpacker bent on the Alps what was so special about the Camino Frances. This was Tuesday. At REI. (also of which I'm a member).

"Because it's a pilgrimage." I wanted to scream. According to the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago, "Groups organised with support car or by bicycle are requested to seek alternative shelter to the pilgrim hostels. " https://oficinadelperegrino.com/en/pilgrimage/the-credencial/

I think this should be taught to individuals as well. Why? Because of common courtesy. If you have a credencial from Santiago (available in the forum store for a 2 E donation), you AGREE TO ABIDE BY IT. The spirit of this if you are booking ahead, do so at a hotel! Not a hostel or albergue!

So I hope people can help me to shed these fears Will I like and others like me, the technologically challenged, follow in the footsteps of Jesus? ""Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

I'd love to hear your stories. Reprimand me. Admonish me. But if you say to me "Book ahead" I will start another thread about bringing back pilgrim values.
Good morning,
On this forum you are receiving excellent advice from experienced Camino people with few or no exceptions.
On the other hand facebook groups tend to be comprised almost exclusively of new people seeking information on potential Camino’s.
In addition, should you require help due to issues you mention and while you are walking...the people on this forum have the knowledge of geography and resources to get to the source of your problems be they the need for a pharmacy, hospital, clinin, grocery store, restaurant and etc.
Several live on the Camino or in Santiago, one I know of volunteers at the Pilgrims office in Santiago every year. A lot are hospiteleros (as).
Buen Camino
Jim
 
Camino(s) past & future
August 15 (2019)
This post is going to contain some ranting. It's coming from fear. I've waited 7 years to finally have my opportunity for the Camino. I am hoping to leave in May but given what I've seen in all the FB groups on the Camino, there is a new trend that wasnt around in 2012 when I first got the call.

Pre-bookers. There were tour companies in 2012 for sure. I remember older pilgrims complaining about them. There was bag service (Maybe not as many now). But the boatloads of pre-bookers for Orrison who are also pre-booking additional albergues for days following Orrison is creating ALOT of fear in me. May is definitely pre-booked for Orrison.

So all those pilgrims who have been told "It's your Camino. Walk it any way you want..." Well given that I have a spinal condition but am otherwise fit I'm having to assess if I can make the push straight to Roncesvaille. And if I get there, there is no given I will have a place to sleep because all the other May pre-bookers will likely have left the day before and pre-booked there as well.

The mean judgy side of me wants to say "Don't they trust God?" The mature side of me asks me "Do you?" I know this is an internal struggle with fear and trust. I mean I don't even have my ticket to leave yet. But all this talk about "It's your Camino. Walk it however" might lead to some issues for others. Like how I despite my physical limitations might have to walk the alternate path from SJPdP just because some weren't sure how they were going to feel once they reach Orrison. Or how I despite my pain might be forced to carry on to Roncesvaille, bed availability still uncertain. I'm not techy and if you tell me to reserve ahead for Roncesvaille I might scream. I've waited seven years to do this. But I might not be able to do the "It's your Camino. Walk it like you want." thing because I do want to see the pinnacle. That's been part of my dream. Not walking some roadway to Valcarlos. I just wish people would stop telling people that it's okay to pre-book because it's really not. I mean you don't even know if you'll have to stop. In my opinion, pre-booking is okay if you are tra
I hope your rant allowed you to vent your feelings sufficiently. You hit the nail on the head when you say it's special "BECAUSE IT'S A PILGRIMAGE." I've been on a lot of pilgrimages. Pilgrimages are not meant to be easy. They involve tears, frustration, things that couldn't possibly go wrong do. You've got to suck it up and take the bad with the beautiful. And when everyone else seems to have lost all human decency and courtesy, then you cannot. If you can't accept all the difficulties that will/might come your way, then perhaps your own spirit of pilgrimage has been lost, even before you've started. As you also said, "Trust in God." Start that trust right now.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
I hope the OP and her skeptical followers feels more comfort about booking ahead.
After 8 years of walking the various routes, I only began to find it necessary to book ahead on the Norte last year, then once I transferred to the CF after Santander it was no longer an issue.
I am currently planning to walk from Le Puy to Cahors in June and finding that bookings are almost mandatory because of tourism and lack of accommodations in the region. My plan is to skip forward in June and start the Camino in Burgos with "no reservations" as my favorite chef often stated.
My one bit of advice about booking would be if you stay in a private albergue and you liked it, ask the hospitalero or owner about a recommendation for a "place just like this" at your chosen stop the next night. These people are part of a freindship of owners and only live a few hours apart. It may take some pressure off.
Regarding Orisson, I had the luxury of living nearby for a number of years and if I was missing the Pyrenees or the Camino, I would drive there for a baguette and a beer on their deck. The owners are lovely people. They love what they do but their job is not without lots of stress. They have limited space and a very small kitchen. I think there is great weight lifted off of them every night when they finally start cleaning up after the communal dinner. I have witnessed too many first day pilgrims arriving there abusing them for not having a bed and charging too much for food. All I can say is give me a break, they built this place from nothing and they are only open from April to November.
My first stop there was 2011 without a reservation. It was my first stab at the Camino and I was lucky to have been able to walk that far. Since then I have stayed there 3 times and my only reason for making a reservation is because I knew I could get a later start from SJPdP and still have a bed and unfortunatley rarely a bottom bunk.
I have formed some great "families" from Orisson but I have done the same from Roncevalles as well.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Liz - how honest and perceptive you are - yes, it is fear .. all the pre-Camino worries and anxieties and over-planning and "what if" and "where will I" come from fear .... the trick is to put it all down, like a heavy rock, and walk away from it.
I have written this before, but - we have two minds, the frontal chattering one and the deeper usually silent one ... the chattering one lives in fear, that all will not be well, so it desires, needs, cries, for certainty - but here is the thing - it cannot work out what will happen on your Camino so it is really scared and is throwing up all sorts of problems that may happen .. and, as you know, fear leads to anger ...
your other mind, the still one - the one you dive deep into when you contemplate/meditate has no fears at all, it knows that all will be well ....

So - your pre-Camino thing is quite normal and should just drop away about day two or three into your Camino, when you realise that everything is, and always will be, ok.

However it may appear there are no good or bad things on Camino, just things - as Shakespeare has Hamlet say "there is neither good nor bad until the mind makes it so".

So, Liz, let it go .. step out your door with NO expectations and just take it all as it comes - all will be well.

Oh, and Orrison? Is the only place halfway over the Napoleon Pass so is commonly full - as for bed-racers, pre-bookers, light baggage carried walkers, etc etc etc - you do not know their stories, their individual lives .... so do not judge them, nor compare with them ... just go on your Camino as walk as if the Good God were walking by your side.

Buen Camino now!!!
Wise.
 

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:
There is no rule that pilgrims have to stay in albergues. The rule was that tha albergues are only for pilgrims -not tourists. Don Elias included a warning in his guide book that if you want a bed each night you could avoid disappointment by calling ahead. The road via Val Carlos is the original route, described in the 12th C Liber Sancti Jacobe and in all early guide books. The Route Napoleon is an alternative high route. You could follow the authentic route through the Valley of Charlemagne (Val Carlos) and cross at the Ibaneta Pass. There are a number of places to stay in Val Carlos. The first 14km on the Napoleon route is on a tarred road. On the Val Carlos route there are many off road detours which reduces road walking.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
So I hope people can help me to shed these fears Will I like and others like me, the technologically challenged, follow in the footsteps of Jesus? ""Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
@lizlane
I wanted to reply to this part of your rant because it reminds me of an occasion when I literally had no place to lay my head (except for a hillside, with no shelter and no sleeping bag). I won't go into the details that led me to settle down by a stream on Mt Ruapehu in New Zealand at 10 o'clock at night, when it was too dark to walk any further. I wrapped my extra clothes around me as best I could and stuck my feet and lower legs into my backpack, settling down hopefully to sleep. It was chilly, and I got quite cold, dozing off and waking up repeatedly shivering. There was no moon. When total dark fell, the sky was full of stars, shown up more brightly by the lack of ambient light. It was an amazing night, gazing up at the southern stars, the best night of all my five weeks in New Zealand. In the morning, I returned to the daytime world and went on. I was already 65 and in only ordinary health. But I was fine and I was full of the gift of the glory of the night sky.
Of course, sensible walkers try to plan for having some sort of shelter, but when circumstances push us out of our comfort zone is when we are open to glory. The next year I discovered the caminos, and have been walking those routes since. May you be blessed in your calling to pilgrimage to let go of fear and open your heart to wonder.
 

msbabb

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francais (Fall, 2018)
We walked last fall, 2018, and chose not to prebook, except when we wanted to stay in a hotel in a larger city for a rest day. We planned to walk to Roncesvalles the first day, and did, but did not arrive until 6:30 p.m. Everything in the town was booked, but we were taxied somewhere for the night, and chose to taxi back the next day. Cost us a little extra, but I wanted to allow God to provide on our pilgrimage. I also wanted to let the Camino unfold and be able to listen to my body as to where to stop for the day. We always had a place to stay, sometimes having to do some searching. But people were gracious in helping. About half of those we met were prebooking, half were not. Took a while for me to let go of the worry about “no room in the inn”, but well worth the practice in surrender. Everyone’s Camino is different, but for me, it was an experience of God’s loving providence.
 

Lue

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, (2013), via de la Plata (2014),
Portuguese (2015), Camino Madrid (2017
This post is going to contain some ranting. It's coming from fear. I've waited 7 years to finally have my opportunity for the Camino. I am hoping to leave in May but given what I've seen in all the FB groups on the Camino, there is a new trend that wasnt around in 2012 when I first got the call.

Pre-bookers. There were tour companies in 2012 for sure. I remember older pilgrims complaining about them. There was bag service (Maybe not as many now). But the boatloads of pre-bookers for Orrison who are also pre-booking additional albergues for days following Orrison is creating ALOT of fear in me. May is definitely pre-booked for Orrison.

So all those pilgrims who have been told "It's your Camino. Walk it any way you want..." Well given that I have a spinal condition but am otherwise fit I'm having to assess if I can make the push straight to Roncesvaille. And if I get there, there is no given I will have a place to sleep because all the other May pre-bookers will likely have left the day before and pre-booked there as well.

The mean judgy side of me wants to say "Don't they trust God?" The mature side of me asks me "Do you?" I know this is an internal struggle with fear and trust. I mean I don't even have my ticket to leave yet. But all this talk about "It's your Camino. Walk it however" might lead to some issues for others. Like how I despite my physical limitations might have to walk the alternate path from SJPdP just because some weren't sure how they were going to feel once they reach Orrison. Or how I despite my pain might be forced to carry on to Roncesvaille, bed availability still uncertain. I'm not techy and if you tell me to reserve ahead for Roncesvaille I might scream. I've waited seven years to do this. But I might not be able to do the "It's your Camino. Walk it like you want." thing because I do want to see the pinnacle. That's been part of my dream. Not walking some roadway to Valcarlos. I just wish people would stop telling people that it's okay to pre-book because it's really not. I mean you don't even know if you'll have to stop. In my opinion, pre-booking is okay if you are travelling with more than two in your party and especially if you have seniors or kids. Otherwise, you're leaving out that God the Universe whatever you believe in might be drawing people with needs to the Camino.

First come, first served. That's what people were b*tching about 7 years ago. The tours, the bag service, the clusterclod in Sarria, the race for a bed. At least early bird gets the worm is fair. This pre-booking thing has thrown me a curve ball. I'm actually considering that despite the money and freedom I now have that I should post-pone. I can barely figure out how to arrange my arrival because I've never traveled abroad. Before I knew that if I traveled that I might have to early rise, I might have to expect congestion the closer to Santiago I got but this is a whole other predicament. I barely use my phone's capability in my own life!

I went to my local chapter meeting of APOC. I paid my dues for two years, just as I have here on the forum. The presenter was discussing how in a Camino basics lecture you can send your bags ahead, you can pre-book your stays in albergues. I cringed when he couldn't tell the backpacker bent on the Alps what was so special about the Camino Frances. This was Tuesday. At REI. (also of which I'm a member).

"Because it's a pilgrimage." I wanted to scream. According to the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago, "Groups organised with support car or by bicycle are requested to seek alternative shelter to the pilgrim hostels. " https://oficinadelperegrino.com/en/pilgrimage/the-credencial/

I think this should be taught to individuals as well. Why? Because of common courtesy. If you have a credencial from Santiago (available in the forum store for a 2 E donation), you AGREE TO ABIDE BY IT. The spirit of this if you are booking ahead, do so at a hotel! Not a hostel or albergue!

So I hope people can help me to shed these fears Will I like and others like me, the technologically challenged, follow in the footsteps of Jesus? ""Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

I'd love to hear your stories. Reprimand me. Admonish me. But if you say to me "Book ahead" I will start another thread about bringing back pilgrim values.
I have a suggestion. Consider walking the Camino Madrid, the Portuguese Camino, or the longer and more difficult Camino de la Plata. I have walked the Camino Frances and the three I mentioned in their entirety. If you want to avoid the hoardes of pre bookers and otherwise “frivolous” pilgrims you can. Each Camino has it’s own special charm. I enjoyed them all for different reasons.
 

Bill from Canada

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis (2012), Camino Norte (Fall 2015)
This post is going to contain some ranting. It's coming from fear. I've waited 7 years to finally have my opportunity for the Camino. I am hoping to leave in May but given what I've seen in all the FB groups on the Camino, there is a new trend that wasnt around in 2012 when I first got the call.

Pre-bookers. There were tour companies in 2012 for sure. I remember older pilgrims complaining about them. There was bag service (Maybe not as many now). But the boatloads of pre-bookers for Orrison who are also pre-booking additional albergues for days following Orrison is creating ALOT of fear in me. May is definitely pre-booked for Orrison.

So all those pilgrims who have been told "It's your Camino. Walk it any way you want..." Well given that I have a spinal condition but am otherwise fit I'm having to assess if I can make the push straight to Roncesvaille. And if I get there, there is no given I will have a place to sleep because all the other May pre-bookers will likely have left the day before and pre-booked there as well.

The mean judgy side of me wants to say "Don't they trust God?" The mature side of me asks me "Do you?" I know this is an internal struggle with fear and trust. I mean I don't even have my ticket to leave yet. But all this talk about "It's your Camino. Walk it however" might lead to some issues for others. Like how I despite my physical limitations might have to walk the alternate path from SJPdP just because some weren't sure how they were going to feel once they reach Orrison. Or how I despite my pain might be forced to carry on to Roncesvaille, bed availability still uncertain. I'm not techy and if you tell me to reserve ahead for Roncesvaille I might scream. I've waited seven years to do this. But I might not be able to do the "It's your Camino. Walk it like you want." thing because I do want to see the pinnacle. That's been part of my dream. Not walking some roadway to Valcarlos. I just wish people would stop telling people that it's okay to pre-book because it's really not. I mean you don't even know if you'll have to stop. In my opinion, pre-booking is okay if you are travelling with more than two in your party and especially if you have seniors or kids. Otherwise, you're leaving out that God the Universe whatever you believe in might be drawing people with needs to the Camino.

First come, first served. That's what people were b*tching about 7 years ago. The tours, the bag service, the clusterclod in Sarria, the race for a bed. At least early bird gets the worm is fair. This pre-booking thing has thrown me a curve ball. I'm actually considering that despite the money and freedom I now have that I should post-pone. I can barely figure out how to arrange my arrival because I've never traveled abroad. Before I knew that if I traveled that I might have to early rise, I might have to expect congestion the closer to Santiago I got but this is a whole other predicament. I barely use my phone's capability in my own life!

I went to my local chapter meeting of APOC. I paid my dues for two years, just as I have here on the forum. The presenter was discussing how in a Camino basics lecture you can send your bags ahead, you can pre-book your stays in albergues. I cringed when he couldn't tell the backpacker bent on the Alps what was so special about the Camino Frances. This was Tuesday. At REI. (also of which I'm a member).

"Because it's a pilgrimage." I wanted to scream. According to the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago, "Groups organised with support car or by bicycle are requested to seek alternative shelter to the pilgrim hostels. " https://oficinadelperegrino.com/en/pilgrimage/the-credencial/

I think this should be taught to individuals as well. Why? Because of common courtesy. If you have a credencial from Santiago (available in the forum store for a 2 E donation), you AGREE TO ABIDE BY IT. The spirit of this if you are booking ahead, do so at a hotel! Not a hostel or albergue!

So I hope people can help me to shed these fears Will I like and others like me, the technologically challenged, follow in the footsteps of Jesus? ""Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

I'd love to hear your stories. Reprimand me. Admonish me. But if you say to me "Book ahead" I will start another thread about bringing back pilgrim values.
Orrison is unique, it’s the only stop before Roncesvaille. Here are two options - start in Roncesvaille or take a taxi to Orrison and walk from there!
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Orrison is unique, it’s the only stop before Roncesvaille. Here are two options - start in Roncesvaille or take a taxi to Orrison and walk from there!
Or use Express Bourricot's Mountain Shuttle - walk to Vierge Orisson where they pick you up and take you back to St Jean. Then they will drive you back to Vierge Orisson the next morning.
52690
 

SSojourn

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Plan walk solo in April. SJP to St. James, Santiago
This post is going to contain some ranting. It's coming from fear. I've waited 7 years to finally have my opportunity for the Camino. I am hoping to leave in May but given what I've seen in all the FB groups on the Camino, there is a new trend that wasnt around in 2012 when I first got the call.

Pre-bookers. There were tour companies in 2012 for sure. I remember older pilgrims complaining about them. There was bag service (Maybe not as many now). But the boatloads of pre-bookers for Orrison who are also pre-booking additional albergues for days following Orrison is creating ALOT of fear in me. May is definitely pre-booked for Orrison.

So all those pilgrims who have been told "It's your Camino. Walk it any way you want..." Well given that I have a spinal condition but am otherwise fit I'm having to assess if I can make the push straight to Roncesvaille. And if I get there, there is no given I will have a place to sleep because all the other May pre-bookers will likely have left the day before and pre-booked there as well.

The mean judgy side of me wants to say "Don't they trust God?" The mature side of me asks me "Do you?" I know this is an internal struggle with fear and trust. I mean I don't even have my ticket to leave yet. But all this talk about "It's your Camino. Walk it however" might lead to some issues for others. Like how I despite my physical limitations might have to walk the alternate path from SJPdP just because some weren't sure how they were going to feel once they reach Orrison. Or how I despite my pain might be forced to carry on to Roncesvaille, bed availability still uncertain. I'm not techy and if you tell me to reserve ahead for Roncesvaille I might scream. I've waited seven years to do this. But I might not be able to do the "It's your Camino. Walk it like you want." thing because I do want to see the pinnacle. That's been part of my dream. Not walking some roadway to Valcarlos. I just wish people would stop telling people that it's okay to pre-book because it's really not. I mean you don't even know if you'll have to stop. In my opinion, pre-booking is okay if you are travelling with more than two in your party and especially if you have seniors or kids. Otherwise, you're leaving out that God the Universe whatever you believe in might be drawing people with needs to the Camino.

First come, first served. That's what people were b*tching about 7 years ago. The tours, the bag service, the clusterclod in Sarria, the race for a bed. At least early bird gets the worm is fair. This pre-booking thing has thrown me a curve ball. I'm actually considering that despite the money and freedom I now have that I should post-pone. I can barely figure out how to arrange my arrival because I've never traveled abroad. Before I knew that if I traveled that I might have to early rise, I might have to expect congestion the closer to Santiago I got but this is a whole other predicament. I barely use my phone's capability in my own life!

I went to my local chapter meeting of APOC. I paid my dues for two years, just as I have here on the forum. The presenter was discussing how in a Camino basics lecture you can send your bags ahead, you can pre-book your stays in albergues. I cringed when he couldn't tell the backpacker bent on the Alps what was so special about the Camino Frances. This was Tuesday. At REI. (also of which I'm a member).

"Because it's a pilgrimage." I wanted to scream. According to the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago, "Groups organised with support car or by bicycle are requested to seek alternative shelter to the pilgrim hostels. " https://oficinadelperegrino.com/en/pilgrimage/the-credencial/

I think this should be taught to individuals as well. Why? Because of common courtesy. If you have a credencial from Santiago (available in the forum store for a 2 E donation), you AGREE TO ABIDE BY IT. The spirit of this if you are booking ahead, do so at a hotel! Not a hostel or albergue!

So I hope people can help me to shed these fears Will I like and others like me, the technologically challenged, follow in the footsteps of Jesus? ""Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

I'd love to hear your stories. Reprimand me. Admonish me. But if you say to me "Book ahead" I will start another thread about bringing back pilgrim values.
Thanks, I am starting my walk SJPdP, will accept what lessons I can learn/teach when they appear. Mindfulness, living in the moment.
 

Terrri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May/June 2013
September/October 2016
September/October 2019
Ironically, at the bottom of my page for this thread, there is an ad to book lodging.

I have started in St Jean two times. Both times I pre-booked Orrison for the night but it was only the second time that I pre-booked in St Jean. The first time I didn't find a place until very late and it was a crazy expensive, run down, very old, hotel. The room number was written on a yellow sticky on the wall, and the wall paper and tiles were the craziest I have ever seen. I never pre-book anything for the remainder of my caminos because I never know where I will stop for the night until I get there.

In my two times up and over I never got to see any scenery because of the weather, just lots of fog, clouds, and rain. There are never any guarantees. If the OP has her mind set on going up and over then walk to Orisson, have a meal, and then taxi back to St Jean. In the morning taxi back to Orisson and maybe have breakfast or pick up a lunch to go and carry on. I think you might be able to book dinner there so you can have the pilgrim experience. And there are other places up there other than Orisson. Hunto I think might be the name of one.

The pre-booking reminds me of how it is to go camping in North America where everyone books a year in advance so that it is becoming harder to be spontaneous. We didn't start booking in advance we just changed our expectations and got more creative as to where we camp.

Buen camino!
 

Gaddong

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2018) CF SJPDP April 22, to May 27.
This post is going to contain some ranting. It's coming from fear. I've waited 7 years to finally have my opportunity for the Camino. I am hoping to leave in May but given what I've seen in all the FB groups on the Camino, there is a new trend that wasnt around in 2012 when I first got the call.

Pre-bookers. There were tour companies in 2012 for sure. I remember older pilgrims complaining about them. There was bag service (Maybe not as many now). But the boatloads of pre-bookers for Orrison who are also pre-booking additional albergues for days following Orrison is creating ALOT of fear in me. May is definitely pre-booked for Orrison.

So all those pilgrims who have been told "It's your Camino. Walk it any way you want..." Well given that I have a spinal condition but am otherwise fit I'm having to assess if I can make the push straight to Roncesvaille. And if I get there, there is no given I will have a place to sleep because all the other May pre-bookers will likely have left the day before and pre-booked there as well.

The mean judgy side of me wants to say "Don't they trust God?" The mature side of me asks me "Do you?" I know this is an internal struggle with fear and trust. I mean I don't even have my ticket to leave yet. But all this talk about "It's your Camino. Walk it however" might lead to some issues for others. Like how I despite my physical limitations might have to walk the alternate path from SJPdP just because some weren't sure how they were going to feel once they reach Orrison. Or how I despite my pain might be forced to carry on to Roncesvaille, bed availability still uncertain. I'm not techy and if you tell me to reserve ahead for Roncesvaille I might scream. I've waited seven years to do this. But I might not be able to do the "It's your Camino. Walk it like you want." thing because I do want to see the pinnacle. That's been part of my dream. Not walking some roadway to Valcarlos. I just wish people would stop telling people that it's okay to pre-book because it's really not. I mean you don't even know if you'll have to stop. In my opinion, pre-booking is okay if you are travelling with more than two in your party and especially if you have seniors or kids. Otherwise, you're leaving out that God the Universe whatever you believe in might be drawing people with needs to the Camino.

First come, first served. That's what people were b*tching about 7 years ago. The tours, the bag service, the clusterclod in Sarria, the race for a bed. At least early bird gets the worm is fair. This pre-booking thing has thrown me a curve ball. I'm actually considering that despite the money and freedom I now have that I should post-pone. I can barely figure out how to arrange my arrival because I've never traveled abroad. Before I knew that if I traveled that I might have to early rise, I might have to expect congestion the closer to Santiago I got but this is a whole other predicament. I barely use my phone's capability in my own life!

I went to my local chapter meeting of APOC. I paid my dues for two years, just as I have here on the forum. The presenter was discussing how in a Camino basics lecture you can send your bags ahead, you can pre-book your stays in albergues. I cringed when he couldn't tell the backpacker bent on the Alps what was so special about the Camino Frances. This was Tuesday. At REI. (also of which I'm a member).

"Because it's a pilgrimage." I wanted to scream. According to the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago, "Groups organised with support car or by bicycle are requested to seek alternative shelter to the pilgrim hostels. " https://oficinadelperegrino.com/en/pilgrimage/the-credencial/

I think this should be taught to individuals as well. Why? Because of common courtesy. If you have a credencial from Santiago (available in the forum store for a 2 E donation), you AGREE TO ABIDE BY IT. The spirit of this if you are booking ahead, do so at a hotel! Not a hostel or albergue!

So I hope people can help me to shed these fears Will I like and others like me, the technologically challenged, follow in the footsteps of Jesus? ""Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

I'd love to hear your stories. Reprimand me. Admonish me. But if you say to me "Book ahead" I will start another thread about bringing back pilgrim values.
I pray you'll be fine... Start early from SJPDP like maybe 5:30 make sure you have food for brkfst and lunch and some snack... if you need them great if you prefer fresh food from Orrison then by all means eat... Water is important I ran out and had to flag a car close to the Virgin Mary statue about 4 - m miles from Orrison and asked for water they share me a 1.5 litter bottle of water and some yummy energy treats. No english no spanish just french so we interacted with my sign language then a hug after wards great french couple... the first Blessing... Love...Grateful... My advice is from my experience... I have a few more to tell about my 1st day, but I made it to Roncessvalles with a 76 year old retired anglican priest... she was an angel to me as she says I was to her...Buen Camino
 

Thomas Yingst

Tom ... “the kid”
Camino(s) past & future
Portugal. May 2019
This post is going to contain some ranting. It's coming from fear. I've waited 7 years to finally have my opportunity for the Camino. I am hoping to leave in May but given what I've seen in all the FB groups on the Camino, there is a new trend that wasnt around in 2012 when I first got the call.

Pre-bookers. There were tour companies in 2012 for sure. I remember older pilgrims complaining about them. There was bag service (Maybe not as many now). But the boatloads of pre-bookers for Orrison who are also pre-booking additional albergues for days following Orrison is creating ALOT of fear in me. May is definitely pre-booked for Orrison.

So all those pilgrims who have been told "It's your Camino. Walk it any way you want..." Well given that I have a spinal condition but am otherwise fit I'm having to assess if I can make the push straight to Roncesvaille. And if I get there, there is no given I will have a place to sleep because all the other May pre-bookers will likely have left the day before and pre-booked there as well.

The mean judgy side of me wants to say "Don't they trust God?" The mature side of me asks me "Do you?" I know this is an internal struggle with fear and trust. I mean I don't even have my ticket to leave yet. But all this talk about "It's your Camino. Walk it however" might lead to some issues for others. Like how I despite my physical limitations might have to walk the alternate path from SJPdP just because some weren't sure how they were going to feel once they reach Orrison. Or how I despite my pain might be forced to carry on to Roncesvaille, bed availability still uncertain. I'm not techy and if you tell me to reserve ahead for Roncesvaille I might scream. I've waited seven years to do this. But I might not be able to do the "It's your Camino. Walk it like you want." thing because I do want to see the pinnacle. That's been part of my dream. Not walking some roadway to Valcarlos. I just wish people would stop telling people that it's okay to pre-book because it's really not. I mean you don't even know if you'll have to stop. In my opinion, pre-booking is okay if you are travelling with more than two in your party and especially if you have seniors or kids. Otherwise, you're leaving out that God the Universe whatever you believe in might be drawing people with needs to the Camino.

First come, first served. That's what people were b*tching about 7 years ago. The tours, the bag service, the clusterclod in Sarria, the race for a bed. At least early bird gets the worm is fair. This pre-booking thing has thrown me a curve ball. I'm actually considering that despite the money and freedom I now have that I should post-pone. I can barely figure out how to arrange my arrival because I've never traveled abroad. Before I knew that if I traveled that I might have to early rise, I might have to expect congestion the closer to Santiago I got but this is a whole other predicament. I barely use my phone's capability in my own life!

I went to my local chapter meeting of APOC. I paid my dues for two years, just as I have here on the forum. The presenter was discussing how in a Camino basics lecture you can send your bags ahead, you can pre-book your stays in albergues. I cringed when he couldn't tell the backpacker bent on the Alps what was so special about the Camino Frances. This was Tuesday. At REI. (also of which I'm a member).

"Because it's a pilgrimage." I wanted to scream. According to the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago, "Groups organised with support car or by bicycle are requested to seek alternative shelter to the pilgrim hostels. " https://oficinadelperegrino.com/en/pilgrimage/the-credencial/

I think this should be taught to individuals as well. Why? Because of common courtesy. If you have a credencial from Santiago (available in the forum store for a 2 E donation), you AGREE TO ABIDE BY IT. The spirit of this if you are booking ahead, do so at a hotel! Not a hostel or albergue!

So I hope people can help me to shed these fears Will I like and others like me, the technologically challenged, follow in the footsteps of Jesus? ""Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

I'd love to hear your stories. Reprimand me. Admonish me. But if you say to me "Book ahead" I will start another thread about bringing back pilgrim values.
Part of the experience, in my opinion, is not knowing where you might wind up each night. I’ve never been stranded without a bed ... could happen ... but there are kind people all over ... to find you a place to stay ...
 

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
Possibly the most important thing to not pack for the Camino are your expectations, followed closely by your fears.
I completely agree!

A solution always presents itself.
I did not speak Portuguese and was so lost in the fields, someone came to my aid and drove me to an interpreter.
My money card was not working I made do with the cash I had and thought there is always western union if from the other end there was no solution with the card.
It was sorted out.
The only Albergue was closed and I was soaked through and it was 8 Celsius and I was just done and shivering without stop. I got hold to a taxi after walking another long stretch. I got a taxi and a warm Albergue.
My umbilical cord , my phone was not working for a while a fellow pilgrim sent a message to my family that I was still alive.
Could absolutely no more walk to get any kind of food, another pilgrim shared his bread.
Does not sound like a big deal, but then it seemed it to me like I was on the end of my robe, but always I was taken care of.

So the great moments of my pilgrimage was when nothing went as planned.
This was EXACTLY the kind of stuff I was hoping to hear when I asked if courtesy was still alive on the Camino.

Tom mentioned it above: To avoid worrying about the bed-racer cohort, buy Brierley's guidebook and avoid his stages, end of day stopping points.
LOL I've had a copy since 2012 but it's probably out of date :eek:

This is only really an issue on the CF. Have you thought of doing a different Camino?
No. If I were a man or more experienced and not walking solo I might consider it. But I want to be around people. Lots of them. Safety in numbers thing. Plus I speak French, my heritage is French so I want to put my feet on French soil. I am prayerfully considering the Valcarlos route. and training to be strong enough to make it Roncesvaille. I am even considering delaying my trip to September so I can train more.

I hope your rant allowed you to vent your feelings sufficiently. You hit the nail on the head when you say it's special "BECAUSE IT'S A PILGRIMAGE." I've been on a lot of pilgrimages. Pilgrimages are not meant to be easy. They involve tears, frustration, things that couldn't possibly go wrong do. You've got to suck it up and take the bad with the beautiful. And when everyone else seems to have lost all human decency and courtesy, then you cannot.
It did. This post was incredibly helpful for me to shed unnecessary baggage. I've been provided with excellent suggestions for how to handle my dilemma and I'm considering them all. I expect the journey to hardships and welcome them. I'm Catholic and believe that my difficulties will be medicine for my soul.

Ironically, at the bottom of my page for this thread, there is an ad to book lodging...

In my two times up and over I never got to see any scenery because of the weather, just lots of fog, clouds, and rain..... And there are other places up there other than Orisson. Hunto I think might be the name of one.
First of all, that's hilarious! Second I love fog, clouds and rain. I like to pretend I've been suddenly transported to Ireland. Thirdly, I'm aware of Hunto but it doesn't look like there is enough elevation or distance to merit the stop unless I just want to leave SJPP much later in the day. Your suggestion about the taxi was mentioned by someone else too and it's a good solution.

To all who have commented with their experience, offered me food for thought, viable alternatives, I am profoundly grateful. Your response alone prove that courtesy is still alive on the Camino. @trecile as to how pre-booking relates to courtesy, all I can say is that I was raised to consider others. I know I don't know every person's reasons for pre-booking at Orrison but I suspect there are some who want the experience who could probably push on to Roncesvaille that just don't want to, as well as those who have physical challenges who are just better planners than myself. I mainly asked about courtesy because I needed to hear that people still help others and I hope my perspective will help others to let up a little bit on the pre-booking if you're not injured or debilitated somehow, to become more open to synchronicity and the concept that nothing happens by accident. Because for me, this is the foundation for experiencing the Divine in everyday life. I hope to hear more stories on this thread about experiences like the one @Delphinoula shared and ways we can keep courtesy alive on the Camino~ Lizzy
 

JRO

Member
Camino(s) past & future
santiago to muxia
This post is going to contain some ranting. It's coming from fear. I've waited 7 years to finally have my opportunity for the Camino. I am hoping to leave in May but given what I've seen in all the FB groups on the Camino, there is a new trend that wasnt around in 2012 when I first got the call.

Pre-bookers. There were tour companies in 2012 for sure. I remember older pilgrims complaining about them. There was bag service (Maybe not as many now). But the boatloads of pre-bookers for Orrison who are also pre-booking additional albergues for days following Orrison is creating ALOT of fear in me. May is definitely pre-booked for Orrison.

So all those pilgrims who have been told "It's your Camino. Walk it any way you want..." Well given that I have a spinal condition but am otherwise fit I'm having to assess if I can make the push straight to Roncesvaille. And if I get there, there is no given I will have a place to sleep because all the other May pre-bookers will likely have left the day before and pre-booked there as well.

The mean judgy side of me wants to say "Don't they trust God?" The mature side of me asks me "Do you?" I know this is an internal struggle with fear and trust. I mean I don't even have my ticket to leave yet. But all this talk about "It's your Camino. Walk it however" might lead to some issues for others. Like how I despite my physical limitations might have to walk the alternate path from SJPdP just because some weren't sure how they were going to feel once they reach Orrison. Or how I despite my pain might be forced to carry on to Roncesvaille, bed availability still uncertain. I'm not techy and if you tell me to reserve ahead for Roncesvaille I might scream. I've waited seven years to do this. But I might not be able to do the "It's your Camino. Walk it like you want." thing because I do want to see the pinnacle. That's been part of my dream. Not walking some roadway to Valcarlos. I just wish people would stop telling people that it's okay to pre-book because it's really not. I mean you don't even know if you'll have to stop. In my opinion, pre-booking is okay if you are travelling with more than two in your party and especially if you have seniors or kids. Otherwise, you're leaving out that God the Universe whatever you believe in might be drawing people with needs to the Camino.

First come, first served. That's what people were b*tching about 7 years ago. The tours, the bag service, the clusterclod in Sarria, the race for a bed. At least early bird gets the worm is fair. This pre-booking thing has thrown me a curve ball. I'm actually considering that despite the money and freedom I now have that I should post-pone. I can barely figure out how to arrange my arrival because I've never traveled abroad. Before I knew that if I traveled that I might have to early rise, I might have to expect congestion the closer to Santiago I got but this is a whole other predicament. I barely use my phone's capability in my own life!

I went to my local chapter meeting of APOC. I paid my dues for two years, just as I have here on the forum. The presenter was discussing how in a Camino basics lecture you can send your bags ahead, you can pre-book your stays in albergues. I cringed when he couldn't tell the backpacker bent on the Alps what was so special about the Camino Frances. This was Tuesday. At REI. (also of which I'm a member).

"Because it's a pilgrimage." I wanted to scream. According to the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago, "Groups organised with support car or by bicycle are requested to seek alternative shelter to the pilgrim hostels. " https://oficinadelperegrino.com/en/pilgrimage/the-credencial/

I think this should be taught to individuals as well. Why? Because of common courtesy. If you have a credencial from Santiago (available in the forum store for a 2 E donation), you AGREE TO ABIDE BY IT. The spirit of this if you are booking ahead, do so at a hotel! Not a hostel or albergue!

So I hope people can help me to shed these fears Will I like and others like me, the technologically challenged, follow in the footsteps of Jesus? ""Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

I'd love to hear your stories. Reprimand me. Admonish me. But if you say to me "Book ahead" I will start another thread about bringing back pilgrim values.
Very much like you, Liz, I had lots of anxiety about EVERYTHING (detail) for the Camino. I now believe Rebekah in that "you will be alright". I found that I WAS alright, no matter what happened. And strangely enough, my very best memories and interesting times while pilgrimaging (is that a word??) came when things did not go as I wanted or expected. In fact, I learned to look forward to those times, because ALWAYS it meant something profound was about to come my way. Buen Camino....you go, as you have planned and I wish for you all of the most unexpected "wonderfulness"!
 

anthikes

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Frances
2018 Portuguese
2019 VDLP
It would be kind of a shame if the 'first come, first serve' went entirely from the Caminos. It's similar to when you go travelling, when in the old days you could just rock up somewhere and always find a bed. Popular places now are solidly booked at busy times, and you have to plan so far ahead. It's taken some of the romanticism out of travel, in my opinion anyway!

Someone suggested it was not a very fair for slower hikers or the albergue stragglers. Well the only other realistic option to fcfs is pre-booking.

For the original poster, I do think you'll be fine finding accommodation, and it helps that there are so many more villages to stop at, not just the main destinations in the popular guide book stages.

Another alternative is to walk a less trodden Camino. I'd advise against the Portuguese as I found the bed racing on that to be almost as bad as the Frances!
 

Lindsay53

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances April / May 19
This seems the thread to ask a question. In the event all the accommodation in town is full, what's the protocol for sleeping in a church or public building, or maybe in a park?
Thanks
Lindsay
 

Nev Sheather

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walking now (2017)
This post is going to contain some ranting. It's coming from fear. I've waited 7 years to finally have my opportunity for the Camino. I am hoping to leave in May but given what I've seen in all the FB groups on the Camino, there is a new trend that wasnt around in 2012 when I first got the call.

Pre-bookers. There were tour companies in 2012 for sure. I remember older pilgrims complaining about them. There was bag service (Maybe not as many now). But the boatloads of pre-bookers for Orrison who are also pre-booking additional albergues for days following Orrison is creating ALOT of fear in me. May is definitely pre-booked for Orrison.

So all those pilgrims who have been told "It's your Camino. Walk it any way you want..." Well given that I have a spinal condition but am otherwise fit I'm having to assess if I can make the push straight to Roncesvaille. And if I get there, there is no given I will have a place to sleep because all the other May pre-bookers will likely have left the day before and pre-booked there as well.

The mean judgy side of me wants to say "Don't they trust God?" The mature side of me asks me "Do you?" I know this is an internal struggle with fear and trust. I mean I don't even have my ticket to leave yet. But all this talk about "It's your Camino. Walk it however" might lead to some issues for others. Like how I despite my physical limitations might have to walk the alternate path from SJPdP just because some weren't sure how they were going to feel once they reach Orrison. Or how I despite my pain might be forced to carry on to Roncesvaille, bed availability still uncertain. I'm not techy and if you tell me to reserve ahead for Roncesvaille I might scream. I've waited seven years to do this. But I might not be able to do the "It's your Camino. Walk it like you want." thing because I do want to see the pinnacle. That's been part of my dream. Not walking some roadway to Valcarlos. I just wish people would stop telling people that it's okay to pre-book because it's really not. I mean you don't even know if you'll have to stop. In my opinion, pre-booking is okay if you are travelling with more than two in your party and especially if you have seniors or kids. Otherwise, you're leaving out that God the Universe whatever you believe in might be drawing people with needs to the Camino.

First come, first served. That's what people were b*tching about 7 years ago. The tours, the bag service, the clusterclod in Sarria, the race for a bed. At least early bird gets the worm is fair. This pre-booking thing has thrown me a curve ball. I'm actually considering that despite the money and freedom I now have that I should post-pone. I can barely figure out how to arrange my arrival because I've never traveled abroad. Before I knew that if I traveled that I might have to early rise, I might have to expect congestion the closer to Santiago I got but this is a whole other predicament. I barely use my phone's capability in my own life!

I went to my local chapter meeting of APOC. I paid my dues for two years, just as I have here on the forum. The presenter was discussing how in a Camino basics lecture you can send your bags ahead, you can pre-book your stays in albergues. I cringed when he couldn't tell the backpacker bent on the Alps what was so special about the Camino Frances. This was Tuesday. At REI. (also of which I'm a member).

"Because it's a pilgrimage." I wanted to scream. According to the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago, "Groups organised with support car or by bicycle are requested to seek alternative shelter to the pilgrim hostels. " https://oficinadelperegrino.com/en/pilgrimage/the-credencial/

I think this should be taught to individuals as well. Why? Because of common courtesy. If you have a credencial from Santiago (available in the forum store for a 2 E donation), you AGREE TO ABIDE BY IT. The spirit of this if you are booking ahead, do so at a hotel! Not a hostel or albergue!

So I hope people can help me to shed these fears Will I like and others like me, the technologically challenged, follow in the footsteps of Jesus? ""Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

I'd love to hear your stories. Reprimand me. Admonish me. But if you say to me "Book ahead" I will start another thread about bringing back pilgrim values.
I think you are screaming at the wrong people. If a hostel or whatever takes bookings then people are entitled to book. You should, perhaps, be complaining to the people who run the establishments, they are the ones who make the rules not the users. I was not aware the god ran a booking agency. Note that most of the walkers I talked to on the route where not pilgrims in the sense of seeking a religipous experience, they were doing it for the cultural and physical experience, it has not been just a pilgrimage for the very religious for a long long time. Seek religious experiences within yourself, not just through a walk.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
The fact that some of the people who walk from SJPP to Roncesvalles in May don't get a bed in Orisson and not even a bed in Roncesvalles has nothing to do with pre-booking. It's because there are more people who want a bed than there are beds. From memory, there are about 40 beds in Refuge Orisson and currently a little over 220 beds or so in the Roncesvalles albergue. With May being now the most popular month for pilgrims from abroad in particular, with well over 300 people starting in SJPP on some days in May, there's a shortage. I fail to see what pre-booking has to do with this.

I wonder why it is that these days so many people feel that they are called to go on pilgrimage to Saint James in May, start in one particular small village in France and take one particular crossing of the Pyrenees and nothing else will do?
There are always large groups of pilgrims starting out from any terminal place. Usually these waves of pilgrims depart on Friday or Saturday and to a lesser extend on Sunday. This 'wave' is typically spent by Monday morning.

This phenomenon of the 'pig in the python' exists at SJPdP, Pamplona, Burgos, Leon, Astorga, and Sarria on the Frances. On the Portuguese, we see large increases in pilgrims leaving from Porto and Tui.

On other routes, it usually exists on Friday and Saturday mornings (and nights) at most every "jumping off" place: e.g. Ferrol, Oviedo, Irun, Sevilla, Madrid, Lisbon, Coimbra, Ponferrada, etc...

There are two good ways to avoid this issue:

ONE: DO NOT depart on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. This is when many folks start, so there is a larger wave of people heading out. This causes added stress on bed space, at least for the first few days.

As the route unfolds and pilgrims determine their individualized walking styles and paces, the surge spreads out. Understand this, and use it to your advantage.

As a point of record, I always depart on Monday through Thursday. This year is an anomaly as I am starting from Oviedo on a Friday. However, I have pre-booked accommodations for the first several days. So the 'pig in the python' will not apply to me, this time.

TWO: Avoid staying at a Brierley standard stage place. If you consider that perhaps one third or more of your fellow pilgrims are using the Brierley guide, then you can foresee the demand for beds at these stage end places. This has already been discussed above, with the 'bed race' issue.

If you are a 'walk until you are tired, then look for a bed' pilgrim, defeat the python by choosing to stay at the last place before entering an end stage town, or the first place on leaving that town. Most everyone will want to follow the guide and stay in the town proper. Doing this, especially one weekend day spreads the demand out and can reduce your stress (if any).

This also has disadvantages in terms of finding food, drinks and supplies, as well as camaraderie. However, if you find yourself in a popular place on a weekend evening, consider buying supplies on the way to your alternative accommodations.

Hope this helps.
 

Jacobus

Pilgrim since 2008
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2008 09 14
Del Norte 2011. Portuguese 2015, 2017Ingles 2015 Fisterre 2015.
It's good to have good kids, isn't it Dave? I probably ask my daughters once a month if they want to walk with me. That would be a dream come true. I am sure it was with your son. I think I will get my older daughter to do it one day. One out of two ain't bad.
I walked the Portuguese with my daughter in 2017. It was her idea! In fact it was very difficult to wait for her to finally ask. It was my ninth and most satisfying camino😃
 

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
I think you are screaming at the wrong people. If a hostel or whatever takes bookings then people are entitled to book. You should, perhaps, be complaining to the people who run the establishments, they are the ones who make the rules not the users. I was not aware the god ran a booking agency. Note that most of the walkers I talked to on the route where not pilgrims in the sense of seeking a religipous experience, they were doing it for the cultural and physical experience, it has not been just a pilgrimage for the very religious for a long long time. Seek religious experiences within yourself, not just through a walk.
First of all I'm not screaming. In my original post, I was terrified. You must've missed the very long post where I expressed my deep sense of gratitude for all who have replied. With these very small towns whose economy is highly limited, I would never find fault with the owners for making such a decision, though if I were them, I would limit booking only to individuals rather than tours and then to the elderly, infirm, disabled and very young. So instead I vented my perspective to the forum. Maybe some people who are over-planning will consider my POV and re-examine their motivation

Secondly, I highly disagree with you that this has not been a religious pilgrimage for "long long time". It has been for the last 44 years, and historically before that. Religious/spiritual reasons remain the number one reason for pilgrims entering Santiago. So that makes the adventure seekers, the tourists and the fitness extremists the exception. The Way would be less crowded without them for sure but not necessarily a richer experience!! I would never suggest that they don't have the right to enjoy it, though your post implies that I should just stay home since I'm religious and reminds me of my ex-fiance who told me to go walk the Appalachian Trail. If I were a trekker maybe I would've. I'm a pilgrim answering a call. Imagine how ugly I would sound if I had written that the adventure seekers, the tourists and fitness extremists should just take their holiday in the French Alps.

Thirdly, I'm a religious person seeking a deeper spiritual experience. To be honest, I've been a lousy Catholic for the last four years because I had all but abandoned hope of ever being able to go. Staying at home trying to be spiritual did not make me a better person. Plus I live alone, my family is dead, I'm unmarried, childless so I've had enough of myself. I want more of others, all the others walking. I want people I can be a blessing to. I want to meet the God with skin on because if I cant love you, then I cant love the God I can't see.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
The Camino provides...it REALLY does. You WILL find what you need there. Just chill, relax, enjoy the journey. The rest will gradually unfold. Just be open to learning... including about yourself.

Many of us experience what I call "the God moment." I define it as some time, some place, some day, while on Camino, when all of a sudden the clouds clear in your mind and your purpose becomes less opaque.

While not exactly like Paul of Tarsus getting knocked off his horse on his way to persecute Christians, and instantaneously / miraculously becoming the person we know as Saint Paul, the experience or realization can vary from person to person. Just chill...

Mine occurred about halfway into my first Camino in 2013. While walking by myself, in a poncho as it was drizzling, the sudden Presence just overcame me. It was for a moment. There was no one around me.

At first, I questioned my sanity. Then, later, it dawned on me. THAT was MY moment. I will not say more, as the full story is planned for my eventual book of stories and recollections from all my Caminos and volunteer work. But, the effects were profound and last to this day...six years later.

But, suffice it to say that if you just approach your Camino with an open heart and mind, and do not force anything, it WILL come to you. Be patient.

Many of us also hold that Santiago works in strange ways. Many of my more doctrinaire Christian friends will say that it is God who works in strange ways. Also true, but we pilgrims hold Santiago as our intercessor and protector, especially while on Camino. After all, he is also the patron saint of all Spain. How can we say that it is NOT Santiago working under the Big Guy's authority?

Also, there are loads of Catholic churches along the route if you just want to stop in to pray, light a candle, or relax. Many have rubber stamps / sellos that you can use to provide a record of your passage in your credential. Make use of both.

I find the best inspiration in the silence of ancient churches... Even the most sparsely decorated chapel can provide momentous insights... Spain is beautiful and replete with many of these churches, chapels and even roadside shrines.

Hope this helps...
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Walked CF September/October 2015
There will be plenty of space for you. Do not worry. If you are staying at albergues, consider that only SOME private albergues can be pre-booked. If you take the classic approach, and stop when you are tired, or at an albergue that others in the forum have raved about, you should be fine.

If you are following the Brierely guide, one of the unfortunate results is that most, if not all of the day's pilgrims are intent on staying at each of his prescribed stage stops. Depending on the day of the week and the month of the year, this can cause an abnormal demand for beds.

The best way to avoid this "pig in the python" syndrome, especially if you are not planning to book ahead, is to stop at the last albergue BEFORE the listed stage end, or at the entry to the town, village, etc. Alternatively, walk a little further and stay at the first place AFTER the listed day's end stage.

I wholeheartedly agree. Some of my favorite stops ended up being at “in-between” stages. It definitely helps with bed mania.
 

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:
The Camino provided for me on the first 4 Caminos between 2002 and 2009. Then the COMPLETO signs started to bug me. I asked Sant Iago why he wasn't providing beds for me at night anymore. He came down from the sky on his white horse and said, "You have had beds in albergues every time. Give othes a chance. Book beds in inns or taverns and let the newbies have the albergue beds. And for heaven sake, send that ridiculous thing on your back to the inns on a mechanical horse. Nobody cares how your personal belongings arrive in Compostela and its ostentatious to carry so much stuff. You never saw me or the others carrying a large bundle on our backs". So from then on I've booked rooms ahead and have sent my bundle ahead.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
The Camino provided for me on the first 4 Caminos between 2002 and 2009. Then the COMPLETO signs started to bug me. I asked Sant Iago why he wasn't providing beds for me at night anymore. He came down from the sky on his white horse and said, "You have had beds in albergues every time. Give othes a chance. Book beds in inns or taverns and let the newbies have the albergue beds. And for heaven sake, send that ridiculous thing on your back to the inns on a mechanical horse. Nobody cares how your personal belongings arrive in Compostela and its ostentatious to carry so much stuff. You never saw me or the others carrying a large bundle on our backs". So from then on I've booked rooms ahead and have sent my bundle ahead.
On my second Camino I was on the stretch from Sarria to Santiago during August, and many pilgrims were scrambling for beds. I didn't feel bad at all about booking private rooms and leaving the bunks for those that needed them more than me. I considered it the courteous thing to do. 😊
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
@biarritzdon you may well be right. The OP has expressed gratitude for the responses she's received. Many "old hands" have related that the reality is so different to the expectation that the twain shall never meet.

Nevertheless I'm inclined to leave it up for now. When we close threads they drift down the "board" fairly quickly and then the next "newbie" asks the same question in a different form of words. When, and it will, the thread goes off-track we'll take it down.
 

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
Thank you for allowing the discussion to continue. No one has gotten disrespectful or heated and I do feel like it's necessary to have an open forum because certain ideas spring up like a virus. That's probably how the bed race started. Someone on the forums probably suggested getting up earlier to someone who complained beds were taken. The bed race gave birth to the tours or maybe the tours gave birth to the bed race. As a previous poster mentioned, booking ahead is the only guarantee a bed in light of both. Do I want to do either? Heck no. I am blind at night and the idea of paying money to follow someone else's agenda is not my style (no judgement for those who love them.)

The fact of the matter is that pre-booking is a choice that forces others to pre-book as well if they need to make the same stop. Thus it becomes a domino effect. As more and more people make the choice to pre-book, the more pressures it puts on others to do the same. Pre-training is choice. Early rising is a choice. Stopping before major congestion points is also a choice (one I will definitely use). One thing I have learned on this earth is that choices have consequences, many of which are unseen at the time they are made. The consequence may not be to yourself but to someone else. Part of my path in life is to be the change I want to see in the world.

So after doing some more research on the Valcarlos suggestion I received from others (mainly which my post pops up) I found a video of the Valcarlos passage posted by @davebugg in another thread. This way does not look "lovely" to me and though I was assured by others the Valcarlos way was not all roadway, according to what others reported in various threads on the forum the off-road sections were overgrown and impassable with advice given to stick to the road. Not for me. I want to listen to silence, the earth, other pilgrims not cars. And it does look dangerous as the Brierly guide warns.

As for me, the only plan I have is to train more, pack light and trust God that I can make it. I apologize to those feel like my post is boring or for whom my POV may induce a wee bit of guilt but waiting seven years to be obediant to the call was not wise and I respectfully ask that all who comment further heed my earlier request to discuss the question "Is Courtesy Alive?" And that future posts include your "lovely" pictures of the Valcarlos route so that all who may share my concerns can see from your camera if having a place to rest is visually worth it. Peace and blessings.-Lizzy
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Ah, I love the reliability of sources. 😪
My experience of the Valcarlos route is - less tarmac than the Napoléon, no problem whatsoever with the off-road sections and a delightful staging point at Valcarlos itself if you want to start out easy and don’t particularly want to stop in a commercial hotel on your first night of adventure.
I don’t take “lovely” pictures, I’ve got a pilgrimage to walk. But Lizzy now you’ve got your rant over maybe you should take a long look at your expectations. The Camino Frances is a popular long distance hike through easy terrain with a generous supporting infrastructure. Open to all. (I’ll not bother with the quote from the Roncesvalles website.)
The pilgrimage to Santiago (or Finis Terre for some) is something else. It’s a personal thing. Other people and what they do have nothing to do with your pilgrimage. Other people and their opinions have nothing to do with your pilgrimage. Other people and their behaviors have nothing to do with your pilgrimage. The scenery has nothing to do with your pilgrimage.

“Santiago does not weigh your pack nor God count your steps...” and neither of them gives a flying monkey about whether you or your bunk mate pre-booked, ate the menu peregino or the flown in pizza, were polite to each other or not.

7 years is a long time of anticipation and hope- don’t turn it into Disneyland disappointment before you even get mud on your boots and rain under your collar.

I wish you a Buen Camino pilgrim
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
There are still many albergues that don't take reservations, including most municipal and I believe all of the Xunta albergues in Galicia.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
That's probably how the bed race started. Someone on the forums probably suggested getting up earlier to someone who complained beds were taken. The bed race gave birth to the tours or maybe the tours gave birth to the bed race. As a previous poster mentioned, booking ahead is the only guarantee a bed in light of both.
...
The fact of the matter is that pre-booking is a choice that forces others to pre-book as well if they need to make the same stop.
Actually, the "bed race" is inevitable if there are more pilgrims than beds and they are given out on a "first come, first served" basis without any pre-booking. You can say it is the fault of people who got up earlier to secure a bed, but if it is the only way to do so, who can blame them? You can say it is the fault of the tour groups, but they are just a symptom of the increasing popularity of the Camino. If it had the same number if pilgrims, all walking individually, there would be the same problem. It is all down to the number of people looking for beds in albergues compared to the number of beds.

You say that pre-booking forces the same choice on others. So does getting up early if the number of available beds is problematic.

It sounds like you think racing for a bed is problematic. You certainly still seem to think pre-booking is problematic. I'm not sure what you are suggesting for the busiest times of year. You could say "Don't pre-book and sleep in as long as you want, trust God that you will be able to find a bed wherever you want". I'm all for trusting in God (or, on the Camino, St. James) but I've also been raised with a healthy amount of "God helps them as helps themselves" and the expectation that we all do our bit, too, to secure the outcomes we want.

Maybe we have different perspectives. I have never begrudged anyone the choices they have made for their caminos and felt that they have forced my choices unfairly: whether people pre-booked, shipped luggage, booked private rooms, got up early or late, walked less or more than me, faster or slower, stayed in the main towns or the out-of-the-way villages, took buses or taxis for portions of the Camino, wanted to talk or wanted to be left alone in silence, or bought the last of whatever it was at the grocery store.

(Okay, maybe in the moment that someone got up earlier than I was intending to, made a lot of noise and shined their flashlight in my face, woke me up, and I knew that it was futile to try and go back to sleep so I might as well head out - maybe in that moment I might have felt that person was forcing my choice. But I tried not to carry that feeling with me and just accept it as part of the experience of sharing my camino and dormitory with others. And I really don't think pre-booking is in the same category of behaviour.)
 

NavyBlue

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy and Camino Frances. Via Francigena. Tro-Breiz in progress.
Orrison is unique, it’s the only stop before Roncesvaille. Here are two options - start in Roncesvaille or take a taxi to Orrison and walk from there!
Hi Lizlane,

Another option is to have a first night in Hunto (we did). Yes, it's a bit lower than Orisson, but it cuts quite a chunk out of this big SJPDP-Roncesvalles stage.

Here are the details about the gite : http://www.gites-de-france-64.com/ferme-ithurburia/
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
Many of these posts talk about "stages" and blame (or credit) Brierley for creating them in his guidebook. I've got to say that it never occurred to me that he was telling me where to stop for the night, in a general location. How could he? He doesn't know how far I want to walk in a day. For me, he just always listed the choices. If his maps suggest certain distances to walk each day in order to arrive in Santiago in a certain amount of time, I guess that I thought that might be useful to some inexperienced walkers. Besides, you can't put 800 km of maps on a single page without making the map details too tiny or map size too large to manage. I have found it useful to see how far I must walk in order to make it to a particular city or point of interest, but I haven't let his or any other guidebook influence my choices.
 

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