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Is it possible to pay for a meal at an albergue you're not staying at?

2020 Camino Guides

Michio

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés - Logroño to León (2018), SJPP to Logroño (2019)
Being a vegetarian I like to plan ahead a little bit where my next meal is concerned. I notice that Albergue El Palo de Avellano in Zubiri is meant to do a nice vegetarian pilgrim's meal but I've booked a room in a different albergue for the night that doesn't do evening meals. Do albergues only provide meals for guests or can others pay for a meal even if they're not staying there?
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Being a vegetarian I like to plan ahead a little bit where my next meal is concerned. I notice that Albergue El Palo de Avellano in Zubiri is meant to do a nice vegetarian pilgrim's meal but I've booked a room in a different albergue for the night that doesn't do evening meals. Do albergues only provide meals for guests or can others pay for a meal even if they're not staying there?
El Palo de Avellano sells the dinner ticket separate from the price of the bed, so I think that it's possible. But go there and buy your ticket when you arrive in town. Don't wait until dinner time.
 

Via2010

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
I do not think that there is a general rule for this. It is at the discretion of the persons who run the albergue. If you want to be sure, call ahead or just go in and ask when you arrive in town.
 

Michio

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés - Logroño to León (2018), SJPP to Logroño (2019)
Thanks guys, I'll pop in and ask when I get there. Walked from Logrono to Leon last year and mostly ate where I stayed barring the odd day here and there but I booked a place for Zubiri and only belatedly realised it didn't do meals, only breakfasts. Thanks again.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Thanks guys, I'll pop in and ask when I get there. Walked from Logrono to Leon last year and mostly ate where I stayed barring the odd day here and there but I booked a place for Zubiri and only belatedly realised it didn't do meals, only breakfasts. Thanks again.
Most of the albergues that I've stayed at don't offer dinner, and the breakfasts are usually not worth having.
 

Michio

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés - Logroño to León (2018), SJPP to Logroño (2019)
Most of the albergues that I've stayed at don't offer dinner, and the breakfasts are usually not worth having.
I must have been lucky with the albergues I stayed at but I wholeheartedly agree about the breakfasts. After the first couple of days of paying for old bread, jam, and weak coffee I just went out and walked till I found a cafe.
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
I am sure if you let them know a couple of hours in advance about your case, they will be delighted, they are a private business and their purpose is to sell products/meals, only you might want to warn them a couple of hours in advance about your interest and about being vegetarian
 

sunwanderer

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Santiago
Sep/Oct 2015
I am sure if you let them know a couple of hours in advance about your case, they will be delighted, they are a private business and their purpose is to sell products/meals, only you might want to warn them a couple of hours in advance about your interest and about being vegetarian
Apparently not all of them are delighted to sell meals. We were refused a dinner at a vegetarian albergue even with plenty of notice.
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Apparently not all of them are delighted to sell meals. We were refused a dinner at a vegetarian albergue even with plenty of notice.
Interesting point... I have been to El Palo, and I understand the mean BUSINESS in the way they treat pilgrims, they are not a charity, that I can tell, they have a professional kitchen and feel like a small (overpriced) hotel to me - again, this is my personal impression, they are kind and clean too.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Apparently not all of them are delighted to sell meals. We were refused a dinner at a vegetarian albergue even with plenty of notice.
Perhaps they are not supposed to sell meals to non-guests when they are not registered as a restaurant? I think they may need a special licence if they want to serve and sell food to clients who are not staying at their albergue.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Apparently not all of them are delighted to sell meals. We were refused a dinner at a vegetarian albergue even with plenty of notice.
I can see some places like Albergue Verde which reliesoon volunteers, and obviously the parochial donativo albergues not offering meals to those who stay there, but El Palo de Avellano is definitely more businesslike, so I think that there's a good chance to buy the dinner there
 
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015, July 2017, October 2019
There's also the issue of security. Some albergues, the CSJ run albergue in Rabanal springs to mind, won't allow any non-resident to enter their albergue, even if you have friends staying there who will vouch for you.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
There's also the issue of security. Some albergues, the CSJ run albergue in Rabanal springs to mind, won't allow any non-resident to enter their albergue, even if you have friends staying there who will vouch for you.
As I recall, the dining room at El Palo de Avellano was rather separate from the dorms.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Apparently not all of them are delighted to sell meals. We were refused a dinner at a vegetarian albergue even with plenty of notice.
This may explain it although they may have had other reasons, of course: An albergue in Uterga/Navarra - Camino del Perdón - points out on their website that they are the only albergue in town that has a bar licence and people can drink and eat there if they are just passing through town. They add that if you do this in albergues without such a licence, you are supporting the shadow economy and the laziness of the administration who "do not enough to end this scourge".

So it's both practised and against the law.
 
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sunwanderer

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Santiago
Sep/Oct 2015
It didn't seem to be because of a rule or law - they said they reserved their food for those who stayed there.
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Apparently not all of them are delighted to sell meals. We were refused a dinner at a vegetarian albergue even with plenty of notice.
they said reserved their food for those who stayed there
I wouldn't get bent out of shape because of something like that. As @Kathar1na points out, an albergue is not a restaurant, unless they have a license to be one. So no doubt the place that turned you away buys ingredients and plans meals only around the numbers of people who stay there in order to reduce both expense and waste.
 

Michio

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés - Logroño to León (2018), SJPP to Logroño (2019)
I can see some places like Albergue Verde which reliesoon volunteers, and obviously the parochial donativo albergues not offering meals to those who stay there, but El Palo de Avellano is definitely more businesslike, so I think that there's a good chance to buy the dinner there
Just to follow up, I emailed them and they said it would be fine so long as I booked it before 6pm. Seems the Ogi Berri cafe in Zubiri also cater to vegetarian/vegan too so Zubiri's already looking like a good stop.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
There's also the issue of security. Some albergues, the CSJ run albergue in Rabanal springs to mind, won't allow any non-resident to enter their albergue, even if you have friends staying there who will vouch for you.
Is that a recent rule? I recall a group of local dignitaries being given a guided tour which included the two dormitories! Mind you one of them was a representative of the Bishopric of Bierzo and they do "own" the building.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015, July 2017, October 2019
Is that a recent rule? I recall a group of local dignitaries being given a guided tour which included the two dormitories! Mind you one of them was a representative of the Bishopric of Bierzo and they do "own" the building.
Well it's possible they just didn't like the look of me and introduced a temporary byelaw :rolleyes: This was in 2017. I can confirm that I am yet to have a bishopric bestowed upon me.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
Well it's possible they just didn't like the look of me and introduced a temporary byelaw :rolleyes: This was in 2017. I can confirm that I am yet to have a bishopric bestowed upon me.
"This is not the refugio you are looking for . . . " ;)
 

Jim P

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walking Camino Frances beginning Sept 6, 2019
Yes, you can book a meal there if they have room. I'm in Burgos, and that's usually been the case since the albergue would like to fill its tables. It's not normally required that you eat at the private or municipal albergues if they serve a meal, though sometimes, such as the parrish Albergue Emaús I'm staying at in Burgos, want you to participate in the community.
 

Gumba

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF March 2018
CF Dec 2019/2020
Hi, I know you have your answer but just thought I would add, we stayed at El Palo last year (first day of the season). I enjoyed a nice vegetarian meal (they made me a veggie burger, huge salad to share and cant remember what else but the food was generous). The table of four next to us were stayng at another albergue that did not sell dinner - so yes, at this place you can, not sure about others along they way.
 

sunwanderer

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Santiago
Sep/Oct 2015
I wouldn't get bent out of shape because of something like that. As @Kathar1na points out, an albergue is not a restaurant, unless they have a license to be one. So no doubt the place that turned you away buys ingredients and plans meals only around the numbers of people who stay there in order to reduce both expense and waste.
I don't see what's "bent out of shape" by pointing out that not all abergues are delighted to sell meals to anyone.
 

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