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Is there a real reason for a bed race???

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Topics' started by Thomas1962, Jan 5, 2014.

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  1. Thomas1962

    Thomas1962 Active Member

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    There is much written about the shortage of beds on this forum; bed race, early leavers etc etc. Also, many people tell story's about having heard or seen other people having a problem with finding a bed. But...actually I did not hear from anyone here or IRL that (s)he really didn't find a bed him/herself and had to sleep outside. Two times I've asked on this forum about OWN experience, no one reacted...
    I've done different camino's but not the frances, never experienced a real problem myself. A friend who walked the frances different times of the year sometimes found a full albergue but never really had a problem either. She does even challenge this bed race with walking till late afternoon, not wanting to worry about this.

    So, I'm really wondering about this bed situation and would like to know if it is just a fictional problem on which we can project our fear or if it is a real problem...
    So please, if you had a real problem yourselves (not just a full albergue but hardly being able to find a bed and not heard from other people) I would like to read your experience. Also if you did not care about finding a bed and always found one too, I would like to know.
    I hope we all together can bring this issue to the right size.:)
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
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  2. Guusje

    Guusje New Member

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    I walked the camino frances in a very busy period and never experienced any issues with finding a bed. But i must say that there were quite a lot of pilgrims who walked superfast and early so they were sure of a bed. In the beginning it influenced my walking pace, but i noticed that the albergues always provide a bed. If necessary they add some spare matrasses and put them wherever is space. And because i have this lazy walkingpace i ended up sleeping in the middle of cathedrals and hidden parts of monastries- very special! So dont worry about beds and dont let the worried pilgrims influence your pace! Enjoy!
     
  3. BeatriceKarjalainen

    BeatriceKarjalainen Veteran Member

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    Just want to add that walking super fast and early (around 6) doesn't necessarily mean bed race. You can also like to walk long days/distances and don't want to do all those km in the hot sun. A lot of people walk fast as there natural speed.

    I came to the albergues all time of the day between 14 and 20. The only place I didn't get an albergue place in was Pamplona August 15 (August 16 is a celebration day). I came to Pamplona around 17:00 and the persons in front of me in the albergue queue got the last beds. All the other albergues were full. I stayed in a hotel instead. In Puente la Reina I got one of the last beds at around 16:00 the day after Pamplona and the next day in Logrono the same. After that no problems at all. In Vilares the Óbrigo and in Vilachá I was the only person in the albergue.

    Edit: I just remember that I got one of the last beds in Villamayor de Monjardin a man came to our albergue shortly after me and said that it was full everywhere. He finally got a bed in a private house.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2014
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  4. Rebekah Scott

    Rebekah Scott Camino Busybody Donating Member Donating Member

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    It is a myth, far as I can tell, promulgated by those who must have the first/best/cheapest/most secure everything. Their perceived needs trump even their own comforts, and overrun all else. Others see them fleeing in pursuit of their object, and are infected with the same fear -- someone else will get there before me, someone else will get something better/cheaper/prettier/cleaner/more meaningful. And so the "race" begins, a race without any real end, a race without a winner.
    It´s a delusion. Don´t buy into it.
     
  5. LTfit

    LTfit Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I am one of those who experienced not finding a bed ONCE (and had several close calls) but it did not stop me from returning to the Camino another 4 times and certainly did not change how I walk my Caminos. This happened during the summer of 2010 which was a holy year. Problems started in O Cebreiro where hundreds slept outside. I joined 7 other pilgrims who slept in the entry way of the church. Although I was not equipt to sleep outside, one pilgrim gave met a sleeping mat and another an "emergency" blanket. I was thankful for their help. Yes it was cold and uncomfortable but I was not alone.

    In Sarria the municipal was full. There was talk that a gym would open up to take the overflow but when a fellow pilgrim overheard me say that I had already walked 40+ km he insisted that I join his group for dinner, use his sleeping mat and sneaked me into the municipal with his group right before closing at 10 pm.

    My luck continued in Palas de Rei. There was not a bed to be had in any town before or after Palas either. What to do? I tried begging the hospitalero to let me sleep on the floor of the albergue but without luck. A Camino angel María appeared and organized that she, her husband and I were given a mattress on the floor of a muncipal building.

    In Pedrouzo the same. No beds anywhere in town but the polideportivo was opened and hundreds of us slept on the floor of the gym. Luckily another Camino angel came to my rescue and lent me his sleeping mat.

    Even given these varied experiences during my first Camino, I have never walked in fear. There is always a solution.
     
  6. richeyboy

    richeyboy Member Donating Member

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    I think you have described it correctly, Rebekah, and when I did the camino I never did understand the desire to leave early just to get a bed; there is plenty of accommodation as is often said on this forum although some of the private albergues appeared to fill up quickly due to pre-booking by groups but there is always somewhere else to go even a church porch or maybe inside. Someone said to me that in life everything matters but nothing matters very much and I think this wise advice applies to all anxieties on the camino. Indeed is not gaining a balanced perspective on life one of its enduring gifts
     
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  7. Phillypilgrim

    Phillypilgrim Active Member

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    My two cents. To start with, I always had a bed and walked Sept. 1st-Oct.14th 2013.
    Each private Albergue has it's own way of handling reservations. Sometimes what happens is, folks are calling ahead to reserve for the next evening from an Albergue you are in. Then, word gets out that evening that the next stop is full, as someone has tried to book unsuccessfully. (This could be "inbetween" stages, as well as Brierley stages. The folks I was around walked as I do, 12-13 miles/20 km a day).
    Then the concern/panic sets in about where to walk the next day if all is full. The reality is, many private albergues will book ahead a "portion" of beds and leave many beds for walk ins. Others book it all, and still others won't book any (I am only talking about "private" albergues).
    Soooo, in the evening when the "book-aheaders" are on their phones, go get a beer or two!
     
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  8. Thomas1962

    Thomas1962 Active Member

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    Thanks for all your information. According to everyone's experiences it seems like there is no real problem.
    There must be people who did have another experience, who is challenged?

    Or must we definetely make a new 2014 word for the shortage of beds: caminohoax!
     
  9. Phillypilgrim

    Phillypilgrim Active Member

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    It's not a hoax. If you arrive at a small village with two albergues and one Casa Rural, and you arrive at 4 PM at a busy time of the year, you may not get a bed in that village. I did see it happen, but not to me, as I arrived by 1 PM. It happened in Villamayor de Monjardin. A group of 4 young pilgrims arrived at 5 PM after walking a very long day. No beds, so they opted for an open air shelter under a roof. Two women I was with loaned one a mat and another a sleeping bag (as she only had a silk liner). You figure it out as you go; when to arrive, when to book (if ever), and when to stay at a casa rural, hostel, pension or hotel.
     
  10. Rebekah Scott

    Rebekah Scott Camino Busybody Donating Member Donating Member

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    Truth is, you may not get a bed. But you are tired and worn and in good company. You do not NEED a bed, or even a shower! You will sleep somewhere. And you will probably survive.
    (and remember: Not sleeping in a bed means you probably will not have to deal with bedbugs!)
     
  11. julie

    julie Active Member Donating Member

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    I like to have a leisurely start to the day and then walk until I'm ready to stop. Quite often that's at 5.00 or even 6.00pm. On many occasions, I've slept on a mattress on the floor (strangely enough, a mattress on a timber floor feels just the same as one on a timber bed). At Cacabelos, I was given a mattress and slept on a concrete bench underneath the awning - that felt like a great adventure. At another time when I arrived to find the municipal albergue was full, the hospitalero very kindly showed me to a private albergue.

    Never have I been concerned about not finding somewhere to sleep. Part of the thrill of the Camino is learning to let go of the need for certainty. There is a great deal of freedom in not knowing exactly where you are going to sleep that night while also being confident that all will be well.

    This happened to friends of mine so I pass on a word of warning: the grass in the park is lush and green because the sprinklers come on in the early hours of the morning. Perhaps not the best place to settle down for a good night's sleep :)
     
  12. mralisn

    mralisn Active Member

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    In over 100 nights on the Caminos, there was only once when I might not have had a bed. This happened someplace on the Camino Norte. A very small refugio with 8 beds (4 bunks) and 6 mats on the kitchen floor. I was the 15th person to arrive after an extra long day of walking, maybe around 16:00 arrival. I was hot, tired, and wanted to watch the match between Germany and Spain in the World Cup 2010 and didn't want to walk further. I decided to hose myself off in the back grass area and sleep in the paddock for the night. I was perfectly fine with that. I got to talking to two girls from Germany who eventually took pity on me. These became my Camino Angels as they decided to give up one of their beds and share one so I could have a place to sleep inside.

    A "race" implies competition. It's too bad for those who Rebekah describes above.

    For me, the Camino provides what I might need and takes what I might want. I like that.

    Trust in the arrows,
    Simeon
     
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  13. jl

    jl Veteran Member

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    I am an early starter on summer / autumn Camino's. Not because I want to be sure of a bed, but because I love the peace and tranquillity of walking in the cool of the dawn light. Many times I have left at dawn and arrived at sunset, not because I am a particularly slow walker, but because I have done things like had a leisurely lunch, chatted to pilgrim friends, stopped and sung in a church, or even just rested under a tree and watched the clouds go by! I have almost always found a bed, though not necessarily in an albergue. The only times I have had difficulty have been in France, once in a "tourist" town (Troyes) and so only hotels available - which were closed because it was Sunday! That night my son and I shared a pizza box and his sleeping mat and slept in a ditch. The other night was in a "surfing" town, st Jean-de-Luz, at the end of the season when there was not a hotel room to be had anywhere! I waited till it got dark, walked up the hill until I found a tree that threw a dark shadow and slept there, listening to the loud party music wafting up from the town below. Walking past the cemetery I had thought I would dos down there as French cemeteries are generally well kept, but this one wasn't and so I abandoned tha idea! Janet
     
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  14. CaminoKris2013

    CaminoKris2013 Active Member

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    I am walking my first Camino this May. I have made the pledge to myself to let the Camino provide. It is enough that I try to "control" things in my everyday life (not that that works either), I have to learn to trust. I think that the bed race may occur is because some are not yet trusting.

    Kris
     
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  15. draytonfair

    draytonfair New Member

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    OK, here is what happened to us.
    We walked the Camino in early September through October this past year in 2013. We didn't know how far we would be able to walk each day, so we did not make any specific reservations, but hoped to be able to play it by ear and stop when we needed to. The second day, word got passed that the Albergue in Larrasoana was closed. There was talk on the trail of "did you get a bed yet, because all of them are taken!" Everyone stopped in Zubiri. When we got there, about 2:30 pm there were no beds to be had. Anywhere. All the spaces on the municipal gym floor were taken. After a hard 2nd day, it was very disturbing. Short story: we used our cell phone to reserve beds ahead and took a cab 10k (so yes we had to "skip" a short stretch).
    At another location, Torres del Rio I think, we had made reservations at the albergue, but because we did not arrive until about 3pm, and didn't confirm our reservations earlier that day (who knew?), they gave or reservations away. Again, disturbing. (We did find another albergue that was available)
    Maybe it is me, but I did not want my Camino experience to be about the panic for a bed everyday. We started making (and confirming) reservations at albergues, casa rurals and hotels in blocks of about 2 two weeks in advance. Frankly, it was a huge relief. Certainly not as spontaneous, but everyone gets their own Camino. I can appreciate those who can be relaxed and trust that "the Camino will provide," but it would have made us crazy to not be assured of accommodations.
    I suspect that it was a particularly busy time of year, and unusual that the Larrasoana albergue was closed, but that is what happened to us.
    Buen Camino!
     
  16. david g

    david g Active Member

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    Interesting. I had the same experience in Larrasoana/Zubiri in Sept. 2012. What I remember hearing was that it was for a festival of some sort. As for the bed race, I was always one of the earlier walkers. Not to secure a bed, but to beat the heat, as well as to enjoy watching the sun rise and the day being born. I think part of the "bed race" mentality comes from the fact that as we form friendships and connections on the Camino, we want to be sure we don't miss out on anything that may happen. We fear that if we don't get into the same albergue as our friends, that will be the time something REALLY AWESOME happens! Or maybe their albergue was somehow "better" than the one we found ourselves in. I say just trust in what's happening, believe that there's always a hand directing what goes on and make your Camino your Camino. And if you do miss out on getting a bed and have to sleep outside? It's not the end of the world and will probably make for a great story when you return home.
     
  17. piogaw

    piogaw Veteran Member

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    i believe the so called bed race is a myth. many peregrinos are following the suggestion and recommendation of the guide books as to the stages. if you are flexible and be prepared to go off stage, you should not have any problem of finding a bed.

    of course there are times when you will have problem of finding a bed. this is because of so called peregrinos taking pubvlic transport to go to the next pueblos to secure a bed early.i personally have witnessed on 3 occasios of such happening. one young american took a bus to burgos and was bragging on her mobile how she took a bus early to secure a bed. a second young american who was always the last one to leave the albergue and always the first one to arrive at the next albergue at the next pueblos. i finally caught him taking buses on several occasions. i did not said anything as it is not for me to judge.

    larrasoana/zubiri is always problematic. i was not able to find a bed and skipped this pueblo to the next pueblo.

    buen camino to all.
     
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  18. freescot

    freescot Active Member

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    May last year was very busy and several times, late in the day I had to walk on to the next town. Calzada del Coto was packed full on a very wet day and I carried on to Bercianos del Real Camino. This was a true gift on Ascension Thursday to find myself in a true Camino Community, a shared meal and a dedicated team of voluntarios at this parish run hostal.

    So, yes, you may have to walk on. For many reasons this may not be possible, especially for pilgrims with special needs. Sometimes people give up their beds to others who arrive in greater need.

    I carry a bivvy bag, a Marmot alpine bivvy, which weights 410g just in case but I have not used it on the Camino Francés, only on other caminos with longer stages which I can't manage in one day.
     
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  19. CaminoKris2013

    CaminoKris2013 Active Member

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    How sad! They are losing more than they are gaining.
     
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  20. MaxfromMO

    MaxfromMO Member

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    In my experience yes there can be a bed race. On Sept. 6 2013 in Villamayor Monjardin, there were people sleeping outside under a patio cover because there were no beds. We had a thunderstorm that night. They paid 2 Euros to our albergue (Hogar Monjardin) to use the showers. One person was sleeping on the floor in the hallway there that night. Another pilgrim we talked to walked 43 K before he found a bed. We were on the Camino for 53 days.
    For the first four weeks, I saw pilgrims sent on every single day because the albergue was full, I don't know if they found one in town, I know a couple of them walked on out of the towns. We were turned away a couple of times, but found accommodation elsewhere, but we were only walking until 11:00 a.m. to noon to avoid not getting a bed, we also had to resort to reservations. My husband is 82 years old, we did not want to be forced to stay outside. A few times we had to sleep on floors, because beds were taken and the floor space was filling up fast.
    We weren't even making an attempt to stay on the "stages". We stayed in many small villages off the major stopping points, even this was a problem for some later in the day. This continued to be a problem until about the first week of October. After that it started to let up some. By the second week of October we finally stayed in an albergue that had one empty bed all night.
    A tour group from England had a guide who's job it was to take the packs ahead each day to the appointed albergue, register everyone as soon as the albergues would open, put a pack on each bed to wait for them to show up. We found this out when we arrived at an albergue about noon and when we were directed to the dorm we found that every lower bunk had a pack on it, but no people arrived until about 4:00 p.m. that afternoon.
    The bed race was not a "myth" in our case and everyone on the trail at the time knew it. If you started in October, you would never have known what a problem it had been for the last month.
     
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  21. clairescamino

    clairescamino New Member

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    I slept outside in Villamayor de Monjardin after arriving in the evening. Everywhere was full including private places. There were no more buses and I was too tired tired to continue. I sat in the bar and chatted to other pilgrims and the staff who were all aware I had no place to stay but I was not offered a floor space inside anywhere
    I was pretty much scolded for arriving late ( I still don't get how one can 'be late') on the Camino
    So I attempted to sleep outside in the church yard sheltered from the winds
    I didn't have any camping gear, didn't sleep and was pretty ill for next few days

    I still continued my Camino at my own pace and was regularly last to arrive in a village for the night, always being told I was late
    But there after did find a place to sleep inside, but not always a bed, a place in the sports hall or church floor are 2 that I recall

    I appreciate not everybody experiences this, but to those who say It never happens and you will always be offered a space it simply is not true
     
  22. Bajaracer

    Bajaracer Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre

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    The Municipal Albergue was full, that is always mentioned first, what about private Albergues and Pensions? People complain about having to spend 2-4 € extra for these places.
    The Xunta Albergues in Galicia with non functioning kitchens, do you save any money by staying there after you have to go out to eat instead of cooking a communal meal?
    If you're in the "I have to stay in the Municipal/Donativo albergue only" mentality, then you set yourself up to be disappointed and not find a bed.
     
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  23. MaxfromMO

    MaxfromMO Member

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    I would also add that at the municipal in Burgos, we got beds, but at seven p.m. that night I was at the desk area and heard two women, probably in their forties, being turned away. They asked about other accommodations and were told that they would just have to go to the other places to ask. They were tired and asked, nicely I might add, if the hospitaleros could call to see if there were any beds available. The actual words said to them were, "we don't make calls." They finally turned away and left. One of the two was limping. I can't vouch for the other dorm areas, but no one was sleeping on a mattress on the floor in ours. To assume a municipal will squeeze you in is naïve. To assume that the hospitaleros will help you find other accommodation is naïve. I, at first, had the same assumption, that the hospitaleros would either offer to help find other accommodation, or would if asked directly. It became clear that one shouldn't assume that they will help, clairescamino is right, some will, some won't. I was always especially grateful for all the help offered, but we did alter the hours that we walked. We were not in a position to find ourselves shelter-less, so we made sure we had beds before we got into trouble by overextending ourselves. Stopping earlier in the day also gave us time to explore the town we were staying in. It also gave us time to get to know some of our hosts, and the other pilgrims on the Camino. We stayed in municipals a couple of times, but more often than not we were in private alburges, a few hostals, casa rurals, and one full on hotel. This September when we were on the Camino ALL of them were experiencing full houses.
     
  24. JabbaPapa

    JabbaPapa "True Pilgrim"

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    I've found myself without a bed more than once, though on the Francès itself, it's really only happened between Roncesvalles and Pamplona.

    It's less of a problem for the more financially secure, but the impoverished can have more difficulty.
     
  25. Steeltown Pilgrim

    Steeltown Pilgrim Active Member

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  26. JabbaPapa

    JabbaPapa "True Pilgrim"

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    Whichever way you look at it, this is the correct answer.
     
  27. Bajaracer

    Bajaracer Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre

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    Arriving at the municipal albergue at 1900? Do you honestly expect beds to be available that late during a busy time of year?
    The Spanish can be indifferent at times, either way, they get paid the same. It would have been nice of them to help you find alternate accommodations, but that is where a guidebook comes in handy, it's your own responsibility to find a bed.
    If it starts getting late, stop at the first available albergue, it certainly doesn't get easier to find a bed later in the afternoon.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2014
  28. clairescamino

    clairescamino New Member

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    Arriving at the municipal albergue at 1900? Do you honestly expect beds to be available that late during a busy time of year?

    Yes. I did. Despite the struggle in many villages.
    It was daylight until 10pm I found the long distance walk difficult in my average fitness. I took advantage of every opportunity to stop & have coffee or wine and chat. Take photos.
    I met a lot of A types along the way.
    I am definitely not an A type and thought ( incorrectly) that this type of adventure was to leave the routine behind and slow down, enjoy simplicity and nature and no clock
    I really enjoyed the meeting with other drifters who continued their walk past 5pm
    Walking 8 to 10 hours a day was the very essence of my journey and I hated the pressure to be done by mid day
    What to do for 10 more hours of daylight?

    I did my first camino in may june 2013
    I was very unprepared and almost quit at Burgos

    With blisters and a few other blunders I bused some of the way to catch up with my flight home

    I did return in october to fill in the gaps
    What a difference , the crowds were gone
    The walkers generally younger but never in a race
    Stopping off to drink copious amount of wine long before looking for a bed

    If only they knew I thought, what is was like 3 months earlier.....

    I'll love to return but never in june
     
  29. KentuckyJay

    KentuckyJay Active Member

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    Hiked Porto to Santiago in May, 2016.
    Ditto??
     
  30. mustbjones

    mustbjones Active Member

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    While not finding a bed each day a problem last September, I believe the "real" race is for line or stand drying space. After washing your clothes, it was quite frustrating not to be able to find any good place to dry them before the sun went down.
     
  31. mustbjones

    mustbjones Active Member

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    Oops, I mean it was not a problem each day - for the bed.
     
  32. jstys1

    jstys1 New Member

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    I've walked several Caminos and have only slept outside once. I was walking the Via de la Plata in December and was in a very small village. I didn't run into another pilgrim on the entire trip. The woman with the key to the albergue was at the hospital with her husband who was being treated for cancer. The Casa Rural was closed for the holidays. After a few vino tintos at the local bar, I slept on the back patio of the albergue. Even though I had a sleeping bag, it was a chilly night.

    I'm glad I had the experience because it make a good Camino story....
     
  33. MaxfromMO

    MaxfromMO Member

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    Just to clarify, with regard to the municipal in Burgos, I was describing an incident that I witnessed. My husband and I had beds there. I described that incident to point out to the people saying that the "bed race" is a myth, that it most certainly was not a myth while I was on the Camino this September. Perpetuating the idea, particularly to new pilgrims, that you won't have trouble finding a bed, that the hospitaleros will find you a bed if they don't have one, that you can walk as late as you want and it will all be okay, is not realistic. My husband and I quickly realized that these things were not true, that there was a bed race going on and we altered the way we walked, resorted to making reservations, and certainly did not expect hospitaleros to help in finding accommodations.
     
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  34. unadara

    unadara Active Member

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    I have walked 2 Camino Frances partly with an American friend I met on my first Camino. I was with my husband this first time so we left and finished(sometimes) together. Judy liked to get up and go real early and stop to see sights at the destination, when she had a bed. However as days went on she left earlier and earlier..we nearly always stayed in the same place as she did, just arriving later (not after 2pm generally, too hot to walk then). Judy tried to keep beds for us and got into trouble..even in a private alberque, and here lower beds were booked in advance and there could be issues. 2nd time Judy was with her brother (and I alone) and they got up earlier and earlier every day. Bob asked me one day had I eaten lunch and I explained yes, maybe even 2 lunches, beer here, bocadillo there, they had got into a habit of not stopping either to eat, maybe only once (he explained as he asked Judy to walk with him he could not try change her way od doing things, but he did like to stop with me for a beer/coke)-SO- in El Burgo once 2 of us got the last beds, the others in Q had been told no spaces left and across the road they got beds. I had to learn to change my habits, trust myself, have a breakfast if it was on offer, stop for a beer and small/big lunch, arrive mid-afternoon, nap, go to Misa, on the Norte our group liked to eat a Menu del Dia if possible then snack at night, BUT the CF is different. I have made a list of alberques I want to stay in and will try next time to do some shorter/some longer stages. However this year Via de la Plata... and never again walk faster than "my" pace.
     
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  35. Rebekah Scott

    Rebekah Scott Camino Busybody Donating Member Donating Member

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    well, OK then. There WAS a bed race in September. I remember that extraordinary wave of pilgs -- I had TEN people in my house, which is usually at capacity with four! Sometimes you don´t get a bed in an albergue, and sometimes the hospi doesn´t help you find one. This is when you put on your Pilg Pants and get resourceful.
    Maybe you had to pay more money for a pension or a hotel. Maybe you slept in the sports hall. If you have to sleep rough, it is uncomfortable. But nobody died.

    There were no albergues on the camino a couple of decades ago, no hospitaleros or backpack-hauling services, and a few people managed to walk the camino. Maybe the Bed Race is the latter-day form of penance?
     
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  36. homa_bird

    homa_bird Member

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    Well I gotta say I was alone on the CF Sept-Oct 13 and both are true. yes housing shortage is a myth and yes it is real. Kind of like light is both a wave and a particle. Let me explain.

    I was determined to not "worry" about a place to stay, which was hard because folks around me were def a bit worried, and making lots of cell calls to the places Brierly listed to reserve a place. I tried not to worry, but there was definitely a kind of group-think goin on.

    When I got up real early, before dawn, and stopped before 2 or 3, I was usually fine, but not always. I wasn't getting up early to beat the rush, given my struggle/challenge/promise to myself "not to worry" (my pilgrimage was personally a pre-decided exercise in faith, any way I could learn it). I was getting up because it was just so beautiful and damn peaceful and extraordinary to watch the sun rise (or more accurately, feel it coming up behind me as I headed west). The meseta was just breathtaking in the predawn hour, and those little black dawn mice that scurry in front of your feet! So sweet. The bird life, the colors, the fresh breeze, the alone-ness was just too beckoning.

    (Excuse me while I insert my favorite Rumi poem)

    "The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you.
    Don't go back to sleep!
    You must ask for what you really want.
    Don't go back to sleep!
    People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch.
    The door is round and open. Don't go back to sleep!"


    Okay back to my quantum camino point. I started to feel like I was one of those bed racers, so I tried sleeping in, and found if I dallied and left around 8 or so, I often had lots of trouble. I mean lots. This is no myth. Def real. The municipals and cheaper private albergues were full by 4pm, easily. The choice was to spend 30E or more (over my budget!) on a hostel or hotel or walk on past my comfort zone, with no assurance. Did I always find a place to stay? Yes. There will be a roof somewhere. But I had to pay for a spendy hostel in Pamplona, slept on a very filthy kitchen floor in Logrono and a gym floor with no mattress in Puenta de la Reina (which I did not mind, because reasons to do with my adventuresome self) and had to walk on past my 35K upper limit comfort zone to find a place beyond Castrojeriz, other places, you get the drift.

    (It is true, and I witnessed this, that some albergue owners keep a few places unreserved for those old-school pilgrims traveling sans reservation. Once or twice I walked in and got "the last bunk" and know for a fact others had been told by phone there was no more room.)

    So yes, it is absolutely a reality that there are bunking issues, but it is a myth that the camino will not care for you. It will. But the way this looks might not be the way you think it should look, or was supposed to look.

    I didn't experience anyone quite as the above poster describes, (the fearful ones who must have the first/best/cheapest/most secure everything etc) but I did see lots of folks doing the best they could, like me, learning to stretch comfort zones, becoming more tolerant, learning learning learning.

    I love me the Camino.
     
  37. Tigerandahalf

    Tigerandahalf Member

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    Interesting thread. I think a lot of people just want the peace of mind of knowing that they have a bed for the night. For me that would allow me to get up that bit later, stop and take in the views, chat to some locals and just enjoy the experience. Racing for a bed just seems such a waste of a trip. Perhaps allowing reservations to be booked in advance would solve that problem. I am sure others would hate that idea.
     
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  38. Anniesantiago

    Anniesantiago Veteran Member Donating Member

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    The first couple of times I walked, I did NOT book lodging and I did not race. I found a place between waves of pilgrims and walked inside that space.
    The last time I walked (last year) I began by not booking lodging, but ended up booking because there WAS a shortage of beds.
    Things have changed...
     
    MaxfromMO likes this.
  39. I love this forum, and find it to be invaluable for the most part. However, on the other hand, it always makes me sad that so many judge others, and their criticism is usually based on assumptions. Having said that, I gather that some may “race” for beds. But does that really matter? Is it really our concern as individuals walking our own Camino? To which end, the best advice this forum has to offer, is the phrase “Walk your own Camino”!

    As an example, I’m that pilgrim who undoubtedly falls into a bucket-load of pre-conceived categories. I rise (quietly) and depart by 6:00 (or 6:30/7am) daily, and without a doubt walk quicker than most…. I’m also a bit of a recluse, although always friendly and never bite!

    But you see, I spent a life helping others and usually at a personal cost. I wake early, because I always have, and I rarely sleep well. I walk at a speed, which is comfortable for me, but always willing to slow to chat with others.

    Nevertheless, and contrary to what others may think, as many I have passed have said – he must be in a race :) Make no mistake – I am in no race, nor have I a specific agenda or timeframe to be anywhere for any purpose while on the Camino. Because I walk quicker than others do, simply means, that you walk your own pace, which happens to be slower than mine, and nothing else. Therefore, I suggest that any preconceived notion that one has on those who rise early or quickly walk past you, is solely of one’s own making. Perhaps ones time, would be better spent focusing on their own journey.

    Additionally, I heard people comment, that because I walk quickly, that I am missing so much. I can assure you, that I don’t miss very much, and in fact, believe I capture much more of my surroundings than others. I’m the guy, who you’ll find staring off into the distance (envisioning the history around me), and touching all the churches and walls and Roman roads and bridges. I firmly believe in breathing in my surroundings and one must physically touch history to understand it, to connect with it.

    As noted, I don’t race for a bed, as it has little importance to me. However, I do arrive earlier than most at a destination, because I need as much time as I can garner in a day to see, touch, and feel my surroundings. An added bonus for me is to walk in silence in the early mornings; it allows one to appreciate the peace and quiet of the day and absorb my surroundings in greater depth.

    Which reminds me, as I have politely said hello and chatted with “groups” along the days path, to only have them say to me, “you’re missing the experience”, slow down and join us and embrace the spirit of the Camino. Which I briefly did, and they had a great time as they chatted about everything and anything and meandered along in their social group. Well, I marched off into my quiet self-peace and reverie, with a smile and goodbye, as my Camino is mine and not theirs, and vice-versa.

    And It’s that simple.
    P.S. Sorry for the rant :D
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2014
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  40. obinjatoo@yahoo.com

    obinjatoo@yahoo.com Veteran Member

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    Rumi has the answer to everything... hmmmmmmmm
    Thanks
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2014
  41. obinjatoo@yahoo.com

    obinjatoo@yahoo.com Veteran Member

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    I saw people racing for beds, for wine, for mass, for smoking botefumieros... From bedbugs, from snoreres, from drunks, from their own misery. Let em race... I am slow and rambling... I try to be self sufficient, rely more on God, I eat a big breakfast, drink coffee, learn patience, learn how not to judge others. If I miss a bed at an albergue it's because God has decided I should stay somewhere else...
     
  42. quietwun

    quietwun Member

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    Just rereading this, trying not to worry....how to phone, who takes reservations, when, will they expect calls, understand my name, will I understand them, is it true I need to walk 20 km in Galicia.

    On and on, first timer obsessions. From beds to socks, on and on. If it is possible, I devote at least a day worry to each item. Today was the folding fork and spoon.

    And then Rebekah says to PUT ON MY PILGRIM PANTS! Love it. That will be with me in every moment that I need to make it up as I go along.

    Which, for me, is a big part of the point. I need to lighten up. Trust I can figure it out, make a new plan. As my best travelling bud says...no one will die.
     
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  43. Thomas1962

    Thomas1962 Active Member

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    Thanks for your wonderful reply David.
    If I gave you the feeling that you are criticized or judged in any of my post, I apologize for that. If so, I need to make my words more specific. It is never my intention that anyone needs to justify their way of doing.
    I wrote about people leaving early because of bedrace. I'm very wel aware that if there are early leavers because of bedrace, it doesn't mean that all people who do leave early do this because of bedrace. Most people do this because they just like to rise early! The same for people walking fast! Everyone does the camino in their own way, can only do it in their own way and has the right to do so. Also if anyone does race for a bed because they like or need the secured feeling, go! Also if is is judged by others. Never need to justify!
    Actually, I did even run parts of my camino last year (bought a special backpack for that). It did bring me in the most fantastic flow I ever experienced.

    By starting this thread, I hoped to get a more clear picture of the bedsituation and to get rid of the myth part of it, if there is any. Thanks to all the people who gave their experience, I think this whole thread gave a more clear picture of the situation.

    No more myths driven by fear. On these things I have a judgment :rolleyes:
     
  44. Hephsi

    Hephsi New Member

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    An added bonus for me is to walk in silence in the early mornings

    Me, too, David,though being alone - and loving it - I did not set out until there was some light in the sky.

    Loved your post.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2014
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  45. homa_bird

    homa_bird Member

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    I traveled both alone and with found family, and I have pondered, and loved the saying I recently heard: "When you travel alone you travel fast, when you travel with people, you travel far." Don't remember where i first read/heard this, but it is one of those expanding, multi-layered ideas which have been a very rich well of illumination for me.

    As an avowed loner who is often lonely, I dipped in and out of both worlds, traveling alone, and with people. I did travel faster, and lighter alone. I did have essentially gorgeous times alone. But when I got "bogged down" with people, there was an inevitable uncomfortableness from entanglements, plus an anguishing stretching and loss of control that I cherish perhaps even more, because I wasn't so safe or in control anymore, and I had to surf the crazy roll of humanity, growing and learning all the way.

    It's all about love.

    And it's all good. Truly. Alone or en masse. It all rolls out just the way it's destined to if we are brave enough to set our feet on the path.
     
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  46. mralisn

    mralisn Active Member

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    I LOVE this! Thank you for sharing. Perhaps we are the same. Totally makes sense to me. This will be my thought for the week.
     
  47. Olivia Luna

    Olivia Luna Member

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    Oh! I was about to say the same thing, a beautiful thought. I too walk faster than most. Friends and family say I have two speeds- fast and faster :) but walking with the hubs forces me to pace myself. I can say he and I have certainly traveled far.
     
  48. david g

    david g Active Member

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    (Planned Camino Aragone May 2016)
    (Planned Camino Norte Sept. 2016)
    Excellent thoughts David, and as we can see, it all comes back to the same basic idea of it being each individuals own Camino. There is no "right" way to walk it, other than the way YOU want. Unfortunately, we all have the belief that "our way" is the correct way. If you walk faster? You're missing things. If you walk slower? You lose out on exploring time. Makes me think of a line from the old MASH t.v. show. Frank Burns states that "individuality is fine, as long as we all do it together."
     
  49. koilife

    koilife Veteran Member Donating Member

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    How much do those weigh? Ounces? Pounds? Tons?
     

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