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Is there need for albergue or pension in Barquinha?

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Camino(s) past & future
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
Since our municipality is now acknowledging that recognition of Caminho tourism is a good plan in our area, the next question is...is there enough demand (and who knows what "enough" is..) for a municipal albergue or reasonably priced private pension between Golega and Tomar, somewhere in the Vila Nova da Barquinha area?

There are hotels, but all quite a detour for walkers from the actual caminho route, and, other than the Soltejo, pretty pricey.

If there were demand and something private was possible, what's a good size? What's a reasonable price per night? What kind of facilities would be really useful?

Just asking...😌
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
That question is actually a huge one.

To get an idea of what is needed to begin such an enterprise, you need to focus on developing a strong business plan. That business plan will be fundamental to all stages of your project, from determining the size of your target market, to the amount of financing needed, to a cost analysis of your operating budget, to pitching the concept to investors, bankers, etc, to obtaining permits, to your marketing plan, etc.

That business plan will answer those questions you asked in a meaningful way. :)

Information on how to construct a business plan can be found on Google. For those who are wanting to start their own venture, there is no better way to determine IF you want to actually start that business or be involved in it, then to put the time and effort into writing the business plan yourself from the ground up.

One of my consulting practices is working with folks who want to start up a small, quick service restaurant business. The first thing I ask them to do is to investigate how to construct a business plan. Many times after studying what is needed for a good business plan, folks decide that it's not as simple as it looks to run a restaurant and then decide to re-think what kind of small business they want to pursue.

I know that a restaurant and a for-profit hotel or other lodging facilities is different from the albergue you want to start and that they do not share many of the same concerns. However, the principals are the same. . . when you open up an albergue as a non-profit, you still have to do much the same things to make it 'successful' so it doesn't face having to close its doors and shut down.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, Friend from Barquinha,
I am by no means an expert on how to read the tea leaves to know whether a new albergue is needed, but I would definitely suggest that you contact Mario at Santarem Hostel. He and several other albergue/hostel owners (in Tomar and Golega and maybe one other place) have a good cooperative relationship. Mario is an old old friend of the Caminho from Lisboa. I met him years ago in Praça do Comercio with several other camino addicts — he had just opened his hostel in Santarém and had realized that, hey, a Caminho to Santiago passes through here! His hostel in not only for pilgrims, but he has done a great job and is well loved. You can easily find him on facebook. And I think this is his web page. http://santaremhostel.pt/.
 
Camino(s) past & future
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
That question is actually a huge one.

To get an idea of what is needed to begin such an enterprise, you need to focus on developing a strong business plan. That business plan will be fundamental to all stages of your project, from determining the size of your target market, to the amount of financing needed, to a cost analysis of your operating budget, to pitching the concept to investors, bankers, etc, to obtaining permits, to your marketing plan, etc.

Information on how to construct a business plan can be found on Google. For those who are wanting to start their own venture, there is no better way to determine IF you want to actually start that business or be involved in it, then to put the time and effort into writing the business plan yourself from the ground up.

One of my consulting practices is working with folks who want to start up a small, quick service restaurant business. The first thing I ask them to do is to investigate how to construct a business plan. Many times after studying what is needed for a good business plan, folks decide that it's not as simple as it looks to run a restaurant and then decide to re-think what kind of small business they want to pursue.

I know that a restaurant and a for-profit hotel or other lodging facilities is different from the albergue you want to start and that they do not share many of the same concerns. However, the principals are the same. . . when you open up an albergue as a non-profit, you still have to do much the same things to make it 'successful' so it doesn't face having to close its doors and shut down.
Thanks for the feedback, Dave. This question posted is actually the very first attempt at market research. I've been following the forums for about a year now, and I see that the number of peregrinos walking the southern part of the Caminho Central--from Lisboa up to Oporto, seems to be increasing.

I also have walked the area myself from Golega up to Atalaia, and taken buses or trains beyond, and I have a fairly good idea of what exists now. I guess one of the questions is whether Barquinha is a logical place for a stop. Brierley shows one phase going from Golega to Tomar, I believe. Is a break necessary or useful?

What I'm curious about hearing from forum participants is whether they think the area is adequately served now, or whether more spaces are needed, particularly for those who can't afford to pay much. I have no illusions about this being a money-making proposition!
 
Camino(s) past & future
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
One of the reason I'm thinking about this is that Tomar is getting more and more gentrified and expensive. Many like to take a break there, since the historical sites are so fascinating, but if not...certainly Brierley suggests the Santarem to Coimbra section is the one with not so many options for overnighting.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
That's a great idea, thanks!
Tell Mario that Laurie says hi!

And though this document is several years old and pre-dates a lot of the newer albergues, it was something Mario helped me put together. He and the others I mentioned in my earlier post had a service they called “pick and drop” or something like that, to help people break up the 30 km distances.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
That question is actually a huge one.

To get an idea of what is needed to begin such an enterprise, you need to focus on developing a strong business plan. That business plan will be fundamental to all stages of your project, from determining the size of your target market, to the amount of financing needed, to a cost analysis of your operating budget, to pitching the concept to investors, bankers, etc, to obtaining permits, to your marketing plan, etc.

That business plan will answer those questions you asked in a meaningful way. :)

Information on how to construct a business plan can be found on Google. For those who are wanting to start their own venture, there is no better way to determine IF you want to actually start that business or be involved in it, then to put the time and effort into writing the business plan yourself from the ground up.

One of my consulting practices is working with folks who want to start up a small, quick service restaurant business. The first thing I ask them to do is to investigate how to construct a business plan. Many times after studying what is needed for a good business plan, folks decide that it's not as simple as it looks to run a restaurant and then decide to re-think what kind of small business they want to pursue.

I know that a restaurant and a for-profit hotel or other lodging facilities is different from the albergue you want to start and that they do not share many of the same concerns. However, the principals are the same. . . when you open up an albergue as a non-profit, you still have to do much the same things to make it 'successful' so it doesn't face having to close its doors and shut down.
Not to disagree with you but to just point out a couple of things:
1) The OP was asking about the need for either a municipal albergue or a private pension. Certainly they will both need a business plan, but the business case for a municipal albergue will be very different from the business case for a private pension. The former is going to focus on economic benefits to the community vs cost to the municipality and the latter is likely to focus on pure profit. You will find a lot about the latter through Google. I suspect somewhat less about the former.
2) As the OP has pointed out, these questions are not add odds or a replacement for a business case. They are part of the fundamental market research that goes into the construction of a business case? In my experience, some of the first things one has to document in any business case are: Is there really a need? What is needed? How much are people ready to pay? The kinds of questions that have been asked. Without the answers to these questions, it is hard to fill in any decent business case template. And going to this community seems a good start to getting the information needed. There are lots of people here who have walked that camino to find out where they felt the gaps, and this is the target community to approach to understand what the price willingness is.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Not to disagree with you but to just point out a couple of things:
1) The OP was asking about the need for either a municipal albergue or a private pension. Certainly they will both need a business plan, but the business case for a municipal albergue will be very different from the business case for a private pension. The former is going to focus on economic benefits to the community vs cost to the municipality and the latter is likely to focus on pure profit. You will find a lot about the latter through Google. I suspect somewhat less about the former.
2) As the OP has pointed out, these questions are not add odds or a replacement for a business case. They are part of the fundamental market research that goes into the construction of a business case? In my experience, some of the first things one has to document in any business case are: Is there really a need? What is needed? How much are people ready to pay? The kinds of questions that have been asked. Without the answers to these questions, it is hard to fill in any decent business case template. And going to this community seems a good start to getting the information needed. There are lots of people here who have walked that camino to find out where they felt the gaps, and this is the target community to approach to understand what the price willingness is.
I do not disagree with any of your points, David. How, and for what purpose such a plan is used for, is adaptable to many scenarios and types of operations. Its value is that it is a blueprint that develops a clarity toward achieving implementation .

However, our views of what is included as part of a business plan might explain why I have developed business plans which include those items you mention in Number 2. In fact, they are the very first parts of the plan which are used as the basis for the body of that plan. As you so rightly stated, the justifications must be in place prior to deciding on the 'hows' of an implementation.

For instance, I do not know what dataset might exist to help determine demand for lodging in that area, much less pilgrim-style lodging. I think accurately determining demand for this project would benefit from accessing a current survey of pilgrim interest. For instance, asking a series of 5 or 6 quick questions of those pilgrims passing through to another town would be telling. If pilgrims would choose to stop there for the night, would they do so if the lodging were an albergue? Or would they decide to continue on because they want to stay in a hotel?
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Again, soon as possible!
I do not disagree with any of your points, David. How, and for what purpose such a plan is used for, is adaptable to many scenarios and types of operations. Its value is that it is a blueprint that develops a clarity toward achieving implementation .

However, our views of what is included as part of a business plan might explain why I have developed business plans which include those items you mention in Number 2. In fact, they are the very first parts of the plan which are used as the basis for the body of that plan. As you so rightly stated, the justifications must be in place prior to deciding on the 'hows' of an implementation.

For instance, I do not know what dataset might exist to help determine demand for lodging in that area, much less pilgrim-style lodging. I think accurately determining demand for this project would benefit from accessing a current survey of pilgrim interest. For instance, asking a series of 5 or 6 quick questions of those pilgrims passing through to another town would be telling. If pilgrims would choose to stop there for the night, would they do so if the lodging were an albergue? Or would they decide to continue on because they want to stay in a hotel?
That is what I would do initially, that is ask pilgrims a few questions as they pass through. I'd give each a cold drink/coffee and a piece of fruit for their time.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
That is what I would do initially, that is ask pilgrims a few questions as they pass through. I'd give each a cold drink/coffee and a piece of fruit for their time.
Yeah. . . set up a great looking refreshment stand near the entrance to town - - lot's of cold drink stuff, fresh fruit, baked goods, and a shady spot with plenty of seating and portable tables. Get some sponsorship by local business, explaining that this albergue project will draw more folks to stay and spend money locally. :)
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Again, soon as possible!
Yeah. . . set up a great looking refreshment stand near the entrance to town - - lot's of cold drink stuff, fresh fruit, baked goods, and a shady spot with plenty of seating and portable tables. Get some sponsorship by local business, explaining that this albergue project will draw more folks to stay and spend money locally. :)
Excactly! If planning on doing it a while get a sello cut too.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Excactly! If planning on doing it a while get a sello cut too.
Great idea. I would bet that someone could be recruited from a business, or maybe a church volunteer, that already has a sello, too. Make sure that there is a large sign which says that "Credencials can be stamped here". :)
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Maybe not completely about the OP but he mentioned that some pensions are in the vicinity. Does anyone knows if the same bureaucratic glitches can happen (in comparison to opening brand new albergue) if the owner of the pension just refurbish two rooms f/e into a dormitories? So as in many places there would be private rooms and albergue in the same house. Seen that many times but don't know how was it done...
 
Camino(s) past & future
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
Thanks, you guys, for your great responses! Interesting to see that the assumption is that I'm a "he"--not the case, and though my partner would most definitely end up involved in the renovation end of things, if this flew it would be my Portuguese retirement project ;)

Interesting idea, to query passing pilgrims. Setting up a table would not be impossible, but from my observations so far--not high summer, but definitely through the spring and fall shoulder seasons, there would be a lot of waiting around to talk to not many people. In this part of Portugal, the pilgrims are still fairly thin on the ground and pass at unpredictable intervals.

Because of that, I'd be very, very surprised if this, as a private enterprise, were a money-making project in the short or maybe even medium term. It would provide probably 2 or 3 part-time jobs in our community, which would be valued, but not much more income than that and nothing for the person investing in the premises. And because of that, questions that seem pertinent to me are--and these are not so much ones that current walkers can answer, but past ones possibly can...

1. Among today's walkers, are there significant numbers who prefer shorter days to the 18-25 km ones that seem to be typical in most of the guidebooks (if not, the current pension densities in Golega and Tomar probably fit the bill for most). I notice quite a lot of the members posting on the Forum are post-65 years old; do they like shorter days?

2. Among the less affluent pilgrims, is there any particular preference between public albergues and private pensions? Public ones are generally cheaper; is there anything about a private one that outweighs the savings in a public one? Our municipality is fairly progressive and has some interesting surplus buildings in the neighbourhood that I think is best located for accommodating caminho walkers. If a municipally run guesthouse would do the job, perhaps lobbying our local camera and freguesia is a better way to go than trying to start it as a business!

I'm sure I'll think of more questions later! Keep the commentary coming...

Thanks, everyone, for your input so far.

Kathy
 
Camino(s) past & future
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
Okay; here's a very specific question that all of you who've walked caminos likely have answers to/opinions about.

What's the furthest "off the caminho" that you are "okay about" walking to get to a pleasant and otherwise acceptable place to stay? 1 km? 100 m? Somewhere in between?
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Thanks, you guys, for your great responses! Interesting to see that the assumption is that I'm a "he"--not the case, ...
Sorry :D :D :D

I guess it's just automatic translation into my language where we have different words for male-friend (just friend in English) and female-friend (prijatelj vs. prijateljica). Don't try to pronounce those or you'll break your tongue ;)
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Again, soon as possible!
Okay; here's a very specific question that all of you who've walked caminos likely have answers to/opinions about.

What's the furthest "off the caminho" that you are "okay about" walking to get to a pleasant and otherwise acceptable place to stay? 1 km? 100 m? Somewhere in between?
Depends. On a lonely route without much infrastructure (Via Gebenensis from Geneva for instance) a detour 5km for a good night would be ok for me. But on a route like the Portuguese less. 2km max for a great place.

But I know some pilgrims really don't like leaving the trail at all if they don't have to. As close to the trail as you can get.

Just my view though

Davey
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Okay; here's a very specific question that all of you who've walked caminos likely have answers to/opinions about.

What's the furthest "off the caminho" that you are "okay about" walking to get to a pleasant and otherwise acceptable place to stay? 1 km? 100 m? Somewhere in between?
For me that depends on how big the village/town/city is. In Burgos or SdC I have no problem being 1km from main attractions but in a village of 200 inhabitants I wouldn't want to be very much away from the "center" of where everything (if anything) is happening ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
Okay; thanks a lot for the responses. This brings up another issue, given that Barquinha is a pretty quiet town...how much of "anything happening" is useful? Is one cafe that serves a daily menu plus snacks/drinks plus another 2 cafes that really only serve sandwiches plus the usual, within walking distance in the evening, enough attraction to make you want to stay in a town?
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Okay; thanks a lot for the responses. This brings up another issue, given that Barquinha is a pretty quiet town...how much of "anything happening" is useful? Is one cafe that serves a daily menu plus snacks/drinks plus another 2 cafes that really only serve sandwiches plus the usual, within walking distance in the evening, enough attraction to make you want to stay in a town?
I personally will walk a couple of kms to a private albergue, but I don’t think most peregrinos will. The Hostal Asturias on the Via de la Plata is 2 km off route, and the owner’s success is due to two things, IMO — one, that it is a 38 km stage he is in the middle of, and two, he will go pick people up on the camino. Another example — the places off route on the Invierno to replace Pobra de Brollón’s pensión that just closed — those owners do not get a whole lot of traffic, and it is frequently again with transport.

I think that the best location is to be in the same town and close to the center.

And as I am finishing this, I just see Friend’s most recent question. Alpriate has one (sometimes two) cafés, but it is an association albergue so that would make it cheaper than a private one, so that might offset it. If there is a small grocery store, that would be a big plus. Some will want to make their own meals,, even if it means a choriço and cheese sandwich, and others will want to buy food to carry the next day for snacks and maybe lunch.
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Again, soon as possible!
Thanks, you guys, for your great responses! Interesting to see that the assumption is that I'm a "he"--not the case, and though my partner would most definitely end up involved in the renovation end of things, if this flew it would be my Portuguese retirement project ;)

Interesting idea, to query passing pilgrims. Setting up a table would not be impossible, but from my observations so far--not high summer, but definitely through the spring and fall shoulder seasons, there would be a lot of waiting around to talk to not many people. In this part of Portugal, the pilgrims are still fairly thin on the ground and pass at unpredictable intervals.

Because of that, I'd be very, very surprised if this, as a private enterprise, were a money-making project in the short or maybe even medium term. It would provide probably 2 or 3 part-time jobs in our community, which would be valued, but not much more income than that and nothing for the person investing in the premises. And because of that, questions that seem pertinent to me are--and these are not so much ones that current walkers can answer, but past ones possibly can...

1. Among today's walkers, are there significant numbers who prefer shorter days to the 18-25 km ones that seem to be typical in most of the guidebooks (if not, the current pension densities in Golega and Tomar probably fit the bill for most). I notice quite a lot of the members posting on the Forum are post-65 years old; do they like shorter days?

2. Among the less affluent pilgrims, is there any particular preference between public albergues and private pensions? Public ones are generally cheaper; is there anything about a private one that outweighs the savings in a public one? Our municipality is fairly progressive and has some interesting surplus buildings in the neighbourhood that I think is best located for accommodating caminho walkers. If a municipally run guesthouse would do the job, perhaps lobbying our local camera and freguesia is a better way to go than trying to start it as a business!

I'm sure I'll think of more questions later! Keep the commentary coming...

Thanks, everyone, for your input so far.

Kathy
Hi Kathy

1. Yes it seems to me that 18-27 km are what most pilgrims I meet go for. I know many that 30km + is comfortable but not most. It also depends on the terrain in the area of course.

2. I am a less affluent pilgrim and definitely go for the cheaper albergues. As for which is better, private/public/association etc it actually comes down to the albergue itself. The welcome, friendliness, communal feeling, communal meal even. I would prefer to pay a little more for a lovely atmosphere and a nice welcome! (And hot water, a bit of space between bunkbeds etc). But a communal meal is a big big plus!

Hope this helps

Davey
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Again, soon as possible!
Okay; thanks a lot for the responses. This brings up another issue, given that Barquinha is a pretty quiet town...how much of "anything happening" is useful? Is one cafe that serves a daily menu plus snacks/drinks plus another 2 cafes that really only serve sandwiches plus the usual, within walking distance in the evening, enough attraction to make you want to stay in a town?
One cafe with a menu is fine, as long as they serve pilgrim hours! We tend to eat earlier than the locals, 7pm is good, we have to be in bed by 10pm!
 
Camino(s) past & future
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
This is a small old-people's town; not too many late hours unless there's a big local "do" on, which happens about once every couple of months (plus the monthly jazz Saturday night). And Portugal isn't quite as late as Spain :)
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Okay; thanks a lot for the responses. This brings up another issue, given that Barquinha is a pretty quiet town...how much of "anything happening" is useful? Is one cafe that serves a daily menu plus snacks/drinks plus another 2 cafes that really only serve sandwiches plus the usual, within walking distance in the evening, enough attraction to make you want to stay in a town?
Well, there are "attractions" in burgos or SdC for sure, but for smaller communities I meant a plaza with a bar or two from where you can watch people mingling around in the evening, maybe a small tienda in the side street, this kind of "happenings" ;)

But we are of course very different. @Davey Boyd likes communal meals but I don't care for them. I like eating in peace and quiet. So whoever you'll ask you'll get different answer I guess although I can generaly concur with Davey's remarks based on my experience. Vast majority of pilgrims are kind of seeking that proverbial Camino camaderie while I'm seeking silence and peace :)
 
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KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Yeah, I know Spanish can't be silent, so can't be birds or even roosters but those are the sounds of the place while I found us, pilgrims, as intruders. And when there's a bunch of tipsy foreigners it's much more annoying for me than happy crowd of local kids shreeking long into the night :D
 

Lisa HS

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (SJPdP - Santiago) Spring (2016)
Portuguese (Porto - Santiago - Finisterre) Spring (2018)
1. Among today's walkers, are there significant numbers who prefer shorter days to the 18-25 km ones that seem to be typical in most of the guidebooks (if not, the current pension densities in Golega and Tomar probably fit the bill for most). I notice quite a lot of the members posting on the Forum are post-65 years old; do they like shorter days?

2. Among the less affluent pilgrims, is there any particular preference between public albergues and private pensions? Public ones are generally cheaper; is there anything about a private one that outweighs the savings in a public one? Our municipality is fairly progressive and has some interesting surplus buildings in the neighbourhood that I think is best located for accommodating caminho walkers. If a municipally run guesthouse would do the job, perhaps lobbying our local camera and freguesia is a better way to go than trying to start it as a business!

I'm sure I'll think of more questions later! Keep the commentary coming...

Thanks, everyone, for your input so far.

Kathy
Hi Kathy!
1. I'm in the 60+ age category. Walked two Caminos, the CF 3 years ago and the CP (from Porto) last year. I most definitely do not follow the Brierley Stages, and walk an average of 18-19 km/day. If you are in the middle of a longer stage, that would be a drawing point for me.

Re; public vs. private. I can afford a guest house from time to time, and usually prefer the private Albergues. The difference to me between 5/6 Euros for a Municipal and 10/12 Euros for a Private is not significant. I think many of the people in my age group feel the same. Big draw for me is fewer people in the room, usually somewhat nicer accommodations, and the ability to book one day ahead. And, I do love a community meal!
 

Doughnut NZ

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2019)
Okay; here's a very specific question that all of you who've walked caminos likely have answers to/opinions about.

What's the furthest "off the caminho" that you are "okay about" walking to get to a pleasant and otherwise acceptable place to stay? 1 km? 100 m? Somewhere in between?
If I can't see it from where the sign is and/or it is uphill then I don't trust the truth of the sign and I won't detour
 

Doughnut NZ

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2019)
Hi Kathy!
1. I'm in the 60+ age category. Walked two Caminos, the CF 3 years ago and the CP (from Porto) last year. I most definitely do not follow the Brierley Stages, and walk an average of 18-19 km/day. If you are in the middle of a longer stage, that would be a drawing point for me.

Re; public vs. private. I can afford a guest house from time to time, and usually prefer the private Albergues. The difference to me between 5/6 Euros for a Municipal and 10/12 Euros for a Private is not significant. I think many of the people in my age group feel the same. Big draw for me is fewer people in the room, usually somewhat nicer accommodations, and the ability to book one day ahead. And, I do love a community meal!
Ditto
 
Camino(s) past & future
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
Depends. On a lonely route without much infrastructure (Via Gebenensis from Geneva for instance) a detour 5km for a good night would be ok for me. But on a route like the Portuguese less. 2km max for a great place.

But I know some pilgrims really don't like leaving the trail at all if they don't have to. As close to the trail as you can get.

Just my view though

Davey
Thanks for all the info/input, Davey!
 
Camino(s) past & future
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
Hi Kathy!
1. I'm in the 60+ age category. Walked two Caminos, the CF 3 years ago and the CP (from Porto) last year. I most definitely do not follow the Brierley Stages, and walk an average of 18-19 km/day. If you are in the middle of a longer stage, that would be a drawing point for me.

Re; public vs. private. I can afford a guest house from time to time, and usually prefer the private Albergues. The difference to me between 5/6 Euros for a Municipal and 10/12 Euros for a Private is not significant. I think many of the people in my age group feel the same. Big draw for me is fewer people in the room, usually somewhat nicer accommodations, and the ability to book one day ahead. And, I do love a community meal!
Thanks for the input, Lisa. Very useful comments! The perspective/preferences you describe is about what I'd expected. Although I haven't walked the caminho myself, I fall in the same demographic!

Kathy
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks for the input, Lisa. Very useful comments! The perspective/preferences you describe is about what I'd expected. Although I haven't walked the caminho myself, I fall in the same demographic!

Kathy
Hi, Kathy,
Great to see you seem to be progressing with this. I would just say that if you have not walked a camino, you should be sure to get a lot of information from people who have about the basic amenities needed in an albergue. Lots of these things don’t cost a lot of money but make a big difference — Place for washing and drying clothes, shower stalls that have hooks to hang personal belongings, (no peregrino should ever leave his/her valuables on a bed or in a bedroom while in the shower), enough toilets/showers (the regulations in Spain, I think (don’t know about Portugal), are 1 per 12 beds, but that is very unpleasant if the room is full), charging stations, all sorts of little things that are obvious to people who walk but may not come to the attention of an albergue proprietor. Lots of albergues are now installing lockers, but I think they are rarely used, but that is something to check out further, etc etc. Don’t mean to jump the gun on you, because I am sure you have lots of preliminary things to navigate, but it takes a lot of thinking about these little details to make an albergue succesful.

Best of luck with this project. Buen camino, Laurie
 
Camino(s) past & future
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
Hi, Kathy,
Great to see you seem to be progressing with this. I would just say that if you have not walked a camino, you should be sure to get a lot of information from people who have about the basic amenities needed in an albergue. Lots of these things don’t cost a lot of money but make a big difference — Place for washing and drying clothes, shower stalls that have hooks to hang personal belongings, (no peregrino should ever leave his/her valuables on a bed or in a bedroom while in the shower), enough toilets/showers (the regulations in Spain, I think (don’t know about Portugal), are 1 per 12 beds, but that is very unpleasant if the room is full), charging stations, all sorts of little things that are obvious to people who walk but may not come to the attention of an albergue proprietor. Lots of albergues are now installing lockers, but I think they are rarely used, but that is something to check out further, etc etc. Don’t mean to jump the gun on you, because I am sure you have lots of preliminary things to navigate, but it takes a lot of thinking about these little details to make an albergue succesful.

Best of luck with this project. Buen camino, Laurie
Thanks, Laurie! I feel in some ways a bit of an interloper in not having walked a caminho yet feeling drawn to provide hospitality to those who do. I really appreciate the thoughtful and candid commentary that I've received here on the Forum. When I started travelling in Portugal, I was fascinated to find out that there actually was a Portuguese caminho as I'd only ever heard of the Spanish/French ones. And I stayed in a quinta in northern Portugal that had been owned by the same family for many generations and actually had a St. James chapel outside its gates, which were along the path.

I am not myself religious, and tend to fall on the practical end of the spiritual continuum, but I have the greatest admiration for those who follow this path.

And when circumstances allowed me to think of re-settling eventually in Portugal, which I am working on now, it seemed intriguing to consider being somewhere on the caminho route. It worked out just that way! And now our area, which is pretty quiet and somewhat under-served in various Portuguese tourist realms, is realizing that caminho tourism is a real thing.

So we shall see what happens next...!

The comments you just made about the small, simple things that can be so important really ring true. I've done some hostelling, and the differences that make a private hostel a good one rather than a "just okay" one are small, but critical. I must say, I'm surprised at the rule of only one bathroom per 12 beds. That seems pretty much minimum, as you say, if the place is full!

Keep the input coming, everyone!

Kathy
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Re the "small things" @peregrina2000 mentioned I can tell a story, well not really a story, when I was on Camino Sanabres in two consecutive years (2014 & 2015) and very nice lady from a restaurant on the last stage to Santiago told me that her family is thinking about opening an albergue. And she asked me what an albergue must have. I'm sure she asked many pilgrims stoping at her pulperia/bar the same. But one thing she didn't think of was USB (quite normal today for newly built/refurbished accommodations) charging posts for each bed. When I visited there last summer (2018) the brand new albergue was already there and guess what - there were two USB sockets per each bed :D

This is the albergue I'm talking about:

One other thing I like a lot in albergues is a bookshelf with just any kind of books you can take or/and leave yours there. Or just read a chapter or two to kill some time in bad weather ;)
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
1. Among today's walkers, are there significant numbers who prefer shorter days to the 18-25 km ones that seem to be typical in most of the guidebooks (if not, the current pension densities in Golega and Tomar probably fit the bill for most). I notice quite a lot of the members posting on the Forum are post-65 years old; do they like shorter days?

2. Among the less affluent pilgrims, is there any particular preference between public albergues and private pensions? Public ones are generally cheaper; is there anything about a private one that outweighs the savings in a public one? Our municipality is fairly progressive and has some interesting surplus buildings in the neighbourhood that I think is best located for accommodating caminho walkers. If a municipally run guesthouse would do the job, perhaps lobbying our local camera and freguesia is a better way to go than trying to start it as a business!
1. I expect you will find that there is a wide range. I think for me, 20-25 km is the sweet spot. I prefer not to go much over 30 if I can help it and would take two days of 18 over one day of 36. On my most recent Camino (from Porto) the range was probably 16 to 28 km per day. But I think I took more days than many other pilgrims.

2. I have tended to prefer private/parochial/association albergues over municipal albergues, given the choice. When walking with my son, access to wifi was a priority for him and I often looked for access to washing machines (and possibly dryers) over hand washing. That was one of the things that drove me to private albergues. I also looked for albergues that had a good reputation and ones that had communal meals. Those were some of the things that sometimes had me heading to association or parochial albergues. I would certainly take a municipal albergue over a private pension, though. I would expect more pilgrim community in an albergue than in a private pension.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Okay; here's a very specific question that all of you who've walked caminos likely have answers to/opinions about.

What's the furthest "off the caminho" that you are "okay about" walking to get to a pleasant and otherwise acceptable place to stay? 1 km? 100 m? Somewhere in between?
This one is hard to answer. It is so context dependent, both on how pleasant the place is and what the alternatives. I might say "500 m" (a 5 minute walk or so) but if I am really tired and it is really hot, I'd probably choose a 2 km detour over walking another 20 km to the next village if those were my alternatives.

In general, all other things being equal, I'd say you were pretty good with being within 500 m of the Camino. If there is no competition, within 1 km. Over 1 km, it better be really good or alternatives very inconvenient.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Sep/Oct 2018)
Camino Portugues (Sep 2020)
What's the furthest "off the caminho" that you are "okay about" walking to get to a pleasant and otherwise acceptable place to stay? 1 km? 100 m? Somewhere in between?
The smaller the town, the less I'd want to walk - 100m? Out of sight, out of mind. Closer to the Camino also means more impulse traffic (ie. I don't want to walk another 5km if I see a bed here)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
For whatever reason, I think there is a difference if an albergue is a few hundred meters off Camino but still within the town, as opposed to several hundred meters out of town in the “middle of nowhere.” I once went to a nice place about 500 m off Camino, but it was 500 m off camino at a turnoff point that was about 4 km after Palas de Rei, making it officially in the middle of nowhere. Even though that section is frequently mobbed, the owner rarely got pilgrims. And I think it has in fact since closed (unless anyone knows of La Borboleta near Palas and the Castillo de Pambre).
But pilgrims who stay in town are going to walk around town, will go to bars, restaurants, grocery stores, so I think that so long as the place is well located vis a vis the amenities and very clearly marked, a slight detour in town is less of an impediment. I’m not saying this as “truth”, just as my own opinion. ;)
 

Doughnut NZ

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2019)
One thing to consider is that sooner or later one of your customers will bring bed bugs into your Albergue and so it is better if it is designed for easy eradication. I.e. don't use wood paneling with cracks between the boards for bugs to hide in. Floor tiles are good and ensure that all joints between materials are filled in so that there is as seamless as possible. Use metal framed beds with (unfortunately) plastic covered mattresses. Provide bins for pilgrims to put their packs in.
 
Camino(s) past & future
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
One thing to consider is that sooner or later one of your customers will bring bed bugs into your Albergue. Floor tiles are good and ensure that all joints between materials are filled in so that there is as seamless as possible. Use metal framed beds with (unfortunately) plastic covered mattresses. Provide bins for pilgrims to put their packs in.
Thanks! I'd kind of gathered that, from the various conversations here. Luckily, the default in rural Portugal is concrete and tile; unless the premises are very new or very old, most wall/floor surfaces will be tiles. I wonder if this is why....
 

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