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Just back from Camino Frances

pat.holland

Member
Past OR future Camino
C F 2007-10, Le Puy St. Jean 2011-13, C P 2015 Via F 2016-7
We are just back home from the Camino Frances and the following information may be useful

Firstly numbers: we had expected lots of walkers. However we started this year's atape in Ponferrada and from there to Sarria we met even less walkers than last year. Some nationalities seemed to be missing completely, no south Koreans for example. However all that changed at Sarria as lots of Spanish pilgrims joined and the following morning the track out was crowded with families, groups etc. All very nice people, dont get me wrong and we had some great talks with them but the feeling on the Camino had changed. A few days later they had spaced themselves out along the route and the feeling of being crowded had gone.

There seemed to be a pulse of spanish walkers all trying to get to S de C for Easter Sunday on their four or five days off (some doing very long days) and this meant that albergue space was very hard to get. A sports hall had to be opened in Palace de Rei. We bypassed Portomarin as it looked crowded and got into the small municipal hostel at Gonzar in the early afternoon. From about 4.30 - 6 pm, sitting in the bar there we counted enough pilgrims to fill the hostel twice over being turned away from it. The cyclists went on resignedly while many foot pilgrims got taxis back or forward to find beds elsewhere.
Therefore I would think that there might not be a problem with numbers on the early parts of the C but from Sarria onwards but it might be necessary to book ahead or go upmarket. We had to book into the Casa Benilde hotel in Palas de Rei (very friendly and helpful people, who booked our next stop also. We booked a casa rurale, Casa Vaamonde, which is about 2 k from the bridge alberge at Ribadiso. The farmer came and collected us and dropped us off in the morning and we had a good meal and very hospitable welcome. I recommend the place for those wanting a bit of comfort, phone 981 50 03 64 casavaamonde@terra.es. They speak French or Spanish.

I think that it would still be very possilble to do the whole Camino this year but high season for local pilgrims (holiday times) will mean booking ahead towards the end.

Weather: we were very surprised to find snow underfoot at O Cebreiro and the route along the hill immedialty after could get 'interesting' had a blizzard or rain storm come up. We had rain every day except our first and last and it certainly felt like home (Ireland) in Galacia. I regrettedour decision to leave the ponchos at home and we used our rain gear a lot. All th erain means that the paths are very mucky and gaiters would be very useful. The squadrons of horse pilgrims dont help the paths.


The alberge around the church at Cacabelos was closed when we went past just before Easter. and the one at Paloma y Lena San Mamed just before SArria seems to be being worked on at present.

We had a great time and met some great people and look forward to our next camino stint. WE took a bus to Finisterra and found it seemd to be a much more definite end to our Camino than the Cathedral.
with best wishes to all pilgrims

Pat and Ellen
 
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carmel

New Member
Pat, just wondering if you can guide me as to the avaibility of a bus service from Compostela to Villafranca? I am travelling on the 4th May to take up where I left off last year.

regards
Carmel
 

benandsam

Member
Good post pat and ellen im 3 weeks away from my journey, im doing the whole thing, i hope the path isnt too crowded as i likle to keep up a reasonable pace, Its a great reminder to all to have a poncho at this time of year
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
Great post Pat!

It certainly was busy in Santiago around easter... things have calmed down a bit now, but the "pilgrim season" has certainly started.

Greetings from Santiago,
Ivar
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Carmel, the ALSA buses run between Santiago and Villafranca.
Check the Website - http://www.alsa.es

SANTIAGO C VILLAFRANC 08:00 11:40 17,78
SANTIAGO C VILLAFRANC 09:45 13:40 17,78
SANTIAGO C VILLAFRANC 21:30 01:05 17,78
 
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pat.holland

Member
Past OR future Camino
C F 2007-10, Le Puy St. Jean 2011-13, C P 2015 Via F 2016-7
Carmel , can I add to Sillydoll's information to say that I and a friend both failed to manage to book ALSA tickets over the internet, something was wrong with the credit card payment bit of their website. However a very efficent travel agency did it for me over a day by email (take a bow, Frank of Camino Travel centre) for a small fee and meant that we managed to get the last two seats from Madrid airport to Ponferrada. I would be less worried about getting seats on a bus than on a train in Spain (the trains are very formal when it comes to tickets and booking the day before and dont ever lose your ticket, the poor guy in front of us coming back to Madrid lost his down the back of the seat in front and the ticket collector and his mate took the seat apart to be sure that he had a ticket!) but when you can see there are only two seats left on a holiday weekend, they need to be booked.
 

hannajo

Member
sillydoll said:
Carmel, the ALSA buses run between Santiago and Villafranca.
Check the Website - http://www.alsa.es

tSANTIAGO C VILLAFRANC 08:00 11:40 17,78
SANTIAGO C VILLAFRANC 09:45 13:40 17,78
SANTIAGO C VILLAFRANC 21:30 01:05 17,78

I have been trying to get through to the ALSA website for the last 10 days...I have checked the timetables out before so dont understand what the problem might be...is anyone else having problems.
Jo
 

hannajo

Member
Thanks Pat ...great information. I am feeling happier now that I booked ahead from Sarria but one of the towns was already booked out early June.
Jo
 

hannajo

Member
ivar said:
What is the error message you are getting? Have you tried on a different computer or with a different web browser?
No error msg Ivar....just wont connect through, then it times out and says something like' cant connect, check internet connection' which is OK. Even downloaded Firefox and no difference...my co-worker here managed to get it after a second attempt so maybe something to do with my laptop although I have no problems getting other web sites.
Jo
 
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