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Let's Start A Pilgrim's Albergue in Santiago de Compostela!

Daniel Beaumont

Walking the VDLP through May & June 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Norte, Camino Portugués, Camino Primitivo & Camino Via de la Plata (May 19)
Hey everyone,

My name’s Dan - i’m originally from Britain but currently live in Bucharest, Romania.

Like many of you, I’m deeply passionate about the Camino and for the last 4 years I’ve walked a different route, and next month I’ll be heading back to Spain for my 5th Camino - the Via de la Plata - starting in Sevilla and ending in Santiago.

But this post isn’t about my upcoming journey. The Camino has impacted my life in so many beautiful ways - the wonderful people i've met, the scenery, realisations & learnings, struggles, the Camino spirit, plus so much more - leaving me full of gratitude and appreciation.

Given all of this.. now i want to give back, which is why i want to share with you an ambitious project idea that’s been on my mind for the last few years, in hope that it resonates in some way with fellow pilgrims out there with a similar dream and vision.

I think there is a great sense of community and spirit amongst people who walk the way, plus the fact that finishing a Camino is such a monumental moment in life that needs, in my opinion, to be celebrated and shared once arriving in Santiago.

However, after hearing many stories of people disappointed and underwhelmed when they reach Santiago de Compostela coupled with a weak selection of true pilgrim Albergues in town, wouldn’t it be great to team up and create an Albergue where pilgrims can finish their journey that epitomises the spirit of the Camino?

I imagine a place where pilgrims can come together to share their stories, learnings and realisations from their journey, as well as reflect and relax in comfort. There would be a pilgrim’s meal every evening, regular workshops/presentations/events, and the Albergue would embody a sense of camaraderie, belonging and community. It would be run by pilgrims too… people who have walked Caminos in the past and want to give back. It doesn't have to be in Santiago but ideally located close by in tranquil nature and towards the end of the route, where all the Caminos converge.

To fill you with a little bit of optimism and to illustrate and assure you that i am deadly serious about bringing this idea to life, I want to tell you a little bit about myself. My background is in hospitality and I have 5 years experience in the hostel industry. I own and run two of the best-rated Hostels in Romania for the last 2 years running, one of which was voted in the top 5 hostels of the world this January.

With that said, i can bring my knowledge, skills and resources for running a successful space to the table, plus the team i work with and people i know who have extensive experience in this field.

However, I’d want to make this a cooperative effort and to form a team to bring this vision to life. So if there’s anyone out there who has a dream to start their own albergue or who resonates with any of what i’ve written above, i’d love to hear from you and i’ve added my contact details below.

By no means is any of this idea concrete, and i am open to ideas, suggestions and feedback.

I am going to be walking from Sevilla to Santiago between May 15th and June 18th, so if anyone is on route and wants to share ideas, then please feel free to get in touch.

All the best and Buen Camino for those lucky enough to be walking the route this year,

Dan

55875
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
Dan:

Before you go too deep into this, I beseech you to speak with staff at the Pilgrim House, Rua Nova, #19 in Santiago.

They have been doing exactly what you envision, and excelling at it for six years, IIRC. The only service they do not provide is overnight accommodations. Learn why they do not do this.

Seriously, check them out. At worst you will be a LOT better informed. At best, you might create a partnership.

Also, I think they may be presently recruiting for full-time staff. Volunteering with them might be a good way to dip your feet into this pond, to test the proverbial waters.

Hope this helps.

UPDATE: I am adding that Nate, of NateFaith fame, posted below (post #32 in this thread) to add that they are already in consultations and discussions with the OP. So, the OP had already adopted my essential advice.
 
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Telboyo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
I intend to leave the UK the day Before Brexit and walkMarch -April 2019 Camino Frances
How big will this hostel be?
Will it only be open to top 20 true pilgrims?
How do you differentiate the better ones from the just adequate pilgrims?
Perhaps bottom bunks could be saved for those walked the more difficult routes, forget those wimps who did not do the " real" Napoleon route.
Perhaps anyone who does not know the answer to the sleeping bag question should be excluded?
Not wearing 1000 mile socks? Get outta here!
Secret Handshake?
Bonus points for miles completed?
Does "Never had any blisters" add or detract from your true pilgrim score?
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
Fellow pilgrims, let's not get into the 'true pilgrim' debate. Dan, I think I get what you mean. Santiago has become very touristy and commercial over the years. A lot of albergues are pretty similar to the usual hostel. But that is for a reason. Santiago now attracts a lot of visitors. I have no idea about the real figures, but I can imagine that at least half of them are not pilgrims.

Having said that I don't see yet how to create a different type of albergue. I guess the price of renting something will be expensive and you'll have to earn that money back. And how to create that communal pilgrim feeling without selecting at the door?

I like the idea though, but I also think there are already a few alternatives without the possibility of spending the night.
 

FourSeasons

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept/Oct 2013
CF April/May 2016
del Norte (July/August 2019)
Hey everyone,

My name’s Dan - i’m originally from Britain but currently live in Bucharest, Romania.

Like many of you, I’m deeply passionate about the Camino and for the last 4 years I’ve walked a different route, and next month I’ll be heading back to Spain for my 5th Camino - the Via de la Plata - starting in Sevilla and ending in Santiago.

But this post isn’t about my upcoming journey. The Camino has impacted my life in so many beautiful ways - the wonderful people i've met, the scenery, realisations & learnings, struggles, the Camino spirit, plus so much more - leaving me full of gratitude and appreciation.

Given all of this.. now i want to give back, which is why i want to share with you an ambitious project idea that’s been on my mind for the last few years, in hope that it resonates in some way with fellow pilgrims out there with a similar dream and vision.

I think there is a great sense of community and spirit amongst people who walk the way, plus the fact that finishing a Camino is such a monumental moment in life that needs, in my opinion, to be celebrated and shared once arriving in Santiago.

However, after hearing many stories of people disappointed and underwhelmed when they reach Santiago de Compostela coupled with a weak selection of true pilgrim Albergues in town, wouldn’t it be great to team up and create an Albergue where pilgrims can finish their journey that epitomises the spirit of the Camino?

I imagine a place where pilgrims can come together to share their stories, learnings and realisations from their journey, as well as reflect and relax in comfort. There would be a pilgrim’s meal every evening, regular workshops/presentations/events, and the Albergue would embody a sense of camaraderie, belonging and community. It would be run by pilgrims too… people who have walked Caminos in the past and want to give back. It doesn't have to be in Santiago but ideally located close by in tranquil nature and towards the end of the route, where all the Caminos converge.

To fill you with a little bit of optimism and to illustrate and assure you that i am deadly serious about bringing this idea to life, I want to tell you a little bit about myself. My background is in hospitality and I have 5 years experience in the hostel industry. I own and run two of the best-rated Hostels in Romania for the last 2 years running, one of which was voted in the top 5 hostels of the world this January.

With that said, i can bring my knowledge, skills and resources for running a successful space to the table, plus the team i work with and people i know who have extensive experience in this field.

However, I’d want to make this a cooperative effort and to form a team to bring this vision to life. So if there’s anyone out there who has a dream to start their own albergue or who resonates with any of what i’ve written above, i’d love to hear from you and i’ve added my contact details below.

By no means is any of this idea concrete, and i am open to ideas, suggestions and feedback.

I am going to be walking from Sevilla to Santiago between May 15th and June 18th, so if anyone is on route and wants to share ideas, then please feel free to get in touch.

All the best and Buen Camino for those lucky enough to be walking the route this year,

Dan
dan@podstel.com
+40 723 772 732

View attachment 55875
Great idea, fantastic. I would volunteer after walking my Camino.

I beg of you, please take the word "true" out of your headline. It's a very touchy word when paired with the word "Pilgrim". You will feel the backlash.

Dreams do come true, one step at a time.

Buen Camino
:cool: 👣
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
I believe he used “true” to modify albergue, NOT pilgrim as in an “albergue true to the spirit of a pilgrim”. So everyone take a deep breath and simply discuss the topic he broached rather than fighting over a non-existent point that he wasn’t making...
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
However, after hearing many stories of people disappointed and underwhelmed when they reach Santiago de Compostela coupled with a weak selection of true pilgrim Albergues in town, wouldn’t it be great to team up and create an Albergue where pilgrims can finish their journey that epitomises the spirit of the Camino?
Hmm, dunno where you've been stopping in Santiago but my experiences don't mirror yours. I have sensed, and seen, that for many who have made the journey the ending is an anti-climax. A town full of tourists of whom you are only one more among the throng. A queue for a certificate and a queue for a blessing and probably even a queue for the souvenir T-shirt. But unless you are going to build that "House of many rooms" then you are not going to change that experience for many. And if you are only seeking to change it for a select few then the comments above apply.
 

RumAndChupacabras

Do unto other's as you would have them do unto you
Camino(s) past & future
Jul-Sept 2019 ~Apr. 2018 Oviedo, Santo Toribio, Covadonga~May/June 2016 Portuguese
Hi @Daniel Beaumont! I share many of the same feelings as you however my desire is to be able to one day open my front door to Peregrinos somewhere on Camino, where there are few options to sleep. I luv your enthusiasm. Don't let anything or anyone dampen it. ;)
 

FourSeasons

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept/Oct 2013
CF April/May 2016
del Norte (July/August 2019)
I believe he used “true” to modify albergue, NOT pilgrim as in an “albergue true to the spirit of a pilgrim”. So everyone take a deep breath and simply discuss the topic he broached rather than fighting over a non-existent point that he wasn’t making...
Who's fighting???

I don't have a problem with it but I know how others re-act. Feeding frenzy!! :eek:

I support him.
:cool:👣
 

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
I think it's a fabulous idea! I would love to! Of course I should probably walk my first Camino before I go opening an albergue. 🤣

Awhile back there was an albergue for sale that was a nice fit for my budget but my mom's estate hadn't closed. Ultimately, I thought it might be wise to walk first. A little putting the cart before the horse. And it wasn't in the cards for that opportunity. I'm still waiting for the go-ahead to close my mom's estate. 🤪 And I'm still waiting to walk!!

I love the enthusiasm and the sense of adventure. It's always wonderful to meet people who are passionate.
 

Nanc

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (Sept 2016)
SDC/ Finesterre/ Muxia (2016)
My walk had a lot of over tones and under tones
not least was scattering my brothers ashes and letting go of a lot of family stuff i carried with me,
As well as processing changes in my personal life, professional life and family dynamics
I KNEW the transition to masses of people, noisy travel and losing the rhythm of walking was going to be hard
I knew I needed some thing more to integrate back into society while preserving the spirit
I had specifically arranged a post camino retreat for just this purpose
Disappointingly, it fell through at the last minute and I had to find a different way to process.
I think your basic idea of an albergue is a good one!
For all the hard work the pilgrim house offers, the ability to be where your bed is during this time of introspection would be VERY valuable in my opinion. (rather than staying in a hotel and hoping to run across similar pilgrims in the squares n
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
I believe he used “true” to modify albergue, NOT pilgrim as in an “albergue true to the spirit of a pilgrim”. So everyone take a deep breath and simply discuss the topic he broached rather than fighting over a non-existent point that he wasn’t making...
@Vacajoe, this might be a fair point, but the construction rules of English syntax seem to be operating against that interpretation. As it stands, the most reasonable interpretation is that the adjective, true, modifies the noun, pilgrim. Alternatively, the OP might suggest the intent was that it modify a compound noun, pilgrim albergue.

Maybe he will tell us what was intended here. I do hope you are right, because I don't want to meet the doorman who can read my mind to determine whether or not I was a true pilgrim. There are too many other things in there that I only share with very close friends!

As a postscript, I wonder whether the OP is over-stating the justification for this venture. In the four times that I have stayed in Santiago, I never felt left down by the choice of good accommodation options, nor did I feel the need to attend workshops, and I could easily organise to visit the places that I wanted to see without the assistance of an event organiser. That doesn't mean there is no demand for these things, but it wouldn't attract me.

And as a post-postscript, I am with @t2andreo on the valuable support offered by Pilgrim House. Wonderful people doing a great job supporting pilgrims in so many different ways.
 
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Daniel Beaumont

Walking the VDLP through May & June 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Norte, Camino Portugués, Camino Primitivo & Camino Via de la Plata (May 19)
Uh oh, you said "true" pilgrim...
😳
Hello,

Sorry if i was misunderstood, but I was simply using the word to capture the essence of how the albergue would look, feel and be - nothing to do with the type of pilgrim who will stay there.

I've walked several camino's now, stayed at 100s of Albergues now, and taken notes upon notes about what i really liked, disliked or thought could be improved from the perspective of hospitality (that's an important distinction to make here). It would be a case of bringing all those ideas together, plus the ideas of the pilgrims who would like to get involved to create a special place towards the end of the Camino.

All the best,

Dan
 

Daniel Beaumont

Walking the VDLP through May & June 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Norte, Camino Portugués, Camino Primitivo & Camino Via de la Plata (May 19)
I took TRUE as modifying “pilgrim albergue” and I’d hope others would give the OP the same leeway
Exactly, i was referring to the word from the perspective of the albergue itself being a place that embodies the spirit of the Camino.
 

Daniel Beaumont

Walking the VDLP through May & June 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Norte, Camino Portugués, Camino Primitivo & Camino Via de la Plata (May 19)
@Vacajoe, this might be a fair point, but the construction rules of English syntax seem to be operating against that interpretation. As it stands, the most reasonable interpretation is that the adjective, true, modifies the noun, pilgrim. Alternatively, the OP might suggest the intent was that it modify a compound noun, pilgrim albergue.

Maybe he will tell us what was intended here. I do hope you are right, because I don't want to meet the doorman who can read my mind to determine whether or not I was a true pilgrim. There are too many other things in there that I only share with very close friends!

As a postscript, I wonder whether the OP is over-stating the justification for this venture. In the four times that I have stayed in Santiago, I never felt left down by the choice of good accommodation options, nor did I feel the need to attend workshops, and I could easily organise to visit the places that I wanted to see without the assistance of an event organiser. That doesn't mean there is no demand for these things, but it wouldn't attract me.

And as a post-postscript, I am with @t2andreo on the valuable support offered by Pilgrim House. Wonderful people doing a great job supporting pilgrims in so many different ways.
There will be no judgement on who's a pilgrim or not, or what classifies a pilgrim - all people who walk are welcome. Neither will there be an obligation to join any of the events/workshops. It'll simply be a welcoming, homely place, that feels familiar for the people who want to spend time with other pilgrims processing their Camino.
 

Daniel Beaumont

Walking the VDLP through May & June 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Norte, Camino Portugués, Camino Primitivo & Camino Via de la Plata (May 19)
Hmm, dunno where you've been stopping in Santiago but my experiences don't mirror yours. I have sensed, and seen, that for many who have made the journey the ending is an anti-climax. A town full of tourists of whom you are only one more among the throng. A queue for a certificate and a queue for a blessing and probably even a queue for the souvenir T-shirt. But unless you are going to build that "House of many rooms" then you are not going to change that experience for many. And if you are only seeking to change it for a select few then the comments above apply.
I disagree, and i must clarify that each of the 4 times i've arrived in Santiago, I've always had a great time, but the Albergues were certainly not on par with some of the more memorable ones i stayed at on the routes i walked.

However, from a purely hospitality perspective, and after speaking to 100s of pilgrims about and taking notes upon notes from every single albergue i stayed at on the Camino since i first walked in 2016, there's definitely a space for a pilgrim albergue in Santiago de Compestela or its surrounding area that focuses on giving pilgrims (who want to) the chance to process their Camino with others who feel the same.

Perhaps you wouldn't like to stay there, and that's fine, I know it wouldn't be for everyone, but from the feedback i've received, many people want something like this.
 

Daniel Beaumont

Walking the VDLP through May & June 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Norte, Camino Portugués, Camino Primitivo & Camino Via de la Plata (May 19)
I believe he used “true” to modify albergue, NOT pilgrim as in an “albergue true to the spirit of a pilgrim”. So everyone take a deep breath and simply discuss the topic he broached rather than fighting over a non-existent point that he wasn’t making...
Yes, exactly on point here. Thanks for qualifying. As someone who would welcome any person who walked, I have no desire to talk about what a pilgrim is or isn't. I used the word true to encapsulate what the Albergue would look, feel and be like.
 

Daniel Beaumont

Walking the VDLP through May & June 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Norte, Camino Portugués, Camino Primitivo & Camino Via de la Plata (May 19)
My thoughts exactly the second I read the headline. Uh-Oh!! Get ready for a lashing. 😵
How big will this hostel be?
Will it only be open to top 20 true pilgrims?
How do you differentiate the better ones from the just adequate pilgrims?
Perhaps bottom bunks could be saved for those walked the more difficult routes, forget those wimps who did not do the " real" Napoleon route.
Perhaps anyone who does not know the answer to the sleeping bag question should be excluded?
Not wearing 1000 mile socks? Get outta here!
Secret Handshake?
Bonus points for miles completed?
Does "Never had any blisters" add or detract from your true pilgrim score?
I'm sorry that you interpreted it this way, and that i was mistaken, but i used the word "true pilgrim" to encapsulate the spirit of the albergue, not the type of person who will stay there.

I wanted to talk about opening a pilgrim's albergue, not have a debate about what a pilgrim is or isn't.

But to be honest, it's not nice to read the way you responded, without giving me a chance to clarify myself, when in my mind I was just putting an idea out there with a bit of enthusiasm.

Anyhow, i think the bottom line is that the pilgrim will decide whether they would want to stay there. Some people want this, some people don't, and that's exactly why it needs to exist.
 

Daniel Beaumont

Walking the VDLP through May & June 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Norte, Camino Portugués, Camino Primitivo & Camino Via de la Plata (May 19)
Fellow pilgrims, let's not get into the 'true pilgrim' debate. Dan, I think I get what you mean. Santiago has become very touristy and commercial over the years. A lot of albergues are pretty similar to the usual hostel. But that is for a reason. Santiago now attracts a lot of visitors. I have no idea about the real figures, but I can imagine that at least half of them are not pilgrims.

Having said that I don't see yet how to create a different type of albergue. I guess the price of renting something will be expensive and you'll have to earn that money back. And how to create that communal pilgrim feeling without selecting at the door?

I like the idea though, but I also think there are already a few alternatives without the possibility of spending the night.
Sure logistics are 1 of a 100 issues that need to be dealt with here, but in my experience of starting hostels, i think there's definitely space for something in Santiago de Compostela. Indeed, a full location analysis is critical, but i wasn't imagining something in the centre of Santiago, but perhaps more peaceful surrounding area, located in nature.

From a hospitality perspective (how the albergue will look, be and feel) and trying to capture the essence of the camino spirit, I think i understand this part now. I've spent the last 4 years walking the Camino trying to figure this part out, taking notes and speaking to pilgrims at every albergue i stayed at.

If you'd like to discuss this more, i'm happy to jump on a call and tell you more about what i've imagined so far.

All the best,

Dan
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
My thoughts exactly the second I read the headline. Uh-Oh!! Get ready for a lashing.
In all honesty, i am quite disappointed and find it quite saddening that i am reading this kind of comment.
I think that comment was actually not intended to be critical of you, but to recognize that you were going to receive some negative reactions. Whenever the words "true" and "pilgrim" are used together, we can expect to see a firestorm! Unfortunately, you had wandered into that situation, although you had a completely different focus.
 

Daniel Beaumont

Walking the VDLP through May & June 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Norte, Camino Portugués, Camino Primitivo & Camino Via de la Plata (May 19)
Uh oh, you said "true" pilgrim...
😳
As an observation, I want to point out that I've posted this exact same message on about 30 different Camino facebook groups, and the only negative feedback I've received, which interestingly wasn't even related to the purpose of the post but rather the usage of my words "true pilgrim's albergue" has come from this group.

I'm sorry for not being clear, and granted, i can see how using them words now may annoy some people, but this post just wasn't about that, and i was simply using the words to encapsulate the spirit of how the albergue should look and feel.
 

Daniel Beaumont

Walking the VDLP through May & June 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Norte, Camino Portugués, Camino Primitivo & Camino Via de la Plata (May 19)
Dan:

Before you go too deep into this, I beseech you to speak with staff at the Pilgrim House, Rua Nova, #19 in Santiago.

They have been doing exactly what you envision, and excelling at it for six years, IIRC. The only service they do not provide is overnight accommodations. Learn why they do not do this.

Seriously, check them out. At worst you will be a LOT better informed. At best, you might create a partnership.

Also, I think they may be presently recruiting for full-time staff. Volunteering with them might be a good way to dip your feet into this pond, to test the proverbial waters.

Hope this helps.
Hey Andreo,

Thanks for the heads up. I'm friends with Nate and co from the Pilgrim's House. They are doing awesome stuff there. I wouldn't want to go in this blindly, and i am very aware it needs to be a cooperative effort from people who are on the ground in Santiago and know the area and space very well. As i pointed out in my initial message, my skillset lies in the actual operations of the albergue, and bringing it to conception.

As we found out when we set our two hostels up in Romania (a different country to where i was born and a language i didn't speak)... navigating the local differences was a big learning curve in itself. Although it turned out ok in the end, next time, we learned that we need to partner and be more strategic in how we approach a new foreign location.

All the best,

Dan
 

Daniel Beaumont

Walking the VDLP through May & June 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Norte, Camino Portugués, Camino Primitivo & Camino Via de la Plata (May 19)
To divert the conversation in a more positive direction, and to avoid any more conversations about what a pilgrim is/isn't, which certainly wasn't my intention, i have removed "true" from the title of my post.
 

Raggy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
If I'm honest, I was happy enough about my accommodation options in Santiago. The facilities were good for the price that I paid and I had previously experienced Camino spirit in other albergues. I'm more excited when I read about projects to open albergues on some of the long stretches of Camino that have too few places to stay (e.g. on the Via de la Plata). I'd also love to see dedicated pilgrim accommodations in cities that have none (e.g. Cordoba, Granada) or cities where the hostels are low quality (e.g. Caceres). That said, here are some thoughts that I have about your idea:

Do you anticipate that this will be a for-profit venture or some other business model? When I think of places with authentic Camino spirit, most of them are charitable, donativo albergues, offered by the church and other organizations, and staffed by volunteers who are devoted to the mission of helping pilgrims. You will have the chance to see some of those places on your walk along the Via de la Plata and Camino Sanabres - I think I shared my recommendations in response to your request on a previous thread.

I think that it is possible but less common to find a for-profit albergue that has tremendous Camino spirit. (In Santiago itself, I didn't find such a place). Since you're an entrepreneur, I expect you are comfortable with a for-profit approach that allows you to have professional management, investment in facilities, and financially sustainable operations over the long term. But it requires some effort to inject Camino spirit into the place.

You mention that you would have pilgrims running the place. Do you mean that there would be professionals (i.e. employees or owners) who have been pilgrims? Or do you mean that it would be staffed by volunteers? Or a mixed model? My gut tells me that a for-profit Albergue requires at least a core of paid, professional, staff to run the place at a high standard. If the place has enough scale, I imagine that you could afford to offer opportunities for resident volunteers and casual volunteers while keeping the place profitable. The types of volunteering that I could imagine include:
  • Volunteer administrators / managers: People who devote two weeks to running an albergue. This model exists in many albergues that are run by church and other organizations. The drawback is that it is hard to control standards, which damages the reputation of the albergue (e.g. Merida, which pilgrims describe as "awful" or "okay" depending on the volunteer hospitaleros who were there).
  • Resident expert: For a period of weeks, an instructor/ artist / facilitator is in residence and provides support to the community. This requires an application process with clear conditions and expectations. You might attract people whose skills contribute to the feeling of community - yoga instructors etc.
  • Casual volunteer: One or two beds are set aside for low-budget pilgrims who are willing to help with cleaning or cooking etc. in lieu of payment for one night. My gut tells me that this may be hard to do - At times you'll be turning away low-budget pilgrims who had hoped to volunteer for their bed. And if it isn't properly managed it may attract people with bad intentions or problems that you can't deal with.
As for the location - I understand that you want to be near Santiago so that people have somewhere to decompress and process the Camino that they have walked. My gut tells me that if you locate it on the approach to Santiago on the CF, it will probably become just another albergue like all the other albergues. Perhaps a location on the way to Finisterre would be a good location. The environment is rural quite soon after you leave Santiago on that route, and I imagine that location might appeal to pilgrims who are in the frame of mind that you're trying to address. You might get a balance of people who want to stay for a few days or longer at the end of their Camino and people who drop in for one night on the way to Finisterre.

I hope that this helps and I wish you success with the project
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
As an observation, I want to point out that I've posted this exact same message on about 30 different Camino facebook groups, and the only negative feedback I've received, which interestingly wasn't even related to the purpose of the post but rather the usage of my words "true pilgrim's albergue" has come from this group.

I'm sorry for not being clear, and granted, i can see how using them words now may annoy some people, but this post just wasn't about that, and i was simply using the words to encapsulate the spirit of how the albergue should look and feel.
I am coming a bit late to this thread — it looks like it has heated up and cooled down again, but the point that interested me the most was Daniel’s observation that of the 30 different places he posted his message, this forum was the only place where there were negative reactions.

I’d like to think that’s because we are so sensitized to the pitfalls that await when we wade into debates over who is or who isn’t a true pilgrim, but I wonder if maybe it’s something else — that many forum members bite first and ask questions later — why respond to such an enthusiastic post with what I can only interpret as sarcastic disdain? I remember a while back when some members left the forum because they found it to be oppressively judgmental. We should not let that happen.

I wish the OP the best of luck and agree with Luka that it will be a daunting task. Maybe someplace not right in Santiago would be more accessible from a financial standpoint, but then you would have to choose which route to be on. There are different entrances into Santiago — from Vdlp, Francés, Inglés, Portugués. And one other point picking up on Raggy’s post — volunteer hospitaleros and for-profit albergues are a potential labor law nightmare. If I remember correctly, only donativo albergues are allowed to take volunteers, though many albergues seem not to care about that.

Anyway, good luck to the OP and I hope you will keep us informed about how your plans are progressing. Buen camino, Laurie
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
This is the Nate half of natefaith commenting. I make incredibly rare appearances here, so want to make it clear that this is not Faith.

I just wanted to pipe in and say I had the chance to meet Daniel here in Pilgrim House something like a year ago. We spent the day together and had a very inspiring conversation. I have not visited his hostels in Bucharest but would really like to do so. To hear him tell it, the vision and reality of the hostels he has started are unique in the hosteling world. I found myself inspired by his vision for creating hospitable space that is community focused - not just on fostering community among his guests, but drawing the local community and the traveling community together. I don't want to confuse things and suggest he plans the same here - he has made no mention of this in this thread. But my impression of Daniel was that he is someone who understands the pilgrim and traveling culture and has a good understanding of hospitality and genuine welcome. He might be new to the forum, and he might have unknowingly stepped into a verbal minefield by using vocabulary that riles some - but if you find his invitation at all interesting, take some time to read up on his website (found in his profile) or check out the info from his hostel, called Podstel. If you are uninterested, it's OK. There are enough beds in Santiago you can always find a space that is more to your liking :)

I do think it's possible to recognize that there are plenty of nice places to stay in Santiago while at the same time acknowledging that there is room for more welcome, celebration and pilgrim community. In other words, seeing a need for something a bit different from what is normally offered is not necessarily a harsh critique of what already exists. We all know that there are pilgrims of every thought, feeling and opinion out there. What some are looking for others are not. I speak with enough pilgrims finishing the camino to vouch for the fact that some pilgrims long for more of that camino spirit in Santiago than they find here. I would imagine that the type of space Daniel is envisioning would be meeting a need for exactly that type of pilgrim.

- Nate
 

FourSeasons

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept/Oct 2013
CF April/May 2016
del Norte (July/August 2019)
👣
My thoughts exactly the second I read the headline. Uh-Oh!! Get ready for a lashing. 😵
In all honesty, i am quite disappointed and find it quite saddening that i am reading this kind of comment.
I think that comment was actually not intended to be critical of you, but to recognize that you were going to receive some negative reactions. Whenever the words "true" and "pilgrim" are used together, we can expect to see a firestorm! Unfortunately, you had wandered into that situation, although you had a completely different focus.
@C clearly, Exactly, I was not being critical of Daniel, not my intention what so ever, thank you for clarifying that.

@Daniel Beaumont, I apologize if my words in my first post were lost in translation. I posted other comments stating I support you and would like to volunteer after walking my Camino in such a place and showed my enthusiasm for you. Yet, you did not react to them. I wish you nothing but the best.

Buen Camino on your upcoming journey.
:cool:👣
 
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Lance Chambers

Lance Chambers
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria (2015), SJPdP (2016), Burgos (2017), SJPdP (2018), Burgo (2019), SJPdP (2023?).
I love Burgos but there are only three alburgues there and two of them are very small (with only 36 beds between them) and the large one only allows a single nights stay - the municipal with 150 beds.

I seem to remember a rather dilapidated older building of some substantial size and 2 or 3 stories high off to my left as I walk out in a South East direction from the municipal towards the river. If it were possible to rent/hire/be offered this building I think it would help us all more than building another one in Santiago which has close to 800 beds and I imagine the building in Burgos could hold at least 150?

Logrono has close to 400 beds and it's not a patch on Burgos in my opinion.

Just my 2-cents worth.
 

Chris Gi

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Did April through June 2018 from Pamplona to Santiago. 2020 May or end of September.
Uh oh, you said "true" pilgrim...
😳
My thoughts exactly the second I read the headline. Uh-Oh!! Get ready for a lashing. 😵
I assume he means opposed to those coming on tour buses having walked just the last 100 Km. Maybe “true” is just a bad choice of words.
 

Nanc

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (Sept 2016)
SDC/ Finesterre/ Muxia (2016)
WOW how do we get to this point of attacking a choice of words and dissecting it from grammatical correction, assigning intent and assigning judgement that doesn't even exist

This has raised my heart rate and I am not even OP
Some time ago, in my early membership, i asked if people could just respond to the questions an OP posts rather than critiquing things they hadn't even asked for input on
A long term member has reminded us that we are a group of people with different native tongue, different world cultures, and that typing defeats our ability to read ones face, body language and tone to help us better communicate, so it behooves us to pause with restraint of pen and tongue
sorry lecture over.
As Peringrina2000 says we dont want to go back there
ASsfor Dan I am impressed with your willingness to stay on this thread and respond from a place of intent
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
I believe Daniel has a good idea. There are never enough good inexpensive beds on the Camino especially in Santiago. As for pilgrim fellowship my wife and I spent a few days in Santiago, doing the tourist thing, buying gifts to send home to our family and friends. We would go to the Obradoiro Square, sit and watch pilgrims walk in. More than once in a day we would see pilgrims overwhelmed by entering the square. We approached a few and talked to them and took a few of them to lunch or dinner for conversation and sharing. For the most part we are still in contact with them. Two of them have traveled to the US to visit us and we have traveled internationally you visit 2 others in their homes.
 

FourSeasons

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept/Oct 2013
CF April/May 2016
del Norte (July/August 2019)
WOW how do we get to this point of attacking a choice of words and dissecting it from grammatical correction, assigning intent and assigning judgement that doesn't even exist

This has raised my heart rate and I am not even OP
Some time ago, in my early membership, i asked if people could just respond to the questions an OP posts rather than critiquing things they hadn't even asked for input on
A long term member has reminded us that we are a group of people with different native tongue, different world cultures, and that typing defeats our ability to read ones face, body language and tone to help us better communicate, so it behooves us to pause with restraint of pen and tongue
sorry lecture over.
As Peringrina2000 says we dont want to go back there
ASsfor Dan I am impressed with your willingness to stay on this thread and respond from a place of intent
It was hardly an attack and no need for the heart to race. It was sarcastic humor from a few posters and has already been addressed. No need to rehash.

May His Peace be With You
:cool:👣
 

Daniel Beaumont

Walking the VDLP through May & June 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Norte, Camino Portugués, Camino Primitivo & Camino Via de la Plata (May 19)
I think that comment was actually not intended to be critical of you, but to recognize that you were going to receive some negative reactions. Whenever the words "true" and "pilgrim" are used together, we can expect to see a firestorm! Unfortunately, you had wandered into that situation, although you had a completely different focus.
I agree with you, very well put.
 

Daniel Beaumont

Walking the VDLP through May & June 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Norte, Camino Portugués, Camino Primitivo & Camino Via de la Plata (May 19)
👣


@C clearly, Exactly, I was not being critical of Daniel, not my intention what so ever, thank you for clarifying that.

@Daniel Beaumont, I apologize if my words in my first post were lost in translation. I posted other comments stating I support you and would like to volunteer after walking my Camino in such a place and showed my enthusiasm for you. Yet, you did not react to them. I wish you nothing but the best.

Buen Camino on your upcoming journey.
:cool:👣
Hey FourSeasons,

I didn't see your comment as an attack on me - no offence taken. I was more disappointed by how the conversation diverted from its original purpose.

In terms of your other comments, i was going to reply to everyone once i've digested all the feedback in a couple of days. I'll be with you soon. :)

Take care, and all the best,

Dan
 
Camino(s) past & future
May and October 2015
(2015 October)
June 2018 Portuguese
Hey everyone,

My name’s Dan - i’m originally from Britain but currently live in Bucharest, Romania.

Like many of you, I’m deeply passionate about the Camino and for the last 4 years I’ve walked a different route, and next month I’ll be heading back to Spain for my 5th Camino - the Via de la Plata - starting in Sevilla and ending in Santiago.

But this post isn’t about my upcoming journey. The Camino has impacted my life in so many beautiful ways - the wonderful people i've met, the scenery, realisations & learnings, struggles, the Camino spirit, plus so much more - leaving me full of gratitude and appreciation.

Given all of this.. now i want to give back, which is why i want to share with you an ambitious project idea that’s been on my mind for the last few years, in hope that it resonates in some way with fellow pilgrims out there with a similar dream and vision.

I think there is a great sense of community and spirit amongst people who walk the way, plus the fact that finishing a Camino is such a monumental moment in life that needs, in my opinion, to be celebrated and shared once arriving in Santiago.

However, after hearing many stories of people disappointed and underwhelmed when they reach Santiago de Compostela coupled with a weak selection of true pilgrim Albergues in town, wouldn’t it be great to team up and create an Albergue where pilgrims can finish their journey that epitomises the spirit of the Camino?

I imagine a place where pilgrims can come together to share their stories, learnings and realisations from their journey, as well as reflect and relax in comfort. There would be a pilgrim’s meal every evening, regular workshops/presentations/events, and the Albergue would embody a sense of camaraderie, belonging and community. It would be run by pilgrims too… people who have walked Caminos in the past and want to give back. It doesn't have to be in Santiago but ideally located close by in tranquil nature and towards the end of the route, where all the Caminos converge.

To fill you with a little bit of optimism and to illustrate and assure you that i am deadly serious about bringing this idea to life, I want to tell you a little bit about myself. My background is in hospitality and I have 5 years experience in the hostel industry. I own and run two of the best-rated Hostels in Romania for the last 2 years running, one of which was voted in the top 5 hostels of the world this January.

With that said, i can bring my knowledge, skills and resources for running a successful space to the table, plus the team i work with and people i know who have extensive experience in this field.

However, I’d want to make this a cooperative effort and to form a team to bring this vision to life. So if there’s anyone out there who has a dream to start their own albergue or who resonates with any of what i’ve written above, i’d love to hear from you and i’ve added my contact details below.

By no means is any of this idea concrete, and i am open to ideas, suggestions and feedback.

I am going to be walking from Sevilla to Santiago between May 15th and June 18th, so if anyone is on route and wants to share ideas, then please feel free to get in touch.

All the best and Buen Camino for those lucky enough to be walking the route this year,

Dan

View attachment 55875
I love this idea and would happily stay in this albergue. Have missed this kind of thing at the end of my two caminos. Kind of a let-down to get there and just mill around....
 

Trude

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francais 2013 Finnestere, Muxia 2013, 2017
Norte 2014, Francais, 2015, 2016, VDLP 2017
Good Luck Dan, follow your dreams..... Santiago real estate prices are quite high now. Plenty of old buildings to renovate I’m sure you could get plenty of people to help though. I never stay in an Albergue in Santiago as they are as expensive as private rooms, unless you go out a bit.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/?/Invierno ('19)
Dan, you sound like you know what you're in for as far as complications are concerned...and I love your enthusiasm. It's a big town, with more arriving pilgrims every year, so an albergue with a pilgrim atmosphere would be a lovely addition to the mix.

Another person to speak to is @SYates , who - like Nate and Faith at Pilgrim House - is supporting pilgrims as they transition between walking and going home. Egeria House is not an albergue per se, but she does host pilgrims and would definitely know the specific pitfalls you'd face in Santiago.

May it all come together for you and for all!
Buen 'hospitality camino,' peregrino!
 

JuanaPow

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
March (2019)
I just wanted to pipe in and say I had the chance to meet Daniel here in Pilgrim House something like a year ago. We spent the day together and had a very inspiring conversation.

I would imagine that the type of space Daniel is envisioning would be meeting a need for exactly that type of pilgrim.

- Nate
I appreciate these insights because I felt like a fish out of water entering SdC a month ago. It caught me by surprise - and so the next day wen I wandered into the lovely and welcoming atmosphere of Pilgrim House, I was so moved. In fact, I sort of hid out in the back garden area until I could pull myself together. On the board, I saw written words that hold very special meaning to me - “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains, from where my help comes.” It was like, “God, you know I’m here”. I wasn’t able to stay for the Pilgrim Debrief but took one of the papers home with introspective questions after the Camino.

All this to say, I applaud the OP and his desire to provide a brief haven for those acclimating to Post Camino. Bravo, Daniel!
 

Rowena

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015), Chemin de Saint Jacques (2016), Geneva Way (2017), Camino Frances (2018)
In all honesty, i am quite disappointed and find it quite saddening that i am reading this kind of comment.
I agree with you but unfortunately I am not surprised. I find that there is negativity from time to time on the forum, which I believe runs counter to the spirit of the Camino.
Your albergue idea is wonderful, I wish you success, and I will definitely be staying there when it opens.
 

Telboyo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
I intend to leave the UK the day Before Brexit and walkMarch -April 2019 Camino Frances
I assume he means opposed to those coming on tour buses having walked just the last 100 Km. Maybe “true” is just a bad choice of words.
I dont think the energy of SDC is the problem, the whole way from Sarria to the end finished me off, as soon as i saw the cathedral i decided to change my flight yet again and get out of dodge. Currently waiting at a Corunna airport to get home.
Perhaps next time I will walk from SDC to SJPP. Go from the industrial to the rural.
 

Kelly Ann

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
N/A
I think it's a fabulous idea! I would love to! Of course I should probably walk my first Camino before I go opening an albergue. 🤣

Awhile back there was an albergue for sale that was a nice fit for my budget but my mom's estate hadn't closed. Ultimately, I thought it might be wise to walk first. A little putting the cart before the horse. And it wasn't in the cards for that opportunity. I'm still waiting for the go-ahead to close my mom's estate. 🤪 And I'm still waiting to walk!!

I love the enthusiasm and the sense of adventure. It's always wonderful to meet people who are passionate.
I'll be waiting for
Hello,

Sorry if i was misunderstood, but I was simply using the word to capture the essence of how the albergue would look, feel and be - nothing to do with the type of pilgrim who will stay there.

I've walked several camino's now, stayed at 100s of Albergues now, and taken notes upon notes about what i really liked, disliked or thought could be improved from the perspective of hospitality (that's an important distinction to make here). It would be a case of bringing all those ideas together, plus the ideas of the pilgrims who would like to get involved to create a special place towards the end of the Camino.

All the best,

Dan
I'd love to get involved!
 

T0M

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
France (2019)
How big will this hostel be?
Will it only be open to top 20 true pilgrims?
How do you differentiate the better ones from the just adequate pilgrims?
Perhaps bottom bunks could be saved for those walked the more difficult routes, forget those wimps who did not do the " real" Napoleon route.
Perhaps anyone who does not know the answer to the sleeping bag question should be excluded?
Not wearing 1000 mile socks? Get outta here!
Secret Handshake?
Bonus points for miles completed?
Does "Never had any blisters" add or detract from your true pilgrim score?
I am looking for a reason why any good person would post such poor sarcasm... and finding none.
 

T0M

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
France (2019)
Hey everyone,

My name’s Dan - i’m originally from Britain but currently live in Bucharest, Romania.

Like many of you, I’m deeply passionate about the Camino and for the last 4 years I’ve walked a different route, and next month I’ll be heading back to Spain for my 5th Camino - the Via de la Plata - starting in Sevilla and ending in Santiago.

But this post isn’t about my upcoming journey. The Camino has impacted my life in so many beautiful ways - the wonderful people i've met, the scenery, realisations & learnings, struggles, the Camino spirit, plus so much more - leaving me full of gratitude and appreciation.

Given all of this.. now i want to give back, which is why i want to share with you an ambitious project idea that’s been on my mind for the last few years, in hope that it resonates in some way with fellow pilgrims out there with a similar dream and vision.

I think there is a great sense of community and spirit amongst people who walk the way, plus the fact that finishing a Camino is such a monumental moment in life that needs, in my opinion, to be celebrated and shared once arriving in Santiago.

However, after hearing many stories of people disappointed and underwhelmed when they reach Santiago de Compostela coupled with a weak selection of true pilgrim Albergues in town, wouldn’t it be great to team up and create an Albergue where pilgrims can finish their journey that epitomises the spirit of the Camino?

I imagine a place where pilgrims can come together to share their stories, learnings and realisations from their journey, as well as reflect and relax in comfort. There would be a pilgrim’s meal every evening, regular workshops/presentations/events, and the Albergue would embody a sense of camaraderie, belonging and community. It would be run by pilgrims too… people who have walked Caminos in the past and want to give back. It doesn't have to be in Santiago but ideally located close by in tranquil nature and towards the end of the route, where all the Caminos converge.

To fill you with a little bit of optimism and to illustrate and assure you that i am deadly serious about bringing this idea to life, I want to tell you a little bit about myself. My background is in hospitality and I have 5 years experience in the hostel industry. I own and run two of the best-rated Hostels in Romania for the last 2 years running, one of which was voted in the top 5 hostels of the world this January.

With that said, i can bring my knowledge, skills and resources for running a successful space to the table, plus the team i work with and people i know who have extensive experience in this field.

However, I’d want to make this a cooperative effort and to form a team to bring this vision to life. So if there’s anyone out there who has a dream to start their own albergue or who resonates with any of what i’ve written above, i’d love to hear from you and i’ve added my contact details below.

By no means is any of this idea concrete, and i am open to ideas, suggestions and feedback.

I am going to be walking from Sevilla to Santiago between May 15th and June 18th, so if anyone is on route and wants to share ideas, then please feel free to get in touch.

All the best and Buen Camino for those lucky enough to be walking the route this year,

Dan

View attachment 55875
Don't let the grouchy old farts get you down.
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Seven Compostelas in Three years and counting......
I think Daniel has a great Idea. I also think he has the experience to put this plan into practice.

Personally, when I do stay in Santiago I always stay at Roots & Boots albergue. The family who run it have become like a second family to me and I love them dearly.

Great albergue, great family, great atmosphere. Lovely garden, fantastic kitchen away from the accommodation and they do really cheap food during the day. So the place actually works out cheaper than most albergues in Santiago. They call me the 'crazy one' or 'Peregrino Loco' for some odd reason!

One more albergue with a pilgrim soul in Santiago would be great!

Sell Morcilla Bocadillo and I might be tempted to visit!

Good luck
Davey
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
trying to capture the essence of the camino spirit, I think i understand this part now. I've spent the last 4 years walking the Camino trying to figure this part out, taking notes and speaking to pilgrims at every albergue i stayed at.
Your desire is honourable Daniel , but if you wish to keep that black hair i suggest you stay away from a pilgrims albergue in SDC
There are better opportunities available if you have plenty of euros .
The town is full mate , very expensive to lease and impossible to own.
I know on the 7 occasions we have arrived our accommodation has got better, better and better :)
And in saying that i believe 90% of all arrivals who commenced in France want to upgrade just a little on the final night.
If i was 40 yrs younger Dan i would be thinking the same as you.
Keep well.
 
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Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Seven Compostelas in Three years and counting......
Your desire is honourable Daniel , but if you wish to keep that black hair i suggest you stay away from a pilgrims albergue in SDC
There are better opportunities available if you have plenty of euros .
The town is full mate , very expensive to lease and impossible to own.
I know on the 7 occasions we have arrived the accommodation has got better, better and better :)
And in saying that i believe 90% of all arrivals who commenced in France want to upgrade just a little on the final night.
If i was 40 yrs younger Dan i would be thinking the same as you.
Keep well.
If 90% of all pilgrims arriving in Santiago want to upgrade a little when arriving then there is 10% who can't afford to upgrade (or don't want to). I have walked with many who dread the cost there, and many who walk on to Finisterre etc because Santiago is just too expensive. 10% is a massive number most of the year. And I think it is much more than 10%, but who knows!

All good points though.

Davey
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
If 90% of all pilgrims arriving in Santiago want to upgrade a little when arriving then there is 10% who can't afford to upgrade (or don't want to). I have walked with many who dread the cost there, and many who walk on to Finisterre etc because Santiago is just too expensive. 10% is a massive number most of the year. And I think it is much more than 10%, but who knows!

All good points though.

Davey
Don't you misquote me Boydie old boy.
I did say 90% of those who commenced in StJPP or even further away in France [ Arles / Le Puy etc ] need this slight up grade not the mob from Sarria etc.
Yes SDC is expensive but no more expensive than Le Puy onwards .
A beer a day less for the journey will allow a lovely pension.
Deprive yourself "Two" beers a day [don't do it😉] you now have a good hotel.
I think most who immediately go on to the coast would have stayed on the hill , just 5km short the night before .

I love Daniels thoughts and i could give you 3 villages where i would love to set up a fair dinkum albergue showing love , care & donation only [ man on door in case its a coin they use ] and deprive a few greedy landlords ...........but Davey old boy , Ivar gave me my last warning yesterday😇
Keep well mate.
 
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Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Seven Compostelas in Three years and counting......
Don't you misquote me Boydie old boy.
I did say 90% of those who commenced in StJPP or even further away in France [ Arles / Le Puy etc ] need this slight up grade not the mob from Sarria etc.
Yes SDC is expensive but no more expensive than Le Puy onwards .
A beer a day less for the journey will allow a lovely pension.
Deprive yourself "Two" beers a day [don't do it😉] you now have a good hotel.
I think most who immediately go on to the coast would have stayed on the hill , just 5km short the night before .

I love Daniels thoughts and i could give you 3 villages where i would love to set up a fair dinkum albergue showing love , care & donation only [ man on door in case its a coin they deposit:cool: ] and deprive a few greedy landlords ...........but Davey old boy , Ivar gave me my last warning yesterday😇
Keep well mate.
Ha Ha! You made me laugh! Deprive myself of two beers a day? Are you joking? I don't like hotels anyway, prefer to be with smelly pilgrims. You are right about the prices in France though, I had to sleep outside a lot, or my beer consumption would of suffered.

Don't upset uncle Ivar, be a good boy! (Not that I am an angel, far from it). 🙃

You take care too!
 

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
To divert the conversation in a more positive direction, and to avoid any more conversations about what a pilgrim is/isn't, which certainly wasn't my intention, i have removed "true" from the title of my post.
You have indeed! I'm making this more visible so people who are just joining the discussion can see your good intentions. I'm always astounded at the number of people who jump into a discussion and don't bother to read through all the replies following an initial post. I mean when people insist on throwing their two cents in when it's already been stated and addressed better elsewhere in the post...SMH!

Personally, I don't plan to stay in Santiago long before heading out to Finisterre. I'm wondering if also it wouldn't be wise to consider starting an albergue in a place with less infrastructure, a mid-point between Orrison and Roncesvaille or an "oasis" on the Meseta.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
My initial reaction was, hasn't this been done already?
(From the perspective of not wanting someone to get their hopes up and fail)

But thank you @natefaith for adding your first hand views and perspective.
And as you point out, isn't there room for another alternative offering?
Best of luck @Daniel Beaumont and keep us posted :)
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
Personally, I don't plan to stay in Santiago long before heading out to Finisterre. I'm wondering if also it wouldn't be wise to consider starting an albergue in a place with less infrastructure, a mid-point between Orrison and Roncesvaille
Now there's an idea!

Though the owners at Orrison might not be best pleased ;)

I'm sure there are reasons why it hasn't happened.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
True, but daunting nonetheless. Then there is the entire local political and economic system, to joust against.

Even though the CF is hurtling towards "peak pilgrim" for the coming 2021 Holy Year, there is not much development of added bed space occurring.

This reluctance to expand, in the face of annually increasing volumes will prove shortsighted to the communities along the CF, at least IMHO.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
there is the entire local political
That is the answer in one ......who runs the towns.
Don't get me started on France t2 ......the mayor of a village has more power than Marcon.
He is the Man , end of story...............Same applies in Spain.

Don't worry Robo Orrison was "nearly" on the list of three.🙏
 

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Sanabres (2018) Frances reverse(2018)
...words to encapsulate the spirit of how the albergue should look and feel.
Daniel, you use the phrase “tap into” quite a lot and I think it is at the heart of your whole idea. There are so many arrivals in Santiago you only need to focus on a small percentage for your venture to reflect your vision and fulfil a real need. I would see that small percentage being the first-time pilgrims, who have probably come a long way and are completely overwhelmed at suddenly confronting the end of their pilgrimage in the chaos and sheer wonder that can be Santiago. That was me in 2012.
I got it wrong. I wanted somewhere comfortable, a small hotel, and paid extra to feel lonely. I needed to share my spiritual and physical exhilaration which surpassed just about anything I’d experienced in a fairly long life.
Success to you.
 

SafariGirl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés, Vía de la Plata, Primitivo, Norte, Lebaniego & Vadiniense,
Aragonés
Hey everyone,

My name’s Dan - i’m originally from Britain but currently live in Bucharest, Romania.

Like many of you, I’m deeply passionate about the Camino and for the last 4 years I’ve walked a different route, and next month I’ll be heading back to Spain for my 5th Camino - the Via de la Plata - starting in Sevilla and ending in Santiago.

But this post isn’t about my upcoming journey. The Camino has impacted my life in so many beautiful ways - the wonderful people i've met, the scenery, realisations & learnings, struggles, the Camino spirit, plus so much more - leaving me full of gratitude and appreciation.

Given all of this.. now i want to give back, which is why i want to share with you an ambitious project idea that’s been on my mind for the last few years, in hope that it resonates in some way with fellow pilgrims out there with a similar dream and vision.

I think there is a great sense of community and spirit amongst people who walk the way, plus the fact that finishing a Camino is such a monumental moment in life that needs, in my opinion, to be celebrated and shared once arriving in Santiago.

However, after hearing many stories of people disappointed and underwhelmed when they reach Santiago de Compostela coupled with a weak selection of true pilgrim Albergues in town, wouldn’t it be great to team up and create an Albergue where pilgrims can finish their journey that epitomises the spirit of the Camino?

I imagine a place where pilgrims can come together to share their stories, learnings and realisations from their journey, as well as reflect and relax in comfort. There would be a pilgrim’s meal every evening, regular workshops/presentations/events, and the Albergue would embody a sense of camaraderie, belonging and community. It would be run by pilgrims too… people who have walked Caminos in the past and want to give back. It doesn't have to be in Santiago but ideally located close by in tranquil nature and towards the end of the route, where all the Caminos converge.

To fill you with a little bit of optimism and to illustrate and assure you that i am deadly serious about bringing this idea to life, I want to tell you a little bit about myself. My background is in hospitality and I have 5 years experience in the hostel industry. I own and run two of the best-rated Hostels in Romania for the last 2 years running, one of which was voted in the top 5 hostels of the world this January.

With that said, i can bring my knowledge, skills and resources for running a successful space to the table, plus the team i work with and people i know who have extensive experience in this field.

However, I’d want to make this a cooperative effort and to form a team to bring this vision to life. So if there’s anyone out there who has a dream to start their own albergue or who resonates with any of what i’ve written above, i’d love to hear from you and i’ve added my contact details below.

By no means is any of this idea concrete, and i am open to ideas, suggestions and feedback.

I am going to be walking from Sevilla to Santiago between May 15th and June 18th, so if anyone is on route and wants to share ideas, then please feel free to get in touch.

All the best and Buen Camino for those lucky enough to be walking the route this year,

Dan

View attachment 55875
You’re a visionary Dan; with the power to inspire others (ie: Nate) and the capacity to realise your visions (ie: your hostels in Romania). I’ve walked 7 Caminos to Santiago, enjoyed every arrival and subsequent stay there but never found the type of hostel you describe, and would have liked to. Seminario Menor feels like the closest and it’s now my accommodation of choice, but it’s not what you’re describing.
I agree with the suggestion to look for a location just beyond SdC on the road to Finisterre (because most pilgrims have ‘the goal of arriving’ firmly fixed upon when they’re very close and will only feel ready to ‘share and assimilate’ after they’ve arrived). The countryside is very quickly rural again, as you leave the city, and there’s really no accommodation that provides the opportunity for the community experience you describe before Negreira (22km beyond SdC).
If your hostel project gets off the ground, word will soon spread that people can find this communal experience a few kms further on.
I wish you the best of luck and I know that you’ll attract like-minded allies, because it’s people like you who create the positive impetus needed to turn dreams into reality. ¡Ánimo! :)
 

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
Though the owners at Orrison might not be best pleased ;)
Probably not but since they have limited beds, the only business they are losing is the business they already are from not having beds. Since they pre-book and so does Roncesvaille, it would definitely be a success and could easily operate on a first-come first-serve basis.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
I'm sure there are reasons why it hasn't happened.
Try getting a lease at Circular Quay .
Closed shop mate,
That's why Valcarlos is becoming very popular to the Pilgrims who have plenty of time , especially those who have commenced on the Aubrac in France.
 

Daniel Beaumont

Walking the VDLP through May & June 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Norte, Camino Portugués, Camino Primitivo & Camino Via de la Plata (May 19)
Hello everyone,

Thanks for all the wonderful feedback here. I’ve been monitoring the post, and read every single comment, and it’s clear, that in addition to the feedback that I received publicly and privately (here and on Facebook) from at least 30 different people, there’s an overwhelming amount of support here for a community focused Albergue towards the end of the Camino/converge point of the routes.

I want to thank everyone for their input. I am going to get the ball rolling on this project. In two weeks time I am going to be walking the Via de la Plata, and I’ve already arranged to meet with several people in Santiago de Compostela once I arrive on June 15th.

I’ve already taken note of all those who reached out or showed interest and I think that the next best step is to create a group on either Facebook or Whatsapp to expand this idea. If you’re interested in joining that, feel free to send me a message.

To answer some of the key questions that caught my attention from reading the responses here:

Does the albergue have to be located in Santiago?

The albergue doesn’t need to be located in Santiago de Compostela. I was more referring to the end of the Camino, possibly where all the routes converge, or even after Santiago if the city itself isn’t a viable option. I am open to ideas here. The building will have very specific requirements too, which need to be considered.

How big will the Albergue be?

In my experience of running Podstel and all the other hostels, albergues, and communities I've visited, there is a sweet spot for forming community between about 30-50 beds for creating a space that feels homely, communal and familiar for the guest, while still enabling staff to get to know guests on a personal level.

How will we fund the albergue?

I see two feasible possibilities here:

1 - Privately funded by myself and other partners.
2 - Crowdfunded and collaboratively owned and run by the Camino community.

Will the albergue be for-profit?

It depends on many different factors (e.g, team, location, building, legislation, other stakeholders), the approach taken, as well as the purpose of the Albergue. But to stay competitive in a market like Santiago de Compostela, at first glance, and considering there’s currently no Donativo Albergues in the city, a for-profit model makes sense.

How will we create the pilgrim feel to the place?

That’s the part I feel I’m most prepared for. The albergue will be a reflection of the pilgrim’s who stay there. I will borrow many concepts that we currently use at Podstel in Romania to create a homely atmosphere and feeling, however it will not feel like a hostel but rather will capture the essence of the Camino. It'll be more about the vibe of the place, and the experience of bringing pilgrims together. Definitely over food, and good conversation. It doesn't need to be lavish in design, but simple, homely, welcoming and familiar.

Will there be paid staff and other employees?

Yes, a core team running the place, plus help from volunteers if legislation allows that to be so.

Will it be similar to Podstel?

No. Very different. Like I mentioned above, I will be applying my knowledge of hospitality and some of the principles I’ve learned at Podstel to create an albergue that captures the spirit and essence of the Camino, not a backpacker’s hostel.

--

I hope my comments help clarify people's questions, and I look forward to expanding this discussion, or potentially meeting some of you in person soon on the Via de la Plata this May/June.

If anyone has any more questions or comments, feel free to post them below.

I’ll be setting up the group in due course once I finish walking the VdlP and I’ve had the chance to meet and speak to several people once I reach Santiago mid-June.

Once again, thanks for all your comments,

Take care and all the best,

Dan Beaumont
 
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Camino(s) past & future
9-17: CF-SdC
4-18: SdC - Fisterra
9-18: Hosp Rvalles
4-19: Via Agusta
6-19: Hosp Rvalles
4-20: VdlP
Dan:

Before you go too deep into this, I beseech you to speak with staff at the Pilgrim House, Rua Nova, #19 in Santiago.

They have been doing exactly what you envision, and excelling at it for six years, IIRC. The only service they do not provide is overnight accommodations. Learn why they do not do this.

Seriously, check them out. At worst you will be a LOT better informed. At best, you might create a partnership.

Also, I think they may be presently recruiting for full-time staff. Volunteering with them might be a good way to dip your feet into this pond, to test the proverbial waters.

Hope this helps.

UPDATE: I am adding that Nate, of NateFaith fame, posted below (post #32 in this thread) to add that they are already in consultations and discussions with the OP. So, the OP had already adopted my essential advice.
Hi Dan, Just to let you know, I am a volunteer at the Pilgrims Office in Santiago, working for the Dutch St James Society. We run a 'living room' for newly arrived pilgrims, with the sole purpose of allowing pilgrims to let off steam, tell their stories, have a cup of tea, share. I know other countries also have these rooms in the same building, I believe the Americans, the French, the Brits. The pilgrims office itself also has psychologists on duty. I would love to forge some kind of connection between your idea of the albergue and these 'living rooms'. I'll be there myself in the last two weeks of October this year, and can help to get people in touch. It's all about connecting people isn't it? :)
 

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