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LIVE from the Camino live from the Frances

sulu

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
a few since 2010
It´s snowing, :cry: it´s been snowing all day from Roncesvalles to Zubiri, I think the snow arrived in Zubiri just before we did so tomorrow looks to be good as well. There´s a kind of paved area coming dowm off the Alte de Me... (sorry I´ve forgottenthe name) I´m sure it looks very nice in summer but it´s like a b....y 3 km skating rink, it made coming down that stretch very slow. There´s been a few falls but nothing serious. Pamplona was very cold on Tuesday as well, there was a very cold wind.
The municipal albegue here in Zubiri is closed but there is a very nice private one with all mod cons (10€) and there are facilities in the town. There were 10 of us in Roncesvalles last night, 5 just starting and five had come over, they´d had a good trip, the weather was good on Tuesday. there are 5 of us here and 5 seem to have gone on to Lanaseoña (or whatever) but according to the chap here the municipal there has no heating and there are no facilities in the village. I expect I´ll meet some of them tomorrow so I´ll check.
I had understood that there is no Albergue open in Pamplona but the one by the Puente Magdalena is open.
There are 2 big advantages to snow: It´s not as wet as rain and it´s cold! Much easier to wlk when it´s cool than when it´s hot :)
Sue
 
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Sagalouts

RIP 2015
Hi Sue
nice to hear the news from the front line-not sure about the snow-The convent at Trinidad de arre is open all year as is the Roncal family refuge in cizur menor (4.5km passed Pamplona) Estella large refuge open all year.
have a great time and please please keep the " live" blogs coming-I start in 20 days time from Le Puy
Ian
 

sulu

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
a few since 2010
Here I am again!
The report from Larraseoaña is true there is nothing open except the Refugio, however the people who went there had food in their rucksacks and they report they made full use of the kitchen and had a party!!
The walk walk from Zubiri got better after about Irotz where the snow ceased to lie, but there was nowhere to get a coffee from Zubiri to Trinidad de Arre!!
Paderborn in Pamplona is open and the German ladies were lovely, very welcoming. Pamplona is very cold, there is a strong cold wind. According to a newspaper I saw the temperature on Tuesday was -7 when allowance was made for windchill. It was very cold today, and on the Alto de perdon it was blowing a gale, but when we got to the top there was a man with a van serving refreshments for Pelegrinos. Once we started to come down the weather started to improve dramatically, there were still gusts of wind but here it is spring!!
Sue
 

viajero

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2008
Thanks for these posts! You are where I was exactly two years ago, when I started out in early March. Your being there at the same time of year and writing these posts, bring back all of the happy memories.
 

sulu

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
a few since 2010
I'm now in Estella, the number of pilgrims is growing daily. the weather today was pretty good. There was lots of sunshine and the almpond blossom is in flower, spoilt some times by freezing gusts of wind, but the gusts got lighter and less frequent as the morning progressed. Today is the first day I haven't warn waterproofs, I've warn just a pair of Umbro sports pants, they are marginally thicker than my zip ups. It was perfectly adequate and at times i was too warm. the temperature in Estella this afternoon was either14 or 8 degrees depending on which Pharmacia you believe!

Also first storks seen in Puente de le Reina!
I'll soon have done my first 100 Kms :)
Sue
 
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ksam

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Portuguese '08, Frances '11, del Norte '14, Invierno '16, Ingles '17, Primitivo October 2018
Turning shades of green here in the US, and wishing the nor'easter we just survived heads way way north and away from you! Keep posting,

Buen Camino, Karin
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
Hi Sue -

Well done on your first 100!

I am really enjoying your posts, so whenever you are able to catch us up on your journey, we'd love to hear from you.

Buen camino!

lynne
 

sulu

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
a few since 2010
The Fuente de Vino wasn't working last Sunday, it had been on Saturday so I'm not sure if this is a Sunday thing. The Hospitalera in Los Arcos suggests that it may have frozen, there have been some very heavy frosts at night!
There's an Albergue in Cirueña that isn't in my guide book or on the list from St Jean pdp
Coming out of Santo Domingo the road works have closed the Camino and made a deviation, I don't think this is soemthing totally new but it is now bigger than my guide book suggests, I reckon it added 2-3 kms to todays walk, it's 2 sides of a triangle and the long sides at that and it looks like it may continue for some time (months)
The Municipal Albergue at Redecilla has free internet!
The weather has been super but it is likely to rain tomorrow, maybe!
Having said that about the weather I am sitting here shivering because the internet is in an unheated room so I must go!
Sue
 

sulu

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
a few since 2010
I think that nor'easter came over from New Jersey though here it's probably a wester as it blows straight into your face as you walk and there's lots of cold rain. A cyclist passed me today and yelled 'What happened to spring' a good question, but still that's what spring does :( I won't post any more, there are others on the camino and I must be getting boring but I am blogging. It's
http://notdunroaminyet.blogspot.com

all my whinges in one place!
Sue
 
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ksam

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Portuguese '08, Frances '11, del Norte '14, Invierno '16, Ingles '17, Primitivo October 2018
:roll: Sorry Sue!! But...I can tell what is coming now is going to be spectacular!! Warm, Sunny and special!! Buen Camino, Karin :D
 

sulu

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
a few since 2010
Here's another one, I'm sure all you knowledgable people know about this but in Castrojeriz there is a little shop full of gear for pilgrims, everything you forgot or need a change of! I've never seen so many socks in one place :) It's like a tiny warehouse.
The weather remains pleasant again, just nice for walking and sitting outside with a beer at the end :D
Sue
 

anngw

New Member
Thank you to all the live posters! The best source of information for everyone planning the trip. My husband and I hope to do our first Camino later this year - but we are still undecided about the timing, wondering about the 2010 crowds. We are thinking about doing the Primitivo but looking at the route, I get the feeling that some of those long, steep descents require very young knees - fitness aside.
 

sulu

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
a few since 2010
falcon269 said:
Today there is new snow at O Cebreiro!
Thanks for that!
Another bit of good news for those around at the moment, it seems one or two people have been getting tummy bugs, probably of the viral variety. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. There was 1 in Mansilla and a girl here in Villar de Mazarife who thinks she got it in the same place so it's probably being spread happily up the camino!
Sue
 
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sulu

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
a few since 2010
Three bits of info:
1. This may be old hat for some but 6kms outside Astorga, going in, a young spaniard has taken residence in an old store and is doing a wonderful line in refreshments, coffee, fruit drinks, fresh fruit, cakes and biscuits. It comes just at a moment when a sit down is realy needed! I didn't ask him his name so if anyone knows, or can ask him!?
2. The route up to Foncebadon from Rabanal is a stream at the moment.
3. Heavy snow at Foncebadon this morning and down almost to El Acebo, don't know at what point you meet it going up. There's lots and lots of mud and streams running just about anywhere on the way down, including a couple of fallen trees to negotiate. :)
Buen Camino
Sue
 
Hey Sue

I believe you mean this place ?

Yes, a most enterprising young man, and such a welcome break from the rain and the wind cold it was back. Afraid I do not have his name, but I do remember the wonderful mug of hot tea, and the preserved figs and the freshly baked cake.

Thank you for the updates. Been following them and reminiscing, even if I had walked at a different time of the year.

Buen Camino
 

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D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
The albergue in La Virgen del Camino is open, contrary to all internet information - 4 Euro. Since it is the best on the Camino, I recommend it.

The Leon albergue was full Sunday night, but I think it was just Holy Week business. The parade with the cone hats, Jesus and Mary was excellent, but lockout at the Leon albergue is 2130, so we missed the cathedral activities. Tio Pepe albergue is 7 Euro.

There were only about 20 pilgrims at Villar de Mazarife for the three albergues, so there are no crowds yet. It is clear and dry. The farmers are harvesting beets, so they think it will be dry for a couple of days.

I was in an ankle immobilization boot until I departed Friday (long story not worth telling), so it will be a slow beginning to Santiago until the conditioning kicks in. The daily distance will have to equal the training I should have done before leaving.

In Hospital del Orbigo, only about eight bunks are taken in the private albergue. Of course, everyone else headed to Astorga.

I will post information on openings and closures as I know them, and as internet is available.
 

amriwalking9496

New Member
falcon269 said:
The albergue in La Virgen del Camino is open, contrary to all internet information. Since it is the best on the Camino, I recommend it.

The Leon albergue was full Sunday night, but I think it was just Holy Week business. The parade with the cone hats, Jesus and Mary was excellent, but lockout at the Leon albergue is 2130, so we missed the cathedral activities.

There were only about 20 pilgrims at Villar de Mazarife for the three albergues, so there are no crowds yet. It is clear and dry. The farmers are harvesting beets, so they think it will be dry for a couple of days.

I was in an ankle immobilization boot until I departed Friday (long story not worth telling), so it will be a slow beginning to Santiago until the conditioning kicks in. The daily distance will have to equal the training I should have done before leaving.

In Hospital del Orbigo, only about eight bunks are taken in the private albergue. Of course, everyone else headed to Astorga.

I will post information on openings and closures as I know them, and as internet is available.


I"ve been reading your post today and found all the information very useful as I will be beginning my walk on the 13 of April. I really do hope that your ankle heals quickly.

Take Care
 
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Best wishes on that ankle.
I broke my foot almost exactly 2 years ago and was in a wheel chair for 12 weeks. I leave for SJPP in 9 days. I have been increasing my walking in preparation. The foot hruts but, I know the bones are strong. So far just and Advil a day seems to take the ege off and it is fine.
All this to say I have begun worrying what will happen day after day so I have found your note encouraging that someone else believes this can been done with a sore foot.
Hopefully, it is not that we are both just crazy.
All the best.
BUen Camino.
Louise
ctlou
USA
 

Canuck

Veteran wanderer
Year of past OR future Camino
?
Louise-Spagnuolo said:
... someone else believes this can been done with a sore foot.

I can vouch for that having completed Sevilla-Santiago on a ''club foot''.

Jean-Marc
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
Falcon -

Many good and positive thoughts for quick healing for your ankle go with you!

Buen camino

lynne
 

Arn

Veteran Member
Sue and all,

Anytime a Forum member can take the time to provide an "At this time" update it gives others a sense of what's to come and, for those of us that have done a Camino, a flashback to the joys and tribulations we've experienced.

Please continue and...

Buen Camino

Arn
 

sulu

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
a few since 2010
falcon269 said:
The albergue in La Virgen del Camino is open, contrary to all internet information. Since it is the best on the Camino, I recommend it.

The Leon albergue was full Sunday night, but I think it was just Holy Week business. The parade with the cone hats, Jesus and Mary was excellent, but lockout at the Leon albergue is 2130, so we missed the cathedral activities.

There were only about 20 pilgrims at Villar de Mazarife for the three albergues, so there are no crowds yet. It is clear and dry. The farmers are harvesting beets, so they think it will be dry for a couple of days.

I was in an ankle immobilization boot until I departed Friday (long story not worth telling), so it will be a slow beginning to Santiago until the conditioning kicks in. The daily distance will have to equal the training I should have done before leaving.

In Hospital del Orbigo, only about eight bunks are taken in the private albergue. Of course, everyone else headed to Astorga.

I will post information on openings and closures as I know them, and as internet is available.
Hi Falcon
I think your timing is right, the crowds are going along with me, still loads of Germans and since last night a bus load of Portuguese teenagers. The heavy back packs go on the bus of course! The Albergue at O Cebreiro was full greatly disrupted by them. I rather fancy they are stopping here in Triacastela though I was assured they weren't :(
The weather here is super :D Beautiful weather up to O Cebreira, I was in a T-shirt from before A Faba, and almost no snow to see. I started early this morning, because of the school kids, but it was worth it to see the sun rise over the mountains. Snow on the ground coming down but still a beautiful day :)
They are still giving out disposable sheets and pillow cases, apparently this is new for this year.
Sue
 
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D

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It is four o´clock, and there are just two of us in San Javier albergue in Astorga 8 Euro. The second floor dormitory is closed for undisclosed reasons. The building next door is draped in construction material, so the albergue is a bit hard to see until you get to it. The third floor has been completely renovated into a dormitory with lots of bunk and single beds (where the ceiling is too low for a bunk, and too low to stand up in most cases), three light bulbs, and two ceiling fans. The showers are still on the second floor, laundry in the courtyard. The lounge area, kitchen, and internet are excellent.

Last night the San Miguel in Hospital del Orbiga still had four top bunks in the one room they opened, so it was about 20 pilgrims total for the night. Bicyclists arrived late to fill bunks. A stop in the German parrochial alberge revealed under six pilgrims. The sopa de Truchas was excellent in one of the restaurants in town. Several buildings have been renovated, and the area for the jousting has been prepared but not decorated. I think the jousting is in May. Google it.

Getting to Astorga now requires using a four story steel walkway to cross the train tracks. That is five minutes going up, then down, in essentially the same spot. Since Astorga is one of those places that you can see for six or seven kilometers, and does not seem to get closer as you walk to it, the frustration of the pedestrian bridge adds to the fatigue. To go directly to San Javier, ignore the arrows after the second train tracks, and turn right. Follow the obvious streets and any signs to the bus station until you are up the hill. Follow an ALSA bus when possible. The streets will dump you in the square next to the Gaudi museum.

El Ganso and the Cowboy bar tomorrow. It is still training days. Naturally, we chomp at the bit remembering what we ¨used¨ to be able to do! The reality is, though, that we have to pace ourselves early, or something will break.

The weather is perfect, but that means nothing to those who are following!
 
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CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I remember that steel walkway.. very bizarre but got you up over the tracks.

I'm glad San Javier is doing work. It's a nice albergue. They were plagued with bedbugs when I was there and I felt very sorry for the hospitalera, because it seemed no matter how much they cleaned, fumigated, and worked, the bugs kept coming. She graciously arranged alternative lodging for us with some wonderful folks in the countryside.

One thing I did NOT like about that San Javier was how close together the beds were. It was almost impossible to get into your bunk because the bed next to you was only a few inches. Impossible if you were bigger than a breadbox. But otherwise, a sweet place.

The Cowboy Bar was closed when we went by. That's one landmark I have yet to experience. However, the little bar to the left of it was open.

Good reports, Falcon. Thanks. Buen Camino.
 
D

Deleted member 3000

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One internet minute.

Great weather. Lots of bicycles. Plenty of empty beds. Santa Catalina headed to El Ganso.
 
D

Deleted member 3000

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The entire mountain (Mount Irago maybe) up to Foncebadon is a spring, as mentioned in Sulu´s post. The path is the most convenient way down for the water, so it is a stream, quite navigable at the moment. But if it rains, I suggest staying on the road.

The private albergue in El Ganso is just adequate. The hospitalero is absent except to collect money in the evening. Four people stopped to stay, but the shower was cold, so they moved on. The hospitalero turns on the water when he gets there, but there is no information from him on his plans for the day. Communication.

The Cowboy Bar includes a shot of ¨gasolina¨in the dinner -- arujo.

Just six in the private albergue in Foncebadon at 1700. The Convento albergue has a new addition that I have not visited yet. The actual church facility looks closed.
 
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walkingnomads

New Member
Is there anyone on the VDLP at the moment to do a live blog? We start early May and plan to blog en route. It is a great way to connect with 'pre' and 'post' walkers! Cathy
PS The Camino Frances 'live' evokes many memories for us too. Thank you bloggers!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Check in the Via de la Plata section... you will see several pilgrims who are soon beginning their walk. Perhaps you can convince them to keep a blog on Blogspot?
 

sulu

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
a few since 2010
Hi! I'm not technically LIVE on the Frances anymore. I arrived here this morning, Alleluia :D
The weather has benn superb since Easter, very hot walking in the afternoon, I don't know how anyone does it in summer :!:
Almost all Albergues since Sarria have been full this week. Monday was a Bank Holiday in Cataluña and most of the Catalans seem to be here. Loads of touri-pilgrims, come by the bus load, at times the camino can be infested, there are 100+ of one group and there are at least 3 groups! It's meant pressure trying to get to an Albergue, so different from the first few weeks, :( and new faces every day.
I don't know why i got excited about the spring up to Foncebadon in Galicia I have been either on a road or walking in mud and water, every spring is still overflowing.
The camino from Lavacolla is dire, I suppose it usually is :( No distance signs, walking on a road, few arrows, it was hell yesterday. I didn't think to get money out in Arzua and the cash machine at monte de Goza would not recognise my cards, so supper last night was a packet of crisps and a glass of wine. This morning I discovered that Monte de goza must be the only Albergue in Galicia with a well equiped kitchen! Never mind.
Pilgrims can't go in through the Año Santo door,unless you want to hug the saint, and you can't take in a backpack, but at 8.45 this morning no one was looking, so I slipped in, backpack and all. It does seem appropriate after such a long walk to actually go into the cathdral when you arrive! :) All I have to do now is find my hotel and get my boots off :D
Sue
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
Well done and congratulations Sulu,
I'm delighted you 'snuk in' and avoided the backpack police! Boots off feet up fantastic tapas and a lovely glass of cool albarino....well deserved. Loved following your posts so thank you.
Nell
 

sulu

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
a few since 2010
falcon269 said:
One internet minute.

Great weather. Lots of bicycles. Plenty of empty beds. Santa Catalina headed to El Ganso.

I'll be watching your posts to see if this happy state continues! For anyone considering when is a good time to walk I'd say before Easter was great but avoid the week before and after Easter unless you really can't avoid them.

The big advantage of all the groups was that the Botafumeiro flew at both the 10am and 12 Masses on Sunday :D No, I didn't go to both masses but I went in early to try and get a seat and saw both. I didn't get a seat, :( the Cathedral was like a circus. I also felt that the 'Pilgrims' were hardly given a mention, just a vague admittance that people from allover Europe had walked from various places!! Only the groups were mentioned by name and area.
I popped into the end of the Pilgrim mass yesterday and felt it was very much more prayerful and that the Bishop did wish the pilgrims a safe return home, so he probably mentioned them more specifically. I suppose it's swings and roundabouts. :?
Sue
 
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D

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My segment of the Camino is empty. There were only 3 pilgrims in the Internacional in Sarria, which has 58 beds. The Durminento had only a couple. The bar by the Don Alvaro had only three pilgrims for coffee.

I have stayed in the Durminento, Los Blasones, and Internacional, and I think the Internacional is the best. The owner spent a while in Switzerland, and speaks Castillian, Gallego, English, French, and German. Her mother cooks, so it is pretty much a family affair, priced at 10 Euro a night.

Another gem is the new albergue at Mercadoiro (9 euros), about 5.4 km before Portomarin. The owner has walked the Camino three times, and set up an albergue that he would have liked. It is a very popular rest stop before the push to Portomarin, but most pilgrims are driven to reach Portomarin because it is a stop on everyone´s stages. There were only 3 of us for the night in a modern conversion of a farmhouse. It was a bit dark and cold on the particular night, but if anyone has slept in the Ferramenteiro in June with 120 pilgrims and 90 degree heat, you would welcome the cool stone walls at Mercadoiro! Jose, the owner, seems to have a circle of family and friends to help, and he turned a couple of slices of round of beef into edible steaks by slicing it thinly across the grain, and flash frying it so that it did not get tough. With more pilgrims, the menu may be more varied. The lentils were excellent, and he tossed in a shot of hierbas (arujo).

Still another gem was the O Cruceiro in Ventas de Naron (9 euros). Again, there were only three of us in the newly renovated albergue for 25. The owner has friends and family to fill in when she is tending the sheep and goats. She did most of the cooking and laundry.

This internet is in Palas de Rei, and I have not passed, nor been passed, by many pilgrims, so traffic is light. I cannot guess when that will end. As in every year, I am sure the small places will be the easiest to stay in.
 
D

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Superlatives may get me in trouble, but the albergue in San Xulian just after Palas de Rei is the best of the 200+ I have stayed in. The bar and dormitory has expanded into the building across the street. The new renovation includes a room for four and a room for eight. The dormitory and the room for eight was reserved for a youth group and a group of women; I was the only drop-in pilgrim and had the room-for-four to myself. The new building has two bathrooms, and they even had exhaust fans for the steam and other vapors. Anyone who has stayed in the armpit of an albergue in Palas de Rei will welcome the elbow room, cool stone, and good service in San Xulian. I highly recommend walking past Palas de Rei after you visit a cash machine and restaurant! There is no kitchen in San Xulian, so self-caterers beware. A bed is 10 Euro, dinner 10 Euro, and desayuno is 3.50 Euro, so it is a bit expensive if you are on a budget.

About fifty pilgrims have passed me on the way to Melide, mostly youth groups and older Spanish without backpacks.
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Maybe we should have a "Falcon Rating" for albergues! Seriously this information is really helpful. As ever most pilgrims arriving in the last couple of days are Spanish and started in Sarria. People here are glad of the lull. ´Twill be short lived.

BTW - the Botafumeiro is not scheduled to fly every single day as yet. I´m told this is because there are a large numbers of exisitng "bookings" :) - daily flights will be considered for the summer months!

Buen Camino

John
 
D

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I cannot jinx it, so I can say that it is raining, the first time on this pilgrimage. I am in Arca, so it will only be for one day at most. I almost did not need my Altus poncho.

Last night in Arzua was only 20 percent full. Tonight in the Albergue Porta de Santiago, it is full.

Arca has blossomed in two years with another new albergue at the gas station, a new pension with doubles, and about three new restaurants. Time running out on internet.
 
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lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
Falcon, your posts are always illuminating, informing, stimulating, and sometimes provocative, and I enjoy them all. Congratulations on your 1,000th post! And have a great time in Santiago!

lynne
 
D

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There are a lot of people in Santiago! The Pilgrim Office is pretty quiet. Monte do Gozo had a LOT of youth there Friday, but only a few had been walking The Way. The noon mass is crowded beyond all recognition with very few hiking boots in sight. The No Backpack rule is being enforced. Since there is almost no room in the standing-room-only crowd for your wallet, there certainly would not have been enough room for a pack. Pack storage, as has been mentioned, is a door or two down from the Pilgrim Office.

The 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. masses are less crowded, with most people able to find a seat. Entrance is only by the Praza de Praterias door. The line for hugging Santiago extends through the Holy Door and can nearly fill the Praza de Quintanas. The line is reversed from previous years, entering at the exit, then going into the exit for the tomb, leaving by the entrance back up stairs to exit the cathedral. You cannot go directly from the Santiago statue/tomb to mass; it is roped off and policed. After the hug and prayer, you must go back to Praterias and join the line to enter the Cathdral.

The Botafumeiro seems to be swinging at every mass, but there also have been a lot of special groups that have a part in the mass, so I am sure there are no guarantees.

I do not think that the Spanish have ever been taught ¨single file.¨ If there are more than two, they completely fill the sidewalk. Cultural difference, I suppose.
 

ksam

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Portuguese '08, Frances '11, del Norte '14, Invierno '16, Ingles '17, Primitivo October 2018
Falcon, really enjoyed your posts and info. Glad you made it, and are enjoying Santiago. BUT, also makes me happy I didn't decide to go this year. I think the crowds would make me a bit claustrophobic!

Hope your feet are enojoying a rest now that your done!
Karin
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Year of past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
Thanks, Falcon, for the update on what I missed last week, having skipped off the Frances back in El Acebo! It seems I just missed you, I arrived in Santiago on the 20th. I found NO crowds, no queues in either of the cathedral entrances, and space going begging at Mass. No botafumeiro, but no problem .. it's always been a bit over the top for my taste.

Maybe you got the crowd because you got the weekend
 
Falcon, I'm glad to see you loved the Mercadoiro albergue as much as I did. I had promised a bunch of pilgrims in Sarria that I would meet them in Portomarin, but by the time I got to this albergue, I was so tired & thought it was only a bar/restaurant. That was not a good day & when I saw the lovely gardens, I wanted to stay so badly I started crying. :) Then I saw the sign that said it was an albergue & I marched right in & got a space. Lovely spot, lovely albergue, complete with a cat & dog!

Kelly
 
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My opinion: everyone obsessed with reaching Portomarin will miss a true gem at Mercadoiro!
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
We also stayed at Mercadoiro last October and loved it. It's another of these oasis' that appears just when you need it. The old renovated farmhouse is charming. I was able to use the washing machine and there's loads of clothes line space to hang out and dry your wash. There's an enormous field where you can relax, lie around and take it easy or you can sit in the charming courtyard and watch other pilgrims trudge past the gate, convinced that overcrowded Portomarín is the place to stop for the night. We had a great dinner with a delightful Spanish couple and were able to have breakfast there before leaving the next morning. Anne
 

FilmTurtle

New Member
@falcon -- Thank you for the many updates and posts. Congrats on completing your Camino.

I fly out tonight for Heathrow, having been delayed a week due to a certain Icelandic volcano... Will be working all week, then head to Barcelona, Pamplona and SJPdP next weekend. I begin walking a week from Monday and hope to post live updates from the road, too.

Fingers crossed. All hail the volcano gods!
 

FilmTurtle

New Member
Hello, all -- Apologies for the brief note as my time is running out here on the by the hour internet.

I have been walking the Camino Frances for seven days. I am currently in Los Arcos. I am a stage or so behind because I have been walking shorter days for several stages to make it easier on my feet. So at some point I will have to have a superpowered hiking day or take a bus and skip a stage or two if I want to make my deadline.

I am sorry to say the weather has been absolutely terrible. Today walking from Estella to Los Arcos it was constant rain, wind and cold. As soon as we reached the city, the damn sun came out. This weather has not made the Camino a very pleasant experience the past week. Every day I and dozens (scores?) of pilgrims are soaked and covered in mud.

Add to this the Camino and albergues are very crowded right now and often there is limited hot water and laundry facilities, and usually no dryer.

Although the volunteers who run the albergues have been mostly pleasant, and the pilgrims themselves mostly respectful, the crowded conditions are trying. It is disheartening to walk into town in the pouring rain with sore feet only to be turned away not once, but twice and sent to other albergues.

My apologies as I am feeling very sorry for myself! I imagine these landscapes and pathways would be quite pleasant, or even beautiful, if not for the fog and rain clouds obscuring the views.

Many, many pilgrims were caught unawares by the cold and rain. Please consider this if you plan to leave for the Camino soon. Monday night after we crossed the Pyrenees the police turned up in rescue vehicles and took the pilgrims off the mountain and the pass was closed. Tuesday in Roncesvalles was apparently the coldest for that date in over a century.

I have also seen many travelers in agony because they have been walking in regular hiking boots and socks. PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS. Make sure your boots are thoroughly waterproof and buy special hiking socks from a sporting goods store. You will also need rain gear that has extra room in the back to accommodate your pack. A simple poncho will not be sufficient, as I learned the hard way.

I hope no upcoming pilgrims are discouraged, but I wanted to chime in here to let you know of the conditions on the ground, so to speak. Apologies if I am unable to post again for a few days, as many of these small towns have no internet.

Cheers
 
My first trek on the Camino was in early May & the weather was awful too. It does tend to color your Camino, doesn't it? It's hard enough when it is dry & sunny. :) Since the sun did come out for you, I hope you have wonderful, pleasant, dry days for the rest of your Camino! :)

If you see this before you get to Logrono, the albergues are small there too. A new one was opened last year, but I don't know where it is. Plan on splurging for a hotel or hostal if you can. The Hotel Portales (on the Camino as you exit the Old Town) is a good deal. They do serve breakfast for an additional fee, but the internet is free! :D There is also a grocery store a few blocks away & you are close enough to the Cafe Moderno to get a good pilgrim menu as well.

Kelly
 
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FilmTurtle

New Member
Another update if anyone is interested: I am now in Santo Domingo de la Calzada. Arrived just as a big religious festival was breaking up. I must have been quite a sight in my grimy clothes.

Today was nippy and overcast but no rain (hallelujah!) Monday and Tuesday were temperate. What a change from week one...

The albergues continue to be quite crowded. Since Monday (day eight for me) there has been a steady stream of pilgrims at almost all times. The prior week there would be an hour or two that I would not see anyone. But for several days now there is always someone coming around the bend or up ahead, and there are many bikers, too.

The facilities here at Santo Domingo are quite posh (and very large, sleeping 200-plus) compared to some of the very basic facilties so far. Apparently I was snoring last night in the albergue in Navarette and feel bad about that. Our beds were jammed together so I must have been snoring in someone´s ear.

The constant cardio is wearing on my body a bit, but hanging in there otherwise. I hate to seem as if all I do is complain. There have been many lovely moments, too.

Cheers
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
Good going, FilmTurtle!

Glad the rain has abated some, and you are likely in a good rhythm of walking. Don't worry about your snoring - you're not the only one by a long shot!!

Enjoy!

lynne
 
FilmTurtle said:
Another update if anyone is interested: I am now in Santo Domingo de la Calzada. Arrived just as a big religious festival was breaking up. I must have been quite a sight in my grimy clothes.

Today was nippy and overcast but no rain (hallelujah!) Monday and Tuesday were temperate. What a change from week one...

The albergues continue to be quite crowded. Since Monday (day eight for me) there has been a steady stream of pilgrims at almost all times. The prior week there would be an hour or two that I would not see anyone. But for several days now there is always someone coming around the bend or up ahead, and there are many bikers, too.

The facilities here at Santo Domingo are quite posh (and very large, sleeping 200-plus) compared to some of the very basic facilties so far. Apparently I was snoring last night in the albergue in Navarette and feel bad about that. Our beds were jammed together so I must have been snoring in someone´s ear.

The constant cardio is wearing on my body a bit, but hanging in there otherwise. I hate to seem as if all I do is complain. There have been many lovely moments, too.

Cheers

Thank you very much for this ..

I am planning to start in sept the 3rd, and with this, you are helping many of us..Thats for sure!!

Buen Camino !!!
 

Joni

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Walked in May 2010.
Hello Film Turtle,
I leave one week from today out of SJPDP. Are you carrying a sleeping bag? Thank you for your very frank discussion of your experiences. I am glad you are not sugar coating it. We need to know what to expect. It will hopefully better prepare us! I look forward to reading more!!!
Buen Camino!
 
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FilmTurtle

New Member
Thanks for the kind words to all. I am glad these posts are helping. In Santo Domingo de la Calzada albergue I met a pilgrim from New Zealand who recognized me (from some life details) from this very forum! She had never posted but she loved the earlier thread about "fear," so it is a very small world indeed.

I am in Belorado, Spain. Today has turned out to be a short day. As I arrived I randomly ran into some pilgrims (from Australia, Denmark, Ireland, Germany) that I hadn´t seen in a week and they were all staying here, so I knocked off. This puts me a stage behind again on my schedule, but so be it. Belorado is small but quite lovely with many albergues (almost all full) and cafes.

Today was blue skies and a slight chill. Yesterday was rain, wind, cold and MUD. In the sleeting rain I missed a Knights Templar church, which is bothersome. I am told the crappy weather is supposed to taper off this weekend. Fingers crossed!

About SJPdP, on May 3 right after we crossed the bloody mountain, authorities closed the pass and sent police in rescue vehichles to transport those pilgrims still on the trail down to Roncesvalles. The following day was apparently the coldest for that date in over a century. News crews were there interviewing shivering pilgrims.

I would strongly advise those setting out from SJPdP or Roncesvalles to pay close attention to weather reports and bring proper rain gear. If you can manage a few items of warm clothing in your pack, please consider it. Today was Day 12 for me and we have had near-constant rain, wind and cold for nine of those days.

Nicest albergues have been in Sto. Domingo de la Calzada (the municipal) and Zubiri, which was slightly more expensive but well worth it for me after a nearly nine-hour hike through rainstorms and muddy forest paths. I believe it was called Albano, something like that. The first albergue when I arrived was inexplicably closed (Spain operates on its own schedule), the woman at a pension place told me to go away (!), the next private albergue was full, and the municipal was also full. So as you can imagine, I was very happy to get into the Albano.

Pilgrims have said the albergues in Pamplona were very nice (I opted for a cheap hotel) and Azorfa as well, which have private double rooms and is also HEATED (this is a rare quality for albergues), but I didn´t stay the night there.

Here in Belorado, I am at Cuatro Cantones. They are quite nice and it is very homey. Except for SJPdP, they have all been full to bursting. With few exceptions, the hospitaleros have been pleasant or friendly.

In St. Domingo was my first experience with a group of pilgrims who were outright rude. They talked and laughed at top volume in the room as others were trying to sleep and ignored it when they were shushed. They dropped things, left the door open to the noisy common room, etc. Otherwise, pilgrims have been generally respectful. Believe what you read about the snoring at night. It is unbelievable!

Cheers
 

FilmTurtle

New Member
Joni said:
Hello Film Turtle,
I leave one week from today out of SJPDP. Are you carrying a sleeping bag? Thank you for your very frank discussion of your experiences. I am glad you are not sugar coating it. We need to know what to expect. It will hopefully better prepare us! I look forward to reading more!!!
Buen Camino!

No, I am carrying one of those "space age" silver sheets that very handily retain body heat and fold up quite small. It was not terribly expensive and was purchased at a sporting goods store. It does rustle quite loudly, but so far it works to keep me relatively warm in the chilly albergues. But most pilgrims I have seen are carrying specialized sleeping bags.
 

benandsam

Member
Good luck ben have fun and as you say stay warm n dry, the meseta is cold enough also and there are long journeys between shelters, have plenty of provisions with you.
You are doing well and i will keep logging in here to see your progress

good luck
 

FilmTurtle

New Member
benandsam said:
Good luck ben have fun and as you say stay warm n dry, the meseta is cold enough also and there are long journeys between shelters, have plenty of provisions with you.
You are doing well and i will keep logging in here to see your progress

good luck

Thank you kindly!

Update from Burgos, Spain (Day 14 of 34 for me): The weather has been 50/50 rain and COLD with relatively sunny (not hot) skies the past several days.

Today was a tough hike into Burgos as so much of it was on asphault and concrete. I might take a half-day tomorrow and leave at noon so I can give a break to my feet and explore the city, which is quite beauitful. This puts me further behind on my schedule, but so it goes.

The two private albergues here in Burgos were full, but the municipal is fantastic. The best so far, better than Santo Domingo de la Calzada. 150 beds and it seems every pilgrim I have met along the way is here. Full facilities, very clean. And a view of the Cathedral from my window for just three Euro! Not a bad deal.

The albergue at San Juan de Castro was very old and very cold (heating seems to be a rare thing along the way) but they gave us warm blankets and I slept the sleep of the righteous despite abundant snoring. We attended the pilgrim mass and had the famous garlic soup afterwards. Not much to do there otherwise.

The trail continues to be quite crowded with new faces all the time.

Cheers
 
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FilmTurtle

New Member
Greetings live from the Camino, folks. Today is Thursday, May 27 and I am in Rabbanal del Camino. Just nine days to go for me until Santiago...

The weather has been temperate and overcast, perfect for hiking. Threatens to rain but nothing more than a few sprinkles. Wait, no, we had a couple of brief showers in Leon. Man, what a change from my first two and a half weeks.

The Camino continues to be quite crowded. Rarely is a day that I am not walking somewhere in a pack of 20-40 people. And many, many bikers.

The albergue in Villadango del Paramo was quiet and clean and the first time that I have stayed in one that was not completely full. Not sure why, as Villadango is the end stop on a stage according to the map provided by the office in SJPdP. Perhaps most went on to the next town? Not much going on in Villadango, so it was a very early bedtime. Upside: They offered us microwavable pasta meals, perhaps because there was so little on offer otherwise. Nice to eat spaghetti again!

An opposite experience was El Burgo Ranero. All three albergues were filled when I arrived late in the afternoon, sunburned and exhausted. The third hostel, La Laguna, actually had four slots left. However, the hospitalero told us he had no beds but that we could sleep on the floor for 20 Euro! I was with two exhausted Korean guys who were so tired they accepted, but I refused and checked into a hotel across the street. I paid more than 20 Euro but just could not see giving this guy any business. Matters were made worse when the owner of a local bar with some rooms on the second floor did the same, jacking up the price from 25 to 30 Euro in the space of 10 minutes.

But that is the exception: I had the pleasure of staying at RebekahScott´s cozy home in Moratinos and it was one of the most homey, pleasant experiences of my adventure. In fact, I have been quite homesick ever since!

Cheers
 

FilmTurtle

New Member
Another quick note to let everyone know that I finally reach Santiago tomorrow (Saturday)! More details to follow. Thanks all for the support.

Cheers
 

benandsam

Member
Congradulations ben im envious of you but its heartfelt as i know its a great acheivement to what you have done and you have endured every type of weather there has been.
I saw on the news rain is due to hit spain again in next day or two, enjoy santiago the cathedral is magnificent--treat yourself you earned it.
Disgraceful carry on by the albergue hostelries , im glad you stuck to your principles

buen camino
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
FilmTurtle....enjoy enjoy enjoy being in Santiago. Hope you 'bang into' more than a few people you met along the way. Congrats!
Margaret
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Congratulations Fim Turtle, what a great achievement, it sounded such a challenge given the weather and the crowds. Best wishes, Gitti
 
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lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
Hi Film Turtle -

Way to go! You persevered and were successful in the end.

Best,

lynne
 

FilmTurtle

New Member
Thank you for the kind words, everyone. I truly appreciate it.

I am back in Santiago today (Tuesday, June eighth) after an overnight visit to Finisterre yesterday. I am glad I pushed through my lethargy to make the trip because it was worth it. I stayed in the Hotel Finisterre (30E) which was clean and very basic, perhaps a bit overpriced. Most of the pilgrims on my bus went for one of several albergues, but I think I am done with those...

The weather in Finisterre was cold, rainy, windy and foggy, perfectly in line with my first couple of weeks on the Camino, so I didn´t really mind. It was worth it almost entirely for the scallop shell road marker that read "0.00 k"!

It was beautiful Saturday and Sunday in Santiago, where a medival arts and food festival was underway. Streets were absolutely thronged with people. But today it is raining and much more quiet. I must admit to mixed feelings about seeing the newly arrived pilgrims limping around Old Town looking for the Cathedral or Pilgrim´s Office. I am glad I am finished and yet have some melancholy about giving up my pilgrim´s identity.

The Camino itself was very crowded, as it had been from Week Two, from Sarria onward but I had no problems finding a bed in albergues. The "daytrippers" clogged the way and overwhelmed the hostels and I must admit to some uncharitable feelings about them with their clean clothes and tiny little packs (if they even carried one at all...)

In Santiago I waited about 45 minutes at the Pilgrim´s Office to receive my credencial but when I finally got back outside the line had probably doubled and stretched down the block. The wait was nearly an hour to get into the Cathedral to hug the statue of St. James and view his tomb. They did not allow us to take pictures or video inside the Cathedral.

I think I will post a new thread at some point soon with more details but the best albergues were in Santo Domingo de la Calzada and Burgos, both municipals. They were enormous, clean, posh and well-run. Our dormitory in Santo Domingo even had a view of their own magnifcent Cathedral. A good rule of thumb is the larger the albergue, the more dirty it will be, but these two were exceptions.

Another excellent, small albergue was in Cireaqui (sp?) where we also had a wonderful pilgrim´s dinner with local wine, homemade pasta and meatballs, probably the best food on the Camino I had outside of a couple of very good restaurants (including an Italian place here in Santiago).

I have also enjoyed bumping into my Camino "family" (as someone earlier posted) and feeling truly happy for them, for us all, that we completed our journeys. Bittersweet, but lovely.

Cheers!
 

Janeh

Active Member
No, I am carrying one of those "space age" silver sheets that very handily retain body heat and fold up quite small. It was not terribly expensive and was purchased at a sporting goods store. It does rustle quite loudly, but so far it works to keep me relatively warm in the chilly albergues. But most pilgrims I have seen are carrying specialized sleeping bags.

no disrespect to you Film Turtle but for others reading this post, please, please, please don't use one of these blankets. As film turtle says, they rustle quite loudly - every time the person who has one moves a millimeter they are like a train coming through a tunnel and if you are the poor pilgrim sleeping under the bunk where someone has one you will not sleep a wink. I ended up pulling the mattress off my bunk and sleeping in the bathroom of an albergue in Ponferrada because the woman above me had one of those and refused to give it up. I was tired and in tears and not rested at all the next morning. Please everyone, buy a lightweight sleeping bag instead. No offense to you Film Turtle as you probably didn't realise just how noisy they are. cheers, Jane
 

Esauro57

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
St.Jean Pied du Port - Santiago 23-29/7/2010 23-30/7/2014
Porto-Santiago&MuxiaFinestere2018
Well here i am after walking 5 days I am now in Puente de La Reina albergue Refugio p.p. Reparadores 4 Euro a night clean and offers all you need exen internet I was a relativly easy walk a part from the sun with is hitting hard and the sine posts with use a diferent way of measuring Km they always say 4 km left then the next town passes and still 4 kms left... maybe the camino is a circle! or they use elastic meaters. :D this morning i got up at 7:00 after a night to remember...we had a Party at the albergue afer Pamplona (Cizur Mayor) I reccomend this albergue there is an Open Minded Order of the Maltese Cross Volontery from Argentina who is very profound:- try asking him a direct question like why do the camino..."the cammino il like life...it has a start and has an end"...open your mind to others...share your emotions...help one enother!"...great guy! :D he Is a great person some you have to meet!
 
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