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LIVE from the Camino Numbers out of StJPDP today

Discussion in '"LIVE" from the camino' started by clivespicer, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. clivespicer

    clivespicer New Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
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    There were a number of recent threads asking how busy the CF was at present. I was advised in the Pilgrims Office in St Jean this afternoon that they are currently seeing around 240 Pilgrims daily.
     
  2. simply B

    simply B member Donating Member

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    Thanks for the update @clivespicer ! Those numbers seem close to what I remember hearing for the summer rush season.

    Buen Camino,

    B
     
  3. Stivandrer

    Stivandrer Active Member Donating Member

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    I am starting in SJPdP next week : How is the work in the Roncervalles Albergue getting on ?
    Still container accomodation ?
     
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  4. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Alone.
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    with my wife Pat.
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    together again :-)
    An Albergue in a Box huh? :)
     
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  5. t2andreo

    t2andreo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I have often wondered what the relationship or correlation is between pilgrims starting at Saint Jean Pied de Port and the eventual total number of pilgrims arriving at the Pilgrim Office. This would include all other pilgrims joining the Camino Frances flow from points to the West, such as Pamplona, Burgos, Leon, and Sarria.

    I know that pilgrims doing the "classic" Camino Frances all the way from France are not the total of all who complete a valid Camino on the Frances Route. I also know that there are many variables that could affect this relationship. But, I wonder if there is a rule of thumb that allows us to extrapolate reliably from the 240 daily number to some larger result at the Pilgrim Office later.

    Anyone got more insight on this question?
     
  6. Stivandrer

    Stivandrer Active Member Donating Member

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    Last I heard, there was no entry to the old lodgings, due to overhaul and repairs, and accomodation was conducted in shipping containers or the like !!
     
  7. simply B

    simply B member Donating Member

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    @t2andreo -

    I have given it a lot of thought over the last couple years in order to make a plan for when to go and what route to walk. Despite my best efforts, I come up with nothing because of the gaps in the data. (I certainly believe there must be someone brighter than me on the forum so please chip in! :))

    Just as a for instance, SJPP is the starting point for roughly 12% of pilgrims as recorded by the Pilgrim Office. That implies a total of approximately 2,000 pilgrims total reaching SdC about 33-35 days out. Yikes!

    B
     
  8. t2andreo

    t2andreo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Yes, during the summer months, the daily total CAN reach and exceed 2,000 pilgrims per day. I have worked at the Pilgrim Office as a volunteer each summer since 2014, including the weeks straddling the Feast of Santiago on 25 July. I will do so again this year. THAT is when you want to avoid arriving in Santiago. Every bed is booked FAR in advance.

    But, choosing when to walk the Camino, is in my view similar to surfing and sitting on one's board beyond the breaking waves to choose the RIGHT wave to ride. Using this metaphor, each wave is a surge of pilgrims. You want to ride in the trough of the waves, not at "peak wave." But the surfing metaphor holds true.

    For example, there is usually a surge or wave leaving each major terminus or starting point along the Camino each Sunday and Monday. This includes St. Jean Pied de Port, Pamplona, Burgos, Leon, Ponferrada, and Sarria on the Frances. On the Portuguese, Porto and Tui are popular starting places.

    This surge or wave progresses down the Camino at a relatively constant pace. The wave of pilgrims DOES tend to stretch out as the days progress. However, and as a "rule-of-thumb," a pilgrim who started on a Sunday at Pamplona, will likely arrive at Santo Domingo de Calzada the following Friday evening. The particularly applies to the majority of pilgrims who follow the 33 Brierley stages. This wave causes a unique demand on accommodations, both reservable (hotels, hostals, private albergues) and first-come-first served (municipal or public albergues).

    Similarly, folks starting at Leon on a Sunday, will tend to arrive at O'Cebreiro the following Friday evening. If you know this spot, you know there is no room at the inn over weekends, as it is a popular place for tourists to visit as well as pilgrims.

    This pattern follows through down the entirety of any Camino route. It is most apparent once one reaches Sarria. From there to Santiago, the flow on the Frances is the heaviest.

    My advice to pilgrims coming from the East of Sarria is to arrive there from Monday through Thursday evening. This places one wave of pilgrims in front of you, and another behind you. It increases your chance of obtaining your choice of lodging until you reach Santiago. However, it is NOT a guarantee.

    Additional considerations, starting in May, include the newly emerging popularity of university student groups on a course that includes walking some portion of a Camino. For most of these organized groups this means from Sarria to Santiago.

    The only problem with this facet of the pilgrim population is the demand they create on hotel and hostal accommodations on the route. One group, even if sharing rooms, can easily fill a given location, on any night of the week. The normal wave pattern does not always apply to these sponsored and organized groups.

    So, even if you follow the "rule-of-thumb" to avoid the successive weekend-related waves of individual and small groups of pilgrims, you still have to contend with organized groups or students, and other "tourigrinos," who hire tour companies to provide them with the "authentic Camino experience."

    I am NOT being critical. I AM merely stating facts as I know them to be.

    The only way IMHO to avoid the summer surge from June through September, including the May student groups, and tour groups throughout the season is to walk "off season." For this reason, I and many other veterans choose to walk in the two "hip seasons."

    The front season starts about one week after Easter to give those holiday-vacationing pilgrims time to get in front of you. Then, we try to get off the Camino by about mid-June, when all the schools let out and the now free students and others with time off can do their pilgrimages. We simply accept and cope with the competition for beds by the organized May student and tour groups.

    The end season starts around the middle of September, after all universities have gone back into session, and continues through the end of October, into early November. The numbers of pilgrims are far lower. The weather is still quite pleasant, and you have entire stretches of Camino to yourself.

    The final point is that you need to pick your starting date and location with the above in mind then start to pre-reserve accommodations, unless you are of the group that prefers to walk into a hamlet or village and trust that an albergue will have a bed for you.

    I agree that this planning ahead bit DOES spoil some of the spontaneity. But, as Rule One states, each pilgrim walks his or her own Camino. It is not for any other to judge how you choose to accomplish it.

    Personally, I have had too much drama in my life to date, so I eschew creating more excitement and uncertainty. Plus, I am too settled in my ways. So, I plan ahead, book a room or bed, and SHOW UP!

    I hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
  9. Wonderful information and how fortunate to hear from someone with such first-hand experience as having worked in the Pilgrim Office! Thank you t2andreo!

    It also helps reinforce the decision to skip the last section altogether this time and take the train from Lugo to Ourense to Santiago for a day (wouldn't like to miss the food and atmosphere) or two before heading down to Portugal.
     
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  10. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    When did you last hear? Are renovatoons underway since late 2016, or are we creating some false rumours here? Or just being critical of the newish Roncesvalles albergue? I love the design - the 4 person cubicles, wide hallways and bathroom facilities well removed from the beds, are great. Arguably not cosy, but one doesn't always want "cosy."
     
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  11. Kathar1na

    Kathar1na Member

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    I sense the need for a few visuals ;):

    The "new" accommodation which is open since 2011 and houses pilgrims during spring, summer and autumn:
    [​IMG]

    The "old" lodgings - now converted to an exhibition center - is no longer used for housing pilgrims since early 2015:
    upload_2017-4-19_22-0-48.png

    The Campamenta units, used as overflow during the summer. They do look a bit like shipping containers, don't they? I've never noticed them although I've been to Roncesvalles twice and walked around quite a bit:
    upload_2017-4-19_22-2-3.png

    upload_2017-4-19_22-3-1.png
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
  12. Stivandrer

    Stivandrer Active Member Donating Member

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    - not being critical, just wondering - and now not being able to find the OP, stating the info that there was/ had been other arrangements around Roncevalles, that is all....
    Interested to hear if - yes there is, or no there is not (repairs going on )....!!!
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
  13. jo webber

    jo webber Active Member

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    It looks like our start date of Sept 9th will work ok. I have made reservations in St Jean for the nights of the 7th and 8th. Waiting on a reply from Orisson for the 9th.
     
  14. Kathar1na

    Kathar1na Member

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    Perhaps you read this thread about "Roncesvalles worrying" where a poster said that [in September 2015] he slept in the overflow area in a "shipping container" in Roncesvalles? The containers are always there (see above) and they will be used when the large albergue which has about 200 beds is full.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
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  15. sadaigh

    sadaigh Camino Frances, July 2017

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    I just double checked. If my rough plan works out, we will be arriving on exactly July 25. In all my research, I never ran into information about the Feast of Santiago.

    I should book something now.
     
  16. t2andreo

    t2andreo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Yes you should. Book early if you will be at Santiago de Compostela on or about 25 July. The BIG fireworks at the Cathedral are late on the night of the 24th, leading up to midnight, ushering in the feast day on the 25th.
     
  17. Mark T17

    Mark T17 Member

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    Thanks Andreo,

    Great advice. Are you able to advise when are the best times of day to visit the tourist offices in St Jean and Santiago to pick up your passport and collect your compostella ?

    I should be starting in St Jean in early September 2017.


    Thanks M
     
  18. ouroboros

    ouroboros Active Member Donating Member

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    Wonderful information, Andreo, especially helpful to know about the Sunday, Monday pilgrim starts.
    The Camino we walked in late September-October on the Frances was just right: great weather and no crowds. We just walked into albergues and were never turned away, and we were late arrivals, sometimes getting the last beds. This time, we start May 1 on the Portugese, arriving Santiago mid-May, and I have just booked everything in advance for the first time, after hearing about the expected increase in pilgrims to Fatima along the Portugese walking to the 100 anniversary celebration with Pope Francis in attendance. I feel much better knowing that we have lodging as the stages are long for us. And God willing, we WILL SHOW UP!
     
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  19. Anemone del Camino

    Anemone del Camino Anemone

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    Just show up. They are there well into the evening. If you want to avoid queuing, go in between train arrival times.
     
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  20. mspath

    mspath Veteran Member Donating Member

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    In Saint-Jean the office for the Amis du Chemin de Saint Jacques at 39 rue de la Citadelle is open every day of the year and until the arrival of the last transport. Their telephone is 05 59 37 05 09.

    January 2010 all trains were VERY late due to ice on the tracks; I telephoned from Bayonne and was warmly welcomed and able to sleep in their office on a very ad hoc 'bunk' thanks to the gracious volunteers...Such is the serendipity of the camino!

    Good luck and Buen Camino!
     
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  21. t2andreo

    t2andreo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I cannot speak for the Pilgrim Of
    I cannot speak about the Pilgrim Office at at SJPdP. New pilgrims can obtain both their pilgrim credencial (Passport) and a cool concha (shell) here (for a donation). The address is: rue la Cittadelle 39.

    However, at Santiago, the PEAK arrival times, at the Pilgrim Office at Rua Carretas 33, for pilgrims are from 1000 - 1130; for those newly arriving pilgrims who mistakingly believe they can swan into the Pilgrim Office, collect their Compostelas, then make it to the Cathedral in time for the noon Pilgrim MASS. IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN FOLKS!

    I usually tell folks arriving, who insist on waiting in line at 1000 - 1030, to place their rucksacks (mochilas) into the P/O consigna (2 Euro daily) while they are waiting, then wait on line to see if they can squeak it in time to get to the Cathedral in time for Mass. Some make it, many do not. Remember, NO RUCKSACKS are permitted in the Cathedral and there is a security line.

    A second "wave" of pilgrims hits the office immediately AFTER the noon Pilgrim Mass gets out, around 1300. This is when the queue can surge to a wait of more than two hours, even with all 12 precessing stations in the office staffed and working. Hence, my advice, given to hundreds of pilgrims daily when I am working the queue of pilgrims waiting to get into the Pilgrim Office is to:

    (1) Come at 0800 - 0900 when the P/O first opens in the morning. There are usually up to a couple dozen people waiting for the doors to open, but this short queue is easily handled and the wait is generally less than 30 minutes.

    (2) Come at 1215. The Pilgrim Mass has started and there is a brief lull, usually. But the wait can still exceed 45 minutes. A surprising number of pilgrims understand the daily rush for the Pilgrim Mass. They plan to attend the next day's noon Mass, after they have gotten their Compostelas and relaxed for an evening.

    (3) Come about 1700 - 1900. The after-Mass wave is usually processed and gone by about 1600. Another "lull" descends, for a few hours. Typically, pilgrims, having attended Mass earlier, gone to their lodgings, showered, and changed into fresh clothes, can stroll in and obtain a Compostela in a relaxed 15 - 30 minutes. They, then find a nice cafe or restaurant for a relaxing meal to celebrate their achievement.

    At the end of the business day, about 1930 - 2000, there is a final surge as pilgrims knowing the office closes at 2100, try to get their Compostela before the office closes for the day. Anyone on the queue by about 2030 WILL BE ACCOMMODATED.

    Consider that the Pilgrim Office staff have families and lives outside the office too. Their work day ends at 2100 each day. They need to leave timely. Fair is fair...

    So, the security folks minding the entry, will admit everyone in queue and the doors are usually closed and locked about 30 minutes before the formal closing time so the remaining pilgrims can be processed. Everyone is handled. Pilgrims who are "shut out" are told to return at 0800 the next morning.

    All this explained, if you arrive around a holiday, and especially in the week immediately leading up to the Feast of Santiago on 25 July, ALL BETS ARE OFF. Last year, the daily number of pilgrims served was regularly over 2,000 daily for about a week bracketing the feast day. The queue started to exceed one hour by 0900 each day, and usually remained at 90 to 120 minutes, and sometimes slightly more throughout the day, until just before closing.

    My considered advice, after four Caminos and three years working as a volunteer during the summer, around the Feast of Santiago, is to NOT assume you can get it all done in a single day, the day of your arrival. You NEED to give it a day or two to marinate and settle into your psyche.

    Doing a Camino makes profound changes in most pilgrims and rushing through the process to get the Compostela, attend Mass, and make an afternoon bus out of Santiago on the same day is just silly, IMHO. Also, nearly everyone spent a significant amount of time and treasure, not to mention sweat and blood to accomplish a pilgrimage. Why diminish that effort? PLAN AHEAD.

    I recommend doing nothing the day of arrival except (choose one) get the Compostela, or attend the noon Mass. PLEASE, do not rush through this part of the Camino experience. Savor it! You will be glad you took the time.

    During the season, there has been a second Mass at 1930 each evening. Also, the hotel association has, in previous years, funded the use of the Botafumiero every Friday evening at the 1930 Mass. This was the ONLY time we could predictably state that the Botafumeiro would "fly." In truth, I do not know the situation this year. There WAS some discussion about the hoteliers no longer subsidizing this. CHECK WHEN YOU ARRIVE.

    On balance, I recommend spending two nights at Santiago on arrival. Albergues will usually let you stay the second night. Relax, soak in the ambiance. Once you depart, you are going back to the real world. For many, it can be a jarring experience.

    I hope this helps someone.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
  22. Buzz Gray

    Buzz Gray New Member

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    I have walked the Camino from St. Jean to Finisterre the past 3 years. I always started the last week in June and arrived in Finisterre the first week in Aug. I never had reservations, but had no problems finding a place to sleep. Only about 5% of pilgrims go beyond Santiago, so the Alburgues are nearly empty. It is well worth taking an extra 3 days to walk to the Atlantic because of the beauty. Buses run 4 or 5 times a day from Finisterre back to Santiago. In Santiago, there is always room at the Hotel Santa Cruz. Go to address # 18 on the same street that Compostellas are issued and ask for Maria. She will find you a room.
     
  23. KinkyOne

    KinkyOne Veteran Member

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    I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
    Compostelas are no longer issued (from last year) on Rua do Vilar. The Pilgrim Office moved to Rua das Carretas but Hotel Santa Cruz is still in Rua do Vilar ;)
     
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  24. sadaigh

    sadaigh Camino Frances, July 2017

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    Any advice on a place to stay?
     
  25. Mark T17

    Mark T17 Member

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    Thanks Andreo, more advice I will certainly treasure and use wisely - please don't tell anybody else ! LOL !!!
     
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  26. t2andreo

    t2andreo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Start with www.booking.com for hotels, hostals, and private albergues. You would be surprised at how many are there. Also, a lot of folks rely on www.gronze.com for lodging alternatives as well.

    While hotels do cost more, after all the time, effort, and expense you put into making your Camino, splurge! Share a room with someone else to help contain costs. A double typically costs less than two singles.

    In terms of dates, you WANT to have a reserved place to stay for the nights of 23, 24, and 25 July. Outside that peak, peak, you should have better access to first-come-first-served accommodations at Santiago.

    I hope this helps.
     
  27. MichelleElynHogan

    MichelleElynHogan Active Member

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    Aug/16 - Roncesvalles Alberge was beautiful and modern from the stairwell and optional elevators to the bunk style cubicles accomodating 4 people each all the way through to the wash /bath / shower rooms.

    On the main level were both kitchen and Laundry rooms.
     
  28. Nico "Carfield"

    Nico "Carfield" New Member

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    Next week on friday I will be for the 3rd time working as hospitalero in the auberge Roncesvalles! A nice place to work and meet you all!
    The question about the containers, how they are! They are the new ones on the pictures, shown in a earlier reply. 8 beds in a container!
     
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  29. falcon269

    falcon269 sidra; no commercial interests

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    April 2016 - 501 arrivals in Santiago
    April 2017 - 858 average for the first 22 days!

    Easter was in March last year, so the larger daily numbers were in March, not April, but the Easter week this year had numbers that dwarfed last year even when March is included.

    This summer could be interesting. ;);)
     
  30. kdespot

    kdespot Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Francés SJPP-SdC Sept-Oct 2016
    They are tight! The heaters work ridiculously well. We stayed in container J last Sept 17. The trailers across the way that serve as bathrooms have irregular electricity.
     
  31. Stivandrer

    Stivandrer Active Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2014
    Messages:
    256
    Likes Received:
    451
    Location:
    Island of Zealand, Denmark
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Francés May 2014
    Haervejen Southbound, Jutland, Denmark July2015
    Haervejen Southbound, Jutland, Denmark July 2016
    Camino Frances (april/ May 2017)
    I do not mind containers and ir-regular electricity wouldn´t bother me, I haven´t shaved for years.
    As long as there is a dry bed. Will I miss the chorus of Roncadores ??
     
    KinkyOne likes this.
  32. Bradypus

    Bradypus Antediluvian

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2015
    Messages:
    1,013
    Likes Received:
    2,549
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances (1990, 2002 and 2016). Camino Ingles (2015). Camino Primitivo (2015). Canterbury to Rome (2015). Camino Portugues (2016). Sundsvall-Trondheim Olavsleden (May 2016). Camino Sanabres (2017). Gran Canaria (2017). Swansea to Santiago in several stages over 25 years!
    In a post on their Facebook page the Colegiata has announced that from Monday they will no longer be offering beds in the overspill camp. Only 183 beds in total will be available in the albergue. Once these are allocated pilgrims will have to seek alternative accommodation in nearby villages.

    https://www.facebook.com/ColeRoncesvalle/
     
  33. Anemone del Camino

    Anemone del Camino Anemone

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2014
    Messages:
    6,088
    Likes Received:
    7,429
    Location:
    Canada
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances from 2006 to 2013. Camino del Norte from Donostia to Llanes - 2014. May 2015: Primitivo. May 2016: Portuguese central + variante espiritual. April 2017: half of VDLP.
    Yikes. That is not a lot of beds.
     
  34. KinkyOne

    KinkyOne Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Messages:
    3,795
    Likes Received:
    3,871
    Location:
    Ljubljana, Slovenia
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances ('09, '11 - entire, '14, '16),
    Finisterre ('11, '16),
    Madrid ('14),
    Invierno ('14),
    Levante ('15+'??),
    Sanabres ('14, '15 - entire),
    Muxia ('15),
    Bayona ('16),
    Salvador ('16),
    Ingles ('16)...
    I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
    You mean there's a "proper" kitchen now??? In 2011 only vending machines and micro ovens.
     
    MichelleElynHogan likes this.
  35. ernie pease

    ernie pease Just call me Ernie

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2016
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    65
    Location:
    Portland Oregon
    Camino(s) past & future:
    SJPdP to Ponferrada April-May 2017
    I found it a very nice building with very good accommodations. My start day was the 13th of April 2017
     
  36. MichelleElynHogan

    MichelleElynHogan Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2012
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    149
    As far as I could see, the renos are only a few years old. Really there was no wear showing on the entire place. It looks brand new inside.
     
  37. Wizard

    Wizard New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2016
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    1
    Camino(s) past & future:
    2016
    Very good advice. My own experience is that if you find yourself on the top of the wave take a short day or long day and re-set the cycle. Also aim for villages between the guide book stops. Everyone is aiming for the same end point. The service and experience is great in the smaller destinations. Ultimately the journey and God will provide.
     
    t2andreo likes this.
  38. Telelama

    Telelama Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2014
    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    124
    Location:
    Colorado
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances (Sep - Oct'14)
    Frances (May - Jun'15)
    Portugues (May - Jun'16)
    Primitivo (2018?)
    We started on 9 Sep in '14, great time to be doing a Camino!
     

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