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On a budget - Cooking / Water refills?

Cynistra

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances ('19, '23)
Portugues ('22)
Mozarabe ('24)
Hi, I'm starting the Camino Portuguese next week and will be on quite a tight budget.
Does anyone have any insights as to whether albergues have cooking facilities and equipment? Can I just buy groceries and cook at the albergue; and if so, do I need to bring a pot for cooking?
Also, is it acceptable to ask in a cafe to refill a water bottle without purchasing anything?
 
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See my comment here.

On getting a bottle refilled, I wouldn't, but that's just me. Just like I wouldn't use the toilet in a bar without buying a coffee or some other drink. You might get by using public fonts, noting that very few were signed as potable. More often they were uncontrolled or untested, and sometime you would just have to take the risk. I always take water purification tablets in case.
 
Hi,

You might want to check out Gronze’s website. It not only lists the albergues but also mentions if they have kitchen facilities. Click on each stage for a list of towns and albergues. If an albergue has a kitchen, it will have a pot. Click on an albergue to get more detailed info on this albergue:

I don’t remember asking for water in a bar or restaurant without buying something. Most of the time I order a coffee or a cold drink and ask for water. But on various occasions I have asked locals if I could have some water. That was never a problem. Or used fountains.
 
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I'm afraid I'm with @dougfitz on the water.
Too many Pilgrims treat cafes as 'public services'.
Toilets, water etc.
They are small businesses trying to survive.
Buy a piece of fruit or something maybe.

Or carry a larger water bottle and fill it at the Albergue in the morning and top up at fonts along the way?
 
We used water fonts along the way until Galicia where they became (for the most part) non potable. I used to use UV water treatment gizmo that fit in my water bottle, but it's heavy and pricey-- and outdated. You can no get lightweight filtration and treatment systems that are reasonably priced. You might consider the sawyer squeeze or the life straw.
https://www.cleverhiker.com/best-backpacking-water-filters
 
Last edited:
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
Hi,

You might want to check out Gronze’s website. It not only lists the albergues but also mentions if they have kitchen facilities. Click on each stage for a list of towns and albergues. If an albergue has a kitchen, it will have a pot. Click on an albergue to get more detailed info on this albergue:

I don’t remember asking for water in a bar or restaurant without buying something. Most of the time I order a coffee or a cold drink and ask for water. But on various occasions I have asked locals if I could have some water. That was never a problem. Or used fountains.
Once you get into Galicia if you stay in Xunta albergues they may have kitchens, but no cookware.
 
You might want to check out Gronze’s website. It not only lists the albergues but also mentions if they have kitchen facilities. Click on each stage for a list of towns and albergues. If an albergue has a kitchen, it will have a pot. Click on an albergue to get more detailed info on this albergue:
There is a symbol of a cooking pot on Gronze, but the kitchen may not an actual pot. 😉
Don't buy your groceries until you know what kind of cooking equipment there is. You may have to just get something microwavable or sandwich fixings.
 
Stayed in many Xuntas in Galicia. Some have big and bright kitchens. Never have been in one that you can cook in. You can always find something to eat in grocery stores and even the small shops in smaller villages. The groceries have pretty good premade salads. I will usually put a can of tuna or chicken to supplement. You can buy some fruit, bread, they may have some precooked food. Of course there is always cold cuts to make a sandwich with.
 
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
We used water fonts along the way until Galicia where they became (for the most part) non potable. I used to use UV water treatment gizmo that fit in my water bottle, but it's heavy and pricey-- and outdated. You can no get lightweight filtration and treatment systems that are reasonably priced. You might consider the sawyer squeeze or the life straw.
https://www.cleverhiker.com/best-backpacking-water-filters
That's encouraging!
Do you remember if there were water fonts in most villages? (I always carry a water filter, and some emergency treatment tablets so that shouldn't be a problem).
I was hoping to rely on fonts and I remember this being not a problem on the Camino Frances, but looking at the Brierley book it really doesn't have many fonts indicated so I was a bit wary relying on this.
 
Thanks everyone for the replies! Gives me a much better idea of what to expect.
 
It is almost ten years since` I walked from Porto, and even then there were some state of the art kitchens without as much as a teaspoon. Judicious purchases of cheese, nuts, fruit, bread, sardines, yogurt... but also, the evening meals we ate were so very good and filling, and cheap. I would not discount that option, even every second day. A young German couple were on the same stages as we were. They had a daily budget of €17 between them, to allow for 3 days luxury in Santiago - relative luxury! For example, Casa Manolo: fresh, cheap, tasy food at about €10.00 the menu...
Wishing you a nourishing camino!
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
On a related note (sorry don't mean to hijack this thread), what are the chances of being able to put a bottle of water in an albergue freezer the night before so that I can carry a frozen bottle of water the next day? It's something I do when heading to the beach to give me cold water to drink. So much better than warm water that's been heating up in my bag...
 
On a related note (sorry don't mean to hijack this thread), what are the chances of being able to put a bottle of water in an albergue freezer the night before so that I can carry a frozen bottle of water the next day? It's something I do when heading to the beach to give me cold water to drink. So much better than warm water that's been heating up in my bag...
In most albergues I have stayed in, the refrigerator was a communal resource. People labelled their food or drink, and were encouraged to remove it when they left. Inevitably, some items get left or forgotten, and will need to be disposed of if they have a short shelf life, otherwise might become a community resource.

There have been a few places where the refrigerator is under the control of the hospitalero. In any case, ask them if you are uncertain.
 
Some albergues will have a refrigerator for use, however, some don't have a freezer or the freezer compartment is tiny or doesn't work well. Check with the hospitalero. Don't remove anything without checking first.
 
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