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Parador resumes the “free meal” tradition

peregrina2000

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Staff member
The parador will once again offer a free lunch to the first ten pilgrims who arrive at the pilgrim’s office. The practice had been suspended due to covid. I know that in the past some have said the meals were served in the staff kitchen, but according to the article, the meal will now be served in one of the parador restaurants. I saw that the lunch will be served at 1:00 pm, and the cynic in me suspects that that’s a good time to get the rif raf in and out before the lunch traffic begins.


Surely some forum members will luck out and get the golden ticket!
 
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Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Time of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
I know that in the past some have said the meals were served in the staff kitchen, but according to the article, the meal will now be served in one of the parador restaurants.
I think it has been quite a long time since pilgrims were fed in the staff dining room. For a couple of years before COVID the free meals were already being served in one of the parador restaurants.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Sept. 2022 El Salvador, Oct. 2022 Tui Portugués
that’s a good time to get the rif raf in and out
Yes, I love the looks we rif raf get at San Martin Pinario from those not having the privilege of staying on the 4th floor, the Peregrin@ wing. 🤣👏😂
The Parador was doing the free meals last week, I was #11. No problem when there is Casa Manolo on Plaza de Cervantes.
 

BROWNCOUNTYBOB

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances: 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021
Can someone discuss how the process works? For example, do the first 10 pilgrims that get their compostelas at the pilgrim's office receive a voucher for breakfast at the parador? When do the doors of the pilgrim's office open each morning and is there generally a queue of hungry pilgrims standing in line hoping to be one of 10 pilgrims to be awarded the free breakfast? My wife and I have stayed in numerous paradors over the years throughout Spain. The breakfast buffet is sumptuous and delicious. Is the free breakfast for pilgrims entry for the full buffet, or a more modest version? Next fall, I'm hiking Camino Portuguese and will be staying at the paradors of Tui and Pontevedra so will once again enjoy the parador morning breakfasts. Bob
 
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CdnDreamer

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (12, 15 & 18) San Salvador (18), Portuguese (19)
In 2019 I was one of the first in line and received the free lunch. There was no choice, but the meal was delicious. A pilgrim meal - soup, main course of fish and potatoes and dessert with wine. You are right that it was before the restaurant opened for paying customers, but it was really nice.
 

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caminka

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Can someone discuss how the process works? For example, do the first 10 pilgrims that get their compostelas at the pilgrim's office receive a voucher for breakfast at the parador? When do the doors of the pilgrim's office open each morning and is there generally a queue of hungry pilgrims standing in line hoping to be one of 10 pilgrims to be awarded the free breakfast? My wife and I have stayed in numerous paradors over the years throughout Spain. The breakfast buffet is sumptuous and delicious. Is the free breakfast for pilgrims entry for the full buffet, or a more modest version? Next fall, I'm hiking Camino Portuguese and will be staying at the paradors of Tui and Pontevedra so will once again enjoy the parador morning breakfasts. Bob
yup, the first ten pilgrims in line in the morning get an extra voucher with a number on it which then they give to the staff at the door of the restaurant at 13h. the restaurant has the entry on the ramp going down from the parador towards the pilgrim office.

I was one of the lucky ten (no. 9) this year. I arrived about one hour before the pilgrim office opened mainly because I was up early and was hoping for a small queue.

I was actually dissapointed not to be guided into the stuff room and in the process seeing the wonderful architecture of the parador (I think there are payed guided tours of the chapel now).

the lunch was nothing to write home about, though. small pie pieces for hors-d'oeuvre, good pumpkin soup, something called pastel de verduras (for veggies) which was like a wobbly cake with veggies and sea food (very so so), and a fine tarta de santiago.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances; Aragones; VdlP; Madrid-Invierno; Levante
In 2019 I was one of the first in line and received the free lunch. There was no choice, but the meal was delicious. A pilgrim meal - soup, main course of fish and potatoes and dessert with wine. You are right that it was before the restaurant opened for paying customers, but it was really nice.
I got the free lunch once at the parador. It was a little problematic. I was one of the first to line up at the Pilgrim Office, so was given a ticket for lunch at a small and fairly casual restaurant, opening on a sidewalk. I was there, with others on the sidewalk, waiting in the rain for the restaurant to open at noon. When we a got in, we were all placed at a table for ten and served the same lunch. I was given a meal which offered me, as a vegetarian, nothing to eat. Eventually, the server noticed and my plate was exchanged for something I could eat. I enjoyed visiting with others who had just finished their caminos. And I enjoyed a free meal that was a little more interesting than what I usually budget for on camino. But it didn't have any similarity to what I see as a meal in a parador, either in the food or in the setting.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2017
My reward to myself was staying two nights in Parador luxury following my goal of touching the Cathedral's stone walls after 45 days of slow trekking it to Santiago. I did not know about the free meal until I returned home. Obviously it was not intended for me as I was about # 300 or so in line to receive my Compostela on the day I arrived at the Pilgrim's Office. I more than made up for it at some of the city's many wonderful restaurants.
 
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2017 September
The parador will once again offer a free lunch to the first ten pilgrims who arrive at the pilgrim’s office. The practice had been suspended due to covid. I know that in the past some have said the meals were served in the staff kitchen, but according to the article, the meal will now be served in one of the parador restaurants. I saw that the lunch will be served at 1:00 pm, and the cynic in me suspects that that’s a good time to get the rif raf in and out before the lunch traffic begins.


Surely some forum members will luck out and get the golden ticket!
I was fortunate to get the “golden ticket “ in 2018 after completing the Camino Portugues from Porto. Was served in the dining room and was delicious. Lovely group of fellow Peregrinos
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
We've never gotten a "free" meal, but there is a pilgrim discount at several paradores if you stay there overnight. I have eaten Christmas day dinner at the Parador in Zamora (quite a treat!) and we celebrated our anniversary at one of the Paradors in Santo Domingo de Calzada. 20160606_152217.jpg 20160606_153422.jpg 20160606_153426.jpg 20160606_155306.jpg 20171225_135129.jpg
 

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tassiesue

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
1
Can someone discuss how the process works? For example, do the first 10 pilgrims that get their compostelas at the pilgrim's office receive a voucher for breakfast at the parador? When do the doors of the pilgrim's office open each morning and is there generally a queue of hungry pilgrims standing in line hoping to be one of 10 pilgrims to be awarded the free breakfast? My wife and I have stayed in numerous paradors over the years throughout Spain. The breakfast buffet is sumptuous and delicious. Is the free breakfast for pilgrims entry for the full buffet, or a more modest version? Next fall, I'm hiking Camino Portuguese and will be staying at the paradors of Tui and Pontevedra so will once again enjoy the parador morning breakfasts. Bob
Can you share which paradors in tui and pontevedra to stay at as i will be on Camino next may
Can someone discuss how the process works? For example, do the first 10 pilgrims that get their compostelas at the pilgrim's office receive a voucher for breakfast at the parador? When do the doors of the pilgrim's office open each morning and is there generally a queue of hungry pilgrims standing in line hoping to be one of 10 pilgrims to be awarded the free breakfast? My wife and I have stayed in numerous paradors over the years throughout Spain. The breakfast buffet is sumptuous and delicious. Is the free breakfast for pilgrims entry for the full buffet, or a more modest version? Next fall, I'm hiking Camino Portuguese and will be staying at the paradors of Tui and Pontevedra so will once again enjoy the parador morning breakfasts. Bob
Which paradors in tui and Pontevedra please will be there may next year
 

BROWNCOUNTYBOB

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances: 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021
There is only one parador each in Tui and Pontevedra. You can check out the buildings, grounds and rooms on Booking.com. I am a long standing member of "Amigos de Paradores" which provides discounts, bonus points, etc. I don't use it enough to use points to book a room, but one nice benefit is whenever we check in at the reception desk, we get a voucher for one free drink each for my wife and myself. I made reservations for my camino portuguese next Sept-Oct on Parador.es website. There is an offering price for pilgrims. The room and breakfast was less expensive than the price listed on Booking.com. Bob
 

Flog

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
The parador will once again offer a free lunch to the first ten pilgrims who arrive at the pilgrim’s office. The practice had been suspended due to covid.
This has been back in operation a while now, at least since September. The first ten pilgrims in the queue, when given a ticket by security at the door, get a voucher stapled to it. It has to be used at 13:00 on the day.

I was more than a little bemused one morning when the first two pilgrims told me they had been queuing alone in the cold and damp since 5am and nobody else joined them until 7:30.. they were clearly determined! I hope they felt it was worth the wait..
 
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The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Time of past OR future Camino
Sept. 2022 El Salvador, Oct. 2022 Tui Portugués

Linda P

Completed the Camino Frances on Oct 19
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino de Frances (2022)
The parador will once again offer a free lunch to the first ten pilgrims who arrive at the pilgrim’s office. The practice had been suspended due to covid. I know that in the past some have said the meals were served in the staff kitchen, but according to the article, the meal will now be served in one of the parador restaurants. I saw that the lunch will be served at 1:00 pm, and the cynic in me suspects that that’s a good time to get the rif raf in and out before the lunch traffic begins.


Surely some forum members will luck out and get the golden ticket!
My walking partners and I were in the lucky 10 to get a free lunch at the Parador last month. We had heard about it from another person who had done it the day before. I don’t think many of the first 10 knew they were getting this and in fact only 8 showed up. It was a very nice little reward!! We also had cocktails in the hotel bar (not free nor cheap) and that too was special!
 

Aysen Mustafa

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2018
What time does the pilgrim office open? I am tempted in 2023 after walking from Porto to join the queue at 7.30am with a book or device to while away the time.
 

Perambulating Griffin

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
I think it has been quite a long time since pilgrims were fed in the staff dining room. For a couple of years before COVID the free meals were already being served in one of the parador restaurants.
Nope. I ate the pilgrim meal in the end of Nov 2019 and we were a table of 8. 2 did not arrive… and we were at the staff table. It was lovely. I am a little bit sad to hear that this tradition is being moved to the regular restaurant setting as the kitchen location had a ”family meal” feel to it.
I am delighted, though, to hear that the tradition is resuming. It is such an amazing connection to the founding of the hospital, and the continuance of its hospitality.
 
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The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF: 2001, 02, 04, 14. Ourense to Santiago 2019.
The parador will once again offer a free lunch to the first ten pilgrims who arrive at the pilgrim’s office. The practice had been suspended due to covid. I know that in the past some have said the meals were served in the staff kitchen, but according to the article, the meal will now be served in one of the parador restaurants. I saw that the lunch will be served at 1:00 pm, and the cynic in me suspects that that’s a good time to get the rif raf in and out before the lunch traffic begins.


Surely some forum members will luck out and get the golden ticket!

March 2014, two Dutch girls, a German priest, and I ate three free meals at parador in Santiago.

The food was plentiful and quite good.

Our indulgence was due to the usual off season dearth of peregrinos.

We dined in a small room I believe set aside for pilgrims or staff.
 

Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Time of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
Nope. I ate the pilgrim meal in the end of Nov 2019 and we were a table of 8. 2 did not arrive… and we were at the staff table. It was lovely. I am a little bit sad to hear that this tradition is being moved to the regular restaurant setting as the kitchen location had a ”family meal” feel to it.
That's interesting - it must literally be a moveable feast. A number of people in 2018 reported that the pilgrim lunch was being served in the Enxerbe restaurant and not in the old staff area.

Post in thread 'Free meal' https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/free-meal.56237/post-632450
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
we were a table of 8. 2 did not arrive
yup, the first ten pilgrims in line in the morning get an extra voucher with a number on it which then they give to the staff at the door of the restaurant at 13h.
If I were in charge of the world, I would give the free meal vouchers to the first ten people who requested one or asked about it! It sounds like the vouchers are just given out to the first ten people — I’m sure they can refuse them, but I also think that some will just take it.

But maybe I don’t understand how the process workd — @caminka and @Perambulating Griffin — were you just given the voucher, or were you asked if you wanted it? Or something else altogether?

I know that there was a “no-show” problem at the Pórtico de la Gloria when the pilgrim’s office used to give out the free pilgrim tickets to the first arriving in the morning (can’t remember the number, maybe as many as 24?). I remember showing up in Santiago one afternoon, learning that all the pilgrim tickets for the pórtico had been distributed long ago. But I arrived at the Pórtico entrance at the viewing time and was one of only about 6 or 7 pilgrims who showed up, even though a whole bunch of tickets had been given out. I was let in without a ticket. :p Now I think all free tickets are distributed, to pilgrims and non-pilgrims alike, through the Cathedral’s website.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Sept. 2022 El Salvador, Oct. 2022 Tui Portugués
Now I think all free tickets are distributed, to pilgrims and non-pilgrims alike, through the Cathedral’s website.
Yes, only through the website, same day, and for the late afternoon. I was lucky last week to check the site at 5:15 and get a ticket for 5:30. No one else showed up and I was alone in the Portico for 30 minutes (except for the guard who lost interest in me and the blissful look on my face and, who walkie-talkie played with the other guards). It was amazing!
 

Flog

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
If I were in charge of the world, I would give the free meal vouchers to the first ten people who requested one or asked about it! It sounds like the vouchers are just given out to the first ten people — I’m sure they can refuse them, but I also think that some will just take it.
Yeah, I agree that would be a good idea. They are given to the first ten with their ticket. Some just look at the voucher and shrug their shoulders, some are delighted. It's not surprising there are often no-shows.
 
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How to Successfully Prepare for Your Camino
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Time of past OR future Camino
Aragon/CF 08, Arles 10, Le Puy 12, Geneva 14, VdlP 15, Norte/Primitivo 15, VF 17, Levante 18, Moz 19
The parador will once again offer a free lunch to the first ten pilgrims who arrive at the pilgrim’s office. The practice had been suspended due to covid. I know that in the past some have said the meals were served in the staff kitchen, but according to the article, the meal will now be served in one of the parador restaurants. I saw that the lunch will be served at 1:00 pm, and the cynic in me suspects that that’s a good time to get the rif raf in and out before the lunch traffic begins.


Surely some forum members will luck out and get the golden ticket!
I was #1 three weeks ago for the free lunch at the Parador. It was my fourth time, 2 in the old days in the room between the garage entrance and the kitchen, and two in the real Parador restaurant. There were only six of us at the 10 person table; not many pilgrims that morning at the Pilgrim Office and only the Spaniard and I had intentionally arrived early in the hopes of getting a ticket to lunch. The menu is set and has not changed since pre-pandemic times: red wine,white wine, empanadas, Galician soup, meat/French fries/Galician egg-cheese-“pudding”, and tarta de Santiago. No coffee. The staff were kind…..and hurried us out when we were done, to turn our part of the restaurant into a more respectable area. For me, it was an opportunity to make our Korean, Spanish, Italian, Finnish and U.S. group of pilgrims, with no common language, a coherent group for the hour. For the Spaniard, it was his 34th Compostela; for the Korean and Finn, their first. The Italian had walked from Lucca in Italy. After my solitary caminos it was very nice to have a communal meal in a real restaurant.
None of us, including the Spaniard, could figure out what the egg-cheese-polenta like pudding was, but it was good. The Spaniard used the word pudding, but it was part of the meat and potatoes course.
 

Trekker One

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
C. F.2014,15,16 &19 Portuguese '17, Primitivo '18
Over the years my wife and I have been able to enjoy this special lunch on three different occasions. We have met a number of interesting and fellow thrifty pilgrims.
So for those that say there is no such thing as a free lunch...well in fact there is!
Sleepy heads need not apply. FB_IMG_1539613105597.jpg FB_IMG_1539613089345.jpg
 
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caminka

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Time of past OR future Camino
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If I were in charge of the world, I would give the free meal vouchers to the first ten people who requested one or asked about it! It sounds like the vouchers are just given out to the first ten people — I’m sure they can refuse them, but I also think that some will just take it.

But maybe I don’t understand how the process workd — @caminka and @Perambulating Griffin — were you just given the voucher, or were you asked if you wanted it? Or something else altogether?
I think they just came out with the vouchers and went one, two, three... from the start of the queue. I don't remember if we were asked, it was getting a bit chaotic with all the new arrivals. Noone refused. One was a bit late for lunch but we all showed up.

The vouchers are stapled to the queue ticket, so I'm not sure how easy would it be to turn them down. It would probably require queue skipping backwards and cause quite some confusion.
 
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Flog

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
The vouchers are stapled to the queue ticket, so I'm not sure how easy would it be to turn them down. It would probably require queue skipping backwards and cause quite some confusion.
It needn't be an issue:
If you don't want it for yourself, you can just give it away to the next pilgrim in line, or give it away to anyone you feel like for that matter..
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Aragon/CF 08, Arles 10, Le Puy 12, Geneva 14, VdlP 15, Norte/Primitivo 15, VF 17, Levante 18, Moz 19
Maybe because I was first pilgrim of the morning, and there was no line behind me, the voucher was not stapled to the queue ticket. I was asked if I wanted it, and nodded happily. Of the six of us who showed up for the lunch, one had been given 2 vouchers by a friend, and hadn't found anyone to give the second one to. Four of the six of us were surprised by the vouchers, not having known about this Parador tradition. The system for giving out vouchers may not be perfect, but I think it usually works out. I am always appreciative if I luck out and get one.
 
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