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Pilgrim behaviour in albergues

Discussion in 'Camino Ingles albergues, pensions and hostals' started by Incipia, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. Incipia

    Incipia New Member

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    I've just (end of last month) completed the Ingles, my first camino and was so delighted with it that I'm already planning to do another short camino next spring.

    However, there was one aspect which surprised me, in a negative way. I'd opted for the Ingles because I'd heard it was much quieter than the last qualifying stretch of the Frances, but the albergues were much busier than expected and were often full by early afternoon. Some sort of 'race for beds' was going on, with a large proportion of people in the dormitories rising soon after five, and packing up before heading off into the night. They made some attempt to be quiet, but with powerful flashlights, mobile alarms and a general hustle it was impossible to sleep, so basically the whole dorm would have to wake early. A camino friend I walked with, much more experienced than I, said this didn't happen in albergues she'd been in on other routes, especially when there was a hospitalero in residence. And there was one piece of behaviour which really shocked me - during this early packing up period, the man in the bunk below me started doing what no respectable person ever does in public ...

    The race for the beds made the Camino more stressful than it would otherwise have been, and I started taking pre-emptive action by booking private accommodation ahead. But on the Ingles the options for other accommodation are limited, especially in the middle stretch around Prosedo. Because of this this, I wouldn't do it again in high season.
    There's a blog giving a fuller picture of my experience on my website if anyone's interested:
    http://alexklaushofer.com/pilgrim-camino-santiago-compostela/
     
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  2. Bradypus

    Bradypus Antediluvian

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    Over the past couple of months I have been reading a lot of reports of bed shortages and under-capacity on the Camino Ingles here on the forum, in Facebook groups and on the websites of local newspapers. The recent growth in popularity of the Camino Ingles has been extraordinary and infrastructure has not kept up with demand. The local councils in both Ferrol and A Coruna are actively promoting the Camino Ingles and in the short term I fear that the situation will not improve. I am sorry to hear how badly that has affected your experience of what is an excellent route. It should never be an excuse for selfish or inconsiderate behaviour though.
     
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  3. Cambridge Pilgrim

    Cambridge Pilgrim Member

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    Incipia, glad to hear you enjoyed your overall Camino experience but sorry to hear of your accommodation woes.

    I feel your pain. A 4am rise was the record I saw this year on the Francés! I generally found that once one person got up then there would pretty much be continuous activity from that point onwards and attempts at further sleep would be futile. Now some people will doubtless say 'get a private room' - as you felt you had to - but that's not really the solution**. ALL on the Camino should be entitled to enjoy the positive (IMO, on balance, despite the negatives) experience that communal sleeping brings.

    I think on some occasions, there are very good reasons for being up and about early, e.g., to avoid walking in the heat of the day (though there is of course another solution to that) or to see some of the fantastic sunrises, however, in general I also think that people rising early then leads to everyone else also rising early such that the 'race for beds' ends up being earlier than is necessary! An obviously daft example.... if everyone agreed to get up at 07:30 then the race for beds would still be there but at least it would be offset to a more reasonable hour!

    All we can really hope for is that people try to be as considerate as they possibly can be - both through preparation the evening before and attempts to get up and out quietly. Some will endeavour and will achieve this, some will endeavour and won't; often with actually quite comical results (but at least they tried), some will not make much effort at all. That's just how people are. Thankfully there are few of the third type.

    [As a measure of the early rising 'problem': we were always amongst the last (on many occasions the last) to arise in a room. That would typically be at 06:15!!]

    **Earplugs and eyemasks don't always hack it either.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
  4. peaco

    peaco New Member

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  5. peaco

    peaco New Member

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    unfortunetly on the caminos especially in the busy periods, bad manners and behaviour are rife i saw a punch up in one room over a bed, yes, it seems that we do live in this me me time, and its tough if they wake you up at 03.30 onwards, its not the first time that i've been disgusted by those morons, call them pilgrims. pooh.
     
  6. Odaly

    Odaly Not all who wander are lost...

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    I hear your pain. I finished the Frances on September 28th 2016. It was crazy, but I soon learned it was to my advantage to rise early. The heat we dealt with was incredible. Leaving while still dark allowed us to get most of our walking before noon. We NEVER intended to walk 30 km days. Our max was 26 km (day we walked to Burgos and we had a hotel room that day). On average we walked 20 km per day.

    That time of the year, the heat of the day seemed to peak at 2 pm and our goal was to arrive by then. We showered and did laundry during siesta and headed out to explore the town around 4 including a large late lunch since we wouldn't eat dinner later. I forgot to mention we would stop every couple of hours. Around 7 am for our cafe con leche, tostada con mermelada. Again around 10:30 for tortilla Española and more cafe con Leche. We enjoyed ice cream cones (occasionally and also cañadas.

    The first couple of days I tried to fight the imposed schedule around me, but I enjoyed it all better once I gave in and made it work. I plan to return Spring 2018.
     
  7. falcon269

    falcon269 sidra; no commercial interests

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    So, if everyone does it your way, there will be harmony?:)
     
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  8. CaminoDebrita

    CaminoDebrita Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Ah, the bed race....

    As an older person with a little change in her pocket, this was never a game that I participated in, but I can see why it occurs.

    The issue is that people really should--for sake of freedom and enjoyment--just let go of that worry ("I won't have a bed!) and just walk. If you can't get a bed, get a taxi and get thee to the previous or next town. No one wants that, though!

    I'm going to gently and diplomatically and oh-so-carefully allude to the gentleman in the bunk below you. Again, as an older person who has also worked with high school-age people (who often do those horribly inappropriate things in horribly inappropriate places--location, location, location!), I would have sharply said, "Stop that NOW!" but I do understand that the school teacher "bark" is not a tone that everyone adopts comfortably.

    On Camino soon, no one will be racing--that I will notice ;)
     
  9. Redhead Keith

    Redhead Keith New Member

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    Congratulations upon completing your first Camino - or perhaps your Camino continues (?) I completed the Inglés, March-April, a comfortable seven day walk without the unfortunate 'rush' for beds that you experienced. When I completed the Francés last year, I had an unfortunate experience with an Italian in the bunk above mine - once I realised what he was up to! I cleared my throat once, loudly, and he abated. I would be concerned as to someone undertaking such activty in a communal room, and would even report them if possible. Such bravado may be a sign of further disturbing pubic behaviour along the Way. You will always find that we become 'one', a 'family' along the Way - and all the ups and downs that entails. Living daily in close proximity of fellow pilgrims reveals a lot about others - as well as ourselves, and at least you have a 'taster' for what to expect and deal with/savour/enjoy as your Camino continues. Buen Camio, best wishes. Keith
     
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  10. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Catharsis is a great thing -- get it out of your system by sharing complaints. This forum is a perfect place to do that. But don't stop there -- ask yourself what you can do about it. I tend to agree with those who think that you are not going to change behavior and that people are going to be rustling plastic bags at 5 no matter how loudly we scream about it here. If you are unhappy with this behavior but can't imagine giving up the camino, you have an easy workaround. Walk on the untraveled caminos. It will probably push you out of your comfort zone a bit, but the rewards are enormous. The Madrid, Invierno, Levante, Vadiniense, Portugues Interior, Olvidado, Ebro, Castellano-Aragones -- go for it! The forum has a wealth of information about these and other solitary routes, you can get first hand reports from people who have walked, and you WON'T have to worry about rude behavior in the albergues!
     
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  11. Cambridge Pilgrim

    Cambridge Pilgrim Member

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    It's not 'my' way and I'm not suggesting there'd be harmony, I'm just suggesting that the early rising for the 'bed-race' is a self-propagating problem. Now of course - as I pointed out - there are plenty of other (good) reasons to get up early.

    IF people got up early JUST for the bed race then yes, I believe there would be (more) harmony. But they don't.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
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  12. tjb1013

    tjb1013 Member

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    If this is what I think it is, I may have to withdraw a claim I made to a friend just yesterday that there was at least one thing I had not seen reported about Pilgrim behavior in Albergue bunks that we could be grateful for. :eek: I'm not sure even the poet of Ecclesiastes would agree that there is a time for that!
     
  13. Cambridge Pilgrim

    Cambridge Pilgrim Member

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    A round of applause at the 'end' may also have the same effect. I doubt it would be taken as encouragement! :)

    (I've also experienced this particular erm... habit whilst on the Camino).
     
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  14. martyseville

    martyseville Active Member

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    I, nor OP, are expecting "everyone do it our way" approach.

    What I expect, and actually entitled to, is respect.

    Respect by not getting up at 4, 5 in the morning. Turning on lights. Making noise. Talking. Putting things on another's bed. One A'berg I stayed at on the Portugues bunch people stayed up down stairs drinking wine/beer. Laughing and talking louder and louder. Music playing. With open stair well to the upper bedding area, everyone was kept up until 1 am or 2 am. Till finally two guys went down and told them to shut up, turn it off and go to bed. They were told do it or get out. Or be thrown out.

    I have walked and biked Caminos. Over the years people get ruder and ruder. It is all about them. No consideration for others.

    Not only in the A'bergs but at bus/train stations rude behavior. Cutting in line. Grabbing seats that are not theirs. and more bad behavior. Seen bad behavior at cafes and bars and more.

    Hate to tell you, but this is the norm today.

    Yes, there are many many good polite walkers/bikers on the Camino. But seems to be a big increase of the rude ones in the last few years.

    Not the Camino I walked first time in the 80s.
     
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  15. RENSHAW

    RENSHAW Veteran Member

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    You've nailed it!!
    Sometimes it IS blistering a hot at midday and some pilgrims even stop at noon. They sleep the whole afternoon and then complain about my snoring at night - I have walked during a heatwave in August and the only way to cover 25km was to leave at 4am. Its not a race in this case but hardy pilgrims that have completed their quota hours before you? We are all so different and most of us are not used to sharing - negating the unacceptable behavior of course.
     
  16. falcon269

    falcon269 sidra; no commercial interests

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    There is only a small amount of that; most of the ire comes from differences in habits, choices, and opinion... ;)
     
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  17. Cambridge Pilgrim

    Cambridge Pilgrim Member

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    Yes - but there are also norms about what is and isn't socially acceptable. The world would be in chaos if there weren't.

    Methinks that this forum has a rose-tinted, fluffy clouded land button you can press somewhere... I haven't yet found it I'm afraid. :(
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
  18. Cambridge Pilgrim

    Cambridge Pilgrim Member

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    You could've left at 7am, taken a break during the hotter hours and completed during the evening... well you could if people weren't getting up at 4am to join the bed race... ;)

    Those who get up early to get a bed are modifying the behaviour of a wider group of people. £10 says that the average 'wake-up' time now is earlier than it was in the past. Those heatwaves have always been there, the bed races haven't.
     
  19. Scottlovelace87

    Scottlovelace87 Member Donating Member

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    I hate getting up super early, I'm just not a morning person. On my first Camino I walked from Ponferrada to Santiago and after Sarria I had several days where I walked into a town in mid to late afternoon, exhausted and had to continue walking around from alburgue to alburgue to pension, just to find a room or bed. I started looking at the guide book and setting goals for each day depending on terrain and elevation. I then started booking accommodations in advance through booking.com or by email. This proactive action made the last few days of that Camino very relaxing and stress free.

    I continued this pre-booking in preparation for my second Camino (St Jean to Burgos), and it was so nice not to deal with the "Race for beds" every day. I left SJPP on Sept 4th 2016, along with a record number of pilgrims that started in early September. Orrison was booked up, Roncesvalles was overbooked, and I heard several times over the next couple of weeks that people were struggling to get rooms in every town. I met a group while staying in a hostel in Belorado that was leaving every morning before 5 am to beat the heat and make sure they were first in line at the next town's alburgue.
     
  20. Finisterre

    Finisterre Active Member

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    No plans to return, yet.
    I have a solution. We should introduce bed sharing.

    Where there are N beds
    Pilgrim 1 gets bed 1
    Pilgrim 2 gets bed 2
    Pilgrim N gets bed N
    Pilgrim N+1 shares bed 1 with Pilgrim 1
    Pilgrim N+2 shares bed 2 with Pilgrim 2
    etc

    I've a feeling Pilgrim 1 won't be that keen to be the first to sign in at the next alberque.
     
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  21. falcon269

    falcon269 sidra; no commercial interests

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    Wouldn't that depend on who pilgrim N+1 was? :rolleyes:
     
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  22. J Willhaus

    J Willhaus Active Member

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    Hi Incipia,
    I am surprised your friend did not see early risers or hear bag rustlers on other routes. I think it is part of sleeping in a room with a lot of people and perhaps part of the experience. When you get a private room, you feel more isolated, but sometimes more rested. We stayed at about half albergues and half private rooms. My spouse (and walking partner) did not appreciate that I wanted to be up and out on the Way no later than 6:30 a.m. and out of the blistering sun before 2 p.m. I complained because he was so slow in the mornings. It is hard to reach a compromise and yet I would not have traded any of those bag rustling, headlamp blinding days for anything. It was an annoyance at the time, but quickly forgotten when I reflect on how special the time I spent on the journey really was. Some of my worst nights on the Camino resulted in some of the best overall experiences like at the parochial in Granon or Viana. Sleeping on the hard thin mats surrounded by snorers and farters did not dim the experience I had with the hospitalerios and other pilgrims throughout the afternoon and evening.
    Janet
     
  23. Satírico

    Satírico Active Member

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    "Get a(nother) room!" doesn't have quite the same ring to it, I guess. :cool:
     
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  24. VNwalking

    VNwalking Veteran Member

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    @martyseville, perhaps your expectations need to be updated to account for the reduced consideration for others that seems to be the new normal?:D

    People will be people and there does seem to be less constraint about all sorts of things. We can resist the trend, and I do like @CaminoDebrita's approach. But I have to admit that I rarely have the nerve to do something like that.
     
  25. RobertS26

    RobertS26 Active Member Donating Member

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    Exactly. If everyone got up at six, then early risers want to beat the crowd would start getting up at 5. Then everyone else starts getting up at 5 and then early risers start getting up at 4. Then everyone else starts getting up at 4 and then early risers . . .

    It's like sitting in bleachers at a sporting event. If the people in the front row stand up to get a better look, everyone in the second row stands because their view is blocked. Which of course forces the people in the third row to stand. Which in turn forces the fourth row to stand. And so forth and so on. If the people in the first row would remain seated, they wouldn't disrupt life for the hundreds of people sitting behind them.
     
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  26. hel&scott

    hel&scott Active Member

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    It's a good point, if early rising is connected to a bed race and sadly it tends to be, even on the French route back in 2004 this was an issue the closer you got to Santiago.

    After walking a number of the other Camino routes, we usually get up at 6.30 are on our way by 6.35am, pre packing and having breakfast on the way means you can quickly and quietly leave without annoying everyone. We like to leave at dawn and see the sun come up on the way, we aim to finish walking before the heat of the day sets in, with the added bonus of getting to enjoy the a long wonderful Spanish late lunch.

    I hate it when people get up early and needlessly annoy everyone, once had a pair get up at 4am, spend an age getting ready, they were still in the kitchen when the rest of us left after 6.30, so much for an early start. Likewise it's damn annoying when people stay up past midnight drinking and yelling at each other over their personal sound systems. Consideration in shared living is necessary, and it isn't hard.

    But I agree, starting too early is madness, you can't see and get lost, or worse - I've seen pilgrims hit by cars walking out of town along the road in the dark, and others fall badly into ditches or in once case a cow.
     
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  27. Stuart Lennon

    Stuart Lennon Member Donating Member

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    Each to their own, I suppose.
    I’m sure the hand shandy stuff would have amused me, but then I’m a big guy and not much is going to worry me. I would have laughed loudly and asked everyone else to come watch.
    Bed races? Only a race if you race.
    I guess we can only try to be considerate of others, and not take offence too easily.
     
  28. tjb1013

    tjb1013 Member

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    This might also solve the problem mentioned by the OP of "the man in the bunk below me ... doing what no respectable person ever does in public". Two birds!
     
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  29. Trude

    Trude Member

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    Personally if I leave early I pack my bag and leave it outside the dorm. All I have to do is grab my sleeping back, money belt and phone. Then sneak out with socks on ...no flip flops
    I pack my sleeping bag and get dressed as far away from the sleeping area as possible.
     
  30. hel&scott

    hel&scott Active Member

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    Undesirably saw/heard this on the way more then once... It's worth noting that you often walk long distances with the same pilgrims, and everyone gets a nick name based on their behaviour... So unless you want to be named and shamed for the rest of the trip a bit of self restraint is advised.
     
  31. tjb1013

    tjb1013 Member

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    Bed bugs .... Zipper-jamming cow flop ... and now this. I need to review the entire brochure next time.
     
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  32. hel&scott

    hel&scott Active Member

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    The cow story is different from the other one, and technically "3-in-a-haystack" wasn't in an Alberuge at the time. Also not that young, I was almost impressed that hip ops and long days on the road hadn't exhausted them. But that's a whole other kind if forum so let's get back on thread.
     
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  33. CaminoDebrita

    CaminoDebrita Veteran Member Donating Member

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    [QUOTE="VNwalking, post: 553823,

    People will be people and there does seem to be less constraint about all sorts of things. We can resist the trend, and I do like @CaminoDebrita's approach. But I have to admit that I rarely have the nerve to do something like that.[/QUOTE]

    I have that nerve! And we now pause for a real Camino story...not a tale of naughty bunk behavior, just a tale.

    One young man, in that cool albergue in El Ganso--up the top of the stairs under the round-shaped roof--let his phone alarm (the annoying i phone EEE EEE EEE emergency alarm) go off about three times, each time hitting the snooze.

    The third time, I had had it, and got up, going as quietly and quickly down the stairs as I could. My pack, already set up so I would not wake others (catch the ironic dig there?) was all ready.

    The fellow who had snoozed came down, and in a very pointed whisper, I let him know how offensive it was to let that &*() alarm go off not just once (forgivable, barely) but three times!

    He explained, "I won't get back to Europe for probably ten years, and I want to go to France after this, so I need to get up early!"

    Sigh.

    Later down the trail, my other albergue buddies caught up with me and asked what I had said to the young gentleman. I had been so quiet that they wanted details. Perhaps I was able to help the young fella learn something, but who knows?

    At least he didn't do the solo "bunk maneuver...."
     
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  34. alhartman

    alhartman Member Donating Member

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    My first Camino in May/June 2005 was also a bed race that I let make me nearly crazed; but I was never turned away from a full Albergue. Extra mattresses were put into patios, dining rooms, halls, and even bathrooms. I didn't even have to use the mat I had brought and carried. Leon Convent, Hornillos, OCerberio, and Samos were all on overflow for me as a slow walker. Other years I was in floor overflow at Tardajos, Ribidiso, Negeira, and Oliveiro.
    So am I to gather from this thread that the old Albergue custom of mats on the floor and everywhere else they will fit has passed, and the 'completo' means move along to the next town?
    And even 2005 there were the early risers racing for the next bed. I arrived in Castrojeriz about 1pm and was the 15-20 pack in the lineup.
    In my 2016 Leon-SdC we made reservations and almost everywhere was full by 4pm.
    On balance though, I think the bed resources have pretty well kept up with the increase in pilgrims. That's right in line with supply/demand economics.
     
  35. Dorpie

    Dorpie Member

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    Having just completed my second camino (Frances) I can't really speak to trends but I also can't help think that all these stories of bed races and pre-booking just exacerbates the problem. If I were new to the way and reading most accounts on this forum I would be pretty convinced that it was essential to book ahead which becomes a self fulfilling prophesy. I arrived in Sarria and at one of the Albergues just before the big flight of steps I managed to get the last bed in a room for 16 people of which only one other had actually arrived. I had similar if less extreme experiences elsewhere.

    To solve this problem I'd like to see an end to booking in communal dorms, if you want to book ahead, book a room. This may seem intolerant but I feel it would have a positive outcome. If you want the benefits of cheap accommodation you should perhaps expect some downside in terms of arrival time/ time that you're woken up.

    Anecdotally, my July-August trip this year from SJPdP to SdC was completely fine. I tended to leave as soon as it was light enough to walk, which was a little before six at the start and around 7 by the end. We had some extremely hot days crossing the Meseta where walking after 2pm was very unpleasant, but there were times when I was finishing around 4 or even 5. My first choice albergue was sometimes full but I never had to go to the next town.

    As to politeness I thought most people were pretty good. I must agree with Camino Debrita though that people who wake up ludicrously early, ie. any time before me ;) and then don't leave in a timely manner are pretty annoying.
     
  36. hel&scott

    hel&scott Active Member

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    There was a time @Dorpie when you could not book ahead, and like an earlier poster commented if the place was full you bunked down on the floor, But the greater numbers and growth of private alburges has meant greater number of beds and for some greater convenience. I note that the OP was speaking of the English Way, when we did it you couldn't book ahead in the largely municipal refuges on this route. While it is good to see this route is being travelled more often as people realise there is more then one way to Santiago, hopefully more accomodation options will become available to the benefit of the users and their hosts.
     
  37. LesBrass

    LesBrass Likes Walking

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    Well... in that case... can I say that I get frustrated by folks that sleep in the afternoon or go to bed super early... and expect the rest of the dorm to accommodate this.

    Ideally I like to stop walking around two or three in the afternoon. This spring I noticed more and more that, when arriving in the albergue, lights were off or shutters closed and the room is in semi darkness and pilgrims are tip-toeing around and whispering; more often than not it was the early risers who were catching up on their lost sleep. A couple of times we were shusshed for talking in the middle of the afternoon. :eek::confused: I do want to make allowances for others, I know it's shared space but the early-rising/afternoon sleeping/bed at 7:00pm thing is a tad trying :oops:

    After the peace of the VdlP, the CF was a bit of a shock to the system. Nonetheless, I do love the CF... there is no doubt it's a beautiful walk and meeting so many interesting folks from around the world is a great experience... And I do understand why people choose the CF and why so many folks are pulled to walk it. So I guesss, as @peregrina2000 say, I should find myself a quieter path if I want to avoid the rush.
     
  38. falcon269

    falcon269 sidra; no commercial interests

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    And yet the private hospiteros would prefer to be fully booked with non-refundable payment! If I were a betting man, I would bet the hospitaleros will get their wish first. :):)
     
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  39. Dorpie

    Dorpie Member

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    @falcon269 You are of course right. I know the genie is out of the bottle in terms of reservations and this is just a pipe dream but it would be nice.
     
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  40. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Veteran Member

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    I walked the Frances again this past spring and arrived in Zubiri during Holy Week. I walked over to the municipal albergue to show my son where I'd stayed two years earlier. It had been my only bad memory as it very old bunks, was rather dirty, and had large communal showers in another building. As we walked the property I noticed another large building behind and peeked inside. It was a gym and there were many mats on the floor with overflow pilgrims' sleeping bags and packs securing their spot. This was the only albergue with this option for overflow we saw. I was glad we'd made reservations to stay in the next village.

    By the way, on our way out of Zubiri we passed a bus that was picking up pilgrims. It was jammed full and the holds underneath were crammed full with backpacks. It was 2:00pm and I wondered where the bus was taking all these pilgrims. :eek:
     
  41. Cambridge Pilgrim

    Cambridge Pilgrim Member

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    Maybe we'd be better off not knowing!! :eek:

    Strangely though, we arrived in Zubiri on 24th July this year and the two of us had a 10 bed room to ourselves. A few days later in Sansol we had an entire 20-bed albergue to ourselves!

    Anyone who could predict the 'waves' would have many friends on this forum I'm sure.
     
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  42. WGroleau

    WGroleau Wandering Weirdo

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    As hospitalero voluntario, most of the time I witnessed respect and kindness. One day, however, went to the opposite extreme. At opening time, when I went out to start checking pilgrims in, there were over twenty on the patio, fighting over who had been there first.
     
  43. HeidiL

    HeidiL Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Regarding overflow sleeping, there ARE fire restrictions on how many people can sleep in most albergues, and traces of extra people can shut a place down if the fire inspectors come around.

    (In addition, of course, if there should be a fire, easy evacuation is vital.)
     
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  44. Incipia

    Incipia New Member

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  45. Incipia

    Incipia New Member

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    Yes, I would have liked to have reported him, especially as he had been thumping my mattress from below repeatedly during the night - which, I only realised in the morning, must have been a deliberate attempt to wake me - the bunk bed had bars which prevented that from happening accidentally. But there was no obvious way of reporting what bordered on harassment - the hospitalera was not there, and I was walking with someone else that day, so we pressed on. This sort of thing can't be uncommon and makes the camino difficult for women particularly, so I can't help wondering more couldn't be done to deter such behaviour.
     
  46. Incipia

    Incipia New Member

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  47. Incipia

    Incipia New Member

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    In answer to the question of whether the albergues are still following the tradition of accommodating the overfiow, my experience was mixed. One, at Pontedeume, opened the sports hall to sleep a group of 14 Italians but others did just announce they were 'completo' and encouraged people to seek private accommodation. This is fine, but on the Ingles there are places where it's in fairly short supply too.
     
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  48. alhartman

    alhartman Member Donating Member

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    Pre-booking has its downside as well:
    • For the Albergue owners it can mean lost revenue (unless on booking.com where there is guaranteed payment);
    • for pilgrims it means a loss of the ability to go with the flow and stop when you are tired. That is my preferred mode as my energy is hugely variable.

    And in May-June 2016 several Albergues asked for phone confirmation before 4pm. In one case I was asked to prepay for 3 companions who were enjoying a long lunch and would arrive after 5pm. We usually booked by phone previous night or even morning of, after they had time to do the cleanup/housekeeping. Not using a guaranteed system like booking.com puts the Albergue at risk of lost revenue--and they are there as a business!

    Knowing a bit about the statistics, I choose to walk in the shoulder seasons because I can. And, then the only problem is the waves (and sometimes closed Albergues). I would love to do a winter walk, but I hate snow and ice with a passion!!
     
  49. alhartman

    alhartman Member Donating Member

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    And I would add, the bed race and the bad communal behavior of a small minority are just things to be overcome. Part of the Camino lesson as it were. As a friend said, "Happiness or suffering is created through one's relationship to the experience, not by the experience itself"

    So for the newbies, please understand that these (petty) annoyances are NOT a reason to miss out on all the great experiences to be had on any Camino.
     
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  50. WGroleau

    WGroleau Wandering Weirdo

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    There are places that don't accept reservations. I spent three or four months in one. When they opened (twenty years ago), they quickly found that reservations resulted in empty beds because people didn't show up. So they stopped letting folks reserve.

    As for other irritations (or blessings), once someone came to us complaining that some older German males were wandering around nude in front of young ladies. But another time, a fellow showed up with "I MUST have a private room because I snore terribly!"
     
  51. cher99840

    cher99840 Veteran Member Donating Member

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    The only time that I resent someone pre booking is when they don't show up and don't call and cancel. When I arrived at Valcarlos last April all of the empty bottom bunks had people's names on them so I grabbed the last top one. By the time my friends arrived there was a long delay while the person at the bar contacted someone to find out if a second locked room could be opened. It eventually was and I moved to a lower bunk in the newly opened room. The next morning I checked the first room and three bottom bunks had not been slept in and the names were still posted. How rude is that!?!
     
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  52. trecile

    trecile Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I think that albergues that allow prebooking will have to have a strict rule that the pilgrim must arrive by XX:00 or their bed will be given away.
     
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  53. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Veteran Member

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    On my spring Camino we started emailing the private owned albergues ahead in the morning due to the busyness of the trail. We were usually told to arrive by 4:00pm or they would not keep holding the beds knowing they would have no problem filling them after 4:00 with straggler pilgrims who were "winging it".
     
  54. WGroleau

    WGroleau Wandering Weirdo

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    My approach was generally, "We open at one. There is currently no one waiting, but we tend to fill the last bed around five. No guarantees, but before three, the chances are good."

    Once an Italian fellow tried to check in seven other people besides himself. "Where are they?" "Not sure, but they'll be here soon." "Well, if they get here before we're full, they'll be in." They never showed up at all.
     
  55. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Veteran Member

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    I assume that you do/did not take any reservations without prepayment from pilgrims calling or emailing. That's your perogative, but I certainly appreciated the establishments that did and I always followed through with my verbal commitment.
     
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  56. zrexer

    zrexer Active Member

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    Have been on the Camino Frances Route 3 times. 2014 Ponferrada to Santiago. 2015 Burgos to Ponferrada and 2016 St.Jean to Burgos and then bus to Sarria and walk into Santiago but with different overnight stops.
    Camino Portugal from Porto - April 2017
    In April which is my preferred month to walk, there is no 'race for beds' or reservations required, but the pre-dawn is my favorite time of the day. Nothing better than starting shortly before sunrise and experiencing the transition from night to day. My best pictures of my Camino walks are always during the early dawn period. My wife and I because of our early departures always stay in Private rooms, so as not to disturb those that wish to sleep in.
     
  57. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Veteran Member

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    I have always started by mid April as I love watching spring unfold its beauty as I walk into late May. That said, I have definately seen the race for beds, especially this year as our start date coincided with Holy Week. We had to email ahead day by day to make sure we had a bed waiting for us end of day along much of the route.
     
  58. WGroleau

    WGroleau Wandering Weirdo

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    We took no reservations at all. They did when they first opened twenty years ago but quickly found that results in empty beds and pilgrims appalled at having to do twelve kilometers more. If we were full, we did our best to help them out. Loan a pad for people to sleep in the frontón, call a taxi, show them the bus schedule, tell them about two other nearby albergues, etc. Once for an older woman, we "bent" the rules and put a mattress in the hallway.
     
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  59. LesBrass

    LesBrass Likes Walking

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    We started walking in late April this year and had to walk 37km from Roncesvalles because we couldn't find a bed... this was my third time on the CF and it was noticeably busier. We opted to get off of the 'stages' and this did ease the problem.

    I do understand why folks feel under pressure to find a bed and I dont have any answers... in the meantime I guess we all need to figure out how to rub along together... or walk the less trodden paths :)
     
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  60. KinkyOne

    KinkyOne Veteran Member

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    I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
    My experience in case of being late is that if you phone them an hour before the scheduled time for check in that's building up the trust. Once I was 4 hours late into the reserved albergue but the bed was still waiting for me because I've made three phone calls (every full hour) that I will be late. That's even easier now with no roaming charges in EU if you have Spanish SIM card of course.

    Play fair I say.
     
  61. MikeJS

    MikeJS Active Member

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    Some people just like to get up early. When I walked the Sureste earlier this year I was the only person in the albergues 95% of the time and only saw another person on the camino twice. However, I still got up between 0600 and 0630 as that is when I tend to wake up. I also prefer to walk in the morning light but as I like to walk around 40kms a day I still rarely end he days walk before 1500.
     
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  62. tjb1013

    tjb1013 Member

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    I regret my blithe remarks about this "practice". What for me would be an absurd annoyance can no doubt seem justifiably threatening to others.

    I assume calling the local police is an option in cases like this (and appropriate). What would likely happen were one to do that?
     
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  63. CaminoDebrita

    CaminoDebrita Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Well, it's hard to know how to respond to posts about such horribly inappropriate behavior, right?

    The teacher attitude in me just bristles.

    I would be speaking up in no uncertain terms, as I well remember being a young woman and being very intimidated by such behavior (misbehavior). Not anymore. Gloriously old and outspoken!
     
  64. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Veteran Member

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    I experienced this "behavior" very late one night in an albergue at approximately 2-3 am. I can't imagine calling the police at that ungodly hour and it would have waken up those sleeping if police were to come. I just just lay awake and cringed. Also, as a side note, when I was age 19 on a Chicago subway/L train, a man sat next to me. I wondered why he did that as there was almost no one in that particular car. He tried discreetly to "misbehave". I was hemmed in and mortified, cringing and looking out the window pretending nothing was going on until thankfully the train stopped at my station. He jumped up and ran out, then ran back to the next car before it took off again.
    All this to say I wish I had the gumption and boldness of CaminoDebrita! I've never trusted a man wearing a trenchcoat since. :eek:
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017 at 12:22 PM
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  65. Annie Little

    Annie Little Active Member

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    I walked sept last year ..... I only stayed in albergue a couple of times because ..... I love getting up early and walking in crisp clean air , quiet darkness, seeing the sunrises were just magical .... but I was pressured by the "don't get up early" unspoken rule ..... I didn't like it so I stayed privately .

    It was interesting to me watching people making judgements of so many others about so many things . But of course no one should judge the judge . It was interesting . We all do it consciously or subconsciously .
    I endeavour to avoid what bothers me OR sit with it and see what I learn .

    After all whatever bothers me is about me and the same goes for others.

    So I could be judged for getting up early but when I stayed private I was judged for that as well ..... funny human behaviour really .... in the end I just don't give a S... what others think ... that is for them to sort out .

    Ultreia
     
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  66. WGroleau

    WGroleau Wandering Weirdo

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    In fact, before I read this, I was about to suggest: If you have a snartphone, tablet, or camera, take a photo to show to the hospitalero and the Guardia Civil.
     
  67. WGroleau

    WGroleau Wandering Weirdo

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    Funny that the morning after I read the complaints about early noisemakers, someone in this full room of 22 beds turned on all the lights before six AM, and others were chatting loudly and one was singing, while three were trying to sleep.
     
  68. VNwalking

    VNwalking Veteran Member

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    Simply taking the pic should be a significant deterrent. It can potentially be shared far and wide with anyone, not just hospitaleros and fellow pilgrims. :D
     
  69. nycwalking

    nycwalking Veteran Member

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    I would love to do a winter walk, but I hate snow and ice with a passion!![/QUOTE]

    And, the mud during winter. Don't forget the mud. I walked winter 2014. Never again too much mud!
     
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  70. Tracying

    Tracying Member

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    Can I ask a question off the early risers. Do the albergues provide breakfast or do you sort it out yourself on the way, I'm thinking of the poor staff having to be there earlier and earlier
     
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  71. Annie Little

    Annie Little Active Member

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    I always walked for two hours before having breakfast and first coffee ..... it tasted so great after walking for a few hours .....
     
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  72. Dorpie

    Dorpie Member

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    I'm with Annie. For some reason I really liked getting an hour or two of walking in before having a massive breakfast, it just helped to break up the day. Maybe I was just completely oblivious but I feel like most Albergues don't really do breakfast beyond leaving out some fruit and having coffee making facilities.

    I'd certainly be mortified if I felt my early rising meant hospitaleros were getting up earlier to prep breakfast etc.
     
  73. Bradypus

    Bradypus Antediluvian

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    Some private albergues provide breakfast but most church and municipal albergues do not. Local bars are usually the best option for breakfast and many open very early in the morning during the peak walking season to cater for pilgrims.
     
  74. WGroleau

    WGroleau Wandering Weirdo

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    Well, I think the Guardia Civil should be informed. They can provide more "deterrent" than mere public embarrassment. Besides, showing the photo to people in general seems to me akin to showing any other pornography to someone who may not want to see it.
     
  75. WGroleau

    WGroleau Wandering Weirdo

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    One albergue that provided a pretty good breakfast kept having people turn it down because they wanted to leave earlier. So they changed to offering a "bag of breakfast" the day before.
     
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  76. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    I am a total fan of reporting incidents to the police and am constantly tooting the "report, report, report" horn. But I would be very surprised if this behavior constitutes a violation of any law in Spain. Based on my understanding of how Spain treats personal autonomy, it would require a female observer (unwilling as she may be) to establish that she felt threatened in her own personal autonomy by the behavior. That seems unlikely to be the case in the albergue situation described.
     
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  77. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I hesitate to get involved in this discussion :rolleyes:, but I think we are mixing up two different situations. I certainly don't condone either one, but one's response would be different. One is very rude and inappropriate behaviour in one's bed, albeit in a dormitory. This could be reported to the hospitalero and other pilgrims. But I can't imagine trying to take a photo :eek: and I doubt there is a case for police action. Social ostracism and shaming, yes, but police action probably only if it were really flagrant or repeated behaviour.

    The other situation is exhibitionism in a public place, which might be considered a form of assault, and should be reported to the police. I would try to remove myself as soon as possible to be with other people, and wouldn't stop to take a photo and possible aggravate a disturbed individual.
     
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  78. Icacos

    Icacos Veteran Member

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    As others have mentioned, each albergue is different. In one very small town on the Francés the hospitalero told us that the only bar in town would not be open when it was time to leave next morning, but that we could get a hot drink and something to eat from the 'breakfast machine' in the albergue. The next morning said machine was not working and, as we learned later, neither was the breakfast machine in the next tiny little village. We were very happy for our little stash of supplies in our packs on that very frosty morning.
     
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  79. JohnMcM

    JohnMcM Veteran Member Donating Member

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    [QUOTE="CaminoDebrita, post: 554268, member: 41369".......................Gloriously old and outspoken!..................[/QUOTE]

    Love that. But, please,,,,,,,,,,,,,, remind me to stay in your good books.

    Buen (Speaking your mind) Camino
     
  80. VNwalking

    VNwalking Veteran Member

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    AFAIK, Laurie's right.
    About the photography and sharing, I was actually (half) joking. The 'half' part is that I imagine that simply pulling a camera out - and saying that you're doing so - would pull the plug on any inappropriate behavior PDQ, which is the point. And then if possible talking to the person later, one on one, to (kindly but clearly) convey the distress that behavior causes others. They may just be in a deluded bubble, assuming that no-one is aware of what they're doing.
     
  81. alaskadiver

    alaskadiver Active Member

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    Won't be returning in 2018 going on a dive trip instead.
    We walked the Primitivo this May and by 1pm it was unbearably hot with temps in the 70s and 80s. We packed all our stuff the night before and all we had to do in the morning was grab our packs and sleeping bag and go to the common area. We finished getting dressed and packed our sleeping bag away there where we didn't disturb anyone. Quick trip to the bathroom to quietly brush teeth and take care of business and off we went around 6 or 6:30am. There was no "bed race". We just didn't want to sleep in until 7 and then have to walk in the heat of the day. We had to cover 25 km and with my plantar fasciitis I wasn't walking fast. Nobody ever complained and a few people wondered how we moved to stealthily. It's not hard to be considerate.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017
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  82. RobertS26

    RobertS26 Active Member Donating Member

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    Exactly.
     
  83. Jen Fawkes

    Jen Fawkes New Member

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    We are on day 5 of our Camino and we have only had one noisy (read loud, rude obnoxious Spanish group) night.
    However when we discuss bad behaviour I have to comment on the amount of tissues and toilet paper I see each time I need to hide behind a tree. I think that as time goes on this will become an ugly and disgusting sight. (Once one person leaves paper everyone will). I don't know what the answer is but I have to say I'm a little disgusted.
    Otherwise the Camino continues to be wonderful.
     
  84. jdpiguet

    jdpiguet Active Member Donating Member

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    Hi Jen,

    The answer is quite simple: always have one or two small plastic bags with you, put your used paper sheets or tissues inside and throw everything in the next bin you meet...

    Buen (clean) Camino, Jacques-D.
     
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  85. elleley

    elleley New Member

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    Hola!
    This whole "bed race" thing makes me sad, because even though I experienced it last September on the Frances (and it made me nervous especially after Sarria when I was injured...) I keep thinking I can "rise above it" by walking "my own camino." While it can prove to be a logistical and physical stress, mostly it became a mental, emotional stress (i.e. why should I have to make plans I don't want to make....) I know this will continue to be a challenge as I walk various routes and as they get more crowded. Another challenge I hadn't thought about.

    Determined to stay in primarily municipal and parochial albergues along the Frances and Sanabres routes, I tolerated a lot of noises and behaviors while I tried to sleep. However, the thing that really got to me was the narcissist behavior of pilgrims turning on the room light to pack up their stuff before 6:00 AM. This does not include those albergues that have automatic lights in the AM. Generally, I am not a pilgrim to leave before 6 AM (or even 7 most days...) so this got my goat! I just got up and turned the light off, but rarely got much rest after that.
    Ultreia!
     
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  86. Jen Fawkes

    Jen Fawkes New Member

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    I don't have a problem collecting my rubbish. I have a problem that others leave theirs littered around. It seem to be quite a problem in some places.
     
  87. canesvenatici

    canesvenatici New Member

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    On my first Camino and cycling it now. I don't typically sleep till 12 - 1am as I spend the time after dinner researching the next day's cycle route. Early risers in the albergues at Astorga and Villafranca del Bierzo typically get up at 5.30am. Not really possible to sleep then but I found it doesn't bother me. I put in 70 - 80km daily and get to the albergue at 5.30 - 6pm. I really struggle to start before sunrise at 8am ish. Dreadfully cold! I think researching loads on this Forum help mentally prepare me so thanks to all. Re availability, no problem at Astorga and Villafranca del Bierzo in last 2 days. Sarria is a hit and miss as the first few albergues you see are typically full. There is availability closer to the town centre. Highly recommend Casa Peltre at €10 a night, only downside is 20pp to 2 bathrooms.
     
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  88. VNwalking

    VNwalking Veteran Member

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  89. Ernesto.IT

    Ernesto.IT Member

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    AS I explain in my other intervention, the early rising depend in how many km you intend to walk, this year the most has been 53 km, I normally start at first light having prepared my rucksack for the next morning before I go to have my dinner. In the morning I usually take everything quietly out of the room to finish my preparation and leave. These are the things that everybody should learn to do before starting any pilgrimage. Respect for serious pilgrims when the only aim is to reach James as soon as possible.
    Ultreya
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2017 at 7:52 PM
  90. KinkyOne

    KinkyOne Veteran Member

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    I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
    That's amazing. I can hardly type this, hahahahahaha:
    "Codex Brierleyex"
    and
    "Pilgrims often start walking before they go to bed in order to arrive here in time to get one of its 80 beds."
    :D :D :D
     
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  91. Marbe2

    Marbe2 Active member

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    Do we really expect pilgrims with different values, goals, experiences, preferences, biological clocks and tolerance for heat or cold while hiking to get up at the same time? Reality - even when people are really trying to be quiet..others will be awakened due to the close proximity of those around them. This is part of the Camino experience!
    We always book private rooms in either albergues, hostels, or hotels. Even then, the walls can be very thin and folks move out early. We do what we can to be quiet when we leave early, and we consider noise when we hear someone else coming in late or leaving early part of the Camino experience! These are things we can not control folks! ! You can control
    the pressure of getting a room by calling ahead and making reservations in a private accommodation! Do not be surprised, however, that many of these are also filled in smaller towns at peak times! So you may need need to Call several days before. Prioritize your needs! For us, it is a definite place to stay so we are free to walk without having to rush, and, a private accommodation so we can get quality Sleep.
    If you travel at non peak times you can walk without reservations and find a decent place to stay on the CF.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2017 at 6:52 PM
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  92. Paladina

    Paladina Member

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  93. Paladina

    Paladina Member

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    There may never have been a golden age of Camino conduct. Medieval pilgrim accounts, if they merit any credence, record frequent instances of antisocial behaviour, from daylight robbery to rape and murder, en route to Santiago. As a regular user of all kinds of backpackers' hostels since I was a teenager, other than the proliferation of electronic gadgetry, the most significant increase I have observed with some disquiet is in my own advancing years.
     
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  94. HeidiL

    HeidiL Veteran Member Donating Member

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  95. WGroleau

    WGroleau Wandering Weirdo

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    Hilarious! Competition for the Onion and Babylon Bee.

    Fortunately what it mocks isn't (seems to me) common. I do remember one incident where we opened the albergue and more than a dozen pilgrims were arguing loudly over who had been there first. But that was the only such incident in over four months as hospitalero. Most days, people are waiting when we open, and not only know what order, but are smart enough to realize there's no point in only fifteen people fighting when we have 28 beds.
     
  96. long trails

    long trails Active Member

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    I have stayed in backpacker hostels where they lock you in overnight. Perhaps some albergues should lock pilgrims in until daylight, whenever that is.

    Of course it would be your choice to stay there. As a late riser and someone who dislikes the early rising troublemakers, I'd happily stay locked up until sun up!
     

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