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Live - Cam. Norte Plea for patronising the albergues between the Gronze stages

Pierre Julian

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Ingles, VdP, San Salvador, Aragonese & Northern. Sections of Portuguese & Mozarabic.
I have just been walking a section of the Northern Camino. Unfortunately, so many people follow the Gronze "official stages", which means that the albergues in between have very few visitors. This is a terrible shame because if this continues they will surely go out of business. In my opinion two of the very best albergues on the Northern Camino are sadly being rarely visited.

First: the Albergue St Roch in Navia where I stayed last night. It has to be one of the best laid-out albergues I have ever stayed in. It is incredibly clean, bright and has everything a pilgrim needs. Most of all, it is run by Aurelio - such a welcoming, friendly, informative, kind and helpful hospitalero, and I have stayed there now three times. He reports that in recent weeks there has only been one or two pilgrims per night sometimes none. Last night they was just myself and another. I think it will be impossible for such an albergue to survive after such an awful year if this continues.

Second: the other albergue at Piñera. It is in a wonderful old school building, very spacious, very comfortable and a joy to visit. But most of all the hospitalero is Ezekiel (Fecky - not sure how to spell). Like Aurelio, he is friendly, kind welcoming and informative. He home-cooks probably the best albergue a communal meal I have ever had - it was amazing. He put so much hard work and love into it - truly of high class restaurant standard - for a minimal price. Again it is in-between stages and so not well patronised.

I believe that the Spanish pilgrims are very strong on following the Gronze specific stage endings. Maybe those of us from non-Spanish countries could make a real effort when we are on the Camino to stay in-between stages in order to support the very good and hardworking hospitaleros and albergues, and ensure they survive after the pandemic? Please do pass the word around. Thanks.
 

Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
In busy periods people stay at the Albergues in between the stages, I stayed at Pinera 10 years ago and on the day I was there some young Spanish guys were given mattresses and slept in the hall because the bunks were taken. The unfortunate circumstances we are going through mean a lot of places will be bypassed this year,if they can make it too next year and there is a vaccine or something else in the first part then it is likely the Albergues will be rammed on the most popular routes wether or not they are in between the Gronze,Brierley or Cicerone stages.
Buen Camino
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Second: the other albergue at Piñera. It is in a wonderful old school building, very spacious, very comfortable and a joy to visit. But most of all the hospitalero is Ezekiel (Fecky - not sure how to spell). Like Aurelio, he is friendly, kind welcoming and informative. He home-cooks probably the best albergue a communal meal I have ever had -
I agree. It's one of the best on the Norte. I've stayed there twice, and in the same bed both times. 😊
Another gem is La Rectoral in Priesca.
 

Pierre Julian

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Ingles, VdP, San Salvador, Aragonese & Northern. Sections of Portuguese & Mozarabic.
In busy periods people stay at the Albergues in between the stages, I stayed at Pinera 10 years ago and on the day I was there some young Spanish guys were given mattresses and slept in the hall because the bunks were taken. The unfortunate circumstances we are going through mean a lot of places will be bypassed this year,if they can make it too next year and there is a vaccine or something else in the first part then it is likely the Albergues will be rammed on the most popular routes wether or not they are in between the Gronze,Brierley or Cicerone stages.
Buen Camino
Which is why I'm encouraging future pilgrims to stay in these places over the next few months ...

Many of them probably won't make it to next year if we don't make an effort to pass the word around.

I also did Pamplona to Burgos a couple of weeks ago and was very saddened to see so many closed albergues.
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
I am surprised to see any albergues are open at all. I for one avoid standard stages, but that is up to one.

EDITED: it deserves some further explanation. I find it amazing that albergues are open at all in the current situation, they are very brave hospitaleros, but it can be a risk to public health.

As you first approach the Camino, I guess it is easier to take the conventional approach and just follow what you see as standard stages. After a few days, you may come to the conclusion, it does not need to be so, that is also a good thing you learn in the camino, and I love ending up in places I had not even heard of!

My applause goes to any (conscious) hospitalero that keeps albergues open these days, while following the COVID-19 standard safety measure, it must be a lot of work!!!
 
Last edited:

Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
But you aren't going to have enough non Spanish pilgrims to make a difference this year anyway, next year( fingers crossed) it changes. One of the problems of the location it is in, is that it's only 17 km past Luarca and even if Pinera was the end of the stage, many people would still go to Luarca. Pinera holds many fond memories for me,the lovely meal I received, the pens on the ceiling,the warm hospitality,but even if I go that way again I will be heading around the Costa Naviega so I will end up bypassing it. But in a normal busy year many people stay there so it's a not usually a problem.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
But you aren't going to have enough non Spanish pilgrims to make a difference this year anyway, next year( fingers crossed) it changes. One of the problems of the location it is in, is that it's only 17 km past Luarca and even if Pinera was the end of the stage, many people would still go to Luarca. Pinera holds many fond memories for me,the lovely meal I received, the pens on the ceiling,the warm hospitality,but even if I go that way again I will be heading around the Costa Naviega so I will end up bypassing it. But in a normal busy year many people stay there so it's a not usually a problem.
Both times I stayed in Piñera I had started my walk that day in Villademoros (just past Cadavedo). It was about a 28 km day.
 

Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
I started from the Albergue in Cadavedo, several people who were there as well just walked the 15km to Luarca, I don't blame them the location is stunning.
I am not against people staying in Pinera, I hope they do and they have. I respect the OPs plea, but as a forum group and as largely different nationalities from different parts of the world we won't be able to make much difference this year.
 

Pierre Julian

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Ingles, VdP, San Salvador, Aragonese & Northern. Sections of Portuguese & Mozarabic.
Isca I don't think you quite get the point of my post ... it was meant to be encouraging and positive to support struggling albergues. I disagree, there are enough people walking to make a difference.
 

Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
I do get your point( I hope). In a normal year many people stay there irrespective of the Gronze stages, this isn't a normal year.
 

Antonius Vaessen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte (to Sobrado)
2019 Norte again
I agree that the albergue in Navia and the hospitalero there are wonderfull. I did not stay in the Albergue in Pinera
I wonder if the cause of the few pelgrims in Navia is the fact that people follow the "official stages". Both in 2028 and in 2019 there were many people staying in the Albergue in Navia
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
Current Covid conditions aside, there are three ways to avoid the crowds:

1) Walk off season - I went in February and March when there are a tenth of the pilgrims as in the summer.
2) Walk the less traveled routes - Only 1 % of all pilgrims getting a Compostela start the lesser traveled Portuguese Route in Lisbon (most start in Porto) as I did three years ago.
3) Stop in between the "official" legs suggested in Gronze and the guide books.

And if you do want to do the popular French Route - Think about finishing it on the Invierno Route.
I love quite restaurants, empty albergues and deserted pensions.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
Current Covid conditions aside, there are three ways to avoid the crowds:

1) Walk off season - I went in February and March when there are a tenth of the pilgrims as in the summer.
2) Walk the less traveled routes - Only 1 % of all pilgrims getting a Compostela start the lesser traveled Portuguese Route in Lisbon (most start in Porto) as I did three years ago.
3) Stop in between the "official" legs suggested in Gronze and the guide books.

And if you do want to do the popular French Route - Think about finishing it on the Invierno Route.
I love quite restaurants, empty albergues and deserted pensions.
As soon as there is a vaccine I am off to Sevilla to walk the VDLP. The more caminos I walk the more I want to walk Caminos less traveled.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I have just been walking a section of the Northern Camino. Unfortunately, so many people follow the Gronze "official stages", which means that the albergues in between have very few visitors. This is a terrible shame because if this continues they will surely go out of business. In my opinion two of the very best albergues on the Northern Camino are sadly being rarely visited.

First: the Albergue St Roch in Navia where I stayed last night. It has to be one of the best laid-out albergues I have ever stayed in. It is incredibly clean, bright and has everything a pilgrim needs. Most of all, it is run by Aurelio - such a welcoming, friendly, informative, kind and helpful hospitalero, and I have stayed there now three times. He reports that in recent weeks there has only been one or two pilgrims per night sometimes none. Last night they was just myself and another. I think it will be impossible for such an albergue to survive after such an awful year if this continues.

Second: the other albergue at Piñera. It is in a wonderful old school building, very spacious, very comfortable and a joy to visit. But most of all the hospitalero is Ezekiel (Fecky - not sure how to spell). Like Aurelio, he is friendly, kind welcoming and informative. He home-cooks probably the best albergue a communal meal I have ever had - it was amazing. He put so much hard work and love into it - truly of high class restaurant standard - for a minimal price. Again it is in-between stages and so not well patronised.

I believe that the Spanish pilgrims are very strong on following the Gronze specific stage endings. Maybe those of us from non-Spanish countries could make a real effort when we are on the Camino to stay in-between stages in order to support the very good and hardworking hospitaleros and albergues, and ensure they survive after the pandemic? Please do pass the word around. Thanks.
I think on all the camino routes that I have walked there are many people who follow the stages that are in the different guide books and websites. There is alot of overlap from guide to guide of the stages for each camino. I would assume, but don't know for sure that new pilgrims are probably more inclined to follow guide book stages. The more crowded the route the better it is to "walk your own camino" and stay in non stage towns.
I stayed in Navia and you are correct the albergue is absolutely wonderful and spotless. I walked in 2017 and it was very late in October and there were only 4 of us there. Aurelio could not have been nicer. He is super warm and super kind. He also is a wealth of information. I was the first to arrive. He greeted me with a snack and some orange juice. I showered and washed my clothes and sat with him and we talked about the upcoming stages. He gave me recommendations of places to stay and what to expect. We talked for about 1/2 hour. It was just a wonderful place to stay. I heard about the albergue in Pinera but did not stay there.
If I may recommend one of the all time best albergues on any camino that is literally in the woods in the middle of nowhere, the Albergue O Xistral. It is about 6k past Abadin. I doubt if you can find an albergue anywhere that is more peaceful. It is deep in the woods. The hosts are just wonderful and welcoming. When I stayed there there were just 3 of us. In fact it was the same mother and daughter from Austria that I stayed with in Navia. There is nothing nearby. If you do not bring your own food they do serve a wonderful dinner and breakfast. They do sell some things that you can take with you the next day if you wish. If not I recommend buying some supplies in Abadin. I love this albergue. It is a must stop if you can.
 

Antonius Vaessen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte (to Sobrado)
2019 Norte again
I agree : the albergue O Xistral is one of the best alberques I stayed in on the Norte, really peacefully, quiet. When I stayed there in may 2018 I was alone there. For this albergue it is a pity that the (new) Albergue in Abadin, 5 km before O Xistral seems to be a wonderfull albergue too. Another albergue I liked very much on the norte was El reposo de Arrayon in Cuerres.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
If I may recommend one of the all time best albergues on any camino that is literally in the woods in the middle of nowhere, the Albergue O Xistral. It is about 6k past Abadin. I doubt if you can find an albergue anywhere
I haven't stayed there but it is lovely, and popular! I would recommend reservations for the more popular months. I couple of girls I was walking with wanted to stay there and were disappointed to find it fully booked when they arrived around noon. That was in early June last year.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk the Camino del Norte from Castro Urdiales (2019)
A year ago today I was half way through my Notre pilgrimage - my first - from Castro Urdiales so still had Navia ahead of me. I so agree with Pierre about the Alberque San Roque and the shining star that is Aurelio. For those of us there on September 11 2019 he described the stages ahead and from that night I was in no doubt that getting to Santiago was going to be easier than I had thought. Very much hope to go back there next year
 

arthur1218

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
-
Navia is a great albergue, I hope it survives the pandemic. The same I hope for La Rectoral in Priesca, and O Xistral past Abadin. Those hospitaler@s have put heart and soul into those albergues and there is the true spirit of the Camino in the air, you can feel it right away when you enter the albergue and talk to them.

But how those albergues can survive, if on the Camino forum we discourage people from walking and leaving at least a small contribution, so that those albergues can make through this year and the next one. If you discourage people from walking and helping those places to survive, please don't be surprised if in 2022 the only places to stay on the Camino will be 100 euro hotels.

I personally don't believe that 2021 will be any different from 2020. I hope you are more optimistic than me.
 
Last edited:

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
If you discourage people from walking and helping those places to survive...
This is an interesting and ambiguous sentence. Discouraging people from walking is one thing, but no one is discouraging people from "helping" those places! For example, see the notice at the top of every page on the forum.
 

reijo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2018)
I have just been walking a section of the Northern Camino. Unfortunately, so many people follow the Gronze "official stages", which means that the albergues in between have very few visitors. This is a terrible shame because if this continues they will surely go out of business. In my opinion two of the very best albergues on the Northern Camino are sadly being rarely visited.

First: the Albergue St Roch in Navia where I stayed last night. It has to be one of the best laid-out albergues I have ever stayed in. It is incredibly clean, bright and has everything a pilgrim needs. Most of all, it is run by Aurelio - such a welcoming, friendly, informative, kind and helpful hospitalero, and I have stayed there now three times. He reports that in recent weeks there has only been one or two pilgrims per night sometimes none. Last night they was just myself and another. I think it will be impossible for such an albergue to survive after such an awful year if this continues.

Second: the other albergue at Piñera. It is in a wonderful old school building, very spacious, very comfortable and a joy to visit. But most of all the hospitalero is Ezekiel (Fecky - not sure how to spell). Like Aurelio, he is friendly, kind welcoming and informative. He home-cooks probably the best albergue a communal meal I have ever had - it was amazing. He put so much hard work and love into it - truly of high class restaurant standard - for a minimal price. Again it is in-between stages and so not well patronised.

I believe that the Spanish pilgrims are very strong on following the Gronze specific stage endings. Maybe those of us from non-Spanish countries could make a real effort when we are on the Camino to stay in-between stages in order to support the very good and hardworking hospitaleros and albergues, and ensure they survive after the pandemic? Please do pass the word around. Thanks.
This is very good idea!
 

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