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Questions about hiking the Camino without mobile Internet access

raonaid

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
I am planning on hiking the Camino Frances in May/June. I don't plan to bring a cell phone. I don't wish to be persuaded otherwise, nor am I expressing judgement for those who find their mobile phones enhance their experience. (I know I'm unusual -- I rarely use a cell phone in my home country. I prefer being disconnected when I'm out and about. So, I'm used to being without a phone, and I'm not worried about the adjustment.)

However, I am wondering about the following:

1. Is there anyone these days who is like me and hikes the Camino with no cell phone?

2. I heard there used to be computers for pilgrims accessing email/Internet at some auberges, but now they are becoming less common. I'm thinking of trying to check my email once a week. How hard will that be without a smartphone? How common are public computers these days in auberges, cafes, and/or public libraries?

Thanks for any input.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes/Burgos/SdeC (train) 1977; CF 12,15,17; Finisterre 17; Lourdes/Aragones 18; Meseta again 2019
There were still some internet cafes when I walked the CF in 2012. But I saw none in 2015, 2017 or 2018.

Good luck, btw -- some of us just don't have the option of walking without our cell phones, sigh!
 

Via2010

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
I do not bring my smartphone either, though I take an older mobile phone to make occasional calls home, reserve a room if necessary or sometimes call for the keys of the albergue (not on the Camino Frances).

I think most of the albergues which you can reserve via internet will still have a computer in their office, so you can try to persuade the hospitalero to allow you to check your e-mail. Some Tourist-Information-Offices also allow you to use their computer to check your return-flight, cancel your train etc...

When I stayed at the Seminario Menor last June they still had these computers where you pay 1 € for 20 min internet-access. So there are still a few of them left.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
No problem walking the Camino without a cell phone. Many pilgrims do and I find it silly when I see pilgrims just hanging around the albergues all afternoon, noses buried in a device whilst outside is a glorious day/night with places to see. You will have problems locating an internet cafe or finding consistent albergues that have a PC available. They are there, but rarer and rarer these days, and you certainly do not want to waste time roaming about looking for one. So many better things to do on the Camino.
Perhaps if you have one, or know someone that has one and can give or loan it to you, just bring a smart phone that's not being used anymore with you, and simply use it to check internet once a week or so. It could also double as a camera. Seems like everyone has unused ones these days that are perfectly serviceable in the roll of camera/internet only. I have a shoebox with 4-5 of them in it I no longer use having replaced them with newer ones that my provider dangles in front of me at low cost.
 

tomnorth

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2020)
If you want to be disconnected but wish to be able to connect occasionally, here is an option. Bring your mobile phone but turn off cellular data and keep it powered off. You could even remove the SIM card, making it a WiFi only device. Only turn it on at those once a week times when you want to check email. Keep it buried in your pack. Internet cafes have pretty much gone the way of the dodo bird.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
In 2015 I did use a public computer in Astorga's library. Later, in Santiago, Peg kept our tablet while I walked to Finisterre. We kept in touch by email. A hospitalera lend me her personal laptop for a bit one night and the next albergue had a coin operated PC. It was the only one I saw in an over 60 day camino.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
There are albergues that provide personal computers in addition to (or instead of) wifi. I'm not sure if any of the guidebooks indicate which those are (some apps do, but that won't be of much use to you) but even if they did, the information might be out of date. If you only want to check once a week, public libraries might be your best bet. Cities and decent sized towns (Pamplona, Logroño, Burgos, Leon, Astorga, Ponferrada, etc.) will have one and I would expect them to have public access Internet. I checked Ponferrada as an example of a medium-sized town and it has a public library with public Interent. Just ask for the "biblioteca publica". When you get to Santiago de Compostela, I'm pretty sure you can check your email at Pilgrim House.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
During my first caminos my husband and I communicated when necessary by land-line telephone; since 2008 I have carried a smartphone which also served as my camera and computer on which I wrote my blogs. Since we both are in our 70's whilst apart we texted each other good morning, briefly cited our daily plans, and texted again at day's end. Simple, swift and efficacious this helped keep each of us in the other's loop.

While walking a phone and European assistance number 112 can provide invaluable emergency help. Luckily I have never personally needed such assistance, but over the years I have called 112 for other pilgrims who needed fast help and either had no phone or were unable to use a phone. ...In retrospect I would NEVER walk without a phone. Carrying one may help save someone else's life.

Check out other comments on this earlier but still relevant thread.
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/do-i-really-need-a-phone-on-the-camino-and-other-phone-s.19023/
 
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Jodean

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
22 Sept. to 21 Oct. 2015, Pamplona to Santiago
6-23.04 Porto to Santiago 2018
17.09-30.09 CF 2018
I didn't have mine 3.5 years ago. It was ok not to have it, but had to ask people each day if I could use their phone to send an email to my husband so he knew I was ok and checked into an albergue. Found computers to use here and there in a few albergues, but they weren't common and they weren't a bargain. Only saw one internet cafe and that was in Palencia.
If you need to make a reservation, your albergue can usually call for you.
It just takes some discipline not to use your phone, but it is nice to have it in case you get hurt or sick.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Walked CF in 2018; saw ZERO Internet cafes or public PCs in albuergues, but wasn’t looking for them so perhaps a few relics exist. Our cell phone was used for everything EXCEPT as a cell phone: camera, guidebook, gps, etc. bringing one does not mean you have to have it on, surfing the web, watching cat videos, etc. It’s simply a tool like all the others you’ll bring - use it sparingly and only as needed.

I think purposefully NOT bringing one as a point about “disconnecting” but then hoping to use someone else’s is a bit disingenuous.
 

oursonpolaire

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I do not know about Navarre, or Castile & Leon, but in Asturias the public libraries and cultural centres usually had computers for the use of townspeople. I found the staff very helpful, sometimes even opening up the computer room for me and in libraries, shooing away children and youth who were playing games on the computers with the instruction that a pilgrim needed to use the machine. Note, however, that hours were limited, and that sometimes they held classes for villagers on how to use them, or for business and employment training, so you can't always count on them being available when you need them-- try from 5pm.

In towns (Astorga, Leon etc) you can still find locutorios, generally used by Latino or African immigrants and workers to contact their families and in them there will be terminals at a modest fee. Try, as well, computer shops as they will often have a terminal available.

While I understand a desire to disconnect, a basic flip telephone, often available from mobile services (Orange, Vodaphone etc etc) for €30-40 plus minutes, can be very helpful for emergencies and reservations. You are the machine's slave only as much as you wish to be.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
1. Is there anyone these days who is like me and hikes the Camino with no cell phone?
Yes, of course you are not the only one:). On the forum, we get people asking this question and saying that they don't carry a phone, from time to time, and I have seen them. But the vast majority do carry a phone.
2. I heard there used to be computers for pilgrims accessing email/Internet at some auberges, but now they are becoming less common. I'm thinking of trying to check my email once a week. How hard will that be without a smartphone? How common are public computers these days in auberges, cafes, and/or public libraries?
Public computers are not common, but you could probably find one weekly if you spend the time and effort.

I have to admit that I don't really like other people borrowing my phone to use the internet. My phone is my private office, library and personal mail !
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
I found a few public computers on the Camino, but the Spanish keyboard drove me crazy. There were a couple of very common keys I couldn't find to use, for the life of me. I kind of miss the days when I wrote letters from abroad, and checked in each post office along the way for letters to me, via general delivery.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
I am planning on hiking the Camino Frances in May/June. I don't plan to bring a cell phone. I don't wish to be persuaded otherwise, nor am I expressing judgement for those who find their mobile phones enhance their experience. (I know I'm unusual -- I rarely use a cell phone in my home country. I prefer being disconnected when I'm out and about. So, I'm used to being without a phone, and I'm not worried about the adjustment.)

However, I am wondering about the following:

1. Is there anyone these days who is like me and hikes the Camino with no cell phone?

2. I heard there used to be computers for pilgrims accessing email/Internet at some auberges, but now they are becoming less common. I'm thinking of trying to check my email once a week. How hard will that be without a smartphone? How common are public computers these days in auberges, cafes, and/or public libraries?

Thanks for any input.
I saw a communal computer in a few places eg the albergue I stayed in at Zubiri, but wasnt looking for internet cafes etc so couldn't comment there.
I use my phone mainly as a camera and in case of emergency (I havent had one yet). so for all intents and purposes I was walking without a cellphone as I didnt turn the data on. I wouldn't lend it to someone unless it was an emergency. I prefer to take my own phone as it has all my contacts etc if I do need to make contact.
But in September I'm taking my social media addicted husband (who is also not intrepid in the slightest) to walk the CF, I have told him that if he starts checking FB during the day, Im going to walk off and leave him.
That was a deal breaker with me.
 
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Jodean

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
22 Sept. to 21 Oct. 2015, Pamplona to Santiago
6-23.04 Porto to Santiago 2018
17.09-30.09 CF 2018
As an update, I forgot my phone on the kitchen table when I left the house to catch my flight to Spain. I didn't do this on purpose. It was very embarressing for me to ask to use the phone of strangers every day. It made me cringe, though people were very generous and kind about letting me do this.
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
Here is my take.
Pilgrims have walked the Camino from 800 AD to 1980 without cell phones.
I think it can be done (I did it twice) and good for you!!!!
Recently I saw something about the seven deadly sins and social media - Facebook -Envy...NetFlicks - Sloth...
Tinder -Lust.....Twitter - Wrath..... Instagram -Pride
You will be fine with a paper map torn out of the Brierley Book and placed in a Ziplock in your pocket.
If you really get stuck a cafe owner can call a taxi.
Saint James wandered all over the Iberian Peninsula without a "device".
There is a Zen lesson to be learned on the Camino about the "wisdom of insecurity"
We are not the "objects of our awareness, our Facebook pages"
Rather we are pure awareness itself.
Terence Callery -Technology Luddite
 

Glenshiro

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy - Burgos, Camino Frances (2012 - 2018)
1. Is there anyone these days who is like me and hikes the Camino with no cell phone?
I don't own a smartphone. I have a simple Nokia 100 which enables me to make and receive calls and texts. It is usually switched off. I take it on the Camino to reserve accommodation and in case my house burns down/someone dies/my wife crashes my car.

I heard there used to be computers for pilgrims accessing email/Internet at some auberges,
Don't know about this, but I have a Kindle Fire which enables me to send emails, surf the web (e.g. for bus and train times) and, of course, read a book. Every bar/cafe/restaurant in Spain has free wifi.
 

mikebet

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Pamplona (2016); Baiona to Santiago (2018); Sarria to Santiago (2018)
tomnorth, above, has offered the simplest and most practical solution: carry a cell phone and remove the SIM card, turn off data or put it in airplance mode. That way you still have a camera and on the rare occasions you want to check your email -- maybe Aunt Lucy has died (she always was in delicate health) or some Nigerian prince wants to make you a fantastic financial offer -- you can hook up to wi-fi at almost any stop. Nobody is forcing you to be a slave to your email or Yahoo news just because you happen to have a device on you. Unless you truly are ADDICTED, in which case it's probably better not to have temptation in your pocket.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
Memorize a really long poem. Use the first (or last) letter in each line to create a password. Use as much of that as you can for the phone and apps and accounts. Now you can take the smartphone with you. You have access to it if you really want it but with all the trouble to get into it you won't want to.
 
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Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
The Camino for me was an exercise in "Contemptus Mundi"
If you look that up on your smart phone you will get the incorrect Latin translation of "Contempt for the World"
The Benedictine monks taught me in third-year Latin that it means
"Detachment from the World"
The Camino taught me not so much about what to know, but rather how to be.
Would anybody like to hear the long poem I just memorized?
Terence Callery
 

mikebet

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Pamplona (2016); Baiona to Santiago (2018); Sarria to Santiago (2018)
The Camino for me was an exercise in "Contemptus Mundi"
If you look that up on your smart phone you will get the incorrect Latin translation of "Contempt for the World"
The Benedictine monks taught me in third-year Latin that it means
"Detachment from the World"
The Camino taught me not so much about what to know, but rather how to be.
Would anybody like to hear the long poem I just memorized?
Terence Callery
Sure, and I hope you have done better than I. I barely got to the part where Helen runs off with Paris when my memory failed.
 

Leon Ivan

Senior member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2018: Portuguese (Porto/Santiago), Santiago -Finisterre / Muxia
I spent a whole month in Portugal and Spain , walking my camino , without a watch or cellphone.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
(Responding to "Pilgrims have walked the Camino from 800 AD to 1980 without cell phones.") Even longer than that. None in 1990. No Internet either. Or Orisson. Or Jacotrans. Or Brierley. I do not have a mirror handy to confirm it but I think I lived to tell the tale.
Same here. But just because I can walk without a smart phone, doesn't mean I wish to. I've brought mine on more recent caminos and been very glad to have it (and very sorry when it was temporarily missing on my last Camino). I think therre are tons of advantages to having a smart phone with you, just as I think there are tons of advantages to having trekking poles with you (which I also did without in 1989).

But the OP wrote "I don't wish to be persuaded otherwise", so I'm not trying to convince them of my point of view.

PS. There was no Brierley, but there was an English language guidebook in 1990. I didn't know about it at the time. I just had Don Elias' guide. I found it later on the bookshelf of a friend who walked from Paris to Santiago in 1990 and got my own copy.
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
I am planning on hiking the Camino Frances in May/June. I don't plan to bring a cell phone. I don't wish to be persuaded otherwise, nor am I expressing judgement for those who find their mobile phones enhance their experience. (I know I'm unusual -- I rarely use a cell phone in my home country. I prefer being disconnected when I'm out and about. So, I'm used to being without a phone, and I'm not worried about the adjustment.)

However, I am wondering about the following:

1. Is there anyone these days who is like me and hikes the Camino with no cell phone?

2. I heard there used to be computers for pilgrims accessing email/Internet at some auberges, but now they are becoming less common. I'm thinking of trying to check my email once a week. How hard will that be without a smartphone? How common are public computers these days in auberges, cafes, and/or public libraries?

Thanks for any input.
A few but very few albergues have computers. I have found that it tends to be in the final stages presumably to allow pilgrims to book flights home and/or print out boarding passes. I have no need for them as I do not check my email at all nor do I care to have access to social media. I do bring my phone for two simple reasons. It is a camera and I can text my wife every night to let her know I am safe. Other than that, the only other use is to book a flight home and get phone numbers of albergues in Santiago. So, to all intense purposes, I hike without a mobile phone. Never comes out of my pocket except to take a picture. I dont even listen to music on it, ever
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Same here. But just because I can walk without a smart phone, doesn't mean I wish to. I've brought mine on more recent caminos and been very glad to have it
Me too! Very useful thing and I wouldn't leave home without it ;) But I know that it can be done. The OP no doubt has his or her own reasons for wanting to do so. And I still manage fine without Orisson, Jacotrans or Brierley ;)
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
It seems to me that the bottom line is that you can walk without a cell phone, but if you must use email weekly you should bring your phone and only turn it on once a week to use email over wifi. I don't think that spending time searching for public computers or borrowing someone else's phone to send email is a good plan.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances in Spring (2019)
@Vacajoe said "I think purposefully NOT bringing one [mobile phone] as a point about “disconnecting” but then hoping to use someone else’s is a bit disingenuous.". Couldn't agree more. Indeed I think it's insulting and presumptuous to expect others to provide your calls to home for you. Rude words come to mind!! I will be bringing mine but expect to have it turned OFF most of the time except for my daily check-in with home, most likely by text.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
I believe the OP did state they had no desire to bring a phone and wanted to be disconnected, so no advice to disconnect is necessary.
The OP did state a need/desire to occasionally check email etc (a reasonable thing) and just wants to know if there were PC's available for use along the Frances.
I think the general consensus is that there are not enough PC's available these days on the Frances to depend upon that, and IMO it appears as though a disconnected smart/I phone of some type used only as a mini PC is the most practical solution.
 

FourSeasons

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept/Oct 2013
CF April/May 2016
del Norte (July/August 2019)
#1 YES!! Absolutely there are others without cell phones.

#2 On the CF In 2013 there were plenty of coin operated computers for internet access. On the CF In 2016 there were none that I could see.

Unplugging on the Camino is doable especially on the Frances.

God Bless and Buen Camino
 
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lindam

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Via de La Plata, Portuguese, Camino Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan and Aragones, Norte
Interestingly, we have just gone out this past week and made our first Smart phone purchase solely for use on Caminos. We have now walked 5 Caminos without and have agreed that the time has come where it is almost a necessity when walking. Having said that, with your plans to walk the Frances you may not find it so difficult to be without given the large number of albergues, the well-marked trail, the number of pilgrims, etc., etc. However, in some cases, as we experienced this past spring on the Catalan Camino it would prove very useful. No current guidebooks available and the need to call hospitaleros upon arrival at the albergues in order to gain access (with there being so few pilgrims) among other things make it very difficult/stressful at times. We too used to rely on there being the occasional computer we could use to access our gmail along the way while walking the Camino. These are now few and far between (as are the former internet cafes). It could at times be a week or more likely longer between sightings. Access to computers in public libraries in Spain requires that one have a library card. There are shops in Spain called locutorios, generally found in larger communities, which allow one to pay for use of a computer or to print/scan documents and such. However, as larger communities are often a distance from one another where you a likely to find these shops, so don't count on that as an option if you are seeking regular computer access. In any event, it will be curious to see how we manage our next Camino this spring with our new Smart phone. I guess I'll need to remove it from its box and wrapper before then in order to first learn how to use it!
 

mikebet

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Pamplona (2016); Baiona to Santiago (2018); Sarria to Santiago (2018)
I prefer being disconnected when I'm out and about....
I'm thinking of trying to check my email once a week.
Hmmmm.....am I sensing a little ambivalence here? I'm having trouble understanding why there is so much reluctance to carry a 6 oz. phone (as well as angst about finding an internet cafe) when said phone can be kept off except for weekly wi-fi sessions to check email. I rarely carry my cell phone anywhere (mostly because I forget to take it) but I don't hate it that much. LOL
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
I'm having trouble understanding why there is so much reluctance to carry a 6 oz. phone (as well as angst about finding an internet cafe) when said phone can be kept off except for weekly wi-fi sessions to check email.
One reason: $$$
Second & third reasons: lost, theft

And then there are people who cut the labels off their clothes. ;)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I totallly respect the desires of others to walk without a phone, without data access, etc., and I rue the demise of public phones, internet cafés, and other public access points. BUT.... having said that, and having been involved in a situation where a woman came running towards me on the Norte screaming that a man had tried to assault her with a gun, I was very glad I had a cell phone to call for help. She did not have a cell phone, but you can bet she was very glad I did.

I don’t like to rely on others to take care of things that I am capable of taking care of, and that is one reason I would always carry a cell phone. You can be sure nearly everyone walking has one, but make sure you are comfortable with having to rely on others if you need help, and also not being able to help others if they need an emergency call. (Having said that, one of the things I have learned on the Camino is how to accept help more gracefully, but I still stubbornly want to have a phone for emergencies and not rely on others).

But can you walk perfectly well without one? Yes, because in case of need, others will have one.
 

mikebet

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Pamplona (2016); Baiona to Santiago (2018); Sarria to Santiago (2018)
One reason: $$$
Second & third reasons: lost, theft

And then there are people who cut the labels off their clothes. ;)
OK, the weight thing may be an issue but second hand phones are cheap, and free from T-Mobile in the US. And T-Mobile works great all over Europe with free data.
 

johnmeyerbooks

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago (2014)
I walked the Camino in 2014 without my phone. Loved it! If in dire need, you will meet friends and you can always borrow their phones for emergencies.

A few albergues have computers with internet connection (eg. Triacastela) but you'll find way more in hotels. (I started sleeping in albergues but made the switch to cheap hotels because of the snorers.) Some towns even have internet cafes, although the opening hours are at the whim of the owner (except for the amazing internet cafe in Sarria right across from King Alfonso Hotel, they even had food and coffee).
 

Richmond Gardner

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
Even longer than that. None in 1990. No Internet either. Or Orisson. Or Jacotrans. Or Brierley. I do not have a mirror handy to confirm it but I think I lived to tell the tale.
Your new profile photo, and this comment are CRACKING me up!
 

Richmond Gardner

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
I walked the Camino in 2014 without my phone. Loved it! If in dire need, you will meet friends and you can always borrow their phones for emergencies.

A few albergues have computers with internet connection (eg. Triacastela) but you'll find way more in hotels. (I started sleeping in albergues but made the switch to cheap hotels because of the snorers.) Some towns even have internet cafes, although the opening hours are at the whim of the owner (except for the amazing internet cafe in Sarria right across from King Alfonso Hotel, they even had food and coffee).
Yes, I agree. You have the option to ask for a favor, and borrow the cell phone... if you want to return the favor, just buy them a cafe con leche
 

Richmond Gardner

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
I walked the entire Frances with my smart phone in airplane mode. I can take good photos with it and when I got to wifi I uploaded to the cloud. I kept the battery in max saving mode so I only had to charge my phone about every 3 or 4 days.
Exactly what I did....but, I get that someone might want to do it the old fashioned way. After all, we are walking 500 miles in order to have an experience. It's up to the individual to define that experience, just the way they want to. If you change your mind and want to make a call, check email, or send a text- borrow a cell phone, be genuinely grateful and return something of value as a thank you (like buy them a beer or coffee)! It's not a big deal. You could even make a friend, who would do this on a regular basis
 

happymarkos

HappyMark
Camino(s) past & future
2013 CF
2014 Le Puy-St Jean. 2014&16 Volunteer St JP
2016 Portuguese
2017 Porto-Santiago
2018
If you want to be disconnected but wish to be able to connect occasionally, here is an option. Bring your mobile phone but turn off cellular data and keep it powered off. You could even remove the SIM card, making it a WiFi only device. Only turn it on at those once a week times when you want to check email. Keep it buried in your pack. Internet cafes have pretty much gone the way of the dodo bird.
If you have your phone you can access Gronze.com and maps me etc offline as they link to satellites like GPS in a car. I use for checking where I am as well as reviews of albergues etc
Just a thought
Happymark
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
Burgos to Santiago, May 2019, D.V.
Walked CF in 2018; saw ZERO Internet cafes or public PCs in albuergues, but wasn’t looking for them so perhaps a few relics exist. Our cell phone was used for everything EXCEPT as a cell phone: camera, guidebook, gps, etc. bringing one does not mean you have to have it on, surfing the web, watching cat videos, etc. It’s simply a tool like all the others you’ll bring - use it sparingly and only as needed.

I think purposefully NOT bringing one as a point about “disconnecting” but then hoping to use someone else’s is a bit disingenuous.
True that. I ran into a couple of Canadians who boasted about not carrying a phone, then said it would be great if I walked with them so they could call a taxi when they got to the next village. I ended up not walking with them and there was nothing open in the next village as it was a Sunday. Then it started to rain. 😉
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
Burgos to Santiago, May 2019, D.V.
Even on the CF it is possible to be dangerously stranded somewhere. As 99% of my email is junk anyway, I don’t even look, except to erase. But as a GPS, map holder, albergue/hotel database, camera, e-reader, ...........
 

Via2010

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
But as a GPS, map holder, albergue/hotel database, camera, e-reader, ...........
Do not rely too much on that. Last June a fellow pilgrim stopped walking the Camino Primitivo on her second day as her smartphone had broken and now she was without guidebook, gps etc.

And if you honestly think that you are "dangerously stranded" on the Camino Frances when it starts raining and you find neither an open bar nor a phone to call a taxi, then you should refrain from walking any other camino. E. g. on the Primitivo or the Via de la Plata there are Stretches of 20 km+ without village, bar or Internet access.

.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
Burgos to Santiago, May 2019, D.V.
Actually that's exactly what happened to me near Hopital Saint Blaise on the Piedmont route; in the pouring rain, dangerously slippery, after dark, in the middle of the woods, on a Sunday when no one is about ......... Actually if it wasn't for my headlamp I might still be there. Should have been smart and called a taxi earlier in the day, but at that point I had only been walking a few days and wasn't clever enough yet.

No reason to stop walking if the smartphone breaks, it would be akin to breaking my Swiss army knife. I just loose an excellent and very convent tool. The other thing to consider is the cost to that pilgrim whose phone you're borrowing, as anyone without a European phone plan may be paying a premium.

Not to worry, I'm not interested in walking any of the other caminos, I like the possibility of accommodation every 5k. ;)
 
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