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Rabanal del Camino Albergues

douglorenz

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino from Leon to Santiago (2014)
Back in 2014, I stayed at an albergue in Rabanal called N.S. Pilar. I had a wonderful experience there and the town was so amazing and one of my favorites of the Camino. I swore that if when I go back that I would stay at that albergue. I was listening to a podcast the other day and a woman was talking about another outstanding albergue in Rabanal. It got me thinking that maybe I shouldn't confine myself to this single albergue on my next trip and that I should "open myself up" to other options for more diverse experiences. I am curious to know what other albergues that people have enjoyed at Rabanal?
 
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nycwalking

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Ourense to Santiago (2019), CF: (2014, 2004, 2002, 2001). On to Fisterra, (2002, 4, 14).
Back in 2014, I stayed at an albergue in Rabanal called N.S. Pilar. I had a wonderful experience there and the town was so amazing and one of my favorites of the Camino. I swore that if when I go back that I would stay at that albergue. I was listening to a podcast the other day and a woman was talking about another outstanding albergue in Rabanal. It got me thinking that maybe I shouldn't confine myself to this single albergue on my next trip and that I should "open myself up" to other options for more diverse experiences. I am curious to know what other albergues that people have enjoyed at Rabanal?

Guacelmo run by the Confraternity of Saint James U.K.

It is clean, has a garden, steps from chapel.

The hospies are: warm, kind, and caring. I know because I was one in 2004.
 
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Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
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Roland49

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF2019, CP2022?
Back in 2014, I stayed at an albergue in Rabanal called N.S. Pilar. I had a wonderful experience there and the town was so amazing and one of my favorites of the Camino.
Stayed there this July and had a wonderful experience, too!
They had a pulpo-festival on the go the time I stumbled in their patio. Half of Rabanal attended.
The only disadvantage was the fact that nobody spoke english or german and my spanish is as simple as it can be. But I manage to get a bunk for the night, a good meal (no pulpo for me) and some nice wine.
Met a german couple who stayed in the municipal there. We met from time to time all the way down to SdC.

Some of my camino-family stayed on the campground and had a nice experience, too.
 
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JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Past OR future Camino
CF - sections and whole (2012-2019) and part VF (2017)
Refugio Gaucelmo definitely is outstanding, douglorenz - I’ve volunteered there three times as an hospitalera and stayed there twice as a pilgrim. It, and the village of Rabanal wraps their arms around you like no other village on the Frances imo. It’s my favourite village on the Frances.
Pilar’s is a great albergue - Isobel and her family really look after the pilgrims who stay there. I can understand why you liked it so much. There’s a lovely welcoming vibe about Pilar’s and I really like the small bar there - it’s a great place to relax with a glass of tinto.
The monks from the monastery next to Gaucelmo sing the Gregorian chant at Vespers each evening at 7pm and at 9.30pm do a Pilgrims Blessing - both are experiences which really stay with you.
As you may know, many people want to be at the Cruz de Ferro for sunrise, which is one reason why Foncebadon has become so popular as it’s just one km or so from the Cruz. If you have the luxury of time, next time perhaps linger in Rabanal in the morning after you’ve stayed in Rabanal for the night and take an easy day making your way slowly up to Foncebadon, stay in one of the excellent albergues there and then be at the Cruz for sunrise the following morning. Then you have the best of both worlds.
Cheers from Oz -
Jenny
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
Gaucelmo will always hold a special place in my heart - we told an American pilgrim the the Gregorian chanting he'd heard before breakfast was Brother Xavier from next door who we'd brought in for the occasion (it was a CD).

Last time in Rabanal we stayed at La Posada el Tesin. If you get the front room you can stand at the juliet balcony and cheer on the incoming unwashed as they trudge up the street.

Tonio's (El Refugio Hosteria), the other side of the church from Gaucelmo has good beds and food.

I've never stayed there but the food at the Posada de Gaspar is exceptional - try the escalope with blue cheese sauce (drool). Gaspar was trained in hotel management in Switzerland and also owns the Gaudi hotel in Astorga while his son runs the albergue around the corner from there. The story that I was told back in 2002 was that his daughter nearly died in a car crash and he promised to do something for pilgrims on the Camino if she pulled through - she did (and became a pharmacist I believe) and he fulfilled his promise. Nice guy, loves his cigars!
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Past OR future Camino
2019
Funny how differently experiences can be at the same site. For my wife and I (and two others we chatted with), Pilar was the WORST albuergue experience on the CF!!!! 🤔. We still laugh about having to walk through the very wet shower rooms to reach an overcrowded dorm with zero ventilation, the lack of any pilgrim vibe, poor food quality, etc. I’m glad to hear we caught Pilar on an off night and it’s been better for other pilgrims.
 

happymarkos

HappyMark
Past OR future Camino
2018
Back in 2014, I stayed at an albergue in Rabanal called N.S. Pilar. I had a wonderful experience there and the town was so amazing and one of my favorites of the Camino. I swore that if when I go back that I would stay at that albergue. I was listening to a podcast the other day and a woman was talking about another outstanding albergue in Rabanal. It got me thinking that maybe I shouldn't confine myself to this single albergue on my next trip and that I should "open myself up" to other options for more diverse experiences. I am curious to know what other albergues that people have enjoyed at Rabanal?
I agree that the one run by the Confraternity is excellent. We stayed there last October. Just note you can't book or send a backpack there. They don't take people who aren't carrying their own. It is also not open all year.
 
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Damienw

Mr
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francais 2018

Camino VDP / San Arbres 2019
Heartily endorse Gaucelmo and the confraternity of St James. I attach my pics from may 2018, with abject apologies for forgetting the name of my walking companion from Geneva!! Absolutely, sublimely and brilliant afternoon tea on the lawn!!
I do regret not having the time to do the silent retreat with the monks and father Fabio(?)! I also attach the pic of the other ‘place’ which is just around the corner !
 

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Felice

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPP to Santiago Sept 2014
I had a very memorable stay in Rabanal in Sept 2014. memorable for all the wrong reasons!

Arriving at Pilar's place in the pouring rain, I was underwhelmed by the crowd of people by the bar and the wet smelly dorm so went to the Confraternity place instead where I felt very much at home and felt fortunate to get the last bed.

I had just started to unpack, when we were all rushed out of the place, as there was a chimney fire and the CO detector had gone off! Instead, we used the old barn. The tea and cake was delightfully English, the garden lovely, once the sun came out again, though the grass was very wet for a while!!

The barn was very dark in the morning, and I had the best night's sleep for ages, and was woken at 6.30 by an Irishman telling us all to get up. I could have slept much longer.

But when I got up and started to sort out, I found a big fat recently fed bed bug on the wall behind my bed!!! Action stations, and another one was found. So started a full scale decontamination drive.

I was not impressed with the evening service. Before it began, there was a group of French pilgrims who were chatting together quite noisily. The priest stood up, and told them off in English, in a very judgemental way, but his words were lost on them as they hardly stopped. For me, though, his words were horrible and I found it difficult to enjoy the service as a result. I didn't bother to go to the evening service as a result but spent the time chatting to the husband of the hospitalero.

Maybe next time I'll have a memorable stay - for the right reason!!
 

douglorenz

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino from Leon to Santiago (2014)
I had a very memorable stay in Rabanal in Sept 2014. memorable for all the wrong reasons!

Arriving at Pilar's place in the pouring rain, I was underwhelmed by the crowd of people by the bar and the wet smelly dorm so went to the Confraternity place instead where I felt very much at home and felt fortunate to get the last bed.

I had just started to unpack, when we were all rushed out of the place, as there was a chimney fire and the CO detector had gone off! Instead, we used the old barn. The tea and cake was delightfully English, the garden lovely, once the sun came out again, though the grass was very wet for a while!!

The barn was very dark in the morning, and I had the best night's sleep for ages, and was woken at 6.30 by an Irishman telling us all to get up. I could have slept much longer.

But when I got up and started to sort out, I found a big fat recently fed bed bug on the wall behind my bed!!! Action stations, and another one was found. So started a full scale decontamination drive.

I was not impressed with the evening service. Before it began, there was a group of French pilgrims who were chatting together quite noisily. The priest stood up, and told them off in English, in a very judgemental way, but his words were lost on them as they hardly stopped. For me, though, his words were horrible and I found it difficult to enjoy the service as a result. I didn't bother to go to the evening service as a result but spent the time chatting to the husband of the hospitalero.

Maybe next time I'll have a memorable stay - for the right reason!!
Wow! Glad that my stay in Rabanal was much different. Better luck next time.
 
Past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Another vote for Gaucelmo . I have stayed there twice - 2015 and 2017. 2015 I was on my bike (cycled from Hospital Orbigo) and walking from Astorga in 2017

. 365.JPG 363.JPG
 
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Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
Heartily endorse Gaucelmo and the confraternity of St James. I attach my pics from may 2018, with abject apologies for forgetting the name of my walking companion from Geneva!! Absolutely, sublimely and brilliant afternoon tea on the lawn!!
I do regret not having the time to do the silent retreat with the monks and father Fabio(?)! I also attach the pic of the other ‘place’ which is just around the corner !
Seeing your photos of the huerta reminded me of an embarrassing event when I worked there in 2002. I was responsible for the upstairs dormitory and laundry. 4 sheets a day were changed and the freshly washed ones were hung out in the back to dry in the sun - it was a very hot July that year.

The hospitaleros would sometimes have a picnic lunch out there - you couldn't hear the banging on the front door from there - and we noticed that the bushes that formed a boundary were laden with a hard green fruit.
After much discussion they were deemed to be olives and one of our number thought we ought to try preserving some. Our knowledge of fruit preservation was somewhat limited but we decided that a strong brine solution would do the trick and that the olives would have to be pricked with a needle (why?)

The four of us set to and harvested a bucketful which were washed, pricked and labouriously popped through the neck of four two litre bottles and then topped off with brine.
Pleased with ourselves we stored our bottled preserves in the office pending our departures.

The next day was my day off and I was going into Astorga by bus - the only shop in the village in those days was Angela's and her stock was limited - so I took my rucksack and was going to bring back jams etc plus cash from an ATM.
Waiting for the bus I dropped into Pilar's for a beer with her and her brother Jose (whose face was all cut and scratched from "falling off a roof") and told her of our good househusbandry - it was an all male team.
I could see she was puzzled but put that down to my poor Spanish.

While I was away the other three went there for lunch and were quizzed about our efforts. In the end one of them went back to the refugio and brought back a bottle.
Pilar's amused No son aceitunas, está demasiado al norte para las aceitunas, ¡son ciruelas! was a stinging indictment of our ineptitude.

As a postscript I caught the bus back along with an American lady who, seeing my rucksack, assumed I was a pilgrim too. When we got off the bus she walked up the lane to Gaucelmo while I snuck in via the huerta - there was no gate there in those days - and took my place at the meet and greet just in time to hear her being asked if she'd walked all the way from Astorga . . .
 
Past OR future Camino
August 2015
I stayed at Guacelmo one September, which was very nice but freezing cold (a three albergue blanket night) sleeping in an out building. The hospitaleros were kind enough to de-bedbug me after I’d picked them up in Astorga, for which I am still grateful.

This past year I stayed with Kim at The Stone Boat and it was wonderful, peaceful, beautiful. I shared a room with my granddaughter which was quiet and simple with a zen feel. Kim obviously has poured a lot of love into creating her place. A bit of a luxury but a great place to recharge.
Two good choices.
 

Adhemar78

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2014)
Via Francigena (2017)
Kumano Kodo (2018)
Portuguese Coastal Camino (2020)
I stayed at Refugio Gaucelmo in October 2014 - I was, and still am, a member of the Confraternity of St James so it was an albergue I was particularly keen to stay at. It didn’t disappoint, and I thought the afternoon tea and biscuits (which I gather is something they do everyday) was a very nice touch. I heartily recommend it.
 
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Espee84

...
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés 2018
VdlP 2019
2020 Hatching plans
I stayed two nights in the monastery. I hadn’t realised how exhausted I had become. We were expected to follow the daily pattern of prayer with the monks and it was a time for reflection and rest (it was not a completely silent retreat). We were hosted wonderfully - comfy beds with sheets, communal meals and a washing machine. It was a privilege to share and be part of the community. I was sad to miss out on Guacelmo - being English- but they invited me for tea, which was lovely. As a Christian I appreciated the rhythm of daily prayer, the simplicity of the style of worship and the space for reflection. This was the only place I was welcome to take communion - as a non-catholic, which meant a lot. Definitely worth considering if you have time. I would say about 1/3 of the other pilgrims there identified with a particular faith background.
 

BillyJane70

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances Sept 2017
4A6EE731-BFF6-44DE-9AAC-415BA3D62142.jpeg I stayed in Guacelmo in 2017. I loved Rabanal and was almost going to stop further down the hill because my feet were so sore, but so glad I kept going and found this beautiful place, just in time for tea and biccies! The garden was a godsend and I enjoyed a couple of delicious cold cervezas whilst contemplating my great fortune. Met and sang with some lovely pilgrims, made dinner together, it was a good night. I barely slept, which was kind of the norm for me on the Camino, but the beds were comfy and bathroom clean and generous. The following morning was very special...before dawn, I got on the road in time to still see the moon in the sky, with the first rays of light slowly creeping in up ahead. I still remember the surreal feeling that morning. Everything just seemed so much more vibrant...almost magical. Made it to Foncebaddon for a glorious breakfast and a very cathartic hour at the Cruz. The beautiful Camino...so special in every way ❤
 

Canche

Volcano Climber
Past OR future Camino
2016
Guacelmo run by the Confraternity of Saint James U.K.

It is clean, has a garden, steps from chapel.

The hospies are: warm, kind, and caring. I know because I was one in 2004.
I wanted to stay here but they did not have a lower bunk so I went to another one in a private room that was ok but everyone was smoking outside where one eats called El Pilar. I'd stay at Guacelmo again. If I remember the name of the other one I'll let you know
 

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