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RETHINK walking the Frances

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SallyJane

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Time of past OR future Camino
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I did the Frances last year and came back to do some more hiking around St Jean Pied de Port this year. spending more time in the town and talking to locals I would strongly suggest people reconsider walking the Frances route this year (or in future).

consider this -

there are about 500 people every day going through the pilgrims office in SJPdP every day currently. this number doesn't include walkers who don't visit the pilgrims office OR private groups (ie there are large number of private korean tour groups currently).

so 500 pilgrims.... and only 200 beds in Roncesvalles.... 300 people without beds on their first night.... people were spending hours walking around SJPdP looking for accomodation. people arriving in Roncesvalles either have to get transport back to SJPdP to sleep and be taken back to Roncesvalles the next morning or catch a taxi forward or walk further on. Note, walking today, the next town was fully booked in advance aswell. so people can be up for a 30km day on their first day after walking to a 1,400m peak.

obviously the accomodation issues don't disappear after the first night. Zubiri is fully booked two weeks ahead and AirBnBs booked solid. Pamplona, 2 weeks ago when I went through, the albergue (112 beds) and all hostels were full. I had to book something outside of Pamplona.

before covid the pilgrim numbers going through SJPdP ilgrims office was 63,000 a year. last year it was 70,000. this year the numbers are blowing the locals out of the water. they have never seen this volume of people and so early in the season. the are literally burnt out before the peak begins. pilgrims have been flocking since mid March.

the owner of Express Bourricot is selling her bsuiness/stepping aside in July because she is so burnt out that she said it isn't fair on her or the pilgrims because she can no longer give the quality of service in her exhausted state. the service providers in SJPdP are drowning in tourists and a number are quite unpleasant toward them as they are so over the volume.

this is completely unsustainable for the locals and walkers. more walkers are coming with tents. this will come to a head at some point.

if you want to enjoy your camino and don't want to be severely anxious about finding a bed - I really suggest you let go of the dream of the Frances and try a different route. (that said, the northern route and the de puy routes have also got very high volumes this year, based on the numbers of pilgrims I walked past and talking to the locals on those routes).

rethink your plans if you want to 'enjoy' your camino.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
Perhaps pilgrims need to learn to be a tad more resourceful. Surely a simple google search would have informed people that starting from SJPdP (a busy place at the quietest of times) on a holiday weekend would pose some problems? These catastrophic posts are driving me nuts! The sky is not falling. Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on the part of everyone on the Camino, nor everyone on the forum. People are on here literally asking others how to buy a bra; if they can drink the water in Spain; if they can find food in Spain; if they can buy sunscreen in Spain; what an ATM looks like in Spain; how much of their foreign currency they should bring to Spain, for some reason assuming it will be readily accepted; what the temperature will be tomorrow, and the chance of rain the day after that. For the love of Christ, people, I am surprised most can make it out of their own driveway. I will be soundly chastised for this post, but seriously, seriously...?
 
Perhaps pilgrims need to learn to be a tad more resourceful. Surely a simple google search would have informed people that starting from SJPdP (a busy place at the quietest of times) on a holiday weekend would pose some problems? These catastrophic posts are driving me nuts! The sky is not falling. Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on the part of everyone on the Camino, nor everyone on the forum. People are on here literally asking others how to buy a bra; if they can drink the water in Spain; if they can find food in Spain; if they can buy sunscreen in Spain; what an ATM looks like in Spain; how much of their foreign currency they should bring to Spain, for some reason assuming it will be readily accepted; what the temperature will be tomorrow, and the chance of rain the day after that. For the love of Christ, people, I am surprised most can make it out of their own driveway. I will be soundly chastised for this post, but seriously, seriously...?
Time of the year was one of my biggest considerations and that's why I chose the 2nd week in May and not mid summer.
My problem is that I sometimes over plan and get bogged down with it and let it effect whatever I am doing so this time I have decided to chill a little and just make the start line and with most also saying "the Way and pilgrims will take care of you".
OP just spooked me a little
 
I really suggest you let go of the dream of the Frances and try a different route.
rethink your plans if you want to 'enjoy' your camino.
You have not even mentioned the fact that you are talking about the May 1 weekend? Yes, I recommend people should inform themselves about the busy times and places, and then plan their Caminos with that information.


Perhaps pilgrims need to learn to be a tad more resourceful. Surely a simple google search would have informed people that starting from SJPdP (a busy place at the quietest of times) on a holiday weekend would pose some problems? These catastrophic posts are driving me nuts! The sky is not falling. Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on the part of everyone on the Camino, nor everyone on the forum.
I agree, although you did state it rather strongly!

Time of the year was one of my biggest considerations and that's why I chose the 2nd week in May and not mid summer.
Your logic and information would be exactly right if you were starting from Sarria, but you were missing some key information about starting from SJPP.
 
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Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
Another panic thread?
When people slept in the open air in Roncesvalles?
Where the old albergue Itzandeguia openen so 50 pilgrims could sleep on the cold stone floor, without any toilet or shower?
Where pilgrims were taxied back to Valcarlos to sleep there and were taxied back to Roncesvalles the next morning?
Where last weekend no beds were available until Pamplona?

I was a hospitalera in April last year and the same two weeks this year. This year we had twice as much pilgrims as last year!
This last weekend - the weekend of May 1st - was a total madhouse, but also the weeks before were much, much busier than ever before in April.
So if I was planning the CF, indeed, I would choose another camino!
 
Perhaps pilgrims need to learn to be a tad more resourceful. Surely a simple google search would have informed people that starting from SJPdP (a busy place at the quietest of times) on a holiday weekend would pose some problems? These catastrophic posts are driving me nuts! The sky is not falling. Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on the part of everyone on the Camino, nor everyone on the forum. People are on here literally asking others how to buy a bra; if they can drink the water in Spain; if they can find food in Spain; if they can buy sunscreen in Spain; what an ATM looks like in Spain; how much of their foreign currency they should bring to Spain, for some reason assuming it will be readily accepted; what the temperature will be tomorrow, and the chance of rain the day after that. For the love of Christ, people, I am surprised most can make it out of their own driveway. I will be soundly chastised for this post, but seriously, seriously...?
One of the best and most sensible posts I have seen on this forum for a long long time....it's time for people to get a "grip" and get on and enjoy their lives
 
this is completely unsustainable for the locals and walkers. more walkers are coming with tents. this will come to a head at some point.
Hi @SallyJane!

Oooh, as an attentive observer of what's going on on the Camino Francés, albeit mostly from a distance, I have so many questions. You are basing your opinion and advice on your recent stay in SJPP around the 1st of May holiday when everyone in most of Europe and their dog travels for a long weekend break or to start a vacation trip and in Pamplona around a weekend, correct? Just curious to know whether I got the context right.

Did you speak to Mayalen Laby or to Caroline Aphessetche about the Express Bouricot business? I remember that I got an email from Caroline some years ago where she told her customers that she was branching out into other travel related business opportunities and I checked it right now: She sold Express Bouricot to Mayalen in 2016, so I guess you spoke to Mayalen? Did you also speak to Jean-Paul of Le Napoléon Compostelle and solicited his opinion? He is a farmer who recently apparently branched out into transporting pilgrims from airports and stations to SJPP, and from SJPP to Roncesvalles, and he apparently also does the "mountain shuttle".

Your comment "before covid the pilgrim numbers going through SJPdP ilgrims office was 63,000 a year. last year it was 70,000" cannot be right, at least not when I look at the data and statistics files that are published by the SJPP pilgrims office and available in their FB group. You may want to verify it. I am eagerly looking forward to their publishing of their April 2023 figures.

When formulating your advice for the whole of the Camino Frances for the whole of this year 2023, did you also consider posts like this one that I saw on Facebook this morning: "Totally agree with the 100 km Camino Francés from Sarría. Just did it last week and went around 7 am starting Tuesday [this must have been the 24th of April - take note: it was a weekday and not on or just before the weekend]. Was not crowded. Wish I stayed in the smaller towns tho because they had more character but it was not crowded even in the major towns."

Buen Camino to all!
 
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Your comment "before covid the pilgrim numbers going through SJPdP ilgrims office was 63,000 a year. last year it was 70,000" cannot be right, at least not when I look at the data and statistics files that are published by the SJPP pilgrims office and available in their FB group. You may want to verify it. I am eagerly looking forward to their publishing of their April 2023 figures.
I just looked at the stats from the SJPDP office from 2012 up to March this year. The peak year was 2019 with a total of 61,104. Last year's total was 52,926. No idea where the quoted 70,000 came from!

sjpdp.jpg
 
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Hi @SallyJane!

Oooh, as an attentive observer of what's going on on the Camino Francés, albeit mostly from a distance, I have so many questions. You are basing your opinion and advice on your recent stay in SJPP around the 1st of May holiday when everyone in most of Europe and their dog travels for a long weekend break or to start a vacation trip and in Pamplona around a weekend, correct? Just curious to know whether I got the context right.

Did you speak to Mayalen Laby or to Caroline Aphessetche about the Express Bouricot business? I remember that I got an email from Caroline some years ago where she told her customers that she was branching out into other travel related business opportunities and I checked it right now: She sold Express Bouricot to Mayalen in 2016, so I guess you spoke to Mayalen? Did you also speak to Jean-Paul of Le Napoléon Compostelle and solicited his opinion? He is a farmer who recently apparently branched out into transporting pilgrims from airports and stations to SJPP, and from SJPP to Roncesvalles, and he apparently also does the "mountain shuttle".

Your comment "before covid the pilgrim numbers going through SJPdP ilgrims office was 63,000 a year. last year it was 70,000" cannot be right, at least not when I look at the data and statistics files that are published by the SJPP pilgrims office and available in their FB group. You may want to verify it. I am eagerly looking forward to their publishing of their April 2023 figures.

When formulating your advice for the whole of the Camino Frances for the whole of this year 2023, did you also consider posts like this one that I saw on Facebook this morning: "Totally agree with the 100 km Camino Francés from Sarría. Just did it last week and went around 7 am starting Tuesday [this must have been the 24th of April - take note: it was a weekday and not on or just before the weekend]. Was not crowded. Wish I stayed in the smaller towns tho because they had more character but it was not crowded even in the major towns."

Buen Camino to all!
I was in sjpdp and the nearby towns for 2 weeks from mid April.

I basically don't care if people walk the Frances or not. it doesn't affect me. but I'm putting it out there so people can reconsider their path if they don't want major anxiety. at the moment you absolutely have to book ahead. there's much less freedom in just walking til you've had enough and then finding accomodation.
 
Another panic thread?
When people slept in the open air in Roncesvalles?
Where the old albergue Itzandeguia openen so 50 pilgrims could sleep on the cold stone floor, without any toilet or shower?
Where pilgrims were taxied back to Valcarlos to sleep there and were taxied back to Roncesvalles the next morning?
Where last weekend no beds were available until Pamplona?

I was a hospitalera in April last year and the same two weeks this year. This year we had twice as much pilgrims as last year!
This last weekend - the weekend of May 1st - was a total madhouse, but also the weeks before were much, much busier than ever before in April.
So if I was planning the CF, indeed, I would choose another camino!
this is exactly what I'm hearing from the local pilgrim service providers. this year is off the charts.
 
You have not even mentioned the fact that you are talking about the May 1 weekend? Yes, I recommend people should inform themselves about the busy times and places, and then plan their Caminos with that information.



I agree, although you did state it rather strongly!


Your logic and information would be exactly right if you were starting from Sarria, but you were missing some key information about starting from SJPP.
I was in the town and nearby towns for 2 weeks. I've been walking caminos since 2 March (8weeks). the locals have said the numbers have been very high since mid March. they say the current volume is what they normally experience at the peak of the season.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
This is not what I needed to hear, I am off in several days on this route and with no rooms booked yet
that's why your called grumpygit :)

I have a friend starting in 2 weeks and it's already beyond hard trying to get bookings for places for him.
Perhaps pilgrims need to learn to be a tad more resourceful. Surely a simple google search would have informed people that starting from SJPdP (a busy place at the quietest of times) on a holiday weekend would pose some problems? These catastrophic posts are driving me nuts! The sky is not falling. Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on the part of everyone on the Camino, nor everyone on the forum. People are on here literally asking others how to buy a bra; if they can drink the water in Spain; if they can find food in Spain; if they can buy sunscreen in Spain; what an ATM looks like in Spain; how much of their foreign currency they should bring to Spain, for some reason assuming it will be readily accepted; what the temperature will be tomorrow, and the chance of rain the day after that. For the love of Christ, people, I am surprised most can make it out of their own driveway. I will be soundly chastised for this post, but seriously, seriously...?
no lack of planning on my part. I wasn't caught up in the crap. this was an issue day in day out for the 2 weeks I was there and the locals said its been like this for the past 6 weeks and it's like they are at the peak of the season already. it had nothing to do with the public holiday weekend. good luck to all those walking -better you than me!!
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
I did the Frances last year and came back to do some more hiking around St Jean Pied de Port this year. spending more time in the town and talking to locals I would strongly suggest people reconsider walking the Frances route this year (or in future).

consider this -

there are about 500 people every day going through the pilgrims office in SJPdP every day currently. this number doesn't include walkers who don't visit the pilgrims office OR private groups (ie there are large number of private korean tour groups currently).

so 500 pilgrims.... and only 200 beds in Roncesvalles.... 300 people without beds on their first night.... people were spending hours walking around SJPdP looking for accomodation. people arriving in Roncesvalles either have to get transport back to SJPdP to sleep and be taken back to Roncesvalles the next morning or catch a taxi forward or walk further on. Note, walking today, the next town was fully booked in advance aswell. so people can be up for a 30km day on their first day after walking to a 1,400m peak.

obviously the accomodation issues don't disappear after the first night. Zubiri is fully booked two weeks ahead and AirBnBs booked solid. Pamplona, 2 weeks ago when I went through, the albergue (112 beds) and all hostels were full. I had to book something outside of Pamplona.

before covid the pilgrim numbers going through SJPdP ilgrims office was 63,000 a year. last year it was 70,000. this year the numbers are blowing the locals out of the water. they have never seen this volume of people and so early in the season. the are literally burnt out before the peak begins. pilgrims have been flocking since mid March.

the owner of Express Bourricot is selling her bsuiness/stepping aside in July because she is so burnt out that she said it isn't fair on her or the pilgrims because she can no longer give the quality of service in her exhausted state. the service providers in SJPdP are drowning in tourists and a number are quite unpleasant toward them as they are so over the volume.

this is completely unsustainable for the locals and walkers. more walkers are coming with tents. this will come to a head at some point.

if you want to enjoy your camino and don't want to be severely anxious about finding a bed - I really suggest you let go of the dream of the Frances and try a different route. (that said, the northern route and the de puy routes have also got very high volumes this year, based on the numbers of pilgrims I walked past and talking to the locals on those routes).

rethink your plans if you want to 'enjoy' your camino.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I'm not on the Camino or heading there in the next few months but if I were I would be very grateful for the intel. We can choose to accept the advice or ignore.
Thank you!
Buen camino!
 
The sky is not falling. Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on the part of everyone on the Camino, nor everyone on the forum. People are on here literally asking others how to buy a bra; if they can drink the water in Spain; if they can find food in Spain; if they can buy sunscreen in Spain; what an ATM looks like in Spain; how much of their foreign currency they should bring to Spain, for some reason assuming it will be readily accepted; what the temperature will be tomorrow, and the chance of rain the day after that. For the love of Christ, people, I am surprised most can make it out of their own driveway. I will be soundly chastised for this post, but seriously, seriously...?
Hi Walkaroni!
I agree with the majority of your comments and feel your pain 🤣 ;and yes a lot of people ask questions that have been asked a thousand times.
Are ridiculous to you, me and many others!
Or have easily found answers !
We have answers at our fingertips in milliseconds!
I have copied and pasted answers to questions using google in less than a minute; and in my mind i have thought how easy was that!!

However people function at different levels in life and in their ability to cope with what in their minds is a huge undertaking anxiety,stress, and also perhaps the part of this World that they live!
Pilgrims from Nepal, Islands in the Phillipine's etc
Questions that to us are banal; are not to them.
When i joined the forum i learned so much through members kindness and pointing me in the right direction Gronze, Rome to Rio and various apps!

The point of the forum i know is to impart knowledge (i don't have much of that:) ) and help fellow Pilgrims on their way.
A lot of the dumb questions can be answered with a simple yes or no!

So however "oh bl**dy hell;not again" the question is i will answer!
I think that's the point of being part of this Community.

PS: We went to Spain to spend the winter in the late 1990's with our young daughter.
We drove down, well my wife did in our estate car.
On loading the car she came out carrying a large black sack; i said what that she replied NAPPIES
not sure if they sell them in Spain!!!!
Intelligent but DUMB at the same time🤣.
Enjoy todays questions.
Woody
 
I just looked at the stats from the SJPDP office from 2012 up to March this year. The peak year was 2019 with a total of 61,104. Last year's total was 52,926. No idea where the quoted 70,000 came from!

View attachment 146041

That is indeed exactly what it was in Roncesvalles up till March this year. Numbers as usual.

But as from April 1st it has been much, much busier than April 2022, every day again. I was there from April 8th till April 21st and we never ever experienced so many pilgrims in that period. We KNOW that the Easter weekend is busy, we KNOW that the May 1st weekend is busy, but on all the weekdays inbetween normally we have 130-140 pilgrims. Now we had full house (245 beds) every day again and again and had to send pilgrims away with taxi's or they took a room in the hotel which is expensive.
Last weekend also the old albergue Itzandeguia (which was closed in 2015) has been opened, so approx. 50 pilgrims slept there on the stone floor ...
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
That is indeed exactly what it was in Roncesvalles up till March this year. Numbers as usual.

But as from April 1st it has been much, much busier than April 2022, every day again. I was there from April 8th till April 21st and we never ever experienced so many pilgrims in that period. We KNOW that the Easter weekend is busy, we KNOW that the May 1st weekend is busy, but on all the weekdays inbetween normally we have 130-140 pilgrims. Now we had full house (245 beds) every day again and again and had to send pilgrims away with taxi's or they took a room in the hotel which is expensive.
Last weekend also the old albergue Itzandeguia (which was closed in 2015) has been opened, so approx. 50 pilgrims slept there on the stone floor ...
thank you
 
But as from April 1st it has been much, much busier than April 2022, every day again.

Just to add some more local info ... and not to take sides in this 'discussion'. We have good friends who live in SJPP and own a hiking store that many pilgrims visit. They live and work in Rue de la Citadelle - they have a very good 'view' of pilgrim numbers in their shop, in the street, and in the queue for the pilgrims' office up the road.

We made a quick trip to SJPP just after Easter for an overnight stop and dinner with them. As early as 11 April, they said they were seeing more pilgrims than in their memory at that time of year -and they have been there for more than a decade. The same comment was made by the gite owner, where we have stayed many times. We are in regular contact with our friends in SJPP - they report the numbers are greater than they have ever seen at that time of year - and that was after Easter and before the May long weekend, which is not to say it will continue into coming weeks or months, just how it has been in recent weeks.

RETHINK walking the Frances - is one possibility. RETHINK when you walk the Frances is another that has been suggested on many threads.
 
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More people than ever in April or more people than ever in the first three months of the year is similar to higher temperature than ever in April. It is unusual. It may be a reason to be worried. But it does not mean that it is the highest number of the year. And it may mean a prediction for the coming months but again not for every single day and not for every single week and not in every location.

Stop press: Nuevo récord histórico en el Camino: más de 40.000 peregrinos en el mes de abril, titles the Correo Galego today. That's of course not as much in April 2023 as it was in August 2022 for example when it was 85.000 pilgrims in SdC and when there was the known summer lull between SJPP and Pamplona and in Castilla y Leon where they lamented a 10% deficit in pilgrim numbers compared to previous years.
 
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Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
Just to add some more local info ... and not to take sides in this 'discussion'. We have good friends who live in SJPP and own a hiking store that many pilgrims visit. They live and work in Rue de la Citadelle - they have a very good 'view' of pilgrim numbers in their shop, in the street, and in the queue for the pilgrims' office up the road.

We made a quick trip to SJPP just after Easter for an overnight stop and dinner with them. As early as 11 April, they said they were seeing more pilgrims than in their memory at that time of year -and they have been there for more than a decade. The same comment was made by the gite owner, where we have stayed many times. We are in regular contact with our friends in SJPP - they report the numbers are greater than they have ever seen - and that was after Easter and before the May long weekend.

RETHINK walking the Frances - is one possibility. RETHINK when you walk the Frances is another that has been suggested on many threads.
That's consistent with what almost everyone on the Camino Frances is reporting right now. The majority of the people disputing that are sitting in their airmchairs at home far away from the Camino. It's a strange curiosity to me. Thank you for validating. I have friends who are heading there soon who will be grateful to know this.
 
Worked an albergue on the Aragon route in April - more pilgrims than ever! At one point, we had SIX of our 16 beds full! In was soooo packed!!!. I even heard that the municipal a few towns away had almost a full house of one person for their 50 or so beds on the largest festival weekend of the year!!!! Madness! 😉

All true, but expressed simply to say that other routes do exist, other starting points are available, and other times of the year do happen - if starting in May from SJPdP gives you stress because of crowds and accommodations, start from Bayonne, or Somport, or Irun, or anywhere else. All roads lead to SdC and they are open every day of the year for hopefully forever.

Don’t cancel your Camino, but be willing to make changes when needed.
 
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people were spending hours walking around SJPdP looking for accomodation.
We have to take your word for it but it still surprises me. Because just yesterday, different information was published in the FB group of the pilgrim office of SJPP - see translation from French into English below.

Also, the manager of the pilgrim office has repeatedly published comments on this forum here that say when albergues and other accommodation are full in SJPP, they open a large publicly owned hall equipped with mattresses for pilgrims. This, btw, has been a time-honoured Camino tradition in Spain, too, during the last few decades. I saw a very recent photo of such a hall being opened in SJPP.

To follow up on the comments from our friends from the Roncesvalles albergue, we inform you that:
  • There are certainly many people leaving from St Jean Pied de Port
  • Thanks to the hard work of our volunteer hosts, we are able to find a solution for every pilgrim
  • That no one [has to] sleep outside in St Jean Pied de Port
  • There is no need to stress if you are on your way or if you are going to start with us
  • Finally, don't listen to message like "It seems that...", "I was told that..." etc., which are full of catastrophic information!
 
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Finally, don't listen to message like "It seems that...", "I was told that..." etc., which are full of catastrophic information!
That's good advice from the pilgrims' office. As one of those who passed on 'I was told that' information (though not in catastrophic terms) from a local person in SJPP - my comment, deliberately, made no mention of accommodation concerns, just number of pilgrims.
 
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Hi Walkaroni!
I agree with the majority of your comments and feel your pain 🤣 ;and yes a lot of people ask questions that have been asked a thousand times.
Are ridiculous to you, me and many others!
Or have easily found answers !
We have answers at our fingertips in milliseconds!
I have copied and pasted answers to questions using google in less than a minute; and in my mind i have thought how easy was that!!

However people function at different levels in life and in their ability to cope with what in their minds is a huge undertaking anxiety,stress, and also perhaps the part of this World that they live!
Pilgrims from Nepal, Islands in the Phillipine's etc
Questions that to us are banal; are not to them.
When i joined the forum i learned so much through members kindness and pointing me in the right direction Gronze, Rome to Rio and various apps!

The point of the forum i know is to impart knowledge (i don't have much of that:) ) and help fellow Pilgrims on their way.
A lot of the dumb questions can be answered with a simple yes or no!

So however "oh bl**dy hell;not again" the question is i will answer!
I think that's the point of being part of this Community.

PS: We went to Spain to spend the winter in the late 1990's with our young daughter.
We drove down, well my wife did in our estate car.
On loading the car she came out carrying a large black sack; i said what that she replied NAPPIES
not sure if they sell them in Spain!!!!
Intelligent but DUMB at the same time🤣.
Enjoy todays questions.
Woody
Well said, Woody66. A very diplomatically delivered response that highlights what this forum is/should be all about - sharing a sense of community between folks who have walked, are currently walking or are, like me, planning a Camino. You (as in “ustedes”) who have so much experience in walking Caminos, please have patience with us rookies who are trying to learn the ropes. We all have to start somewhere, sometime. Buen Camino to all.🤙🏽
 
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The albergue of Roncesvalles has gone to the trouble of setting up a website for booking beds. You reserve and you pay and that's it. It must be clear by now to anyone who cares to inform themselves that there are seasonal peaks of the Camino Frances pilgrimage period at specific locations where it is not a good idea to follow the popular advice that the Camino will provide, that you must not overthink it, that you just set one foot in front of the other. Because there may be too many other people having the same idea as you and you may not be fit enough on your first day of doing something you have never done before to continue just walking on at the end of your day when there are fewer beds in a town than pilgrims wanting a bed.

During March to October, the Roncesvalles albergue have 183 beds in the renovated modern area that can be booked and an additional 63 beds elsewhere and, under exceptional circumstance, they have apparently even made room for pilgrims in an additional building that is normally used for exhibitions and events.

You can book up to 30 beds in one go. Start a booking procedure without finishing it and the system will tell you whether there are still either more than 30 beds left that can be booked or less than 30 beds in which case the system will tell you how many there are left (or none if that is the case).

I had a look: No reservable beds left for 2-4 May but more than 30 left for 5 May. None for 6 May (not surprising, it is a Friday of the first week of May - peak time!), more than 30 left on 7 May, 15 beds left for booking on 8 May. And so on.
 
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I had a look: No reservable beds left for 2-4 May but more than 30 left for 5 May. None for 6 May (not surprising, it is a Friday of the first week of May - peak time!), more than 30 left on 7 May, 15 beds left for booking on 8 May. And so on.

6 May is a Saturday ;)
Keep in mind that beds can be booked until midnight. So the more than 30 left for May 5th and May 7th can be booked by that time.
 
when albergues and other accommodation are full in SJPP, they open a large publicly owned hall equipped with mattresses for pilgrims.
I found the photo that I saw recently on FB. Note that it was taken on 28 or 29 April 2023, on the eve of the notorious long 1st of May weekend with exceptionally high numbers of pilgrims arriving in SJPP.

SJPP additional accommodation.jpg
 
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The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Perhaps pilgrims need to learn to be a tad more resourceful. Surely a simple google search would have informed people that starting from SJPdP (a busy place at the quietest of times) on a holiday weekend would pose some problems? These catastrophic posts are driving me nuts! The sky is not falling. Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on the part of everyone on the Camino, nor everyone on the forum. People are on here literally asking others how to buy a bra; if they can drink the water in Spain; if they can find food in Spain; if they can buy sunscreen in Spain; what an ATM looks like in Spain; how much of their foreign currency they should bring to Spain, for some reason assuming it will be readily accepted; what the temperature will be tomorrow, and the chance of rain the day after that. For the love of Christ, people, I am surprised most can make it out of their own driveway. I will be soundly chastised for this post, but seriously, seriously...?

I fully agree with this sentiment and it’s taken me sitting on my hands not to type out something similar.
 
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I am now on the Frances after walking the Aragon. The Aragon could absorb a few more pilgrims, BUT, it does not have capacity for much more. The distances between albergues -or even water sources in some cases - require more planning than the Frances, and if not able to walk the full Sanguesa to Monreal’s 27 km in one go, then creative use of buses to reduce the burden. There are often no alternative accommodation options. I have to wonder if the other camino routes have the same issues.

Today is my first day on the Frances, just past Puenta la Reina. The volume of bags sitting in the lobby was shocking to me, and Correos and Jacobtrans were just pulling up. My sister is further ahead and watched as a private albergue hauled out mattresses last night and put them in their reception room as people kept arriving (mid-stage town). She reports people are discouraged.

I suspect everyone who delayed their 2020, 2021 and 2022 caminos due to covid are jumping on the chance to get out there.

I am fairly experienced at this camino business, but I suspect I’m going to be taking the occasional bus and I may just decide to go home. Camino is lovely, hard work; sweating the details makes it a an onerous chore.
 
I am now on the Frances after walking the Aragon. The Aragon could absorb a few more pilgrims, BUT, it does not have capacity for much more. The distances between albergues -or even water sources in some cases - require more planning than the Frances, and if not able to walk the full Sanguesa to Monreal’s 27 km in one go, then creative use of buses to reduce the burden. There are often no alternative accommodation options. I have to wonder if the other camino routes have the same issues.

Today is my first day on the Frances, just past Puenta la Reina. The volume of bags sitting in the lobby was shocking to me, and Correos and Jacobtrans were just pulling up. My sister is further ahead and watched as a private albergue hauled out mattresses last night and put them in their reception room as people kept arriving (mid-stage town). She reports people are discouraged.

I suspect everyone who delayed their 2020, 2021 and 2022 caminos due to covid are jumping on the chance to get out there.

I am fairly experienced at this camino business, but I suspect I’m going to be taking the occasional bus and I may just decide to go home. Camino is lovely, hard work; sweating the details makes it a an onerous chore.
I'll be doing the same Aragones to Frances route soon.

Did you prebook for Puente de Reina? Any general tips about the Aragones that you wish you knew before you started?

Thanks for your update and I hope you post more!
 
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I'll be doing the same Aragones to Frances route soon.

Did you prebook for Puente de Reina? Any general tips about the Aragones that you wish you knew before you started?

Thanks for your update and I hope you post more!
I have always been allergic to pre-booking. It feels too much like commitment 😁

It was my second Aragon, so I didn’t really give it much thought. If you have any specific questions, feel free to start a conversation with me and I’ll do what I can.
 
Perhaps pilgrims need to learn to be a tad more resourceful. Surely a simple google search would have informed people that starting from SJPdP (a busy place at the quietest of times) on a holiday weekend would pose some problems? These catastrophic posts are driving me nuts! The sky is not falling. Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on the part of everyone on the Camino, nor everyone on the forum. People are on here literally asking others how to buy a bra; if they can drink the water in Spain; if they can find food in Spain; if they can buy sunscreen in Spain; what an ATM looks like in Spain; how much of their foreign currency they should bring to Spain, for some reason assuming it will be readily accepted; what the temperature will be tomorrow, and the chance of rain the day after that. For the love of Christ, people, I am surprised most can make it out of their own driveway. I will be soundly chastised for this post, but seriously, seriously...?
Well, if you get chastised then so should I!! I so totally agree with you! I see this stuff that you mention above and want to give up looking at the forum. But haven’t. Come on people and get a life and get on with it!
 
Don't worry too much, this is just another "panic thread" - see this thread for a more varied perspective.

Buen Camino!
Unless you are on the ground on the Frances and can conclusively refute these tales, please don’t be so quick to dismiss these tales as “panic”. The original post is a very accurate summary of what it’s like right now: walkers are stressed, bar and albergue owners are exhausted and struggling with the volumes of pilgrims.
I’m walking my sixth Camino and I have never seen it like this.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
I am now on the Frances after walking the Aragon. The Aragon could absorb a few more pilgrims, BUT, it does not have capacity for much more. The distances between albergues -or even water sources in some cases - require more planning than the Frances, and if not able to walk the full Sanguesa to Monreal’s 27 km in one go, then creative use of buses to reduce the burden. There are often no alternative accommodation options. I have to wonder if the other camino routes have the same issues.

Today is my first day on the Frances, just past Puenta la Reina. The volume of bags sitting in the lobby was shocking to me, and Correos and Jacobtrans were just pulling up. My sister is further ahead and watched as a private albergue hauled out mattresses last night and put them in their reception room as people kept arriving (mid-stage town). She reports people are discouraged.

I suspect everyone who delayed their 2020, 2021 and 2022 caminos due to covid are jumping on the chance to get out there.

I am fairly experienced at this camino business, but I suspect I’m going to be taking the occasional bus and I may just decide to go home. Camino is lovely, hard work; sweating the details makes it a an onerous chore.
Very well said!
 
Home last night after finishing the GR 65 in SJPDP Friday. In SJPDP over the holiday weekend and there were several “available” signs in the windows, including one at Gite Belairi late afternoon. We booked ahead this trip and were thankful to not have the stress of bed chasing. Town was crowded but no problem getting meals in St Jean though one place turned us away. Just book ahead and enjoy the walk. It was fun seeing all the newbies setting off, clean and shiny!
 
It might be advisable, if you are not walking now, to not pass comment. I am walking the Meseta right now. Started in Sansol on April 20. Accommodations have become increasingly difficult without bookings since then, way before May weekend. The volume of pilgrims along the Frances is much higher than normal for this time of year. And yes, distressingly, staff, whether in public or private accomodation, are stressed and stretched. I would definitely advise looking at other options.
 
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I see this stuff that you mention above and want to give up looking at the forum.
I know that there are a lot of old-timer forum members who are growing weary of many of the newbies’ questions. But please don’t let it lead you to give up on the forum! Titles of threads make very clear what is going to be discussed, and no one forces anyone to open any thread.

I know this is obvious, but as the businesses along the camino continue to ratchet up the level of comfort and range of services, the Camino is going to continue to attract more and more people who are less adventuresome, less willing to “rough it,” and more concerned about the level of amenities. And those people will come to the forum for help. They will likely be walking the Francés. Feel free to ignore those questions! But there is still no better place on the internet to go for a great discussion about the Olvidado, the Mozárabe, the Aragonés, the Catalán, the Madrid, the Lana, the Vdlp, the Ebro, the Invierno, and on and on and on.

I read this thread and the many others like this with sadness, because I can’t imagine going to walk for a month in these circumstances. But I realize that that’s just the way it is now on the Camino Francés.
 
For those planning the Camino for Mid-September to Mid-October there will likely be accommodation challenges too. Great to see SJPDP opening up the fire station in a pinch, but with an upward trend in pilgrim numbers it might suggest a more robust or enterprising solution is needed to manage the increased traffic.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I did the Frances last year and came back to do some more hiking around St Jean Pied de Port this year. spending more time in the town and talking to locals I would strongly suggest people reconsider walking the Frances route this year (or in future).

consider this -

there are about 500 people every day going through the pilgrims office in SJPdP every day currently. this number doesn't include walkers who don't visit the pilgrims office OR private groups (ie there are large number of private korean tour groups currently).

so 500 pilgrims.... and only 200 beds in Roncesvalles.... 300 people without beds on their first night.... people were spending hours walking around SJPdP looking for accomodation. people arriving in Roncesvalles either have to get transport back to SJPdP to sleep and be taken back to Roncesvalles the next morning or catch a taxi forward or walk further on. Note, walking today, the next town was fully booked in advance aswell. so people can be up for a 30km day on their first day after walking to a 1,400m peak.

obviously the accomodation issues don't disappear after the first night. Zubiri is fully booked two weeks ahead and AirBnBs booked solid. Pamplona, 2 weeks ago when I went through, the albergue (112 beds) and all hostels were full. I had to book something outside of Pamplona.

before covid the pilgrim numbers going through SJPdP ilgrims office was 63,000 a year. last year it was 70,000. this year the numbers are blowing the locals out of the water. they have never seen this volume of people and so early in the season. the are literally burnt out before the peak begins. pilgrims have been flocking since mid March.

the owner of Express Bourricot is selling her bsuiness/stepping aside in July because she is so burnt out that she said it isn't fair on her or the pilgrims because she can no longer give the quality of service in her exhausted state. the service providers in SJPdP are drowning in tourists and a number are quite unpleasant toward them as they are so over the volume.

this is completely unsustainable for the locals and walkers. more walkers are coming with tents. this will come to a head at some point.

if you want to enjoy your camino and don't want to be severely anxious about finding a bed - I really suggest you let go of the dream of the Frances and try a different route. (that said, the northern route and the de puy routes have also got very high volumes this year, based on the numbers of pilgrims I walked past and talking to the locals on those routes).

rethink your plans if you want to 'enjoy' your camino.
It seems the CF has become a victim of its own success. This is unfortunate. I’m glad I had the good fortune to walk the Frances back in 2013.
 
As I sit here watching pilgrims continue to trickle in at a fairly steady rate, I have two primary thoughts.

One, it’s all the pre-booking that others are doing that causes me more stress than the actual risk of not getting a bed. It used to be first come, first served. (Heck, it used to be in many places, you just picked your bed and the hospi came by in the evening to collect € and give stamps). No bed, move on. Now, the sense of ‘where I might find a bed’ is obscured by the fact that beds can be reserved in so many places. (And let’s not forget the fact that b…ing.com opens up those beds to anyone seeking a bed in the general area, not just pilgrims.) I know there is likely a bed out there somewhere*, but I don’t really want to use the internet to find it. (I’m selfish that way, I guess.)

Two, we all need to be nicer to the staff and service people. Let’s be nicer to everyone else while we’re at it.


*A note: one of the albergues on the Aragon had two beds left when four people arrived. The gentleman who came in first was walking alone, the other three were sort of together. Two of the three pushed their way past the first guy and claimed the two beds. I don’t know where their third friend went, but the first guy was forced to pay over €50 for a bed at a hotel. If the three guys had shared a room, they would each have only had to pay €18, but these two were greedy. Kind of sours things that some people are like that.
 
Have talked to 2 albergues who have zero reservations after mid-May, June, July. Everyone wants to walk in the spring & fall & have some sort of romantic notion that they can walk into a town & knock on a door to find a bed. Without a problem.
Sorry, but even the buses need to be booked in advance on busy routes.
I started 15 April & was surprised to hear Pamplona was booked out. Lots of pensions there if people would take a look on booking dot com. Cheap too!

So glad I booked my beds. I have zero stress. Pilgrims spending every break on their phones looking for a bed are stressed tho. Yet those of us who prepared, researched & reserved are somehow looked down on. I am older & cannot walk farther to the next town if there isn’t a bed for me.
 
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... if you want to enjoy your camino and don't want to be severely anxious about finding a bed - I really suggest you let go of the dream of the Frances and try a different route ...

... rethink your plans if you want to 'enjoy' your camino.

For what it's worth, I agree with your "rethink your plans if you want to 'enjoy' your camino".

I argue that rethinking one's plans does not necessarily mean abandoning the Frances.

I find that, in all areas of life, planning ahead where possible and then following the plan where possible results in less stress and a greater probability of success than doing otherwise.

For those who find the "Will I be able to find a bed?" anxiety to be highly aversive, as I do, reserving one's lodgings a few days ahead can eliminate much of the anxiety. In fact I tend to reserve all of my lodgings for entire pilgrimages months in advance. This enables me to walk the stage lengths that I want to walk, and stay overnight in the types of places in which I wish to stay, at a price point that I can afford, on the nights that I want to stay there. Making the lodgings plan takes a while - I pick away at it during evenings that would otherwise be idle - but it is not onerous, and once the plan is made, my mind is at rest. The lack of lodgings anxiety frees me to walk at whatever pace I choose at the moment, and releases my mind to enjoy whatever serendipitous pleasures arise during each day's walk.

I should emphasize that almost all of my bookings include free cancellation up to a few days before my scheduled day of arrival. This reduces risk should circumstances force me to change my plan. I keep a simple register of my bookings and their free-cancellation deadlines, and as cancellation deadlines approach, I re-evaluate the plan.

BTW I have had success using Booking.com in combination with a rather handy free itinerary-generating app called TripIt. (Not sure why TripIt does this chore for free. Perhaps they sell my super-secret pilgrimage plans to the evil Sauron of Mordor - 🙀 - but that does not worry me.)

I am only describing my type of pilgrimage project planning, I am not prescribing it. Fellow pilgrims: do what is best for you.
 
I have been reading this thread, but stopped at post #23 as there are so many.
I am on the Del Norte as I speak, in Luarca. On Saturday I was in Cudillero and after 1:00pm it became a zoo as tourists came out of the woodwork. On Sunday we stopped at Playa del Silencio (nother zoo with tourists and cars) at the park above the beach on our way to Cadavedo for the night. We arrived in Luarca on Monday, May 1st...another zoo day with tourists everywhere.
I will say I pre-booked every night ahead of time six weeks prior to leaving home. Today, May 2nd, Luarca seems laid back and normal for our extra day...whew. I do not know how the days will unfold going forward, but up until the holiday weekend, we did not see many people/walkers/pilgrims.
Of course, the Frances route is always a different story.
 
I should emphasize that almost all of my bookings include free cancellation up to a few days before my scheduled day of arrival.
Each to their own; but the ability to reserve (and thus reduce the perceived availability of accommodation); with the ability to cancel at relatively short notice, may exacerbate the apparent problem.

I have friends, whose behaviour I strongly disapprove of - I and tell them so, who will book multiple alternate accommodation with free cancellation and leave the decision until the last no-cost minute.

Anyway; time to check out of the Camino conversation for a while I think as tempers are unusually frayed. I’ll check in again when the crowds subside; which should be in about two weeks if historic trends apply.

Hasta luego todos.
 
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Yet those of us who prepared, researched & reserved are somehow looked down on.
Yes, this is the conundrum. People who don’t book because they want the freedom of the winging-it approach are finding that those who did book are taking all the beds that they want to be able to waltz into. Then the winging-it contingent criticizes those who do not want to be one of those left out without a bed. Then more people book, leaving fewer beds for the winging-it crowd, who then spend hours looking for beds, while those who have booked ahead check in, take their showers, and sit in the square. Seems like the pre-booking crowd is having a much less stressful and more pleasant camino, but I get why many just don’t want to go down that path.

It’s hard to figure out how the winging-it group can continue to enjoy the Francés in high season while so many are booking beds, at least not without a lot of the pre-planning to find off-stage albergues that don’t take reservations, but that means they’ve given up on winging it! Not to mention that it’s also hard to figure out how anyone can enjoy the camino Francés if the cafés and restaurants are mobbed. I have no doubt that you can still find solitude as you walk, it’s the end points that seem more problematic.

but the ability to reserve (and thus reduce the perceived availability of accommodation); with the ability to cancel at relatively short notice, may exacerbate the apparent problem.
This is a terrific point, and I am sure that is the case. I have met many people with multiple reservations at different points along the way, just waiting to decide on the perfect place for the next night until the point that there is no more free cancellation. And this is something that really hurts the business owners in addition to those who can’t find a bed!
 
Have talked to 2 albergues who have zero reservations after mid-May, June, July. Everyone wants to walk in the spring & fall & have some sort of romantic notion that they can walk into a town & knock on a door to find a bed. Without a problem.
Sorry, but even the buses need to be booked in advance on busy routes.
I started 15 April & was surprised to hear Pamplona was booked out. Lots of pensions there if people would take a look on booking dot com. Cheap too!

So glad I booked my beds. I have zero stress. Pilgrims spending every break on their phones looking for a bed are stressed tho. Yet those of us who prepared, researched & reserved are somehow looked down on. I am older & cannot walk farther to the next town if there isn’t a bed for me.
I hope I didn’t sound like I was looking down on you. I too cannot walk the distances I used to, and have made concessions to that. My budget is planned with the view that some expensive hotels might be required; a pension is a happy alternative, but so far there haven’t been any when I needed one.
 
We were going to walk the CF for our first Camino this year. Due to scheduling, we were due to arrive later than I planned and chose CDN for this very reason.
This promises to be an interesting trip!
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
It might be advisable, if you are not walking now, to not pass comment. I am walking the Meseta right now. Started in Sansol on April 20. Accommodations have become increasingly difficult without bookings since then, way before May weekend. The volume of pilgrims along the Frances is much higher than normal for this time of year. And yes, distressingly, staff, whether in public or private accomodation, are stressed and stretched. I would definitely advise looking at other options.
thank you
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Great to see SJPDP opening up the fire station in a pinch, but with an upward trend in pilgrim numbers it might suggest a more robust or enterprising solution is needed to manage the increased traffic.
I think that opening the municipal sports or school facilities for pilgrims was not unusual in earlier years on the Camino Francés when the albergue was full. A friend of mine who went from Pamplona to SdC in the 1990s has photos where they had been told to push their bikes into an empty classroom and spent the night there.

I vaguely remember that Zubiri and/or Larrasoaña (between Roncesvalles and Pamplona) did this, too. I think (not sure, my memory may fail me), today the reasoning is that pilgrims can use taxis to get to an accommodation nearby, perhaps off Camino, with available beds. There may be other reasons (health and safety, hygiene, cost of cleaning) why small towns no longer do this, I don't know. And why does free enterprise not step in? Perhaps it is not worth the investment to open yet another albergue just to cater for short-term high demand during a few days or weeks during the year ... I distinctly remember, several years ago, when the number of available beds at Roncesvalles was reduced, the regional government argued that there were enough beds for everyone in the region.

For your entertainment, a quote from a forum thread from October 2013: At one place the albergue was full, so the sport hall was opened for pilgrims, or there was a choice of being taxied at no charge to a private albergue off the route.
 
People who don’t book because they want the freedom of the winging-it approach are finding that those who did book are taking all the beds
Except that the pre-bookers are not taking the beds in the public and parochial albergues that do not accept reservations. I have read some Facebook posts from pilgrims who are dismayed that no rooms are available when they reach town, which makes me think that there are pilgrims who are not even considering public albergues.

Anyway; time to check out of the Camino conversation for a while I think as tempers are unusually frayed. I’ll check in again when the crowds subside; which should be in about two weeks if historic trends apply

I hope that you are right.

Have talked to 2 albergues who have zero reservations after mid-May, June, July. Everyone wants to walk in the spring & fall & have some sort of romantic notion that they can walk into a town & knock on a door to find a bed. Without a problem.
I think that we need to spread the word that starting from SJPdP in May or September requires much more pre-planning than in the rest of the year.
 
Perhaps pilgrims need to learn to be a tad more resourceful. Surely a simple google search would have informed people that starting from SJPdP (a busy place at the quietest of times) on a holiday weekend would pose some problems? These catastrophic posts are driving me nuts! The sky is not falling. Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on the part of everyone on the Camino, nor everyone on the forum. People are on here literally asking others how to buy a bra; if they can drink the water in Spain; if they can find food in Spain; if they can buy sunscreen in Spain; what an ATM looks like in Spain; how much of their foreign currency they should bring to Spain, for some reason assuming it will be readily accepted; what the temperature will be tomorrow, and the chance of rain the day after that. For the love of Christ, people, I am surprised most can make it out of their own driveway. I will be soundly chastised for this post, but seriously, seriously...?
You are not going to get any pushback from me. One person's panic/depression/sadness (or fill in the blank) is another person's challenge or joy. There are many, many more pilgrims walking then just a few years ago, let alone 10 or 20 years ago. I do not object so much that the OP feels this way. What I do find a little troubling is the tone that can make the OP appear t be an expert. In reality she is viewing a slice of time and some dates on a calendar. What is written I am sure was true for the moment. What the owner of the transport company says about burn out, is for her completely correct. For someone else it may be a golden opportunity to expand a business and make his/her and family and new employees life better. It is all relative.

And those people will come to the forum for help. They will likely be walking the Francés. Feel free to ignore those questions! But there is still no better place on the internet to go for a great discussion about the Olvidado, the Mozárabe, the Aragonés, the Catalán, the Madrid, the Lana, the Vdlp, the Ebro, the Invierno, and on and on and on.
Once again what Laurie has written is spot on. I sometimes lose sight of the nerves and fears of new pilgrims who often ask questions that have been asked many times before. But I remember that that was me only 11 years ago. I have recently been reminded by @MARSKA who has asked a boatload of questions. At first I said to myself, here we go again another new pilgrim asking a million old questions. I quickly realized what a schmuck I was to think that and I have been trying to help her with my experience and knowledge but letting her know (I hope I always do this) that this is just an opinion and my experience and what works for me. Us "old timers" should probably reassure the newbies that we all felt this way once. But to remember by the time you have rounded the corner and see Logrono you will be a seasoned vet.
As Laurie said you don't have to read every post. But as important to me is how Laurie and other moderators and members like @C clearly, @davebugg, and @peregrino_tom to name just a few have been essential to my gear buying, and my caminos on the VDLP, Aragones. this year on the Vasco Interior, and future caminos like the Madrid and Mozarabe. Only here can you get information on the less traveled routes where the bed race issue doesn't exist. There is a whole different set of issues and planning that takes place and it is great to have my friends who have walked before guide me to my first steps.
 
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Perhaps it is not worth the investment to open yet another albergue just to cater for short term high demand during a few days or weeks during the year ...
I think this is the issue. It's not a viable business if you only make money for 4-6 weeks in the year. Probably there are so many regulations now that it's not possible just to open a building and let people sleep there.
 
Yes, this is the conundrum. People who don’t book because they want the freedom of the winging-it approach are finding that those who did book are taking all the beds that they want to be able to waltz into. Then the winging-it contingent criticizes those who do not want to be one of those left out without a bed. Then more people book, leaving fewer beds for the winging-it crowd, who then spend hours looking for beds, while those who have booked ahead check in, take their showers, and sit in the square. Seems like the pre-booking crowd is having a much less stressful and more pleasant camino, but I get why many just don’t want to go down that path.

It’s hard to figure out how the winging-it group can continue to enjoy the Francés in high season while so many are booking beds, at least not without a lot of the pre-planning to find off-stage albergues that don’t take reservations, but that means they’ve given up on winging it! Not to mention that it’s also hard to figure out how anyone can enjoy the camino Francés if the cafés and restaurants are mobbed. I have no doubt that you can still find solitude as you walk, it’s the end points that seem more problematic.


This is a terrific point, and I am sure that is the case. I have met many people with multiple reservations at different points along the way, just waiting to decide on the perfect place for the next night until the point that there is no more free cancellation. And this is something that really hurts the business owners in addition to those who can’t find a bed!
I had a very intense discussion with a gentleman from the booking-it crowd last year. My point being, reservation or no reservation, number of beds is a given, number of pilgrims is a given. Reservation just means, you get the bed, not the other guy. I am a good walker. I can afford more expensive accomodation if needed. If i don't get a bed, i can taxi or got to a hotel or whatever.
Interestingly i did not need to do this one time last May/June, despite everyone telling me how small my chances are of getting a bed. A couple of times i guess i was just lucky someone with a reservation did not show up and i got the bed... so i guess theres two sides of the medal.
(and yes, i absolutely belive that it is worse this year and my tactic could fail spectacularly)
 
I did the Frances last year and came back to do some more hiking around St Jean Pied de Port this year. spending more time in the town and talking to locals I would strongly suggest people reconsider walking the Frances route this year (or in future).

consider this -

there are about 500 people every day going through the pilgrims office in SJPdP every day currently. this number doesn't include walkers who don't visit the pilgrims office OR private groups (ie there are large number of private korean tour groups currently).

so 500 pilgrims.... and only 200 beds in Roncesvalles.... 300 people without beds on their first night.... people were spending hours walking around SJPdP looking for accomodation. people arriving in Roncesvalles either have to get transport back to SJPdP to sleep and be taken back to Roncesvalles the next morning or catch a taxi forward or walk further on. Note, walking today, the next town was fully booked in advance aswell. so people can be up for a 30km day on their first day after walking to a 1,400m peak.

obviously the accomodation issues don't disappear after the first night. Zubiri is fully booked two weeks ahead and AirBnBs booked solid. Pamplona, 2 weeks ago when I went through, the albergue (112 beds) and all hostels were full. I had to book something outside of Pamplona.

before covid the pilgrim numbers going through SJPdP ilgrims office was 63,000 a year. last year it was 70,000. this year the numbers are blowing the locals out of the water. they have never seen this volume of people and so early in the season. the are literally burnt out before the peak begins. pilgrims have been flocking since mid March.

the owner of Express Bourricot is selling her bsuiness/stepping aside in July because she is so burnt out that she said it isn't fair on her or the pilgrims because she can no longer give the quality of service in her exhausted state. the service providers in SJPdP are drowning in tourists and a number are quite unpleasant toward them as they are so over the volume.

this is completely unsustainable for the locals and walkers. more walkers are coming with tents. this will come to a head at some point.

if you want to enjoy your camino and don't want to be severely anxious about finding a bed - I really suggest you let go of the dream of the Frances and try a different route. (that said, the northern route and the de puy routes have also got very high volumes this year, based on the numbers of pilgrims I walked past and talking to the locals on those routes).

rethink your plans if you want to 'enjoy' your camino.
Camino Frances. Are there transports to the next town along CF if it should happen that I've walked my physical limit for the day and no bed is available in that town?
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
The first edition came out in 2003 and has become the go-to-guide for many pilgrims over the years. It is shipping with a Pilgrim Passport (Credential) from the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
There may be other reasons (health and safety, hygiene, cost of cleaning) why small towns no longer do this, I don't know.
I've been reading a few posts here and on Facebook recently about albergues which have allowed pilgrims to sleep on mattresses on the floor when they run out of beds. Although that used to be quite common in recent years local authorities have clamped down on the practice for safety reasons. Very surprised to read that it is happening now and that seems evidence that the current situation is unusually difficult.
 
As an additional note, I am staying in lots of the small towns in between the popular towns, freeing up space?
Lintzoain, Maneru, Sansol, Uterga, Espinosa, Santovenia, Najera, Navarrete, Castildelgado, Zabaldika. I found these by doing research. Have had fantastic meals & super experiences
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
And why does free enterprise not step in? Perhaps it is not worth the investment to open yet another albergue just to cater for short term high demand during a few days or weeks during the year ...
If anyone is looking to open a nice private albergue, try Sanguesa on the Aragon. There seem to be enough tourists to keep you busy beyond pilgrims. There’s a need for something between Sanguesa and Monreal as well but that wouldn’t be attractive to tourists, just us slow walkers.
 
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I should emphasize that almost all of my bookings include free cancellation up to a few days before my scheduled day of arrival.
This was something that astonished me years ago: Numerous places (not all) on the Camino Francés allowed cancellation without fee until up to 24 hours before arrival, whether on Booking.com or on their own reservation webpage. This is something for newcomers to bear in mind: Check again closer to your own expected day of arrival and on the evening before - a bed in a small hotel, privately owned albergue or casa rural may become available although the place had been fully booked for weeks. (I am a sucker for accommodation with a history and was keen on a few of them. It did not always work but sometimes I was lucky).
 
I have friends, whose behaviour I strongly disapprove of - I and tell them so, who will book multiple alternate accommodation with free cancellation and leave the decision until the last no-cost minute.
I have used booking.com on my two most recent Caminos and have never double-booked to cancel last minute. If this is a current trend, it gives those of us who now choose to plan our lodging ahead of time to reduce stress while walking a potential "bad name" and is rather disappointing.
 
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I've been reading a few posts here and on Facebook recently about albergues which have allowed pilgrims to sleep on mattresses on the floor when they run out of beds. Although that used to be quite common in recent years local authorities have clamped down on the practice for safety reasons. Very surprised to read that it is happening now and that seems evidence that the current situation is unusually difficult.
I was surprised to learn from forum member @Ianinam who is well informed about all things Roncesvalles that they opened the Itzandegia building recently and allowed 50 pilgrims to sleep on the floor there. That must be a first. This is the renovated building that used to house the former albergue, the one with the once 100 beds in one room. The building was given a different purpose after the renovations (some 10 years ago?)
 
I did the Frances last year and came back to do some more hiking around St Jean Pied de Port this year. spending more time in the town and talking to locals I would strongly suggest people reconsider walking the Frances route this year (or in future).

consider this -

there are about 500 people every day going through the pilgrims office in SJPdP every day currently. this number doesn't include walkers who don't visit the pilgrims office OR private groups (ie there are large number of private korean tour groups currently).

so 500 pilgrims.... and only 200 beds in Roncesvalles.... 300 people without beds on their first night.... people were spending hours walking around SJPdP looking for accomodation. people arriving in Roncesvalles either have to get transport back to SJPdP to sleep and be taken back to Roncesvalles the next morning or catch a taxi forward or walk further on. Note, walking today, the next town was fully booked in advance aswell. so people can be up for a 30km day on their first day after walking to a 1,400m peak.

obviously the accomodation issues don't disappear after the first night. Zubiri is fully booked two weeks ahead and AirBnBs booked solid. Pamplona, 2 weeks ago when I went through, the albergue (112 beds) and all hostels were full. I had to book something outside of Pamplona.

before covid the pilgrim numbers going through SJPdP ilgrims office was 63,000 a year. last year it was 70,000. this year the numbers are blowing the locals out of the water. they have never seen this volume of people and so early in the season. the are literally burnt out before the peak begins. pilgrims have been flocking since mid March.

the owner of Express Bourricot is selling her bsuiness/stepping aside in July because she is so burnt out that she said it isn't fair on her or the pilgrims because she can no longer give the quality of service in her exhausted state. the service providers in SJPdP are drowning in tourists and a number are quite unpleasant toward them as they are so over the volume.

this is completely unsustainable for the locals and walkers. more walkers are coming with tents. this will come to a head at some point.

if you want to enjoy your camino and don't want to be severely anxious about finding a bed - I really suggest you let go of the dream of the Frances and try a different route. (that said, the northern route and the de puy routes have also got very high volumes this year, based on the numbers of pilgrims I walked past and talking to the locals on those routes).

rethink your plans if you want to 'enjoy' your camino.
Don’t worry, the Camino will provide.
 
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This was something that astonished me years ago: Numerous places (not all) on the Camino Francés allowed cancellation without fee until up to 24 hours before arrival, whether on Booking.com or on their own reservation webpage. This is something for newcomers to bear in mind: Check again closer to your own expected day of arrival and on the evening before - a bed in a small hotel, privately owned albergue or casa rural may become available although the place had been fully booked for weeks. (I am a sucker for accommodation with a history and was keen on a few of them. It did not always work but sometimes I was lucky).
Slight tangent, but -
I'm off to walk the CF in a couple of weeks time, and have made a number of bookings, mainly because I want a private room (I snore now, something i did not do back in 2014 when I first walked the CF and absolutely loved being able to wing it.)
Pension Mavi in Los Arcos has been recommended several times. A couple of months ago, there was no availability shown. Then reservations became possible, then when I got around to trying to book, nothing on the date I hope to be there. Today booking.com shows a double room available for my date. Rather than use booking.com, I go to the Pension website where it shows availability both for single and double rooms! But neither can be booked for a single night, only a minimum of 2. And it makes no difference which day I use.
 
The next day (last Sunday) another 30 pilgrims slept there on the floor. The building was closed as an albergue in 2015, renovated and now sometimes in use for festivities, congresses etc.
 
Re my earlier post: I think that big pile of bags was simply picked up late and they were all outgoing. The number of people currently here is well within capacity. Still lots of bunks at 5:30.
 
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I suspect everyone who delayed their 2020, 2021 and 2022 caminos due to covid are jumping on the chance to get out there.

I made a statement early in the pandemic that, “normal,” may not return until 2025. Plan accordingly, especially with Service Burnout closing some key players.
Well... perhaps the Post-Covid rush will dissipate by then and things will slow down.
I actually had the same thought - the mentioned "Covid Years" surely pushed a lot of people 'back' (within reasons I was one of them as my original plans were for 2021 and I had to go a year later).
Again we can only Hope & Pray
 
Don't worry too much, this is just another "panic thread" - see this thread for a more varied perspective.

Buen Camino!
Since the pilgrim is "boots on the ground" and is stating facts, it might be best to heed her experienc, THEN one can try to figure out how best to make it work for them, or delay/cancel.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
I have friends, whose behaviour I strongly disapprove of - I and tell them so, who will book multiple alternate accommodation with free cancellation and leave the decision until the last no-cost minute.

It had not occurred to me that people were routinely booking multiple options only to cancel the unwanted ones at the last moment. I too disapprove of that and I do not do that. I prefer to make a plan and then stick to my plan. However, should I experience an injury or find myself approaching a dangerous Iberian wildfire or flood area or some other major problem that disrupts my trip and requires re-planning, I want to be able to cancel at no charge the bookings that I will not be able to use.

The free-cancellation feature offered by some lodging places comprises a part of their business plan. In many cases a free-cancellation reservation costs more per night than does a no-cancellation reservation. I feel no guilt about selecting the free-cancellation option and then cancelling if and when absolutely necessary. The only time I can remember having cancelled at short notice was during the year 2020 COVID global shutdown.
 
Perhaps pilgrims need to learn to be a tad more resourceful. Surely a simple google search would have informed people that starting from SJPdP (a busy place at the quietest of times) on a holiday weekend would pose some problems? These catastrophic posts are driving me nuts! The sky is not falling. Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on the part of everyone on the Camino, nor everyone on the forum. People are on here literally asking others how to buy a bra; if they can drink the water in Spain; if they can find food in Spain; if they can buy sunscreen in Spain; what an ATM looks like in Spain; how much of their foreign currency they should bring to Spain, for some reason assuming it will be readily accepted; what the temperature will be tomorrow, and the chance of rain the day after that. For the love of Christ, people, I am surprised most can make it out of their own driveway. I will be soundly chastised for this post, but seriously, seriously...?
It is so NOT fair to berate this pilgrim, who is describing her situation. She should be thanked so that people can try to figure out the best way to make sure that they do have a bed.
And if this is her first time, walking the Camino, Frances, despite trying to figure out everything you can before you leave, you just can't do it. You must've forgotten the first time you walked the camino Frances.
For me, I start in Roncesvalle very soon. I will be booking head and not just proceed with rose colored glasses.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
I was surprised to learn from forum member @Ianinam who is well informed about all things Roncesvalles that they opened the Itzandegia building recently and allowed 50 pilgrims to sleep on the floor there.
That would be where I slept on my first two Caminos. My first walk was in July which was peak season at the time. 9 pilgrims that night - the most I saw in one place for my whole Camino. Seems to have changed a bit lately... :)
 
I did the Frances last year and came back to do some more hiking around St Jean Pied de Port this year. spending more time in the town and talking to locals I would strongly suggest people reconsider walking the Frances route this year (or in future).

consider this -

there are about 500 people every day going through the pilgrims office in SJPdP every day currently. this number doesn't include walkers who don't visit the pilgrims office OR private groups (ie there are large number of private korean tour groups currently).

so 500 pilgrims.... and only 200 beds in Roncesvalles.... 300 people without beds on their first night.... people were spending hours walking around SJPdP looking for accomodation. people arriving in Roncesvalles either have to get transport back to SJPdP to sleep and be taken back to Roncesvalles the next morning or catch a taxi forward or walk further on. Note, walking today, the next town was fully booked in advance aswell. so people can be up for a 30km day on their first day after walking to a 1,400m peak.

obviously the accomodation issues don't disappear after the first night. Zubiri is fully booked two weeks ahead and AirBnBs booked solid. Pamplona, 2 weeks ago when I went through, the albergue (112 beds) and all hostels were full. I had to book something outside of Pamplona.

before covid the pilgrim numbers going through SJPdP ilgrims office was 63,000 a year. last year it was 70,000. this year the numbers are blowing the locals out of the water. they have never seen this volume of people and so early in the season. the are literally burnt out before the peak begins. pilgrims have been flocking since mid March.

the owner of Express Bourricot is selling her bsuiness/stepping aside in July because she is so burnt out that she said it isn't fair on her or the pilgrims because she can no longer give the quality of service in her exhausted state. the service providers in SJPdP are drowning in tourists and a number are quite unpleasant toward them as they are so over the volume.

this is completely unsustainable for the locals and walkers. more walkers are coming with tents. this will come to a head at some point.

if you want to enjoy your camino and don't want to be severely anxious about finding a bed - I really suggest you let go of the dream of the Frances and try a different route. (that said, the northern route and the de puy routes have also got very high volumes this year, based on the numbers of pilgrims I walked past and talking to the locals on those routes).

rethink your plans if you want to 'enjoy' your camino.
Thank you for letting us know of your situation currently. Hopefully it will calm down and improve. I leave soon and have the first 2 nights booked. I will now make sure I have at least a 3rd night booked.
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
I did the Frances last year and came back to do some more hiking around St Jean Pied de Port this year. spending more time in the town and talking to locals I would strongly suggest people reconsider walking the Frances route this year (or in future).

consider this -

there are about 500 people every day going through the pilgrims office in SJPdP every day currently. this number doesn't include walkers who don't visit the pilgrims office OR private groups (ie there are large number of private korean tour groups currently).

so 500 pilgrims.... and only 200 beds in Roncesvalles.... 300 people without beds on their first night.... people were spending hours walking around SJPdP looking for accomodation. people arriving in Roncesvalles either have to get transport back to SJPdP to sleep and be taken back to Roncesvalles the next morning or catch a taxi forward or walk further on. Note, walking today, the next town was fully booked in advance aswell. so people can be up for a 30km day on their first day after walking to a 1,400m peak.

obviously the accomodation issues don't disappear after the first night. Zubiri is fully booked two weeks ahead and AirBnBs booked solid. Pamplona, 2 weeks ago when I went through, the albergue (112 beds) and all hostels were full. I had to book something outside of Pamplona.

before covid the pilgrim numbers going through SJPdP ilgrims office was 63,000 a year. last year it was 70,000. this year the numbers are blowing the locals out of the water. they have never seen this volume of people and so early in the season. the are literally burnt out before the peak begins. pilgrims have been flocking since mid March.

the owner of Express Bourricot is selling her bsuiness/stepping aside in July because she is so burnt out that she said it isn't fair on her or the pilgrims because she can no longer give the quality of service in her exhausted state. the service providers in SJPdP are drowning in tourists and a number are quite unpleasant toward them as they are so over the volume.

this is completely unsustainable for the locals and walkers. more walkers are coming with tents. this will come to a head at some point.

if you want to enjoy your camino and don't want to be severely anxious about finding a bed - I really suggest you let go of the dream of the Frances and try a different route. (that said, the northern route and the de puy routes have also got very high volumes this year, based on the numbers of pilgrims I walked past and talking to the locals on those routes).

rethink your plans if you want to 'enjoy' your camino.
Absolutely agree with everything you have said, think for yourselves people, choose your own bra and towel, experience the Camino for yourself, it’s not a package holiday or lux break.
 
Perhaps pilgrims need to learn to be a tad more resourceful. Surely a simple google search would have informed people that starting from SJPdP (a busy place at the quietest of times) on a holiday weekend would pose some problems? These catastrophic posts are driving me nuts! The sky is not falling. Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on the part of everyone on the Camino, nor everyone on the forum. People are on here literally asking others how to buy a bra; if they can drink the water in Spain; if they can find food in Spain; if they can buy sunscreen in Spain; what an ATM looks like in Spain; how much of their foreign currency they should bring to Spain, for some reason assuming it will be readily accepted; what the temperature will be tomorrow, and the chance of rain the day after that. For the love of Christ, people, I am surprised most can make it out of their own driveway. I will be soundly chastised for this post, but seriously, seriously...?
You have expressed some of my frustrations perfectly and quite rightly!
 
This is a very interesting topic and it goes to the heart of the issue facing the camino today.

First, it great that so many people want to do the camino. Second, it's essential that every single one of them, whatever their means or motive, is facilitated in every way to make their walk possible.
Third, the duty of ensuring that the camino is open and accessible to all is an ancient one, willingly borne as a sacred trust by the political authorities in these regions and by the ordinary people for thousands of years.

Now it's up to the local authorities and the regional tourist boards and ecclesiastical agencies to deal with these logistical issues.

How to do this is very straightforward, the model is established in commercial tourism and works well. Each town of a certain size, and the smaller the better, maintains an office or a person on the phone to offer bookings and advice. This person can find a bed for a pilgrim from a number of known sources, and if necessary request the local school hall be made available. So no pilgrim will ever have to worry about finding a bed, no matter what happens.

Thus the end of the anxiety that deters people from coming, the end of the bed-race that destroys cameraderie. The system works all over the world, it's cheap, and very effective; and easy and cheap to set up.

Meanwhile, in the cities, the authorities commission more municipals and make getting a licence easy so private hostels can open to cater for demand.

And the demand is coming. More and more people will come on the camino and the word will spread about how wonderful it is, and still more will come.

That's great, the more, the more welcome, for this way reaches everyone who takes it, for whatever reason, and it's for everyone.

But the people responsible for infrastructure have an absolute duty to make sure that people are not deterred by anxieties over accommodation. They should get their act together.
 
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I think another issue may be the changing demographic of the camino. I know that at the age of 19 or 20 I wouldn't have thought twice about sleeping outdoors. Even now at the age of 42, I don't think I'd mind one or two nights without shelter (I wouldn't want to do it every night), but I know that my mother (mid-60s) would do anything possible to avoid having to sleep in a doorway.
 
It had not occurred to me that people were routinely booking multiple options only to cancel the unwanted ones at the last moment. I too disapprove of that and I do not do that. I prefer to make a plan and then stick to my plan. However, should I experience an injury or find myself approaching a dangerous Iberian wildfire or flood area or some other major problem that disrupts my trip and requires re-planning, I want to be able to cancel at no charge the bookings that I will not be able to use.

The free-cancellation feature offered by some lodging places comprises a part of their business plan. In many cases a free-cancellation reservation costs more per night than does a no-cancellation reservation. I feel no guilt about selecting the free-cancellation option and then cancelling if and when absolutely necessary. The only time I can remember having cancelled at short notice was during the year 2020 COVID global shutdown.
Agreed! Many a room advertised is actually the same physical room but the product difference is around the ability to cancel or otherwise which of course you pay more for. Same as airlines. Alot of people will book multi rooms and keep within the T and C’s of each booking which means multiple bookings and cancellations.
 
Hello All
As a first timer who has just competed the Camino Francis a week ago (Started on 27th March) I would just like to acknowledge the good advice, thoughtful comments and well intentioned remarks posted on this forum. Reading through the entries today it would seem perhaps that this Camino is a victim of its own popularity. Our walk was a fantastic experience and we were lucky enough to avoid the crowds especially during the first week. My advice to others is to perhaps rethink their planning prior to commencement. Coming from Australia I felt the need to prebook all of our accommodation prior to leaving. In some cases this was done many months prior. I feel for those people completing a full days walk and then having to search for a roof over their heads. It was not an option for us to arrive in Europe and rejig all our plans. I understand that this advice could fly in the face of some ‘traditionalists’ but as I have already mentioned the Camino popularity is growing exponentially. Wish you all well. We head back to Western Australia tomorrow.
Ray
 
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I think another issue may be the changing demographic of the camino. I know that at the age of 19 or 20 I wouldn't have thought twice about sleeping outdoors. Even now at the age of 42, I don't think I'd mind one or two nights without shelter (I wouldn't want to do it every night), but I know that my mother (mid-60s) would do anything possible to avoid having to sleep in a doorway.
When did you walk the Camino Frances was it recently or a long time ago and how ,in your opinion ,has it changed since then
 
I think another issue may be the changing demographic of the camino.
The demographic is definitely changing. I walked my first Camino in 1990 aged 28 and most of those I met were about my own age or younger. Some pilgrim refugios at the time were simply bare floors without furniture so a sleeping bag and mat were essential. No luggage transport services so everyone carried their own pack. Very little private accommodation outside the larger towns - not enough for a bed every night. Longer stages than are common today. The net result was that the Camino then appealed more to a younger and more physically fit group than is typical today.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
I did the Frances last year and came back to do some more hiking around St Jean Pied de Port this year. spending more time in the town and talking to locals I would strongly suggest people reconsider walking the Frances route this year (or in future).

consider this -

there are about 500 people every day going through the pilgrims office in SJPdP every day currently. this number doesn't include walkers who don't visit the pilgrims office OR private groups (ie there are large number of private korean tour groups currently).

so 500 pilgrims.... and only 200 beds in Roncesvalles.... 300 people without beds on their first night.... people were spending hours walking around SJPdP looking for accomodation. people arriving in Roncesvalles either have to get transport back to SJPdP to sleep and be taken back to Roncesvalles the next morning or catch a taxi forward or walk further on. Note, walking today, the next town was fully booked in advance aswell. so people can be up for a 30km day on their first day after walking to a 1,400m peak.

obviously the accomodation issues don't disappear after the first night. Zubiri is fully booked two weeks ahead and AirBnBs booked solid. Pamplona, 2 weeks ago when I went through, the albergue (112 beds) and all hostels were full. I had to book something outside of Pamplona.

before covid the pilgrim numbers going through SJPdP ilgrims office was 63,000 a year. last year it was 70,000. this year the numbers are blowing the locals out of the water. they have never seen this volume of people and so early in the season. the are literally burnt out before the peak begins. pilgrims have been flocking since mid March.

the owner of Express Bourricot is selling her bsuiness/stepping aside in July because she is so burnt out that she said it isn't fair on her or the pilgrims because she can no longer give the quality of service in her exhausted state. the service providers in SJPdP are drowning in tourists and a number are quite unpleasant toward them as they are so over the volume.

this is completely unsustainable for the locals and walkers. more walkers are coming with tents. this will come to a head at some point.

if you want to enjoy your camino and don't want to be severely anxious about finding a bed - I really suggest you let go of the dream of the Frances and try a different route. (that said, the northern route and the de puy routes have also got very high volumes this year, based on the numbers of pilgrims I walked past and talking to the locals on those routes).

rethink your plans if you want to 'enjoy' your camino.
I am currently on the Camino Frances and booking accommodation is very difficult people are having to take taxis or miss stages. There are just too many Pilgrims.
 
I am currently on the Camino Frances and booking accommodation is very difficult people are having to take taxis or miss stages. There are just too many Pilgrims.
What town are you in right now? And what towns are you seeing this issue in?
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I know that there are a lot of old-timer forum members who are growing weary of many of the newbies’ questions. But please don’t let it lead you to give up on the forum! Titles of threads make very clear what is going to be discussed, and no one forces anyone to open any thread.

I know this is obvious, but as the businesses along the camino continue to ratchet up the level of comfort and range of services, the Camino is going to continue to attract more and more people who are less adventuresome, less willing to “rough it,” and more concerned about the level of amenities. And those people will come to the forum for help. They will likely be walking the Francés. Feel free to ignore those questions! But there is still no better place on the internet to go for a great discussion about the Olvidado, the Mozárabe, the Aragonés, the Catalán, the Madrid, the Lana, the Vdlp, the Ebro, the Invierno, and on and on and on.

I read this thread and the many others like this with sadness, because I can’t imagine going to walk for a month in these circumstances. But I realize that that’s just the way it is now on the Camino Francés.
For whatever reasons the CF has become a hype and from what I can read on this forum attracts more and more people who are not very familiar with basic principles of hiking (what kind of boots, shorts, pants, bra,hats... do they need?) Some think France and Spain are a sort of wilderness. Of course not , it is all very civilized end gentle.
 
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One death attributed to a heart attack last week. Two pelegrinos gored, one seriously. One broken leg and many ending in Pamplona due to knee and leg and ankle injuries. Is it possible to confirm...
Hello. I am considering walking the Camino for the first time this fall, probably beginning the third week of September in St. Jean. But I keep reading about how crowded the Camino is, including...
Is there a list of albergues that also have private rooms on the Camino Frances? Gracias.
Hi everyone -- After walking the Frances from SJpdP last October, I'm planning to revisit the bit between Logrono and Burgos this July, following different stages. It's the section where I had...
I started out from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on 1 May. It turned out to be an unforgetable day. Above 1,000 m or so it snowed, catching many people unprepared. Later that day "many" walkers were...
And another attempt looms, to buy a decent Poncho after trying and failing in the previous two likely towns. Anyone know where an Altos or similar might be bought in Leon, please? 😁

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