A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

Luggage Transfer Correos

San Sebastian to have no dedicated pilgrim accommodation next year?

Camino Badges

Raggy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
I came across this article from the Noticias De Gipuzkoa (a local news site for the Donostia-San Sebastian region). If I understand correctly, the local association won't continue to offer pilgrim accommodation in the building provided by Claret Ikastola:
https://m.noticiasdegipuzkoa.eus/2019/05/24/sociedad/en-los-albergues-estamos-atendiendo-a-un-turismo-barato?fbclid=IwAR1cMGc9eBUsawL23JwcKz5axf7gNONFp7uD0nFayqKe6XpbN54Aauzvfrg#Loleido

A deteriorating set of circumstances since 2016 makes it impossible for the local Camino association to recruit volunteer hospitaleros:
  • Albergues close to beaches attract tourists who masquerade as pilgrims to get a cheap beach holiday
  • Websites / social media are promoting a systematic abuse of the albergue network
  • Hospitaleros feel disenchanted because they didn't volunteer to serve "pseudo-pilgrims"
  • Donativos in touristic areas receive pitifully small donations. (Only one third of guests leave any donation)
  • In addition to being freeloaders, the pseudo-pilgrims are demanding and ill-mannered
  • There have been multiple thefts from albergues
 

Pilger99

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
addicted since 1999 (Aragones, CF), lots of caminos in Spain and Portugal since then
I think you understood well. The article is mainly about the "turigrinos" which seek the beach / cheap holidays and less to no faith. They hardly give a donation and they also had some cases that they even steal from others. The hospitaleros came to the conclusion that they don't want to support this anymore, since every year it gets worse.

I survived walking the Norte without this albergue (it had not opened)! In Donostia you can easily find hostels and pensions at least from September to June. Summer vacation time could be an issue, so you need to stay in other places. For the pilgrims it should be OK.
 

Jan_D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones (2011)
Frances (2012)
Norte (2013, 2014)
Hospitalera (2014)
Portugues (2017)
I think it was actually closed last year. I remember hearing something about it. (And according to the webpage of the Asociacion de Amigos who manage the albergues in Gipuzkoa, it was closed from 2018 onwards).

Such a pity, on an increasingly popular route that is already seriously lacking in pilgrim accommodation. And given the reasons, there seems to be little will or desire to invest in municipal pilgrim infrastructure. Future Nortegrinos will need to hope for more private albergues to open.
 

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
Before anyone jumps on Raggy, he is summarizing the views expressed in the article by the people who have lived it. For those who can not read Spanish this is the Google translation for the article.

The hosts volunteers who attend the donation hostels are "fed up" from the "Pseudoperegrinos"

Donostia-"Pseudoperegrinos", "Tourists with credentials", or simply and plainly, "tourists". Thus defines the President of the Association of Friends of the way of Santiago in Gipuzkoa to a great majority of the people who cross the territory making the route Xacobea during the summer "beach in Beach". "We are attending a cheap tourism," sums up Fernando Imaz.

The problem is that these people take advantage of the hostels that manage the hosts of the association in a voluntary way and in which no fee is charged for sleeping. "There are German websites that boast that you can make the way playing 20 euros per day and those 20, 12 are for beers", he exhibits as an example the veteran Hospitalero, who has been hosting pilgrims in different centers since 1991. Or another: "They write to you by email asking if you give breakfast, dinner...".

In summer, the North Road, as it is known to the route that runs between Irun and Santiago de Compostela along the Cantabrian coast, increases the number of people that transit it exponentially. They estimate that 25,000 people crossed the territory last year and this course has already noticed "an increase". Only in Donostia 3,800 pilgrims slept during the months of July and August of 2018 in the hostel until then the association managed in the facilities that gave Claret Ikastola and for those who have only words of "gratitude".

At the close of this school located in Gros by the decrease in the number of enrolments, the association can not continue using this place, in which they had 75 places to give shelter to the pilgrims who leave in Donostia during the summer period.

It closes a cycle started in 2016 that has been "complicated" by the massive influx of this profile of tourist that is masked in the skin of a pilgrim. "Especially occurs in large cities or places with beach, in large hostels," says Imaz in reference to the aforementioned or others like the Deba, which has 60 seats.

Without other options in sight, next summer the capital of Guipuzcoa will not have a Hospital of pilgrims, as they call this type of hostels that are exclusive for pilgrims and in which the traditional hospital work is carried out, with a volunteer who It welcomes those who come to the shelter and where only "the will" is asked with which, as they say, they will "attend to the Pilgrim of Tomorrow". To sleep in this type of shelter, which usually remain open from 15.00/16.00 to 22.00 hours, you have to present the Pilgrim's credentials.

This document, which is stamped and dated in the places where it is passed, allows to accredit the pilgrim who is making the route and also gives him the right to spend the night in the exclusive hostels for them. Getting it is easy, as it is given to those who ask for it in the associations, so anyone can get it. And with it, make the way.

The problem is that whoever carries the credential ("In the end is useless," says Imaz) is more interested in sightseeing than completing the route Xacobea and for this takes advantage of the infrastructure that associations such as Gipuzkoa offer From the goodwill to enjoy a price-drawn holiday.

"Only three out of ten people who sleep in the hostel-Donostia-Leave a donation," he says. In the capital of Guipuzcoa, the donation comes out to an average of 3 or 4 euros per person. In smaller hostels, however, like the one of Pasai Donibane, with its 14 squares, or in routes much less crowded, like that of the interior-that crosses the cave of San Adrián-, where in a hostel like that of Beasain overnight 300 people per year, the donation is usually may Or, also because the reception is different, more intimate, "he explains. And Apostille: "But of course, Beasain has no beach", so whoever opts for this route seeks, perhaps, the most authentic and solitary path.

Four robberies among so many people, besides, he sneaks around. So far this year there have been four burglaries, one in Irun, where they were made with eleven phones of the people who were staying and about 1,000 euros-according to calculate-;d os in the private hostel of Getaria, where in total they took about twelve mobile and 4,000 euros; and a CUA RTO stealing clothes and food in Zumaia. "They had taken from the fridge to the insulin of a pilgrim," recalls Imaz

But it is in Donostia where, in general, the situation has come to pass and they have finished, confesses Imaz, "Hartísimos" by the attitude of those who seek free accomodation and, in addition, "demand". "They come down from the twelve tribes-community of Ulia that also offers to spend the night with the Walkers-, which is to kilometer and a half, and at nine thirty in the morning they were planted at the door of Claret. When the priests passed, they asked for explanations as to why they did not open, "he reproves. Demands that were accompanied by insults and disrespect.

From 2006 to 2015, volunteers from the Friends of the Road Association offered summer accommodation in the facilities of Jakintza Ikastola, in the old. And from 2016 they moved to the old Mariaren Bihotza, in Gros.

Over the years the influx of tourists, instead of pilgrims, has gone to more. And the rude and sometimes challenging attitude of these people has made that in 2017 five of the hosts who used to cover the summer shifts in Donostia refused to do so and others did the same the following year. "It's embarrassing" what some of these people do, says Imaz.

Members of the Association of Gipuzkoa who perform these voluntary shifts of ten days as hosts are about 70, to which we must add another 60 that come from outside to cover the 130 turns necessary to manage the hostels of Irun, Pasai Donibane, Donostia , Zarautz (the latter two only in summer), Zumaia, Deba, Andoain and Beasain.

The average age of the hosts, in general, is high. "In Donostia was in 76 years." And although Imaz comes to say with some anger that these hostels "no longer have reason to be because what they receive are only tourists", continue and continue at the foot of the canyon developing a work that is indeed unpayable, but in a way still filling them. However, the president believes that the future is in professionalization, in private initiative, "because the situation is not going to go better." "At the end of the day, what comes to us is also a reflection of what is in society," he reflects.

Thanks to Claret
 

H Richards

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017 Francés, Le Puy / Francés (parts), 2018 Norte (Biarritz), Francés, 2019 Portuguese (Lisbon)
Can't help thinking this problem of fake pilgrims could be fixed with a little more discrimination. They must be able to recognise these tourigrinos or there couldn't be an article complaining about them. What if they only allowed pilgrims who'd already got one stamp in their credencial? So you wouldn't be able to start you camino at that albergue, but it would week out most of the fakers.
 

Raggy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
Can't help thinking this problem of fake pilgrims could be fixed with a little more discrimination. What if they only allowed pilgrims who'd already got one stamp in their credencial? So you wouldn't be able to start you camino at that albergue, but it would week out most of the fakers.
It's tempting to think that there must be a way to weed out fakers. I think that a "minimum number of stamps" rule would deny accommodation to legitimate pilgrims who want to start their pilgrimage in San Sebastian. And I don't know how effective it would be at deterring deliberate fakers. I expect that word would quickly spread among them about how to get the requisite number of stamps in one's credencial. As it is, the article mentions tourists arriving at 09:00 AM from the nearest accommodation - just a couple of km away - and getting shirty about the fact that the Donostia albergue is off limits at that time.
I wonder if the albergue could weed out fakers by requiring people to do some chores in exchange for their stay. I imagine that the prospect of doing some cleaning might put off some fakers. But it might put off some pilgrims too. It really is a challenge to come up with a solution. I think the best outcome may be for the private sector to take care of accommodation in San Sebastian, and for the volunteers to support pilgrims elsewhere.
 
Last edited:

Pilger99

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
addicted since 1999 (Aragones, CF), lots of caminos in Spain and Portugal since then
The youth hostel 2km before Donostias city limit permits a very short stage at this day, but I wonder why these "pilgrims" hadn't been pushed to walk at least to the other end of town (=next youth hostel).

Tracking or identifying turigrinos/pseudogrinos and declining them the use of the albergue is not too easy.
Obviously to avoid abuse anyone showing up at 9am need to be declined even at 9pm. But who will do the control? The 4pm opening does not seem effective enough.
If they have a stamp from the last youth hostel they should stay somewhere else. OK, sounds doable. But we also have good public transport in this area which anyone can use to cheat.
For the donativo or payment there is no effective solution. If you rely on honesty you can't steer that anybody pays something. If you have the box at the reception and a price tag, nobody will donate some extra money later because of good treatment. If you force people to "pay" at entrance they also feel they have the right to use everything without saying thanks again (all-included mentality).
There also something else that really needs to considered, Hospitaleros in their high seventies will have a totally different mindset and way of life than pilgrims half (third) their age. That can also result in little conflicts that sum up. The every day routine and continuous bad experience easily washes away the good sides (I heard that you need five good experiences to get over one bad experience).
 

Raggy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
Thanks for the thought provoking post, Pilger.
I agree with your perspective on the weight of good vs. bad experiences. In any albergue there are bound to be some guests who abuse the volunteer's hospitality. A volunteer might be able to ride out those negative experiences if they feel appreciated by an overwhelming majority of people who stay. But when the balance shifts toward more negative experiences, it's bound to wear them out.
With regard to age difference - I think pilgrims see the hospitalero, not the wrinkles. Young pilgrims can have a great relationship with a hospitalero who is three times their age because they can appreciate what the hospitalero is doing for the camino. But a freeloader who is only thinking about a cheap holiday has a different mindset.
 

H Richards

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017 Francés, Le Puy / Francés (parts), 2018 Norte (Biarritz), Francés, 2019 Portuguese (Lisbon)
If they have a stamp from the last youth hostel they should stay somewhere else. OK, sounds doable. But we also have good public transport in this area which anyone can use to cheat.
The stamps are dated though, so this would give it away if someone had done this the same day. The idea is that if they're going to cheat, the least they have to do is invest the previous day at an albergue, either Irun or Pasajes.

I appreciate that the volunteer hospitaleros might not want to be signing up for continual conflict, and that for many of them it might be quite exhausting. I think however this would be a temporary thing. It's only for as long as the donotivo albergues have a reputation of being easily exploitable that people will try and exploit them.

Controversially, I'm going to say, the worst single group of people I have seen treating the albergues as a discount accommodation for tourism has been the groups of cyclists, who come in as groups of four or so men (always men!) from neighbouring countries, dressed head to toe in their spandexy high-tech fabrics. A typical group, such as I saw in Burgos municipal, only had interest in socialising among themselves, were mocking some Japanese foot pilgrims for their appearance, complaining about the lack of wi-fi, and being loud and inconsiderate at night-time. They clearly were treating the camino like it was a discount party holiday.

I'm not saying that all cyclists behave this badly or haven't started on their caminos in a spirit of spiritual enquiry, but I am prepared to say that the majority of those treating the albergues like a tourist would - that I have seen - have been in cycle-groups. That's like saying not all fish are sharks, but all sharks are fish, if you get the one-directional logic here.

With that said, making the cyclists wait until all the pedestrians have got a place seems to make good sense in helping reduce abuse.
 
Last edited:

Raggy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
Controversially, I'm going to say, the worst single group of people I have seen treating the albergues as a discount accommodation for tourism has been the groups of cyclists
This thread is about the difficulty / impossibility of running a donativo albergue in a touristic spot - specifically Donostia San Sebastian. The behavior of cyclists is a total red herring. Could you start a new thread if you want to exchange views on cyclists?
 

H Richards

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017 Francés, Le Puy / Francés (parts), 2018 Norte (Biarritz), Francés, 2019 Portuguese (Lisbon)
This thread is about the difficulty / impossibility of running a donativo albergue in a touristic spot. Please could you start a new thread if you want to exchange views on cyclists?
I think the comments are on-topic. The article talks about tourists taking places from pilgrims. Many of these tourists are cyclists, particularly on the Camino Frances. I've seen this with my own eyes.

To be clear, I'm not talking about any cyclists likely to be registered on this forum, as they almost certainly are more interested in the spiritual and cultural aspects of the camino than cheap tourism.
 
Last edited:

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
It's tempting to think that there must be a way to weed out fakers. I think that a "minimum number of stamps" rule would deny accommodation to legitimate pilgrims who want to start their pilgrimage in San Sebastian. And I don't know how effective it would be at deterring deliberate fakers. I expect that word would quickly spread among them about how to get the requisite number of stamps in one's credencial. As it is, the article mentions tourists arriving at 09:00 AM from the nearest accommodation - just a couple of km away - and getting shirty about the fact that the Donostia albergue is off limits at that time.
I wonder if the albergue could weed out fakers by requiring people to do some chores in exchange for their stay. I imagine that the prospect of doing some cleaning might put off some fakers. But it might put off some pilgrims too. It really is a challenge to come up with a solution. I think the best outcome may be for the private sector to take care of accommodation in San Sebastian, and for the volunteers to support pilgrims elsewhere.
I don't know if there is a way to weed out the tourists. Stamps minimums wouldn't work as almost everyone who doesn't start in San Sebastian starts one day sooner in Irun. If someone walked from Irun to San Sebastian there is no way they will be doing chores. That was the hardest walk of any of my caminos.
 

H Richards

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017 Francés, Le Puy / Francés (parts), 2018 Norte (Biarritz), Francés, 2019 Portuguese (Lisbon)
I don't know if there is a way to weed out the tourists. Stamps minimums wouldn't work as almost everyone who doesn't start in San Sebastian starts one day sooner in Irun. If someone walked from Irun to San Sebastian there is no way they will be doing chores. That was the hardest walk of any of my caminos.
Starting in Irun is already a whole lot more hassle than just arriving in San Sebastian by bus and expecting a bed waiting for you. It should weed out those casual fake pilgrims who have just read online that all you have to do is arrive and ask for a "credencial".

Every way of policing this is going to be imperfect, but with enough barriers to casual abuse put in place, you can greatly reduce its attractiveness.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
I just finished walking Seville to Salamanca and a few missed segments of the Portuguese. I guess these posts really make me sad. I am spiritual but not religious and it just pains me to think about people who take advantage of situations. To save a few Euros, they destroy the very thing they envy.
 

Helen1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
San Sebastian is an awesome place, it gets really busy and it attracts a young crowd who probably can't afford the accommodation on offer (some of the hostel accomodation was 40+E for a bunk in a dorm when I went). Anyone offering cheap accommodation is going to be inundated. I like the idea of chores but I suspect many would be more than happy to do chores in return for a cheap place to stay (plus they can instagram the experience)! Probably the best place to tackle this is in the travel guides with a note saying it's not ok. Locking everyone in at 9.30pm might work but I should imagine that would just cause even more friction. I would hate to be a hospitalero and have to make a judgement call on who stays and who goes - especially in a place which will be near the start of many people's caminos and they won't have picked up the 'camino look' yet.

Second hand info but I was told the Santa Clara Convent in Coimbra has a similar problem and is particularly popular with motorcyclists who have different hours to walking pilgrims (no idea if Santa Clara is meant to be just for pilgrims). I don't think pilgrim style accommodation in a busy tourist town is ever going to be easy.
 

Jim

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006- Camino Portuguese
2008- Camino Frances
2009- Sanabres extension of the VDLP
2010- Camino Frances
2011- Camino Potuguese
2014- Camino Frances
2017- Camino Finisterre
I served twice as a hospitalero ( 8 and 10 years ago). I try to find the good in any situation and in everyone even if they are not really Pilgrims. Even then, I could see all of this coming. Sportsmen in their 20s acting like this is their “entitled” vacation, festival in town and couple showing up at the door in high heels trying to claim that they are pilgrims, and my favorite— an American couple on bikes asking to spend multiple nights to rest up from their biking journey which wasn’t even on the Camino route— their agenda just happened to intersect the Camino at one particular major city.
Thefts: most of the blankets disappeared when one pilgrim was let in by another legitimate pilgrim who felt sorry for him. So one could conclude that he was homeless and threw blankets out the windows which were left wide open. He was the last one out and likely retrieved them to his own use. Serious problems exist in the Spain and the world in general but the albergue system was not set up to cure some of these social problems. More than one pilgrim told me they didn’t like sleeping with one eye open.
Donativos are another issue—so many who don’t contribute at all is rather disturbing. And while I think that people who have entirely secular motives for doing a Camino, the increase in what I’d call abuse is shocking— ridicule of those who have religious motives, the graffiti mocking Christianity. It think it’s fine to have personal beliefs along non-religious lines, but why mock the ones who have some personal issues or spiritual healing to resolve while walking! I could go into further detail but really not necessary.
 

Walking Lover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
I came across this article from the Noticias De Gipuzkoa (a local news site for the Donostia-San Sebastian region). If I understand correctly, the local association won't continue to offer pilgrim accommodation in the building provided by Claret Ikastola:
https://m.noticiasdegipuzkoa.eus/2019/05/24/sociedad/en-los-albergues-estamos-atendiendo-a-un-turismo-barato?fbclid=IwAR1cMGc9eBUsawL23JwcKz5axf7gNONFp7uD0nFayqKe6XpbN54Aauzvfrg#Loleido

A deteriorating set of circumstances since 2016 makes it impossible for the local Camino association to recruit volunteer hospitaleros:
  • Albergues close to beaches attract tourists who masquerade as pilgrims to get a cheap beach holiday
  • Websites / social media are promoting a systematic abuse of the albergue network
  • Hospitaleros feel disenchanted because they didn't volunteer to serve "pseudo-pilgrims"
  • Donativos in touristic areas receive pitifully small donations. (Only one third of guests leave any donation)
  • In addition to being freeloaders, the pseudo-pilgrims are demanding and ill-mannered
  • There have been multiple thefts from albergues
My husband is on the Norte now and is finding accommodations to be difficult to find open.
 

Raggy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
My husband is on the Norte now and is finding accommodations to be difficult to find open.
Sorry to hear that. I would have expected this time of year to be ideal. I hope his luck improves as he progresses.
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
What a sad news and a sad story. However I do believe it, I don't recognise it. I stayed there in the summer of 2017. Because they open late, I have been standing in line for about 1,5 hours. If I recall well I recognised almost all other pilgrims in the same line from the road.

When the doors went open everyone paid 5 euros. The facilities there were perfect, but basic. It was a kind of sports hall, with open showers and dressing rooms. I don't recall any misbehaviour or complaints.

I know about the turigrino problem on the coast, but it is hard to imagine how attractive a simple albergue is where you can't enter before 4pm, the lights go out at 10pm and you have to leave before 8am.

Besides, where does the definition of peregrino ends and that of turigrino begins?
 
Last edited:

Nick B

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances - May/June 2018
Portugese - (2019)
Norte - (2020)
Change the donativo to 10 Euro charge, that eliminates the free loaders but not necessarily non- Pilgrims.
 

Book your lodging here

Get e-mail updates from Casa Ivar (Forum + Forum Store content)




Advertisement

Booking.com

Latest posts

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 15 1.4%
  • February

    Votes: 5 0.5%
  • March

    Votes: 41 3.9%
  • April

    Votes: 158 15.2%
  • May

    Votes: 259 25.0%
  • June

    Votes: 80 7.7%
  • July

    Votes: 21 2.0%
  • August

    Votes: 20 1.9%
  • September

    Votes: 298 28.7%
  • October

    Votes: 124 11.9%
  • November

    Votes: 12 1.2%
  • December

    Votes: 5 0.5%
Top