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Sarria - no room at the inn, at any inn, after 3:30pm

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sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#1
This is from a pilgrim's blog today:

After forever, we made it to Sarria and began the 3:30 hunt for albergues. We found them.
And they were all full. And the hospitaleros were, again, NO help. I wanted to throttle them.
Christa went to find a hotel room. She´s found a quad for €75, which is great as long as we can find two other homeless pilgrims to split the cost. Shouldn´t be a problem. I have to go soon to find the Hotel Roma. But at least we have a roof for tonight.

The Camino is no longer a game. Suddenly the road is glutted with people who have just begun, and albergues fill up by 10am. Those left over are left to fend for themselves like dogs fighting for a scrap of meat in a cage. I´ve been warned not to let the final stages of my Camino disintegrate into a mad, pre-dawn dash for beds, but it´s a nerve-wracking thing now, wondering how far you can make it before it´s too late to get a bed. I don´t know how the next few days will play out, so if I don´t post, it´s probably because I´m sleeping under a bridge. Ha ha. I doubt it´ll be that bad, but it won´t be as cheap as it´s been till now."
 

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KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
#2
We arrived in Sarria on June 29, and there was still no problem getting a bed there at that stage, even after 8pm or so. But the track certainly became busier after Sarria... and was so busy the next day as we walked into Portomarin, I even doubted whether I wanted to bother finishing the last few days.... Luckily, after a good night's sleep (in a private albergue, not the hot, cramped municipal one that some others complained bitterly about) I was ready to continue. And it seemed like the stretch into Portomarin was the busiest we encountered anywhere, so maybe it had been worse as it was a Sunday.
However, from Sarria onwards, we noticed that areas had been freshly mowed to make what appeared to be camping areas for the summer crowds. Maybe if you plan to be walking that last 100km stretch in summer you need to carry things to camp with...
Margaret
 
#3
I was in Sarria on June 24th. No problems there for me or my friends. I am glad I did my Camino in June because the only place when albergue(s) were full was in O Cebreiro and I think there were places for piligrims in the church (I am not sure were they slept) It is possible that it happened somewhere else too but I didn't hear any other towns.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#4
A huge new wave of pilgrims started out August 1. If you stop for a day or two it should pass you by.

(worst comes to worst, there´s usually a church porch. Or a bed in the local jail -- I stayed in a cell in 2001, on the road to Finisterre! Cops can be very helpful.)

Reb.
 
#5
Wish I had known that. When in Negreira my son and his friends had to sleep outside. There were tents but they were full, so these 6 had to sleep outside on the front porch, on the patio floor. They were up most of the night due to how cold it was. The hospitalera would not let them sleep on the floor inside, where they would have been warmer. They were charged the same as those in tents and those on the beds inside. I think the jail would have been a better deal and a great addition to their camino tales.
 

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A

AJ

Guest
#6
When I stayed in the albergue at Negreira in May a lot of people had to sleep outside, but there were mattresses for them and it was sheltered from the rain. Only one person complained, but the (female) hospitalero was firm. I think it is an insurance/fire safety issue. Perhaps someone knows for sure?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#7
overcrowding was discussed at the latest gathering of Federacion hospitaleros, and that hospitalera was probably there. The issue came up after a hospitalero in Astorga was cited by Junta officials for violating the occupancy limits established for the building. The fine was something like 200€ , and the volunteer hospitalero was stuck in a bad situation -- put pilgs on the street, or chance being personally fined by letting them sleep inside? Regulations are even more strict in Galicia these days, as bureaucrats have pretty much taken over there.

Minimal Insurance cover exists for volunteer Federation hospitaleros, but only if all the rules are scrupulously followed. If someone falls out of his bunk in an overcrowded albergue, who is responsible? I´m not even going to think about fire breaking out in some of those places...

Rebekah
 
#8
I finished the Camino in late July and did not find a full albergue until Barbadelo. There was a privee albergue there with room although at least 2 other pilgrims were not informed of it and went on. I also learned the next day that in Galacia the private albergues will take reservations. We made one in Ventas de Naron for the following night (actually the owner of the bar in Morgade said all along the Camino was full the night before and she suggested we make reservations- and actually did it for us). As luck would have it, we were the only ones in the albergue that night. It is incredible to me how one night the albergues are overflowing and the next way below capacity! Also made reservations at the private albergue in Santa Irene and it was excellent.
 

Trudy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2006) Roncesvalles to Leon (2007) Leon to Compostela
#9
Making a reservation in Sarria is a very good idea. There are several private albergues, and all take resrvations, just ring the night before you're due to arrive. The CSJ guide has phone numbers.

On the entire Camino I think there are just two spots, Zubiri and Sarria, where it's difficult to get beds unless you arrive early, or book ahead. I've been through Zubiri three times, twice I just managed to get a bed in the private albergue. But last year, despite arriving at 1pm, everything was taken including the hotel and hostals because all beds have been reserved ahead by pilgrims. I got the last bed in the Municipal Albergue - the one place I didn't want to stay! On approaching Sarria I rang a private albergue and was lucky to be given the only single bed in a private area while everyone else fought over bunks.

Private albergues might be a little pricey compared with the Municipal ones, but sometimes the benefits outweigh the cost.
 

alipilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2005), Frances (2007), Madrid/Frances (2011), 1/2 VdP (2012),
#10
I think that it is prudent for all pilgrims to build a safety into their budgets to allow for a couple of nights in a proper hotel, if they are in fact turned away from an albergue. There are often hotels in the same town that have accommodation available, and being able to afford to stay in one would save walking many extra kilometers to the next albergue. It might take some effort for some pilgrims to 'get their head around' staying in "non-pilgrim" housing, but it is a valid alternative.
 
#11
Rebekah Scott said:
overcrowding was discussed at the latest gathering of Federacion hospitaleros, and that hospitalera was probably there. The issue came up after a hospitalero in Astorga was cited by Junta officials for violating the occupancy limits established for the building. The fine was something like 200€ , and the volunteer hospitalero was stuck in a bad situation -- put pilgs on the street, or chance being personally fined by letting them sleep inside? Regulations are even more strict in Galicia these days, as bureaucrats have pretty much taken over there.

Minimal Insurance cover exists for volunteer Federation hospitaleros, but only if all the rules are scrupulously followed. If someone falls out of his bunk in an overcrowded albergue, who is responsible? I´m not even going to think about fire breaking out in some of those places...

Rebekah
Rebekah: I arrived in Santiago at the beginning of June (started from Pamplona on May 1). Stayed in several albergues, but mostly in Hotels, pensions, CR. I was surprised at the lax safety standards in many of the albergues and the apparent practice of hospitaleros locking the door at 10:00 pm or so. Maybe most hospitaleros are aware of the precautions, have doors that open outwards and don't have to be unlocked, have sprinkler systems etc. Perhaps I didn't look carefully enough to see these things. At least in the monitoring of safety standards, particularly in the prevention and control of fire, perhaps the bureaucrats might have a useful function. Gerry.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#12
I try not to confuse bureaucrats with safety officials, and I am one of the hospitaleros who stick with the occupancy rules... not just because of safety, but because I can only handle a certain number of pilgrims!

Spain is NOT a safety-conscious place. There´s a notable absence of lighted exits, handrails, safety belts, etc. Some of it is laziness, some of it is relying on people to take care of themselves and be responsible for their own actions. I think it´s also because everyone in Spain hasn´t gone insane filing lawsuits when accidents do happen -- an accident is an accident, not a lottery ticket.

After volunteering at the Madres Benedictinas hostel in Sahagun I gave the lock-up-the-pilgrims rule a lot of thought. Maybe because it´s a convent, we had bars on all the windows, and we didn´t just lock the exit doors, we barred them and padlocked the bar! Sister Anuncia said it was to keep bad people OUT, and not a lot of thought was given to getting people out in case of emergency. It was assumed everyone would escape into the inner courtyards, I guess.

This has to date back to the days when every household was a walled compound designed to ward off thieves and attackers. Now the big headache is the pilgs who insist on leaving at 4 a.m., or those who want to stay out late and creep inside at 1 a.m., or the ones who want to wander in and out to have late-night smokes or drinks.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#13
Rebekah Scott said:
I am one of the hospitaleros who stick with the occupancy rules... not just because of safety, but because I can only handle a certain number of pilgrims!
And I certainly appreciate that attitude, Rebekah, after the experience in the albergue municipal in Finisterre. The hospitalera told us all the gate would be left open after midnight, so pilgrims could return any time they wanted. The time one group wanted was two o'clock in the morning, as a loud returning group of revellers from a late bar in Finisterre, together with a whole bunch of their friends who had been unsuccessful in getting access to the albergue when it was still staffed earlier.

Despite the protests from several pilgrims woken in the night by this bunch of tourists (yes, I do not call them pilgrims - and moan as much as you want the Forum members who say "everyone's a pilgrim"... In fact I'll call them pirates), the noise did not come to an end until the local police arrived. They were aware that the place was supposed to be quiet at night and called to see what the fuss was about; and eventually they established who was supposed to be staying and who wasn't, and after taking an hour to sort out the drunks and throw a dozen people out, we were able to get back to sleep again. (Or at least get back to fighting the bedbugs in peace.)

So there you have it: this was all as a consequence of the door being left open. As it happens, on the issue of health & safety, the Xunta de Galicia is just as manic as any other local government agency in sticking up safety posters everywhere (even in the forest!), but rough and ready adventurers and pilgrims are expected to be able to look after themselves to some extent. I think that's wise. The albergues are not meant to be the Ritz; that's why they only cost three Euros a night.

Gareth
 
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