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What's changed?

steve392

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, 2016
Fisterra, 2018
2025 upcoming
Hey all.
I haven't been on the forum for quite sometime (years probably).
I walked the Camino Frances in 2016 and to say it was life changing for me is an understatement. On day 3, at the café at Zuriain, I met the love of my life, Alex. 3 years later I moved to Melbourne, Australia from the UK and we were married.
I had always planned on going back and walking the Camino again in the manner in which I originally intended, on my own. So next year is the time to do it.
Therefore I have a few questions to try and bring myself up to speed.
Firstly, Pope Francis has declared 2025 to be a year of Jubilee and the theme is Pilgrims of hope. Will the cathedral in Santiago follow suit and declare a holy year? I'm wondering if numbers will rise on the Camino if this is the case and am I correct with this?
Secondly, a budget question. Has prices on the Camino for Albergues, food etc increased since 2016? Common sense would say yes, but I was wondering what the average daily budget everyone is using is.
Thirdly, with the Camino Frances becoming more popular, has it become more of a bed race everyday?
Fourth, what's the dreaded bed bug situation and how have people addressed the potential problem? Is there a better beg bug sheet available? The one I took in 2016 was useless.
That should be enough to be going on with, I'll maybe add more as we go.
Thanks in advance.
Steve.
 
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Firstly, Pope Francis has declared 2025 to be a year of Jubilee and the theme is Pilgrims of hope. Will the cathedral in Santiago follow suit and declare a holy year? I'm wondering if numbers will rise on the Camino if this is the case and am I correct with this?
Roman Jubilee years occur every 25 years, and they are unrelated to either this or that Pope or with other Jubilees or Holy Years in other Sanctuaries. It is not a universal Jubilee year as the Year of Mercy was, it's just the normal Roman Jubilee -- though Roman Jubilees do have some universality in some religious aspects.

The Holy Door of Saint Peter's in Rome will be open but not the Holy door of Saint James in Santiago.

So no, it will not be a Santiago Holy Year, the next one of which will be in 2027. In that year, the Holy Door of Saint James in Santiago will be open but not the Holy door of Saint Peter's in Rome.

As to numbers, overall they have generally been rising again year-to-year, although this varies from one Camino Way to the next.

They are rising on the VDLP and significantly on the Português ; and whilst numbers are actually falling somewhat on the Francès generally, they continue to grow on the particular Sarria to Santiago portion of it.
 
Pretty sure the answer to question 2 is heck yeah. Last year, the going rate at private albergues on the Primitivo was a minimum 15 euro. I think that some claim that they can travel and eat under 40-50 euro/day, but my impression was that those people stayed only in municipals and ate only from tiendas/mercados.

3 is, as always, hotly debated. If you choose to travel the Sarria to Santiago stages on stage, and try for the Xunta albergues on stage between June and September, then yes, you may experience more crowds. If, on the other hand, you stay off stage, make bed arrangements 1-2 days in advance, and travel slower/later in the day, then your only crowds will be at the on stage cafés. My Camino buddies and I proved this from Melide to Santiago in late September 2023...the early rising Xunta racers sent pics of crowds on the Way, while those of us with reservations (occasionally hard to get) and slow paces often walked alone, or with 1-2 others in sight. YMMV.

I'd suggest searching the boards about #4. I managed to avoid them both times (Sarria to Santiago and the Primitivo), but others have complained recently of bedbugs in Tricastela. I will note that there is *no* sheet nor essential oil that will protect you. If you choose to pretreat *all* your gear with permethrin, you won't prevent bedbugs from biting, but they will die on the way to the next location.

Buen Camino
 
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I will start with question #2.
I think it depends on your personal budget and type of lodging. If you cook for yourself frequently and are fine with albergue beds, you can manage with 25 to 35 euros per day average. If you are shipping a bag and staying in private rooms it will be quite a bit more.

QUESTION 3 I think this depends on the timing. In busy seasons of the summer, it may be more difficult to find a bed, especially in "stage" towns. I volunteer each year in donativo albergues and we are frequently not full despite the concern about a bed race. There seems to be a trend to reserve a bed although not all beds in every community are reservable. Staying in towns in between stages can help with this.

Bed bugs: they are a thing. Learn the signs and also learn what to do if you encounter them. In 7 caminos, I have encountered them once. As a hospitalera at 5 albergues, I monitored for them and took preventative measures daily.
 
@steve392 , #1 has been answered in full!
#2 is somewhat variable as you'll see from the two posts above. Yes some people do survive on €25 to €35, there are multiple posts on here attributing to that.

Astonishingly the Frances still has a few municipal Albergues that are just €8- euros a day. Most are more and the private seem to vary between 15 and 25. Pilgrims menus typically 12 to 15 euros. Then you've got breakfast, snacks and/or lunch.

So to answer your question, the average seems to be a budget of 50 euros a day, it's up to you how much under you manage to get. ( Self catering etc).

Questions 3 and 4 have also been thoroughly answered! And I'm sure that over the course of the next few months these topics will come up again and again and again. So you'll have plenty of up-to-date information!

A question for you: why the Frances again - you've already done it. Why not try the Norte?
 
A question for you: why the Frances again - you've already done it. Why not try the Norte?

Hey Peter.
As I said in my original post, I always wanted to walk the Frances on my own. Instead I met my wife and walked it with her. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change one second of my first Camino, it led me to the great life I have now. It does, however, feel like unfinished business to me.
I may consider one of the other routes though having said that, but am still leaning towards the Frances. I'm still 18 months away from leaving so you never know.
 
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Between my 2019 and 2022 CF things had become quite a bit more expensive, i'd say around 30-50%. I guess when comparing 2016 to 2025 this number will be quite a bit bigger.

I second the 50€ a day figure for a reasonably relaxed camino. You can, with some effort, get down to 30€ or even below that, but that will involve little to no visits to bars and restaurants as well as always looking for the cheapest accomodation available.

As to the bed race... it really depends. I walked a very busy time in 2022 with lots of fear going around of not getting a bed if one did not have a reservation. I had absolutely zero issues getting beds. Not that i never pre booked, but it was rather the exception than the norm.
 
Concur with the rest above. 2018 to 2022 , around a 25% increase. September time (booked St Jean and Roncesvalles only ) busy but never struggled for a bed when I decided to stop

Flights and trains were more expensive when I was watching the early prices, Eurostar was 20% more but SNCF was only slightly higher.

You know the Frances will be busy May to September at the usual pinch points
 
Pretty sure the answer to question 2 is heck yeah. Last year, the going rate at private albergues on the Primitivo was a minimum 15 euro. I think that some claim that they can travel and eat under 40-50 euro/day, but my impression was that those people stayed only in municipals and ate only from tiendas/mercados.
I did stay in excellent private and municipal or parochial Albergues on my CP last year (cheapest was 8€, max. was 15€). The galician government raised the price per night to 10€.
Most of the time I ate out, 10-15€, in SDC 30€. Breakfast 4-6€ per day in the local caffee bars.

In average I had expenses of 27€ per day.
It is possible to walk a Camino on a budget. The ressources are here, just use them.
 
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It was 2004 the last time I was on the Camino. Completed it again last week. Not a single bed bug bite . No problem finding a place to stay these days with the internet offering easy access to all the available places to stay . The biggest difference for me anyway is it now feels more like a tourist trap and less about a Christian pilgrimage than it did 20 years ago, even after the Pilgrims mass you now exit through a gift shop (. Disney land style) . Back then I don’t recall people getting up at 5 am and if they did they did it quietly unlike now . Noisy people at 5 am was the worst part of the experience now not bed bugs .also on this occasion it seems that the Botafumeiro is not used at ever mass . I saw it twice in 2004 . Things change and for me not always for the better .
 
Astonishingly the Frances still has a few municipal Albergues that are just €8- euros a day. Most are more and the private seem to vary between 15 and 25. Pilgrims menus typically 12 to 15 euros

Between my 2019 and 2022 CF things had become quite a bit more expensive, i'd say around 30-50%. I guess when comparing 2016 to 2025 this number will be quite a bit bigger

Yes, prices have risen quite a bit - especially since 2019.

Back in 2016 I stayed in quite a few €5 albergues. The most expensive one I stayed in was €10.

Pilgrim menus ranged from €8 €10 back then. And even in 2019 a pilgrim menu over €10 was rare.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
I budgeted 25 euros per day/each for my college student group of 12 this winter. We stayed at Xunta albergues (10 euros per night) in Galicia and ate together as a group every night. We only had two pilgrim meals the whole trip (both were 13 euros) and the rest of the time we ordered either racions or each person ordered something off the menu. We actually came in under budget most days. The least expensive night was "pizza" night when we all ordered pizza and shared (that is what they wanted). I got something every morning for breakfast before we set out from the albergue (included coffee con leche, fruit, hard boiled eggs and yogurt) and we cooked lentils and had salad together one evening at the beginning of our 8 day trek. In the winter, there was not much open, so mostly we didn't eat lunch or have coffee during the walk. Some students did have snacks which they purchased independently.

Again, I think it will really depend on where you want to stay and how you plan to feed yourself. It can certainly be done inexpensively if that is how you choose to walk. For college students on a budget that was important. If you want private rooms or beds in private albergues, baggage transfer, and meals at bars and restaurants every day, your budget will be much more. On our first Camino in 2016, my husband and I spend 50 euros per day between the two of us and lived rather well!
 
Roman Jubilee years occur every 25 years, and they are unrelated to either this or that Pope or with other Jubilees or Holy Years in other Sanctuaries. It is not a universal Jubilee year as the Year of Mercy was, it's just the normal Roman Jubilee -- though Roman Jubilees do have some universality in some religious aspects.

The Holy Door of Saint Peter's in Rome will be open but not the Holy door of Saint James in Santiago.

So no, it will not be a Santiago Holy Year, the next one of which will be in 2027. In that year, the Holy Door of Saint James in Santiago will be open but not the Holy door of Saint Peter's in Rome.

As to numbers, overall they have generally been rising again year-to-year, although this varies from one Camino Way to the next.

They are rising on the VDLP and significantly on the Português ; and whilst numbers are actually falling somewhat on the Francès generally, they continue to grow on the particular Sarria to Santiago portion of it.
Thanks for verifying that for me Jabba. I was unsure how it worked so this is good news.
 
Thank you everyone for the replies.
It's as I thought.
#1 - Holy year. All cleared thanks to JabbaPapa.
#2 - Cost. To be expected. Everything goes up in price. Nothing to worry about, just budget accordingly.
#3 - Bed race. Again, plan accordingly and don't stress.
#4 - Bed bugs. Suck it up and deal with it if and when it happens.

On to planning properly now. My Camino starts now. WooHoo.

Cheers guys.
 
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I was last on the camino in 2004. It sums it up to me how its changed when you now exit the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral via a Gift shop......
 
.also on this occasion it seems that the Botafumeiro is not used at ever mass .
The botafumeiro is out of use at the moment for repairs. Unlikely to be back before June at the earliest. And even then it will only be guaranteed to be used on a set number of occasions in the liturgical year unless private funding pays for its use at another mass.
 
It was 2004 the last time I was on the Camino. Completed it again last week. Not a single bed bug bite . No problem finding a place to stay these days with the internet offering easy access to all the available places to stay . The biggest difference for me anyway is it now feels more like a tourist trap and less about a Christian pilgrimage than it did 20 years ago, even after the Pilgrims mass you now exit through a gift shop (. Disney land style) . Back then I don’t recall people getting up at 5 am and if they did they did it quietly unlike now . Noisy people at 5 am was the worst part of the experience now not bed bugs .also on this occasion it seems that the Botafumeiro is not used at ever mass . I saw it twice in 2004 . Things change and for me not always for the better .
I also had a bit of a gap between Caminos: 1989 and then next in 2016. I remember Santiago being filled with souvenir and gift shops in 1989. It didn't bother me. I was actually happy that Santiago presented itself as a destination location. I was happy for all the souvenirs. It helped that while I felt that the commerce catered to all the visitors, I didn't feel taken advantage of. I remember thinking in 2016 that beds were much easier to come by than in 1989. I did get up pretty early in 2016, earlier than in 1989. But that had nothing to do with a bed race and everything to do with walking in July/August rather than March.

It was places like O Cebreiro and Foncebadon that you really see the difference. O Cebreiro is certainly much more touristy now. But it also has much more pilgrims-supporting infrastructure as well. I think for many places, like Foncebadon, the locals would say that the changes are for the better. I remember after my 2016 Camino a conversation in a bar in Madrid with someone who grew up in one of the little villages in the Meseta on the Camino Frances. When he grew up there, there were just a few houses and vans would come by sometimes to sell bread, vegetables, meat, etc. Now there are two albergues, a couple of bars, a restaurant and a grocery store. If it hadn't been for the Camino one wonders how many more generations that village would have survived.

I did miss putting my hand on the centre pillar in the Portico in 2016, though.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Like @David Tallan I have positive memories of the souvenir shops in Santiago around that time - I was a year later in 1990. They did not feel out of place in a major tourist destination like Santiago. The taped gaita music was the soundtrack for the end of my Camino and it still brings back memories very easily. I am less sanguine than David about the enormous growth of pilgrim numbers and infrastructure on the Frances over the years. Something we have often disagreed about. But it is hard to disagree with his argument about the economic benefits the Frances has brought to the smaller communities along its route. For those who have only known Foncebadon or O Cebreiro in recent years the change may be hard to appreciate fully. When I passed through Foncebadon in 1990 the village had one inhabitant and the only occupied building was her house. Every other building had been abandoned and was decaying. There was not a single refugio or hostal between Astorga and Molinaseca. One small bar without rooms in Rabanal. Now Gronze lists 9 albergues or hostals in Foncebadon alone. An extraordinary change. While I often feel that I preferred the quiet, low-key and mostly voluntario Camino of 1990 to the far more commercial situation today I have to recognise that there is a selfish element in that.
 
Like @David Tallan I have positive memories of the souvenir shops in Santiago around that time - I was a year later in 1990. They did not feel out of place in a major tourist destination like Santiago. The taped gaita music was the soundtrack for the end of my Camino and it still brings back memories very easily. I am less sanguine than David about the enormous growth of pilgrim numbers and infrastructure on the Frances over the years. Something we have often disagreed about. But it is hard to disagree with his argument about the economic benefits the Frances has brought to the smaller communities along its route. For those who have only known Foncebadon or O Cebreiro in recent years the change may be hard to appreciate fully. When I passed through Foncebadon in 1990 the village had one inhabitant and the only occupied building was her house. Every other building had been abandoned and was decaying. There was not a single refugio or hostal between Astorga and Molinaseca. One small bar without rooms in Rabanal. Now Gronze lists 9 albergues or hostals in Foncebadon alone. An extraordinary change. While I often feel that I preferred the quiet, low-key and mostly voluntario Camino of 1990 to the far more commercial situation today I have to recognise that there is a selfish element in that.
I think if the Camino today, were like that of 35 or so years ago, the demographics of pilgrims would be very different. We can bemoan the growing commerce, and addition of conveniences (like luggage transport). But there is no question that they make a Camino possible to many people who otherwise would be unable to undertake one. And for those who want an "old style" Camino, and are prepared for the lack of conveniences, no one is forcing you to take advantage of them.
 
I was last on the camino in 2004. It sums it up to me how its changed when you now exit the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral via a Gift shop......
That's one of the two exits. No such thing at the northern exit, just some steps up to the doors, the ones at the far end here :

vuelo-del-botafumeiro-@-sandra-alonso_2520_p.jpg


There are sometimes some street vendors outside, but no gift shops except up the street to the right.
 
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Someone mentioned this morning that they thought the botafumeiro was up and swinging again for Thursday. I am not sure this is true. Does anybody have the scoop?
 
Someone mentioned this morning that they thought the botafumeiro was up and swinging again for Thursday. I am not sure this is true. Does anybody have the scoop?
I was in the cathedral yesterday afternoon. Still no pulley mechanism or rope in the frame that it hangs from. So probably not back in use yet. Possibly by Thursday but I wouldn't hold my breath.
 
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