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Winter walking

Camino(s) past & future
Cycled from Scotland,walked Francias, walked V.D.L.P, winter on Francais, stroll on Englaise
I begin walking the Francais in two weeks, begining at Roncevalles.
Can anybody advise me where I can find, in advance, which albergues are open at this time of year.
Hi Dael

I'll e mail you separately on this - as you know I'm just back...talking to the few other pigrims around there are albergues open all the way - many closed too but all should be well with some advance planning.
I was just wondering, how many hours of daylight are there now in Northern Spain?
Here, in Northern Ireland, it doesn't get light until after 8 and it's dark again about 5.
About albergues, the best is to ask where you are sleeping for the next you will find, which are opened and which not.

About daylight, I've walked two Caminos in February and darkness arrives at 18:30 on the west part of Spain At the east part arrives earlier, may be 20 min. earlier.

These hours are earlier in January.

Buen Camino,

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain


Active Member
I walked in November and also found the best way of finding which albergues were open was to ask the hospitaleros in the one I was staying. I never had a problem and the albergues were much better heated than I was expecting. The only problem to consider is how to dry washing. Some albergues have tumble dryers so make use of them when you find them. In the summer it is easy to wash socks and dry them overnight but not so in winter so you might want to consider fast drying options and an extra pair or two. In my opinion, clean dry socks are essential to keep feet in good condition and happy feet make the walking SO much easier.

Buen Camino!
Camino(s) past & future
Cycled from Scotland,walked Francias, walked V.D.L.P, winter on Francais, stroll on Englaise
Hi - thanks for all the input and advice. I'm at the nervous stage just now, wondering if I have taken on to much but I'm sure that will change in the next couple of days.
Drying clothes in winter is always a consideration. I've found that some hospitaleros are really switched on to this. The other alternative is to book into the occassional hostal or hotel and catch up with the washing and drying.

Good luck with the great adventure Dael - we'll all be thinking about you.

Buen Camino
I walked from León to Santiago leaving on 20 December and arriving on 30 December. You may find the following helpful.

León - The monastario Sta Clara will be open. If there is a problem go to the Hospedaria one door to the left and they'll re-direct you with map to the municipal albergue.
Virgen del Camino - I didn't stay the night, but the bar/albergue Tio Pepe near the church was open.
Hospital de Orbiga - You will arrive in February and it is the turn of the German albergue perroquial just after the church to be open. They run a rota - The private San Miguel open in November, the municipal in Dec & Jan, and the German one in Feb.
Astorga - Didn't stop but was told by people who stopped there one was open. Can't help with which one!
Sta Catalina - Both bars were open, and I think they have rooms, but I continued on to...
Rabanal - The refuge Pilar (on the main tarmac road, not the cobbled (?) road through the village. Nice and warm!! Eat at the meson by the church.
Foncebadon - The private one on the right was open, but we just stopped for Cola Cao!
Manjarin - open of course!
El Acebo - The bar/albergue on the left where we stopped for a bocadillo at on the left was closing from the next day (23 December) until late January
Molinaseca - When I arrived and rang (about 6pm) I was told it was shut, no water! Talking later to people, it may well have been he didn't want to come out to open it up at that time as it should have been open. Apparently, he also owns the private refuge in Molinaseca (also shut). So I walked on, by the main road, to...
Ponferrada - open, warm
Villafrance - Ave Fenix. Open, but with the showers being semi-outside and having a slate floor, it was COOOOLD!
Pereje - I didn't stay there but met people who had. No heating, key from bar.
La Faba - Open, only stopped for a tea. Nice fire inside!!
O Cebreiro - Open (Christmas Eve) Wonderful time, communal meal between about 15 pilgrims. Warm
Fonfria - closed until March
Calvor - I went via Samos, but I spoke to pilgrims who stayed here.
Samos - Open, but no heating
Ferreiros - Open, heating & dryer - but you must not use them at the same time ! Your choice !!
Portomarin - Open, but I didn't stay there.
Gonzar - open - I was having a break outside, and someone even came and asked if I wanted to stop there. I was carrying on.
Eirexe - closed for renovations
Palas de Rei - Both municipal open - the new one on the right before the town, and for me, the much nicer and atmospheric one in the town centre. Interesting showers!! (You'll see)
Melide - I didn't stop there but others did. They all said it was filthy.
Ribadiso - open, warm, kitchen, restaurant & bar closed, outside showers, but I continued to...
Arzua - Very atmospheric again, nicely equipped
Arca/Pedrouzo - open, but didn't stop there
Lavacolla - I stayed in the hostal San Paio, EUR25, nice. No albergue in Lavacolla
Santiago - Small hostel again. Sorry, Can't remember name. Other pilgrims directed me.

Drying clothes - Even in full sun, they don't dry on the back of your rucksack. If you can get one of those twisted clothes lines with a hook on either end, you can position your clothes over any heaters in the albergues. As there will not be too many people until after Sarria (!), you can generally arrange things as you wish.

I found the cold gave me problems only on getting out of the shower, with cold tile/shale or whatever floor at this time of year. I learnt to dry myself fully in the shower, and put my evening shoes on before exiting. I put socks on when sitting on the bed to keep my feet off the cold floor. It was surprising how long it took for my feet to heat up again until I sussed things. (shoes may be a mis-description, I found some cheap Croc-type shoes, only 250grams, GBP5/EUR7, nearly 400g lighter than the sandals I take in summer)

Don't get worried in advance. Make sure you have the right clothing, take any advice of locals regarding weather, and enjoy yourself. You'll see everything will fall into place and you'll have a wonderful time



Active Member
Hi Dael

Dont be nervous! I dont know if you are walking alone or not but no-one is really alone unless they choose to be. You will be surprised how quickly you fall into the camino routine and you are sure to meet some really interesting people, all of whom are in the the same boat as you. Whatever weather conditions, accomodation choices etc you face you always have someone with whom to discuss the options.

I am returning to the camino in May and am getting excited already. Cant wait.

PS. I am a Scot too but there was no option to select a saltire in the profile bit! Several locals said I was the first Scot they had met walking the camino but I know that there was at least one other when I was there last year - I suppose, as often happens, people assume you are English if you come from the UK.
Camino(s) past & future
Cycled from Scotland,walked Francias, walked V.D.L.P, winter on Francais, stroll on Englaise
Thanks to everyone who has sent me messages of encouragement. I hope to be attending the Pilgrim Mass in Roncevalles on Monday 28th and will take time to reflect on all the kindness in the world. All to often we hear of the negative side of things. This virtual world, run by Ivar, is the opposite side of the coin amd carries the ethos of the Camino into our everyday lives.
Yours Aye
Camino(s) past & future
Cycled from Scotland,walked Francias, walked V.D.L.P, winter on Francais, stroll on Englaise
I knew there was something/somebody that I had missed.
We, who go to Santiago are dependant,mentally, on those that we leave at home. I am fortunate that my wife has cycled with me to Santiago. She has been "there". She has seen what I am going enjoy/hate during the next weeks as I walk.
How many of us who dream, plan, walk, and finally do it, forget to acknowledge the significant others who remain at home.
Thanks to you all
Yours Aye


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
Buen Camino, Dael!
As you will be asked many times during your Camino, please do pray for all of us who are not on the Way at this time. Remember us when you reach Santiago. Meanwhile you will hopefully be able to post occasionally as you find a computer along the route.
Since I walked in summer, it is hard for me to imagine the Camino in snow, but I've been told (and seen some photos) that it is beautiful. Enjoy every moment!
¡Que Santiago te bendiga!
Camino(s) past & future
Cycled from Scotland,walked Francias, walked V.D.L.P, winter on Francais, stroll on Englaise
Hi all from Portomarin,
I am sorry that I haven´t been able to post before. The terminals I have tried to use have been either been in use or jammed up with rubbish so very slow.
The journey so far has been blessed with good weather, I have worn my rain jacket 6 times. The local folk however want rain and lots of it. The availibility of beds has varied but the number of pilgrims moving along the route has surprised me. One experienced man who walks every year at this time told me that he has never seen so many of us, normally he expects to meet 1 pilgrim per day. I am in a bubble of 6 which is comfortable.
I shouldn`t really be surprised, given my age, but the way has been hard at times, plus I ate something which gave me a really nasty tummy bug which laid me up up couple of days. Fine now but looking forward to being home with my wife and family - its been a long time without them.
Santiago in 4 days.
Yours Aye


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
¡Animo, Dael!

You're nearly there! Portomarín, Palas del Rei, Arzua, Monte de Gozo, Santiago! The most arduous part is behind you! May you continue to have fair weather, the drought in Spain notwithstanding. There is plenty of time to post when you arrive at home. Ultreia.
Buen Camino,

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