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Daily Opening times for Refugios

Discussion in 'Albergues - Hostels' started by Oak Hill Walkers, Feb 4, 2010.

  1. Oak Hill Walkers

    Oak Hill Walkers New Member

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    Since we're planning to set our maximum daily mileage to approximately 10 miles, we will be trying to arrive at our accommodation sites early to mid afternoon. In your experience, will the refugios be open to accept our request for bedspaces if we arrive at 13:00 to 15:00? My Brierley guidebook suggests that some of the refugios don't open until approximately 16:00.

    Just trying to structure our siestas. ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2010
  2. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    Re: Daily Opening times for Refugio's

    There are two different types of Albergue.

    The "Official" albergues are "state" owned and tend to open after 2pm and work on a first come, first served basis. Many pilgrims put their pack in the queue outside the door / gate and wander off to grab a bite to eat if they arrive before opening time.

    The private albergues are exactly that. They are licensed by the provincial Government to provide accommodation to pilgrims on the same basis as the official ones, though they usually charge a little more. If you know the telephone number/email address you can usually book a private albergue in advance, and they often do a communal meal, which more ofter than not, is well worth having!!

    All albergues lock the pilgrims in the building at night (except Finisterre!) which is why I suggest that in Burgos, Leon and Santiago you check in to a small cheap hotel (no matter how cheap, it will probably be better than an albergue!!) so you can go out and enjoy the nightlife. :p;):p

    The Spanish go out to eat at 10pm, which is the lock up time at the albergues!! NOT a coincidence!!:cool::cool:
     
  3. mosesmew

    mosesmew New Member

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    What!?Getting locked in sounds scary. What if a fire breaks out/or someone goes nuts,Ugh! Whatever would a pilgrim do?:eek:
     
  4. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    At the age of 60+ I find it a little disconcerting being locked in my bedroom again!!

    Especially, when in July/August, the sun is still out when they chain the doors shut.

    It is said that the locking up is designed to ensure that all pilgrims get a good nights sleep, undisturbed by those wishing to drink till dawn!!

    My own view is that it convieniently clears the streets of scruffy looking pilgrims searching for a cheap meal by the time the Spanish go out for their evening meal.

    When I say chain the doors, I mean exactly that. I refused to stay in the old albergue in the park at Burgos which was made up of 3 single story wooden buildings, with the beds packed in as tight as possible and the windows and doors had steel bars covering the glass. A fire would have done for the 100 pilgrims locked in there in less than 5 minutes.
     
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  5. mosesmew

    mosesmew New Member

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    Hi Covey, my goodness the thought of being locked in is too scary.I really do not know now if I'll even walk this Camino. I have a HUGE fear of being locked in!! OMG!!!!Nancy:(
     
  6. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    Live with it!!

    You will be worrying more by the carnage which used to be your feet, than worrying about the door being locked.

    Peering intently at the soles of your feet is the pilgrims substitute for TV;);)
     
  7. Iwannallama

    Iwannallama New Member

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    Thanks Covey for this info, it is important to me, no cancellations on my part, I'm a very early to bed person, but still good to know.
    Thanks
    Clare
     
  8. calowie

    calowie Active Member

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    Just my 2 cents worth on this subject. In my experience of the Northern, Primitive and Portuguese Caminos we were never been locked in an albergue. The doors were locked from the outside so that nobody could come in after 10, but they doors could be opened from the inside either by turning the doorknob or pressing the bar. The challenge was not forgetting anything in the albergue in the morning as we left, because we would have to wait for someone to open the door to leave, and let us back in!
     
  9. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    I have to say that my experience was more like that of Calowies. Only once do I know of being physically locked in an albergue and that was in a small village between Villafranca and O Cebreiro. Literally, I climbed out the bathroom window, right onto the main street, in order to leave around 6:30 am. A passing pilgrim assisted me with my pack as I manoeuvered through the opening hoping not to knock off any plants an the windowsill. However, most of the time, if the main door wasn't yet unlocked, there was an alternate exit we early risers used. It really wasn't a problem! In my experience, there are a great number of pilgrims who hit the trail very early, before dawn. There's also a lot to be said about the coolness of walking at sunrise not to mention the serenity of the trail at that hour.You won't have any problems. Buen Camino!
     
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  10. Tina-Marie Brownie

    Tina-Marie Brownie Well-Known Member

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    Wily, do you know if in Sept/Oct I will need a headlamp if I want to leave around the same time as you? Thanks in advance
     
  11. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Hi Tina Marie

    While waiting for Wily – I would certainly take a head-torch – It’s an essential piece of kit as apart from packing your kit for your early morning departures, you will require it if you need the toilet in the night + umpteen other occasions.



    I can’t ever recall being locked in a Refugio – I can recall being locked in small hotels a few times though, and this was annoying as it did prevent me starting my Camino as early as I wanted to – And I don’t usually start to walk until after 7 ;-)



    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
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  12. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hi Tina Marie - Yes, take a head light with you. More than likely, it will come in handy. They're small and light weight and don't take up much room. I also found the headlight helpful getting ready in the dark in the albergues. I'd definitely recommend one that also has the possibility of the red light. It's less annoying to your fellow pilgrims when you are packing up early in the morning. On a couple occasions, I did leave before daylight so I definitely needed my headlight then. Buen Camino!
     
  13. James Guest

    James Guest New Member

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  14. Tina-Marie Brownie

    Tina-Marie Brownie Well-Known Member

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    Hi James, thanks for the information. I will find a retailer and go check it out. Really appreciate the information. :)
     
  15. James Guest

    James Guest New Member

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    Tina Marie,

    What I have carried for years when camping or staying in hostels is the Petzl E+lite and a Photon Freedom Micro Flashlight. They both use the same type of battery but I have found that you can get a month or more use out of them. The Photon Freedom Micro Flash Light is a small key ring flash light that I leave attached to a loop on my trousers with a small carabiner. As anyone who has stay anywhere unfamiliar will know you will all ways find a bathroom, bedroom or kitchen that is has a light switch that needs finding. All I do is reach for the Photon Freedom and instant light. The Photon Freedom has press button so the more you press it the more light you get. I have also found it useful for entering a dark bedroom when as I enter the room with it still dangling from my belt loop I turn it on and as I walk across the the room it provides a pool of light around my feet. I then can undress and with my trousers off still providing light till I get in bed then I turn the Photon Freedom off. If I need to get up during the night I do not need to search for a light as it's still attached to my trousers.

    http://www.photonlight.com/led-flashlights/photon-freedom-micro-led-keychain-flashlight/

    http://keychainpockets.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/photon-freedom-review.html

    http://www.backpacking.net/photon-review.html

    Review for Petzl E+Lite

    http://m.outdoorgearlab.com/Headlamp-Reviews/Petzl-E-PlusLITE

    http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=4991

    The type of carabiner I use

    http://www.niteize.com/product/S-Biner-Plastic.asp

    The advantage of the S-Biner being always attached to a belt loop is you can attach other items like room keys to it. I should add that the S-Biner is not really needed but does add convenience that it is easyer to detached the S-Biner from your belt loop to use the Photon Freedom still attached to the S-Biner.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2016
  16. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey James - Thanks for the great information on the lights. From what I read in the product reviews you posted, neither the Petzl-E nor the Photon Freedom get very good marks for brightness. As you described, either one might work fine for indoor use such as getting your gear ready in a dark dormitory early in the morning. However, for anyone walking the trails in the dark, I'm not sure that either would be my pick simply based on the reviews you posted. As I started walking in the dark on a number of mornings, I really valued having a headlamp with a high number of lumens for good brightness. Light weight is certainly an important consideration, but my advice to Tina-Marie and others would place brightness above that for obvious reasons when on the trail.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2016
  17. James Guest

    James Guest New Member

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    Wily, I would never make a recommendation that would endanger anyone's safety. From personal experience I have to agree that E+Lite is limited to the amount of distance you can see but itbis adequate to navigate by. Don't forget that you a walking into daylight. Full daylight in Spain will be between 7 - 8. Which means the sun will already be rising as you start walking.


    My experience of the E+Lite includes UK camping, walking back from the pub down country lanes, winter camping in Cyprus with include early morning starts and navigating mountain paths paths at night. The only time the limitation of light was a problem was in January in China in the ancient walled city of xi'an. Having got of an early morning train and walking into the city. I was happily navigating thought the city with a map when all the street lights when out, it has to be one of the darkest places I have ever been. I could not see my hand in front of my face. I grabbed my E+Lite and map reading plus trying to identify land marks, street names was not that easy. If I was planning on walking a well defined path as the amount of light was increasing then I would use the E+lite. If I was going to navigate through an ancient Chinese city in darkness I would consider taking something else.
     
  18. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey James - I wasn't suggesting that you would endanger anyone. I, too, have walked the Camino in the early morning hours. Although one is walking into daylight, and depending on the early hour at which one leaves, it's sufficiently dark enough for me to want as much luminosity from a headlamp as possible. My comments were only based on the relatively poor reviews each product received for brightness. Your points on lightness and ease of using while still in the albergue are well taken and appreciated. In the research I did prior to the Camino, my primary concern was the amount of light it would provide me on a dark trail. I was willing to sacrific a few ounces of weight for a headlamp with a greater of lumens so as to endure the best possible vision on a dark, and possibly rocky, trail early in the morning. With so many products out there, I'd advise folks to research them carefully, just as we do with backpacks, sleeping bags, etc., so as to choose the best product to fit their needs. A Camino path in the dark might be just as precarious as an ancient Chinese city in darkness.
     
  19. James Guest

    James Guest New Member

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    Wily, sorry I didn't mean to suggest that you though that the E+Lite was dangerous to use as a navigation aid because of it low light. I do agree that the are better lights available for very little extra light. I was trying to say that I take responsibility for my actions and understand the limitations of my equipment. Having practical experience in a variety of situations using the E+Lite I have no problem recommending it to other as long as the limitations are understood by anyone who purchases it. I am sure that there will be someone on the forum who is looking for a just in case light that it would suit them fine or someone who wants to do early starts and are willing to except the compromises.
     
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