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Seniors Looking For Accommodation Info

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by Robbie, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. Robbie

    Robbie New Member

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    Hi, we are a couple in our 70's planning to walk from Leon later in June 2018. Our concern re accommodation is whether we would have to book ahead to secure private rooms, casa rurals etc. We are unsure how far we will be able to walk each day therefor booking way ahead may be a problem. I know we will have the opportunity to "catch up" using bus or taxi. Also, we would not mind staying in shared bathroom places now and again. I have found plenty of info on various accommodations along the way so that's not the problem and we may want to stay put for a day or two here and there.
    Any comments or advice will be appreciated.
    Robbie
     
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  2. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    There are two schools of thought on whether to book accommodation in advance with one school being that having a guaranteed bed is worth losing the flexibility for and the other school saying that you will always find somewhere (Even if you do have to hop in a taxi as you have already mentioned) and that as you can’t book ahead in the Municipal Refugio’s, that booking in advance is too expensive.

    The middle option would be to book your accommodation in Leon and at the end of your first days walk and then see how many others are walking your part of the Camino at the same time, then if it is busy, just book ahead on a day by day basis – That way you will maintain your flexibility and still be guaranteed a bed, the only downside being that it is possible that the cheaper and more popular places will be full before you book.



    Other “Tips” include keeping away from as many of the “Suggested” stops in the popular guidebooks and stay in the smaller villages either just before. Or just after the big cities.



    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
  3. MichaelSG

    MichaelSG Active Member

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    Ditto to what Rob said. If you are planning to stay in private rooms, it is fairly easy to book a day or two in advance as you figure out the distances that you can do. Keep taxi number handy if you really, really need them. If you really want to walk every step, you can always get a taxi to drop you back where you were picked up. Stay away from the major guide books' suggested stops. Everyone with books take up all the beds.

    Have a way to call for a reservation (a cheap local phone or a roaming plan) and enough Spanish to make a reservation. It is not that difficult. The phones can help with taxis too but unless you are close to fluent, it's easier to hand your phone to a Spaniard and ask them to ask for you.

    Buen Camino!
     
  4. Robbie

    Robbie New Member

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    Thank you Michael and Rob, we are quite relieved by your comments, I was originally concerned about availability seeing as we are travelling in June, which I gather is when things get busy. I guess we should compile a comprehensive list of all the accommodation places that we are comfortable with and take it from there. We will have to forward some luggage as well and looking around the forum it seems Jacotrans is popular, do they operate from the smaller villages?
    Thanks again, Robbie
     
  5. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    I would recommend that you determine what distance the TWO of you can walk in your training when wearing packs. That way you should get a reasonable estimate how far your Camino walking will be. For the first few days plan a little less on your daily distances. That way you will not have go be hurred just after you arrive .
     
  6. MichaelSG

    MichaelSG Active Member

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    Jacotrans runs the entire length of the Camino, as I understand it. Also, a guide book will give you accommodation lists. Alternatively, if you want to look at current information immediately, make sure you check out www.gronze.com . It's in Spanish but easily understandable.
     
  7. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi Robbie

    In relation to your question on Jacotrans I can confirm they collect all along the Camino and even some small hamlets just off the Camino. They have a very useful site which can help planning.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
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  8. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Just to add a little more info about companies like Jacotrans that transport your luggage along the Camino for you.

    You should be aware that you often drop your bags off at a central collection point in the village / town / city that you are staying and it is picked up form there at some point (Usually in the morning) and transported to the village / town / city of your choice and usually left at a central collection point there.

    Therefore you need to be aware that your bags will probably be left unattended and to be safe, should be locked – So, If you are using a rucksack then you might well find one of my Rucksack Pro-Tector’s useful http://www.pro-tector.co.uk/ as apart from helping ensure that your baggage arrives at your starting point in good condition and using it as suggested above, they also have another function and that is, you can use them as a water resistant liner for your rucksack when you are walking to help keep all your kit inside dry :)

    Over the years, I have sold quite a few of these to pilgrims walking Camino’s and have had good feedback from them

    Best Regards

    Rob
     
  9. Robbie

    Robbie New Member

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    Thanks Michael, I have been looking at the Gronz site and as my Spanish improves so does the included information therein becomes very helpful. Also, we have decided to start late May instead of mid June.
     
  10. Glenn V

    Glenn V New Member

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    I am 60 and have walked portions of Camino Frances past 2 years. 12 miles a day is comfortable, 15 miles is doable, 17 or 18 miles is tough. But I don't exercise regularly and am not in shape.

    For booking private rooms, I have done it multiple ways. I have not booked in advance and just walked into town and found a place, not the best option because once you arrive more walking is not good. I have booked one or 2 nights ahead, that's ok. Last time, I booked the entire trip. Way more peace of mind. I use Booking.com, which has free cancellation for most places. Had to cancel a room once the day of arrival and was not charged. If you use it, sort by "closest to town center" and look at their online map. In almost every town you are going to want to walk to the Plaza for dinner or drinks, so stay close. Church is usually there also for 8:00 PM mass.

    Glenn V.
     
  11. Bryan Morlock

    Bryan Morlock Pilgrim Bryan

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    We just finished our Camino in October, a party of four all in our 60's and none of us were experienced hikers. We started in St. John PdP and started booking a day in advance after we had determined our comfort zone for walking distance. Once we got to the final stage (a little more than the last 100 km) we started booking 2 days in advance. We encountered many pilgrims in their 70's who were comfortable doing the same distances we were, usually trying for no more than 14 miles per day. My suggestion is to plan to do fewer miles per day and take the time to look around at the incredible scenery, the villages, and meet the people. I would like to do the Camino again and focus on that aspect as I feel that we missed much on our Camino.

    Buen Camino.
     
  12. Robbie

    Robbie New Member

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    Thanks everyone for your kind advice etc. We have taken it all on board and are starting to make some firmer decisions. Now starting late May instead of June, should be a little cooler and accommodations not so busy, right? Now starting at Sarria, Leon might be a bit ambitious and if we feel we have missed something we can always backtrack later. A list of places to stay has been compiled, mainly through Booking.com but not yet booked, I think that can wait a couple of months yet??? Cheers Robbie.
     
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  13. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi Robbie

    I really don't want to spoil your preparation and I see you have already planned your stops but if I may can I suggest that you consider other sections or routes. I say this based on other contributions I've seen rather than my own experience as I haven't walked from Sarria yet but many many people seem to consider that final section as being the least attractive and least representative part of the Camino due to the crowds of people who join the Camino in Sarria and I would hate for your first experience of the Camino to be a disappointment.

    If you only have a short time frame there are many sections of the Camino Frances which you could consider. Walking from Pamplona or into or from Burgos (both lovely cities to visit) is wonderful. If it's a question of avoiding big climbs the Meseta has its attractions too. Or you might consider walking part of the Camino Portuguese (again I haven't done it but it sounds lovely from reports I read). In any event as we always say on this forum "it's your Camino" whichever or however you chose to do it, so I hope this "advice" does not lead to confusion.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
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  14. Robbie

    Robbie New Member

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    Hi Greg, taking what you say about other sections of the way, we have watched several you tube videos to try and get a perspective on all sections. As a result, our leaning is back to a start in Leon as some of the videos certainly comment on the fact of the last 100km being quite different in as much that it is much more crowded and has a different feeling about it. So, by starting in Leon and having the option to taxi any section we feel may not suit us for some reason we should end up having a more rounded experience.
     
  15. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Hi

    I don't know how good you are with computers, but I recommend that you try Google Earth to get an idea of what the various roads, and some trails, are like. An unexpected thing that Google has done is make "Street Views" of much of the Camino. In places where there is no Street View data, then there are often photos that various hikers have contributed.

    To help navigate in Google earth I reccomend almost any paper map you can find. I prefer the Michelin map 160 which covers the Camino de Santiago only. I got mine from the map store that The Confraternity of Saint James web site. Their web address is: www.csj.org.uk they had several useful other maps and publications available.

    To enable Street View for an area that you are interested in click on the strange small "yellow man" on the right side of the screen. Google earth will then say to drag the man to where you want street view data. Street View data is indicate by blue lines. In many of the street view images you can see hikers going on their way.

    One of the problems with street view is that much of it was compiled while driving a vehicle and the images may not match the time of year that you plan to be there.

    Google earth also has another unexpected problem in that it uses the local names for the cities, etc. that it identifies. For example Roncesvalles is also indicated as Orreaga. One is in Spanish and the other may be in Basque. France and Spain have different spelling for the same locations along their common boarder. Then Spain has several official languages in the north of the country. About the only language you won't have to worry about is Catalan as that is primarily in the north east area of the country.

    Google earth has an unexpected tendency to always select 3D views. I prefer a 2D view that is similar to what a map uses. To select 2D mode select "View" then "Reset" and "Tilt". This will get out of 3D for awhile but you will soon get back into it. I was not able to find an option to make 2D mode sticky.

    Some times Google earth forgets to have north up on the image. To restore north to its proper location, click on the N in the compass located in the upper right corner of the image.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
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  16. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi Robbie

    I do agree with the idea of avoiding the Sarria route for your first experience of the Camino. However I think the walk from Leon might be a bit of a challenge, depending on your level of fitness. There are two very big climbs between Leon and Sarria and from what I've read they are pretty steep climbs too (I will soon find out as they are on my next Camino in April).

    I'm not sure of how much time you have to walk but below is an example of a 5 day walk from Pamplona to Logroño (or Navarrette) which we took in Autumn 2016. It totals around 114kms and takes you from the foothills of the Pyrennees to the border of Navarre and Rioja. Two lovely regions of Northern Spain. You get to start in Pamplona which is a lovely city and climb over the Alto de Perdon which is one of the "iconic" sites on the Camino. If you have more time you could start further back at Roncesvalles or St Jean or walk further towards Burgos. The walking is a nice mix of some "relatively easy" climbs, rolling hills and lovely countryside. I've added in the names of the places we stayed and I would recommend them all (all were reserved in advance on booking.com).

    I really hope I do not add to your confusion.


    Pamplona to Puente La Reina, 24.1 kms (climb over Alto de Perdon from 400m to 790 metres, stayed at Hotel El Cerco consider detour to Eunate- adds about 4 kms)

    Puente La Reina to Estella, 22 kms (stayed at Hotel Chapitre -good news 85% natural tracks)

    Estella to Los Arcos 21.1 kms, stayed at Latorrien de Ane (a B&B outside Los Arcos, they drive in to collect you and drop you back the next day. The B&B is lovely and the family running it were very nice but it is a bit removed from the rest of the Camino and "buzz" of los Arcos).

    Los Arcos to Viana 18.6 kms (steep sections down to Rio San Pedro and Rio Cornava, climb up to Alto NS del Poyo 400m to 570m) stayed at Palacio de Pujadas (very nice).

    Viana to Navarrete 24 kms (you can take a bus from Viana into Logrono to avoid the industrial estates and motorways on the way in). If you walk through Logrono you exit via a big park where you get the chance to stop at Marcellino’s kiosk. Marcellino is one of the Camino’s characters. We took a bus back to Logrono from Navarrette and stayed in Logrono before returning home.

    I have notes on the other sections I've walked if you would be interested.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2018
  17. Robbie

    Robbie New Member

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    Hi all, thanks again for all the information, it is all being digested. Flights are booked arriving Madrid 30th May from where we will train/bus to our starting point when we get that sorted.
     
  18. Dosy

    Dosy New Member

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    Hi Robbie
    We walked the Camino Francis in 2016 in May / June and initially didn't book accommodation, but in the first 2 nights from SJPDP had difficulty with accom. After this we booked a day or two in advance without any problems whatsoever, (usually by phone and sometimes with minor difficulty).
    We also used Jacotrans for the majority of the walk and that were extremely reliable and picked up or luggage from our accom and delivered always to the place where we were heading to. Jacotrans do stop transporting at a certain stage along the walk but another company reliably continued. We either booked them by phone or email - either being very easy.
    We wil be back on the track in June 2018 but starting from Sarria to walk with a friend who dearly wants to the last 100km ( actually 113k from Sarrria).
    The excitement is growing!!! Enjoy!!!!
     
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  19. Chip Frazier

    Chip Frazier New Member

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    That website is fantastic! Thank you for the tip!
     
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  20. Robbie

    Robbie New Member

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    We are all set and ready to go arriving Leon 31 May. staying 2 nights to get organized etc and we have booked hotels in Villadangos and Hospital de Orbigo for our first 2 days. Fairly short distances I know but I feel we should not be too ambitious after spending 30+ hours flying and 4 h ours bussing to get to the start in Leon. From H de Orbigo we will sort it out day by day and hopefully be able to book accommodation 1 or 2 days ahead as we go.
    Thanks again for all your help. Robbie.
     
  21. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Robbie - You must be quite excited by now! You’re wise to plan short days in the beginning after such a long trip just to get to your starting point. Between three planes and a bus, it took us a good 20 hours to reach Ferrol this spring and I can tell you we were pretty wiped out. Our first two days were relatively short which allowed us to start our Camino , but at the same time transition from the long trip across the Atlantic. It sounds like you have a well thought out plan. With regard to booking accommodations ahead a day or two, I found the hospitaleros at the private albergues very helpful. Without exception, everyone I asked for assistance most graciously called ahead for me to reserve a bed. Buen Camino!
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
  22. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi Robbie

    Having walked from Leon to just past O Cebreiro through snow this April I hope the weather will have improved for you (I'm sure it will). You have some really lovely stretches fo the Camino ahead of you. The first couple of days should be quite relaxed as you are walking the final parts of the Meseta essentially as far as Astorga. This should allow you some time to adjust your packs and get a feel for the Camino.

    Leon is a lovely City to visit so I hope you really enjoy it.

    Don't forget to stop and take in the experience.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2018
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  23. Robbie

    Robbie New Member

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    Thanks Greg and Wily, don't know about that snow business Greg...we have packed for warmer conditions, however I guess one can lighten the load by spending a few euros on warm gear if needed. I have been checking the weather reports etc. and think we will be ok. And, anyway, it is getting pretty cold here in NZ so we should acclimatize fairly quickly.
    Thanks again, Robbie
     
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  24. Robbie

    Robbie New Member

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    One more question.... Does Jacotrans have a depot in Santiago where our luggage can be sent to from Leon as we have not reserved accommodation there yet as we do not have an arrival date. Our bags could be there in Santiago for 2/3 weeks. Cheers R.
     
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  25. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Robbie - Jacotrans does have a Santiago office not too far from the cathedral where luggage can be forwarded to from any point along the Camino and stired for you until you arrive. Here is the page from their website (in Spanish) describing their services:

    https://www.jacotrans.es/transporte-de-equipajes-camino-santiago/consigna-en-santiago-storage/

    I’d suggest that you email them directly from their website with your exact specifics so they can advise you as to the best way to forward your luggage to Santiago. Buen Camino!
     
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  26. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Hi Robbie
    Just to add a little more info about companies like Jacotrans that transport your luggage along the Camino for you.

    You should be aware that you often drop your bags off at a central collection point in the village / town / city that you are staying and it is picked up form there at some point (Usually in the morning) and transported to the village / town / city of your choice and usually left at a central collection point there.

    Therefore you need to be aware that your bags will probably be left unattended and to be safe, should be locked – So, If you are using a rucksack then you might well find one of my Rucksack Pro-Tector’s useful http://www.pro-tector.co.uk/ as apart from helping ensure that your baggage arrives at your starting point in good condition and using it as suggested above, they also have another function and that is, you can use them as a water resistant liner for your rucksack when you are walking to help keep all your kit inside dry :)

    Over the years, I have sold quite a few of these to pilgrims walking Camino’s and have had good feedback from them

    Best Regards

    Rob
     
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