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The Albergue System in Spain

Discussion in 'Albergues - Hostels' started by Covey, May 1, 2010.

  1. Terry Wilson

    Terry Wilson Well-Known Member

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    As Usual I will take you advice.
    Regards Fitness I do not have much to measure mysel by but last week I walked up a gravle road near our home to a radio tower the climb is 800 mtrs up over 11 ks travel to the top I did it in 2h.40m up and 2h.00m down, I was pleased with that and I could still walk the next day.
     
  2. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    James

    I would agree with Wily. Most, if not all albergues operate on a cash basis. On their margins it wouldn't be feasible for them to pay bank charges for such small amounts. On my most recent Camino we even found some of the smaller hotels, casa rurals and B&Bs wanted to be paid in cash, even where they had accepted Visa for the reservations.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
  3. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    The "all cash" also applies to restaurants and bars, except a higher end restaurant in a major city. I recall stopping at a bar during our last camino and another pilgrim was pleading with a bartender to accept his credit card. He did not. I don't know if the pilgrim went hungry/thirsty or borrowed money from another pilgrim.

    You can check with your local bank / credit union to find out daily ATM withdrawal limits and fees. I learned that I can withdraw up to $500 (converted to euros) per day and pay 1% fee on the withdrawal. Last camino we bought euros in advance. This next camino, we'll make a withdrawal at an ATM at the Madrid airport.
     
  4. Rupert Canales

    Rupert Canales Member

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    Hey Ashton, hello from someone who was on the camino last year from June 14 to July 19 from SJPDP to Santiago. The only reservation was in SJPDP because of what I read about reserving the first night. I am returning on June 8 starting in SJPDP with my daughter and niece. I stayed in mostly municipal and parochial albergues and had no problems finding a place to stay. The only day that I ran into small problem was the day that I walked from Samos to Portomarin, my longest day the entire camino and as a result arrived in Portomarin at 4 pm also the latest arrival my entire camino. But the person at the albergue that I stopped in was kind enough to call around and find a room for me. I also did not start my days until between 6-7am everyday. Eveyone has their camino to walk, you will be fine without advance reservations. Worst case would be to walk to the next village and find a place there. Maybe we'll run into each other since the time frame you mentioned is similar to mine. Good luck on your journey.

    Buen Camino, Rupert
     
  5. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Rupert makes a couple good points that will help one get a bed. Leave early; finish early! In May, it was just getting light around 6:30 when I usually hit the trail. I never found it necessary to leave earlier than than! Walking in the dark was not part of my Camino plan! With that early start, although I have a pretty fast pace, I was able to finish by early afternoon. Even with breaks along the way, a 1:30 stopping time most days was the norm. At that time of day, at least in May, most private albergues still had beds available. Later in the day was a different story. Finishing at 4 pm or later meant having to look harder for that bed. If one is going to have a long walking day or if you're a slower walker, I'd suggest calling ahead the day before to reserve a bed. Hospitaleros are happy to assist making a phone call to reserve a bed for you at your next town. After a long day of walking, the last thing I want to do is have to walk on to the next village hoping that I will find a bed there. Buen Camino!
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2017
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  6. Rupert Canales

    Rupert Canales Member

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    One other thing Ashton. The last 100 km was the busy section as many more people wanting the compostella will walk the last section. What I did was stay in the "off villages" away from the crowds. After the situation in Portomarin, I stayed in smaller less populated areas the last 4 days and never encountered any lack of beds, but was in a quiet solitude. I enjoyed the break from the crowds encountered in the bigger places. I stayed in San Xulian with one albergue and ten people in the village, thoroughly enjoyed the quiet comfort and the three other pilgrims that stayed there that night. Remember that you are doing this for your reasons and you have to walk your camino. It was truly a life changing experience for me. I changed jobs as a result of my walk. I am returning in 55 days and plan on walking all the routes over the next several years. I believe for me not reserving was part of what made my camino special. I had a 32 day plan that I found on this website for the camino, but finished in 29 days. I had reserved the Parador in Leon as a treat but arrived 2 days early and decided to stay in parochial albergue de benedictinas. So the only reservation that I made I canceled due to arriving ahead of schedule. Not having reservations opens the opportunity for spur of the moment changes that can arise on the camino. For me that was a great aspect of my camino. Everyone has their own ideas and to each their own needs and requirements for their camino. Walk your camino Ashton. The camino provides.

    Buen Camino, Rupert
     
  7. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Rupert - Excellent point about staying in the "off" towns and villages. Too, often, many think they have to or should follow the Brierley guide. What happens is that then, everyone is heading for the same destinations which makes the bed search even more difficult particularly during the busy times of the year on the CF. By doing this very thing, I ended up staying in wonderful places like Hontanas, Boadillo, Agés, Foncebadón, Trabadelo, Melide, and Gonzar that most pilgrims just walk on through. Consequently, there wasn't much bed pressure and some of these spots were real gems of the Camino. Buen Camino!
     
  8. Rupert Canales

    Rupert Canales Member

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    Wily, your absolutely correct. I also stayed in Hontanas Tosantos, Calle, Ages. Very wonderful places to stay. Calle was just a home off the road that offered a place to say. My experience was exactly what I needed. As a matter of fact, I'm going to stay in more "off" villages this summer having the fresh perspective from last June. Thanks Wily, have enjoyed reading your posts on the camino Portuguese. Already decided on that route next year.
     
  9. Jim C

    Jim C New Member

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    I’m planning our first Camino for 2019 and have a simple and probably stupid question. But here goes...let’s say we’re going to bunk at an “official” albergue (not a private one). Once checked in, how does one then go out for drinks or dinner and have that bunk when returned to the albergue (well before the doors close at 10). Do pilgrims leave their packs on the beds before going out or do the bunks have designations such as numbers or letters by which they are assigned and they aren’t assigned again by the staffs at the albergue?
    I haven’t been able to learn this and will appreciate a veteran pilgrim’s illumination.
     
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  10. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    I just left "something", my pack usually where I planned to sleep. I never had a problem, but I am flexible and once was requested to move, by non-english speakers, and did.
     
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  11. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    When you arrive at the Refugio de Peregrino, you will either choose a bed, or in some Refugio’s will be allocated one.

    What I usually do is that I make up my bed, some Refugio’s issue you with a disposable sheet and pillow case, in addition to these, and I roll out my sleeping bag.

    You will no doubt shower before going to eat, so you might also leave your towel hanging up as well as other bits and pieces.

    Some Refugio’s have lockers for storing your kit – But one thing that I would never do is put a rucksack on me bed as they can often be dusty / dirty from your travels.



    The above often holds true for both private as well as municipal Refugio’s / Albergue’s

    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
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  12. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Jim - Welcome to the Forum. Not a stupid question at all. The albergue system works quite simply along The Way. After checking in, some albergues assign a particular bed while in others you choose a bunk based on first come first served. For me, I always requested a bottom bunk if one were available. Arriving early in the afternoon increases the probability of getting the bunk you prefer. My routine was to spread out my sleeping bag on the bed, shower and clean up after the day of hiking, and then go out and explore the town that I was in. One does leave their backpack next to or under their bed. Folks walking the Camino are generally honest, but one is still advised not to leave valuables unattended. I’ve heard reports of people missing items from their packs or off their bunks (like a camera), but these occurrences seem few and far between although it does happen. I take money and documents into the shower stall with me and carry valuables including electronics with me when away from the albergue. So, as you head put for dinner or drinks, keep your valuables with you and leave everything else behind at the albergue. Once your gear is on your assigned or chosen bed, you’re all set. Don’t worry about it being moved while you’re away. Between the municipales and private albergues, there are a lot of choices for good places to stay. If you haven't already found it, visit Gronze.com where you can check out the various accommodations along The Way. Buen Camino!
     
  13. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Jim, as others have noted, you should not place your backpack on the bed - it can be dirty, or even worse, pick up bedbugs to ride along with you to the next day's albergue! One trick I learned was buying a large carabiner clip prior to my camino (see attached photo). You can easily clip to the loop on your backpack then clip the carabiner to the bunkbed. That way, your backpack is suspended from the end of the bed. It keeps your gear out of the way and is very convenient to pack and unpack. We used these for both caminos and never had any negative comments from the hospitaleros or other pilgrims. Just make sure the clips are large since they have to clip over the metal bars at the end of the bunkbeds. Bob

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Jim C

    Jim C New Member

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  15. Jim C

    Jim C New Member

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    Wow, I am so impressed by the many thoughtful and helpful responses to my question about securing a bunk after checking in and then going out for a couple hours. I was also wondering about security of belongings in alburgues and the answers covered that as well. After just a few days on this forum, I couldn’t be more impressed by the spirit of helpfulness I have seen and now experienced. Can’t wait to get out there! Thanks so much!
     
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  16. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    No Problem Jim – Pleased to be of help – And after you have walked your own Camino, I am sure that you will have “Tips” of your own to add

    Best Regards

    Rob
     
  17. danvo

    danvo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey @Jim C, walking Camino is experience from another world. My own experience: after few first days I realized that I can leave my smartphone while charging unattended nearly everywhere.. kitchen, hall or bathroom or any other place. Of course it wasn't newest model, but still fairly new. Money, credit cards and documents (passport, credencial) I had always in my pocket - for sure. Overall - Camino is safe place, in contrast with all other places: after my Camino I was on bus station and airport and there were many warnings: Don't leave your baggage unattended! So I told myself: Welcome back to the real world.. :(
    Of course, I recommend that you be careful, because sometimes (rarely) bad things happen. It's always about people.
     
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