Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Where do pilgrims stay on the Camino?

If this was 1000 years ago, the Church is your only option.

If this was 20 years ago, there are only 2 possibilities. One can either pay for a pension/hostal or knock at a Church and hopefully you get a sheltered floor space.

These days, many local municipals along the camino have setup albergues where you pay around 3-7 euros to stay. Some of them are by donativos (donation basis). In Galicia, all municipal albergues are on donation basis (no longer the case in 2008). The facilities in the albergue are basic. You get bunk beds, a few wash points for your laundry, vending machine for drinks and hot water (not all of them, urghhh!) for your showers. At the latest by 8 in the morning, the albergue have to be cleared (unless you are sick). I never had the opportunity to start walking so late as I will be awoken by other pilgrims by 6 am every morning, and start my walk around 7 to 7.15 in the morning.

In addition, the albergue usually accept pilgrims only after 2 pm. It's a first come first serve basis, no reservation allowed. Plus you can't reserve it for anyone that is coming after you.

Quite a number of albergue have internet connection for you to check your emails. It ranges from coin operated (15-18 mins per euro) to donation basis. Others have kitchen facilities for you to cook your own meals in case you are sick of the peregrino menu around the town (more on that later).

Nice albergue outside Pamplona (Cizur Menor).

A bit spartan in the overflow area as we were there late. At least the overflow area are single bunk beds (I hated the double bunk beds).

The albergue at Puente La Reina. I didn't stay in this one but the one on top of the hill after the bridge.

A bit modern, but very spacious.

See what I mean?

The multi-storey albergue in LogroƱo.

A bit tight inside but very comfy outside.

In Estella.

The albergue in Los Arcos. This one has a big garden on the left.

At Domingo Del La Calzada. A very old looking albergue. It was too early for me. Did not stay there.

The smallest albergue I have stayed in the whole camino. 16 beds only.

Run by a Brazilian (Acacio) and an Italian (Orietta) couple. They met each other many years ago during their camino. Now that are volunteer hospitalier for this albergue.

The un-mistaken Brazilian flag outside. They are so patriotic.

Dinner cooked by them. Donation basis. I have do the dishes afterwards.

Cozy living and dining room.

At Hostal Hidalgo in Burgos, the only time in the camino that I did not stay in an albergue. The municipal albergue is 20 mins walk outside the city and I want to spend more time in the city.

In Hontanas, a very picturesque town with 2 albergue.

Picture taken right outside the albergue I am staying.

At Boadilla del Camino. The albergue is reputed to have a swimming pool.

But pool is covered and there is no water in it. Urghh!

Nice view of the albergue with the church and the stock's nest.

At Carrion de les Condes, I stayed in a nunery. Big courtyard inside the compound.

Nice albergue in Astorga. With a big public garden next to it.

A bit run down, but the surronding is very serene.

The only English run albergue at Rabanal de Camino. Opens at 3 pm but serves tea at 4 pm. Very English, hehehe.

Albergue in Ponferrada. Beautiful backdrop of the hills and mountains.

The view must be awesome in winter.

The monastery of Samos. The albergue is run by the monks.

Very spartan, but the frescos inside are beautiful.

With many religious icons.

Each section is base on a month in a year. I think that's the harvesting month.

All Galicia's municipal albergues looks like this one, down to the icon and colors. This is in Eirexe.

For food such as this cod with potatoes, you need to stay in a private albergue. They are privately run, and they pretty much like a pension/hostal with better service. Of course you have to pay a bit more for it. Here in my last stop at St. Irene before Santiago.

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