Camino Frances 2017 – Day 5 – Terradillos de los Templarios to El Burgo Ranero

Camino 2017 – Day 4 – Terradillos de los Templarios to El Burgo Ranero – September 9th
A song at the start of the day, a donativo and a last supper…

Another early start. I was used to it at this stage and gathered my pack and left through the back door. The albergue was still sleeping as I left. I was hoping that I would meet my friend June again but she was 2 towns ahead, so the hope was small. It was dark but the sky was lit by the large moon still hanging in the sky. I enjoyed my stay in Terradillos and met some new pilgrims, some of which I would meet again.

DayFive1

DayFive2

On leaving the albergue, the Camino takes you along the main road until you reach the town of Terradillos. The town was quiet and as it was also dark, I struggled to find any arrow or sign to lead me in the right direction. I use the Wise Pilgrim app and I am on my way soon after. The 2nd albergue in Terradillos, St Jacque de Molay, which is based in the town itself, is quiet. I have another 2 or so kms until I arrive at Moratinos, a small town, however it holds 2 large albergues. I’m walking along back roads now, my phone’s torch guiding me. I reach Moratinos and see some familiar pilgrims who had stayed the night in the main albergue here. They were lost and were looking for a way out of the town. My phone app came to the rescue and before long we were walking out of the town, their walking poles breaking the silence. One pilgrim was Irish and I laughed on hearing his words of greeting…”oh not this Dublin lad again!”. People from rural Ireland have a thing with us from Dublin!. It was all a private joke however, and we marched on together, Santiago-bound.

I felt good this morning. My feet were in good stead and I was eager to meet new pilgrims. If I met June, it would be a bonus! I had no particular town in mind to set up base however I had good memories of Bercianos del Real Camino. It was home to a donativo Parochial albergue and my time there in 2013 was special. However, I wouldn’t rule out walking an extra 5kms to the next town, El Burgo Ranero. I decided to say goodbye to my fellow Irish pilgrim and his friends, preferring to walk unafraid into the dark.

I have another 8 km before Sahagun, a large town along the Camino. The evening before, there was much discussion between fellow pilgrims that Sahagun marked the halfway point to Santiago. There is a monument erected at the Ermita de Virgen del Puente just before Sahagun that states this. But many pilgrims have pointed out that they had passed the halfway point before arriving at Terradillos. However over dinner the evening before, I noted out that the monument marks the halfway point from the French border and not from St. Jean Pied de Port. I was glad to clear this argument up!

I hadn’t listened to music in quite a while since I arrived. I felt no need to. I had company, or I needed to concentrate on my footing without getting lost. This morning felt like a good time to turn on some music. One song that I kept playing was “Scare away the dark” by Passenger. The lyrics below seem to hit home and made me replay the song once finished. I felt unbreakable on hearing those words. There are times when, sitting in front of a screen in an office, you just want to pick up your coat and walk out. There is so much more to achieve in life and I have so much more to give. I kept asking myself the question “what’s holding me back??”. Fear, possibly.

We should run through the forests
We should swim in the streams
We should laugh, we should cry
We should love, we should dream
We should stare at the stars and not just the screens
You should hear what I’m saying and know what it means

To sing, sing at the top of your voice
Love without fear in your heart
Feel, feel like you still have a choice
If we all light up we can scare away the dark

The sun rose as I entered Sahagun and I met an American lady called Denise. She was leaving a cafe and was lost. I had also taken a wrong turn and was temporarily lost, but on seeing a yellow arrow, we both found our way. Onwards! I turned another corner only to see June. I was delighted and marched on westward out of Sahagun. We had another 10km to Bercianos del Real Camino, I felt good and the day was young. It was close to 8am at this point and I had walked 12km already. I topped up my water bottle before moving on. June had stayed in San Nicolás del Real Camino the evening before. She mentioned that the 2 large albergues in Moratinos were completo when she passed them however Albergue Laganares was less than half full. This morning, she had walked around 8km. I had a feeling she would walk further than me so I was preparing for her departure at some stage.

The walk from Sahagun to Bercianos del Real Camino is on a senda along a main road. You have, of course, the option to walk the Roman road via Calzadilla de los Hermanillos and join the Camino Frances in Mansilla de las Mulas. I had decided to avoid this however I was still confused by the sign posting advising pilgrims of which was the right way to Bercianos. After much thinking and reminiscing, I chose the correct road and we were back on track. We met an English pilgrim at various stages and said Buen Camino to him more than once. We would see him further on again. We also saw two German girls who had wanted to walk the Roman road but had missed the turn-off. Slightly disappointed, they made do with the 2nd option and kept walking.

I asked June had she seen some pilgrims that I had met previously. A number had stayed in the 2nd albergue in Terradillos. A few others had stayed in Moratinos and others had ventured as far as Sahagun. The chain was getting longer and longer but somehow we were keeping in touch. I was keeping in touch with Patti after meeting her first in Carrion de los Condes and I was meeting my fellow Irish pilgrim and his friends the odd time. I had seen Carol and her friend from Australia a number of times and Aga from Poland. We all had our own ways of walking but we managed to see each other or receive news of how we all are from other pilgrims. June was planning ahead and had a date in mind when she would reach Santiago. I thought “wow!”. I reminded her to enjoy each moment and not walk too fast because she will pick up an injury or whatever!

The 10kms seem to go by in no time. During the few hours, we started talking about American healthcare and politics, something I try to avoid while on Camino. Anything but politics!! I changed the subject quickly and talked about the hills of León and O Cebreiro. Most of the pilgrims I had talked to were getting bored of the monotony of the meseta and were crying out for an ascent….something more varied I guess. They wouldn’t have long to wait as León approached within 2-3 days.

Bercianos was approaching. Not too long beforehand, we passed the Ermita de Nuestra Señora de Perales, a church no longer in use. Bercianos greeted us with a new cafe “Bercianos 1900”. We decided to stop here for a drink and a rest. My feet were starting to play up on me again and I took some Ibuprofen to ease the pain. I met our old English pilgrim friend again. I asked him how he was getting on today and where he intends to stay when he is finished walking. He was thinking about staying in Hostal Rivero, another relatively new albergue in Bercianos, however he may walk the extra 7km to El Burgo Ranero. He mentioned..”when you walk from Paris, where you end each day is a trivial matter!”…From Paris?!…I asked him how far does he typically walk each day. “10-15km each day”. Wow…so why so little?? “Well when I finish I need to start painting the house when I return home to London. Well he does have a point!

We said goodbye to John, the UK pilgrim and moved on. We had 7km of straight road ahead of us, with blue skies and a gentle wind. It was 10.30am and we had plenty of time. For most of the remainder of the morning, there were no other pilgrims in sight. Cyclists passed us by shouting Buen Camino and we returned the compliment. There were periods of silence also when myself and June just walked. June, by far the faster, led the way and I followed. It wasn’t long before we reached El Burgo Ranero, a small hamlet with a number of albergues and pensions. It is chosen as an end stage in Brierley’s book, however, it has a well respected donativo, “Domenico Laffi”. It opens at midday and already there were people lined up outside. I walked through the town to see if there were other albergues opened, however, all 3 others had a midday opening. I saw a group of Irish walkers with tiny bags leave a cafe after a pitstop. It seemed that they were from the west of Ireland. I asked them how they were getting on? One said “All good, we are walking the Camino a different way”. He went to great lengths to note the differences in how I and their group walk their Camino. Not to worry. We are all pilgrims. I venture back to the albergue, noting where the shop was. The hospitalero had opened up for us before midday.

I showered, washed my clothes before June and myself decided to go to the shop to buy some food for lunch. In a gesture of real kindness, June told me to come back in 45 minutes and she will have lunch ready. So I went off for a snooze and left her to her own devices. From what we had bought, I was expecting a meal fit for royalty. We had wine too. It was something special also and I was full for the day. All I could do afterwards was wash up! Later on, I met the UK pilgrim – he was staying in another albergue in the same village. I also met Adam from the UK, my fellow Irish friend with his friends who were in the same albergue. Today I had walked 30km. I had 88 km left to walk in 5 days. The next 5 days were going to be slow and short. June wanted to walk to Leon the next day (38km) and asked if I would join her. I said I would start the day with her but I wouldn’t walk to Leon. This evening was a special one. We finished the bottle of wine with other pilgrims.

Tonight would be the start of the goodbyes.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Camino Frances 2017 – Day 1 – Burgos to Hontanas

Camino 2017 – Day 1 – Burgos to Hontanas – September 5th
An early start..and hot!

I asked the owner of Hostal Evolucion the evening before if it was possible to leave early in the morning. She said, in broken English, that there was no problem, but I needed to ring a little bell at the front desk. Hmm…I wonder if this was going to work in practice? Time will tell.

DayOne

DayOne2I had an amazing sleep and woke at 5am. Right on cue. My bag was ready, I had a few snacks for breakfast. All I needed was to find the first arrow. I rang the bell as agreed and at 5.30am, I was on the road with pack on bag and pole in hand. I walked toward the bridge over the River Arlanzon, in search of the first arrow, although I had an idea of the right way. My previous two times in Burgos had been brief but I felt I had seen the city in it’s glory, thanks to Patricia. My head was a little dull due to the vino de ribeiro, but a little walk would shake that off.

The walk out of Burgos is along the river and at this time, it was pitch black. I kept an eye out for the Universidad de Burgos so I knew I was on the right track. On seeing the first arrow, white and not yellow, my heart jumped. Onwards I walked until the road turned and the arrows were no more. A passer by shouted at me “¿Estás buscando el camino?”. I said “Si!!” with positivity and he directed me to a turn off 10 metres behind me. This was the way to Villalbilla de Burgos, and I saw arrows again. I was leaving Burgos and heading for the first village, Tardajos. There was no stopping me. My feet were dancing and I was eager to meet fellow pilgrims – but not at this hour, I laughed to myself!

It was pretty flat, and I was alone so far. The sun was beginning to rise at my back and I stopped for a few moments to take it in. It wouldn’t be the last sun rise I would witness but each one is special. You can immediately feel the heat at your back as the sun creeps over the horizon. “Beautiful”, I thought to myself. I arrived into Tardajos around 7am and had Cafe con leche y tostada con queso, my normal breakfast on the Camino. I bought some fruit to keep me going until at least Hornillos. Tardajos is a smashing town with a great albergue so there is an option if you want to bypass the hustle and bustle of Burgos. It is a further 10km however.

Rabe de Calzadas is a further 2km away and the entrance to the meseta. Another quiet village with a recommended albergue. After this point, you need to have enough water as you are in no-man’s land. It is another 8km to Hornillos del Camino and today the temps were rising. It is in the mid-20s at this stage and only morning. And I needed sun cream!!

Onwards I walked into the meseta and towards Hornillos. I never had much of a love for this town and have always walked toward Hontanas, a further 10km. I had my heart set on Hontanas again but it depended on how hot it got. I arrived at Alto de Meseta, a 150 metre climb and could see the next few hours ahead of me, most notably Hornillos, a barren town, but growing in size. It was two early so I decided to stop for a while and walk on. The last building at the end of town caught my eye. I walked in and asked for an Aquarius. The woman behind the bar asked me where I am from. I naturally say Dublin and she asks which part. She is also from Dublin and in the last few weeks has taken over the running of a Korean restaurant in Hornillos. It’s name is Neson. I could not believe it. Another Dublin man was there chilling out with a ukelele trying to sing “Fix You” by Coldplay. I give it a go but playing a ukelele is different to playing a guitar. I stay here for a half an hour chilling out and talking about our love of the Camino. She was brought here because of love and has a child now. I say my goodbyes and promise to look them up the next time I pass through. As I leave, I’m warned to carry lots of water as the next few hours will be tough going. They are right as temps were in the 30s until I reached Hontanas.

I feel like I made a mistake moving on to the next town. After Hornillos, there is a gradual climb and there is no shade. I stop three times out of breath and consider turning back. Somehow I gather the energy to move on, while brushing the dozens of flies from my face.

I meet two English pilgrims ahead of me – Adam and Robert. They had been chilling out in Hornillos and I had said hi to them then. I walked with both until we reached Hontanas and I am so glad I did. They gave me the energy to reach my destination and proved that conversation is a great distraction. We walked with purpose past the great San Bol Albergue in the middle of nowhere, and then on to Hontanas. Well…we first needed to find Hontanas. It is built in a valley and the first you see of this pilgrim town is the large steeple of it’s church. We wait for it to pop over the hill and boom! we descend into the village.

I decided to check into Albergue El Puntido, while Adam wants to keep walking to the refugio at San Anton 5 km further on. I was one of the first here and got my washing done. The sun would dry my clothes in no time. A community dinner was not until 7pm so I decided to rest until then.

The dinner was super. I ate with Denis and his wife from Florida who had walked from St Jean Pied de Port and were taking it nice and slow. 20kms a day is their maximum. I also met Tara from Salt Lake City who gave me the ultimate compliment and praised my Irish accent. She also gave me a bottle of sunscreen, proving that the Camino does provide. The only shop in this town had after sun which was of no help to me. I slept well here, even though the church bell would chime on the hour every hour throughout the night.

There was music in the form of a small guitar outside the albergue and we stayed out until close to 9pm. I was tired however and wanted another early start the next day. This day, I walked over 30 km..the following day, I hoped to reach Boadilla del Camino and Eduardo’s En El Camino Albergue. We expected sun and we expected to meet new pilgrims. It was going to be a fun day.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Albergues I stayed in – Camino Finisterre 2016

I feel that I need to mention the albergues that I stayed in on my recent Camino. All in all, I really enjoyed them. All were private albergues at a reasonable cost, and the owners went out of their way to assist anyone staying there.

September 1st & 7th – Hospederia San Martin Pinario (Website / Google Maps / Gronze)

20160908_142210A great place to start or finish your Camino while in Santiago. It is located right beside the archway way before the Praza da Obradoiro. Bed and Breakfast costs €23 and rooms can be reserved by emailing reservas@sanmartinpinario.eu. Ensure that you email as their on-line booking form is only for more expensive tourist accommodation. I will definitely stay there again the next time I return to Santiago.

 

 

 

September 2nd – Albergue Alecrin, Negreira (Website / Google Maps / Gronze)

alecrinAlbergue Alecrin was the first albergue I came across on entering Negreira. I needed to rest so I was glad to see it. It’s a fabulous little place with 40 bunks. It is advertised for €12 but the owner charged me €10 for some reason. It was clean but filled up quickly. There is a another room available should it be needed. The kitchen is well equipped but there are many bars and cafes in town to eat out. It has air conditioning also, which was heaven!

September 3rd – Albergue Casa Pepa, Santa Marina (Website / Google Maps / Gronze)

marina-pepa-1A great albergue that I would recommend 100%. It is family owned and serve delicious food. A bunk costs €12 and the owners will do what they can if you need anything. The village however is just that..a village, and has no amenities. If you are looking for a shop, it is best walking further to Olvieroa. If you can’t make it that far, like I couldn’t, then you should stop off here.

 

September 4th – Albergue Bar O Logoso, O Logoso (Website/ Google Maps / Gronze)

logoso-logoso-1Quite possibly the only building in O Logoso – once you leave you have left the village. Albergue Bar O Logoso is another family-run albergue and is highly recommended. I found it clean, it had all the facilities and the food was delicious. The family don’t have a great understanding of English however, and there were a number of communication problems when I was there, but hey! it is there home country. A bunk cost €12 and rooms were ready and cleaned by 11am when I wanted to check in.

September 5th – Hotel Playa Langosteira, Escaselas (Website / Google Maps / Gronze)

00000132761

Walking from O Logoso in 35c degree heat took me to my limit and I needed an evening of comfort to get me back to normal. Therefore, my daily budget was thrown out the window and I checked into the pilgrim-fancy Playa Langosteira. For €35, I was treated to a bed, air-con, an amazing sleep and a front row seat of the sun rising the next morning. This place was perfect but I feel I have broken cardinal rule number 1 in the pilgrim’s book of ethics! 🙂 Anyway, onwards to Finisterre.

September 6th – Albergue Cabo da Villa, Finisterre (Website / Google Maps / Gronze)

fisterra-cabo-1One of the best albergues I have stayed in. The owners are fantastic and the cost of €12 is a steal. It has all facilities, and it is fully reservable if you prefer that. It is the 2nd albergue as you walk into the town. Make sure you walk up to the Cabo to watch the sun set at the end of the day.

 

 

Daily Costs on the Camino

I haven’t written about this subject before so I thought I would talk about my experiences with daily costs over the last number of years. It’s important to start out by saying that everyone’s estimates tend to be different so your estimate may be higher than mine. You may choose to avoid hostels and have a more comfortable Camino, there by increasing your costs. You may also prefer to wild-camp, sleep in donativo albergues, buy food in supermarkets and cook yourself. Personally, I have always preferred albergues and I like menu del dias (daily 3 course meals). My Caminos have generally lasted 12-13 days and I have spent on average €25-€35 per day, which includes food, accommodation and incidental costs during the day.

I could never see myself spending more on the Camino. First of all, I am not on holiday. If I travel on a city break or to the country in Ireland, my costs tend to be higher as I stay in b&b’s and guesthouses. So I go to avoid the luxuries that I would receive in a hotel or guesthouse. Sometimes sacrifices can be good.

So I will break down daily costs under accommodation, food and incidental costs.

Accommodation 

Accommodation can be broken down into albergues, hostales, casa rurales or pensions, and hotels. Albergues cost from €5 up to €15. Some albergues are donativo also, which mean that they accept a donation of your choice. It’s important to note that this does not mean they are free! Albergues would provide bunk beds in dormitory-type rooms. I much prefer these as they increase the chance of meeting people!
Hostales, casa rurales and pensions offer private rooms with an en suite bathroom or shower. Some would include a meal as standard and costs tend to range from €25-€45. I like to stay in pensions the night before I start out, and after I finish. Great examples of these would be Casa Waslala in Belorado and Posada Regia in Leon.
And finally, there are hotels which tend to cost the most. Rooms cost in excess of €60 per night. Whilst these offer great comfort, it might be worthwhile rechecking the reasons you are walking the Camino if you are staying in one of these each night!

Food

I tended to eat meals in the nearest restaurant and chose the “menu del dia” aimed at pilgrims. This was usually the same “high on carbohydrate / low on calorie” meal, and after a while, it did get boring. It usually consists of three courses with ice cream or some fruit to finish up and cost €10. But you are well fed by the end.
You have the option also of veering away from the “menu del dia” and choosing on of the restaurant’s own menus. You are then sampling traditional food at a slightly higher cost.
Alternatively, you can purchase your own food and make dinner at the albergue where you are staying. The downside to cooking alone that is you have to compete with the hordes of other pilgrims who have decided to do the same thing. It can be cost-effective, but it is tiring. Another cost-effective idea is getting together with friends and sharing the costs. If there are 8 of you, you could have a hearty meal plus wine for €5 each. Now you can’t go wrong with that…as long as you aren’t washing up!!

Incidental Costs

From the moment you start walking until the finish for the day, there will be costs that you incur. These include numerous cafe con leches, multiple cervezas, tortillas, fruit for snacks and some chocolate. These would also include trips to museums or cathedrals (some do charge for entry!!). I usually purchased chocolate, fruit and something to make a sandwich with, the evening before, and that kept me going the next day until I had finished walking. The cost? A little under €10.

Budgeting is pretty important, however, so it is important to over-budget than under-budget.

 

2015..Places I’ve stayed

Well it took me a while to finish off my day-to-day diary. Life kind of gets in the way when I am not in Spain. I am hoping to get away for a few days but in Ireland, at the start of August. More on that later.

I just want to give you some information on where I stayed on this camino. Some of the albergues I have stayed in on previous Caminos while some are new.

Day 0: Belorado – Casa Waslala – google maps / link
Day 1: Atapuerca – Albergue El Peregrino – google maps / link
Day 2: Burgos – Casa de Cubos Albergue – google maps / link
Day 3: Hontanas – Albergue de peregrinos Antiguo Hospital de San Juan – google maps / link
Day 4: Boadilla del Camino – En El Camino – google maps / link
Day 5: Villalcazar de Sirga – Albergue Don Camino – google maps / link
Day 6: Ledigos – El Palomar – google maps / link
Day 7: Sahagun – La Bastide du Chemin – google maps / link
Day 8: Reliegos – Albergue la Parada – google maps / link
Day 9: Leon – Hostal San Martin – google maps / link
Day 10: Villavante – Albergue Santa Lucia – google maps / link
Day 11: Astorga – Association de Amigos de Camino de Santiago – google maps / link
Day 12: Rabanal de Camino – Refugio Guacelmo – google maps / link
Day 13: Molinaseca – Albergue Santamarina – google maps / link

Camino 2015 – Day 12 – Astorga to Rabanal del Camino

May 17th 2015 – Day 12
Astorga to Rabanal del Camino, 24km

This would be my penultimate day and I was unsure where I would finish up. I’d let the feet decide again. Two days from now I was due to catch a bus from Ponferrada to Santiago and fly home to Dublin afterwards. There was much internal debating whether I should travel to Santiago this year but as long as I avoided the main town I would be happy enough. Today, however, I was aiming for either Rabanal del Camino or Foncebadon. I had walked this route in 2012 and was familiar with it. On leaving Astorga, the trail starts to rise gently and there is a nice climb into Rabanal however, there is nothing to get overly concerned about.

I left Astorga in the dark once again..not a cloud in the sky. It was a great advertisement for walking early as the stars were still visible. It doesn’t take too long to leave Astorga, maybe half an hour, and I was eager to stop for my first breakfast of the day. Santa Catalina wasn’t too far away. I walked alone from Astorga but I did notice a lot of groups leaving the town. It had been over 6 weeks since Denise Thiem, a pilgrim from the US, went missing. This had always been in the back of my mind and especially today I thought of her family and friends. It seemed as though pilgrims were taking extra care by doubling up just to ensure it doesn’t happen again. I decided to hang back from one group until I reached Santa Catalina. There was also a visible police presence which I had not seen before on my 5 times on the Camino. My one wish is that people don’t decide that the Camino is not for them based on this one event.

I arrived into Santa Catalina looking forward to breakfast and ordered my usual. My leg was paining me again so I took some more paracetemol. I spent quite a bit of time here, watching the news,  trying to understand it with my limited Spanish. This albergue “El Caminante” is fab..and I hope to stay here in the future. In fact, there are plenty of options in Santa Catalina. I move on and after an hour of gradual ascent, I reach the curious town of El Ganso. There are many towns and “celebrities” of the French Way, and the Cowboy boy here is one of them. I stop off here and soak in the randomness. I love it. There is an albergue here also. I stopped for a cerveza to cool off. I meet Des and Josephine who weren’t far behind me. That would be the last I would see of them unfortunately.

The next 2 hours I walked along the side of a road, with the sun getting hotter. I was quite happy with my own company but I did stop and talk to some people that I had met in Villavante a few days earlier. I love this part of the Camino. The higher you climb, the more colours you see..plenty of greens, purples, yellows, reds. It was perfect. The final ascent into Rabanal del Camino is much greater and is pretty demanding. Hundreds of coloured crosses littered the side of the trail as I climbed up to the little town. A half an hour later I arrived in Rabanal sweating and racing for a cool cerveza! With great joy I see Andreas from Germany, whom I hadn’t seen since outside Mansilla. I was also met by Roy from Canada who was hoping to stay here. After that climb and that heat, I decided to stay put and chill out in the sun until I worked out which albergue to stay in! In 2012, I stayed in the fab “Albergue NS de Pilar” which is brilliant but I wanted to try somewhere else. Albergue Guacelmo was getting good feedback so I headed in that direction. It opened just as I placed my bag down. Happy days! Albergue Guacelmo is run by the CSJ in London and every two week or so, new volunteers come over to look after pilgrims. It is donotivo as well. It is well recommended to stay there however, there is a condition that you carry your backpack to be given a bunk. If not, you will need to look elsewhere.

Later on that evening, I had a meal in the hotel across the road after Vespers in the local church. I would encourage you all to go to vespers there. What an experience. I went in 2012 and loved it. I had an early night afterwards and started to wonder how my final day would go. Would I see my buddies again? Or even still, would this be the last time on the Camino? I had no idea.

2015-05-17 06.27.02 2015-05-17 06.57.23 2015-05-17 08.43.58 2015-05-17 09.11.34 2015-05-17 09.11.41 2015-05-17 09.27.05 2015-05-17 10.15.33 2015-05-17 10.24.22 2015-05-17 10.24.29 2015-05-17 13.45.22 2015-05-17 13.45.52

Three days before I go….however…

Well, it’s not long before this Irishman finds himself back on the Camino trail. I will pick up where I left off last September and will walk for two weeks. The fortnight is going to be relaxed, it’s going to be enjoyable and fingers crossed I meet some good friends like I have done since 2011.

However, that being said, I travel on this Camino with a weight on my shoulder. One that I didn’t have before. From Day One, I always believed the Camino is all about letting your feet do the walking, to switch your mind off and keep things as simple as possible. I don’t want to know where I will be staying on my first night. In fact, I don’t care. When my feet tell me, then I am done. But it seems to me, that more and more people want to be in control of their Caminos. So much so, that albergues, hostels and pensiones are booked up days and weeks in advance. I wanted to see how busy the Camino is at present by sending an email to two private albergues in Ages, which is a small town 25km after Belorado. I wrote an email asking if they could book a bunk in their albergues for me for the night of the 6th. I got more or less the same response from both albergues:

“Hola David, Para el día 6 de mayo estamos completos. Buen Camino”

This translates as “Hello David. For the 6th of May, we are full. Buen Camino”.

Wow!

Are albergues full that far in advance? Are people booking bunks 4 or 5 days in advance? I’ve never come across this before and if this is true, it means times are changing on the Camino.

So, as I prepare for my 2 weeks away, I am trying not to let this nugget get me down. There are municipal albergues that you cannot reserve in advance and I shall be aiming for those. Luckily, I like walking in the morning as the sun rises so I don’t think I will have any great problems with “the great bed race” but I think of those who like to take it easy and “smell the flowers”.

I hope to post a few lines after each day from the 5th of May onwards by the way.