We sure didn’t walk for the fame, the glory and definitely not fortune. That would be very un-Camino.
While I questioned my reasons for walking at times, I never questioned the desire to see it to the end. I cherish this simple piece of paper. Jonathan liked to point out that there is no Latin translation of Lindsay so he feels his compostela is better than mine. Not to mention the fact that he didn’t leave me by the roadside, means that he gets “an extra special place in heaven”. Oh, sweet husband. Whatevs, my awesomeness needs no documentation. This paper is a testament to never giving up and finishing what you start. I always can use the reminder.
It’s been fun to go through photos we took on the Camino. I realized taking pictures while you’re walking doesn’t result in very sharp photos, so there may be some blurry ones. I couldn’t stop. Jonathan wouldn’t let me out of fear I would never start back up again. I’ll have to get more descriptive on each, so I remember where they were taken, but that’s more time than I’m willing to devote at the moment. If you want to see a link to an abbreviated “best of” photos you can find them here.
I also put together a list of all the places we stayed. The pilgrim credentials were helpful since we got stamps at each place. I like to point out that my credentials wear the Camino well with the watermarked pages which I think happen to be symbolic of our rain-soaked Camino, aka “Rafting Trip 2012”.
Some people believe true pilgrims only stay in albergues and that somehow makes your pilgrimage more authentic. Kudos, if you are one of these pilgrims and choose to do it this way. This wasn’t our Way. We had some good stays and some not so good stays. In the end we were most successful with the private rooms in private albergues. I think the weather we endured could’ve earned us 5 star accommodations the entire way in my opinion. While I think it is important to experience the albergues, I think it’s more important to sleep well so you can make it through the next day successfully and maybe even enjoy some of it. Plus, with all the crazy things I had to do with my feet private rooms were more appropriate. I also think had it been nicer weather where you could spend more downtime outside, the albergue experience would’ve been dramatically different. We can count on one hand the number of times the weather allowed us outside at the end of the day to drink cervezas with pilgrims or enjoy a cafe con leche in the morning sun.
I won’t write descriptions for each (email me if you want more specific info), but this is where we stayed:
- St. Jean: Hotel Ramuntcho
- Roncevalles: Albergue (it’s huge, but not sure of the official name)
The newly remodeled albergue is a must stay for any pilgrim. Just don’t expect the rest to be as nice. Bunk bed cubicles in groups of four. Hot showers. A little noisy, but nice.
- Zubiri: Zaldiko (Priv. Albergue)
- Cizur Menor: Albergue Roncal(Priv. Albergue)
This is where magical Marabel lives. She runs this albergue and is a magician with feet. She showed me the best way to care for blisters which I’ll post on later. I’m glad we stayed here instead of Pamplona. On a nice day everyone was outside reading or doing laundry. Decent facilities but the highlight was the turtle pond.
- Puente la Reina: Hotel Jakue
Spent two days here to heal feet some. Worth it for the buffet alone. Nice stay.
- Estella: Juvenil Oncineda (Muni. Albergue)
- Los Arcos: Casa de Abuela (Priv. Albergue)
Great private room on the top floor. Nice kitchen. Near the church which is pretty incredible inside.
- Viana: Andres Muñoz (Muni. Albergue)
Winner of the worst albergue we stayed in on the Camino. Bed bugs, gross laundry room, triple decker bunk beds, stuffy room, screaming neighbors, rude hospitalero.
- Navarrete: (Priv. Albergue)
- Azofra: (Muni. Albergue)
2 bed cubicles were a treat. Seemed newish. Co-ed bathroom. Laundry. During summer, the courtyard would be really nice with the fountain. Nice people running it.
- Castildelgado: Hostal El Chocolatero
- Villafranca: Hotel San Anton Abad
Nice bathrooms. Private room through the bunk room which was a little awkward. Really nice pilgrim’s meal. The ladies running the place were so incredibly nice and accommodating. Geese outside.
- San Juan de Ortega: Alojamiento Rural-La Henera (Casa Rural)
- Burgos: Hotel Velada
Where Martin Sheen stayed part of the time when filming The Way. Really great deal on a nice room. We had to do laundry here and they had it done in 2 hours!
- Hontanas: El Puntido (Priv. Albergue)
- Boadilla: En El Camino (Priv. Albergue)
Family run operation. You can tell they enjoy what they do. Great family style dinner and breakfast. Again, in summer it would be nice with the little pool they had in the garden area.
- Carrion de los Condes: Hostal la Corte
- Terradillos de los Templarios: Albergue de los Templarios (Priv. Albergue)
- Hermanillos de la Calzada: (Muni. Albergue)
- Mansilla de Las Mulas: El Postigo (Hostal)
- Leon: Hotel Paris
Nicest room we stayed in on the Camino, after Hotel Compostela at the end. Slept great here. Good location too.
- Villar de Mazarife: San Antonio de Padua (Priv. albergue)
- Astorga: La Peseta (Hotel)
- Foncebadon: Convento de Foncebadon (Priv. Albergue)
This place was nice and clean. A little surly on the staff side but we ate the vegetarian meal at the wildly popular Monte Irago a couple doors up the hill. They were super nice there and the meal was amazing. Judith even got an hour massage for 20 euros!
- Ponferrada: Hotel El Castillo
- Villafranca del Bierzo: Albergue de La Piedra (Priv. Albergue)
- La Faba: Parroquia de San Andres (Muni. Albergue)
German run parish house. Nice man that was running it at the time. If the weather was nice, being outside would’ve helped. It was next door to a 15th century church. Worst beds though. And only 2 restrooms for 35+ pilgrims (women/men). Let’s just say we were happy that we were one of the first to arrive. After the muddy and wet day, there wasn’t any surface that didn’t have someone’s clothes hanging on it to dry. Lots of men’s bikini briefs and women’s granny panties.
- Triacastela: Complexo Xacobeo (Priv. Albergue)
Probably the best private room albergue. After a hellish day coming down O’Cebreiro this was a treat. We had a private room on the top floor which had windows facing the hills and a small patio and spacious bathroom. Great restaurant too.
- Sarria: Albergue Ultreia
- Palas de Rei: Casa Benilde (Hotel)
- Arzua: Meson do Peregrino (Hostel)
- Arca/Pedrouzo: Albergue o’ Burgo (Network Hostel)
- Santiago: Hotel Compostela
Great location and value for a nicer end hotel. The AC didn’t work in the first room we had and with the doors open we didn’t sleep with the partying going on until 5am. They upgraded us to another room with a private balcony which was even better. Only 5 minute walk to the Cathedral and steps from the historic district.