Thursday, 12 November 2015

Accommodation and Food

Accommodation:
I did loads of research on accommodation options before our walk - this isn't necessary and many people start walking and find accommodation once they get to a town where they feel like stopping.  In our case, because I knew I would struggle with my feet, I felt I had to be more prepared before we set off, especially when it came to our accommodation - there was no ways I could be arriving at an albergue, only to find it full and then have to walk several more kilometers.  I pre-booked all of our accommodation, mostly through booking.com.

Accommodation on the Camino comes in various forms:

Albergues - these come in two forms - municipal or private.  They are basically pilgrim's hostels.  There are dormitories sleeping anything from a few pilgrims to 60 or 70 pilgrims, depending on that particular albergue.  Some of the albergues offer private rooms with en-suite bathrooms.  The facilities in the albergues vary from place to place, many have gardens where you can sit and enjoy a cold beverage after your walk, kitchens where you can cook your own meal or restaurants offering a well-priced Pilgrim's Menu and washing machines and wash-lines,

Pensions - a type of guest house offering few amenities, but with private rooms and en-suite bathrooms.

Casa Rural- a country cottage type of accomodation, we haven't stayed in one but from what I can make out it seems to be much like a B&B

Hotels - yup.....hotels!  

Paradors - luxury hotels.


I wanted to try out various options, so our accommodation was pretty evenly spread across private albergues, pensions and hotels.  If I were to do another Camino (here's hoping!) I would definitely opt for private albergues over pensions and hotels.  We loved all of the albergues we stayed in.  We stayed in private rooms with private bathrooms, no shared dormitories.  I have nothing against shared dorms, but I personally prefer private accommodation - also, Grant and I are both snorers, so in all fairness I think we are better off alone!

Our accommodation:
Pamplona - Hotel Yoldi
Uterga - Hostal Camino del Perdon <= this was our favourite albergue, it was just perfect!
Puente la Reine - Albergue Jakue
Los Arcos - Pension Los Arcos
Logroño- Hotel Sercotel Portales


Food:

All the walking makes you hungry! Our routine was to get up and have a cup of Café con leche and perhaps a slice of toast (depending on what was offered) and then begin to walk. After about 5kms we would usually come across a pub offering food and would then stop for a bite to eat and another cup of coffee, failing that we always carried some food in our backpacks and would have a little picnic of sorts.

We would stop for lunch at a pub as soon as we arrived at our destination. Lunch would generally consist of an ice cold cerveza (beer!) with a bocadillo (a baguette/bread roll with filling) or perhaps a Tortilla de Patatas (a dish made with egg and potatoes) or whatever else took our fancy at that particular establishment. Many restaurants offered tapas, so we had a selection of tapas sometimes.

For supper we always ate the pilgrim meal offered by the albergue if we were staying in an albergue, failing that we would find a restaurant that served a Pilgrims menu. The pilgrims menu is generally a 3 course meal, including water and wine and at the time that we walked we paid between €8 and €12 for the meal. You would normally be given 3 options for starter, main and dessert. The starter often had a tuna salad option, perhaps a pasta option, and sometimes soup or asparagus. Mains would usually include a fish, a meat and a chicken option with french fries, or sometimes paella. Desserts often involved some sort of tart, arroz con leche (our favourite! rice pudding) and something called "flan" which is what we call creme caramel at home.

Some albergues offer the opportunity for cooking your own meal and I gather it sometimes becomes a fun, communal affair.

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