5 Nights at The Last Stamp May 16-20/2015

the first three nights were okay. The other pilgrims were very respectful. The ladies at the desk were helpful and friendly. The albergue was in a great location, close to the cathedral and the bus stop. No problems!

Then two French pilgrims came and life as I knew it changed. One fellow was sleeping above me. He turned on lights late. He sprayed some kind of strong smelling linament on his legs, which gave me a headache. I complained to Paula on the desk who offered to move the men. I gave them the benefit of the doubt, thinking the guy would not spray on the second night. But he did! So I got moved and slept only two hours that night. So I was falling asleep all that day. 

Great albergue and great staff! 

         

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In Santiago with the Camino Del Norte at My Back. May 16/15

Arriving in Santiago falls a little flat when there is no lineup at the pilgrims’ office but there it is! No 2 hour wait I’m the sun like last year. I did kind of sprint to the finish line. Grin, grin. I got my Compostela and then asked for directions to my albergue The Last Stamp. Monica from Germany walked in with me from Monte Do Gozo, so I took her photo and she took mine.  Then we had breakfast and went to the cathedral. I showed her how to hug St. James and we stayed for service. I stayed on for an English mass and then the noon mass. I rested and roamed for the rest of the day.

   

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Chinese American Lady Missing on Camino France’s

During my Camino del Norte walk I found out about the missing 41 year old woman Denise Theim also known as Arizona,whose brother was looking for her. She was last seen around the Astorga area and last heard from on April 5, 2015.

Why isn’t there anything in the Spanish media about the missing pilgrim? It appals me that it is kept so hush-hush. As a three time Camino walker I would like to think the Spanish government and residents would like to find me if I’m lost, injured or a victim of foul play.

While at the cathedral de Santiago I prayed that this lady would be found unharmed and in good health. I am concerned that the country does not want to call attention to this missing person because the caminos, which bring in millions of euros each year, will make lone female walkers feel uneasy and deter them from visiting this beautiful country.

Many other incidents have been identified but still nothing about Denise nearly two months later.

Google Chinese American woman lost on Camino France’s and you can find out more. 

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Finances on Caminos

I think having a budget is a good practice if you want to arrive home with your Visa balance reasonable for you. If you plan to stay in all albergues the price can be by donation to as high as 18 euros, most being 6 euros on the Camino France’s, Camino Portuguese and the Camino del Norte. Some people books hostels or hotels which can run from 15 to 35 euros per person. I may have used 6 or 7 on the Camino del Norte and 10-12 on Camino Portuguese, and only 4 on Camino Frances.

Then your most costly expense is food and alcohol. If you just have wine with your menu del dia then you are okay. Breakfast usually runs you 3.50 to 5 euros. I love freshly squeezed orange juice and Cafe con leche but the croissant is usually out. The toast with cheese and/or marmalade is usually a favorite. If I’m really hungry the Spanish tortilla suits me. Then of course you have a problem of finding a cafe or finding one open at 6 or 7 am.

Midday I enjoyed the bocadillo with cheese and ham or bacon and eggs on occasion. With a pop or coffee this could cost anywhere from 4 to 6 euros.  

The evening meal was always too heavy and late for me so I tried to have it before 6 each day. The cost was reasonable at 8.50 to 12 euros. Usually a mixed or Russian salad first, followed by fish or meat and chips and later dessert of flan, Santiago cake, ice cream, cheese and quince or yoghurt. Wine and bread are included. 

So you can see the cost increases, depending on what you eat. Some days I did not bother with the menu del dia. One evening a friend and I spent 3 or 4 euros each and enjoyed a picnic meal sitting on a bench. Often I had a burger with fries or salad.

All in all the food could total 20-25 euros in a day. Some people buy their own food at a supermarket and cook in the albergues, This really cuts down on costs. Most people buy fruit, nuts, chocolate and water to have for snacking along the way. On my first Camino I had 20 energy bars, which I got sick of very quickly.

You allow money for incidentals such as a walking stick if yours is stolen, a hankie or new socks or underwear. Souvenirs always eat into my budget at the end. Taxis, busses and trains may be used from time to time. Donations could be an added expense.

I figure 40-50 euros per day is a good estimate of a person’s costs on the three that I’ve done. Sometimes you will get away with 25 euros.  I had an 11 euros day this year which included 6 for the albergue and 5 for a burger meal, with my own groceries from the day before providing breakfast and lunch.

   
 

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At Monte Do Gozo after walking 15 km

i didn’t sleep well last night and the smells and sounds of 20 people at Pedrouzo didn’t help.  I hadn’t climbed up to the top bunk until last night. I needed to open a window and that was the only way to do it. There was a drunken German farting and talking to himself. As I said Not A Good Night!

Up at 6 am, conversing with a Spaniard on my app for translating.  I waited for The Irishman who couldn’t find his bandages he had prepared the night before. We were sending on our backpacks for 4 euros each. 

The trails through the forest were great and the cafes were amazing, but more expensive.  The last five kilometres were killing on my right calf.  We arrived around 1 pm. All in all a good day! Only 5 km more to go! 

   

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Os Pendos May 13- Relaxing Albergue

I loved everything but the food. The grounds were well groomed and suited to pilgrims who want to sit in a nice garden. The rooms had few people and the bathrooms were spa quality. 

For the 10 euros I was duly impressed! The Hospitaleros was a gentleman with a good sense of humour. He enjoyed using the translator app on my iPhone.

   
       

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The Sweet Hospitaleros

On This Camino I have met so many nice people, especially the people in charge of the albergues. Today was a good example of how well some people do their jobs. At this albergue in Perdouzo the young man who checked us in and the older lady who helped with accommodations for Santiago- both were spectacular. I think the lady was even giving Spanish lessons. She gave me a map of the city, circling where I can get my Compostela and where the cathedral is and many other places. I didn’t have the heart to tell her this is my third time and I could find the places easily. 

So pleased with most of the Hospitaleros along the Camino del Norte! Thanks for doing such a great job!

  

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