The Spanish word “Completo” which means full, is fast becoming my least favorite word these days on the Camino. It is the word that is used to tell you there “is no room at the inn”, keep looking for a place to stay the night.
Terri and I have been trying hard to let the Camino come to us as we go and not worry or be anxious if there is going to be room available at the end of the day's walk. We have been having mixed results and are now starting to book ahead each day so we know we have somewhere to lay our heads. We are not fast walkers and so what has been happening is by the time we arrive at some of these small villages with their sometimes limited accommodations, we find ourselves faced with very limited or no options for a place to spend the night. This means having to walk on often much further than we had planned or finding someone that can help us get to some place that can host us for the night.
One of the reasons for this problem is how many people are walking the Camino this time of year. We have been very surprised at the large numbers and this puts tremendous pressure on the little towns and villages to house everyone. In some of the small villages when they fill up all the accommodations in town they open up a civic facility and house pilgrims on the floors. So far we have avoided this fate.
Staying in the Albergues or hostels is part of doing the Camino. We have stayed in some very nice ones and some real stinkers. Last night was one of those stinkers. We were bunked up in a room with 10 other pilgrims with a single toilet and a couple of showers. The bunk beds in this case were very closely spaced with little room left over for your packs or personal space. We purchased the breakfast for the morning and by the time we got down there it was mostly gone. Not all the Albergues are like this though and we have stayed at some really decent ones.
What we have been doing recently to keep our sanity and to get a good nights rest is staying in an hotel or bed and breakfast occasionally. Today we ran into the same trouble again as we entered the town with many of the good Albergues full (Completo) so we sprang for a “casa rural” room and are loving it! It is like staying in someone's home!
One of the things about the Camino is you are constantly adapting and learning each day as you go along.
John and Terri