We haven’t written much about the nuts and bolts of food and accommodation on our two Caminos. If only for my own memory, I would like to make a few general comments, first about our lodging and later about dining. I know I’m going to cause some head-shaking among our more frugal friends, but we have become unapologetic Gucci-rinos.
Many pilgrims on the Camino stay predominantly in albergues. These can be municipally or privately owned, and they are like the youth hostels that many of us used when our skin was smooth and our hair richly coloured. Albergues are inexpensive and a great place to meet other pilgrims. We stayed in a few when other accommodation was unavailable, but whenever possible we sought out the greater comfort of a hotel (which in Spain may also be called a hostal, a posada, or, indeed, an albergue). We generally find these through the Booking site, but when options were limited I sometimes called hotels we located on Google maps. Prices vary widely, but on the Via de la Plata we typically paid 45 euros a night. The north coast of Spain is more expensive, and we are generally paying 50 to 55 euros. Occasionally, particularly on weekends or during Semana Santa, accommodation has become limited and we have had to pay more.
On the Norte we frequently encounter houses that were built by “indianos”. The first time I encountered this term I wondered if there was some small group of indigenous people that had somehow become wealthy during the colonial period. In fact it refers to Spaniards that sought and found their fortune in the New World, and then spent it on houses and philanthropy in their native villages in Spain.
A number of these casas indianas have now been converted into boutique hotels and it has been our pleasure to stay in several of them. They are often Victorian period mansions, filled with antiques and art. They typically cost 55 to 70 euros a night, rich by pilgrim standards but still less than a nondescript motor hotel in Canada.
Casa Roja in Cadavedo