In 2014 liep ik van Wateringen in Nederland (in het Westland) naar Fisterra in Spanje (ten westen van Santiago de Compostela).
Daarna besloot ik om niet terug te keren naar Nederland, maar verder te zwerven.
Sinds begin 2022 heb ik, na bijna 8 jaar zwerven in Noord-Spanje en heel Frankrijk, een huisje in de Loire-Atlantique in Frankrijk.
Ik volg momenteel een opleiding waarmee ik straks aan de slag kan in de hulpverlening.


Camino de Santiago

Slecht idee

Lugo San Antonio San Roman de Retorta Ponte Ferreira

Toen ik gisteren uit verveling de aangeplakte briefjes bij de receptie van de albergue stond te lezen, las ik dat ik, om in aanmerking te komen voor een compostela (certificaat dat je verklaart dat je naar Santiago gelopen hebt), vanaf Lugo 2 stempels per dag moet verzamelen: 1 halverwege de route, en 1 aan het eind. Ik denk nog steeds niet dat ik een compostela wil, maar voor de zekerheid haal ik vanaf nu toch maar 2 stempels per dag; als ik me bedenk, en ik heb ze niet, heb ik een probleem.
Op de Camino Primitivo geldt dat dus vanaf Lugo; op de Frances zal dat dan zo’n beetje vanaf Léon zijn, en op de Del Norte misschien vanaf Gijon. ‘t Is maar dat je ‘t weet.

Mijn gids vermeldt vandaag een albergue op 20 kilometer en één op 50 kilometer. Makkelijke keuze dus.
Als ik net Lugo uit ben, kom ik echter Andreas tegen, de Duitser met wie ik van de week een avondje goedkoop aan de boemel geweest ben. Hij wijst me op een partikuliere albergue op 27 kilometer. Omdat het een partikuliere albergue is, is de kans groter dat ik mijn tent op mag zetten (met korting), en bovendien serveert deze albergue ook eten; de albergue op 20 kilometer is in een dorp zonder winkels of cafés.

Ik besluit mijn plan dus om te gooien en naar Ponte Ferreira door te lopen. En dat is een slecht plan: mijn tent mag ik niet opzetten, korting kan ik dus ook wel vergeten, en het enige gerecht op de kaart is paella met vis, waar bovendien 9 euro voor betaald moet worden; er zijn geen winkels, cafés of restaurants in de buurt. En dan lopen er ook nog eens 3 kinderen schreeuwend rond te rennen. Ik besluit te gaan voor een broodje ei voor €3,50 en een biertje, en deze albergue zo snel mogelijk te vergeten.

Morgen ben ik met een kilometer of 20 in Melide. Ik ga er maar van uit dat een albergue met 130 bedden (…) niet zo heel duur zal zijn. En winkels zijn er ook in Melide, dus ik kan er ook brood kopen voor bij de berg beleg die ik in mijn tas heb.

Eindpunt (overnachting)
NaamAlbergue Ponte Ferreira
PlaatsPonte Ferreira
Prijs per nacht€11,00
DoucheBij de prijs inbegrepen.
WifiIs er wel, maar zo rampzalig slecht dat ik niet eens probeer mijn blog bij te werken.

4 reacties aanSlecht idee

  • Hello Rob! First of all congrats for your nice website and all your travelling! We have found your site by googling “Ponte Ferreira”, and were a bit surprised with your negative impressions of our albergue. Of course, we respect that this was your personal experience and you can only speak about your experience, but would like to make clear a couple of things, for everyone’s information about our albergue.

    First of all: yes, unfortunately it is not allowed to camp in our albergue or it’s garden. It took us a lot of arguing and problems to come to this decision, but it was necessary; in the beginning we did allow camping (we did not charge any money for that; only a few euros for taking a shower), but after a couple of bad experiences with camping pilgrims we decided not to do it anymore. I know it is a bad decision for some pilgrims that walk with their tent, like it was your case, but luckily the percentage of pilgrims doing so is really really small. And in any case, they have the chance to stay in the albergue before ours (9km) or after ours (6km), where it is possible to lay up a tent.

    Secondly, you make it sound like 9€ for a menu with salad, paella, wine, bread and desert would be expensive, and we really believe it is not! Anyway, you can also have a sandwich and/or salad as an alternative; and we even have an alternative, full menu (9€) for those that are vegetarian or intolerant/allergic to sea food. Quite a lot of options, we think ;-)

    In the last place, yes, there are 3 children in our albergue, and of course, some times, when they are playing, they might be a little bit loud. But we never let them play near the back side of the house, where the pilgrims’ rooms are, so they don’t disturb those pilgrims trying to take a nap or sleep. Additionally, the children spend the Summer out of Galicia with some relatives, so most pilgrims (Summer is when most pilgrims do their Camino) don’t even get to know there are children at all in our albergue. We are sorry if they annoyed you that day, really. It is not usually the case.

    If you ever do the Primitivo again, don’t hesitate to come talk to us and we can discuss any doubts/problems you may have; probably we can do something about it, or we can offer you alternatives. Thank you and Buen Camino always!

    :shell: :backpack: :boot: :hat:

    • Rob

      Hi Ponte Ferreira hospitaleros/-as,

      I have included your comment for people who come to my site looking for information on your albergue.

      I realize that the closer you get to Santiago de Compostela, the more tourists there are who only walk the last 100-200 kilometres; they probably have different expectations and budgets. But if you have walked over 2500 kilometres to reach Ponte Ferreira, like I had, and you are in the state of mind that comes with that, you don’t want to end up in a place that feels like a business. I agree that €9 is not very expensive for a full meal, but if that’s on top of €11 for a bunk bed (breakfast not included), it is; especially when you’ve been walking for 4 and a half months, and didn’t have an income during that time. And if there’s only 1 (real) meal to choose from, then that means that some of us will not get the nutrition we need after a full day of walking, and before a next full day of walking.
      There is a reason why most albergues only accept hospitaleros who have walked at least several hundreds of kilometres, and preferrably more; they undestand better what pilgrims need: a nutritious meal, a good night’s rest, good information about the route ahead, and maybe some nourishing for blisters.

      I’m not trying to tell you how to run your albergue, you’re proabably doing fine for the vast majority of people who come to you. But, apart from my friends, my website is mainly visited by pilgrims who start walking from Holland, and I would like to tell them how I experienced things, because they will propbably be in the same state of mind I was in.
      But if I can make a few suggestions… Try to serve some more dishes; if I would have had the choice between my egg sandwich and a pasta Bolognese that had been frozen and warmed up in the microwave, I would have gone for the pasta. And I don’t know about the trouble you’ve had with campers, but if someone asks to set up a tent because he is on a low budget, and they show 4 credentials to prove they started walking from Holland (for example), I think an exception would be so much appreciated that they wouldn’t dare leave a mess. And please ask each and every pilgrim to respect the rest in the dormatorio, not only in the evening, but also in the morning (but this goes for almost every albergue).

      Anyway, thank you for your response; it will be here as long as this website exists.

      • Hello Rob, and thank you for replying, even so fast!

        Believe us: we do consider the advices and critics (constructive ones) we receive from pilgrims, and we have already implemented quite a few changes in our services due to these. We have for example included a starter dish before the paella for the evening meal, we have also very much improved the breakfast we serve and we have increased the number of deserts offered, all of this without any price increase.

        Regarding offering additional dishes: until last September we offered a dish of pasta with chorizo (a kind of salami) for lunch; unfortunately we had to stop offering that because it caused trouble with quite a number of people. The price was 4€ (for a really big dish of pasta with cheese, bread and water), and some pilgrims asked to be served a drink, desert and even a coffee for that price! Since then we stopped offering the pasta dish and started with the sandwiches and salads, which have been very succesful!

        Unfortunately, we are not a restaurant, and thus we do not have the infrastructure, staff and kitchen capacity of a restaurant. There is two of us working and we must receive the pilgrims, sign them in, serve drinks at the bar, take lunch orders, cook and serve them, etc… If we offered a variety of dishes for lunch it would be totally impossible to handle!
        For the night meal it is the same: we need to offer one single dish that can be cooked for all pilgrims together (irrelevant if they are 2 or 25); this is in fact done in many albergues, as you well know. We decided for the paella because Paloma and Isabel come from Eastern Spain, where this dish is originally from and best cooked; it is additionally nutritious and liked by most people. However, we do offer as I said earlier a vegetarian menu upon request; if you did not mention that you did not want to have paella or ask for other choices, we might not have informed you of course. The alternative menu is a REAL meal as well, with two dishes, bread, wine and desert.

        About our prices, they are really not that bad in relation to what you get in exchange; the problem is, as we have been told, that ours is the first private albergue after a few days where pilgrims have the chance to stay in cheaper accomodations (public albergues), and thus they are a bit shocked. Many private albergues are 10€ without breakfast; ok, ours is 11€, but we believe (and many pilgrims have confirmed this) that the albergue is really outstanding, and is worth the extra euro: the beds are among the most comfortable ones you will find in the Primitivo or in any Camino at all, it is quiet and peaceful, and the house is beautifully restored and accomodated to host pilgrims. Our breakfast is also not expensive at all considering all that is included for hardly 4€; if you want just a coffee and a muffin or a toast you can also have that and pay a little less. There’s usually options for all budgets ;-)

        For low budgets it is no problem: they have a public albergue 9km before ours, and another one 6km after us. No one is obliged to stay at our place. Maybe there is a little lack of information by some people, who come to our place expecting a lower price, a shop to buy food from in the neighborhood or a kitchen they can use to cook themselves some food they are carrying, etc… But all the information is correctly updated on every Camino guide, including online ones; if there is one where it is not, that’s because we do not know about it! :unsure:

        In our albergue, did you ask us for information about the route ahead and not receive it? We always inform of what you will be finding ahead, …if you ask us! Why did you mention this?
        About nourishing for blisters, unfortunately that is just not possible in an albergue like ours: there is not the necessary time for it, especially in the high season with 25 pilgrims to be taken care of and only two of us to do it! We do offer the pilgrims if they request it some healing materials, but that’s as far as we can go. However, we have helped with extracting some ticks or opening some blisters not few times. We have driven pilgrims to the doctor, 13km away quite a few time as well.
        Believe us: our working day is never below 12h/day; please don’t forget that the mornings, even though the albergue is closed, we are still working: shopping, cleaning, burocratic paperwork, website maintenance, facebook updating, etc, etc…

        Finally, we do ask every pilgrim to respect the dormitories rules (such as keeping silence during other pilgrims’ sleeping time), which are clearly written on the door of each dorm; most pilgrims however do not even read them, unluckily, but there… what can we do? :negative:

        Again, thank you for the chance of this dialogue, and welcome back with us when ever you’re doing the Primitivo again! Buen Camino always!

  • Excuse me, but forgot to comment that our wifi is usually working very well. We have had up to 20 or more pilgrims connected, some of them uploading their photos of the past days to their servers or websites, without a problem and quite fast. Best wishes and Buen Camino always!

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