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A Typical Day on the Trail

5:00 amWake up because someone is rustling plastic bags as they prepare for an early start.
5:15 amGo back to sleep
6:15 amWake up again, more hikers are preparing to leave
6:30 amFinally decide to get up as getting back to sleep is hopeless.
  • Gather up your items (sleeping bag, pack, shoes) and quietly move them to the common room so that you don't disturb other sleepers.
    • You can do this because you prepared for it the night before.
  • Roll up sleeping bag or blanket.
  • Stow clothes that were drying from the night before, possibly hang some from your pack to dry during the day.
  • Wash face, brush teeth, add deodorant, use toilet.
  • Attend to feet - tape up problem areas, use muscle and/or foot cream, bandage blisters.
  • Finish putting pack together.
  • Fill up water bottle from the tap.
  • Double/triple/quadruple check the entire albergue for items you might have left behind.
7:30 amLeave and start hiking.
7:40 amRealize that you forgot your stretching exercises, so stop to stretch some.
7:45 amContinue hiking.
8:10 amEncounter a tempting bar. Decide to stop for coffee and a tortilla, pastry, or toast.
8:45 amLeave and hike some more.
9:30 amStop to put on suntan lotion and to stow your fleece jacket.
9:40 amSerious hiking begins.
9:50 amStop to remove stone from shoe.
9:55 amSerious hiking begins again.
9:57 amStop to tighten and/or loosen shoe laces.
10:00 amSerious hiking begins for real.

Stop occasionally to take pictures, drink water, rest, explore churches, etc.
11:30 amMid-morning snack: Fruit, water, trail mix, etc. Possibly find a bar, have a drink and use the toilet.
12:15 pmMore serious hiking with occasional stops, as above.
2:00 pmEncounter restaurant OR stop to have lunch on the trail. Whichever, take some time to take off shoes and socks (not in the restaurant - please!) and air everything out.
3:00 pmMore hiking, remember to stretch first this time.
4:00 pmEncounter bar: Stop for a cool drink and a bathroom break.
4:15 pmMore hiking, occasional stops.
5:30 pmReach destination.
5:45 pmFinally locate the albergue.

Find the hospitalero and check in:
  • You ask: Do you have beds? (Hay camas?)
  • The hospitalero asks: Por dormir? (for sleeping? - answer "si")
  • Hand over your pilgrims credentials to the hospitalero who will copy information from it into the register, and will also ask you two questions:
    • Where are you from?
    • What is your age?
  • The hospitalero will then stamp and date your credentials.
  • You are then pointed to the dormitories where you can choose your bed

    On your way, check out the facilities (bathrooms, showers, kitchen, etc.)
  • Check to make sure that the bunk-bed is solidly constructed - one evening Linda slept in fear of the bed collapsing but afraid to fix it because I was sound asleep above her.
  • After you drop your pack on a bed, go back and Pay a donation to the albergue! Suggested: 3-5 euros per person.
6:00 pmUnpack and wash up
  • Air out blanket or sleeping bag.
  • Examine feet.
  • Complain about blisters to anyone who is nearby.
  • Compare blisters.
  • Argue about whose blisters are bigger and whose tendonitis is more painful.
  • Shower, toilet, etc.
  • Change clothes.
  • Wash today's clothes and hang them and your wet towels outside to dry (or inside, if it's raining outside).
  • Tend to feet.
  • Possibly: Shop for next day's food or other supplies, if there's a tienda or supermercado nearby.
  • Arrange pack so that you can get into bed quickly and quietly when it is time to go to sleep, and also that you can leave the room quickly and quietly the next morning.
7:00 pmRelax, read, play cards, chat with other pilgrims, nap, use internet, etc. (depends on what's locally available).
8:00 pmDinner at local restaurant, usually having the "Menu del Dia" or the "Menu del Peregrino".

OR use the facilities at the albergue to make your own food.
9:30 pmBack to the albergue, fetch clothes from clothesline on the way. Complain about expensive "quick dry" clothes that do not dry quickly. Possibly play more cards, chat some more with other pilgrims, etc.
10:30 pmGo to bed

As you can tell, we hiked on a pretty relaxed schedule. In general, our approach was to enjoy the walking as much as possible, even if this meant walking fewer kilometers per day.