Sleeping and Accommodations on the Camino de Santiago

In the Camino forums and the pilgrim gatherings I’ve attended, a lot of people have a lot of questions and anxiety about one important matter: sleeping. So much so, a lot of prospective pilgrims I met put their feet down and booked private accommodations before they even laid a foot on the path.

Experienced pilgrims will tell you, “Everyone walks their own Camino,” and sleeping is no exception. There is no right way to sleep across Spain, but I’m of the opinion you’ll get more out of the Camino experience if you experience more than a private room with ensuite. Except for two nights, I stayed in the common room of public and private albergues every night, which I ended up really enjoying in a “We’re all in this together!” sort of way and recommend for all of the good, bad and indifferent things that go along with that.
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My 2014 Travel Year in Review

Short version: 2014 was an amazing year of travel for me.

I went to four different places I’ve wanted to visit for a long time and managed a return to New York while I was at it.

New York (hello, old friend)

2014 was remarkable because I only made it to NYC once this year (not a real problem, I know). Even though I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve visited NYC, this was my first trip taking public transit to and from Laguardia, thanks to a late-2013 change to the Q70 routing. It’s now an airport limited service, connecting Laguardia to the E/F/M/R/7 trains into Manhattan.

I visited in May, when spring was in full force and it was simply splendid. However, we did have a cracker of a storm one night, which yielded this unforgettable image captured by a lucky fellow over in Brooklyn:

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Beer travel in Spain (no, really!)

When I traveled in Spain in 2011, the beer was … fine. A number of the large commercial brands I drank reminded me of the large commercial brands I avoid in North America. For Spain, lighter beers are well-suited for the climate in some areas, particularly in the heat of Andalucia. Again, they were … fine, but I wasn’t longing for them when I got home.

When I returned to Spain in 2014, it was a whole new world. A world of cerveza artesanal. And it was good.

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Barcelona, 11S and Independence in Catalunya

I’ve been to Barcelona twice, and each visit coincided with important Catalan cultural celebrations. As a Canadian who has watched a couple of significant efforts toward independence for Quebec in my lifetime, I thought I had a decent understanding of what to expect when I visited Barcelona on September 11, 2014. It turned out to be so much more than any one thing – it was a  solemn celebration, a raging party and a plan for the future.

Sidebar: September 11 is La Diada Nacional de Catalunya, an important commemoration of the defeat of Catalunya during the war of Spanish succession  in 1714.

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