I think in the U.S. we have a crazy obsession with who and how someone is going to murder us. They don’t seem to be so worried about that here.
I remember Mr. Wingard in 4th grade social studies talking about Europe and how they had these places to stay called Hostels. They were very cheap for young people to stay in, but they could be very dangerous. I determined that I would never do that because I like living and I am not a fan of getting murdered. To my wife and mother who might be reading this, no we are not dead yet. The most threatening thing we have seen so far in this entire trip is two people inviting us for yoga out in the front lawn today.
On the Camino, this Hostel concept is taken to the next level. They call them an Albergue. They are a Hostel that is designed and used only by pilgrims on the Camino. In order to stay there you have to verify that you have walked (or biked) from a previous town by showing them your camino credential that has been stamped there the day before.
Sometimes you are in a group dormitory, other times you have your own room for an extra fee. They also typically have group bathrooms/shower rooms. Often times, since we are a group of four they give us our own space.
For COVID, they have all installed rubber mattress covers and pillow cases. Laughably, to protect you from infection, they give you a toilet paper thin sheet to cover you bed. Think of those toilet seat covers at an airport. Essential equipment is a silk sleep sack to then use as your sheets and pillowcase.
The price at these places are crazy cheap. They can cost as few as 5 or 6 Euro, but most are around 8-10. The places are very spartan in the sleeping quarters, but they are typically immaculate.
Most will include a place to hand wash your clothes and a clothes line. There are also nice big community areas to site and visit with other pilgrims. Usually there is seating indoors and outdoors. Most also have a community kitchen however some of them are closed do to, um, COVID?
Many times Albergues are repurposed buildings. Earlier this week we stayed in St. Steven a 11th century church. Last night we stayed in a nun’s cell at the Santa Clare Convent. Some are private, some are ran by they city and other are run by a church or religious order. These special places to stay have really been part of the unique Camino experience.
2 Comments Add yours
Wow, that cheap! They really care for the people on the road. Just like “Tony” – the guy who sold watermelons – these people seem to make their work something they live for. The amenities, like the paper-thin sheets, are a little funny, but at least they are doing something.
We do get caught in the belief that someone could murder us, but maybe that belief creates more murders?
The stamps are a pretty genius idea. They know exactly where you came from; imagine if you lost the card though 😮.
Do you or Blaise speak good Spanish? I am just curious. Tony did speak to you in broken English 😅.
But have a good walk, make it one to remember!!!
Thanks for reaching out Noah. People are pretty nice here ( it may be because we have Euros.) I speak half descent Spanish. I can order us food and make reservations. Most importantly I can get us coffee and cokes.