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4-week experience of being a Hospitalero

TomSawyer

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances x2 + in Cambodia+Thailand. Now VdlP
I've just completed a 4-week stint as a (volunteer) Hospitalero on the VdlP, and I'm so pleased that I did it because it really was an eye-opener.
As pilgrims, we trail from albergue to albergue without often thinking about the work that goes into ensuring that we reach a clean and safe bed at the end of a stage.
My experience was overall positive.
I met so many interesting and loving people.
I also met three pilgrims who represent (for me) some of the negativity on the Camino that tends to spread much faster and further than all of the positivity.
One pilgrim paid his money for the night, and while I was showing another pilgrim around the bathroom, he took back his money from the money box. I couldn't prove it was him - I didn't want to create a negative atmosphere - but the next day, I concluded that it had to have been him.
Another pilgrim (female) spent an hour in the shower. When the rest of the newly-arrived pilgrims asked me when she was coming out (so they could shower) I knocked on the door (got a reply from her) and entered because no water was running and her voice was coming from the end of the bathroom, where the mirror is - furthest away from the shower area. Fully clothed, brushing her hair, she screamed at me that she was "having a shower!". The next morning, she was indignant that she had to wake up so early (to leave by 8 am) and a few days later left a 1-Star review on Google for the albergue - as if it were a hotel experience from hell. I later found out that she returned to her homeland and is continuing her one-star reviews of businesses.
The third pilgrim was explained all of the albergue rules and promptly ignored them all.
I'm writing this piece because when you come across a seemingly rude or curt hospitalero/hospitalera, it is most likely because they have experienced pilgrims similar to the ones that I experienced.
And it is such a shame because this minority of self-absorbed people really ruin it for everyone else.
Still, I refuse to allow those three pilgrims to take from me the beautiful memories of time spent with all of the other pilgrims whom I spent amazing times with.
Buen Camino! :)
 
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I always appreciate my time in albergues but it must be challenging with so many first timers
 
I've just completed a 4-week stint as a (volunteer) Hospitalero on the VdlP, and I'm so pleased that I did it because it really was an eye-opener.
As pilgrims, we trail from albergue to albergue without often thinking about the work that goes into ensuring that we reach a clean and safe bed at the end of a stage.
My experience was overall positive.
I met so many interesting and loving people.
I also met three pilgrims who represent (for me) some of the negativity on the Camino that tends to spread much faster and further than all of the positivity.
One pilgrim paid his money for the night, and while I was showing another pilgrim around the bathroom, he took back his money from the money box. I couldn't prove it was him - I didn't want to create a negative atmosphere - but the next day, I concluded that it had to have been him.
Another pilgrim (female) spent an hour in the shower. When the rest of the newly-arrived pilgrims asked me when she was coming out (so they could shower) I knocked on the door (got a reply from her) and entered because no water was running and her voice was coming from the end of the bathroom, where the mirror is - furthest away from the shower area. Fully clothed, brushing her hair, she screamed at me that she was "having a shower!". The next morning, she was indignant that she had to wake up so early (to leave by 8 am) and a few days later left a 1-Star review on Google for the albergue - as if it were a hotel experience from hell. I later found out that she returned to her homeland and is continuing her one-star reviews of businesses.
The third pilgrim was explained all of the albergue rules and promptly ignored them all.
I'm writing this piece because when you come across a seemingly rude or curt hospitalero/hospitalera, it is most likely because they have experienced pilgrims similar to the ones that I experienced.
And it is such a shame because this minority of self-absorbed people really ruin it for everyone else.
Still, I refuse to allow those three pilgrims to take from me the beautiful memories of time spent with all of the other pilgrims whom I spent amazing times with.
Buen Camino! :)
Thank you for your report. I looked to see where you are from, to get an idea of your operating modus vivendi... not much luck!
Four weeks is a decent span of time. You had relatively few dis-graceful people. Isn't that a plus? However, even one is a shame.
My limited experience as hospitalera confirms your own, and yes, it is a different and deeper awareness of pilgrimage, but as you know, each one steps along her/his/their own path in this wonderful and strange phenomenon that is life!
 
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I would have guessed/hoped that because you were on the VDLP, and therefore mostly dealing with experienced pilgrims, you wouldn't run into people like the bathroom-hog. One would expect that to be more like the behaviour of someone who is just starting their first camino. Glad to hear these were the exceptions.
 
Good for you @TomSawyer That's a long stint as a hospitalero and I'm sure the vast majority of people appreciated the albergue and your efforts. I hope so. 🙏

I do wonder though why two of the replies above assume that the people who behaved selfishly and, in one case, dishonestly were first time pilgrims. Anecdotal evidence would say that first time pilgrims are not often found on the Via de la Plata. Maybe they were, maybe they weren't - but I don't think those assumptions are fair or helpful.
 
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I have not done the work of a hospitalero yet. And honestly, it might well be still years away. So thank you for giving your time so that others can enjoy the Camino.

Your remarks about less-than-pleasant pilgrims made me pick my mind. As of now, i can not really remember meeting a truly unpleasant pilgrim (or hospitalero) on my 60-something days on the Camino. But then, as a pilgrim, i have the flexibility. It might well be that they where there, but i got a bad vibe from them and moved away before things could get weird. As a hospi, you don't have this option. (ofc you could kick them out but i guess thats a last resort). Which makes the effort put in by you and others even more valuable. Thanks again!
 
So sorry to read about such thoughtless people. Hopefully, their karma will follow them around and give them what is due to them.
We had a bathroom hog in our albergue in Sansol too. One bathroom for 12 people and she seemed to think it was hers and hers alone. Not sure why some people are so unaware.

The people leaving their trash all over the path, or their bed, who never clean up after themselves, makes me wonder if they live some sort of priviliged life where they never had to do anything, like clean the kitchen or their room or the bathroom.
 
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I've just completed a 4-week stint as a (volunteer) Hospitalero on the VdlP, and I'm so pleased that I did it because it really was an eye-opener.
As pilgrims, we trail from albergue to albergue without often thinking about the work that goes into ensuring that we reach a clean and safe bed at the end of a stage.
My experience was overall positive.
I met so many interesting and loving people.
I also met three pilgrims who represent (for me) some of the negativity on the Camino that tends to spread much faster and further than all of the positivity.
One pilgrim paid his money for the night, and while I was showing another pilgrim around the bathroom, he took back his money from the money box. I couldn't prove it was him - I didn't want to create a negative atmosphere - but the next day, I concluded that it had to have been him.
Another pilgrim (female) spent an hour in the shower. When the rest of the newly-arrived pilgrims asked me when she was coming out (so they could shower) I knocked on the door (got a reply from her) and entered because no water was running and her voice was coming from the end of the bathroom, where the mirror is - furthest away from the shower area. Fully clothed, brushing her hair, she screamed at me that she was "having a shower!". The next morning, she was indignant that she had to wake up so early (to leave by 8 am) and a few days later left a 1-Star review on Google for the albergue - as if it were a hotel experience from hell. I later found out that she returned to her homeland and is continuing her one-star reviews of businesses.
The third pilgrim was explained all of the albergue rules and promptly ignored them all.
I'm writing this piece because when you come across a seemingly rude or curt hospitalero/hospitalera, it is most likely because they have experienced pilgrims similar to the ones that I experienced.
And it is such a shame because this minority of self-absorbed people really ruin it for everyone else.
Still, I refuse to allow those three pilgrims to take from me the beautiful memories of time spent with all of the other pilgrims whom I spent amazing times with.
Buen Camino! :)
Unfortunately, these days, far too many people walk around with the mantra “HELLO ME, SCREW YOU” proudly emblazoned on their forehead. Thank you for your service.
 
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I try to not form an opinion about other's actions based on how I would act. And...I would love to hear stories during your 4 week volunteer time of where you saw examples of kindness, love and/or sacrifice of pilgrims.
 
I walked the C Aragones and CF in June/July 2019 when I was 71. The only sad experience I had was witnessing mainly younger walkers walking out of bars and cafes without paying qhenstaff were not watching. I was astonished. Alllmy other experiences were amazing, and the hosputaleros were, and are, a very special group of people.
 
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Would love to read a posting sometime about the positive aspects of your experience. Thanks!
Hi David. I live just over Pyrenees in France, so walked to Olorons-st- Marie, over the col de Somport to Jaca and the Aragones & CF to Compostella, then on to Finisterra and KM 0. Wonderful. I averaged over 20kms per day, max 37, min 11 after getting shin splints. I always started before 0700, and I naturally walk quickly so was always within the first few for overnight lodging. I never had a problem finding a bed despite never booking ahead. I was also very lucky to only have 1 rainy day.
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I will be 76 next May and plan to do the Camino Primitivo, cancer treatment allowing.
Buen Camino.
 
Thank you for your report. I looked to see where you are from, to get an idea of your operating modus vivendi... not much luck!
Four weeks is a decent span of time. You had relatively few dis-graceful people. Isn't that a plus? However, even one is a shame.
My limited experience as hospitalera confirms your own, and yes, it is a different and deeper awareness of pilgrimage, but as you know, each one steps along her/his/their own path in this wonderful and strange phenomenon that is life!
I didn't want to mention the albergue because I'm writing about my experience and I don't speak for the albergue. I chose to serve at the albergue because I stayed there one night in January and loved both the albergue and the village.
Yes, 98% of the pilgrims were amazing.
Really.
I had so many hugs when they left in the morning and I experienced some deep wisdom and felt humbled by it.
I wrote the post because I can only imagine what it must be like if you own an albergue and you have to experience the 2% over and over again - season after season.
Btw, the albergue owners insisted that I forget about the stolen money, but I was adamant that I pay it out of my pocket because I was responsible for collecting and storing the money.
Eventually, I had to literally beg them to let me pay the money :)
They are the most incredible albergue owners - a couple with three children - and I saw how deeply they believe in the way and in the act of pilgrimage.
They can hardly be earning anything from their albergue, but they just love what they do.
Therefore, it is a shame that they have to put up signs in the albergue such as 'Please don't steal the sheets'.
Yes, they told me that sometimes some pilgrims steal the bed sheets and a blanket or two.
 
Good for you @TomSawyer That's a long stint as a hospitalero and I'm sure the vast majority of people appreciated the albergue and your efforts. I hope so. 🙏

I do wonder though why two of the replies above assume that the people who behaved selfishly and, in one case, dishonestly were first time pilgrims. Anecdotal evidence would say that first time pilgrims are not often found on the Via de la Plata. Maybe they were, maybe they weren't - but I don't think those assumptions are fair or helpful.
During the winter, it can be a cheap holiday in the sun for people who want to also stay fit. Only a few of the pilgrims whom I served were going all the way to Santiago, and about half had walked caminos before. The rest were taking advantage of the warm weather and dipping their blistered toes into the Camino (except for the diva in the shower who was basically a pilgrim tourist.)
 
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I try to not form an opinion about other's actions based on how I would act. And...I would love to hear stories during your 4 week volunteer time of where you saw examples of kindness, love and/or sacrifice of pilgrims.
They are personal experiences - between me and my pilgrims.
 
Unfortunately, these days, far too many people walk around with the mantra “HELLO ME, SCREW YOU” proudly emblazoned on their forehead. Thank you for your service.
Yeah, "The Camino Provides" is a typical mantra. Shouldn't it be "The Pilgrim Provides"?. There was one guy, who is still on his way, and he turned up - asking if he could stay the night and pay in the morning because he had lost his credit card. Said he only had 11 Euro. My intuition kicked in and I recommended that he see if he could stay at the municipal albergue. Two day's later, a pilgrim arrived and began telling me about this guy whom she met in Sevilla and who had lost his credit card. She lent him 35 Euro and he promised to pay her back in the morning. In the morning, he ignored her and she never did get her money back. I contacted all of the albergues for the next week ahead and warned them about this freeloader.
 
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Would love to read a posting sometime about the positive aspects of your experience. Thanks!
They are personal. I want to selfishly keep them for myself. They will forever be experiences that contribute to my growth as a human being. Being a Hospitalero was a bit like doing the Camino without having to do all that darn walking :) I recommend it. Volunteering is empowering and I will keep those memories, with those camino angels siempre.
 
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Fine to haar Aboutaleb this.
I am a hospitalero in Roncesvalles for 2 weeks and that is also heavy.
where did you this hospitalero working?
I don't want to say because I am writing from my perspective and I don't speak for the albergue. I was going to write that it could have been any albergue - that it was just an issue with two people and not the building - but the albergue has such an amazing atmosphere and energy that I think it was a catalyst for the really positive experiences that I had with the 98% of pilgrims.
 
I didn't want to mention the albergue because I'm writing about my experience and I don't speak for the albergue. I chose to serve at the albergue because I stayed there one night in January and loved both the albergue and the village.
Yes, 98% of the pilgrims were amazing.
Really.
I had so many hugs when they left in the morning and I experienced some deep wisdom and felt humbled by it.
I wrote the post because I can only imagine what it must be like if you own an albergue and you have to experience the 2% over and over again - season after season.
Btw, the albergue owners insisted that I forget about the stolen money, but I was adamant that I pay it out of my pocket because I was responsible for collecting and storing the money.
Eventually, I had to literally beg them to let me pay the money :)
They are the most incredible albergue owners - a couple with three children - and I saw how deeply they believe in the way and in the act of pilgrimage.
They can hardly be earning anything from their albergue, but they just love what they do.
Therefore, it is a shame that they have to put up signs in the albergue such as 'Please don't steal the sheets'.
Yes, they told me that sometimes some pilgrims steal the bed sheets and a blanket or two.
I completely support your attitude to protecting confidentiality.
 
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I'm at the age now where I'm coming to grips with the fact that there will be selfish jerks in the world who are suffering and creating suffering. I just know that somehow, I have to find a way to be at peace and still love people in the midst of it all.
It's a scientific fact that 4% of the world's population are psychopaths. A few of them, at least, must make their way onto the camino. Easy pickings for them.
 
Thanks for a fascinating post. I'm very interested in the hospitalero/pilgrim dynamic, and considering the stresses both are often under and the cultural disjunctions involved, it's incredible that so few abrasive interactions occur.

I've never been accused of hogging the showers but I have been busted for smoking on the terrace and staying in bed after 8 ... Guilty on both counts.

Also accused of stealing food from the hospitaleros' fridge and failing to leave a donation ... Innocent on both charges, of course. There are things one doesn't do, but my accusers were 100% certain that I'd committed both crimes and declined to accept my assurance to the contrary. So it goes, as Kurt Vonnegut used to say.
 
Thank you, TomSawyer, for sharing your experience as a hospitalero, on the other side of the table in the recepción, on the other side of the visible world.
I have been with my albergue for 5 years now, and I confirm your experience. I especially appreciate what you said about how hospitaleros can easily become less and less friendly. It is a reality that I did not imagine either. We hospitaleros have to defend the logical functioning of the albergue, but we also have to defend our dignity, the right to be respected.
I am not going to tell anything about the usual negative things that happen every day and that it would be VERY good for all the pilgrims to know so that they could put themselves in our place. There is much more than what you have told, of course. I'm just going to give an example, and I do it because that's what sometimes happens to me and because it happened to me only half an hour ago. Some pilgrims, from countries where the temperature is very cold, have told me that pilgrims are cold... that if I can raise the temperature 2 degrees. I have gone up to the rooms and they are 19 degrees... they have tried to make me feel guilty.
I don't know many hostels that have the heating at that temperature day AND NIGHT. My experience is that the more I give, the more they ask of me (I work 10, 12 or more hours a day), and almost no one says "thank you for being open in winter." This is negative for the Camino, because in some way we are forced to maintain a kind of theatrical representation that the Camino is wonderful at the price of hiding our fatigue and our feelings, often of loneliness and frustration.
Thank you for the post, I feel represented, and thank you because a pilgrim did it, if a hospitalero did it it would have been considered unfriendly.
At this moment I am the only albergue open in Frómista, Betania closed until January, and... what happens to the pilgrims if I close???... Today 23 people would have slept on the street, but what worries them the most pilgrims it's cold at 19 degrees...
Very sad.
 
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Today 23 people would have slept on the street, but what worries them the most pilgrims it's cold at 19 degrees...
Very sad.
Some people come with unrealistic expectations and a remarkable sense of entitlement. Several years ago I heard a young man yell to an entire dorm "This place is shit!" because he couldn't get a WiFi connection on his tablet. He had been charged €5 for a bed in an albergue with brand new beds, toilets and showers but that apparently wasn't enough... 🙄
 
18-19 degrees is my preferred sleeping temperature. In a shared space with body heat maybe lower.
Me too. I guess it's from growing up in a farmhouse.
I LOVE a cold bedroom!

I once had a couple of pilgrims try to tell me I would get sick and DIE if I slept with the window open!
Needless to say, I took the bunk right next to the window and kept it cracked all night, just so I could breathe, because it was like a sauna in there!
 
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18-19 degrees is my preferred sleeping temperature. In a shared space with body heat maybe lower.
Totally agree!!!

And, on the positive side, which there are also, a young Frenchman came an hour ago to tell me not to pay attention to those pilgrims, the temperature is good.
I want to say that last night this pilgrim slept in a tent in... the top of Mostelares!!!, with a temperature below 0 degrees Celsius, and he saw beautiful sky with stars, but above all he saw a unforgettable sunrise.

Moments like this and people like him close to me, -and there are not a few-, are what make me often say that there are not many things better than being hospitalero on the Camino de Santiago, and opening a albergue every morning thinking that every day is a new and different adventure.

I can't repay him for the positive energy he has given me back, and I have told him so.
 
I want to say that last night this pilgrim slept in a tent in... the top of Mostelares!!!, with a temperature below 0 degrees Celsius, and he saw beautiful sky with stars, but above all he saw a unforgettable sunrise.
In January 2022 I walked the Via de la Plata. For a few nights on the very long stages I slept outdoors in a bivvy bag with a warm down sleeping bag. Twice I woke up with frost on the bivvy bag having slept soundly right through the night.
 
I'm at the age now where I'm coming to grips with the fact that there will be selfish jerks in the world who are suffering and creating suffering. I just know that somehow, I have to find a way to be at peace and still love people in the midst of it all.

It's hard isn't it? And I know it's something I have to get better at.
I have worked with 'selfish jerks' that cause all kinds of stress to those around them, but wander through life oblivious to the misery and stress they cause others.

On the one hand, we can feel obliged or 'duty bound' to call out their behaviour so that the impact they have on others can be minimised.

Then on the other hand, we can turn the other cheek, and 'choose' not to be impacted by the behaviour. But then it continues. One of life's challenges.

My better half, Pat, can easily be upset by the poor behaviour of others.
I remind her that she is 'choosing' to be upset and the other person is probably totally unaware that their behaviour is upsetting her...... :rolleyes::rolleyes:

How would we cope as Hospis ? Maybe we'll find out one day.
 
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Thank you, TomSawyer, for sharing your experience as a hospitalero, on the other side of the table in the recepción, on the other side of the visible world.
I have been with my albergue for 5 years now, and I confirm your experience. I especially appreciate what you said about how hospitaleros can easily become less and less friendly. It is a reality that I did not imagine either. We hospitaleros have to defend the logical functioning of the albergue, but we also have to defend our dignity, the right to be respected.
I am not going to tell anything about the usual negative things that happen every day and that it would be VERY good for all the pilgrims to know so that they could put themselves in our place. There is much more than what you have told, of course. I'm just going to give an example, and I do it because that's what sometimes happens to me and because it happened to me only half an hour ago. Some pilgrims, from countries where the temperature is very cold, have told me that pilgrims are cold... that if I can raise the temperature 2 degrees. I have gone up to the rooms and they are 19 degrees... they have tried to make me feel guilty.
I don't know many hostels that have the heating at that temperature day AND NIGHT. My experience is that the more I give, the more they ask of me (I work 10, 12 or more hours a day), and almost no one says "thank you for being open in winter." This is negative for the Camino, because in some way we are forced to maintain a kind of theatrical representation that the Camino is wonderful at the price of hiding our fatigue and our feelings, often of loneliness and frustration.
Thank you for the post, I feel represented, and thank you because a pilgrim did it, if a hospitalero did it it would have been considered unfriendly.
At this moment I am the only albergue open in Frómista, Betania closed until January, and... what happens to the pilgrims if I close???... Today 23 people would have slept on the street, but what worries them the most pilgrims it's cold at 19 degrees...
Very sad.

I've stayed in your hostel and it's a wonderful place, welcoming and full of energy. The first time I was there you had a colleague to help you, but the second time you were running it alone and I marvelled at how perfect everything was. I got up late as usual but you were happy to let me sit around talking with a lady who arrived early and whom you admitted pleasantly way before opening time. I've never forgotten your kindness and I've no doubt most of the others who've stayed there have similar happy memories. Please don't think that we don't see your hard work or your kindness, we do, but we don't say anything ... But we don't forget, the Camino is a string of pearls and the beads are the hospis we meet and whose loving kindness we seem to take for granted. Gracias amigo.
 
In January 2022 I walked the Via de la Plata. For a few nights on the very long stages I slept outdoors in a bivvy bag with a warm down sleeping bag. Twice I woke up with frost on the bivvy bag having slept soundly right through the night.
I'm glad to hear you say this because we've wondered how to deal with those longer stages!
 
As pilgrims, we trail from albergue to albergue without often thinking about the work that goes into ensuring that we reach a clean and safe bed at the end of a stage.
I call them ´the invisible pilgrims´ (a reference to Machado´s line about walking making the way) because they make the camino as much as the people who walk it. They are the hospis, paid or voluntary, the associations negotiating with land owners, the council workers, even the councils, thousands of people up and down Spain, Portugal and France, all working to maintain the actual physical camino and its infrastructure.

As for the one in a hundred or two hundred individuals who misbehaves, two things to remember: firstly, you don´t know what has been going on in their life or that day to make them lose the plot - we´ve all behaved badly at some point in our lives, secondly (and this is very important for the hospi), they´ll be out the door next day and you will never see them again. It´s worth it for the sake of the other one hundred and ninety nine.
 
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In January 2022 I walked the Via de la Plata. For a few nights on the very long stages I slept outdoors in a bivvy bag with a warm down sleeping bag. Twice I woke up with frost on the bivvy bag having slept soundly right through the night.
This is excellent advice.
When I walked the VdlP in January, I noticed a few pilgrims camped in tents along the way.
Tents are more comfortable - you get a "home" for the night - but you will inevitably stand out and some farmers (quite rightly) will not take kindly to you camping on their land.
If you camp on private land in summer and you accidentally start a fire, the farmer is held responsible and fined.
Bradypus mentions taking a bivvy bag instead and this is the way to go.
Personally, I would take a sleeping mat, a sleeping bag, and a bivvy bag.
Bivvy bags can be expensive and the sleeping mat will help protect it from any damage - plus, it will help keep you warm in the winter months.
The clear advantage of bivvying down at the end of the day is that you are going to be so much less conspicuous.
Also, if it is a clear night, you can take in the marvels of the Milky Way.
The only negatives I have experienced with a bivvy is that you do need to shell out a bit for one with a breathable membrane (which I have). Otherwise, you will wake up in the morning and your sleeping bag will be wet from the water generated by your body overnight.
Also, try not to buy one that is yellow or orange :)
I have a stealth black one.
The Spanish law states (please correct me if I am wrong) that you can camp for one night in one place when doing a long-distance walk.
You must be far enough from any local water sources, you must get the permission of the landowner if you plan to sleep on farmland, and you must (of course) leave no trace behind when you pack up and leave.
If you are tight on money or if (like me) you just love camping out in the nature, you could (for example) bivvy for two nights and get an albergue for the third night, and so on.
 
I call them ´the invisible pilgrims´ (a reference to Machado´s line about walking making the way) because they make the camino as much as the people who walk it. They are the hospis, paid or voluntary, the associations negotiating with land owners, the council workers, even the councils, thousands of people up and down Spain, Portugal and France, all working to maintain the actual physical camino and its infrastructure.

As for the one in a hundred or two hundred individuals who misbehaves, two things to remember: firstly, you don´t know what has been going on in their life or that day to make them lose the plot - we´ve all behaved badly at some point in our lives, secondly (and this is very important for the hospi), they´ll be out the door next day and you will never see them again. It´s worth it for the sake of the other one hundred and ninety nine.
Yes, I was definitely mindful of the possible reasons for why the pilgrims were walking their Camino.
This, however, doesn't excuse theft and toxic behaviour.
I was hoping that the diva woman would walk the whole Camino and find her way along the way, but I checked her Google reviews and saw that she returned home soon after and wrote another 1-star review for some other business that she visited in her homeland.
She was a tourist pilgrim and - sorry to write it - the Camino is better off without her.
The other pilgrims didn't want to walk with her (they were complaining so much about her to me the next day after she had left) so I imagine she just never did bloom into her Camino butterfly.
 
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It's hard isn't it? And I know it's something I have to get better at.
I have worked with 'selfish jerks' that cause all kinds of stress to those around them, but wander through life oblivious to the misery and stress they cause others.

On the one hand, we can feel obliged or 'duty bound' to call out their behaviour so that the impact they have on others can be minimised.

Then on the other hand, we can turn the other cheek, and 'choose' not to be impacted by the behaviour. But then it continues. One of life's challenges.

My better half, Pat, can easily be upset by the poor behaviour of others.
I remind her that she is 'choosing' to be upset and the other person is probably totally unaware that their behaviour is upsetting her...... :rolleyes::rolleyes:

How would we cope as Hospis ? Maybe we'll find out one day.
One of the owners of the albergue confided in me that the VdlP has changed a lot in the past 5 years.
They didn't used to have to remind pilgrims of simple things like please don't steal the bed sheets and the toilet paper, etc. One group of pilgrims that they had, had a party one night and trashed the place. It is a shame that there isn't a central pilgrim office in Sevilla that all pilgrims must visit for their first sello, and where they are explained what is expected of them on the camino.
 
Prepare for your next Camino on Santa Catalina Island, March 17-20
It's a scientific fact that 4% of the world's population are psychopaths. A few of them, at least, must make their way onto the camino. Easy pickings for them.
If that is your true opinion, you would be better off doing something else.
 
If that is your true opinion, you would be better off doing something else.
Reading through about 35 articles towards the top of the search engine lists on percentages of psychopaths and sociopaths, averages seem to be ~1% of each. In USA men about 1-1.4%, women 0.4-0.7%. Prisoners - 15-25%. Business and governmental leaders, ~3-4%. Some occupations and some associations rank higher on the lists. A few articles had estimates upwards of 3.6%, but most, as reported, are about 1% or thereabouts. I am no expert on the topic myself [Well, then why are you even commenting? one might ask], but I thought I'd check on what The Internet has to say.
 
Reading through about 35 articles towards the top of the search engine lists on percentages of psychopaths and sociopaths, averages seem to be ~1% of each. In USA men about 1-1.4%, women 0.4-0.7%. Prisoners - 15-25%. Business and governmental leaders, ~3-4%. Some occupations and some associations rank higher on the lists. A few articles had estimates upwards of 3.6%, but most, as reported, are about 1% or thereabouts. I am no expert on the topic myself [Well, then why are you even commenting? one might ask], but I thought I'd check on what The Internet has to say.

Why have I had to work with so many of them over the last 50 years!! Certainly more than 1% :oops::oops::oops:
 
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I have to say a huge thanks to all contributors to the original post. It is the best and most accurate post I have ever read about the Camino. Brilliant.
 
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If that is your true opinion, you would be better off doing something else.
The op was speaking about experience, no? Your post seems to me to be a tad too critical. We are all trying to share here, experiences, and opinions...
For crying out loud - favourite exclamation of my mother's (correct apostrophe) - to use common parlance - give the op some slack!
And now, on the question of whatever, I forget! 😇 it only dawned on me towards the end of my CF that indeed I had benefitted from the generosity of all the volunteers in the albergues we had shared when fellow pilgrims told us of their intention to vounteer, to give back something of what they had received along the Camino. Some people catch that. Many don't, but that is nothing to do with me.
For everything there is a season. At the approaching sound of the requisite number of trombones, I know how limited I am, how little I know, and I am just thankful to be able to learn and add to my share of human knowledge before the bell tolls for me., 😇
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Maybe we should take a lesson from teaching little kids?

Give Pilgrims a Gold Star in their Credencial for good behaviour :):)
Why have I had to work with so many of them over the last 50 years!! Certainly more than 1% :oops::oops::oops:
Yes, on average, it's been scientifically proven that around 4 or 5% of the general population can be classified as psychopaths. It's not my opinion. It's just facts. It isn't unrealistic to conceive of some of these going on a Camino.
 
To turn the conversation back to a positive vibe, I'd like to ask any pilgrims if they would like to share any experiences about Hospitaleros and/or Hospitaleras with whom they have had wonderful experiences with that made a big difference to their Camino?
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
It isn't unrealistic to conceive of some of these going on a Camino.
I think that the Caminos may host a higher than average percentage of people with some form of mental instability. Turning to some overt form of religious or spiritual practice for support or healing is a common enough response for the troubled. Quite where that crosses over the threshold into mental illness is a difficult judgement though.
 
To turn the conversation back to a positive vibe, I'd like to ask any pilgrims if they would like to share any experiences about Hospitaleros and/or Hospitaleras with whom they have had wonderful experiences with that made a big difference to their Camino?
I've told the story of my unfortunate arrival at Beilari before but it might be worth reposting it here in this context.
Post in thread 'How did a hospy mark your Camino?' https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/how-did-a-hospy-mark-your-camino.50377/post-549921
 
I've just completed a 4-week stint as a (volunteer) Hospitalero on the VdlP, and I'm so pleased that I did it because it really was an eye-opener.
As pilgrims, we trail from albergue to albergue without often thinking about the work that goes into ensuring that we reach a clean and safe bed at the end of a stage.
My experience was overall positive.
I met so many interesting and loving people.
I also met three pilgrims who represent (for me) some of the negativity on the Camino that tends to spread much faster and further than all of the positivity.
One pilgrim paid his money for the night, and while I was showing another pilgrim around the bathroom, he took back his money from the money box. I couldn't prove it was him - I didn't want to create a negative atmosphere - but the next day, I concluded that it had to have been him.
Another pilgrim (female) spent an hour in the shower. When the rest of the newly-arrived pilgrims asked me when she was coming out (so they could shower) I knocked on the door (got a reply from her) and entered because no water was running and her voice was coming from the end of the bathroom, where the mirror is - furthest away from the shower area. Fully clothed, brushing her hair, she screamed at me that she was "having a shower!". The next morning, she was indignant that she had to wake up so early (to leave by 8 am) and a few days later left a 1-Star review on Google for the albergue - as if it were a hotel experience from hell. I later found out that she returned to her homeland and is continuing her one-star reviews of businesses.
The third pilgrim was explained all of the albergue rules and promptly ignored them all.
I'm writing this piece because when you come across a seemingly rude or curt hospitalero/hospitalera, it is most likely because they have experienced pilgrims similar to the ones that I experienced.
And it is such a shame because this minority of self-absorbed people really ruin it for everyone else.
Still, I refuse to allow those three pilgrims to take from me the beautiful memories of time spent with all of the other pilgrims whom I spent amazing times with.
Buen Camino! :)
Do any pilgrims have any experiences with Hospitaleros and/or Hospitaleras, with whom they have had wonderful experiences with that made a big difference to their Camino? I would love for this thread to remain positive.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Do any pilgrims have any experiences with Hospitaleros and/or Hospitaleras, with whom they have had wonderful experiences with that made a big difference to their Camino? I would love for this thread to remain positive.

Great idea.

I remember the wonderful nice hospitalera Laura in 2011 from the municipal albergue in Mansilla de las Mulas ( I guess she was employed by the city ? ). She worked there on a permanent base ( now she seems to be the owner of her own casa rural somewhere on another Camino in Spain ). Laura expressed pure Caritas and she is a master in mending blisters.

I remember Jose Luis Anton, responsible for the albergue parroquial ( donativo ) in Tosantos. Humble and generous.


On the Vasco Interior in 2019 we stayed in the albergue in Beasain.The Spanish couple then in charge let us use the personal dryer to get our clothes dry.This was a very generous gesture.
They were also glad to see some pilgrims on this route as it was a very quiet season. Week after they would move to an albergue on the Norte where they hoped to see more pilgrims.

Praise to the very nice and funny Sisters of the albergue Espiritu Santo.

Etcetera...
 
Prepare for your next Camino on Santa Catalina Island, March 17-20
To turn the conversation back to a positive vibe, I'd like to ask any pilgrims if they would like to share any experiences about Hospitaleros and/or Hospitaleras with whom they have had wonderful experiences with that made a big difference to their Camino?
Many places, but @gmag (Gabriel) in albergue La Luz in Fromista was a fond acquaintance.
 
Many places, but @gmag (Gabriel) in albergue La Luz in Fromista was a fond acquaintance.
You are so right, Alex! I have had a few conversations with Gabriel since I had participated on a couple of art/painting threads he had started a few years ago. He is a very kind and sensitive man, and a knowledgeable teacher. Those threads were a refreshing change from the usual and I really enjoyed them. If I ever walk that way again, I will definitely stay at La Luz. It's a shame I did not know of him the two times I've walked the Frances.
 
To turn the conversation back to a positive vibe, I'd like to ask any pilgrims if they would like to share any experiences about Hospitaleros and/or Hospitaleras with whom they have had wonderful experiences with that made a big difference to their Camino?
Some of our favorites over the years:

On our first Camino in 2006 we stayed at San Anton, Marina hosted us because the regular hospitalero had been tragically killed in a train crash. She was WONDERFUL and made us feel so at-home.

Take your pick of any of the hospitaleros over the years at Albergue Roncesvalles. Always a great sense of humor and lots of patience with the crazy check-in process. Wonderful folks!

Tomas was a marvelous host at Manjarin one year. When a pilgrim walking in silence and barefoot showed up and the rest of us were taken aback, he knew exactly what was going on and invited the man in with open arms and wonderful hospitality.

Sarah and Iosu at Casa de la Abuela in Los Arcos have always made our stay enjoyable - and his CAKES are luscious.

Freda at Hospital de Orbigo let me put my tent out in the yard because I couldn't be inside with my MCS.

Jutta at Ventosa (San Saturnino) allowed a crying peregrina to shower there then directed her to a lovely spot in the churchyard where she spent the night.

Livia and Unai and dog Conan at La Piedra in Villafranca give the pilgrims directions to the river to soak their feet. They also allowed us to host a birthday party there one year.

We LOVED the Italian Confraternity and hospitalero Luigi at San Nicholas by Itero. They put on a beautiful dinner and foot-washing ceremony in candlelight. Very special.

We just love Noemi, Maria Luisa, Carmen and her husband (whose name escapes me at the moment) They are just precious! Always welcoming! Big hugs each time we arrive. Just lovely people.

Jose in Viana at Apartamentos Borgia carries everyone's bags up the 3 flights of stairs with a big old smile and makes sure we have a nice breakfast.

Caesar and Ignaki at Alb. Ibarrola in Pamplona are brothers who have a great sense of humor and tell wonderful stories - very helpful - anything you need.

In the past, one of the owners of Gite Compostella was Pierre. What a joy he was! A big hug and laugh when we arrived. He'd put on welcoming parties for our group and we'd invite everyone in the albergue - a good way to meet pilgrims from all over the world.

I have to mention Rebekah Scott, who hosted me one year when I was sick. She is a bottomless well of essential information for anyone walking any route. We just love her dedication and hospitality.

I can't forget Laurent at Auberge Borda. My first impression was that he reminded me of the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld! lol! BUT I quickly changed my mind as I spent time with him on his tightly run ship. He is supremely organized and very knowledgeable and passionate about the Camino. The communal dinner is great and the lodgings are exceptional.

And lastly, we are laughing as we remember "Lucifer" at San Martin Pinario, one of the servers at dinner who always gives pilgrims special treatment with his "wicked" sense of humor. lol!

There are more. This is just a sampling. There are a lot of private proprietors we didn't mention. 99% of our experiences have been posiitve!
 
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Thanks for starting a thread that deals with some of the unfortunate realities of the camino. While almost all aspects are positive, there's always the potential for less-than-positive interactions, and keeping those in mind helps set realistic expectations, and acts as a good reminder to everyone.

I confess I walked the CF last spring and spent far too much time navel-gazing... I spent almost the entire time completely focused on myself, searching for something(?) that I was hoping the camino would provide. In retrospect I needed to look up from my inward focus and spend more time acknowledging those around me - fellow pilgrims, hospitaleros, bar workers, everyone. I'll be walking the VDLP in April, and I'll be keeping this thread top of mind. I hope to do better next time.
 
Some of our favorites over the years:

On our first Camino in 2006 we stayed at San Anton, Marina hosted us because the regular hospitalero had been tragically killed in a train crash. She was WONDERFUL and made us so at-home.

Take your pick of any of the hospitaleros over the years at Albergue Roncesvalles. Always a great sense of humor and lots of patience with the crazy check-in process. Wonderful folks!

Tomas was a marvelous host at Manjarin one year. When a pilgrim walking in silence and barefoot showed up and the rest of us were taken aback, he knew exactly what was going on and invited the man in with open arms and wonderful hospitality.

Sarah and Iosu at Casa de la Abuela in Los Arcos have always made our stay enjoyable - and his CAKES are luscious.

Freda at Hospital de Orbigo let me put my tent out in the yard because I couldn't be inside with my MCS.

Jutta at Ventosa (San Saturnino) allowed a crying peregrina to shower there then directed her to a lovely spot in the churchyard where she spent the night.

Livia and Unai and dog Conan at La Piedra in Villafranca give the pilgrims directions to the river to soak their feet. They also allowed us to host a birthday party there one year.

We LOVED the Italian Confraternity and hospitalero Luigi at San Nicholas by Itero. They put on a beautiful dinner and foot-washing ceremony in candlelight. Very special.

We just love Noemi, Maria Luisa, Carmen and her husband (whose name escapes me at the moment) They are just precious! Always welcoming! Big hugs each time we arrive. Just lovely people.

Jose in Viana at Apartamentos Borgia carries everyone's bags up the 3 flights of stairs with a big old smile and makes sure we have a nice breakfast.

Caesar and Ignaki at Alb. Ibarrola in Pamplona are brothers who have a great sense of humor and tell wonderful stories - very helpful - anything you need.

In the past, one of the owners of Gite Compostella was Pierre. What a joy he was! A big hug and laugh when we arrived. He'd put on welcoming parties for our group and we'd invite everyone in the albergue - a good way to meet pilgrims from all over the world.

I have to mention Rebekah Scott, who hosted me one year when I was sick. She is a bottomless well of essential information for anyone walking any route. We just love her dedication and hospitality.

I can't forget Laurent at Auberge Borda. My first impression was that he reminded me of the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld! lol! BUT I quickly changed my mind as I spent time with him on his tightly run ship. He is supremely organized and very knowledgeable and passionate about the Camino. The communal dinner is great and the lodgings are exceptional.

And lastly, we are laughing as we remember "Lucifer" at San Martin Pinario, one of the servers at dinner who always gives pilgrims special treatment with his "wicked" sense of humor. lol!

There are more. This is just a sampling. There are a lot of private proprietors we didn't mention. 99% of our experiences have been posiitve!
I also have fond memories of Manjarin. I stayed there for one night on my first pilgrimage walk on the Camino Frances (about 12 years ago). Tomas was all decked out in his Templar attire, together with another Hospitalero. They cooked us dinner and we ended up sleeping out back in one of the barns. It was one of the highlights of my Camino because the experience was otherworldly. It reminded me of the quote from Alice in Wonderland that all the best people are mad. Tomas was mad as a hatter and had a heart as open as an ocean. It was sad to hear that he suffered a heart attack, but I was comforted in knowing that he was being looked after and somewhere with hot running water :D In the morning, without the attire, Tomas served everyone breakfast and we all donated what we could for the meal, the accommodation, the breakfast, the magic.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Some of our favorites over the years:

On our first Camino in 2006 we stayed at San Anton, Marina hosted us because the regular hospitalero had been tragically killed in a train crash. She was WONDERFUL and made us feel so at-home.

Take your pick of any of the hospitaleros over the years at Albergue Roncesvalles. Always a great sense of humor and lots of patience with the crazy check-in process. Wonderful folks!

Tomas was a marvelous host at Manjarin one year. When a pilgrim walking in silence and barefoot showed up and the rest of us were taken aback, he knew exactly what was going on and invited the man in with open arms and wonderful hospitality.

Sarah and Iosu at Casa de la Abuela in Los Arcos have always made our stay enjoyable - and his CAKES are luscious.

Freda at Hospital de Orbigo let me put my tent out in the yard because I couldn't be inside with my MCS.

Jutta at Ventosa (San Saturnino) allowed a crying peregrina to shower there then directed her to a lovely spot in the churchyard where she spent the night.

Livia and Unai and dog Conan at La Piedra in Villafranca give the pilgrims directions to the river to soak their feet. They also allowed us to host a birthday party there one year.

We LOVED the Italian Confraternity and hospitalero Luigi at San Nicholas by Itero. They put on a beautiful dinner and foot-washing ceremony in candlelight. Very special.

We just love Noemi, Maria Luisa, Carmen and her husband (whose name escapes me at the moment) They are just precious! Always welcoming! Big hugs each time we arrive. Just lovely people.

Jose in Viana at Apartamentos Borgia carries everyone's bags up the 3 flights of stairs with a big old smile and makes sure we have a nice breakfast.

Caesar and Ignaki at Alb. Ibarrola in Pamplona are brothers who have a great sense of humor and tell wonderful stories - very helpful - anything you need.

In the past, one of the owners of Gite Compostella was Pierre. What a joy he was! A big hug and laugh when we arrived. He'd put on welcoming parties for our group and we'd invite everyone in the albergue - a good way to meet pilgrims from all over the world.

I have to mention Rebekah Scott, who hosted me one year when I was sick. She is a bottomless well of essential information for anyone walking any route. We just love her dedication and hospitality.

I can't forget Laurent at Auberge Borda. My first impression was that he reminded me of the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld! lol! BUT I quickly changed my mind as I spent time with him on his tightly run ship. He is supremely organized and very knowledgeable and passionate about the Camino. The communal dinner is great and the lodgings are exceptional.

And lastly, we are laughing as we remember "Lucifer" at San Martin Pinario, one of the servers at dinner who always gives pilgrims special treatment with his "wicked" sense of humor. lol!

There are more. This is just a sampling. There are a lot of private proprietors we didn't mention. 99% of our experiences have been posiitve!
This made me laugh because the owner of the albergue, where I served, said that I could turn away anyone who I had a bad feeling about (it only happened once). There was a municipal albergue in the town so the pilgrim would have had a second option. I was also reminded of the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld :) You sit down with the pilgrim, stamp their credencial, take their payment, they make a comment, you hand back their credencial and money. No bed for you here tonight! :D
 
Thanks for starting a thread that deals with some of the unfortunate realities of the camino. While almost all aspects are positive, there's always the potential for less-than-positive interactions, and keeping those in mind helps set realistic expectations, and acts as a good reminder to everyone.

I confess I walked the CF last spring and spent far too much time navel-gazing... I spent almost the entire time completely focused on myself, searching for something(?) that I was hoping the camino would provide. In retrospect I needed to look up from my inward focus and spend more time acknowledging those around me - fellow pilgrims, hospitaleros, bar workers, everyone. I'll be walking the VDLP in April, and I'll be keeping this thread top of mind. I hope to do better next time.
Thank you for your reply, JustJack.

I just remembered one more niggle that I had as a Hospitalero.

1. On my first day, I had two pilgrims. Great people and a great start to my time at the albergue. I knew the way ahead so I recommended that they stay at a place that was really cheap but which needed a reservation. I floated the idea to them and they came back to me about an hour later and asked if I could call to make a reservation because they weren't comfortable speaking Spanish over the phone. I was so happy to help out so I made the reservation for them. The next evening, the Hospitalera phoned me to confirm that they hadn't arrived. They must have changed their mind. I never made another reservation again for a pilgrim. Instead, I politely implored pilgrims to only make one reservation for the next destination (if required) and to honour it (or cancel well in advance if they decided to cancel.)

So, please, if you do make a reservation, please keep it or cancel within an amount of time whereby it is practical for the room to still be left available for other pilgrims!

!Buen Camino! JustJack for your VdlP walk in 2024!
 
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I've just completed a 4-week stint as a (volunteer) Hospitalero on the VdlP, and I'm so pleased that I did it because it really was an eye-opener.
As pilgrims, we trail from albergue to albergue without often thinking about the work that goes into ensuring that we reach a clean and safe bed at the end of a stage.
My experience was overall positive.
I met so many interesting and loving people.
I also met three pilgrims who represent (for me) some of the negativity on the Camino that tends to spread much faster and further than all of the positivity.
One pilgrim paid his money for the night, and while I was showing another pilgrim around the bathroom, he took back his money from the money box. I couldn't prove it was him - I didn't want to create a negative atmosphere - but the next day, I concluded that it had to have been him.
Another pilgrim (female) spent an hour in the shower. When the rest of the newly-arrived pilgrims asked me when she was coming out (so they could shower) I knocked on the door (got a reply from her) and entered because no water was running and her voice was coming from the end of the bathroom, where the mirror is - furthest away from the shower area. Fully clothed, brushing her hair, she screamed at me that she was "having a shower!". The next morning, she was indignant that she had to wake up so early (to leave by 8 am) and a few days later left a 1-Star review on Google for the albergue - as if it were a hotel experience from hell. I later found out that she returned to her homeland and is continuing her one-star reviews of businesses.
The third pilgrim was explained all of the albergue rules and promptly ignored them all.
I'm writing this piece because when you come across a seemingly rude or curt hospitalero/hospitalera, it is most likely because they have experienced pilgrims similar to the ones that I experienced.
And it is such a shame because this minority of self-absorbed people really ruin it for everyone else.
Still, I refuse to allow those three pilgrims to take from me the beautiful memories of time spent with all of the other pilgrims whom I spent amazing times with.
Buen Camino! :)
Totally relate. Hospitalero of more than 15 shifts. These few in the minority that you refer too are not the ones struggling and having a rough day but are miserable people taking it out on others sadly.
 
Your name ... I am married to a Tom Sawyer ( Thomas ) _ Sydney Australia he has had a lot of fun with his name over the years ..
It's not my real name, but congrats anyway on marrying a Tom Sawyer! :D
"Tom Sawyer is full of mischief but basically pure-hearted". - The internet.
 
Some of our favorites over the years:

On our first Camino in 2006 we stayed at San Anton, Marina hosted us because the regular hospitalero had been tragically killed in a train crash. She was WONDERFUL and made us feel so at-home.

Take your pick of any of the hospitaleros over the years at Albergue Roncesvalles. Always a great sense of humor and lots of patience with the crazy check-in process. Wonderful folks!

Tomas was a marvelous host at Manjarin one year. When a pilgrim walking in silence and barefoot showed up and the rest of us were taken aback, he knew exactly what was going on and invited the man in with open arms and wonderful hospitality.

Sarah and Iosu at Casa de la Abuela in Los Arcos have always made our stay enjoyable - and his CAKES are luscious.

Freda at Hospital de Orbigo let me put my tent out in the yard because I couldn't be inside with my MCS.

Jutta at Ventosa (San Saturnino) allowed a crying peregrina to shower there then directed her to a lovely spot in the churchyard where she spent the night.

Livia and Unai and dog Conan at La Piedra in Villafranca give the pilgrims directions to the river to soak their feet. They also allowed us to host a birthday party there one year.

We LOVED the Italian Confraternity and hospitalero Luigi at San Nicholas by Itero. They put on a beautiful dinner and foot-washing ceremony in candlelight. Very special.

We just love Noemi, Maria Luisa, Carmen and her husband (whose name escapes me at the moment) They are just precious! Always welcoming! Big hugs each time we arrive. Just lovely people.

Jose in Viana at Apartamentos Borgia carries everyone's bags up the 3 flights of stairs with a big old smile and makes sure we have a nice breakfast.

Caesar and Ignaki at Alb. Ibarrola in Pamplona are brothers who have a great sense of humor and tell wonderful stories - very helpful - anything you need.

In the past, one of the owners of Gite Compostella was Pierre. What a joy he was! A big hug and laugh when we arrived. He'd put on welcoming parties for our group and we'd invite everyone in the albergue - a good way to meet pilgrims from all over the world.

I have to mention Rebekah Scott, who hosted me one year when I was sick. She is a bottomless well of essential information for anyone walking any route. We just love her dedication and hospitality.

I can't forget Laurent at Auberge Borda. My first impression was that he reminded me of the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld! lol! BUT I quickly changed my mind as I spent time with him on his tightly run ship. He is supremely organized and very knowledgeable and passionate about the Camino. The communal dinner is great and the lodgings are exceptional.

And lastly, we are laughing as we remember "Lucifer" at San Martin Pinario, one of the servers at dinner who always gives pilgrims special treatment with his "wicked" sense of humor. lol!

There are more. This is just a sampling. There are a lot of private proprietors we didn't mention. 99% of our experiences have been posiitve!
I also stayed at San Anton, Anniesantiago. Marina was there when I stayed. That's terrible news about the previous Hospitalero. Was he killed in that high-speed train crash? I think it was either heading toward or from Santiago.

I also loved the Italian Confraternity and Hospitalero at San Nicholas. It was the only albergue on my Camino that I raced ahead to make certain that I would grab a place. When I was there, there was also a very friendly Hospitalera. As I had my guitar with me that I'd picked up in Burgos, I played some tunes for her as we sat in the herb garden. The evening meal and the foot washing were another highlight of my second walk of the Camino Frances - a Camino that began all the way back in Prague on the Charles Bridge.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
I also stayed at San Anton, Anniesantiago. Marina was there when I stayed. That's terrible news about the previous Hospitalero. Was he killed in that high-speed train crash? I think it was either heading toward or from Santiago.

I also loved the Italian Confraternity and Hospitalero at San Nicholas. It was the only albergue on my Camino that I raced ahead to make certain that I would grab a place. When I was there, there was also a very friendly Hospitalera. As I had my guitar with me that I'd picked up in Burgos, I played some tunes for her as we sat in the herb garden. The evening meal and the foot washing were another highlight of my second walk of the Camino Frances - a Camino that began all the way back in Prague on the Charles Bridge.
Yes, it was the high speed train crash. So sad.
 
Some people come with unrealistic expectations and a remarkable sense of entitlement. Several years ago I heard a young man yell to an entire dorm "This place is shit!" because he couldn't get a WiFi connection on his tablet. He had been charged €5 for a bed in an albergue with brand new beds, toilets and showers but that apparently wasn't enough... 🙄
I've read this reply over and over, Bradypus, and every time I do, I laugh so hard :D
"This place is shit!" :D
 
Well, I guess this thread has lost its energy and has had its moment.
Thank you to everyone who added their comments.
I hope that - at the very least - one pilgrim will walk into an albergue and automatically give the Hospitalero or Hospitalera a big hug and thank them.
Mostly, though, I hope that any pilgrims reading this thread get a satori understanding moment that albergue owners are not millionaires, that the work is hard, and that volunteers volunteer because they want the best for you and your Camino - we choose to serve you because we want you to experience the Way as best as you can.
Adios y Buen Camino to everyone!
Nev
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
I've stayed in your hostel and it's a wonderful place, welcoming and full of energy. The first time I was there you had a colleague to help you, but the second time you were running it alone and I marvelled at how perfect everything was. I got up late as usual but you were happy to let me sit around talking with a lady who arrived early and whom you admitted pleasantly way before opening time. I've never forgotten your kindness and I've no doubt most of the others who've stayed there have similar happy memories. Please don't think that we don't see your hard work or your kindness, we do, but we don't say anything ... But we don't forget, the Camino is a string of pearls and the beads are the hospis we meet and whose loving kindness we seem to take for granted. Gracias amigo.
Dear Gerard, you have touched my heartstrings deeply.
Thank you, in the deepest sense of the word. You've said exactly what I sometimes need to feel.
From this hostel in the middle of the Camino de Santiago, I grant you the Title of Doctor of the feelings of the hospitaleros of the Caminos de Santiago.
(This title should definitely exist!!)
 
Some people come with unrealistic expectations and a remarkable sense of entitlement. Several years ago I heard a young man yell to an entire dorm "This place is shit!" because he couldn't get a WiFi connection on his tablet. He had been charged €5 for a bed in an albergue with brand new beds, toilets and showers but that apparently wasn't enough... 🙄
My son was very disappointed in the wifi at the Parador in Santiago.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I was very disappointed in the free lunch in the parador at the end of my first Camino so we might be even on that score. :)
I'm sure there was no wifi to complain about then. Wasn't there three days of free food at the parador back then? I'm pretty sure I heard that was what was on offer in 1989 (after I got back to Madrid so it was too late to take them up on it).
 
I'm sure there was no wifi to complain about then. Wasn't there three days of free food at the parador back then? I'm pretty sure I heard that was what was on offer in 1989 (after I got back to Madrid so it was too late to take them up on it).
I didn't ask about WiFi but I'm fairly sure it hadn't been invented at that point. The World Wide Web and digital phones were still science fiction at that point but due to reach the general public the following year.

Yes - the deal in 1990 was that the first 10 pilgrims each day who turned up at the reception desk of the parador during the morning with a photocopy of their Compostela could claim breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next 3 days. Remarkably few actually did. Have you read the passage of the Gitlitz/Davidson book where they appealed to the rights of pilgrims to claim free accommodation too? I didn't press it that far :) I arrived in peak season and there weren't enough of us asking to be fed to go over the allocation of 10. As it turned out I was the only pilgrim at lunch which was served in a dark airless room in the staff area of the parador. Having worked briefly backstage in a hotel sometime before I thought it was probably the standard hotel staff meal - filling but uninspired. Served without any word of welcome or comment and eaten alone in a fairly grim environment. I decided that there were better options on offer in town at prices which seemed remarkably modest even for a Scottish student with very shallow pockets!
 
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I decided that there were better options on offer in town at prices which seemed remarkably modest even for a Scottish student with very shallow pockets!
I can readily imagine that. I remember when I arrived in 1989 I was hailed by a little old woman dressed in black who offered me a private room for 200 pesetas (less than $2USD).
 
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I didn't ask about WiFi but I'm fairly sure it hadn't been invented at that point. The World Wide Web and digital phones were still science fiction at that point but due to reach the general public the following year.

Yes - the deal in 1990 was that the first 10 pilgrims each day who turned up at the reception desk of the parador during the morning with a photocopy of their Compostela could claim breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next 3 days. Remarkably few actually did. Have you read the passage of the Gitlitz/Davidson book where they appealed to the rights of pilgrims to claim free accommodation too? I didn't press it that far :) I arrived in peak season and there weren't enough of us asking to be fed to go over the allocation of 10. As it turned out I was the only pilgrim at lunch which was served in a dark airless room in the staff area of the parador. Having worked briefly backstage in a hotel sometime before I thought it was probably the standard hotel staff meal - filling but uninspired. Served without any word of welcome or comment and eaten alone in a fairly grim environment. I decided that there were better options on offer in town at prices which seemed remarkably modest even for a Scottish student with very shallow pockets!
When I arrived to Santiago on my second Camino Frances walk (10 years ago) I waited in line and made it in for a free dinner. I didn't know about the free food for three days - I don't think they were offering that anymore at the time. It was actually quite cool because there were (I think) 10 of us pilgrims and they served us some pretty standard food, but with quite a lot of red wine to go around. Do they still offer this meal?
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
When I arrived to Santiago on my second Camino Frances walk (10 years ago) I waited in line and made it in for a free dinner. I didn't know about the free food for three days - I don't think they were offering that anymore at the time. It was actually quite cool because there were (I think) 10 of us pilgrims and they served us some pretty standard food, but with quite a lot of red wine to go around. Do they still offer this meal?
Yes, ten coupons a day are available at the Pilgrim Office to those applying for Compostelas. They are offered to the first people who show up there and when they are gone, they are gone for the day.
 
Thanks for all you did and for keeping the peace along the way. I appreciated all the hospitaleros I encountered along the way but did not consider the amount of work they put in only being on site for a short time. I hope to volunteer at an Albergue in the future in between Caminos. Buen Camino!!
 
OP, you accuse someone of theft based just on your "feeling"? Seems rather harsh or is that just me? Were there no other peregrinos in the albergue?
 
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OP, you accuse someone of theft based just on your "feeling"? Seems rather harsh or is that just me? Were there no other peregrinos in the albergue?
Thanks for your input, David61. The reason why I was able to work out who took the money was because it was discovered the money was missing after the third pilgrim had paid. I was with the money box the whole time, expect for the time when I was showing the second pilgrim around and when the first pilgrim was standing around the money box (I thought it was odd at the time). I would never just assume that someone had stolen money. It wasn't based on feeling but on the logic of the timeline. Sorry if I made it sound confusing. Anyway, I haven't mentioned their name on here, and I didn't bring it up with the pilgrim. I just let it slide as a learning experience. I didn't treat the pilgrim any differently because of it.
 
Yes, ten coupons a day are available at the Pilgrim Office to those applying for Compostelas. They are offered to the first people who show up there and when they are gone, they are gone for the day.
That's great that they still do this. When I had the meal, I needed to line up and be one of the first 10 outside the side door of the hotel. It's good information for pilgrims to know that they can get a voucher at the pilgrim office. Btw, I much prefer the newer pilgrim office with the adjoining chapel. In the past, it was just an office and a long line leading onto one of the busy streets.
 
Buen Camino! :)
I suppose St Dominic is one of the few certified Saints providing aid to Pilgrims and even he must have had a few bad reviews at prayer time!

My youngest daughter started early with her unrealistic views on accommodation when at the age of 6 she declared that she did not think much of the hotel we were staying in did not provide chocolates o the pillow!
 
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Me too. I guess it's from growing up in a farmhouse.
I LOVE a cold bedroom!

I once had a couple of pilgrims try to tell me I would get sick and DIE if I slept with the window open!
Needless to say, I took the bunk right next to the window and kept it cracked all night, just so I could breathe, because it was like a sauna in there!
Agree entirely! I once shared a room with a delightful French bloke named Joe. I took the bed next to the window for the same reasons; didn't want to be hot, love the fresh air even if it's cold. On this occasion there was an unexpected bonus - Joe passed wind most of the night.
 
This is kinda related to this thread....
I like reading the hospitalero/hospitalera diaries that are posted on this forum occasionally. I find it interesting their experiences, especially with the more eccentric pilgrims.
Are there any currently going on and how do I locate the past ones?
 
One pilgrim paid his money for the night, and while I was showing another pilgrim around the bathroom, he took back his money from the money box.
Many donativos have a locked box fixed into the wall with a slot for the money. Hosvol has very strict protocols around donations. They must not be solicited and a sum must not be even mentioned let alone stipulated even if pilgrims ask. Arriving pilgrims are told the albergue is donativo and if they don´t already know, it is explained. They are free to leave a donation at any time, not just on arrival (as they leave is preferred) and if a pilgrim is about to leave money, you don´t look.

As an antidote to Tom Sawyer´s anecdote, we were cleaning up one morning when there was a tap on the door. Cursing the importunity of early arriving pilgrims, we opened the door to find two very embarrassed looking pilgrims, Spanish women, from the night before. They explained that they had forgotten to make a donation and had come back to put things right. They must have been walking at least an hour before they turned round. I´ll never forget that.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Fine to haar Aboutaleb this.
I am a hospitalero in Roncesvalles for 2 weeks and that is also heavy.
where did you this hospitalero working?
I have been through Roncesvalles three times. Once was very memorable a Dutch hospitalero Donald had a wonderful singing voice, the hospitaleros woke us with singing and guitar. Great memory
 

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