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Luggage Transfer Correos

Albergue San Juan de Villepanada

BlaBlah

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014
Immediately after Grado - and a natural first stop on the Camino Primitivo is a public albergue
This guy - Domingo - drops in on the afternoon to pick up 5 euros - and literally make hell for the visitors: There is this photo of him on the wall so he has obviously been at it for years
- he speaks spanish-only, and immediately carried out (into the rain) our towels and jackets (there is a roof cover, but also a risk of mixing our gear if you do this without consent), then shouted out instructions that each bed was to have one sleeping bag laid out and all other stuff in Backpack, which he connects to the metal frame of the bed. This was repeated until each person was identified.

When arriving - pilgrims may expect to change, shower and reorganize for the night, and we are adults, not children. This ordeal led to one or two protesting that he upturned their gear and he threatened to throw them out: It is the most outrageous behaviour we met on our two Caminos so far and would advise to detour to avoid being in the same situation again.
He placated when the lineup was over, and continued to read out loudly from the guest rules, then the labels of the packets of food available for the night, and eventually tying up some chords for indoor clotheslines. However no person dared say a word before he left. This is not worthy of any alberge and I raise the concern or complaint to share with future walkers.
 

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Gerry Sinclair

CdnDadio
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2016
Immediately after Grado - and a natural first stop on the Camino Primitivo is a public albergue
This guy - Domingo - drops in on the afternoon to pick up 5 euros - and literally make hell for the visitors: There is this photo of him on the wall so he has obviously been at it for years
- he speaks spanish-only, and immediately carried out (into the rain) our towels and jackets (there is a roof cover, but also a risk of mixing our gear if you do this without consent), then shouted out instructions that each bed was to have one sleeping bag laid out and all other stuff in Backpack, which he connects to the metal frame of the bed. This was repeated until each person was identified.

When arriving - pilgrims may expect to change, shower and reorganize for the night, and we are adults, not children. This ordeal led to one or two protesting that he upturned their gear and he threatened to throw them out: It is the most outrageous behaviour we met on our two Caminos so far and would advise to detour to avoid being in the same situation again.
He placated when the lineup was over, and continued to read out loudly from the guest rules, then the labels of the packets of food available for the night, and eventually tying up some chords for indoor clotheslines. However no person dared say a word before he left. This is not worthy of any alberge and I raise the concern or complaint to share with future walkers.
I had a completely different experience. Kind, hospitable and incredibly helpful. Domingo even went and picked some pilgrims in his truck who were heading his way but struggling.
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Seven Compostelas in Three years and counting......
He was fine when I stayed there in 2015. The albergue was full so he put mattresses on the floor for us in the kitchen. Everyone there that night had a party and he happily joined in.

Maybe he was having a bad day or something?

Davey
 

Via2010

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
I also stayed at that albergue last June arriving there after a very long first day - finding everything in Grado completo. I think Domingo and this albergue are something special. He has his rules and wants you to follow them (i. e. dirty shoes outside, sleeping bag on the bed, back-pack hooked to the bed, have a shower first; all lights out at 22.00 h or 22.30 h). But to me these rules do not seem unreasonable as they aim that most pilgrims can enjoy their stay.

The hospitalera at the public albergue at Pontevedra (CP) or the hospitalero at the public albergue at Logrono (CF) recieve similar complaints. They also allocate the beds in a certain manner so that they see, which and how many beds are already occupied. They want pilgrims to keep the dorms tidy. And they do their best to give older people a lower bunk. I do not see what is wrong with their policy.

Domingo offered us cold water on arrival, helped us with our backpacks and wanted us to feel comfortable. My dutch fellow pilgrim - who did not speak Spanish - felt similarily offended by his behaviour than you did (she wanted to have a shower later, but he wanted to clean the bathroom after us as we were the last to arrive). I think that he wants everybody to feel comfortable and by enforcing his rules he guarantees that most pilgrims will do so. The albergue is rather small and there is only narrow space in the dorm. So if you unpack your backpack and leave the stuff outside, it will cause other pilgrims to stumble over your belongings, some things will disappear under the beds ...

During the registration process Domingo asked who wanted to stay in Bodenaya the next day. And then he took a photograph of these pilgrims and sent it do David to do the Reservation for them. I think this was a great idea!

So do not diminish Domingos merits in running this albergue. If you do not want to apply to his - somewhat strict and rigid, but never the less reasonable - rules, you may feel more comfortable in another place.

BC
Alexandra
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
It’s a good thing I wasn’t there. I do speak fluent Spanish, and nobody orders me around like that. Although we do have our packs set up to hang from the bunk bed posts.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues (Oct 2015), Camino Primitivo (Apr 2019)
I've witnessed this same process but as a positive!

The rules are there for a reason and Domingo is sometimes the first hospitalero a lot of new pilgrims encounter. That and the language barrier can seem as a very angry and unhospitable person, but he is very nice, I promise!

My experience with him, just a couple of weeks ago:
I called from Grado to check if there are beds still available, I don't speak Spanish, had no problem with communicating with him quickly. When I reached the turn from the camino towards the albergue, it was late and the rain started. After a couple minutes, a car came from behind me and honked, drove in front of me and stopped. A man came out and introduced himself as the hospitalero and said the rain is starting and offered to drive me the rest of the way.
When we reached the albergue he pointed at the house and the view and he was so very proud of it. You can really see that he loves his job and has a very special spot for the albergue in his heart.
Once inside, he showed me where to put my shoes and to pick a bed and started cleaning the stuff others left. This is probably the part you felt as shouting at people. I didn't see a problem with it because the dormitory has narrow passages and stuff lying around or wet clothes can become a problem very quickly.
He asked who was hungry and started preparing a communal dinner. I had no wish to eat the dinner because I had my own food, but changed my mind when I saw the dinner table set for everyone. This is the first albergue I encountered where everyone is treated like a big family (I walked the portuguese camino before and had no experiences like this). We had a great big dinner and talked while Domingo did the paperwork and check-ins. He asked where we were planning to sleep tomorrow and called for us to announce we were coming.

I think he created a space for everyone to learn what to expect the rest of the way. It is very important to understand why the rules are there, even if you can't see it right away. One wet sock might not seem like a problem, but twenty wet pilgrims can stink everything up pretty fast. If you expect to come into a warm albergue by the end of your walk, the pilgrims tomorrow will probably not want to come to a mouldy, humid and stinky one, too.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I have stayed at Villapañada, with Domingo as hospitalero, and you are right he has been doing it for years. He does have his own particular set of rules and you are also right, he will make sure everyone follows them! Everyone has bad days, that’s for sure. But my own experience was totally positive.

I think the OP also gives a clue to what might have been the source of Domingo’s frusration. To the extent that “he speaks Spanish only” might be part of the problem, it might also be relevant to comment on whether anyone in the albergue could speak Spanish other than Domingo. Was he taking everyone’s clothes outside just to be a jerk, or was he frustrated that no one could understand what he was asking everyone to do? Think of it from his perspective — here is is running this albergue, which is something he does in addition to his “real” job as a truck driver, just because he loves it. He has a bunch of rules that he really wants people to follow, for good reasons, yet he can’t speak with the people he wants to follow the rules.

I remember eating dinner at the albergue in Oliva de Plasencia on the Vdlp with a table full of peregrinos, and only two of them were Spanish. Everyone else was speaking English. One of the Spaniards turned to the other and said — I guess you don’t have to leave the country to go abroad. That hit me, and I think that may be some of what Domingo was feeling in that situation too.

But I agree with those who think we should cut hospitaleros a lot of slack. And what’s the adage about honey being better than vinegar. As guests in the hospitalero’s domain, that should be our starting attitude, IMO.

And I am reminded of @anniesantiago’s venting post from a few years ago, in which she described some of the totally rude behavior she has seen from pilgrims. I imagine hospitaleros see a whole lot more of that! https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/this-is-a-very-negative-post-a-vent.43787/
 

BlaBlah

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014
Exactly - this was our first albergue on this Camino and not a good one - there are better options. After the Camino Frances - several experienced camino walkers had never suffered this treatment - please take advise. There are new albergues opening, the most remarkable we met was after Castroverde (fine stop before Lugo) https://www.gronze.com/galicia/lugo/vilar-cas/albergue-pocina-muniz - which I hope is a tribute to what future peregrinos may expect. At 12 euros for one night, the family-run albergue is a step into the future and hereby recommended.
 

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LTfit

Veteran Member
Although I stayed in Grado a few weeks ago as I know several hospitaleras who have worked there, I subsequently met up with several pilgrims a few days later who were very happy with the albergue the OP described. It just goes to show that such comments are very subjective and indeed Domingo may have had a bad day. I certainly would not fault him because he only speaks Spanish. Yes, it is a bonus if a hospitalero/a speaks more than one language but then again, how many pilgrims speak Spanish?

Sometimes one's opinion is based on expectations. Personally I never expect more than a shower (hopefully warm/hot) and a bed, preferably under a roof ;) but then again I mainly stay in municipals.
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
How strange to remark on the fact that a hospitalero in Spain speaks only Spanish. I guess the hospitalero has the right to be equally upset if the pilgrim speaks only English? Isn't that the same thing?

Oh wait… it is not the same thing. Camino de Santiago runs through Spain.

/BP
 

Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
He's a top bloke, I stayed there in 2012, it was a hot day and he was out and about in his car on the path up there making sure everyone was ok. In the Albergue it was positivity with him. If the OP is a recommendation to other peregrinos to stay elsewhere then I hope the other posts give a more of a comprehensive picture.
 

BlaBlah

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014
The comments are a tribute to the generous state of mind of the fellow walkers (thank you for sharing!) The discussion would not have been initiated had this not had a complicated side - also witnessed by others above. Yes, abide by his rules and add the experience to your bucket list if you wish. He threatened me with police when I not questioned the necessity of but delayed unpacking my sleeping bag at 4 in the afternoon. It usually suffices that we are self-helped. (He did not prepare food) The collaborative efforts of the other pilgrims intervened to avoid him throwing out me and another walker. It is unusual in the body of albergues we have met, and I respect the magnanimous character of the replies above.
 

jennysa

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino F 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 C Aragones 2012, 2017 2018 Via Francigena 2016 & 17 Primitivo 2018
I am walking in 2 weeks. I can live with his rules but which is the recommended albergue - Grado or San Juan?
 

HADeWet

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo September 2018
Santiago to Muxia and Finisterre September 2018.
Stayed there last year in September. Had a wonderful evening with lots of laughter and singing. Domingo cooked up a storm for some of the younger pilgrims who had phoned him in advance to arrange it. He sat with us during supper and was very jovial. It was one of the best Albergues I stayed at. Yes, he runs the place a bit like a sergeant major, but that is why everything is so neat and orderly. And I liked that. Cheapest beer available on the whole Camino. I forgot my cellphone and watch chargers there. Fellow pilgrims who could speak Spanish phoned him and the next night I was reunited with my chargers in Campiello. Domingo had made a plan to get them delivered for me at no charge. So, in my eyes Domingo is TOPS!
 

jennysa

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino F 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 C Aragones 2012, 2017 2018 Via Francigena 2016 & 17 Primitivo 2018
Thanks for the info. I will try to get there. However, I am a bit confused - some say you have to take your own food and others that there is a meal there. What we buy food in Grado or take a chance?
 

HADeWet

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo September 2018
Santiago to Muxia and Finisterre September 2018.
Thanks for the info. I will try to get there. However, I am a bit confused - some say you have to take your own food and others that there is a meal there. What we buy food in Grado or take a chance?
 

HADeWet

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo September 2018
Santiago to Muxia and Finisterre September 2018.
Not a pilgrim meal on offer for all the pilgrim staying there. I made my own food. But as said, others phoned him in advance and arranged for a meal to be made by him which they paid for. There were drinks available in fridge for sale at very cheap prices.
 
Camino(s) past & future
.
+4 for Domingo from me and my compadres at the time, going back to 2011. Our group had a lovely evening under his gentle stewardship of the albergue. We brought food up from Grado and cooked there with others.
It sounds like something or someone has got under his skin, which happens to all of us once in a while.
I'm so glad to see how many others have jumped in to support him. One day I'd like to walk the Primitivo again and I'm hoping he'll still be there.
 

BlaBlah

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014
This guy is apparently somewhat of an institution - having made an impression on so many!
on Supplies: There is a meagre "one of each" supply of rations:both dry (pasta/tea), vegetables (onion/tomato&potatoe) and refrigerated (yoghurt), plenty of drinks - and a vendor machine (snack): but somewhat narrow scope and we were happy that we brought a supply of groceries up from Grado: we made our own. even if you were to have a shared meal in the evening we enjoyed our own breakfast before setting out.
Note: a local thing is that after their sunday market, Grado is basically closed on mondays, no shops or stores open the day we passed (we thought it was siesta and hung around for a late opening that did not materialize)
 

Via2010

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
Exactly - this was our first albergue on this Camino and not a good one - there are better options. After the Camino Frances - several experienced camino walkers had never suffered this treatment - please take advise. There are new albergues opening, the most remarkable we met was after Castroverde (fine stop before Lugo) https://www.gronze.com/galicia/lugo/vilar-cas/albergue-pocina-muniz - which I hope is a tribute to what future peregrinos may expect. At 12 euros for one night, the family-run albergue is a step into the future and hereby recommended.
I think, this describes the problem very well.

On CF there is nowadays a wide range of private albergues, many with swimming-pool, restaurant and other commodities. This hotel-style accomodation is a sharp contrast to more traditional pilgrim accomodation. The competition among these albergues leads to the extinction of more traditional "donativo" albergues and also rises the expectations of some pilgrims.
 

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