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Albergues - Lemons that turned into Gems.

RENSHAW

Official Camino Vino taster
Past OR future Camino
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks on the CF frequently.
Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
Just for fun , here are my three albergues that in my experience blossomed unexpectedly.

1.) The Paroquial at Villamayor de Monjárin - 2010 - the roof fell in a few years back.
It had opened up for the first day of the season and the solitary hospitalero had just arrived with 20 shopping bags full of supplies which he bought out of his own pocket. Two sixty year old Spanish ladies took charge and we were all comandered into a spring clean. A hat was whipped around for a vino collection and an another Spanish chap and I were sent to the the Bodegas to purchase some local wine. It was freezing outside! When we returned the small albergue was like a sauna. With a little help from a tiny microwave and a single plate stove there was a full menu that night. We pushed all the tables together and gathered what chairs we could. The company was delightful , what an amazing evening!

2.) Albergue Cluny - 2003. An albergue floated in the roof of a restored church?
A fellow pilgrim had helped me to tick off a few good albergues in my flimsy guide , torn out of a far lager book. On arriving early , there was a note on the door of the hall welcoming all pilgrims with instructions to enter through the door on the side and make oneself at home - return and pay €3 later. The large room was partitioned into dorms of 4 . I was able to do all my washing , Have a great shower and cook a pasta before most of the other pilgrims arrived. BUT ......... the piece de resistance was the 50 strong choir that preformed in the hall below that evening, There was classic as well as Spanish folk songs - WOW!!

3.) Refugio Manjarin Just after the Iron Cross - 2003 - IN THE SNOW!
If there was ONE stop that I really wanted to experience on my first Camino , This was it! Tomas the 'last Templar' Is eccentric as you can get. The snow was a foot deep as I entered this domain. I was shown a single bunk and given 4 grey blankets, There were no facilities at all but I wanted this experience ooh so much. That evening we had a stew , as much as you wanted, The bread was stale but dipped in the stew was good enough for me and there was vino as well. Tomas sat at the head of the table. The room was lit by candles and there was a small wood burning stove in the middle. Did I get what I wanted , OOH YES!!
 
Camino walkers love this gripping, intriguing, mystery with history novel.
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jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
My special albergue is the municipal in Ribadiso . . .

in Nov 2013 my sister and I hadn’t showered for two days (long story) . . . hadn’t been able to get a glass of vino tinto for two days . . . hadn’t slept much for two days . . .

so when we got to Ribadiso . . . before we paid our 6 euros each . . . I asked if there were separate showers for men and women (yes!) . . .

is there a bar/restaurant (yes! next door) . . .

and (before I even asked) . . . the hospitalera said that there was a small room off the main dorm that we could sleep in, just the two of us . . .

the perfect place!

Also Monte Irago in Foncebadon . . . we were the last to arrive, and it was choc-a-bloc crammed full . . .

so they opened up the attic . . . which we got all to ourselves with our own private bathroom.
 
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RENSHAW

Official Camino Vino taster
Past OR future Camino
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks on the CF frequently.
Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
In ten years of walking and 450 nights on the camino here is my best night of all which now provides the solace of memory.
Wow Margaret , I can almost picture a misty Roncesvalles from your description. Was the Refugio the small 12 bed within the Monastery? If so , I have stayed there as the door to the huge barn like albergue had two feet of snow in front of it - closed. I was most fortunate to get bed number 12 ;)
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Just for fun , here are my three albergues that in my experience blossomed unexpectedly.

1.) The Paroquial at Villamayor de Monjárin - 2010 - the roof fell in a few years back.
It had opened up for the first day of the season and the solitary hospitalero had just arrived with 20 shopping bags full of supplies which he bought out of his own pocket. Two sixty year old Spanish ladies took charge and we were all comandered into a spring clean. A hat was whipped around for a vino collection and an another Spanish chap and I were sent to the the Bodegas to purchase some local wine. It was freezing outside! When we returned the small albergue was like a sauna. With a little help from a tiny microwave and a single plate stove there was a full menu that night. We pushed all the tables together and gathered what chairs we could. The company was delightful , what an amazing evening!

2.) Albergue Cluny - 2003. An albergue floated in the roof of a restored church?
A fellow pilgrim had helped me to tick off a few good albergues in my flimsy guide , torn out of a far lager book. On arriving early , there was a note on the door of the hall welcoming all pilgrims with instructions to enter through the door on the side and make oneself at home - return and pay €3 later. The large room was partitioned into dorms of 4 . I was able to do all my washing , Have a great shower and cook a pasta before most of the other pilgrims arrived. BUT ......... the piece de resistance was the 50 strong choir that preformed in the hall below that evening, There was classic as well as Spanish folk songs - WOW!!

3.) Refugio Manjarin Just after the Iron Cross - 2003 - IN THE SNOW!
If there was ONE stop that I really wanted to experience on my first Camino , This was it! Tomas the 'last Templar' Is eccentric as you can get. The snow was a foot deep as I entered this domain. I was shown a single bunk and given 4 grey blankets, There were no facilities at all but I wanted this experience ooh so much. That evening we had a stew , as much as you wanted, The bread was stale but dipped in the stew was good enough for me and there was vino as well. Tomas sat at the head of the table. The room was lit by candles and there was a small wood burning stove in the middle. Did I get what I wanted , OOH YES!!
Good for you! Glad you got what you needed from the experience! Another saying is ….one man’s shack is another’s castle. We two woman, looked as we went by Manjarin….in really heavy snow - preferring to slide our way down to Acebo.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Wow Margaret , I can almost picture a misty Roncesvalles from your description. Was the Refugio the small 12 bed within the Monastery? If so , I have stayed there as the door to the huge barn like albergue had two feet of snow in front of it - closed. I was most fortunate to get bed number 12 ;)
Yes Renshaw,
That was it. However I was the only pilgrim that snowy night. No heat but a small loo.
 

palmah

Member
Past OR future Camino
2010
Just for fun , here are my three albergues that in my experience blossomed unexpectedly.

1.) The Paroquial at Villamayor de Monjárin - 2010 - the roof fell in a few years back.
It had opened up for the first day of the season and the solitary hospitalero had just arrived with 20 shopping bags full of supplies which he bought out of his own pocket. Two sixty year old Spanish ladies took charge and we were all comandered into a spring clean. A hat was whipped around for a vino collection and an another Spanish chap and I were sent to the the Bodegas to purchase some local wine. It was freezing outside! When we returned the small albergue was like a sauna. With a little help from a tiny microwave and a single plate stove there was a full menu that night. We pushed all the tables together and gathered what chairs we could. The company was delightful , what an amazing evening!

2.) Albergue Cluny - 2003. An albergue floated in the roof of a restored church?
A fellow pilgrim had helped me to tick off a few good albergues in my flimsy guide , torn out of a far lager book. On arriving early , there was a note on the door of the hall welcoming all pilgrims with instructions to enter through the door on the side and make oneself at home - return and pay €3 later. The large room was partitioned into dorms of 4 . I was able to do all my washing , Have a great shower and cook a pasta before most of the other pilgrims arrived. BUT ......... the piece de resistance was the 50 strong choir that preformed in the hall below that evening, There was classic as well as Spanish folk songs - WOW!!

3.) Refugio Manjarin Just after the Iron Cross - 2003 - IN THE SNOW!
If there was ONE stop that I really wanted to experience on my first Camino , This was it! Tomas the 'last Templar' Is eccentric as you can get. The snow was a foot deep as I entered this domain. I was shown a single bunk and given 4 grey blankets, There were no facilities at all but I wanted this experience ooh so much. That evening we had a stew , as much as you wanted, The bread was stale but dipped in the stew was good enough for me and there was vino as well. Tomas sat at the head of the table. The room was lit by candles and there was a small wood burning stove in the middle. Did I get what I wanted , OOH YES!!
From our blog on our first Camino Frances in 2010:
"We got to the Albergue Traditionale in Castrojeriz around 1320, it is quite primitive. Two things would have made it perfect; heat and toilet seats. Other than that the hospitaleros were wonderful hosts. They invited us up to the dining area for a ¨Quemada¨, which is a Spanish drink. It was quite an elaborate preparation and presentation. I don't recall the ingredients except for sugar, raisins, absinthe and water. But he lit the whole thing in a ceramic bowl, off went the lights and with a ceramic ladle provided quite a show of flame pouring from the ladle into the bowl while speaking some incantation about light and flame and cleansing. When that was finished he did a rendition of Amazing Grace. Then off to bed. This was one of those nights when I´m dreading getting up in the cold and sitting on the toilet without a seat, thinking I can´t do this another day. And then, we get up have the breakfast provided by our hospitaleros Emilio and Jose. Emilio walked us out and as we started down the street he sang Auld Lang Syne in Spanish. A Camino moment!" One of our most memorable nights
 
Past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
3.) Refugio Manjarin Just after the Iron Cross - 2003 - IN THE SNOW!
If there was ONE stop that I really wanted to experience on my first Camino , This was it! Tomas the 'last Templar' Is eccentric as you can get. The snow was a foot deep as I entered this domain. I was shown a single bunk and given 4 grey blankets, There were no facilities at all but I wanted this experience ooh so much. That evening we had a stew , as much as you wanted, The bread was stale but dipped in the stew was good enough for me and there was vino as well. Tomas sat at the head of the table. The room was lit by candles and there was a small wood burning stove in the middle. Did I get what I wanted , OOH YES!!

I also loved my experience at Manjarin.
Are they open now?
How is Tomas doing? Anyone know?
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
I was hugely thankful for the shelter and hot tea at Manjardin on Day 2 of my first Camino, when we were caught, inexperienced, by freezing rain and wet snow. We chose not to stay the night at Tomas's refuge, but might have been in serious trouble if that opportunity to change clothes and warm up hadn't been there. Instead we walked on and found the wonderful casa La Trucha in Acebo.
 

Casserole

Member
Past OR future Camino
2009 - Solo, SJPdP to Finisterre
2018 - Daughter (2) and Hubby, Sarria to SdC
I won't say which one, but one of those on the list gave me the worst food poisoning of my life back in 2009. I was with a ragged group of 10 and it took 9 of us out. Besides that, we had a magical time there. Wouldn't change it for the world.
 

RENSHAW

Official Camino Vino taster
Past OR future Camino
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks on the CF frequently.
Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
@Richard Smith
One thing is for sure , no one was getting rich out of this refugio in fact pilgrims probably made less of a donation than at other more comfortable places. I think once Tomas has gone that an informal refugio like his will no longer be tolerated by the authorities. Pilgrims seem to expect champagne for beer money - I guess it will become a bygone era people will only read about. I understand that Manjarin is not for everyone but I for one am so grateful for the experience.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Indeed, Renshaw. Unfortunately some seem to feel it is their right to have whatever, ie. that they are owed it. ...How lucky we who have walked in earlier times did experience and appreciate those simpler pleasures.
 
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