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memorable refugios

ann kirkwood

New Member
I just viewed a trailer of a new film about the hospitality of the refugios along the way. at http://www.freehighway.org which looked amazing.

There were beautiful old buildings with a lot of soul, some without even running water but seemed to embody the experience for me.

I would love to hear about favourite refugios that have left lasting impressions on any of you.

Looking forward to your replies.

Thanks Ann
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Trinidad de Arre, just after you cross the bridge, was by far the nicest refugio I stayed in. Had super nice bathrooms. The hospitalero was grumpy and first but then really warmed up. Has a nice walled garden out back and a washing machine.

The albergue next to the cathedral in Beldorado and the Confraternity of St. James one in Rabanal were wonderful because the kindness and warmth of the hospitaleros.

Xan Julian. Only six of us in the room, so close to the end of the Camino, I don't know where the crowds went, but it was nice to not be with them. We had a family dinner and told stories.

Arroyo Sambol. I'm glad I experienced it. I lost my travelling companion there, something he'd never experienced before. It was the only place where I saw the stars because there wasn't a curfew, but also didn't get any sleep because there wasn't a curfew. The food was excellent, and they did a Quemaida (Sp?) ritual. Is a concern about fouling the waterways there though as there are no outhouses, and people, uh, go, too close to the stream.

Hoping to stay in Granon and Villafranca this time around.

Najera - Small toilet cubicles and showers but otherwise roomy and clean. Nice and close to the river and the rest of the town. can't remember how much it was!

Santo Domingo - Stayed in the refugio linked to the monastery. Nice backyard which you share with the church's cockerels. Nothing particularly outstanding about it, but for some reason I loved it (and no, it wasn't because I like to have the room lit up like a Christmas tree just before we went to sleep!) - Donativo

Belorado - Next to the church. Very small but had a nice friendly atmosphere (donativo I think)

Cardenuela Riopica - Small village over the hill between Atapuerca and Burgos. Will mean that if you're planning on staying in Burgos that the next day's walk is rather short - good if you want to ease off for a couple of days. The refugio wasn't marked in any books I had and was connected to the bar (ask barman for stamp and signing in) - 3€

Tardajos - The hospitelero was very kind. One of the kindest people I've ever met (donativo)

Castrojeriz - Nice, spacious refugio in a lovely little town, just down the steps is a lovely restaurant (donativo)

Astorga - Down a little side street you'd walk though, just opposite the cathedral (7€)

Foncebadon - Just after the bar on the left of the main road/track through town. Good food, run by lovely people, good shower, nice to see the stars at night (7€)

Hospital de la Cruz - Again, small, clean, next to a really nice bar (I thought) that serves pulpo (donativo)

If I think of any more over the next few days I'll let you know... Otherwise you'll probably find me in one of em!
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Many were wonderful, but the best one, without a doubt, was Granon. I had walked all day through the freezing rain, and I was given a cup of hot coffee, a bowl of homemade soup, and a blanket around my shoulders. There was a communal dinner (donativo) cooked by the hospitalero Arturo, and a communal breakfast as well. There was a fireplace, a guitar, visiting priests, and a special service for the pilgrims in the evening.

Amazing. Sure, you slept on thin mats on the floor of a loft, all crammed together, but the whole experience was just wonderful. Turned what was my worst day of walking into one of the best days of my life.

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