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Thinking of buying an albergue...or becoming a hospitalero...or sleeping in an albergue

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Hola

Movinmaggie reminded me of this wonderful piece written by Rebecka. It should be compulsory reading for everyone using albergues and should be learned by heart by anyone thinking of buying one!

I have also posted it in the Resources section. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/resources/being-a-hospitalero.521/

In my experience: Duties of the Hospitaleros.


Rebecka Scott


5 a.m., wake up and tell the people bashing on the doors and crashing around the kitchen that you'll open the doors at 6, as posted everywhere. Meantime, they need to shut the hell up. Try to go back to sleep while they complain and moan about your awful, un-spiritual attitude.


6 a.m., open the doors, start the coffee and tea, and put out the bread for breakfast. Re-set the table the early risers have trashed. Put the donativo box somewhere in pilgrims' line of sight, so it's not so easily "forgotten."


7.30 a.m., make the dormitory rounds, wake up people who can sleep through the racket. Hope none of them is ill, or worse.

Until 8 a.m., help pilgrims find lost things, replace toilet paper rolls, keep bread and jam on the table. Be sunny and nice to everyone. Grab some coffee and bread for your own breakfast.


8 a.m., say goodbye to the final pilgrim. Depending on size of albergue, season, weather, traffic, and whether there's a partner serving with you, you can:


Open all the windows.

Scan the dorm for items left behind, trash on the floors, spilled liquids, etc. Check beds for spots, smears; other signs of unpleasantness. Change sheets or bedcovers as needed. Start laundry. Hose down the shower stalls, swab the toilets, wipe spotty walls and fixtures, check for burned-out bulbs and leaks. Get a shower of your own while everything is neat and clean.

Clean up the kitchen. Put away everything. Perhaps start on a soup for lunch.


Sweep all the floors. Mop all the floors. Check levels on the propane bottles. Call the gas-man if needed. Hang out the laundry.


10 a.m., make up a grocery list. Go into town to shop, being sure to shop at a different store each day. Go to Mass, if that's an option. Sit by the river and relax, if that's an option. Have a coffee in the local bar, catch up on the gossip.


12 noon, back to the albergue, send the other hospitalero out for some air. Bring in the laundry. Take a nap, or write a note home. Tell the people banging on the door that you don't open til 2 p.m., as clearly posted.


1:30 p.m., grab some lunch. Make sure there's toilet paper in all the stalls. Set out the sello, book, and donativo box.


2 p.m., open the doors. Be cheerful and welcoming. Register everyone. Scan each pilgrim for damage. Be sure there are lower bunks for injured, ill, or infirm people. Offer seats to the tired, drinks to the thirsty, bandages to the injured. Start organizing the communal dinner, if there is one. Have volunteers do shopping, chopping, table-setting, etc. Include the shy and retiring in the activity. Try to keep peace in the dormitory. Once the place is full, hang a "completo" sign on the door. Call cabs and other albergues for those unable/unwilling to do it for themselves. Put a "Averiada/Broken" sign on the toilet stall that's forever malfunctioning, and pray it doesn't overflow again. Call the &^%% plumber again. (This is about the moment the gas cylinder delivery arrives.)


6 p.m., listen to the screams of anguish when the wifi goes down.


7 p.m., Oversee the dinner, if there is one. Scan the dorm, make sure no one is having his dinner on his bed (yes, this happens!). Have something to eat yourself. Have the pilgrims do the dish-washing. Tell the people smoking in the bathroom they've gotta do that outside. Tell the love-struck couple they need to get a hotel room if they want to share a bed. Tell the busted pilgrim to not book a train home yet -- to sleep on his decision to quit. Find someone who can translate a Polish guidebook into Korean. Take a close look at the bedbug found in the dorm, and explain to the hysterical pilgrim that bedbugs have legs and bodies, and this "bedbug" is a bit of lint. Tell the angry pilgrims gathered around they are welcome to sleep somewhere else if they will not share a dormitory with a bit of lint. Show them the "bedbug." Try to remember the German word for "lint."


9 p.m., Many pilgrims will be tucking into bed. Others will be rolling in from the bar. Try to quiet them. Lower the lights in the public areas. Mop up the bathroom floors. Put out more toilet paper. Sweep up outside. Take out the trash. Wipe down the tabletops and counters, put away dishes.


10 p.m., close the doors. Turn off the dormitory lights. Lay the table for breakfast. (One of you may go round the outdoor perimeter and call in any lingering pilgrims.)


11 p.m., finish up the bookkeeping. Sit in the quiet for a little while. Chat a bit with your companion, review the day. Discuss what needs to be done in the morning. Go to bed.


Repeat, with variations, for 14 days.
 
Last edited:

Michael Caleigh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Primitivo September 2016
Thank you for posting this and this is exactly how I imagined it to be.

Now my question is where I can sign up to volunteer two weeks? (I know I must be mad)

Buen camino
Michael
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/

marylynn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011-12-14-15-16-17-18-(19) CF
2013 Arles/Aragones
2015 & 2017 HærvejenDK
hmmmm...some of those points are familiar. I have something to share about being a hospitalera but wasn't sure where to post it, so I think this is the place.

I currently am a hospitalera at the Municipal Albergue in tiny Calzadilla de Los Hermanillos, about 15k west of Sahagun. Yesterday morning I did laundry, as I do every morning after the guests leave. I usually hang the sheets outside to dry, but this time it was rainy and I forgot that I was not supposed to run the washing machine at the same time as the dryer...and I blew a fuse. Arghhhhh. I found electrical boxes upstairs where there was power. I checked and flipped all the switches, but the power did not come back on downstairs. What to do? I did not know how to explain my dilemma in Spanish to the municipal office. Who could help me?? The albergue was supposed to open at 1...but just then, five minutes before opening time, someone pounded on the front door. I opened the door and explained that my delay in opening the door was that I was trying to get the power back on...and I welcomed in the guest, who coincidentally turned out to be a German electrical engineer. He easily located the right electrical box, flipped the right switch, and power was on again. The Camino provides, in the most wonderful ways.
 

Alan Pearce

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones 2008, del Norte 2009, VdlP 2011, Ingles 2014, Camino de Madri 2015, Frances 2017
Description of being a hospitalera/o, courtesy of Julie Davies, who is the co-ordinator of Gaucelmo in Rabanal del Camino: "Sixteen hours a day of giving from the heart".

Plus some of the other things that Rebekah mentioned. Very funny.

Alan

Be brave. Life is joyous.
 

drvnsmiln

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP - SdC Sept-Oct 2014
SdC - Finisterre-Muxia. Oct 2014
Sarria - SdC Nov 2014
VdlP April - May 2017
Hola

Movinmaggie reminded me of this wonderful piece written by Rebecka. It should be compulsory reading for everyone using albergues and should be learned by heart by anyone thinking of buying one!

I have also posted it in the Resources section. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/resources/being-a-hospitalero.521/

In my experience: Duties of the Hospitaleros.


Rebecka Scott


5 a.m., wake up and tell the people bashing on the doors and crashing around the kitchen that you'll open the doors at 6, as posted everywhere. Meantime, they need to shut the hell up. Try to go back to sleep while they complain and moan about your awful, un-spiritual attitude.


6 a.m., open the doors, start the coffee and tea, and put out the bread for breakfast. Re-set the table the early risers have trashed. Put the donativo box somewhere in pilgrims' line of sight, so it's not so easily "forgotten."


7.30 a.m., make the dormitory rounds, wake up people who can sleep through the racket. Hope none of them is ill, or worse.

Until 8 a.m., help pilgrims find lost things, replace toilet paper rolls, keep bread and jam on the table. Be sunny and nice to everyone. Grab some coffee and bread for your own breakfast.


8 a.m., say goodbye to the final pilgrim. Depending on size of albergue, season, weather, traffic, and whether there's a partner serving with you, you can:


Open all the windows.

Scan the dorm for items left behind, trash on the floors, spilled liquids, etc. Check beds for spots, smears; other signs of unpleasantness. Change sheets or bedcovers as needed. Start laundry. Hose down the shower stalls, swab the toilets, wipe spotty walls and fixtures, check for burned-out bulbs and leaks. Get a shower of your own while everything is neat and clean.

Clean up the kitchen. Put away everything. Perhaps start on a soup for lunch.


Sweep all the floors. Mop all the floors. Check levels on the propane bottles. Call the gas-man if needed. Hang out the laundry.


10 a.m., make up a grocery list. Go into town to shop, being sure to shop at a different store each day. Go to Mass, if that's an option. Sit by the river and relax, if that's an option. Have a coffee in the local bar, catch up on the gossip.


12 noon, back to the albergue, send the other hospitalero out for some air. Bring in the laundry. Take a nap, or write a note home. Tell the people banging on the door that you don't open til 2 p.m., as clearly posted.


1:30 p.m., grab some lunch. Make sure there's toilet paper in all the stalls. Set out the sello, book, and donativo box.


2 p.m., open the doors. Be cheerful and welcoming. Register everyone. Scan each pilgrim for damage. Be sure there are lower bunks for injured, ill, or infirm people. Offer seats to the tired, drinks to the thirsty, bandages to the injured. Start organizing the communal dinner, if there is one. Have volunteers do shopping, chopping, table-setting, etc. Include the shy and retiring in the activity. Try to keep peace in the dormitory. Once the place is full, hang a "completo" sign on the door. Call cabs and other albergues for those unable/unwilling to do it for themselves. Put a "Averiada/Broken" sign on the toilet stall that's forever malfunctioning, and pray it doesn't overflow again. Call the &^%% plumber again. (This is about the moment the gas cylinder delivery arrives.)


6 p.m., listen to the screams of anguish when the wifi goes down.


7 p.m., Oversee the dinner, if there is one. Scan the dorm, make sure no one is having his dinner on his bed (yes, this happens!). Have something to eat yourself. Have the pilgrims do the dish-washing. Tell the people smoking in the bathroom they've gotta do that outside. Tell the love-struck couple they need to get a hotel room if they want to share a bed. Tell the busted pilgrim to not book a train home yet -- to sleep on his decision to quit. Find someone who can translate a Polish guidebook into Korean. Take a close look at the bedbug found in the dorm, and explain to the hysterical pilgrim that bedbugs have legs and bodies, and this "bedbug" is a bit of lint. Tell the angry pilgrims gathered around they are welcome to sleep somewhere else if they will not share a dormitory with a bit of lint. Show them the "bedbug." Try to remember the German word for "lint."


9 p.m., Many pilgrims will be tucking into bed. Others will be rolling in from the bar. Try to quiet them. Lower the lights in the public areas. Mop up the bathroom floors. Put out more toilet paper. Sweep up outside. Take out the trash. Wipe down the tabletops and counters, put away dishes.


10 p.m., close the doors. Turn off the dormitory lights. Lay the table for breakfast. (One of you may go round the outdoor perimeter and call in any lingering pilgrims.)


11 p.m., finish up the bookkeeping. Sit in the quiet for a little while. Chat a bit with your companion, review the day. Discuss what needs to be done in the morning. Go to bed.


Repeat, with variations, for 14 days.
 

drvnsmiln

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP - SdC Sept-Oct 2014
SdC - Finisterre-Muxia. Oct 2014
Sarria - SdC Nov 2014
VdlP April - May 2017
Woah! This sounds like my life about 15 - 20 years ago... Raising 8 children on a goat dairy farm and getting all the chores done and half the group off to school by 8AM.

I'd be up for hospital era duties, but looking forward to VdlP April/May 2017 and the Portugues from Lisbon first....

To everything there is a season.....
 

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