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Thoughts on pilgrim hospitality

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Not sure if this should be here, or in the "Dalie" section.
We got back a couple of weeks ago from a three week walk from St Leonard de Noblat to La Réole, in wonderful weather, and I had some thoughts I would like to share with you, on the way a pilgrim is accepted, encouraged, and often cosseted. Now usually Dalie and I stay in country type places, as frankly most town refuges don't welcome donkeys. This may be due to their inconvenient size and dietary requirements, though this could apply to the odd human pilgrim :D
So, as the guide mentioned that a number of kind people not only made room for pilgrims in their homes, but would even feed them, I decided to do a little phoning rather than just walk until we saw a field no-one was using. I am now more than ever convinced of the innate kindness of 'ordinary civilians' . We never lacked for a place to stay, although the variety was astounding. From the luxurious bed and breakfast that halved the price for pilgrims (even with donkey) to the garden shed with room service, we met with universal and unquestioning acceptance. I think we had a little of every type of pilgrim lodging, from bijou refugettes run by the friends of the voie de Vezelay to the aforementioned b and b, passing through pony clubs and private homes. Dalie of course would vote for the riding stables at Périgeux where we had a rest day, and she was fed three meals a day plus multiple treats, while I went on the bus to see the town. I got to spread my sleeping mat in the pony club. Next time we encountered a riding stables Dalie had lost a shoe. We stayed there as well, and the owner removed the remaining shoes. No charge at either of them. Then there was the network of good souls at La Réole, no one place but a whole list of people offering their spare bedrooms to tired and grubby strangers. Some folk stated a (very modest) price, some said not a word about payment until I said I would like to help with their costs. Some very firmly refused to take anything at all. We ate astoundingly well (apart from the night where I was cooking in the tent and spilled my boiling pasta on my foot, which meant neither the pasta or the foot was a lot of use that night. Well, you try standing in a bucket of cold water for an hour and see how hungry you feel afterwards :evil: )

To return to my original point: The spirit of the pilgrimage is alive and well in France. If you don't believe it, walk the delightful paths of the Vezelay route and look at the Chassain guide to see all the Acceuil pélérin à domicile entries. Then stay in their homes, and realise that most of these good people are not themselves ever intending to walk to Santiago. Take them with you in your hearts, they make it possible for us.
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
Some of the places you mentioned brought back memories of this route which i walked in june/july.It is the road less travelled, which is one of its attractions.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Barbara, I must be feeling vulnerable after a trying week but I felt quite choked reading your post. After all the 'rude people' 'grubby albergues' 'bad service' posts lately it was heartwarming to read your kind and grateful report on the sharing of strangers. And your love of Dalie shines through.
Lets have more of these - PLEASE!

You Can't Buy Love?
You can't buy loyalty so they say;
I bought it though, the other day.
You can't buy friendship, tried and true;
Well, just the same, I bought that, too.
I made my bid, and on the spot,
Bought love and faith, and a whole job lot
of happiness. So, all in all,
The purchase price was pretty small.
I bought a simple, trusting heart
That gave devotion from the start.
If you think these things are not for sale,
Buy a brown-eyed donk with a rope like tail!

Anonymous..
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Dalie says take a look at her very own section and she will tell all. Including about the zebra. :)
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Hi
Dalie posts in alternative transportation. Actually, she can't type so I write on her behalf. Yes, of course I censor it or I would be in court for cruelty to animals :D
 

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