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LIVE from the Camino Welcoming pilgrims in Estella

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J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
Phil and I about to begin chapter 3 of our hospitalero saga with service in Estella at the Albergue Parroquial de Peregrinos (San Miguel). We've been studying Spanish for the first half of the month in Santiago at Academy Ira Flavia and are now enroute to Estella. We took the train Saturday to Leon and visited the cathedral (something we did not get to do when we were pilgrims in 2016) and then took an overnight train to Logrono. Our trip to Logrono was longer than expected as the train was 3 hours late and we spent half the night in the Leon train station waiting.

Today we found a laundromat and met our friend Dale for coffee who is starting his first time as a hospitalero in Logrono tomorrow. He seems ready, but does not know who his work companion will be yet. Since it is his first time he is nervous and excited and it felt good to help him talk through things. We will take the bus to Estella in the morning and relieve the current team. I got an email from them two days ago asking when they can expect us.

On bitter sweet note, my step-dad has been ill and was hospitalized and underwent a life changing emergency surgery right after we got to Spain. His recovery has been a roller coaster and my mother who is quite frail has asked me to fly home a week early to help them. We hope by then my step-dad will be in rehab or back at home, but in any case, my brother who has been helping during this time is taking a much needed vacation so I am needed. Phil thinks he can probably run the albergue alone for the last few days of the month once we get the routine established.

We met several forum members while in Santiago and hope to meet some of you who may be walking this month (Kirkie--if you are out there we hope to see you). I'll let you know how things progress.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Phil and I about to begin chapter 3 of our hospitalero saga with service in Estella at the Albergue Parroquial de Peregrinos (San Miguel). We've been studying Spanish for the first half of the month in Santiago at Academy Ira Flavia and are now enroute to Estella. We took the train Saturday to Leon and visited the cathedral (something we did not get to do when we were pilgrims in 2016) and then took an overnight train to Logrono. Our trip to Logrono was longer than expected as the train was 3 hours late and we spent half the night in the Leon train station waiting.

Today we found a laundromat and met our friend Dale for coffee who is starting his first time as a hospitalero in Logrono tomorrow. He seems ready, but does not know who his work companion will be yet. Since it is his first time he is nervous and excited and it felt good to help him talk through things. We will take the bus to Estella in the morning and relieve the current team. I got an email from them two days ago asking when they can expect us.

On bitter sweet note, my step-dad has been ill and was hospitalized and underwent a life changing emergency surgery right after we got to Spain. His recovery has been a roller coaster and my mother who is quite frail has asked me to fly home a week early to help them. We hope by then my step-dad will be in rehab or back at home, but in any case, my brother who has been helping during this time is taking a much needed vacation so I am needed. Phil thinks he can probably run the albergue alone for the last few days of the month once we get the routine established.

We met several forum members while in Santiago and hope to meet some of you who may be walking this month (Kirkie--if you are out there we hope to see you). I'll let you know how things progress.
I am out here. Sorry to hear your family ill health news, very distressing for you. I just landed in Zabaldika today. I hope to walk out for a few days when I finish here, starting 22nd or 23rd, and will make sure to call in. I am not sure if I will stay at the albergue, as I do not want to take a bed from someone who needs an albergue bed. Also, I can’t contemplate an upper bunk, so we will see. At any rate, I will connect.
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.

Thanks for volunteering your time and energy to make others happy.

Praying your stepdad fully recovers; your mom doesn’t wind down while caring for him; and your shortened stay in Spain becomes an all around blessing.

Enjoy life.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
I am out here. Sorry to hear your family ill health news, very distressing for you. I just landed in Zabaldika today. I hope to walk out for a few days when I finish here, starting 22nd or 23rd, and will make sure to call in. I am not sure if I will stay at the albergue, as I do not want to take a bed from someone who needs an albergue bed. Also, I can’t contemplate an upper bunk, so we will see. At any rate, I will connect.
Hope to meet you in person and if not you will certainly be able to connect with Phil.
 

Juanma

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (2015 and 2016)
Hi! I live in Estella and own the albergue in Cirauqui, just 15km before Estella. We can meet for coffee some day in Estella and get to know each other. I happened to be in San Miguel a few days ago to meet a friend who was staying there that night, and met the (Spanish) hospitaleros voluntarios that were there at that moment.

BTW, what's your name? You mentioned your husband's, but not yours :)
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
Hi! I live in Estella and own the albergue in Cirauqui, just 15km before Estella. We can meet for coffee some day in Estella and get to know each other. I happened to be in San Miguel a few days ago to meet a friend who was staying there that night, and met the (Spanish) hospitaleros voluntarios that were there at that moment.

BTW, what's your name? You mentioned your husband's, but not yours :)
I am Janet. We may have stayed with you in 2016 as pilgrims. Looking forward to meeting you.
 

Juanma

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (2015 and 2016)
I am Janet. We may have stayed with you in 2016 as pilgrims. Looking forward to meeting you.
Yes, you may have stayed in the albergue in 2016, but not WITH me, as I am only the owner since a few months ago :)

Send me a PM for a meeting, if you will!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Camino Frances SJPP / 2014 Camino Portugues / 2015 Camino Ingles / 2015 Hospitalero Training
2016 (fall) Camino Sanabre / Hospitalero?
I had the good fortune to be a Hospitalero in Estella with a wonderful cohost Félix from Burgos. it is a delightful town with all facilities. the Albergue being slightly uphill is often less crowded and the people there seem to have a very good attitude. all the best to your father enjoy your stay.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Hi! I live in Estella and own the albergue in Cirauqui, just 15km before Estella. We can meet for coffee some day in Estella and get to know each other. I happened to be in San Miguel a few days ago to meet a friend who was staying there that night, and met the (Spanish) hospitaleros voluntarios that were there at that moment.

BTW, what's your name? You mentioned your husband's, but not yours :)
One of those Spanish hospitaleros, Manu, is a Camino friend of mine. We met when I was a hospitalera in 2013 in El Burgo Ranero and he was in Bercianos.

Good luck in Estella @J Willhaus! I've enjoyed your reports from Granon and Zamora, 2 places where I have also volunteered. Wishing your step-dad a speedy recovery.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2016: Camino Frances, Finisterre and Muxia
April 2019: Frances, Salvador, Primitivo
I stayed at the Agora Hostal in Estella -- it was a most pleasant experience. I would definitely go back there. The owner was most friendly and just took great care of us. Sounds like a lot of good places in Estella!
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
Hello and welcome to day 1 our time at Estella. We caught our morning bus without difficulty and soon arrived in Logrono. We were greeted by Manuel and Manuel (Manu for short) and spent the next few hours getting the lay of the land. It is a tiny albergue with two dormitories and room for 28 pilgrims. We surprised the "Manuels" by quickly filling up the dormitories with tired pilgrims and then hanging out the completo sign. Phil and I opened the door at 1 pm and by 2 pm we had only a few beds left and all were filled before 5 pm.

The Manuels left--one to walk a camino and the other to head home about 8 pm by bus. The evening was lively and Phil and I got to practice our Spanish with a couple from Mexico. There were no Spanish pilgrims tonight, but we had people from New Zealand, Poland, Denmark, England, USA, France, Italy, Germany, and Holland. One of the lads locked himself in the bathroom and it took his father (a carpenter and Phil) a while to dismantle the lock and get him out. Phil used his Camino Magic to talk to pilgrims and more than a few told him it felt as much like home as it had since they started their walking.

Tomorrow I will go to the "big" store with our contact here who speaks no English for supplies. We do not handle the money here. It is collected and we are reimbursed for albergue expenses and our food to include what both we and pilgrims consume. This is a donative, so we have no idea what people will give or not. Our job is simply to make them feel at home and welcome as they stop for some respite. I must close at it will be an early breakfast for 28 pilgrims.

Also, lest you worry about Phil and next week...we received notice that our volunteer coordinator will find him a helper as I get ready to leave. Word from my mom today is that they hoped my dad would go to rehab in the next day or two.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Hello and welcome to day 1 our time at Estella. We caught our morning bus without difficulty and soon arrived in Logrono. We were greeted by Manuel and Manuel (Manu for short) and spent the next few hours getting the lay of the land. It is a tiny albergue with two dormitories and room for 28 pilgrims. We surprised the "Manuels" by quickly filling up the dormitories with tired pilgrims and then hanging out the completo sign. Phil and I opened the door at 1 pm and by 2 pm we had only a few beds left and all were filled before 5 pm.

The Manuels left--one to walk a camino and the other to head home about 8 pm by bus. The evening was lively and Phil and I got to practice our Spanish with a couple from Mexico. There were no Spanish pilgrims tonight, but we had people from New Zealand, Poland, Denmark, England, USA, France, Italy, Germany, and Holland. One of the lads locked himself in the bathroom and it took his father (a carpenter and Phil) a while to dismantle the lock and get him out. Phil used his Camino Magic to talk to pilgrims and more than a few told him it felt as much like home as it had since they started their walking.

Tomorrow I will go to the "big" store with our contact here who speaks no English for supplies. We do not handle the money here. It is collected and we are reimbursed for albergue expenses and our food to include what both we and pilgrims consume. This is a donative, so we have no idea what people will give or not. Our job is simply to make them feel at home and welcome as they stop for some respite. I must close at it will be an early breakfast for 28 pilgrims.

Also, lest you worry about Phil and next week...we received notice that our volunteer coordinator will find him a helper as I get ready to leave. Word from my mom today is that they hoped my dad would go to rehab in the next day or two.
Today is handover day here as well (Zabaldika) and you are lucky to have a full house.. It is much better that way, good energy! I think there are about 16 here tonight. Sorry for you to have the anxiety hanging over you. I hope that all will work out for the best.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Thank you for your service, Janet and Phil!
It sounds like a much busier time than winter in Zamora. ;):cool:
May you have a wonderful fortnight!
And a grateful shout-out to you, too, @kirkie , there in Zabaldika. Lucky pilgrims on both counts.
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
Hello and welcome to day 1 our time at Estella. We caught our morning bus without difficulty and soon arrived in Logrono. We were greeted by Manuel and Manuel (Manu for short) and spent the next few hours getting the lay of the land. It is a tiny albergue with two dormitories and room for 28 pilgrims. We surprised the "Manuels" by quickly filling up the dormitories with tired pilgrims and then hanging out the completo sign. Phil and I opened the door at 1 pm and by 2 pm we had only a few beds left and all were filled before 5 pm.

The Manuels left--one to walk a camino and the other to head home about 8 pm by bus. The evening was lively and Phil and I got to practice our Spanish with a couple from Mexico. There were no Spanish pilgrims tonight, but we had people from New Zealand, Poland, Denmark, England, USA, France, Italy, Germany, and Holland. One of the lads locked himself in the bathroom and it took his father (a carpenter and Phil) a while to dismantle the lock and get him out. Phil used his Camino Magic to talk to pilgrims and more than a few told him it felt as much like home as it had since they started their walking.

Tomorrow I will go to the "big" store with our contact here who speaks no English for supplies. We do not handle the money here. It is collected and we are reimbursed for albergue expenses and our food to include what both we and pilgrims consume. This is a donative, so we have no idea what people will give or not. Our job is simply to make them feel at home and welcome as they stop for some respite. I must close at it will be an early breakfast for 28 pilgrims.

Also, lest you worry about Phil and next week...we received notice that our volunteer coordinator will find him a helper as I get ready to leave. Word from my mom today is that they hoped my dad would go to rehab in the next day or two.
You are giving of yourself on two fronts. Be certain to take care of you.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
Thank you all for the good energy! Last night was the beginning of the Medieval Festival here in Estella. Lots happening downtown including various parades and contests. There is a dinner one night and various displays. Tonight as I was walking to the store for some supper supplies, there was a Moorish trio playing and two women dancing their way up the street in a kind of parade.

Today we have only 12 pilgrims and quite a different group than last night, but still lots of fun. I went to the Mercadona with our contact Sabino. I felt pretty good that I could speak Spanish with him and he actually understood me! Those who read about our Zamora hospitalero service may recall that no one could actually understand me when I spoke at that time. Sabino and I had a wide-ranging conversation about the types of cars and houses that people own in our various countries. He asked me what I did for a living and showed me where he lived as the swept past. I bought a lot of breakfast supplies for the albergue and also lots of TP. Sabino told me he would take me to the store any time I wanted to go and just to call if we had any problems. I felt like my two weeks in language school had actually been worthwhile. I've also been able to talk with a couple from Mexico and again, wonder of wonders, we could understand each other.

We are about the close the door and our school teacher from Britain and another pilgrim from Mexico are just rolling in the door. We lock up the boots at night and bring in the walking stick bin and lights out at 10 pm. We had wide-ranging conversations from political discussions with a pre-med student from Hungary to helping the school teacher lighten her pack.

My stepdad went to rehab today. It is close to where my brother lives and my mother sounded happy for the first time in several weeks.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Thank you all for the good energy! Last night was the beginning of the Medieval Festival here in Estella. Lots happening downtown including various parades and contests. There is a dinner one night and various displays. Tonight as I was walking to the store for some supper supplies, there was a Moorish trio playing and two women dancing their way up the street in a kind of parade.

Today we have only 12 pilgrims and quite a different group than last night, but still lots of fun. I went to the Mercadona with our contact Sabino. I felt pretty good that I could speak Spanish with him and he actually understood me! Those who read about our Zamora hospitalero service may recall that no one could actually understand me when I spoke at that time. Sabino and I had a wide-ranging conversation about the types of cars and houses that people own in our various countries. He asked me what I did for a living and showed me where he lived as the swept past. I bought a lot of breakfast supplies for the albergue and also lots of TP. Sabino told me he would take me to the store any time I wanted to go and just to call if we had any problems. I felt like my two weeks in language school had actually been worthwhile. I've also been able to talk with a couple from Mexico and again, wonder of wonders, we could understand each other.

We are about the close the door and our school teacher from Britain and another pilgrim from Mexico are just rolling in the door. We lock up the boots at night and bring in the walking stick bin and lights out at 10 pm. We had wide-ranging conversations from political discussions with a pre-med student from Hungary to helping the school teacher lighten her pack.

My stepdad went to rehab today. It is close to where my brother lives and my mother sounded happy for the first time in several weeks.
Good to detect a more hopeful note, Janet. Long may it continue, and felicitaciones con el éxito con tu castellano!
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
Our pilgrims left at different paces today. Most ate and left by 7 a.m., but one asked if he could stay 30 minutes later than the 8 a.m. closing and another came to me privately and said he had not slept all night presumably due to a snorer. We just worked around the 30 minute pilgrim and I the put the other in dorm that was vacant last night and let him sleep until we were finished cleaning until about 10:30. Our late sleeper was an inline skating teacher who was trying to "skate" the camino and was making some videos about it. He told me after he woke up that it was "impossible" due to the terrain and steep inclines. I think he was wasted from trying the first couple of days. He told me he shipped his skates ahead. As long as those who need a bit more time are not in the way of me doing my job, I am fine to make accommodations. We can't always know what is going on with them and neither had been drinking or had stayed out late the night before. I watched my skater's "video" production all in Italian. He has lot of determination despite the terrain!

Tonight we have 20 pilgrims. Everyone is trying to cook in the tiny kitchen and it makes for a lively and good smelling albergue. Phil has gone to the hardware store and bought a replacement hand shower head for the women's shower. It was squirting everywhere but on your person!!! A nice young man who spoke English at the hardware store helped him and also told him that tomorrow is market day and advised against trying to come downtown to buy anything until late morning due to the anticipated congestion. In addition I mentioned earlier this week that there is a medieval festival and Phil was treated to watching "monsters" chase the kids downtown and watch the parade of musicians and belly dancers. I believe Saturday there will be something related going on at the San Miguel plaza nearest us.

As is always the case, the $2 guitar has gotten some play every night. I always put it out in the late afternoon or early evening and someone always picks it up and plays a bit. Tonight the musician was from Italy, but other nights from Poland or Korea.

Things at home seem to be going reasonably well, but the update today from my mom is that my step dad still is not taking enough nourishment. I think it will be good for me to be there late next week to see for myself how things are going.

Phil is learning how to do the things I usually do such as make the coffee with the Spanish coffee maker on the stove top. We have two large pots and the first morning we went through six pots of coffee while today we did not finish two. I usually make the two pots up the night before and turn them on when I get up at 5:30.

Each day I am here is a precious gift. Pilgrims are always amazed that we could come this long way to spend two weeks as volunteers, but what they do not realize is that we are the ones receiving the benefit of their laughter, tears, heartfelt discussions, and music. Will close for today.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
The Parroquial is a good place for good people by good people -- got in there late last (and only) time and so ended up sleeping outside, but I was comfortable enough with my gear for that purpose.

The shower and camaraderie and understanding and talk easily made up for the defect of no mattress, though even out there the 5 AM pilgrims did still manage to wake me with lights on and plastic bag rustling ....
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Our late sleeper was an inline skating teacher who was trying to "skate" the camino and was making some videos about it. He told me after he woke up that it was "impossible" due to the terrain and steep inclines. I think he was wasted from trying the first couple of days. He told me he shipped his skates ahead.
Used to know an ex US rollerblade champion -- weird guy, but quite friendly and warm. Seemed always to be peering into the beyond somewhere else ... heck I dunno, maybe I was too at the time !!

Sounds like your skater pilgrim might have needed a lot more training before start, and I'd guess a good deal more flexibility than following the yellow arrows everywhere.

Still, it's hardly as if most pilgrims work out stuff like "flexibility" in week 1 !!!
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
This pilgrim was also different than many of the others. He was older and very focused, but we had a very elderly begger woman speaking only Spanish come to the door yesterday and he treated her with the utmost respect when Phil and I could not talk to her. We gave her a bit of bread and a piece of fruit and so Phil thinks she will be back. We have worked with the homeless in the US and we don't give money, but have often sat and eaten with someone who was really hungry.

Another fully, weird thing happened today. When we were very busy at the beginning of the check-in, Phil brought me a woman who needed to use the washing machine. He was confused and we both thought she was staying with us, but after we put her clothes in the machine and started it, I realized she was not one of our registered pilgrims. In any case, we washed her clothes and had a chat. She was a pilgrim from Denmark staying in the hotel where Phil and I had a second breakfast this morning. She told me she had only met Spanish pilgrims who did not speak English so far and I think she felt she was missing out when she saw how our community was getting along. I explained what had happened and that the washing machine was for pilgrim use in our albergue and she apologized. It was her third or fourth day on the camino and was staying in hotels so did not yet know the pilgrim culture. In any case she dried her clothes on the line and participated in the conversation.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
It can be difficult with street people, and there's a contradiction inherent in their needs -- sometimes it is indeed just food that they really need so that they'll be genuinely grateful when it's provided, but sometimes what they're really lacking is the freedom that some amount of cash can provide, letting them choose how to use it instead of having that choice imposed upon them even with the best of intentions.

I've all too often been in the situation of seeking alms on the Camino and off, and very hopefully that is coming to an end for me now, but you can sometimes end up with people offering you half of what you need for that day's food for the price of three days' worth if you were to spend the same money yourself.

Though OTOH there are those who will instead spend it all on drugs.

And then there are the professional beggars.

The saying is that beggars can't be choosers, and yet all too often, when they're honestly in trouble through little fault of their own but just bad luck that can happen to anyone, that's the worst part of their predicament. Their loss of basic freedom.
 
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K Turner

One step at a time
Camino(s) past & future
14 August 2019 (SJPdP 16 August)
Phil and I about to begin chapter 3 of our hospitalero saga with service in Estella at the Albergue Parroquial de Peregrinos (San Miguel). We've been studying Spanish for the first half of the month in Santiago at Academy Ira Flavia and are now enroute to Estella. We took the train Saturday to Leon and visited the cathedral (something we did not get to do when we were pilgrims in 2016) and then took an overnight train to Logrono. Our trip to Logrono was longer than expected as the train was 3 hours late and we spent half the night in the Leon train station waiting.

Today we found a laundromat and met our friend Dale for coffee who is starting his first time as a hospitalero in Logrono tomorrow. He seems ready, but does not know who his work companion will be yet. Since it is his first time he is nervous and excited and it felt good to help him talk through things. We will take the bus to Estella in the morning and relieve the current team. I got an email from them two days ago asking when they can expect us.

On bitter sweet note, my step-dad has been ill and was hospitalized and underwent a life changing emergency surgery right after we got to Spain. His recovery has been a roller coaster and my mother who is quite frail has asked me to fly home a week early to help them. We hope by then my step-dad will be in rehab or back at home, but in any case, my brother who has been helping during this time is taking a much needed vacation so I am needed. Phil thinks he can probably run the albergue alone for the last few days of the month once we get the routine established.

We met several forum members while in Santiago and hope to meet some of you who may be walking this month (Kirkie--if you are out there we hope to see you). I'll let you know how things progress.
My prayers are with your family. I'm glad he is in rehab now.
 

Bala

Veteran member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP-Burgos, (2015); Burgos-Sarria (2018); Sarria-Santiago (2018).
Frances (2020)
Thoroughly enjoying your posts, as always, Janet. I hope I may be so lucky as to stay at an albergue some daywhere you and Phil are hospitaleros. 😊 May all go well on the home front. It is a difficult situation under the best of circumstances. Being an ocean away makes it harder. Your step dad and your entire family are in my prayers. 🙏 All the best to you.

Edit to correct grammar.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
It can be difficult with street people, and there's a contradiction inherent in their needs -- sometimes it is indeed just food that they really need so that they'll be genuinely grateful when it's provided, but sometimes what they're really lacking is the freedom that some amount of cash can provide, letting them choose how to use it instead of having that choice imposed upon them even with the best of intentions.

I've all too often been in the situation of seeking alms on the Camino and off, and very hopefully that is coming to an end for me now, but you can sometimes end up with people offering you half of what you need for that day's food for the price of three days' worth if you were to spend the same money yourself.

Though OTOH there are those who will instead spend it all on drugs.

And then there are the professional beggars.

The saying is that beggars can't be choosers, and yet all too often, when they're honestly in trouble through little fault of their own but just bad luck that can happen to anyone, that's the worst part of their predicament. Their loss of basic freedom.
We don't have access to the money here. She had coins in her hand and wanted a 'share' of the money from the albergue per our interpreter. She was a small stooped woman who was probably 70 or older. She likely lives nearby as she was neatly dressed and had no bag. As representatives of this albergue we shared our food, but she did not want a bed which was the other thing we had to give. I do appreciate your viewpoint. Our son has schizophrenia and chooses to live far away. We are always grateful for those who help him, but don't send money as it always gets him into trouble. We pay some of his bills, but cash is a different matter.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
As above, love reading your diary posts. I think I will pass through Estella next Wednesday morning, so not sure if you will already have left, Janet. Among the pilgrims who stayed here last night, a mother and son from Canada. He is only 14 years old; he agreed to play and sing a song as his gift to the other pilgrims. The song was about the love between mother and son/daughter. It was so good for him, and for all!
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
I
As above, love reading your diary posts. I think I will pass through Estella next Wednesday morning, so not sure if you will already have left, Janet. Among the pilgrims who stayed here last night, a mother and son from Canada. He is only 14 years old; he agreed to play and sing a song as his gift to the other pilgrims. The song was about the love between mother and son/daughter. It was so good for him, and for all!
We also had a mother and son, but from Germany. I did use my rusty German. The son looked to be 12 or younger and spoke some English. Mom helped this morning when a pilgrim accicently 'locked' the cook top just as we were running out of coffee. She told me to shut off the electricity and reset it which averted a potential coffee crisis.:eek:
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
I think I have to leave Tuesday pm. My bus to Madrid is at 0715 from Logrono on Wednesday and there is not an early bus which will get me to Logrono in time. Phil will be here. Not sure if he will have help by then as we are awaiting word from the volunteer coordinator.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
We don't have access to the money here. She had coins in her hand and wanted a 'share' of the money from the albergue per our interpreter.
hmmmmf, that sort of thing should always get one's alarm bells jingling ...
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
Well it seems to be a quiet day in Estella on the CF. We have only 5 pilgrims tonight. Two are young Americans who are doing some world traveling. Two are father and son on bikes. One is a solo Peregrino from Spain. Our solo traveler had his bag stolen in Pamplona at the end of San Fermin so he has benefited from the donation box. He was excited to find a towel, socks, and a pair of undies that I had washed this week.

It is interesting being this early in the Camino from some traditional starting points. We've seen some interesting gear and have been called upon for advice. We have encouraged folks to send things ahead either through Correos or to Ivar. One woman who is a geography teacher brought a compass. Another pilgrim had two heavy sleeping bags because he was not sure how cold it would be. A third pilgrim who was from Italy left an entire camp set complete with compressed gas gas canisters here. He must have kept the stove part. A pilgrim from Taiwan shipped several kilos on to Santiago. Our take and leave box has two sleeping mats in it along with assorted towels and other items such as insoles.

Yesterday seemed to be a 'hunger' day. One Peregrina was so excited to see the food left by others that she ate a banana, a yogurt, a nectarine, and some cherries immediately after she checked in. Then she made a pasta sauce with some other leftovers and split it with a Belgian pilgrim. The Italian pilgrims cooked huge meals and our two Spaniards on bikes did the same. Everyone is excited to see the tiny kitchen. It is barely bigger than a closet, but it is one of the most valuable assets along with free WiFi.

Another food topic, is the huge array of convenience foods that were not available when we walked two years ago. For example rotisserie chicken is available in the grocery store along with various microwave meals.

Tomorrow will be an easy cleaning day since we have so few pilgrims tonight.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
It is an early morning and no are pilgrims stirring. Each day is different. I tried to lay down early last night, but the medieval festivities woke me after only 30 minutes of sack time. That lasted until into the night and then the recycling and trash trucks started up about 4:30 this morning.

I also have my phone set to allow calls and texts from my mom and brother through. Mom texted in the night to share that my step-dad would be discharged from rehab July 26. I arrive at midnight on July 25 so it seems the timing will be good although I will still be jet-lagged. It is always easier going back to the states as I gain time instead of lose it.

Our breakfasts here are various jams, butter, and toast made from American style sliced bread called pan de molde for those of you seeking it out in stores. We also have little muffins called Magdalena s and some little coffee cookies. We have coffee, milk, juice, tea, and cereal as will. It isn't much by US standards, but it is plentiful and provides some morning startup fuel.

I mentioned the kitchen last night. There is a cook top with 4 burners, a sink, and a refrigerator with no freezer. We also have a fairly large toaster oven and a microwave out side the kitchen on tables in the common room. In the common room we also have a desk, three tables with benches and another table with all the plates and cups on it. That is it and it can be quite congested when everyone is trying to eat, cook, or get ready to go in the mornings. We also a large outside lounge area, but we are housed in an apartment building with Spanish families so we often have to ask pilgrims to quiet down as they prepare to leave in the mornings lest they wake the sleeping children. One dad already stopped me on Tuesday to request a bit more tranquility.

Well at about 7:15 I will start to play a little soft music if folks don't begin to stir. Speaking of that, a pilgrim just headed into the bathroom so I will close and start making some toast.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
Another interesting day that began with one pair of pilgrims unexpectedly ending their pilgrimage. The father and son biking duo had to quit. The father confided in me that he had been having chest pain on and off for two days while biking. He was also very tired--more than just riding a bike 40 km would cause. He had called his doctor who said he needed to stop and come to the hospital so he arranged a cab to come pick them up along with their bikes. He and I talked and I told him his health was very important and that he and his son could do this again after he had this checked out. He agreed, but was still very sad and more than a little worried.

Phil and I started to clean the albergue. Our routine is to wipe down all the beds and pillows with disinfectant. Everything has a rubberized cover which discourages bed bugs, but we still have to check daily to make sure they have not taken up residence. Then we sweep and mop the dormitories and the common room. There are two bathrooms to clean and the tiny kitchen. After everything is swept and mopped and wiped down, we take out the recycling and then we go shopping for small items in town and for our own food. After a lunch, we slice some lemons and oranges and make pitchers of cold water for the pilgrims. If there is any fruit left from the day before (today it was watermelon and another day cherries) we set that out and unlock the door.

Some days we also have visitors such as Francisco who is the main contact for the albergue. He came yesterday and we counted the money together and he reimbursed us for our expenses. He comes every week or more often if needed. We showed him some things that needed attention and some he was able to fix on the spot (toilet which kept running) and others will take more work (men's bathroom keeps locking men in the water closet and we have to get them out with a pair of large plyers.) Today another man came who said he was from the church. I don't think he was the priest, but I can't be entirely sure. He wanted to look at the rosters and asked if everything was going OK for us. My Spanish is good enough to understand about 50-60% and I can communicate if the topic is not too complex.

Tonight we have 9 peregrinos. Only one man and 8 women. There is a group of four middle-aged women from Taiwan who are really delightful and I explained to them the different types of albergues. One told me that she was really impressed that the whole trip was "so well organized" and I had to explain that is was not just a single organization running the show. We also have a young French couple who wanted to leave by 5 a.m. I told them I got up at 5:30 to start breakfast and I would let them out then, but not earlier. Everyone is really worried about the heat and it is hot, but not as hot as it will be early next week. It will be 100 degrees F which is about 38 C. We also think it is humid because in Boise the humidity is usually on about 10 or 15% when in mid-day when it is this hot. Others told us they thought it was really dry here so it is a matter of perspective. There is also a German peregrina with some pretty bad blisters and a heat rash and two peregrinas from Spain who are walking from Roncevalles to Logrono.

This afternoon a peregrina from South Korea arrived and thought her bag would be delivered here. I explained that the bags were delivered to the Municipal so she went off in search of it with a few directions from me, but 20 minutes later a Spanish man brought her back to us. It was very hot and she had been wandering around up and down hill in search of the Municipal. We brought her back inside our place and had her drink some water. We let her use our personal phones to make some calls and finally she got word that her bag was indeed at the Municipal. Phil took no changes and walked her down the hill himself this time. She was reunited with her bag and also with some of her friends so decided to stay at the Municipal. It was a happy ending, but she was terribly worried and flushed before the outcome. I remember the one time I shipped our bags forward how worried I was that we would not see them again and I never did it again...

Today is my step-dad's birthday and I called him during his breakfast to wish him a happy one. We were not able to talk, but I did talk briefly with my mom and so the message was delivered. Phil is feeling more confident that he can run the albergue for a few days if needed. Mainly I think he will just need help with the cleaning and possibly the big shopping. We just got a call and will expect another pilgrim shortly. More tomorrow.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
Last night's pilgrim turned out to be a Dutch man from Amsterdam. He was on a motorcycle doing some kind of "off road" European trip. We explained he could not stay with us, but gave him a drink of water and helped him call an hostel nearby. He left happy and we felt good about it. All pilgrims were out by 7:15. Very hot so we went to the hardware store and bought a fan for the common room. Already 10 pilgrims waiting to check in today and it is 1230. We passed out water and some pilgrims left their packs here to go get food until we are ready to open fully.

More later...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Last night's pilgrim turned out to be a Dutch man from Amsterdam. He was on a motorcycle doing some kind of "off road" European trip. We explained he could not stay with us, but gave him a drink of water and helped him call an hostel nearby. He left happy and we felt good about it. All pilgrims were out by 7:15. Very hot so we went to the hardware store and bought a fan for the common room. Already 10 pilgrims waiting to check in today and it is 1230. We passed out water and some pilgrims left their packs here to go get food until we are ready to open fully.

More later...
Here, the hospitaleros have begin to leave out coffee and salty nuts for passing pilgrims, as there seems to be nothing opened from Zubiri. Water, a taste of coffee, and a smile helps them onwards to Trinidad de Arre, where they are touching the world of bars and plazas on the outskirts of Pamplona. Watch out for early next week: temperatures will soar, but I think you already noted that. The fan will be very welcome, I am sure...
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
We have cool water with sliced citrus fruit in it and I also have been putting out cherries or small slices of watermelon as people check in or if like the Dutchman just wander by. We also had two ladies from Britain today who are with their pastor on a religious tour by bus. They came this morning just after we had cleaned and asked if we could stamp their itinerary at the page about Estella. We explained our affiliation with the volunteer federation and gave them a brief tour of the clean, but empty albergue.
 
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J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
there seems to be nothing opened from Zubiri.
There used to be an albergue and café just over the bridge before you walk on to Zabaldika. Wonder if he is closed now. It was a village of about 4 or 5 buildings. He had a great terrace on the river and we sat out and watched the chickens scratch and men fly fish.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
There used to be an albergue and café just over the bridge before you walk on to Zabaldika. Wonder if he is closed now. It was a village of about 4 or 5 buildings. He had a great terrace on the river and we sat out and watched the chickens scratch and men fly fish.
Zuriain.....closed at present. Irotz also had a cafe, closed a few years ago. I just went down to the albergue where 2 lovely Valencianas have prepared a most gorgeous paella, and the 7 early pilgrims are tucking into it muy agusto!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Frances (x4), Finisterre, Aragon, Via de la Plata, Portuguese 2011 -2015. Hospitalero 2015
Hi Janet. Fascinating to read your accounts and thank you. I was a hospi at San Miguel parochial in first 2 weeks of Oct 2015. The albergue then had 34 beds which was really too many. My fellow hospi was Spanish with not a single word of English, and my Spanish would be marked ' could do better'. He had very fixed ideas - I paid for my own food, he opened the albergue as soon as we had finished shopping shopping, usually about 11.30, so no down time, he didn't socialize with the pilgrims etc. My best memories were of the pilgrims. One night 4 Italiansbought the food and cooked spagetti bolognaise for everyone, 36 including the hospis. Another morning 3 Spanish men paid for the eggs and made scrambled eggs for everyone. Then we had a neo- nazi whom the German pilgrims shunned completely.we had a tiny Korean girl who was having trouble putting on her backpack so I went to help her - boy was it heavy! She told me it weighed 20 kilos!!! I advised to send some on to Santiago but she was determined to carry it. We had a medical emergency with peregrina with what appeared to me to be a heart attack.Vert luckily we had a Spanish doctor with fluent English and the peregrina was taken to hospital in an ambulance.
So it was an interesting 2 weeks.
Finally, I found all the peregrinos (except the neo- nazi) to be wonderful.
 

Juanma

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (2015 and 2016)
There used to be an albergue and café just over the bridge before you walk on to Zabaldika. Wonder if he is closed now. It was a village of about 4 or 5 buildings. He had a great terrace on the river and we sat out and watched the chickens scratch and men fly fish.
If you mean "La Parada de Zuriain", it's still there, and still a wonderful place for just a stop or even for spending the night:

La-Parada.jpg
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
Yesterday was a busy day. We had 18 pilgrims. Two came late in the day and were very hot and tired. One Japanese peregrina started to cry when we greeted her with some water and fruit. It is very hot and she had been overheated and helped by a Spanish pilgrim who gave her some salted nuts.

Another pilgrim was notified by the police that the man caring for her garden at home was found dead in her yard at home. He may have had a heart attack. She was understandably upset.

One of the Italian couples bought supplies and cooked supper for all 18 pilgrims and Phil and I. It was a wonderful, but somewhat late evening by the time all the dishes were washed and the pilgrims went to bed. We had singing and fellowship among the pilgrims and about half attended Mass with us and received a Pilgrim's blessing by the priest.

Today we already have 23 pilgrims. There is a woman with a small child and there are a wide range of ages and nationalities. It is hot out and it is Sunday. The medieval festival continues in the town. There were musicians and dancers and people in costumes when Phil and I ventured down this morning.

We checked bus schedules and I think I will be leaving Tuesday evening for Logrono. My bus to Madrid leaves at 0715 from Logrono on Wednesday. We still don't have a helper for Phil, but we do have faith that someone will come.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
It has not been open since last Sunday. Nothing has been open from Zubiri as far as Zabaldika.
This part of the camino seems to be Terra Rasa.
I was last through there in early March several years ago, and was struck that there was nothing available to eat or drink in the entire stretch. I thought it was the early season, but it seems not.
With the ever-increasing numbers, I'm surprised someone has not opened something.
 

Juanma

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (2015 and 2016)
It has not been open since last Sunday. Nothing has been open from Zubiri as far as Zabaldika.
I'm guessing they might then have closed for a few days vacation. Believe it or not, in this part of the Camino it is low season, with really low number of pilgrims in late June and through early August at least, so I wouldn't be surprised if some business owners took a few days (a week or two maybe) to take some days off and actually be able to take some vacation with their children if they have any, while they have their school Summer holidays.

This part of the camino seems to be Terra Rasa.
I was last through there in early March several years ago, and was struck that there was nothing available to eat or drink in the entire stretch. I thought it was the early season, but it seems not.
With the ever-increasing numbers, I'm surprised someone has not opened something.
Not sure what "Terra rasa" means, but my guess is that in early March it may just have been a bit too early in the season for some of the bars/albergues to be open yet; most would open around Easter week. The "ever increasing" number of pilgrims you talk about refer only to the last 100km of the French Way, not the whole Camino; in fact, I'm quite sure the number of pilgrims starting from SJPP or from Roncesvalles has diminished in the last 2-3 years.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Who knew? Thank you @Juanma , for that perspective on when low season is there.

Not sure what "Terra rasa" means,
Empty land.

The "ever increasing" number of pilgrims you talk about refer only to the last 100km of the French Way, not the whole Camino
This hasn't been my impression on the ground, but I could be wrong.

I just started a thread elsewhere, not wanting to derail this wonderful thread....
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
We are having a momentary issue with the washing machine. Francisco, our boss, arrived with his English speaking grandson. The latch on the washing machine is broken. After watching a few YouTube videos we were able to open it with a wire, but the latch does not work so Francisco took the home to see if he can fix it. It is a problem today because we have treated a pilgrim's clothes and bag with poisen and heat because he was bitten by bedbugs at the last albergue. We were going to wash out the poisen so for now he is wearing clothes from the give away box and his clothes and bags are still in black plastic trash bags out in the hot sun. He went into town while we are waiting.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
I forgot to mention that we had been missing a top hinge on the men's bathroom and several men have locked themselves inside despite the Do Not Lock-Broken sign. Francisco brought the new hinge as we were ready to open and three pilgrims helped lift the door in place.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
Hello all,
Well another lively day and night. We had a mother and baby staying with us as well as a man who was suffering from bed bug bites and about 20 other pilgrims. A large group prepared a meal together again, but this time they were slightly less receptive to the 10 p.m. rule. Phil had get into police officer mode (he is retired military police and was civilian law enforcement for many years) and direct folks to put away the beer and smokes and come inside. It may have damaged our popularity, but one rule of being a hospitalero is that the whole crew moves on and you start each day fresh. That part of the crew left at 5:30 as soon as we opened the boot locker. The rest stayed around for breakfast and it was the beginning of a new day.

Our mom and toddler son are on bike and have buggy attached. She was hoping to ride part of the way on the CF and eventually do part of the Camino Portuguese by bike. She started in France.

Our bed bug impacted gentleman had no new bites today although his pack and clothes remained unwashed outside in black trash bags since our washer is on the fritz. He wore his donation box clothes the whole night. He was moving on today and planned to do his laundry in the next town since there is no laundromat here in Estella. We advised him that in addition to the hot trash bags in the heat of the day that a dryer would be his best option if there is one in the next town.

Today we have about 23 people and another family with a tiny baby. We also have our first group from Cabo Verde which are islands off the coast of Africa. We have our first pilgrim from Malaysia today and another dressed in Eastern monk type of clothing from Canada. There are several from Croatia and Germany as well. They played the guitar and harmonica for several hours this afternoon until the stores opened again. Some are eating now and others have braved the heat to find a restaurant or a store. It is 36 C today or 97 F for the American readers.

The washing machine repairman is supposed to come today, however, it is 5:15 and he has not yet arrived. I bought my bus ticket to leave Estella tomorrow at 5:30 pm for Logrono. I have a ticket to leave Logrono the following morning at 7:15 am for Madrid and then I have a plane ticket to Denver by way of Gatwick the morning of July 25 early. I should get to Kansas City about midnight and will be picked up by a service arranged by my mother. My step-dad will get out of rehab the morning of July 26 so it seems if all goes as planned I can help out. I will wait to see how things look before planning my return to Boise from Kansas City.

In the meantime today, I also went and did the "big shopping" with Sabino at the Mercadona store. This should last Phil into the next week or so. Sabino has also offered to help Phil until someone arrives from the Federation. Phil communicated again with Anai and we are still hoping for someone to come help from the Federation. The busiest parts of the day are the check-in, the breakfast (coffee making in the on the stove coffee pots can take some time between pots), and the cleaning in the morning. I am sure Phil can do it on his own, however, he has only one speed (which is not fast). It will not bother him to be slow, but some pilgrims may be impatient (like me.):rolleyes: I have loved being here and feel a little cheated that I won't get the fully 16 days. We heard from our friend Dale who is a hospitalero in Logrono this fortnight at the parish albergue and he said pilgrims are giving us good reviews.

On a dreamy note, Phil and I have often discussed moving to Spain and opening a laundromat in some small town without one. It is something completely different than what we do in our current world and seems like it could be a help in some towns. There apparently was one here that is now closed so it may not be a very good business idea...
 

Juanma

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (2015 and 2016)
Hi! I just popped in the albergue to say 'hi', but you two were out shopping. Was hoping to be able to meet Janet before she left this afternoon. It seems there is already a young guy that will be helping Phill the next days, or at least that's what I understood.

Janet, let me know if you'd appreciate me picking you up and dropping you at the bus station this afternoon. I'm free all afternoon today. Send me a PM if you want.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
Hi! I just popped in the albergue to say 'hi', but you two were out shopping. Was hoping to be able to meet Janet before she left this afternoon. It seems there is already a young guy that will be helping Phill the next days, or at least that's what I understood.

Janet, let me know if you'd appreciate me picking you up and dropping you at the bus station this afternoon. I'm free all afternoon today. Send me a PM if you want.
Yes, we have an injured pilgrim who is staying a day or so and Phil will put him on a bus tomorrow morning so he can catch his friends in Logrono. We also have our contact here in town Sabino who can help for now. Only a few pilgrims today so far and it is 3 pm and very hot. Sorry I missed you. It is only a short trek to the bus station and Phil wants to walk me down. Thank you for the offer. I will post again when I get to Logrono tonight.
 

Penny Kingma

M.S. Can't Stop Me !
Camino(s) past & future
May 29th to July 4th 2016
SJPDP to Santiago
And many, many more I pray
Hello you two
Sending huge hugs from Canada
Sending healing prayers for your step dad....a difficult time.
I’m so proud of you both for fulfilling your dream of coming back to give back.
I’m sure all will be truly blessed in your service.
♥👣Buen Camino
Penny
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
Hello you two
Sending huge hugs from Canada
Sending healing prayers for your step dad....a difficult time.
I’m so proud of you both for fulfilling your dream of coming back to give back.
I’m sure all will be truly blessed in your service.
♥👣Buen Camino
Penny
Back at you, Penny! Best wishes for good health so you can also return.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
Feeling a tiny bit guilty sitting in air conditioning sipping a gin and tonic. Just had a plate of Patatas Bravas 😍 and sliders. Phil walked me to the bus station and we both tried not to cry as I boarded the bus. He stayed and waved to the bitter end. Love that man so much 💘 and spent the early afternoon explaining to to our injured pilgrim Salvador how to be so special as Phil so as to find the love of his live. He always has two hankies--one for someone in need and one for himself. He loves adventures we make for ourselves and he is always my biggest cheerleader, but I am jealous that he gets to spend the night with 15 Italians, 2 Slovakians, and 4 Spanish. He texted as my bus was pulling into Logrono that 1 one Italian had arrived and 14 more were on the way... I'd trade patatas bravas and all for the opportunity to stay on the next 8 days.

I am in my Marriott property hotel in Logrono which is mostly frequented by businessmen. The walk from the bus station left me parched 🍸 and I will be back there in the morning at 0715 to catch my bus to Madrid. My mother did call today and I am glad I will be there to buffer things in a couple of days. They had a bad experience today with a nurse and I hope there was a really good reason for ignoring their call light for 60 minutes. As a nurse, I am embarrassed by that although I can't know what happened to cause it. In addition the same nurse put some tape on my step-dad and he is allergic to tape. The charge nurse was called by my mom to complete some delicate work removing 35 staples instead of the assigned nurse.

I'll try to keep you informed second hand of the Albergue happenings or maybe Phil will find some time. I know he will be busy. I contacted our friend Dale here at the Logrono albergue, but he is busy until about 1030 with various happenings so hopefully he and Phil can connect and debrief when they are done July 31.
As the part for the washing machine won't be in until the end of the week or so. In the meantime, pilgrims are limited to hand washing and Phil will only do the albergue towels in the machine, lest the door get stuck again and pilgrims, clothes will be locked inside for an unknown length of time.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
The late 14 Italians were a group traveling together with their priest. Phil found out that they were walking with a support vehicle after they all got checked in and apparently the plan was to move on to Leon today so it must have been a bus. There was a food grab and one Spanish pilgrim lost his provisions for this morning before Phil was able to make it understood that only certain items were available for consumption. He will ask more questions next time and this morning he had to put on some loud music after the traditional pilgrims left to roust the 14. He also prepared a mop bucket of bleach water to let them know he was serious about the 8 p.m. departure.

On the other hand, an Angel of mercy arrived this morning and our own @kirkie from the forum stopped in and offered to lend a hand for two days until the relief arrives on July 26. What a blessing!!! Phil says she speaks several languages and he is learning from a hospitality master!

I am in Madrid now. Will catch my plan to the US tomorrow. Maybe Kirkie will post a few days here to give you a different perspective on the albergue life.
 

Bala

Veteran member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP-Burgos, (2015); Burgos-Sarria (2018); Sarria-Santiago (2018).
Frances (2020)
Prayers that all goes well on the home front, Janice. And Phil and @kirkie , all the best to both of you. An experienced hospitalera from the forum walking into the albergue the day she's needed! Seems like St. James may be looking out for everyone. 😊
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Well, now Janet has posted, you know what happened! This morning as i was walking from La Casa MAgica, it came to me to stop by at the parochial albergue, as I knew Janet had had to leave yesterday. Long story short, i am helping Phil. Today and tomorrow. The first dormitory is full, and so far there are three in the second one. Many Italians, and they have gone out looking for a pharmacy, a church, and a place for a pilgrim meal. Some others are hiding from the heat. As Janet has said, the kitchen is tiny, and the entrance space is also the dining area.
I am staying in another place, so as to leave all beds for pilgrims. Always good to be available for whatever might be needed by pilgrims. They have another day of heat tomorrow but Friday promises to be only 24...
Safe onward trip, Janet! Phil is doing great work. You know that1
 

Phil W

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2016; Hospitalero 2017, 2018
Well, now Janet has posted, you know what happened! This morning as i was walking from La Casa MAgica, it came to me to stop by at the parochial albergue, as I knew Janet had had to leave yesterday. Long story short, i am helping Phil. Today and tomorrow. The first dormitory is full, and so far there are three in the second one. Many Italians, and they have gone out looking for a pharmacy, a church, and a place for a pilgrim meal. Some others are hiding from the heat. As Janet has said, the kitchen is tiny, and the entrance space is also the dining area.
I am staying in another place, so as to leave all beds for pilgrims. Always good to be available for whatever might be needed by pilgrims. They have another day of heat tomorrow but Friday promises to be only 24...
Safe onward trip, Janet! Phil is doing great work. You know that1
What a blessing @kirkie is. She is one for whom hospitality is second nature. I love watching as she interacts with pilgrims. Thank you @kirkie!
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
On the other hand, an Angel of mercy arrived this morning and our own @kirkie from the forum stopped in and offered to lend a hand for two days until the relief arrives on July 26. What a blessing!!! Phil says she speaks several languages and he is learning from a hospitality master!
What a blessing @kirkie is. She is one for whom hospitality is second nature. I love watching as she interacts with pilgrims. Thank you @kirkie!
Yes, and yes!
Janet, safe onward travel - it must have been a challenging departure, but your hospi duties are obviously needed at home right now, for your Dad on his pilgrimage. And if it isn't a classic camino experience. When there is need, someone turns up with a willing heart and very able hands (and I might add, knowing @kirkie a bit, very good company).
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Day of St James. All quiet. All peregrinos on their way. Two cyclists from Colombia called in for a stamp and use of the bathroom- a human right in my opinion! A weathered Italian pilgrim is sitting outside, waiting till 1pm when we open. He has a painful heel blister and arrived by bus from Puente, that is why he is so early. In a while, before we go out for a stroll, I will check with Phil about giving him some coffee that is left over, and toast and jam.
I had to run off last night as the owner of the hostel where I am sleeping rang to tell me I would not get in if I didn’t hurry up! She gave me a key card so I can wait till the end tonight! Seems there was a bit of drama last night: the door to the bigger dormitory slammed shut and would not open. Phil and a pilgrim did a job on the handle and suffice it to say the door is now open, minus handle and lock. It is a cosy albergue. Plenty of outdoor space, with tables and benches. Good clotheslines , and lots of pegs. Today is set to be as hot as yesterday, but tomorrow it will go down significantly. Only two arrived in the mid afternoon yesterday, the others had all arrived by 1pm when we opened the door for registration. Reminds me: check the water jugs. Enjoy your celebration, however you do it, today. For those pilgrims arriving today: congratulations!
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
Always something to be tended at the albergue! Doors have been an issue this month with the men's room, washer door and now the dormitory. I have made it to Gatwick and am waiting for a 4 pm departure to Denver and then to Kansas City where my parents live. Happy St James Day to all!!!😊
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
All went smoothly yesterday evening. Temperature has dropped, it has rained a little and maybe there will be some more. I know that Janet has landed and is with her family. (Hope all goes well there, Janet) A replacement hospitalero will be coming in the course of the morning. Everything is in order for today’s wave of pilgrims...they will find a great welcome form Phil and also I am sure from the new guy.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
I am on the ground in Kansas City and my step-dad will be discharged today. I slept some on the plane and a little in a bed here, but jet-lag has set in and I am wide awake at 5 am.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
Phil told me that the new hospitalero, Alberto, is top notch.Hope he will have time to post tomorrow. My step-dad is home now and I plan to stay 2 weeks.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
Contact from Salvador, our Spanish pilgrim with the foot issue was that he went to the hospital on Logrono. They cleaned and dressed his feet properly. He went to Decathlon and bought new shoes which coupled with proper socks has resulted in an improved gate. Our friend Dale in Logrono reported what a help Salvador was to him as well by translating. We wish him a Buen Camino and thank him for all his help as he travels forward to Santiago.
 

Phil W

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2016; Hospitalero 2017, 2018
Bear with me as I try to post using big fingers on my mobile's small key board. Shared an umbrella with @kirkie on the way to the bus station. A few minutes after my return to the albergue Janet's replacement arrived. An experienced hospitalero, way more experience than Janet and I. Doesn't really speak much English but with my little Spanish and Google translate we have done just fine. Only use Google translate when nothing else works so really haven't used it a lot. By closing we were laughing together. We had a somewhat late arriving peregrina who asked if she could go get something to eat and if we would let her in if she was late getting back. We agreed on a time of return and she was back early. She has a heavy but small back. I found out she has a complete makeup kit with her. She says her pack weighs 10 kilos. I explained that she would feel better with a lighter pack. She indicated that she needed everything in it. She also complained that prior hospitaleros warned her that she only had a few minutes until she must be out. She commented in a negative self deprecating way that she was always the last to leave. Tried to tell her that was okay but I don't think she understood-some language and other differences.

A big thank you to @kirkie!! And a welcome to Alberto.

Sabino took Alberto and I to the big store to get needed foodstuffs and cleaning supplies. I was amazed that a large shopping cart full of supplies was less than 28 euros.

You probably already know that serving as hospitaleros is exciting for Janet and I. Today the water heater quit between cleaning and my shower. Neither Alberto or I could figure it out so Alberto called Sabino who came back and adjusted the water heater.

No telling what new learning experience will present itself.
.
 

Phil W

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2016; Hospitalero 2017, 2018
Camino magic or maybe albergue magic has occurred here. After an afternoon of some rain, as soon as it stopped 10 to 15 pilgrims and a guitar moved to the courtyard for music and singing. I watched the guitar pass to 3 pilgrims. Many pilgrims joined in the singing. Brought happy tears. When they adjourned to the common room some singing and laughter as they finish making supper for 10 pilgrims who went in together.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
Phil sent me a text that they were full today by 3 pm. Weather is considerably cooler the past few days there. My step-dad is eating well. He lost 40+ pounds and did not have that much to lose. He weighs less than my mom now who is not very heavy. We met with the dietician yesterday so I am to add extra fat calories to his diet when possible and they want him to get 100 grams of protein in each day for surgical healing.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
I am hoping Phil will wrap up with thoughts when he has some time. And talk about the hand-off. I know his relief came today and they are first-timers. He will leave Logrono tomorrow after he helps them through the first breakfast.

I have a few thoughts comparing our experiences. Summer certainly presents different challenges and pilgrims have some different needs is summer. For example summer pilgrims naturally don't need as much hot tea, etc. There are higher percentages of first time pilgrims in summer and so they seem to have more gear they dont really need although we are earlier in the CF than we have been before. Winter pilgrims seem to be ok with being more solitary while many of the summer pilgrims were anxious about staying with their "Camino families". In the winter pilgrims were less eager to leave early and in the dark, but summer pilgrims seemed driven to leave in most cases before the sun was up. Summer pilgrims were also wanting to check in as early as possible, but we often had pilgrims in winter who arrived toward dark and late afternoon.

So until next time, I hope when you stay at a Federation albergue you will be able to have a bit of insight into the behind the scenes.
Buen Camino,
Janet
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
I am hoping Phil will wrap up with thoughts when he has some time. And talk about the hand-off. I know his relief came today and they are first-timers. He will leave Logrono tomorrow after he helps them through the first breakfast.

I have a few thoughts comparing our experiences. Summer certainly presents different challenges and pilgrims have some different needs is summer. For example summer pilgrims naturally don't need as much hot tea, etc. There are higher percentages of first time pilgrims in summer and so they seem to have more gear they dont really need although we are earlier in the CF than we have been before. Winter pilgrims seem to be ok with being more solitary while many of the summer pilgrims were anxious about staying with their "Camino families". In the winter pilgrims were less eager to leave early and in the dark, but summer pilgrims seemed driven to leave in most cases before the sun was up. Summer pilgrims were also wanting to check in as early as possible, but we often had pilgrims in winter who arrived toward dark and late afternoon.

So until next time, I hope when you stay at a Federation albergue you will be able to have a bit of insight into the behind the scenes.
Buen Camino,
Janet
Janet,

You served on two fronts; what a trooper.

May Santiago bless your entire family with health and wealth.

Buen camino always.
 

Robi Diaz De Vivar

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2016), Norte (2017), Portuges (2018), Mozarabe (2019), Primitivo (2019), Via de La Plata (2
Phil and I about to begin chapter 3 of our hospitalero saga with service in Estella at the Albergue Parroquial de Peregrinos (San Miguel). We've been studying Spanish for the first half of the month in Santiago at Academy Ira Flavia and are now enroute to Estella. We took the train Saturday to Leon and visited the cathedral (something we did not get to do when we were pilgrims in 2016) and then took an overnight train to Logrono. Our trip to Logrono was longer than expected as the train was 3 hours late and we spent half the night in the Leon train station waiting.

Today we found a laundromat and met our friend Dale for coffee who is starting his first time as a hospitalero in Logrono tomorrow. He seems ready, but does not know who his work companion will be yet. Since it is his first time he is nervous and excited and it felt good to help him talk through things. We will take the bus to Estella in the morning and relieve the current team. I got an email from them two days ago asking when they can expect us.

On bitter sweet note, my step-dad has been ill and was hospitalized and underwent a life changing emergency surgery right after we got to Spain. His recovery has been a roller coaster and my mother who is quite frail has asked me to fly home a week early to help them. We hope by then my step-dad will be in rehab or back at home, but in any case, my brother who has been helping during this time is taking a much needed vacation so I am needed. Phil thinks he can probably run the albergue alone for the last few days of the month once we get the routine established.

We met several forum members while in Santiago and hope to meet some of you who may be walking this month (Kirkie--if you are out there we hope to see you). I'll let you know how things progress.
Hi there. I wish you the best of luck in the Albergue in Estella. I stayed there in 2016 and while the building is unprepossessing and the services basic, it was one of my favourite stops on the Camino. The difference was made by your predecessors as hospitaleros. A US and a Canadian lady they were infectiously enthusiastic and always had a huge pot of of soup or stew on the go for free on your arrival ( one of our companions had a small whinge as she was veggie but the soup most certainly was not. Estella itself was a stunningly beautiful town. I know that you will have a blast but remember you have big boots to fill. Suerte.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
Thanks, Robert! What a great memory for you. It was just too hot for soup, but we did try to have a piece of fruit and cool water for everyone as they were checking in.
 
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