Posts Tagged With: Snoring on the Camino

Dark night of the Snore

After my pleasant dinner by myself in Fromista, I walked across the street at 10:00 to the Albergue and pulled open the heavy wooden door to the courtyard. Or I tried to. Locked! What? I’d seen a sign that said “quiet hours” after 9:30, but didn’t realize it meant the door was locked. Albergues usually  close at 10:00. And usually, I’ve had dinner there and hung out, then gone to bed. This night was different because the Fiesta was on and the communal dinner was cancelled. I could hear and see the Techno concert going on at the other end of town. No doubt my Albergue guy, whom I’d met when I checked in, was down there.

I ran back across the street to the restaurant for help. The guy at the desk told me to talk to the hotel connected to the Albergue. I did that and there was no answer. I rang the doorbell over and over and an elderly woman opened the door. I explained my predicament and she was not amused. But after a few minutes her husband, who was standing in the background, said he would open the door. I walked back around the corner to wait for him, and no one showed up or opened the door. I wondered if I could scale the wall? I began to feel very foolish for even thinking that and for being in that position at all. It was like a flashback to my travels in college.

Just then, Mr Albergue walks up the street, smoking furiously. “Why are you out here? You should be asleep! You are Pilgrim!”

Thus ensued a huge argument between us in my bad, but loud Spanish and his bad, but loud English. Finally, he let me into the pitch dark Albergue and I found my bunk.

Unfortunately the woman sleeping next to me had what sounded like pneumonia and snored loudly and coughed throughout the night.  My white noise app was only of partial assistance.

Fromista had a few more things to teach me.

 

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Categories: April 2015, Return to Camino, Santiago de Compostela | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Hospitality

By now, I’ve stayed at 11 different places on the Camino. Some places practice “transactional” hospitality. That is what we’re used to at home: you pay a fee and receive services, and its very business-like. I’ve shared a 30E hotel or private auberge room with my pilgrim friends, and its very predictable, and safe, with privacy

Then there are the “Pilgrim Pleasure Domes,” like Hotel Jackue in Puente la Reina. They built an Auberge in the basement of a hotel. It had dorm rooms and private rooms, and nice bathrooms, a communal kitchen, laundry machines, and all the amenities of the hotel: the bar, beer garden, masseuse, and a 13E Pilgrim dinner with good wine. Our group had a proper dinner party that night, and stayed up talking in the easy chairs.

I’ve also stayed at family run auberges, where the proprietor lives in the building and is front desk clerk, laundry person, and travel guide. The place in Los Arcos was one of those, and the place I’m staying tonight in Belorado. They are very friendly, carry your backpack upstairs for you, and have a genuine interest in the Camino. The guests are pilgrims, and there’s communal space arranged do people will talk. They’re often in funky, renovated spaces, and very charming.
Orisson was a fancy version. They could charge more because they were the only Auberge on the mountain. They served a communal meal, and asked us to introduce ourselves, which helped us get to know each other. That’s where I met so many pilgrim friends.

Then there are the true Auberges, run by the municipal government or an International Pilgrim Organization. They have a special brand of hospitality. The ones run by Pilgrim organizations have volunteers who come from all over the world to work for two weeks at a time as hospitaleros. They meet you at the front door with a warm welcome, and know what it’s like to be a pilgrim. My first encounter with one like this was at Roncevalles, after the epic walk over the mountains. I had a tough night sleeping with a snorer in the room and the hospitalero helped me move my mattress into the Common Room, where I could sleep. He also gave me the wise advice, “snoring is part of the Camino.”

I’ve been reflecting on all these kinds of hospitality along the Way, and how we can cultivate the warm hospitality of the hospitaleros a and the family run auberges at church. We are called to extend more than “transactional” hospitality, we’re called to be transformative agents of hospitality in Christ’s image. The Camino is teaching me so much, day by day.

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Categories: Camino, June 2013 | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Day #1

Hale and I said our farewells at the Porte d’Espagne at the edge of the old town, and then I kept going up the hill, on the Camino. It was hard to leave him after such a good vacation together. He’s been so supportive of my desire to go on the Camino. My first stop was the auberge at Orisson, 8.4 kilometers up the mountain. The path was pleasantly uphill, through pastures. And silence. The only sound was the tapping of my hiking poles and the bells on the cattle down below. A farmer wearing a beret said “Madame” to my bonjour as I passed by. The road kept climbing and then got seriously steep. I met my first pilgrims as I stopped to rest: a young American guy from MA, a guy who works for Twitter in San Francisco (!) , a Dutch couple going to volunteer at the albergue in Roncevalles for two weeks, an Italian woman and an older Irish lady. Then it got seriously steep. I was very glad to have poles. There was no rush to get to Orisson because I had a reservation, so I enjoyed being in the moment and taking my time. When Orisson came into view it was like a mirage, it was so good to finally get there. I had the rest of the afternoon to read and visit with people on the deck, do our wash, and then we had a lovely communal meal with about 75 pilgrims. Wine, soup, meat, and French Basque cake for dessert. The owner of the Inn asked each of us to stand up and say where we were from. It’s a little challenging to return to the hostel life: bunk beds, no privacy, and the worst is the snoring. I looked out the window at 3 am and saw the most amazing stars.

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Categories: Camino de Santiago, June 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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