Though we can hardly believe it, tomorrow - or maybe the day after, if we end up being slower than planned - will be our last day on the Camino. We're hoping to be in Santiago by Friday.
When we think back to the towns we passed through at the beginning of the Camino, St. Jean, Valcarlos, Espinal, Pamplona, Lorca, it seems like years since we were in those places; and yet at the same time it feels like the end of the journey has arrived so suddenly.
I guess maybe all life's journey's and progressions seem that way.
Yesterday we walked 16 kilometers from Casa Milia to Salceda.
Along the way in the town of Ribadiso we passed the xunta - the municipal albergue, as they're called in Galicia, - which was built by the Franciscan monks in the 15th century as a pilgrim hospital.
In 1527 the monks rented the building to a private individual after exacting a promise that the building would always be used to serve the needs of pilgrims.
Five centuries later that promise is still being kept.
We were hoping to spend the night in a really nice, off-the-beaten-track albergue outside the town of Salceda that we happened upon on our last Camino, but apparently since then the place has been discovered; by the time we arrived there were no beds left.
So we walked on to Salceda and kept our fingers crossed for some good Camino Karma and a couple of beds in the only albergue in town,
Karma came through and we got beds in El Albergue de Boni,
...a wonderful place, thanks to the friendly, welcoming, helpful hospitaliero, Boni, owner of the albergue, whose generosity of spirit and love of his calling is evident in the little touches - that mean so much - found at his albergue.
The dorm rooms were spacious,
...and each bed a small shelf next to it for us to put a few night things on, flashlight, watch, wallet, instead of having to put these things on the floor or on our beds. This little shelf was especially nice for the pilgrims on the top bunks as they don't have access to the floor and usually have to pile all their stuff on their beds. And in the wall next to each bed there was an outlet for charging electronic devices, a huge convenience. Also, in a room where another set of bunk beds could have been shoved in, Boni chose instead to put a shelf for pilgrims's backpacks, which usually clutter up all available floor space.
Next to the boot rack was a box of newspapers for pilgrims to use for stuffing into wet boots to help dry them out..
And the WIFI worked great.
And our laundry came out dry.
And the showers were gender-segregated and nice and had soap holders in the stalls.
And, for in the day room there were several massage therapists available to give aching pilgrims 10€ massages.
The massage therapists were quite busy all evening.
"Isn't this a great place?" We pilgrims kept marveling to each other.
It was a great place thanks to our wonderful hospitalier, Boni,.
....who has himself walked the Camino seven times.
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A romantic comedy of errors.
Lots and lots of errors.
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by Patti Liszkay
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