Yesterday morning we took off from Belorado with a mission: to get to the village of Villafranca Montes de Oca in time to snag a room in the Hotel San Anton Abad, which dates back to the 14th Century when it was built as a pilgrim hostel.
These days the San Anton Abad is upscale hotel,
... a section of which the owner still reserves as a pilgrim albergue.
The albergue entrance:
And what accommodations!
There are bunk beds for 5€, or for 10€, the option we chose, one could have a twin bed in a long, bright, cheerful room lined on either side with beds divided into compartments with one or two beds. We snagged a two-bed compartment.
View from the dorm room window:
There's also a lovely sitting room,
...and a kitchenette for pilgrim's who'd like to fix their own meals.
And - oh happy day! - the bathrooms were gender-separated so that you didn't have to drag your clean clothes into the shower stall with you where they get wet, but could leave them on a stool outside the stall. This, of course, involved a wee bit of parading around in the buff, but, believe me, that's better than wet clothes.
There was no washer but there were sinks in which to wash out your clothes and behind the albergue there was a meadow set up with clotheslines.
By the time we got to the albergue Tom and I were SOA - starved on arrival - so as soon as we tossed our packs next to our beds we headed down to the hotel cafe for tortilla sandwiches.
After lunch we returned to our albergue and showered - always the first thing you do, organized our space - always the second thing you do, washed and hung our laundry, then spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out in the hotel lobby or on the terrace chatting with the other pilgrims,
.....or strolling the grounds.
The 12€ evening pilgrim meal was served in the hotel dining room
I had the mixed salad, rabbit in a most delicious sauce with a side of fries, and for dessert a bowl of heavenly rice pudding with cinnamon. Tom had mixed salad, pork filet with fries, and ice cream for dessert, all of which he also pronounced delicious.
Our dinner partners were an Englishman and a Danish man, both around our age, both of whom, like us, had walked the Camino before. We discussed, among other things, politics, social issues, and how much the Camino has changed in the few years since we all last were here with the proliferation of the Day trippers, pilgrim lites, our British friend called them, the pilgrims who don't carry backpacks but have their luggage shipped each day to the albergues or hostels where they've reserved rooms. We wondered if pilgrims who walked all day with their packs on their backs and found food and lodging at day's end at the pilgrim albergues without a reservation would soon be a thing of the past.
This morning we started our day with the 8€ breakfast buffet offered by the hotel and served in the breakfast room.
....scrambled eggs, sausages, cold cuts, baguettes, cereal, fruit, OJ, coffee, tea, pastries.
How sweet it was!
A romantic comedy of errors.
Lots and lots of errors.
"Equal And Opposite Reactions"
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Kindle:
or in print:
The Book Loft
of German Village,
Or check it out at the Columbus Metropolitan Library