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My Best and Worst Accommodation
Albergue is the rectangular building behind and to the left of the chapel.
Warm welcome, rucksacks carried up to dormitory, feet washed by Hospitalier.
Wonderful communal meal - just 10 of us.
Candle light prayer service in the chapel after the sunset.
Communal meal at Grannon
Very welcoming. Plenty of character, built in the attic of the church.
Excellent Communal meal with about 30 others followed by prayers on the balcony at the back of the church.
View from the path just below the village of La Faba
German run albergue just below the summit of O'Cebriero.
Stunning views, warm friendly welcome, good facilities.
Just perfect after the steep climb up to it.
Our guide book (2001) led us to expect 3 smallish albergues. Instead we found a new albergue, only opened in 2004. It had been built with pilgrims in mind: twin rooms, with your own door! Adequate shower and toilet facilities. A large well equipped kitchen and dinning area. Patio area with tables and chairs. Just far enough away from the village centre not to be too disturbed by the fiesta that went on all evening.
Rabanal Del Camino (Gaucelmo):
Village of Rabanal Del Camino.
The Gaucelmo Albergue is behind and to the left of the church in the picture.
Run by the English Confraternity of St James. Peaceful, relaxing music on arrival. Wonderful to be welcomed by english voices. Adequate facilities. Lovely garden area and larger paddock for relaxation. Staff encouraged the soaking of feet in bowls of warm water. A wonderful place to heal and relax.
Only 3 were bad enough to mention!!
The worst: San Domingo de Ortega
Albergue is the building to the left with the tin roof!
Washing clothes in the village fountain
Grumpy old man and female assistant - made us stand in the sun without shade for 40 minutes after we had given our details. Senora had to finish her conversation.
Herded to the dormitory like cattle. Whole building was old, in serious disrepair. No hot water for showers - in fact virtually no water at all, just a slight trickle. No washing facilities - you were expected to use the village fountain outside.
Bare electricity wires protruding from the walls - proved not to be a problem as there was no electricity as we discovered as the light faded.
Footnote: I later discovered that the grumpy old man was renowned as one of the most lively hostellers on route, the local priest, who made a infamous garlic soup. We didn't dare try the soup as the albergue was so disgusting.
This priest died March 2008 at the grand age of 81, having spent 30 years looking after pilgrims.
2nd worst: Santibanez
Low bunk bed at Sanibanez
Couldn't decide whether to put this as the best or the worst.
Very old and run down. Needed a good clean and paint. A pile of magazines was topped with one from February 1987.
For every peregrino staying (there were 7 of us) there were at least a million flies. Shown to our beds in a room of 4 and issued with a can of fly spray.
One bunk was so low it would have been impossible to sleep in it (see picture).
Garden was over grown with hundreds of rotten windfall apples, attracting as many wasps as they were flies.
Toilets and showers were outside.
The senora was definitely one of the more eccentric characters we met during our Camino. Her extrovert, gregarious character was a bit scary at times, but I must say she cooked a wonderful veggie spaghetti bolognese, with plenty of seconds, but she did try to force feed me, when I said I had eaten sufficient.
Overall it was so bad we spent a lot of time laughing - bursting at the seams at times. My friend summed up the whole village, by saying "Thank God he didn't make me live here!".
3rd worst: Roncesvillas
Old Abbey (not the albergue) at Roncesvillas
Our first proper introduction to albergues, after staying at the small new albergue of Orisson the night before.
Very efficiently run and organised, but a massive shock to the system to be in one large room of 130 in 65 bunk beds with only 4 showers and toilets. Having to queue to use the facilities etc. and becoming aware of lack of privacy, other people's noises, habits, smells etc.
Just a big shock and challenged our comfort zones.