Thursday, July 15, 2010

Albergue Ave Fenix

The day starts when the pilgrims start making noise anywhere from five to six in the monring. The gate of the albergue is not open till six but the pilgrims are ready to go. Villafranca del Bierzo is at the start of the Ruta Pradella one of the major climbs along the Camino Frances and pilgrims are itching to get going. Not all are ready to move on, there are the hesitant pilgrims those with problems, illness, blisters, muscle aches and pains and more.

Breakfast is available from six till about eight thirty and then our works starts. We are rostered as to what we clean, the girls do the habitaciones and the guys do the bathrooms, patios, and water the flowers. Then it is time for our shower so we are clean when we welcome the pilgrims.

The albergue opens at noon and already today pilgrims are lined up on the street opposite the gate. There are seventy spaces here and we have been full to overflowing each day. Dinner is offered for seven euro and we have been feeding forty people each night. Agnes and I work on receiving pilgrims (registering them in the book, stamping their credential (pilgrim passport) etc.) and the guys take them to their room, carrying their packs for them. It can get hectic at times when like yesterday a group of eight Germans arrived at the same time followed by a group of eight from Argentina some of whom needed a new credential.

We have serving dinner worked out between us all and Roberto (Italian) and I work well together in the kitchen doing the dishes after dinner, but boy it is hot in the kitchen.

Well I have two minutes left and no time for email and I do not have another one euro coin ... bye for today. Love, Luiza

Rick Steves Europe

I looked up at an incoming pilgrim and he was not a pilgrim at all, it was Rick Steves. I said quietly I know who you are but I will stay quiet (we have a large contingent of Americans here today, probably 25 USA pilgrims). Jesus was not here and we had to find Maria, their home is next door.  Rick Steves wants to televise the albergue, possibly for an upcoming progam on the camino.

A very busy day ....
Yesterday the majority of pilgrims started in Ponferrada unsure about timing along the way. Today has been the long distance walkers mostly from Saint Jean Pied de Port but also from their homes in Europe. All are planning to be in Santiago de Compostela for the celebrations on July 25, 2010 ... Año Santo (Saints year).


  1. In some ways, sounds like a monastery with its well-oiled schedule and simple but necessary chores. I am proud of you my dear. Sorry for the hot kitchen :(

    Love you, hugs and kisses,

  2. Thank you .... no, not a monastery far from it. It is the unusual albergue along the way written about in many guidebooks. The hardy pilgrim seeks it out, comes here by choice. It will be even hotter in the kitchen tonight as it is very hot day.

    More on Blog .....


  3. Anonymous6:10 PM CDT

    Hi Luiza: Hope you don't get too hot in that kitchen! I am sure that you sleep well at night after a full day of chores!
    New water lines to be run tomorrow and that is good because now we are having to go outside and turn on the main line to house when we need to flush or wash, cook, etc. Then we have to go turn it off when done - what a pain. Hopefully, all will be better by tomorrow evening.
    And, if you have any spare time (and perhaps you don't), please send Reiki for me. I have once again developed a very bad sinus problem and also a condition called Beignin Paroxymal Positioning Vertigo (spelling??)(a problem in the inner ear to do with small crystals that have "rolled" out of the proper place in the inner ear, and causes severe dizziness/spinning, etc.). It is miserable. There is a therapy, but insurance doesn't cover and has to approve some out of network stuff....a bunch of red tape in other words. I have tried some of the "exercises" on my own, and it has improved some. Anyway, I am not feeling so well and need some assistance. I do practice on myself as well. I went again to the doctor today. When I feel like this, I don't get any work done and the shop collects no $$!
    It is very hot here also - 104 with heat index higher. Really hot. We are having sandwiches for dinner, as it is too much work cooking a meal with no water, and it is so hot anyway! Maybe you could serve sandwiches? Take care, enjoy your work. Til next time. Love, Dawnie

  4. Hi Dawnie,

    No, I did not sleep well last night. I was not asleep until after 0130 and pilgrims woke me at 0530, not a long sleep. Yesterday was a very busy day and today could be even busier. At 0830 this morning we had pilgrims coming in from Cacabelos which is the village before VF del Bierzo. They only want an Ave Fenix stamp in their credentials and perhaps water or fruit, but this means we are still on duty. Today is my day off from household chores but we are opening two hours earlier to accept the walking pilgrims and with Agnes this is also one of my jobs.

    Sorry to read about your inner ear problem. Since I am finding sleep hard to achieve I shall send Reiki for you tonight.

    Your water problem seems to be a nightmare and here´s hoping the problem is solved today.

    I must get on with the days work.


  5. Anonymous1:33 AM CDT

    Filthy – run down – Bed bugs and more disturbing a drunk and highly aggressive Hospitalero Cook

    I surly confirm what Maureen is saying about the place!
    The hospitalero Cook was still so drunk in the morning that he had forgotten that I had placed a small food parcel with him in the evening before, because my wife needs a special diet! withnessed by the german Helper Kai , who was very helpfull and nice !
    Requesting the small parcel from him in the morning
    By humbling reminding him that he was the one who took the parcel for storage he manhandled me pushed me and boxed me to leave the restaurant !
    Undernormal circumstances this would have made me a police report !
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