a really evocative part of the pilgrimage is the experience of staying in albergues along the way. here, pilgrims come together in a space so that they can rest and recuperate the mind, body and soul before the next day’s walk. there is a spirit driving the concept of the albergue that centres on providing the best hospitality you can at a very low cost for the pilgrim. sometimes albergues work by donation, and in my conversations with hospitaler@s in these places, i see that they are mostly people who live the camino in a very passionate way. having walked themselves, usually on multiple caminos, they are people who want to facilitate the pilgrim’s journey for others, simply because they believe in the beauty of walking through nature, and the simple joys that can be born from the experience. sometimes the generosity of the albergue and the people who work there is mind blowing and very inspiring.
on this camino, there is one albergue called the albergue de peregrinos del abuelo peuto, in the township of guemes, that is famous for this spirit and so i am very excited to arrive there after a long day walking with jose, david and an irish pilgrim that we pick up along the way whose name is pia. upon arrival, we are greeted by a smiling hospitalero called alex, given a glass of water and instructed to take our backpacks off. after getting our passports stamped, we are taken on a tour and my heart melts when i see what is provided to the pilgrim. expansive green spaces, clean airy dorm rooms, communal lunch, dinner, and breakfast served to us by volunteers, wifi, hot showers, shower gel, and laundry facilities. all by donation. there is a broad range of people donating their time, from local apasionados of the camino to ex-prisoners. in that albergue, pilgrims swim for a day in an atmosphere of generosity and sharing, and when we leave the following morning, we leave feeling cleaner, lighter, and more inspired to walk the walk, not just talk the talk……