Well I said I wake early – and after heading to bed at ten last night I didn’t disappoint. I was up at 5 and was able to farewell the early walkers – which was about 60 percent of the dormitory. There are 90 beds but we only had 38 pilgrims last night. Which means approximately 22 people left before 6! By the time Austpitelario wa was up the place was near empty!
There were a couple of stragglers doing some warm ups and enjoying the left over breakfasts of others. Perhaps they could have done with some lessons from the Irish Yoga master but not too bad really!
Our lovely spanish lady hospitalero – lets call her Mavis – was in full swing. We stripped every bed and washed every sheet and pillowcase and commenced a systematic approach to allocating beds.
Mavis had cut up pieces of paper with bed numbers but we soon discovered this was problematic as the paper was the main rubbish left on the floor and it seemed senseless cutting up numbers each day. People tended to take whichever bed they wanted.
Last night people on top bunks without sleeping bags were cold, people down low were struggling for air! Most did not complain so we resolved to turn the air down tonight and leave windows open as it did get quite cool eventually.
The cleaning frenzy Mavis led us through left us shattered, confused and frustrated. My spanish ear was not as developed as my spanish tongue so every time I tried to chat with Mavis she responded muy rápido (very fast) and did not seem to understand mas dispacio por favor (more slowly please)! So she could understand me but I could not understand her. Her intentions were clearly good – keep bedbugs out and keep the place clean but we were hoping to enjoy at least a minute or two of spare time during our volunteer duties.
The pilgrims however were very grateful and very friendly and we enjoyed chatting and helping those who could understand us!
We had some lovely ladies from Ireland arrive today too – I’d been wondering where all the Irish people were! There was one or two Germans, Korean, Japanese, Dutch, Belg, and even Spain ! Importantly there were also some Italians at last – I am sorry to inform you however that they ate out desafortunatemente!
Most arrived hot and bothered, many in pain, limping and grimacing with each step. One guest who was a bit later arrived hot and bothered and through a series of failures on our part because we were so busy we did not first make him feel welcome so his overheated bother turned a little angry lets say. I led him to his bunk and he told his companions this wasn’t for him he was going to a hotel – I totally understand that and have done that myself although hopefully never seeming so rude in declining the bed! I offered to direct him to a hotel and he was very dismissive of my offer. All well and good but he exited via the fire door which I then discovered had been left unlocked from the outside!
Due to difficulties communicating with Mavis I decided to call the albergue town contact thinking it would be easier to explain in English that we needed to keep the fire door accessible from the inside but not the outside. He also spoke muy rápido and no English! No pasa nada – Mavis eventually understood and locked it with a key – I checked from inside and confirmed it was still available for an emergency evacuation! We also put new signs up – Mavis was adamant that emergencia was not to be included!
We Auspitaleros discussed lessons learned from the days experience. Say welcome first and check if the pilgrim has boots on before telling to take boots off. We resolved to move registration book to dining table so to avoid the barrier of the big counter. Problem solvered!
To finish the night off I was fortunate to be offered a meal by a Japanese master chef! So too was Mavis and mi amiga Auspitalero. Nice curry I say! Muchas gracias to our new friend. And buen camino!