“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
After lunch we headed out, we were told there would be fiestas in the next few towns. The celebration was in commemoration of the Spanish kicking the French out of Spain. Because of the Fiestas we searched the town center going from Albergue to Albergue looking for a bed with no luck, I was ready to set up the tent to spend the night in a park for Peregrinos, when we were told to go to the Church, that they never turn people away.
We walked in and were welcomed and perhaps was the best evening we had for the whole trip. We were given mats about 2 inches thick and laid them on the floor. After they gave us the bed, I asked for the cost and was told that it was a donativo, I asked for the stamp but was told that it would be given after the nightly meal – It was up to us how much we wanted to pay. Earlier that day I had found 10 Euros and I took it as I should donate that amount.
We showered and went walking around the town, prior to leaving we were told that the dinner would be at eight and then followed by a walk through a secret passage into the church with the pilgrimage reading. On the walk around town we saw many booths selling cheeses, meats, local handcrafted items, clothing, jewelry and many more things. Jessy ended up buying a pair of pants and I just a few little snacks. Jessy spent her own money for the pants. Shortly after seven in the evening we sat down in the common room next to the dormitories and shared pasta, salad, watermelon and all the red wine one could drink with about 20 peregrinos from several other countries.
After dinner we took the secret passage into the church and had a pilgrimage reading in four languages. From there they led us to another room were the ceremony was getting our passport stamped. Jessy and I walked around and took a few photos. At this time we could not go back out to the fiestas as curfew was at 10 pm. That night we slept very little as the noise from the vendors and parties was just outside our window. Our stay for the night was at Albergue Parroquial de Santiago
All host in this church were volunteer pilgrims who might have done the Compostela at one time or another, I found that they train them for about a week, with all expenses paid, and then give them a place to stay as long as they want; their jobs are to take in Pilgrims and help them in their journey. Most hospitaleros speak several languages.