Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Saturday, May 14 Cirauqui to Estella

"Blessing pilgrims on your journey. May your hearts be open to surprise."

Well quite a surprise greeted us when we reached the Alberque San Miquel in Estella which was to be our home and work station for the rest of the month. We showed up two days early with the intention of offering our help and learning the ropes of running an alberque only to learn that the previous hospitaleros had run for the hills the week before. Within 10 minutes we were handed the keys to this little pilgrim kingdom and on our own with less than an hour before we were to open the doors to the pilgrims.

We quickly scouted out some small grocery tiendas (stores), stocked up on salad fixings, pasta and wine and raced back to the alberque to get organized to check in the hot and exhausted pilgrims. This alberque is donativo, pilgrims pay what they can and want to pay for the bed, the dinner and the breakfast. Wine is not offered by the alberque and that's one of those 'good to know' things or 'really need know' in my case. There is an evening scramble to the tiendas to get one's nightly vino.

We wisely and unashamedly enlisted the help of pilgrims to help us make the salad and clean up. This night we were done by 11:15pm. Tired and well initiated into the hospitalero life, we went to bed exhausted but feeling quite positive.

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