Friday, May 20, 2011

Thursday, May 19 Alberque San Miguel

Jill, Viv, Marti & the 'Boys'

Karin & friend Silvi

'It's a small world after all.'

The world may be vast and expansive numbering billions in population but with the community of the Camino it becomes a small, small, small world. Wednesday, to borrow a phrase from my daughter's waitressing days, we got slammed. We had 15 pilgrims lined up before 11am and we open at 1pm. We decided to open early and let them get settled and soon we were 'completo' - all 32 beds filled. Returning from my first and very quick visit to the Igesia San Miguel, I spied a couple of pilgrims heavy and heaving with their packs and the exhausted desperation for a place to stop was evident in their stance and sun-reddened faces. I approached them and introduced myself as a hospitalero and asked if I could help them. One lady gave me a very quizzical look, asked my name and when I said Karen Hypes, tears started streaming down her cheeks. She was just emotional stunned to realize that I was the Karen whose blog she's been following and on which she's been posting very encouraging comment and now we meet - in Estella in Spain!
Now I have no illusions that my blog is anything other than a practical record of the 5 W's of reporting, not wonderously descriptive or insightful as many other blogs, but it was nice to know that it has been helpful to someone else.

We put Karin, my blog follower, and her walking companion, in the overflow room at the church and encouraged them to eat and relax back at the alberque with us. An amazing wonder of serendipity echoed this encounter moments later as I was chatting about journals and blogs with two fo our other guests, Jill and Vivienne. Inquiring about their occupations, I learned that they were travel writers and had their own travel website. Lo and unbelievable behold, Jill and Vivienne are the creative force and talent of, a website that Dayton and I have subscribed to and followed for the past year. Dayton discovered when he was researching the Chemin le Puy route and, in answer to his email for more information, Vivienne put together a detailed personalized game plan for Le Chemin le Puy for us. (Yes we do have a plan on our pilgrimage. It's a guideline not a schedule as we do allow for flexibility but we are not totally 'whatever may be, will be' spirits.) Not only a valuable travel resource but also personalized service. Perfect.

Viv and Jill were travelling with an elegant South African lady, Marti and two octogenarians gentlemen from New York City. They were all marking the 10th year anniversary of meeting and walking the camino together. I asked the two men to share the evening pilgrim blessing with me and then, with these lively five and all our other guests we had a wonderful evening eating and sharing stories at our patio 'restaurant'.

We have our evening clean up organized so efficiently that our pilgrims can get all the dishes and pots done and put away before Dayton and I have even finished our wine.



  1. Ola Karen! We´ve gotten as far as Najerra today and your help that day was priceless. Silvie has been unable to continue. I will always remember the wonderful evening in Estella, Muchas Gracias, Karin

  2. It was so wonderful to meet you both. We couldn't have planned it better if we'd tried. Those chance encounters along the camino are magical and become memories to last a lifetime. Keep in touch and we look forward to meeting up again... who knows where :-) Cheers, Viv & Jill