Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Training also offered in Kelowna BC

Training will be offered the weekend of April 17-19. For mor information and a registration form, please contact David at kelowna@santiago.ca. 
Information about the course, the schedule, seeing where Canadians are posted this year and other trainings, can be found further down in this blog or on the sidebar. 

Monday, January 27, 2020

Training offered in London, Ontario

We are pleased to let everyone know that as well as the Training in Calgary in April, there will be another training session in London Ontario. Please contact Tom Friesen. Please see the registration form below. If you cannot print the form, please send Tom the information by email. Thanks

Camino de Santiago
Hospitalero training
April 17-19, 2020
London, ON

Thank you for your interest in training to be a hospitalero/a.  We guarantee that it will be a weekend of fun, learning, and reinforcement of all those things you learned and felt on the Camino.  Some folks will be coming from out of town and will require accommodation.  If you have room to billet a single or couple, please indicate below. You will have great fun reliving the Camino!

Please complete this form and return it with a cheque for $125.00 or your donativo (what you feel you can afford) payable to Tom Friesen, 1403 – 22 Picton Street, London, ON N6B 3R5 (or return by email and send the cheque separately). E-mail tomfriesen@hotmail.com  Any money left after the expenses for the weekend will be donated to an albergue or hospitaleros voluntarios which staffs many albergues on the Camino.



Telephone:                                                email;

Will you require billeting for the Friday/Saturday/Sunday nights?

Can you provide billeting for the Friday/Saturday/Sunday nights?

Any food restrictions we should be aware of?

When did you walk/cycle the Camino?   Month and year(s) please.

Why do you want to be a hospitalero/a?

Are you prepared to volunteer for 15 days in 2020 or 2021? (The Federation assigns volunteers from the 1st to the 15th of the month of the 16th to 30th/31st . You should show up a day early to “learn the ropes” and for a smooth transition at the albergue.)
Thanks, Tom Friesen,  Darlene McKee

Monday, January 13, 2020

Training offered in Calgary in April 2020

In preparation for helping out in Spain for the Holy Year 2021, we are training more volunteers. 

Calgary will host another Hospitalero Training Course on April 24 - 25 - 26, 2020. So, if you are interested in volunteering on the Camino de Santiago, this course is for you! It is comprehensive and fun and it is required by the Spanish Federation of the Friends of the Camino to be placed as a volunteer in their hostels.  Criteria for course acceptance are that you must already have been a pilgrim and stayed in volunteer run hostels supported by donations.

To enhance the learning experience, registration is limited to 16 people. 
If you do not live in Calgary you can be billeted by former pilgrims in their home. 
Complete the registration form and don't miss out!
Monique Rigole 
Course Coordinator 

                                      Calgary Chapter, Canadian Company of Pilgrims
                          Hospitalero Training
                            April 24 - 25 - 26 2020 Calgary

If you have walked a camino and are interested volunteering as a hospitalero in a pilgrim’s hostel, this course is for you! Please complete this registration form and return it with a cheque made payable to Calgary Chapter, Canadian Company of Pilgrims in the amount of $125.00 by April 15, 2020. Unfortunately e-transfers can not be made therefore, mail your cheque to Monique Rigole #306, 4 Hemlock Crescent SW Calgary AB T3C 2Z1 (or, e-mail the registration form to Monique and mail the cheque separately). 
We promise a weekend of fun, learning and, reinforcement of all those good things you valued and felt on the Camino. Participation is limited to 16, don’t miss out by being late!
Training begins on the Friday evening with a Spanish dinner and ends on Sunday at 4pm.



Telephone:                                                      email:

If you do not come from Calgary do you require billeting Friday and Saturday? 

If you are from Calgary, could you provide billeting Friday and Saturday, for out of town participants?                                                   If yes, for how many?

Are there any food restrictions we should be aware of?

Which Camino(s) did you walk/cycle and when? (Month and year)

Did you stay at Municipal or parochial albergues? 

Why do you want to be a hospitalero/a?

Are you prepared to volunteer for 15 days in 2020 or 2021? 

As soon as your registration and payment are received, you will receive confirmation that you are registered. In early April, participants will receive a detailed training schedule, addresses of training venues and a pre-course assignment which you will bring to the course. 
Contact me with any other course questions. 
Meanwhile, the training team is looking forward to seeing you.
Monique Rigole
Hospitalero Training Coordinator, Calgary

Calgary, April 2019

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Hospitalero Training in Victoria and Winnipeg

We have now confirmed that there will be a Hospitalero Training weekend on Friday November 29 to Sunday December 1, in Victoria and November 22-24 in Winnipeg. If you've ever wanted to give back to the Camino, this may be your opportunity. Please click the links on the side to see the schedule for the training (Friday dinner to Sunday 4pm) and also the registration form.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Hospitalero Training offered this Spring in Calgary, Victoria and Ottawa

If you had a wonderful time on the Camino and would like to give back, consider becoming a Hospitalero/a and working for two weeks in Spain of France. The training we provide is the same as is offered in Spain, Australia, South Africa and the USA. The weekend is lots of fun and at the end, you'll feel confident about being in an albergue, welcoming and helping pilgrims.

Training in Ottawa will be on the first weekend in March, 1st-3rd. (starts Friday evening and ends by 4pm on Sunday)Victoria will be on the weekend of April 5-7 and Calgary on the weekend of April 26-28.

Please contact Tom Friesen, tomfriesen(at)hotmail.com regarding training in Ottawa
Mary Virtue, maryvirtue(at)shaw.ca for the Victoria training and
Monique Rigole mrigole5(at)gmail.com for the Calgary training.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Final Report from Helen in Salamanca

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

What a shame it is to be leaving Salamanca, the most beautiful city in Spain (according to guide books, & I concur) just when I was learning to navigate my way around this maze of calles and ruas without the use of GPS (10% of the time). I had it all: the good, the bad, and the ugly: the homeless guy who, as we know, is not allowed to stay at albergues (this saga includes a peregrino telling him where he could obtain a credencial, a visit by the police, and me staying up till 1 a.m. waiting for him to come downstairs, which he did twice, my eyes boring into him as if to say "I'm watching you, buddy);  a juvenile delinquent with anger management problems who demonstrated this in a horrific outburst while his handler was out buying groceries (a lot of shouting and swearing in German that evening); the "ugly" Spaniard who went ballistic each time I explained one of the hostel rules to him - he even demanded the gate key so that he could return at night after the albergue was closed (needless to say I didn't give it to him). Thanks to Mary et al in Victoria, who prepared us for every possible situation. (I wonder if Kickboxing-for-Dummies could be added to the curriculum).

But then there were those magical moments that made it all worthwhile: the famous Korean author (who is the reason why so many South Koreans walk the Camino) who stopped by for a visit just so that she could lie one more time in an albergue bunk bed; sharing a bottle of wine in the evening with peregrinos while discussing art and politics in three languages; the young German woman who had absolutely everything she owned strapped to her bike, including her viola - she entertained us in the evening with some of her own compositions; taping together a raincoat (or more accurately raindress) from the thick blue plastic bags that are used for storing knapsacks (but which are then thrown out, not recycled) and giving a fashion show for the peregrinos complete with runway walk (the runway being the bicycle ramp into the albergue). I called my new line Helen's Camino Fashions. All this and more....... I had it all.

In concluding, I would like to share with you things they don't teach in hospitalero training:

1) The hospitalero hug is hugging on the left side (heart to heart) and holding it for 3 seconds.

2) Italian Stallions give you a kiss on each cheek when they leave. Try to pick yourself up off the floor with dignity.

3) The charming Spanish will hold your hand in theirs and kiss it, their liquid black eyes making you melt. Pull yourself together!

4) Beware of the French with their make-me-swoon accents. Try not to follow them out the door.  (Next time I am definitely going to request an hospitalera gig on the French side of the Pyrenees).

5) And on a more practical note, the police will courier a forgotten passport or ID card to the next albergue.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

And now the report from Helen

Hello Fellow Pilgrims and Hospitaleros,  I sit in a couch in the Seminario Menor (albergue with both communal and private rooms) in Santiago de Compostela with wind and rain lashing at the windows.  It is a golden opportunity to reflect and report on my gig as a volunteer at Quinta Estrada Romana, a private albergue in Portugal,  11 km south of Tui.  My fellow volunteer,  young Sara just graduated from Tourism and Business Management and said the job was described as 5 hours/day, 5 days a week.  In fact we worked 16 long hours every day.  I fell into bed at 10:30 PM with all my clothes on, rolled out of bed at 6:30 and continued working.  At about 10:30 AM, when there was a lull, I showered and changed. I thought whimsically of the advice to take time for one's self, and turned a 2 minute shower into 4 minutes. There are 15 beds, 3 of which are double, so we had up to 18 guests + the 3 of us (including the manager Giuseppe), and one weekend Giuseppe 's 2 friends.  We changed the fitted sheets (no top sheet) every day, the sheets and towels into W/M and the hung it all out to dry.  This process involved a lot of stairs and took till mid-afternoon.  At the same time we vacuumed and washed floors, cleaned bathrooms,  made the beds, emptied garbage cans from each bathroom (not allowed to put toilet paper into toilets). We served breakfast and supper to guests; supper had to be appetizers, green salad or soup, choice of meat or vegetarian main meal, and dessert. At about 8:30 PM the 3 of us would have a 20 minute supper outside, then start washing (yes, by hand), supper plates  dessert plates, wine glasses, water glasses and cutlery and of course all the pots and pans and serving dishes.  All this was amidst really loud music playing, adding to the general chaos. The surprisingly positive thing was that Giuseppe 's favourite music is music that I listened to in my younger years!!!

The albergue is also a café so between breakfast and supper we served light meals, coffee and refreshments (all this while hanging up laundry).

We were put in the same space as the guests for sleeping,  which for me meant no sleep at all. After 2 nights I moved into a tent outside, where, as the albergue is out in the country, all dogs in a 500 meter radius barked all night long!!!

I gained a reputation as Canadian because 1) I slept in a tent,   2) coerced the dog, which had been carrying a decaying rabbit in its mouth for 3 days (even through our kitchen) to give it up, and finally  3)  knew how to set mouse traps.  My two co-workers,  both vegetarian,  were happy to let George,  the errant mouse, live in the kitchen forever,  but I pointed out that George would soon become many more, not to mention the fact that days were getting colder and more mice would be looking for warm homes.  Indeed, by the time I left, the place was overrun with mice... not a nice thing for pilgrims and guests to see.

The cast of characters was always interesting.  About 80% of our guests were German. One evening a group of 8 burly red-neck Portuguese arrived in a fire truck.  They made everyone wait with supper, were loud and rude and left the next morning without a word of thanks or even a goodbye.   They were offset by the most lovely Italian/Swiss couple, true pilgrims in every sense; they were humbly grateful for our efforts.  One group of Portuguese arrived at almost midnight.  As I am a light sleeper,  I awoke to greet them. A short while later Giuseppe arrived. He looks like a pirate in daylight,  so I can't even imagine our guests ' reaction.  Young Sara coloured everyone's stamp differently.  Our brief rest in the evening when we had supper outside was always with wine and by candlelight.   One evening 3 Italian Stallions arrived. Michelangelo's David could only have been carved in Italy. These young men were so hot, my eyes smoked whenever I glanced their way (for purely observational purposes). Giuseppe 's friend Vicenzo was a parody of what a North American thinks an Italian is. One night he was given  a piece of parmesan to grate. A half hour later he was still talking passionately, waving his arms in the air, cheese still in hand and nothing grated. He would sit outside greeting everyone who passed by: (you have to say this with an Italian accent): "Buen Camino!!!! Come!.. relaxa yourself... hava fruita shake!" We had more café customers when he was there. There were 4 cash boxes: one for overnight guests, one for café purchases,  one for tips and one for the fruit shake bar... and we were not allowed to mix them up.  However, we never had change!!! People would pay for a 1 Euro coffee with a 20 euro bill. It was so frustrating!! One day I asked Giuseppe,  who went to town every day for groceries, to bring a 50€ bill to the bank and exchange it for 50 X 1€. I had to explain this novel concept 3 times (even though he is a young 34 years). He replied that they don't do it that way.  It was the same thing with appetizers.  He always served them at the same time as supper. I suggested serving them 1/2 to 1 hour BEFORE supper (I know that pilgrims were getting hungry). He wouldn't even try it once!!!

And then it was 6:30 AM again, my quiet time as I got the breakfast table ready.

After this interesting interlude,  I continued my camino, which had started in Porto.  In Santiago I await the arrival of Sara. Together we will walk to Finisterre  (amazingly no blisters!!).  I have a second gig in Salamanca the first 2 weeks in November which is ONLY registering guests at 4:30 PM

Happy Trails to all of you,
Helen Vokaty 

On Fri, Oct 12, 2018, 11:04 AM Mary Virtue, <maryvirtue@shaw.ca> wrote:

Begin forwarded message:

From: Lois Stenberg <lastenberg@yahoo.com>
Subject: Last few days in Najera 😙
Date: October 12, 2018 at 5:06:14 AM PDT
To: Mary Virtue <maryvirtue@shaw.ca>

Hola Toda,

Well here it is, 4 more days till the change over. I can't say time has flown by as days are long with a mixed bag of highs and some challenges. This is a big Albergue with many people so you an imagine anything can happen with a couple of pilgrims showing up with bedbug bites that we address with bagging their backpacks and belongings and leaving them in the sun all afternoon followed by 2 machine washes and then dryer. We also separate the pilgrim a distance from the others. 
Yesterday we had trouble with one of the men’s toilets which had been overflowing. So this morning some men came, along with Jose Luis who is one of the administrators, to clear out the sewage drains and they are just finishing now when we are supposed to open. You an imagine the smell :(
 We have delayed the opening by one hour, to give us time to clean up. I am not in agreement with my fellow hospitalera and hospitslero for the opening hour as I think we should wait a couple of hours for the smell to dissipate at least once the floors are cleaned, etc,. The trouble is they had to open up the floor in the dorm which compounds issues.
 However, I am trying to be patient as the majority is ruling. So my fellow class mates, I took time out and came to this lovely Bar for a good cafe con leche and 2 pinchos, which I am really enjoying in the sunshine and fresh air!

The high today will be attending a concert at the monestery tonight which will be amazing, and another is the fact we don’t have to clean for the next 2 days 😀
I have been in touch with my Canadian replacement and look forward to meeting him and his wife.

I see the necessity of volunteering with a veteran Spanish hidpitslera/o as there have been several issues that came up that needed someone fluent in Spanish.

The suggestions I have for this 90 bed Albergue are: 1-greatly reduce the number of beds,2- separate the beds as most beds are side by side and some female pilgrims have asked to change their beds, and 3- there should be 4 hospitslera/os here to lighten the load. Preferably with 1 team being Canadian 🇨🇦

Time to go now to prepare for the opening. Let’s hope the plumbing stays working. 

Oh yes, before I forget, another high is that the WIFI is back today after yesterday’s power outage/ yahoo!

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