We've been working as hospitaleros and welcoming peregrinos to our albergue (pilgrim's hostel) in Zamora since Thursday, October 16. Our albergue is on the right side of this street.
Zamora is a beautiful ancient town, in existence since before the Romans conquered it over 2,150 years ago. The site of many battles between Moors and Christians between the 7th and 11th centuries, it became heavily fortified.
The next morning, Pam put the finishing touches on the breakfast table.
After everyone left, we cleaned up the albergue.
Note the tomatoes with olive oil and salt nearby for españoles, as well as yogurt, müesli and Nutella for Northern Europeans. Making peregrinos feel like there having breakfast at the Paradore before they leave fills them with animo and probably pays for itself in last minute donativos (but who's looking?)
We have settled in to this life and enjoy it a lot, we're talking about doing it again. We love Zamora, the people are very friendly and this albergue is beautiful and very special.
A day in the life of a hospitalero -
Each day starts at 7 am when we prepare breakfast - coffee, tea, hot milk, toast, jam, olive oil and tomatoes (spaniards love it on toast) juices, yogurt and muesli (for Germans and Northern Europeans), cereals.
We cue up Gregorian chant music on the PA system when breakfast starts at 7:30, that way the CD will play Andrea Bocelli singing 'Time to Say Goodbye' at 8:30 sharp, right when pilgrims need to be out the door and on their way. We hug most of them farewell.
We clean, sweep, mop and scrub everything from the kitchen to the toilets (in that order.) Pillow cases are washed after each use, sheets every two uses unless they look dirty. We count the past day's donations, no charges here, we are strictly 'donativo', donations as you can comfortably afford only. Then we have a few hours to go shopping for food, see the town and have a little personal time. We like to get a quick nap in before we are back 'on'.
We open the doors again for pilgrims at 2 pm, and it all begins again. We greet peregrinos warmly, offering iced tea, cold water and a bowl full of fruit to choose from. We have some relaxing background music, from classical to light rock and John Lennon's 'Imagine'. Repetition of some of the music is starting to grow (ear worms) on us.
We register peregrinos for their stay, stamp their pilgrim's credentials and show them around. We take turns cooking dinner, which is served communally at 7:30. We've had incredible company for dinner, with great mixed language conversations. Peregrinos always offer to wash the dishes and we always accept. We lock the doors at 10 pm, the lights go off and we all turn in for the night.
In our first 8 days, our 66 peregrinos have come from:
New Zealand 1
44 are Men and 22 are Women.
We have another week until we hand off our duties and move on.
We hope that you are all well.
With Love y Abrazos from Steve y Pam.