Saturday, October 25, 2014

Report from Zamora

Hola Amigos,

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.
Our albergue is built into the ancient city wall on a ramp coming up off the Río Duero. Pilgrims cross over this roman bridge before climbing into the city and passing our doors. First they pass our kitchen door, then continue climbing and winding around to our front door 2 stories higher. 
We took over from the previous hospitaleros - Randy from Corvallis, Oregon and Gabriella from northern Italy
We welcomed Fatima Carbonell from Cadiz, España, the 3,000th guest in the albergue this year, on October 19. We never know how many guests we will have. We had 21 pilgrims that night, the most in a month and a half. 
The 19th of October was the first anniversary of our wedding, when we surprised 75 guests at our open house by getting married. It seemed only appropriate that the guests at our anniversary dinner were all a surprise to us. We had 19 for dinner. 2 Swedes, 1 Portugese, 12 Spaniards, 2 Australians and us. We toasted Fatima, our 3,000th peregrina, then ourselves and then had dinner. Conversation is primarily in Spanish with a little English and other languages thrown in. We nod our heads and smile a lot when people speak too fast. 
We cook dinner each night and the peregrinos wash the dishes.
And sometimes provide after dinner music.
The next morning, Pam put the finishing touches on the breakfast table.
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?)
After everyone left, we cleaned up the albergue.
That's the 2,000 year old city wall behind Steve to the right, with a somewhat newer wall to the left. 

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:
Spain 33
Germany 9
Ireland 3
Korea 2
Australia 2 
Sweden 2
Canada 2
Estonia 2
Italy 2
New Zealand 1
Latvia 1
France 1
Hungary 1
UK 1
Portugal 1
Belgium 1
Brazil 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. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this report. Mary, can you please connect me with Steve and Pam. I would love to be able to talk to them a bit more. I have to make a choice between Zamora and Berciano. Thanks Ingrid