Camino Santiago takes a turn for the …?

The Camino took an unexpected turn on the last day of April and led us to an unusual destination far outside our comfort zone.

Along with our German friend Gert, we took a detour near the end of our 12-mile day, marked by a steady light rain.

It led to Castrillo de Polvazares, which our guidebook called “a traditional Maragato village with a cobbled Main Street lined with stone buildings providing tourist bars, restaurants and rooms.”

Visually, the town is wonderful, but we soon discovered it was too early in the season for pilgrim accommodations. Then, a Spaniard stopped his car after seeing us in need. Luckily, Gert understands enough Spanish to find out the man was offering to open the small albergue so that we would have a place to sleep.

The albergue, top, and in bottom photo, left.

We were in luck!? He led us down a narrow alley, went up some stairs and banged on a door. After a rapid, loud conversation with a woman inside, he emerged with a key. He led us to a building, through an entry that exuded a rustic charm, and inside to a room that was a very basic kitchen/dining area. Then up the curved staircase to an eight-bed dorm room that would be ours for the night, for €4 each. He turned on the hot water heater (hot showers!), but there was no heater in the room (it was about 40 degrees outside and inside).

After some good laughs at our predicament, we settled in. I toured the village in search of food and drink. I found four restaurants, but they looked too fancy for backpackers. But, we had to eat (er, drink)!

We bathed in the heat of hot showers and headed out. The first place looked out of our league. The next place was closing. The next had just closed. Suddenly, an upstairs door in a nearby building opened and a woman (the same one who provided the key earlier) popped out, asking if we were pilgrims looking for “comida.”

She raced down and led us to the restaurant that was closing. She shouted orders that they must feed us right away. Minutes later, we were seated in a warm room with linen tablecloths drinking vino tinto and eating a superb four-course meal because the staff stayed late just for us.

It is 7:30 p.m. and we are back in our room, huddled in our sleeping bags.

But life on the Camino warms our hearts like we never anticipated.


Categories: Camino de Santiago | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Camino Santiago takes a turn for the …?

  1. Malcolm & Barbara.

    What a great experience. It brings a wee tear to my eye. Malcolm.


  2. Carole

    belated birthday greetings Reg – glad to see you with that familiar glass in your hand – we are with you both every step of the way! Carole & Beaton x


  3. A true Camino story … but then, You are both now true seasoned camino pilgrims … Reminds me a bit of one of those uplifting Christmas stories/parables you often see on TV in December, but this one is true, and as all former Camino pilgrims will tell you, by no means improbable or over the top …keep on walking

    james (walks with you – if only in spirit)


  4. That’s the beauty of the Camino- you will be fed and have a bed, you just don’t know where…


  5. Silva

    What a great story. Can you imagine that happening in the States??


  6. Wow, what an unexpected delight.


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