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Parish-hostels On The Camino Frances

Discussion in 'Albergues - Hostels' started by martinstuart, Aug 25, 2015.

  1. martinstuart

    martinstuart New Member

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    Hi, here is a 2015 list of "parish" or "paroquial" or "paroissial" hostels/albergues on the Camino Frances. I urge anyone to add to it. (Note: These aren't just donativo, they're parish hostels.) They are in order.
    1. Zabildika, 18 beds
    2. Viana, 16 beds
    3. Logrono, 30 beds
    4. Granon, 30 beds
    5. Tosantos, 30 beds
    6. Bercianos del Camino (don't know how many beds)
    I'm unsure if El Acebo (25 beds) is a parish hostel. Further on, Samos (70 beds) is a Benedictine Monastery.

    I'm highlighting them to help let people know where are the albergues which facilitate them 'going deep' on the Camino--the albergues help pilgrims deepen their prayer life, if they so wish. It seems to me that many people find these albergues by chance and then want to go to other hostels like them.

    I volunteered in one this summer--the one in Zabaldika, near the start of the Camino. I was very lucky--a friend did the course that qualified him to volunteer (I think with FederaciĆ³n de Asociaciones de Amigos del Camino de Santigo) and then invited me along to help out. I was very very lucky--Zabaldika is a lovely modern hostel. In a quiet village. There's four very simple-living, multi-lingual nuns from the 'Sisters of the Sacred Heart' who lease the hostel (they have a residence in a totally separate part of the large building) and take care of the 13th Century Church next door (having it open daily for pilgrims from 8 to 12 in the morning and from 6 to 9 in the evening). The volunteer hospitalero/a(s) fully manage the hostel during their two or four week stay.

    What makes a parish-hostel different from other donativo hostels? From my experience what happens in Zabildika is typical of what happens in the other parish-hostels on the Camino. Namely that:
    • they are run by volunteers--unpaid; people who've been on the Camino quite a bit; people who can speak a bit of a few languages; people who want to 'give back'; people who love what the Camino can be for pilgrims
    • ideally, you are warmly welcomed to the hostel (we tried to give everyone a listening ear, a rest on a couch, as much water with lemon as they wanted, before registering them and telling them what they needed to know--wifi, showers, etc)
    • ideally, it's a place of peace
    • ideally, it's very clean
    • ideally, it's also quite simple
    • ideally, there's place(s) where you can relax, refresh (we had a lovely shaded garden with tables and chairs, an area with tables and chairs where you could soak in the sun, and a reception room with couches and games)
    • it is all donativo--rather than telling you how much you need to pay, you listen to your conscience and decide how much you donate based on what you received (there is a wide variation in what people choose to put in) (we had a box into which pilgrims put their donations, typically in the morning just before leaving; later a nun opened this box in our presence and gave us, the two hospitaleros, whatever we asked for to do the shopping for the next group; I am extremely confident in saying that the rest of the money went on the other costs of the hostel and church [note: I met one person on my return to Ireland who believed that the Vatican paid for all such places, or would pay for such places if they needed money to keep going: that's not at all how it works: Orders or Associations such as the Sisters of the Sacred Heart are financially totally independent of the Vatican and it's up to them to manage their own affairs, meaning they can only make hostels like this available if the hostels pay for themselves, and that can only happen if enough people take the opportunity to be generous)
    • everyone gets to eat together at a set dinner time--in ours, it was 7:20 pm (sometimes the hospitaleros make the meal, sometimes pilgrims volunteer to help, sometimes pilgrims are asked to help!)
    • there is a prayer of thanks at the start of the dinner (we didn't think much of the one that was printed so instead we asked people to give thanks for one person or one thing in their life, if they so wished, to whatever God or no God; and typically people were very grateful for this opportunity and spoke openly)
    • there might be an option of a Mass--in Zabildika there was a quick Mass for pilgrims and villagers every evening at 6:30pm (except Saturdays and Sundays)
    • there will likely be the option of some sort of prayer gathering after the meal (we stopped eating at 8:20pm and we all had a fun 10 minutes trying to get all the clearing and cleaning done by 8:30pm): it's usual that everyone goes to the gathering but there is NO pressure to go, genuinely; typically it's great for many people--an opportunity to sit together peacefully (a mix of Taize music, a short reading, shared silence, maybe singing if a good singer is in that night's group [I was lucky enough to enjoy the singing of a German music teacher and an American opera singer!], and--the best bit--optional sharing, of people's experiences or thoughts or feelings or reasons for being there, all this with people from many countries in candlelight in a quiet, ancient church)
    • then there's further time to chill, maybe drink a bit more vino/tea/whatever, maybe relax further in the garden, maybe mix a bit more with more people
    • bed is at 10pm (how stringently this is is up to the hospitalero/a of the moment)
    • breakfast is also provided (ours was from 7 to 8am, and nearly everyone rose for 7am, some earlier, and typically everyone was gone by 8.15; like the evening meal, it was a eat-and-drink-as-much-as-you-want breakfast)
    Now, all that said, it does seem that the hospitalero/a can influence things hugely... I heard bizarre stories of an extremely bossy hospitalera in the same place a year before. But in my experience in various parish refugios all has been well; the hospitaleros have been grand, sometimes really lovely.

    Maybe some people will amend this list, maybe some people will add to it. Are there parish hostels on other Caminos? If you know of any, please add to this or create a new thread so others can benefit from it.
     
    danvo, Elizabethj, stevelm1 and 2 others like this.
  2. Cornelius

    Cornelius Member

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    Thanks for this, Martin. I'd wondered what made these albergues/hostels/refugios so distinctive and welcoming.
     
  3. alanhobo

    alanhobo Member

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    thanks for the info, Martin
     
  4. dee7one

    dee7one Member

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    Hi Martin,

    These albergues sound wonderful! I'm going to show my ignorance, but can you tell me in what towns each of these parish albergues are in? Or is this a list of towns/villages and I should plan to simply ask for the local parish albergue? Thanks for any help! -- Dee
     
  5. geraldkelly

    geraldkelly Member

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    Hi

    You missed one:

    Foncebadon: through the village on the right. Much as you describe above. Very nice.

    I would also include (although not strictly Parish) the German albergue in La Faba and Fuente del Peregrino in Ligonde.

    I stayed in El Acebo too and it is a Parish hostel similar to the others, minus breakfast. Again very nice.

    Gerald
     
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  6. martinstuart

    martinstuart New Member

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    Hi again. As I like to say "Thanks for the thanks!", Cornelius first of all, and Alanhobo and GeraldKelly. Gerald, your detailed reply is wonderfully helpful.

    Dee, my memory is that all the parish hostels I listed are the names of the villages/towns/city (Logrono is a city). They'll appear on just about every list/book of all the hostels. If you're going on the Camino, enjoy! (PS I don't often visit this [brilliant] site so apologies for delay in replying.)
     
  7. Leslie

    Leslie Administrator

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    Interesting in that I know one for certain from the list I stayed in, twice, and it holds memories for me.

    Granon is fairly basic, but I loved it. My bed was a mat on the ground in the bell tower. There was a communal evening meal with the parish priest sitting at the head of the table. I have photos of the evening meal, but can't lay my hands on them right now.

    The church is also worth a visit, quite something for such a small little village.
     
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