I am going to be walking a shorter distance than usual this year - just over 500km - but will be doing four caminos in one.
6th - 11th June:
About 140km on the Arles route, starting at Lourdes to Somport Pass:
12th - 19th June:
Then 170km on the Aragones from Somport to Puente la Reina:
21st - 26th June:
108 Camino Ingles
27th to 30th June:
95km from Santiago to Finisterre.
30th June - 13th July:
And then - VERY EXCITING - I'll be doing a two week volunteer stint at the Albergue San Roque run by the Asociación Gallega de Amigos del Camino de Santiago in Corcubion on the Fistera route!
Corcubion is on the coast about 8.5km from Finisterre so I will spend a night there on the 29th on my way to Finisterre and walk back again on the 30th to start my duties as hospitalera with Ana, the other volunteer.
They have 20 beds and offer meals so I am busy compiling easy recipes for 20 people. I am also going through other hospitalero's notes.
One thing that comes through loud an clear is that ".... the pilgrim arrives and the hospitalero receives her and tries to meet her immediate needs. The pilgrim talks, the hsopitalero listens. Its not about you any more.."
What kind of hospitalero will I be?
I have fond memories of many kind, welcoming hospitaleros in the albergues I've stayed in. I hope to follow their example and be a considerate, helpful and patient hospitalera. Many albergues are in run down, basic, unprepossesing buildings but it is not the structure that one remembers, it is the welcome one receives, the smile and kindness of a stranger who helps you with your backpack, offers a cool glass of water, gives you time to settle in and offers to see to your blisters. That is the kind of hospitalero I want to be.
I am going to take extra Arnica oils with me so that I can offer foot massages. The distances between towns on the Finisterre route are longer than most and I know that there will be pilgrims who would appreciated a soothing foot massage.
For two weeks I'll be cleaning toilets, scrubbing floors, pulling hair out of shower drains, making beds and preparing food for 20 people. I can't wait!!