Spain Series: Pilgrims

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Tables chock full of pilgrims eating supper. We hike, eat and sleep together, but saw vastly different people everyday.

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Both on trail and off I don’t think I have ever seen so many friendly and exurberant people.

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One of our trail friends even made supper for us! Much cheaper to throw in euro for groceries and applaud the skills of our chef from Holland.

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One gal from Canada met the chef from Holland on trail and they started dating! They had even made plans to visit each other after the long hike. Found out the gal from Canada is YouTube famous. Jess recognized her immediately as Lindsey Cowie and praised her for how much help she was. I hadn’t seen her videos, but she was a wonderfully friendly human being to be around.
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Even though we saw some people almost daily–breakfast or we stayed at the same hostel–others we only saw once or twice. We hiked a half day with a nice guy from Italy and we swapped vocabulary.

There were many other wonderful people that I wasn’t able to take photos of during my time on trail. Some guys in their 40s from a country town about two hours from Liverpool. They cracked me up and we kept trying to get them to say things in their adorable accents.

Supper was always fun or interesting because we kept meeting people from Europe and all over! They would tell stories of previous trails they had hiked, blisters (ampollas).
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At the end of my hiking time we got a photo with Jess and two good friends we made on trail. Daniel of Sweden and Yan of China. Good cats in their own rights.

The pilgrims were by far one of my favorite parts of the whole trip.

Spain Series: Lodging

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After our first (long) day hiking around the Pyrenees mountains a long haul with perhaps 100 bunk mates was a welcome sight.

The ancient beauty of the albergue was not to be outshone by the many pairs of bunkbeds. The converted churches and monasteries made the prettiest ceilings for sore and tired pilgrims.

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One thing I could hardly believe were the frequency of warm and hot showers. The picture above is the Jesus y María in Logroño and with over a hundred people on two floors in bunkbeds I got a hot shower. Spain must have magical water heaters.

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Not too surprisingly, toilets were more hit or miss. From the toilet/handsoap quantity to the Easter egg search that had to be performed on the flush handle almost every visit.

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The basic formula of an albergue (Al-bur-gay) was a room with double bunk beds, shower and toilet combo (not always split for sexes), a kitchen, possibly a laundry area and a shoe rack designated for dirty shoes that were not allowed in the dorm rooms.

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Some of the private hostels veered away from the dull white on white color scheme. We were always a little shocked when we came upon bright pink or orange sheets. What a treat!

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This was a very visually appealing albergue along the way. Although it was very plain it just had a good feel. Deep brown ceiling and floor with the lighter colors on the bunks themselves.

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Ciraqui (sear-raw-key) had some freaky art and dripping paint effects in the process.

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Although one night we worried about finding an inn with room. We never had to worry about staying in one of these wild looking rock shelters.

So, what can be said about shared living spaces?
• Don’t gawp in the bathrooms.
• Wear earplugs and an eye mask.
• Don’t be easily offended by smells.
• Stay in a hostel when you go to Europe—the experience was very enjoyable.