WARNING! Big moan to follow… if you don’t like moaning please do not read.

Notes to the editor

“what it lacks in romantic ambience it makes up for in its excellent facilities and warm welcome”

I was tired and sore when we arrived. Maybe that affected may perception. Or maybe it was the fact that my Camino was ending in few days. Either way it was my worst Camino experience so far.

For starters I did not notice a warm welcome, in fact hardly noticed any welcome at all. Two ladies at the reception were too absorbed in conversation between themselves. We paid (€6 I think) and were shown to the room. For whatever reason the five of us were placed in second dorm – everybody else( 30 others I guess) was in the first dorm.

You can do your laundry for €4 and so we did. When it was done we wanted to hang it out outside but the lady made a rather big fuss that there was no room and how on earth are we going to dry it? (we could use a drier for another €4 but after this rather unpleasant encounter we didn’t).

We bought some food from the supermarket but there was no fridge in the kitchen – or at least we could not find one. And check out password for WiFi – I’m sure if it could have been more complicated it would:)

From the guy in the restaurant we had found out that there will be ‘a part’ held in the albergue (as we have later found out it was called Bonfires of Saint John) where free sardines and bread will be given. First we thought we misunderstood him as none of it was mentioned to us. But as we got back after a meal it turned out that preparations were in full swing. Tables were set, barbeque lit…People started gathering. Staff. And more staff. And some others. Loads actually. But no pilgrims to be seen. Pilgrims were sitting inside nibbling on their sandwiches and noodles and whatever else they had to eat, watching ‘staff only’ party in full swing.

Did I mention yet that all that was set up in front of our room? Well it was.

Hours went by and more food and wine was arriving at the tables. We/ I didn’t feel invited but Tom from Ohio invited me and I invited him so we joined the crowd around the table (to find out later on that apparently anybody could buy a ticket for €10 to join the festivities, not sure how accurate this information was. Needless to say I did not buy a ticket). I have stayed around for a while but was really tired so headed to bed.

Did I mention…oh yes, I did. Loud music outside our very window. Impossible to sleep. I wouldn’t probably mind too much. But I did. 9pm. 10pm. 11pm. Midnight. Bonfire. Boy it was loud. It sounded like people were enjoying themselves. Good for them. All I wanted was to get some rest before another 27+km day.

I don’t know what time all that ended. Needless to say I did not sleep well. I like parties, I really do. I am accommodating and understanding. I understand that Bonfires of Saint John only happen once a year. Would it not be nice if we were simply told- listen guys, there will be a big party, there will be music playing loud in front of your dorm and it will finish at 1am or whatever? It was kind of obvious that we won’t be able to sleep in ( you have to vacate the room before 8 and pilgrims usually get up early anyway to get where they need to get). We could have been forewarned I think.

I was really agitated that evening. Morning was no better. My walking friends have learned by then that I can walk really fast when I am angry. And you have probably learned by now that I take no photos when I am upset. Well I stormed out of Pontevedra crying. From what I remember seeing thru my glossy eyes,it was a pretty town, no pictures to share unfortunately.

Moan over. I will never stay in that albergue again. I promise.



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