Next Stop Ribadiso!

30 September 2019

Santiago, Spain

We were excited about our next adventure as Hospitaleras in Ribidaso. We left the Santa Cristina pension early Monday morning. Normally, we would have walked to the bus station but with Terry’s ankle injury were opting for cabs.

We had a very nice cab driver who picked us up near the Santa Cristina. She spoke very little English. We asked to go to the bus station. Every time we said, “bus”. She would say “train”. I repeated several times that we wanted the bus, autobus, station. She would say train. We pretty much know the way to the bus and she took a wrong turn. Terry called her on it and she said she needed to go down the road to make the turn. Next thing we know, we are at the train station. We finally got through to her that we wanted the bus station. I think she felt bad. She turned the meter off at that point but it still cost us more than it should have.

Big happy face in the window … that’s how I felt today.

Here is the entrance to the very small village of Ribadiso which is about an hour bus ride south of Santiago. It is located on the Camino. That narrow road over the 6th century bridge is what cars, trucks, cows, horses and people go over to enter the town. The Rio Iso (Iso river) flows under the bridge. It is a spring fed stream so it is much colder than most rivers. We’ve been told that there are fish in it, specifically trout and that a fishing license is needed to fish.

This is the two-bedroom cottage we will be staying in until October 15th.

The tile floors have steps going up to the dining room and bathroom and down into the bedroom.

This wall with a window separates the dining room from the tiny kitchen.

Tiny kitchen has everything but a microwave.

This is the living room.

This is the room I’m staying in showing the window side.

This is the closet side.

We are replacing volunteers Chuck and Linda from California. They trained us for our volunteer work that would start tomorrow, October 1. We all went to dinner at the convenient next door restaurant Meson Rural.

Meson Rural is a lively place that’s open from 6:30 am until 10:00 pm. In addition to food, they have WiFi.

Everyday we answer the question, “Where is a restaurant?” And literally, it is right next door. Meson Rural is on the left and the Albuergue is on the right.

Chuck introduced us to the Grande Cerveza that comes in a frosted mug. He and Linda have worked as Hospitaleros at several albuergues over the years. We had some very interesting conversations about caminoes, pilgrims and how they met. Linda is from San Diego and Chuck from West Bend, Indiana. They formally met at a national APOC (American Pilgrims on the Camino) meeting where Linda was making a presentation. Eventually they discovered that they had walked the Frances camino at the same time and attended the pilgrim’s mass at Santiago cathedral when the Irish carried a boat into the plaza. Chuck reviewed his photos from that trip and found Linda in his photos. They’ve been together ever since.

This is the Pension across from the Albuergue and Meson Rural. That is farmer Alfonso and two of his four cows.

The Albuergue has 62 beds and it was going to be full tonight. Chuck forwarned us that we would have a busy morning the next day. This is a municipal albuergue and they do not take reservations, however, a group of 40 people from Portugal were staying there tonight and they must have had connections because the beds were saved for them.

The group of 40 arrived but their support truck with food didn’t. They ate dinner very late.

The truck finally came. In addition to food they brought cookware, plates and utensils.

This is the Albuergue’s 16th century dining room and kitchen.

The modern microwave, stove, oven and sink look out of place against the old stone wall. Pilgrims staying at the albuergue are welcome to cook their meals in the kitchen/dining room.

After dinner, we wandered a bit and became familiar with the albuergue property while Chuck and Linda took a walk. All four of us were sharing the cottage tonight. The second bedroom has bunk beds which is where Terry and I stayed that night.

Chuck and Linda were leaving before 7:00 am the next day to catch a bus to their next adventure. We were tired from a long day of travel, transition and acclimating to our new environment. Everyone was in bed around 9:30 pm.

My bunk bed seemed a little short. I wondered if it were a youth-size bunk. I did some tossing and turning and then I hear singing and it had a religious tone to it. Maybe Chuck and Linda were listening to music in their room? Terry and I tried to assess where it was coming from and what it was. We assumed it was the Portuguese group. It was now about 10:30 pm and quiet hours start at 10:00 pm.

If I were a cat I’d be dead by now because curiosity is a motivating factor for me. I got out of bed, put on my flip flops and jacket. Unlocked the cottage door and went out in the dark to investigate. I walked to the other side of our building where the kitchen was. The door was shut but it was where the singing and talking was coming from. There were a few people sitting around.

Eventually I found an English speaker. He was part of the Portuguese group. He said that the group was having a Mass service in the kitchen and that is why they were singing. They didn’t have an opportunity to go to mass the day before on Sunday. They brought a priest in from Portugal to preside. The doors opened and happy chatty people poured out.

That’s all I needed to know and I went back to my bed. Things had quieted down for the night.


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Jane is a resident of Browndale neighborhood in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

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