10 October 2019
It’s another beautiful day in Ribadiso. It has been an amazing experience to be staying in this beautiful countryside with a babbling brook flowing under a 6th century Roman bridge that leads to our 16th century accommodations. I feel so fortunate to experience this in addition to having the opportunity to meet and greet people from all over the world.
The Rio Iso flows under the 6th century Roman bridge.
Today we have a special guest. It is Annie, our American Pilgrims on the Camino (APOC) contact person. Annie is an American who now lives in Santiago with her husband and five cats. She is fluent in Spanish and has served in various capacities for the APOC organization. Annie was one of the leaders at the Hospitalero training Terry and I attended two years ago in the Twins Cities.
Annie is working with the Galician government to help oversee the pilot program at the Ribadiso Albuergue that allows Americans to work as volunteers. According to Annie, there are many pilgrims from a number of countries who do not speak Spanish as a first language or in general. They found it helpful to have English speakers assisting to welcome these pilgrims. In addition, it has been challenging to find Spaniards willing to volunteer. Volunteerism is not a strong part of the culture here as it is in the United States. In fact, there were so many American’s who volunteered for Ribadiso that they are considering starting the program at a second albuergue location.
Being a cat lover, I enjoyed hearing the saga of Annie’s cats. She started out with three. Living in Baltimore, she came across a mother and kitten living outside a grocery store. Not a great neighborhood and she feared for the cats’ safety. She planned to find them a home after taking them to the vet for shots and to be spayed. After performing the services, the vet announced that they were feral cats and she best take them back to where she found them. No one would want feral cats. Well Annie did, especially after investing money in their care. She packed up all five cats and flew them to Spain through an animal transport service. The cats had a layover in Frankfurt, Germany and stayed overnight at an animal hotel. The next day they flew to Santiago and a local vet picked them up and kept them until Annie and her husband arrived. What a kind hearted woman!
Annie also connected with Albuerguesa Ana when she came to visit us. Afterward the three of us went next door to Meson Rural for lunch.
Annie has been connected with the Ribadiso albuergue for several years. She has been a volunteer hospitalera here a few times. Part of her current role is to connect with the Albuerguesa and make sure the program and accommodations are in order. She helps maintain a good relationship with Galician government and workers.
First pilgrim to arrive Today: Dragon from Toronto, Canada. He said his name is Serbian. Dragon and his daughter were walking the camino together.
This is Hai from Israel. She said her name is pronounced ‘shy’ and she made good time from Palais de Rey this morning. It was a very warm afternoon and the first thing she did after registering and unloading her gear, was hop in the river and lay down. Second thing on her “to do” list was to get a beer from Meson Rural next door.
Pilgrim of the Day: Jeff from EDINA MINNESOTA!!! It was very exciting to cross paths with someone who lived so close to us in Minnesota. To top that … he graduated from the same high school as me — HILL MURRAY. However, we did not attend at the same time, he is a bit younger than me. As soon as he arrived at the albuergue, he sat down on the ground and settled in for a good long chit chat. Prior to starting the camino, he had a very challenging 18-months with lots of life changes. For him, the camino was a time of contemplation. He started in St. John Pied-de-Port which is the long 500 mile route.
This is Margaret from Beijing, China. She works in marketing for Price Waterhouse in Beijing. She was tired of her job and decided to quit so she could walk the Camino. Her boss gave her four months unpaid leave and she does have a job to go back to.
Margaret has original artwork in her stamp credential. An artist outside of Tricastella offered to paint his mark in her book.
When I returned to the albuergue, I found this artist sketching the Roman bridge.
This is the path I walk several times a day. It leads to the modern shower houses and a right turn goes to our Cottage. Beyond the clotheslines are cornfields that have just been harvested and plowed under.
This is a view of the horreo with the cottage tucked behind it on the left. The river is left of the cottage. Horreos are common in Galicia. They were for storing for grain and built off the ground for rodent prevention. Today they are mostly ornamental.
Yesterday, Terry returned to find Alfonso’s cows grazing in the back yard. The walked through the river to get to our side. Terry told Maricarmen and she came with her broom to sweep them away. These bovines are really big animals.
Here, the bovines peacefully graze on their side of the Rio Iso.