There were only eight people staying in this albergue, the fewest people from all the Spanish hostels during my pilgrimage. This experience came closest to what the French hostels were like. Clockwise from the front – Hannah (Swiss), Simon (German), French 1 (unfortunately, do not recall her name), Norbert (German), Me, Jose (Spanish), French 2 and Anne (English).
Both Hannah and I started around the same time from Le Puy and she was part of a group of about a dozen or so hikers who ran into each other in every village and/or gite at the end of the day, the last couple of weeks in France. We never walked together until the 2nd week in Spain but after that I walked with her more than anyone else. Simon started in St. Jean. We had seen him a couple of times earlier but got to know him this day. Although it was a very hot day, Hannah and I decided to take a variant that was more scenic but much tougher (elevation). He was the only other person we saw on the variant and we started walking together. We walked together one other day and a couple of days met up at the same albergue at the end of the day. He was a really nice guy. He had been looking for a very specific pin and had a difficult time finding it – the yellow arrow that designates the Camino in Spain. Finally, a couple of days before we were going to complete the Camino, he found the pin and bought three – one for each of us. When he bought them he was by himself and we had no idea we were going to see each other again.
We thought that the two French people were a couple, they were actually brother and sister in-laws. Their respective spouses had no interest in hiking and they decided that they were going to hike together.
Norbert was really interesting. After dinner, Hannah sang the Ultreia song. This is a French song but has some Latin in it. The two lines in red, above, are the chorus from this song. It’s a hyperlink to a Youtube video of the song being sung in the Santa Maria albergue in Carrion. Much to our surprise, Norbert, who spoke no French, jumped in and knew all the words. He had memorized the song from Youtube. He had memorized several camino pilgrimage related songs, which he sang for us. You meet the most amazing people on the camino.
Ultreia means onward or further and Suseia upwards or higher. This is the greeting for other pilgrims. The first one says (actually yells), Ultreia and the response is Suseia. However, very few pilgrims seemed to know this. The universal greeting to and between pilgrims in Spain was Buen Camino and in France Bon Chemin (good path or way) or Bonne Route. The second line means God assist us.
This albergue did not serve dinner and instead of everyone going out to eat, Hannah suggested that we all pitch in to buy groceries and she would cook dinner. It was a vegetarian meal and was just lovely. Simon was the sous chef and he made a very nice amuse bouche. I opened the bottles of wine.