October 13, 2015
Noja to Guemes: 10 miles
We had another beautiful walk through the lovely Cantabrian countryside. The people of the region of Cantabria are very friendly, the older people especially. Most people greet you when you pass them on the street, which is refreshing, and they don’t hesitate to stop us and ask about our destination ahead or where we’ve been. My Spanish is still limited but improving thanks to all the locals who are giving me opportunities to practice.
We stayed at what is supposed to be one of the most iconic private albergues on the Camino, La Cabana del Abuelo Pelito. There are two different types of albergues (hostels specifically for peregrinos) on the Camino; there are the “official” ones, which are non-profit albergues that are either run by municipalities or churches, and then there are private albergues. Both offer a dorm-style sleeping arrangement, communal kitchen area, and very affordable price. The official albergues are typically “donativo,” based on donations from the peregrinos who stay there. The private albergues are usually a little more expensive but still dirt cheap (10-15 Euros, typically). Other options for housing include youth hostels, pensiónes (cheap hotels), and of course regular hotels, but the goal is to keep the Camino experience as cheap as possible and also communal.
La Cabana del Abuelo Pelito was a private albergue situated in a house that has been in the family of the owner for more than 100 years. The guidebook described it as a must-stay, saying, “the post-dinner gathering often leads into storytelling and song.” The facilities were beautiful, one of the nicest albergues we’ve experienced. Unfortunately, during our stay there was no lively story telling or singing after dinner (bummer). But the staff and volunteers were very hospitable. We were welcomed by this gorgeous beast when we walked up the driveway:
…and we were greeted by volunteers with cold water and cookies at the door. Not too shabby.
Despite the lack of festive sing-alongs, there was a large group of peregrinos staying there, and we met people from Germany, Croatia, Mexico, Canada, France, and Spain. We would end up spending the next three days with two of these people, Heidi and Ann from Germany. I’ll talk more about them in upcoming posts!