Just letting you know that after completing the Camino I am now a happy volunteer at the Albergue Acuario here in Santiago. I will be here until almost Christmas when I plan to fly to London to celebrate with family.

Its now 7.10 am and all is quiet at theabergue. Just had some breakfast before heading off to the Cathedral for 8.00 am Mass.
There were only three pilgrims staying here last night and one has left already. (Its cccccold in Santiago…..)

The refugio is brilliant and I love working here. There is always good music playing in the background, something many other albergues could learn from. Attention is paid to small but important items. For example there are lots of clothes hooks in the bedroom, a hair dryer is provided, the internet is working ad there is even extra padding on ladder rungs, though some bunks do not have ladders. Yes I would definitely recommend volunteering as you meet so many people from all over the world and you actually give back something to the Camino…helping in this small way.

It all seems such a long way from that first morning at the refugio in Saint Jean de Pied de Port where ten of us ‘pilgrims’ were having breakfast. Eight decided to walk across the Pyrenees and on to Roncesvalles via the ‘high’ route, but the American lady sitting next to me decides to take the traditional ‘low’ route as do I. And 46 days later that same lady called Liz and I arrive together in Santiago having become very good friends over the past weeks. We laughed, sang, met new people , had a great time together. The Camino does not necessarily give you what you want but it sure gives you what you need.

I lost my special cross pendant along the way. I was upset because this was given to me by a friend to wear during the pilgrimage. Liz and I arrived at the albergue in the Santa Clara Convent in Castrojeriz, only to realise that my cross was missing. I believed it had gone to a new home. However, Liz phoned the albergue we had stayed in the previous night to ask if anyone had seen it and sure enough someone had – it was safe. We walked back, retrieved the cross and this time attached it to Liz`s backpack so I would not lose it again. When Liz went back to America I gave it to her.

Thank you and Merry Christmas. Yesterday I posted my Christmas cards.
Love,
Anne.
Camino Image Anne McGrath Chrustmas crib outside Santiago Catedral