With the assistance of a wonderful Albergue employee, I was able to make a reservation at an Albergue for the night of 8 September. I had exhausted all options in my guidebook and was in fear that we would not have a place to stay. This is the pilgrims nightmare. One of the big changes in the Camino for 2022 is the volume of people. The big years. The years to avoid walking the Camino are the Holy years. That was 2021 where the church grants plenary indulgence for walking the Camino. What I did not know is that the Pope extended the Holy year to include 2022.
So we stated walking the 17-18 Km the morning of the 8th (John’s 42nd birthday) with a reservation in the Albergue Lavacolla. We arrived around 1 to find out that it did not open until 2. Sitting and watching is a welcome activity for pilgrims. When the Albergue finally opened, we were given a room to ourselves. 6 beds and our own bathroom and shower. We were in early and had time to all shower, have our laundry done for us, and went off to eat. Upon our return, the owner of the Albergue met us and asker where we ate. I told him that we went into town because I wanted to see the church (from the 1600s). He must have thought I was looking for a pilgrims mass (which many towns have). Later he sought me out to tell me that there would be a pilgrims mass here in the garden of the Albergue. It seems that one of the pilgrims was a Canadian priest and he offered to say mass. By 3 PM the garden of the Albergue has turned into a thriving community. There were pilgrims chatting while doing laundry, sunning their tired bones, having beer or wine from the supermarket across the street, and making new friends. I was so pleased to have my family see this depth of Camino spirit. I attended the pilgrims mass at 7 PM and received another blessing. My cup runneth over. Today we finish.