Yesterday was Labor Day in Spain, I think. They called it “Work Day”, but nobody worked, so…
In this village, everyone goes up to the Castle for “Work Day”, attends a church service, then hangs out together outside the old church and has some food and drink and while visiting.
The Catholics in this part of Spain are very particular about how they practice their faith. For this special day, they bring in a Polish priest (the Spanish priests are evidently second rate), and they bring in a special silver cross, which each congregant files up to the front and kisses as they leave. I think nearly the whole village attends this service, except for many of the men, who wait outside smoking cigarettes.
Bread, peanuts, some salami type stuff, potato chips and several types of wine from the local wineries was set up on the benches. We went to the store and bought some nice cakes and brought them, and they were a hit, scarfed up in no time! There is a slight tension between our albergue and the village. Although the Dutch have been here for 13 years now, they are still a “foreign” organization, and not Catholic, and most of the local people have been here many years, many related to one another, and maybe 99% catholic. So this is a great opportunity to mix with them, contribute to their festival, promote understanding and trust, etc.
A pleasant diversion from the routine, then back down the hill and back to work. It was my turn to be the “hospitalero”, registering the guests, learning about some of them. This day I made friends especially with Klaus from Austria, and Regina from Oakland CA. We had mostly Germans, Austrians this day, with a few from Slovenia, a couple of girls from Holland, and two men from the UK. No one from France, but the day before, the majority were from France. It is a unique group with a unique personality each day.
That is Regina from Oakland to my left, and one of the Brits shirtless in front of me. I am looking through his pilgrim passport for his name to register him and to stamp his passport with our unique albergue stamp. He will need that when he gets to Santiago to prove that he has indeed walked the camino.