Home Pilgrimages Way of St. James 2018 – Albergaria a Nova

Way of St. James 2018 – Albergaria a Nova

by geomarbes
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It’s still kind of dark outside again and we’re ready to go, but Mary is nowhere to be found. We knock on her door timidly. I feel like she’ll want to sleep in after yesterday but we don’t want to vanish and just leave her here without telling her. After the first knock she says that she’ll be outside in a minute. This woman can withstand anything… If I went to sleep in a state like that, I’d wake up with a big hangover and I’d rather stay in bed and sleep.

“I’ll rather temporarily suffer from the pain from wandering than suffer permanently from the regrets of not going on the route!”

From albergue we continue uphill. After about two kilometers we turn and join a marked way. In the first café we pass by some of the pilgrims who left before us. But it’s still too soon for breakfast, so we just wave at them and continue. Plus, the morning cold is still here and the route goes much better in a weather like that than in the afternoon heat.

Serem na to

We go in nature for a while so each of us uses it and goes to urinate. In one of the villages we stop by an old public washing house, because a geocache is supposed to be there and we also want to shoot a video. Mary slowly continues the route and waits for us on the first crossroad. I don’t know if it’s because she doesn’t want us to get lost or herself.

The sun unusually welcomes us with its first sunrays and so does the sign indicating a next village whose name makes us burst out of laughter. Mary asks what’s happened so we try to explain to her what the name “Serém” means in Czech. When we don’t want to do something, we say the name of this village and the abbreviation of the North Atlantic Alliance behind it. Together we shoot a video for youtube and slowly continue. Mary is clearly starting to take a liking in Czech so it doesn’t take long and when we’re in front of a big hill for example, she stops and says “seremna to”.

We find a café in Serém. It’s extremely hot inside so we stay outside. Mary quickly goes to the bathroom and I order coffee and some dessert. This waiter guy really belongs here… he kind of doesn’t give a damn about my order. Fortunately, we receive our order eventually so we can finally eat it outside on the curb. The South Koreans arrive and since it’s relatively full here, we start packing so that they can take our places.

It couldn’t be weirder

Suddenly, two pilgrims come, who still give me goosebumps to this day, as I’m writing this. He’s a white man, she’s a black woman. She doesn’t speak and he speaks in riddles. He says he’s everywhere at home but a stranger at the same time. The only thing they actually say is that they are heading to Fatima. We say goodbye as a sign that we’re going to go when he steps up to me and Jitka, kneels before us, puts both mine and Jitka’s hand on his forehead and babbles something quietly. Hopefully a prayer. I don’t know.

We stand there like poles in the fence, not being able to move. Fortunately, it all only takes about a minute. Then he gets up, greets us and we finally leave with Mary. She doesn’t understand what it was supposed to mean either… it takes a while for us to recover from it. With the increasing kilometers our thoughts about this weird apparition fade away and we carefully watch the route and the signs.

After one quick stop at a store the South Koreans catch up with us so we then continue with them. Their break frequency is a bit higher though, so we split again after a few kilometers.


According to the map we find out that there are some geocaches on the route dedicated to the Way of St. James. We explain the rules of the game to Mary and she helps us look for the boxes enthusiastically. Thus, we go slower, but since it’s only a few more kilometers to the goal of today’s route, no one really cares about it.

Plus, it seems like the slower pace is more favorable for Mary considering yesterday’s evening. Thanks to the slowing down, Jannik catches up with us and joins us. He is fascinated by geocaching too and he literally swallows all the informations and happily joins us in the box hunting.

The route passed quickly despite the slower ending, because suddenly we’re standing in front of the albergue. It’s locked but fortunately Jannik is here, who isn’t afraid to impudently break into the house and go get someone. In a while, he returns with a likeable Spanish woman who’s the owner of this private albergue. We pay for the night and after assuring her that there is going to be many more of us, she offers to make a completely free banquet for us. And who will be satisfied can leave a tip in the box. We should leave money for the drinks and ice lollies in that box. Trust rules here. I don’t know how long something like this would last in Czechia. Dinner together with the other pilgrims is something we just can’t decline.

We shorten the wait for dinner by checking out the commemorative book and of course, washing our clothes and ourselves and then relaxing while drinking cold beer in the shadow under a parasol. The owner brings us ribs on plates… apparently a freebie. They are heavenly… If it wasn’t for the annoying flies, I would be enjoying them for longer. I’m not going to fight about them with the flies so I only leave a few bones on the plate. The flies want revenge for that so I tell Jitka that I’ll go inside for a while to go relax on the bed. I don’t think I’ve really slept, but when Jitka comes to wake me up, it’s time to go to the yard to the other pilgrims.

Camino family is complete

We join right when they are discussing where to go to and where to accommodate tomorrow. There are new faces sitting by the table. Carles, Mariona and Daniel. When the plan for the next day is done, we talk about what everyone does in their real lives. So, we learn that the new faces are from Spain. Carles and Mariona are from Barcelona and live and work in Berlin at the moment. Daniel is from Madrid. I’ve heard in TV that people from Madrid hate people from Barcelona and vice versa. It’s not true. They’re friends despite what TV says.

Enrique and Tonya call home to the kids to California and introduce each of us. Danny and Eva, who have arrived as ones of the last ones, are just building their tent on the yard. It’s probably full here already or maybe they arranged this to save some money.

Dinner together

Meanwhile, the sun goes down and the owner invites us to the dinner. There is a banquet, looking like from a hotel, in the hall. There are bottles of wine on one table, prepared salads, olives and main course – pasta and pork in vegetables on the other. Next to it there’s a bowl full of fruit.

The food smells amazing so after the toast together we stand up and individually go take what we want according to the taste and hunger. During the dinner there’s an awesome atmosphere and it’s nice to see such people who seem so happy and carefree around.

We get coffee after the dinner and the owner pours everyone some Port wine. It’s strong and goes up to the head quickly. Thanks to Jannik and Mary we explain what kind of a game it is that we’re playing on the pilgrimage. Danny says he has heard about Geocaching before and I cursorily watch Tonya downloading the Geocaching application to her huge iPhone.

We throw in some money to the box after the dinner hoping we’re not the only ones. It would be a pity if the pilgrims who will come after us wouldn’t experience this. While Jannik, Carles, Daniel and Kim are staying on the yard and trying to finish the bottles of wine from dinner, we leave with the others to go to sleep and gain some energy for tomorrow’s route.

Today’s video

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