After another stretch along the coast the Camino continues inland along the river from Vila do Conde to Arcos, where it rejoins the main Camino route and on to São Pedro de Rates. It is surprising how quick the drive takes when last week it would have meant about 6-7 hours of walking.
Hubby and friend arrived at the albergue in Rates before me and explained my situation. Although the albergue is strictly for pilgrims only the hospitaleros (albergue hosts) agreed to take me in as well. They even were kind enough to open a large dorm near the bathroom for my convenience.
Initially it was just the three of us in this large 19 bunk dorm but we were later joined by another pilgrim. He was a self professed ‘professional pilgrim’ on his way in the opposite direction to the pilgrimage city of Fatima.
After dinner, on the way back to the albergue I stopped by the car to pick up something when I was spotted by our room mate from the cafe across the street. He was quickly over, glass of wine in hand, to give his opinion on my Car-mino.
Just before curfew (10pm) the nice hospitalero stopped by the dorm to make sure I was comfortable and to see if I needed anything. It was at that point our now rather inebriated dorm companion showed up. A row ensued between him and the hospitalero, as they debated the flexibility of the curfew. The hospitalero explained he needed to be in his bunk within the next few minutes or else vacate the premises. He on the other hand didn’t see how the rules applied to him.
The drunken pilgrim who was fast loosing the argument decided to change tack and ‘out’ me for not being a ‘real’ pilgrim, that because I wasn’t following the rules he have to adhere to them either. The hospitalero already in possession of the facts was having none of it and rather gallantly defended me at which point the pilgrim knew the game was up and climbed into his bunk with his tail between his legs.
The incident did highlight for me the strange no mans land I find myself in. I’m a pilgrim but I’m not, I’m also aware that since leaving Porto the Camino has gotten much busier, which we expected and it would be unfair of me to take a bed in an albergue that may have to turn pilgrims away.