The Blurb: On Spain’s ancient Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail, volunteer innkeepers — hospitaleros — take care of pilgrims and manage the inns along the route.
This is a quick book that explores the spirit of innkeeping and the countless tiny choices that every innkeeper must make. It’s not just for innkeepers — hopefully anyone involved in hospitality will find it useful.
You may have seen the old version on this site — I wrote it after working as a hospitalero in 2007 in Viana, Nájera, and Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Spain. Now it’s revised, updated, and available on Amazon here.
Having lived on the Camino for only about 12 weeks total, I’ve seen at least four film crews and have been suspicious of all of them. I’ve thought that their efforts were in vain, that the kaleidoscopic experience couldn’t be captured by a team that rides in a van and sleeps in hotels.
But after watching the above trailer, I don’t care where the crew slept. It looks like the dangerous combination of professional production and spiritual journey may have been successful.
Inspired by her experience on the Camino de Santiago, retired reporter Suh Myung-sook has led the creation of over 250 km of wildly popular walking trails on the South Korean island of Jeju. More trails are in the works, and I’m guessing the official route will soon encircle the island.
As for walkers already looping Jeju–there must be a percentage who reach the end of the official trail and keep right on going.
And while we’re talking about loops and route planning, any developer’s next step would likely make Jeju Olle an @-shaped route, with a trail to the 1,950m peak of Mt. Halla as the final stage.
As this project goes forward, hopefully its leaders are careful about J.O.’s impact on the island. It’s an island, after all. The options for crowd-scattering alternative routes are pretty slim.
In the first nine months of 2009, Jeju Olle attracted–ready?–200,000 walkers. By comparison, 100,000 pilgrims completed the 800ish km French Route of the Camino de Santiago in 2008. My rough math shows that J.O. is faced with the challenge of supporting a pilgrim density that’s eight times greater (OK, 8.1) than the primary route of the Camino de Santiago. And that’s before Ms. Suh’s worldwide marketing plans kick in.
Just posted my Camino journal here. If you’re thinking of making the pilgrimage, I hope it gives you an idea of the thoughts and concernsthe walk is liable to catalyze in your consciousness.
If you’ve walked the Camino before, I hope it takes you back.
Most importantly, if you have any questions about the Camino–any–I’d love to take a shot at them. Especially if you’re struggling with that classic biggie, “I want to do this, but I have no idea how I can make it happen.” (And if I can’t answer your question, maybe I can pass it on to someone who can.)
Get in touch by emailing me at stateofplace -at- gmail. Cheers.
PS — The permanent link is right up there on the header bar next to the Innkeeper’s Guide.