Today we reached peak Camino madness. After a quiet community church service next to a monastery we arrived back at the albergue to find well over 40 people looking for accommodation in an albergue that only accommodates 25. Places were found for some in other places but we still had to find places for another 12 or so. People were desperate for a bed. The team was amazing by swinging into action and keeping pilgrims calm and taking people to a variety of other places in other towns. They also started looking for ways to use rooms usually set aside for other purposes. The room normally used for pilgrims to relax in was changed into a 3 bed dorm. A terrace used for drying washing was given a tarp and pilgrims were invited to make a bed in the open. Another room, not used due council requirements, was also pressed into service.
After weeks of relative quiet this week has been busy, but today was exceptional – but so was the team. What impressed me most was how the team rallied to the cause with each person working to do their best. It was inspirational! Extra hands helped at enrolment, with the meal, placing beds and mattresses and even finding extra blankets for the people on the terrace who happened to be there on what is predicted to be the coldest night in ages.
Speaking to pilgrims they were genuinely pleased and surprised by the level of support. Many had been turned away on previous occasions with no idea what to do next.
I saw a real expression of Christlike behaviour and was privileged to be part of it.