Casa Caracol, Calle la Iglesia 4, Ages, Castile and Leon, Spain
A Quaint, Most Unusual and Joyful AlbergueAlong the Camino de Santiago is a rustic, simple post and beam, 6-8 bedroll albergue called Casa Caracol (Snail House). It is owned and run by a Norwegian lady doctor for tired and bone-weary pilgrims.
Inside, daintily tucked into a crevice cut out of a pillar, a snail's shell perches on top of a small stone [see picture]. On a kitchen wall a world map hangs upside down. Pots and pans are strung on a wire above the wood burning stove whose heat is used to help dry out wet clothes and soggy boots. In one corner, potted flowering geraniums and various odds and ends crowd a table. A broom stick stands stiffly behind a door. These are simple trappings and amusement for the eye.
What is more endearing is the albergue's story. A local senora looks after the albergue whenever the lady doctor goes to Africa on medical missions to earn funds for the albergue's upkeep. In turn, the albergue offers shelter and respite to pilgrims.
So much warmth, joy and peace are exuded by this most quaint of albergues, where by serendipitous happenstance, one chanced to stay while walking The Way of St. James.