I received an SOS email last night. A 500-year-old albergue in which my cousin Iain and I stayed while walking the Camino de Santiago is in serious financial trouble. I suspect that is not uncommon in Spain at the moment.
I have no idea whether the inn’s owners Simone and Miguel are good or bad at running a business. I know they bought La Casa Magica at a bad time, just before Spanish property prices plummetted. They probably paid too much for their building. I’m sure they weren’t the only ones.
They told us they’d just heard they’d have to spend a large amount of money to make the inn wheelchair-accessible. That struck us as a tough demand in a centuries-old building which was welcoming guests long before the invention of the wheelchair. Furthermore, as Iain and I can testify, the steep streets of Villatuerta would challenge most paralympians. Anyone who can drag themselves to the front door of La Casa Magica has already done the hard work.
What I do know is that Simone and Miguel were very friendly hosts, and that La Casa Magica is a place that oozes history and charm.
It’s exactly the sort of accommodation you want while walking The Way of St James. Facilities are shared and basic, but the tariff of only EUR14 for bed and breakfast seemed extremely reasonable.
They’re calling on their friends and supporters to make donations towards what seems like a ridiculously low amount the bank is demanding under threat of foreclosure and eviction. It’s about EUR20,000. I’ve made a modest contribution, more as encouragement than anything else, and if enough others do the same, perhaps the place and its owners can be saved.
If you are thinking of walking the Camino, I urge you to do so, and recommend that you stay at La Casa Magica. If you think you can help financially, you can do that here.
Has the Spanish economic crisis affected other albergues along the Camino de Santiago? How have tourism and tourist operators in Spain been faring?