top of page


Popular Rural Hospitality:
safeguarding the Jacobean essence

September 10-12
Villafranca del Bierzo


Hostel Ave Fénix de Villafranca del Bierzo from September 10 to 12, 2021 .

For the love of the road

The days constitute a fundamental part of the plan For the Love of the Camino designed by La Maya Lab in collaboration with Ave Fénix to help preserve the essence of the Camino.

Central theme: popular rural hospitality

on the side of the road

This year the central theme is popular rural hospitality

on the side of the Camino, which was and is key to the survival of its essence.

IX International Meeting of Visual Artists

The Conference coincidentally coincides with the first 2 days of the IX International Meeting of Visual Artists, held for the 3rd time at Ave Fénix (September 10 to 19). The artists carry out an artistic reflection through their works on hospitality after being impregnated during the Conference and experiencing it in their flesh during the Encounter, living and working in the hostel.

Objective: Unite the Jacobean community 

The Conference seeks to unite the Jacobean community around a space for reflection and debate on the current situation of the initiatory idiosyncrasy of the Camino de Santiago, affected in its aesthetic, environmental and social dimensions by typical 21st century phenomena.

Share and debate in search of solutions. Co-creation

The Conference therefore consists of sharing and debating the new challenges faced by the main attributes of the Camino and seeking joint creative solutions that make it possible to face these challenges. For this reason, through work tables, open forums, debates and participatory co-creation dynamics, some of its greatest experts and veterans work side by side with pilgrims, hospitaleros, passionate people, neighbors / ace and artists who want to join.

The Maya Lab seeks to keep alive the cultural legacy of local communities

The Maya Lab seeks to keep alive the cultural legacy of local communities, helping, on the one hand, for them to share intangible heritage and preserve it in a natural way, and on the other, for artists to collaborate as new neighbors, contributing their creative process to regenerate expressions of collective meaning.



Friday September 10

Reception of the speakers, artists and attendees and distribution in their respective accommodations.

Community dinner at the Ave Fénix Lodge.

Welcome concert


Saturday September 11


Welcome by the hospitable host Jesús Jato, president of the International Association

of Pilgrims Ave Fénix.

Presentation of the IX International Meeting of Visual Artists by its director Javier Aguado, CEO      of the Creative Coworking Codocóncodo.

Presentation of the Cultural Days by Irene García-Inés, director of La Maya Lab and promoter

of the plan For the Love of the Way.

Round table of experts on the challenges of rural hospitality on the Camino after its changes during

the last 30 years, composed of leaders and hospitalists of reference in contemporary Jacobean rural hospitality:

9:30 am

Mr. Paolo Caucci , president of the Committee of Experts of the Camino de Santiago and of the Italian Center for Compostellan Studies of the University of Perugia, promoter of the San Nicolás de Puente Fitero hostel in Itero del Castillo.

Mr. Blas Rodríguez , parish priest and hospitalero, promoter and person in charge of the ACASAN parish shelter in Fuenterroble de Salvatierra on Vía de la Plata.


Mr. Paco Castro , parish priest and hospitalero, promoter of the San Francisco de Asís Spirituality Home in Santiago de Compostela for the reception of pilgrims and reception coordinator in the Cebreiro from the Sanctuary of Santa María la Real.


Mrs. Rebekah Scott , writer and journalist, representative of the FICS, promoter of the Fraternity shelters in San Antón de Castrojeriz and Grado.


Mr. Jesús Arias Jato , hospitable promoter and head of the Ave Fénix shelter in Villafranca del Bierzo.


D. Tomás Martínez, hospitable promoter and head of the Manjarín Templar hostel


Proposal by the International Fraternity of the Camino de Santiago (FICS) of the candidacy of the traditional hospitality of the Camino de Santiago as Intangible Heritage of Humanity. 

11: 15h

Open debate to pilgrims, hospitaleros, veterans, artists and other attendees on the main challenges in rural hospitality on the Camino after the presentations of the experts on the changes of the last 30 years.


Coffee break

12: 30h

Introduction to the new video-documentary and literary project on hospitality by Irene García-Inés and Jesús Jato.


Proposal for the creation of a monitoring committee on Jacobean Hospitality.


Presentation of the documentary thriller “Los Sabios de la Tribu ” on the Oral Traditions of the Camino.

14: 30h

Aperitif and popular food organized by the older residents of the area *

17: 30h

Conversation with Félix Rodrigo , writer and historian specialized in council, communal society

and customary: "The influence of popular rural hospitality derived from communal philosophy on the survival of the Camino de Santiago throughout its history."

18: 30h

Reply by Rafael Quintía, anthropologist, writer and teacher, founder and president of the Sociedad Antropolóxica Galega (SAGA).


Conversation with Mr. Alberto García Martínez, architect of the Ave Fénix and other leading hostels on the Camino, specialized in historical heritage, director of one of the projects for the latest restoration of the Cathedral

from Santiago de Compostela and participant in the Genadii project, which fights against the depopulation of the Tebaida Berciana area: "The spirit of the first contemporary hostels when they burst onto the Camino."


Dinner. Burnt and filandón

Sunday, September 12


Excursion to the Roman Canals of El Bierzo (Monastery of San Pedro de Montes / Peñalba de Santiago / Valdueza) guided by the architect who restores its monuments, Alberto García Martínez.

14: 30h

14: 30h

Aperitif and popular food at Ave Fénix organized by the older residents of the area *.


Closing of the conference and concretion of proposals.


Launch of the Monitoring Committee on Jacobean Hospitality.

Continuation of the IX Meeting of Visual Artists.

* One of the proposals of the Por Amor al Camino plan to solve both the problem of the loss of quality in the gastronomy of the Camino + the increase in prices and that of the loneliness of the elderly has been to create groups of gastronomic work formed by older residents of the area.



Villafranca is a monumental town known for its great artistic and cultural heritage and for being one of the main enclaves of the Camino de Santiago , already appearing in the 12th century Codex Calixtinus as a determining point on the route to Compostela.


In its well-known door of forgiveness of the church of Santiago, the jubilee was delivered for centuries to all those pilgrims who for one reason or another were prevented from reaching Santiago .


It has been a historical-artistic complex since 1965 and in 2018 it was chosen as the most beautiful town in Castilla y León by CyLTV . Its Poetry Festival is probably the most important in the country, since 1986 it has celebrated Cristóbal Halffter concerts and Composition Courses and since 2018 Art Week.


But above all, Villafranca is where one of the most emblematic shelters of the Camino is located, a benchmark of popular rural Hospitality, in which the 3 groups that collaborate with each other to carry out this event converge:

International Association of Phoenix Bird Pilgrims (Elías Valiña 2001 Award)

Entity that manages the Ave Fénix ecological shelter, a mythical refuge for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago that was built by its initiator, Jesús Jato, with the help of pilgrims after the fire that devastated the place. The building was built entirely by hand with recycled noble materials in the style of traditional houses in the area, at the foot of the aforementioned church of Santiago, on the ruins of the old medieval Hospital for pilgrims of San Lázaro and annexed to the old medieval Hospital of Santo Domingo, also owned by the hostel. The Phoenix Bird is one of the 3 oldest contemporary refuges on the road and is closely linked to the popular rural tradition of hosting the pilgrim. Jesús Jato was one of the members of the small group of "crazy people" who in the 60s fought to recover the Camino de Santiago.

The Maya Lab

Itinerant cultural laboratory of art and debate that was born on a sailboat with the mission of refloating Iberian and Mediterranean knowledge, heritage and cultural essences in danger of extinction. The Maya Lab works with local communities in their own environment promoting creative projects that help preserve their cultural sovereignty. Through the safeguarding and regeneration of artistic and cultural expressions of collective meaning, it promotes self-awareness, empowerment and the development of aesthetic, social and environmental sensitivity. The current core project of La Maya Lab, “Por Amor al Camino”, in collaboration with the Ave Fénix Pilgrim's Hostel in Villafranca del Bierzo, seeks to preserve the initiatory essence of the Camino de Santiago.

Side by side

Art gallery that also functions as creative coworking whose main objective is to create workspaces where all kinds of people can develop their professional activity in which creativity plays a leading role, in order to take advantage of the synergies that may arise from collaboration between the different coworkers. It has more than 300m2 in the mythical Bastero street of antique shops that every Sunday gives life to one of the busiest areas of the Madrid Rastro. For more than 10 years, Codocóncodo has organized cultural activities of a different nature that make it an active center and a reference at a cultural level, among which are these International Visual Arts Meetings, founded by its director, Javier Aguado.


Attendees have different accommodation options in Villafranca del Bierzo, including the hostel itself. For those interested in other accommodations we will suggest nearby alternatives.


Meals and dinners will be held communally at the hostel.


-Shared room in Hostel Ave Fénix with exterior or interior bathroom (only for attendees): Solidarity donation.

Buffet breakfast, with fried eggs, toast, organic fruit jam from the hostel and from the farms of the senior group in charge.


-Hostal Restaurante La Charola (3 stars): € 38 approx. per room (either single, double or triple). Breakfast included. Close to the Ave Fénix Hostel on foot and with free parking.


-Hospedería San Nicolás el Real: € 35 Single / € 50 double / € 70 Triple / € 80 Quadruple / € 95 quintuple. Town center. Breakfast for € 4 (€ 1 discount for being a group).


-Posada Las Doñas del Portazgo (3-star hotel): € 60 single / € 70 double. Buffet breakfast: € 7.50. Water Street.


-Parador de Turismo: € 198 single or double with breakfast 2 nights for friends of paradores. If not: Friday night: € 112 double and € 96 individual. Saturday night: € 152 double and € 136 individual. Without breakfast.



Artists of any age and nationality participate, which always favors the exchange of experiences and communication about artistic and cultural creation. The maximum number is 20 resident artists. The artists work in a space conducive to the plastic arts: painting, sculpture, mural, video, photography, installation… : in addition to a workshop with lots of natural light, the place has garden areas and outdoor work. Meetings will be held with local creators and invited artists, as well as visits of artistic and cultural interest:


- Visit to the artist and gallery owner Reme Remedios in her Dosmilvacas gallery in Ponferrada


- Guided visit to Corullón with the students who have won the Eustory Prize for their work «Romanesque Art in Corullón. What remains and what was lost »- Meeting with the scholars of the José Carralero de Carracedelo Landscape School.


- Excursion to the Desagües de las Médulas del Valle del Oza, San Pedro de Montes and Peñalba - Stage on foot from Villafranca to Cebreiro along the Camino de Santiago


- Meeting with the sculptor from Villafranquino Arturo Nogueira


- Meeting with the Villafranquino photographer Moncho Cela - Sculpture Workshop open to the public from reused material from the illegal dumps of the Camino (in collaboration with Filandón Berciano)


- Visit to the Campo del Agua ethnological complex


These meetings were born at the initiative of the director of Codocóncodo, Javier Aguado, with the aim of promoting coexistence and shared work between artists from all over the world. In previous editions it has always taken place in locations on the Camino de Santiago: Villafranca del Bierzo (León, 2020 and 2019), Comillas (Santander, 2018 and 2017), Oporto (Portugal, 2016 and 2015) and Viana Do Castelo (Portugal, 2014 and 2013). Artists of various ages and nationalities were represented (Portugal, Spain, Holland, Honduras, Japan, Great Britain, France, Poland, Taiwan, Australia…). A selection of the works of the attending artists will participate in a collective exhibition that is also traveling. This initiative coincides on purpose in its first 3 days with the III Cultural Days on the Camino de Santiago, organized by the organizations that carry out the Encounter, with the aim that artists and those close to the road can share knowledge, reflections and creative proposals about the main context of the site: the popular rural hospitality on the side of the Camino de Santiago and the fundamental enclave of hospitality that is the Ave Fénix hostel.


Thank you, we will contact you

with all the details!

bottom of page