I imagined a lot of things about the Camino – the long walks, the struggle to find the right hostal, the snoring/stinking bunkmates, the blisters, you name it. One of the things about the Camino that I didn’t really think about too much was the people. I mean, I knew there would be other people I would run into on this walk and who I would eat with and see every once in a while. What I didn’t quite get was how social it would be.
There’s just a lot of time to run into the same people, and, once you do, a lot of time to pick up the conversation where you left off. There’s no story that won’t pass the time. Plus, most of these people have a pretty good story to tell, and they all have a reason for doing this trek and not doing something else.
In the past four or five days, Cris and I have been adopted by a gang of Germans. They are wonderfully happy, friendly, and stereotypically goofy.
To their credit, they each came separately to the Camino and bonded on the road. Just like so many others, we met them by walking to the same place and hearing their story. Now we’re sort of a pack. Truth is, however, we couldn’t shake them if we wanted. Today, Cris was having some trouble with her foot. She insisted we stay in Najera rather than continue to Azofra as the Germans were doing. When they found out, they decided to stay with us rather than going the extra 6 kilometers.
Hanging out with the other pilgrims usually happens out of a desire not to miss out on hearing their stories. It also usually means we don’t get a jump on the next day’s walk. But, as I’ve mentioned before, no matter how fast you go, you get there. It’s not exactly the quiet, contemplative walk I had imagined, but the people who walk beside me are invariably genuine – and can’t help to be after 20-30 kilometers. They’ve all come here to think about something and they are all curious to hear your thoughts and your own story. And, walking together, we have an exchange that is hard to find anywhere else.
Some good pictures:
Catching up with Caterina, the 65-year-old Canadian who is putting us to shame:
A fountain that pours water AND wine:
A Templar octagonal church:
Delicious dinner last night in Navarrete at Bar Deportivo:
Follow that sign: