Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Good company; day 11

People do the camino for many reasons. Some to remember who they are, some to forget. Some do it to clear their mind, others to listen to God. Some use the time to think about how they want to change their life, make decisions, go in a new direction.

A lot of pilgrims say it is important to have very specific intentions, this keeps you resolute when the road gets tough. Others say to be intention-less; that the road will show you whatever it is you need to see and what lessons you need to learn. Either way, one thing is for sure, the people you meet on the camino and the time you spend with them is magical. Often when you walk with a fellow pilgrim you don't knowhow long you will be walking with them for or even if you will ever see them again. These encounters are simply a sharing of two cups over-flowing. No expectations. No favours in the favour bank. No tit for tat. No trying to achieve anything or get something out of it.

Today I walked in silence for 4 golden hours with Stefanie. We caught up with a crazy south Korean guy who is learning Spanish through song. So far he's learnt la cucaracha and sings it at the top of his voice wherever he goes. In the afternoon I lunched with Leona and Pedro in Belorado and we walked together to the one horse town of Epinosa del camino where Liz had booked us into and was awaiting us. We laughed and joked along the way.

We stayed in an albergue exclusively for pilgrims run by Pepe. Pepe and Pedro have done the camino many times before and had lots of stories to share with us. Pepe initially did the camino because he wanted to find love. After he finished the camino he found love but when he decided to give up his job as a carpenter and set up the Albergue on the road he lost her. He's been providing food and shelter to about 900 pilgrims a year for the last 5 years. This sweet, white-bearded, gentle man from cataluna had one piece of advice for us; don't do the camino quickly. It's not a race. Take your time and take everything into you feel along the way into your heart. It's not something we can follow entirely. We have work to return to; planes to catch. It's all relative though. Some people have set the goal of walking 40k on some days to make up the time. Others want to test themselves physically and do 30+k a day. To me that's madness and seems to lead to injury. Theres one story going round of a pilgrim who turned up late one night in Pamplona. He looked deranged when he arrived at the refugio. He couldn't speak or move And just kept blinking madly. Eventually they got it out of him that he had walked all the way from sant Jean; 67k in one go!

We reckon Pepe is a templar knight but is being humble about it. He has red templar crosses, antiques and memorabilia everywhere. Pepe has one other piece of advice to give me before we all go to bed; people think that when they get to Santiago de compostela it is the end of the camino; but it is just the beginning of another camino. As I walk this path which apparently runs over a major ley line and certainly that has been walked by thousands of pilgrims before me I recognise that what makes all caminos so joyful is the chance to share it with the people you meet along the way.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Grunon - Epinosa del camino

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