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Finding our way on the Camino Santiago

Updated: May 23, 2023

Written originally as a Facebook Post on 2/5/2019

Camino Santiago post 3

Read post 2 here

Shadow of a peregrino with a walking stick

So, yesterday was an easy day, as was today. We had glorious weather and I enjoyed every step. The scenery was glorious, very Monet-esque. Endless fields in hues of green, beautiful tiny villages, with lowing cows and barking dogs. The stone, traditional houses reminding Mary-Lou of our vacations in the beach side villages of Gorai and Manori.

Rolling meadows in shades of green, a sky with fluffy clouds and a lone peregrino with a backpack walking on a path,

However, it was strange to not see any children playing around. We sometimes saw old people sitting in a chair, waving and smiling wrinkled smiles. Today, May Day, seemed to be the day for planting vegetable gardens and we often found older couples working in their veggie patches side by side, planting a range of greens and vegetables.

Today had less pilgrims enroute, and while we relished the quite and calm, we found ourselves looking for those who were part of our Camino Family. While we met a few of the old friends and made new connections with peregrinos we just met, we wondered about those we didn’t see today. Where were the three generation German family? Had Susanna the Lutheran pastor reach Santiago yet? We wondered how our Japanese friends from the tour group were doing and kept looking out for the bouyant teenage groups especially the Rotary international group which had the only other Indians we met on the Camino.

We did however kept bumping into little Coco the doggerino....doggie peregrino and his owner. Dogs on the Camino have their own pilgrim passport and Coco is earning his stamps as he wanders over the route.

As we ambled over a hill into Casteneda, we stopped at what we thought was a cafe. It had no sign boards, a few pilgrims were stamping their Camino passport and one customer was at a garden bench, working on his laptop.

“Where are you from?”,he asked, “come join me for a cup of tea.”

I replied that we were just looking for a rest room. Urging us to go on in and use it, Shaun an electrical engineer from Stratford on Avon, welcomed us to his construction site of a house. Having done the Camino a few years ago, Shaun decided that he wanted to live on the Camino route and help pilgrims out. He sits in his garden and welcomes any pilgrim who wants to stop for a chat. He is living his dream, working on his house himself, working online and chatting about life with the pilgrims who bother to stop by. We had a great half an hour chatting with him and moved on happy to have made his acquaintance.

We were buoyed by a message from our friend Nisha who sent us a beautifully fitting song which we listened to as we walked. It brought us immense joy.

Our new connections included a Korean pilgrim, 2 Venezuelans, a Texan family and a lovely French couple who approached us after the pilgrim mass which we attended for the first time this evening.

It was held in a beautiful little church in Arzua and while it was conducted in Spanish, each pilgrim responded in their own language. At the end of the mass, the padre called all the peregrinos forward and asked us where we were from. There were pilgrims from the Czech Republic, Albania, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Italy, the US, UK, India....that was me!!! Also many from Spain and closer European countries. He said a special prayer and blessed us all on our journey. It was very moving and both Mary-Lou and I decided that we would attend it again in Rua tomorrow.

Mary-Lou loves the yellow arrows and shell markers which mark our path and show us the way. As I end today, I borrow from a little leaflet given to me at the ‘free hugs’ alberge.

The yellow arrow shows the way in the Camino. When ever we see the arrow, we are reassured that we are on the right path. How does it feel when we do not see an arrow? Isn’t it wonderful that someone came before us to mark the way! Our life can be compared to the Camino journey. Who or what do we look to when we need to find the way?

Food for thought...isn’t it?

Read the next post on this series about the Camino Santiago here...

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