Posts Tagged ‘Buen Camino’


3. Buen Camino: Casi!

   Posted by: aman    in Other

I walk. I Walk maybe 8 kms and meet Joy, 71 years old, from Scotland. Frail looking Joy, but with strong legs. ‘My husband passed away last year, he wanted to do this walk. I am also walking for him.’ We walked a kilometre or so and reached breakfast at an inn. Her friend, another senior lady, had blisters and was walking slowly.

I resumed my solitary walk; a young girl was walking ahead of me, singing. I followed her for two or more kms, listening to the song, walking to its pace. Then I crossed her, didn’t want to seem like a stalker. She turned to me and asked: how many days? I was a little not so confident because I had been there just a day. E said, it was her 27th day. ‘I got left behind, met a guy. Now plan to catch up with my mates.’

‘If this is your second day, then walk with me. We’ll talk.’ It was already the 15th or so kilometre. After that we walked another 12 kms. E, a born Jew from the US, who speaks seven European languages, told me about herself, she plans to go back to medical school: ‘Surgeons are also artists, they work with human bodies.’ We crossed a blackboard with Buen Camino greetings and E wrote her guy’s name on it and said: ‘Well, this may perhaps be gone by tomorrow.’ I took a picture of the board with the guy’s name on it in bold and recently sent it to her. ‘Second and third days are hardest. No sitting, no breaking for coffee. Just walk!’

We met Jo, sitting on a stone. She waved to me, talked to E. They knew each other – fellow road warriors. As we approach Palas De Reis she shows me written next a yellow arrow: Casi. ‘It means ‘almost’.’ Since the town was taken by pilgrims I took a bed in an Albergue before town. I washed and went in to town. She had left me there and gone in search of her friends. In the town square I heard someone call my name. It was E, she had met her friends. We popped a bottle of wine and sipped from it.

They all said: you might be the only Indian on this walk.

I said before I left for dinner: Then they should make a statue of me. Simple, easy, fresh laughter.

On a walk, you meet a soul, who helps you walk. You may never meet again, but you do 29 kms in a day and it is your journey. ‘Don’t sit, don’t stop!’ E removed her shoes, all her toes were bitten by blisters. She did not care. She walked, I walked, we all walked, and laughed.

Casi! Almost!

In case you missed the Santiago pictures see …

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1. Buen Camino: not a race

   Posted by: aman    in Other

‘This is not a race,’ said Michael to me as I got down at Sarria station early morning in the middle of September 2010. I nodded, we had coffee together and he said, ‘All you need to do is follow the yellow arrow marks.’ he told me about the Passaporte every pilgrim needs to carry and get stamped on the way to Santiago. A Wiki article said the distance was 112 kms, the road planner he was carrying broke it up into 130+ kms and the woman at the coffee counter provided me a blank Passaporte. I was all set.

But no. The mind, it plays games. I stepped into Sarria and wanted to find the Informatio Centre. Why did I want to find it? Because I thought someone needs to give me directions. But I had directions. Can’t be that simple, my mind played with me and I did a couple of kilometers in the light rain. Thank God! JJ had asked me to use Cargoes instead of Jeans which would have been wet by now. I knew so little. Edith had given me her smaller bag; still I had stuffed in too many clothes. I was learning. After a few kilometers of wandering I realised that I was making a fool of myself. I remembered: this is not a race, follow the yellow marks.

I started in the general direction pointed to by locals who knew no English and yet were smiling and helpful. The sidewalk had ceramic tiles in the shapes of the Compostela, the Pilgrim’s stick, and I reached an old bridge on a creek where two yellow arrows beckoned me. They were clumsy, their paint had dripped, and I thought that is how I will walk, slowly, clumsily, but since it is not a race, I will reach at some point. I had enough days and I was planning about 20 kilometers a day.

The walk started with an uphill climb of about 8 kms. At the wood shack we self stamped our Passaporte and I met N who was with a friend and had been walking for almost 25 days, a total of 500 kms. She said she was from Luxumberg. It rang a bell, I knew the name of the country or city from Geography text books, but I could not place it in my mind. I moved on and might have covered another 7-8 kms before a Cafe Bar showed up. I was just ordering fresh coffee and sandwich when Michael showed up again.

‘Archangel Micheal, you got late?’ I asked.

‘Yes,’ he said. ‘Been having problems with my bag. Too many wet clothes.’

‘How are you doing?’

‘Holding up, but beginning to get tired.’

‘The hard part for today is over. Now it is downhill.’

‘I consider you Archangel. Do you mind?’

He smiled and wished me, ‘Buen Camino’.

To be continued…

For Santiago pictures see …

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