I took few pictures today because I was busy making friends. It seems the cosmos noticed that I needed a little encouragement. I managed to have a nice conversation over breakfast tea with a charming Estonian who knew about fifty words of English. Breakfast was enlivened by a slide show on his computer of how he built his house on land he inherited from his grandfather. I once took a winter course in Russian … 26 years ago to be exact but when , frustrated, he resorted to that I could catch the gist of it. I sloped off to get assurances about trains and busses. A plan to spend three days at the coast was scuttled by a bus strike looming on Thursday and Friday. I was in a panic because I must go to Madrid by bus on next Monday and I had visions of the whole system grinding to a halt. However, everyone from TV ticket agents to the station manager assured me May 1 would be “ safe”.
I went looking for company and I found it. Pilgrim House welcomed me and proudly showed off the fridge donated by the Canadian Company of Pilgrims. They gave me a set of debriefing journaling questions which will serve me particularly well this time.
It is al very well to bask in triumph like last time, but a more difficult Camino has given me more to reflect upon. Resolutions loom.
I got lost on the street and asked a woman about my age the way. To my surprise, she gripped me tightly on the forearm and led me along for several blocks, finally giving me clear instructions to turn at the next corner. To my astonishment she turned around and walked off in the opposite direction. I had assumed she was going my way, but no! I wondered if I would have been as helpful in my own town!
Jet is a great item of jewelry here. Coral and silver are big favories too. As I wandered along I had plenty of opportunity to window shop.
Finally I arrived at the office of Sister Alicia and Connie – the ones who hosted at Mass on Saturday. The kettle was on and another Irish volunteer, Betty, chatted with me in such an encouraging way that I began to feel this whole endeavour was not a complete loss. Another Irish volunteer appeared and encouraged me to walk part of the way to Finisterre. “ Just go 10 Km. There’s a good bar there !”
On my return, who should be eating a simple supper in the albergue but Victor, the Estonian. So, we compared pictures of our grandchildren. We even managed quite a deep conversation about politics and religion! Turns out his great grandfather had been banished by the Tsar as he was an Old Believer. Then, with a gallant kiss of my hand which reminded me of my days in Poland we said goodbye. He will cycle off to Vigo tomorrow.
My final triumph in the “ let’s be friends “ department was an invitation by Lilianna, a Dominican lady who lives in Italy to join her on her guided tour of Muxia and Finisterre on Wednesday. Suits me! Liliana twisted her ankle on her Camino and so is laid up here in the Alberge, like me!
I am confused. Are you still at the first Albergue or have you started your Camino? And why Madrid on May 1? And to my mind making new friends is the best part of this trip!
I’m flying home on May 2. I’m only doing short trips out of Santiago as my hip pain is a sign to me that I need to reduce the strain.
It is so good that you are still continuing your Camino experience in other ways even though your body has made other plans for you. Thank you for these wonderful posts. PS At the guides’ annual event yesterday, you were one of the guides announced at a new level of accumulated hours. Congratulations!
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Thanks Barb. I will be back May 2 and raring to go. Making limonada out of lemons I guess
This is probably the most touching piece you have posted since you left. I am very sorry to hear of the many challenges you have had, not to mention the physical pain. But I feel optimism throughout your post, a confirmation that people are generally good beings, that the world is a small place…and really quite beautiful. There is surely reason that you are on this second Camino, a new and different journey…
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