Amazing experience

June 2, 2015

Yesterday and today the Camino was again the Camino.  Last evening I met a wonderful couple who met each other last year on the Camino.  They fell in love and were later married.  He is from California and she is from Italy.  This year they are repeating the Camino.  We were have a great conversation and sharing pictures (I have to show off my wife and family of course) when Keith told me about one of his first conversations with another pilgrim last year.  He was in the Biarritz airport waiting for a bus to take him to Saint Jean to start walking.  He met a black woman from South Africa who asked him why he was walking the Camino. His answer wes fairly simple and had to do with an adventure, chance to get away, and a chance to get some exercise.  The woman then told Keith that she wanted to walk the Camino for over thirty years.  Because she was black and lived in South Africa and because of apartheid, she could not travel.  Once apartheid ended she started saving to take the Camino.  She had accumulated enough for a budget of 30 Euros per day for food and lodging.  She wouldn’t buy herself a cup of coffee in the airport becayse it wasn’t in her budget.  Her story just humbled Keith and me alike as our eyes got just a little more moist as he recalled the story.

I walked today with some more delightful people and took a break with who I’ll describe as a group of fun-loving Irish men and women.  We shared a cup of coffee and some laughs after walking for a few hours.  I also came across some interesting sights including a grave yard and some georgeous roses that I know my wife would love to call hers.

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This afternoon I arrived in Mansilla and it was farmers market time.  I wish I could cook tonight.  Everything looked so good and fresh.  At the B&B, I was greated by the owner, Javier (that’s with a J , not an X).  He checked me in but before he showed me my room, he poured me a glass of wine and one for himself.  He fortified his white wine with a little brandy I think.  We had chips and olives and then he fixed us each a little ham sandwich.  I think he greets everyone this way.  I guess it’s good that his place only has about 6 rooms.  After we finished the wine, Javier carried my bag to my room.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt as welcomed in an accomidation before.

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Tomorrow I have another nice walk to Leon where I will spend two nights and reconnect with some of the folks I started the Camino with three and a half weeks ago.  It’s starting to feel like a reunion.

Buen Camino!

Tom

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