Thursday, 24 October 2013


If is probably obvious to all readers of these posts that there have,in fact,been two Caminos. The first was the 30 days in France,and then the Camino Frances across Spain . I have said openly,both in these posts,and in conversation with other pilgrims, that there is no comparison between the two Caminos . In every respect the route from Le Puy to St Jean is by far the superior . I firmly believe that if I had only started at St Jean I would not have felt the richness of the pilgrimage experience . The quality of care in the Alberques is rarely matched in Spain where,far too frequently,you feel that you are part of a production line . Only twice in Spain-at Emaus in Burgos and Casa El Cura in Calzadilla de los Hermanillos-did I experience a shared meal which was the norm in France and which gave the Camino a depth of community sharing and hospitality which was overwhelming.
I still remember the second night at the Auberge des 2 Pelerins ,La Ferme Bouysse, Ultreia in Moissac, La Casa du Pelerin in Condom and Hospitalet Saint Jacques in Aire sur L'Adour as unforgettable moments of profound encounter.
The Camino is first and foremost about personal renewal and reflection in the presence of God . This is mediated through the encounter with other pilgrims . It will be for the moments shared that I will remember the Camino . It was only six days in that I met up with Daniel,Tim,Catalina,and later Anavery.I remember being devastated when Daniel announced his change of plans and decided not to spend an extra night at Cahors . After that I have no idea how his Camino was . The leave taking with Catalina,Tim and Anavery was one of the happiest nights of the whole experience.
It was only three days out of Cahors that I met Pierre and Isabel and then Raphael and Hubert.Even though we had a couple of difficult moments Pierre,Isabel and Raphael sustained me all the way to St Jean and Hubert and I continued over the Pyrenees . I still remember the usually taciturn Raphael walking with me to St Jean and sharing some quite profound insights into his life .T he departure of Pierre,Isabel and Raphael was forseen and there was appropriate closure . The supper we shared in the square in Eauze was special.Thankfully all three of them have been in contact and followed my progress through Spain.
Hubert was a lovely companion-a man of great wisdom and humour . I can still see him disappearing behind the city walls in Pamplona.That was the last time I saw him . I still nurse the hope that I will see him when I return to Santiago.
I remember the cheery faces of Matthieu and Amede when they turned up at Aroue.Little did I know how much Amede and I would share in four precious days into Burgos . Sadly we missed each other in Santiago by less than five hours . When Matthieu invited me to have supper with them in Najera it was a moment to treasure.
Jan from Denmark,and Fiona from Australia never walked with me and yet they both chose to remain in Santiago to greet me.To find Jan sitting on the square when I arrived was magical . I first met Pauleen and David in Logrono and our paths crossed continuously over the rest of the pilgrimage . I hope that we can meet again in England.
I only met David and Hellen for the first time in Villavante.We only walked together for brief stretches but they became good friends.Marjory,Lorrie,Deborah and Cindy only featured in the final stages of the pilgrimage but I learned a great deal from them.
There was one sad incident at the end involving Simon from Melbourne with whom I had shared some memorable experiences and Cornelia whom I had met on the Meseta and with whom I had enjoyed a lovely al fresco supper in Villafranca de Bierzo . They came into the room we were sharing long after I had gone to bed and were quite put out when I asked for a bit of respect . It was a trivial incident which could easily have been sorted the following day but neither of them seemed prepared to do so . It meant that there was no opportunity to thank each other for the good things that we had shared.

1 comment:

  1. Cher Gerard
    Tu arrives a la fin du chemin. Tu as vu et admiré de nombreux paysages tu les as apprécié et as perçu et vécu les difficultés du Camino...ta as rencontré beaucoup de personnes ,tu les as apprécié et tu as perçu une partie de leur vie , leur bonheur mais aussi leur difficultés!!! Cela est possible grâce à l'ouverture de l'esprit, aux facultés d'écoute Merci Gerard

    A bientôt et sache que nous penserons à toi et prierons pour toi quand nous reprendrons le Chemin

    Isabelle et Pierre