April 13, 2016

Today started out with a surprise. When I opened the door at 6:30am there was a pilgrim waiting to get in. Apparently he had left the albergue to go connect to wifi and did not return until 10:20pm. We lock the doors at 10:00 and have no idea if everyone is in or not. Every one here are adults and supposed to act like adults so unfortunately he had to find alternate accommodations. I am sure there is more to the story. This guy is Chinese and lives in Sweeden. He had met the owners of the Chinese restaurant in town and was able to call them. He ended up sleeping at their house and the husband drove him back in the morning. Very interesting. Then the guy just wanted to hang out and talk this morning. I am cleaning and trying to get ready for the next group and he is talking away. He was a very nice man but it was time to start my day and for him to start his walk. He finally left at about 9:00.

I have had more than one conversation with Spaniards about volunteering on the Camino or walking the Camino as a way to learn English or to improve their English. It is very interesting that many people from all countries speak English. While I prefer to speak Spanish I have spent a great deal of time when we have pilgrims in the house speaking English.

Today we had 51 pilgrims. At least half were from Italy. Italians are so fun. They are lively, and for the most part happy and are very friendly. Most of these were kids, and when I say kids I mean in their 20’s. One was a chef so we had a really great vegetarian meal. Fresh veggies, rice, beans, and potatoes all in a delicious sauce. Good stuff. The Spaniards all made Tortilla which was also delicious. This afternoon for lunch we had a traditional soup made from garbanzo beans, pig ear, pig foot and some spices. I ate it and really normally like garbanzo stew but the pigs feet and ears are a bit gelatinous for me. Great flavor though.

Tonight just as I was closing up the doors at 10pm here comes a pilgrim walking along. He had walked 50k or about 31 miles today and was looking for a bed. We got him all checked in and then gave him a big bowl of leftover food. He was a happy camper and off to bed he went. He is from Italy and walking very long distances, although he told me that he planned on an easy day tomorrow. Only about 21k to Santo Domingo de la Calzada.

I know I have said it before but I will say it again. This has been a truly amazing experience. Every day I have people ask me why I am always smiling. I say it is because I love the Camino and love being here serving all of the pilgrims. Each morning I make it a point to either hug or shake the hand of every pilgrim. Today a man from Germany started crying in my arms. It was pretty cool. He said that he is learning many lessons on the Camino. I wished him a buen Camino and off he went. The Camino can be very emotional. You never know just why someone is here walking. Frankly we are only 8 days into the Camino so they may not even know why they are here. I am always personally looking for that answer.

Buen Camino

Location:Plaza de Santiago,Nájera,Spain

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  1. Wow! This was beautiful and loaded with great stories! It reminded me that people DO have deep reasons for doing the Camino. I can see that smile of yours & know how wonderfully God has used you these past two weeks, Andy!

  2. All I want to say is – I love your posts. They always make me smile, or laugh, or perhaps just remember. We are all so connected even in our separateness. Thank you for reminding me of that… and for sharing your experience, strength and hope.

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