Reflections: Part Two

1 Aug

One of the things that makes the Camino so interesting and awe-inspiring is the diversity of the people and their sheer numbers.

Those on the trail develop a certain comradeship. Despite the difficulty of the challenging walk, everyone is so friendly and upbeat. There’s a sense that we’re all in this together.

The standard greeting on the trail is “Buen Camino” (good Camino). And you soon discover that everyone greets one another.

We realized this most on the last day. Once we reached the city, we no longer heard the greeting because those we passed by weren’t pilgrims.

That was one of the reasons the last day was so arduous and unpleasant. The other was the length of the path in the city. We wrongly assumed we’d soon find ourselves at the church doors once we reached the city. But the trip through the city seemed to go on for miles and we had a hard time even finding the cathedral.

Every day the trail was filled with people; sometimes it was downright crowded. We were rarely alone on the path.

Some traveled in groups; others in pairs. There were families, solitary pilgrims and gaggles of noisy teenagers.

On the first day, we met a friendly group from Alacante that included three generations: a college-age son, his father and a rambunctious grandmother who walked faster than all of them. We met up with the group later in the day in the outdoor bar, where grandma was hoisting several beers!

There were several children, one as young as five. And there were plenty of elderly folk, some who moved very, very slowly and some who lapped us. There were overweight walkers and fit and trim bicyclists.

It was a fascinating mix of humanity!

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