So far I have successfully strayed towards smaller albergues, with rooms of 6-12 people. However, I now find myself in a huge, 120 places one, surrounded by a much larger assortment of random people than before. In the kitchen, people are getting drunk, singing and celebrating, as today is the penultimate day of the pilgrimage. Tomorrow we reach Santiago. It’s amazing how a bunch of strangers, seemingly connected by only one thing can form a bond so quickly. The alcohol helps too. Someone just pulled a guitar from somewhere. I just came from the kitchen myself, where I had a (surprisingly) successful conversation with a French speaking Canadian old lady. She engaged me in the conversation, probably due to the fact that I had a bottle of white wine accompanying my dinner. You see, I most likely stumbled upon one of the secret codes that civilised people use to signal to each other.
Despite being tired, it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement that everyone is feeling about the ever closer Santiago. Some people finish one pilgrimage and immediately start another, others do one every year. I don’t know if I would do it again. Maybe I would do all of it by bike with a few friends. Or perhaps one day, if I ever have children I would do it with them, should they want to accompany me on such an adventure. When I was a kid I used to travel with my parents across the country every year. We took the car, plotted a route and drove on our own pilgrimage. I have fond memories of my childhood and I know that I’m one of the lucky ones, to have such amazing parents.
I diverge. This series of posts should be about El Camino de Santiago. And still I find myself unable to focus on today’s journey. Maybe because it’s been slightly uneventful. Or maybe this whole reflection thing is starting to work. You see, without distractions, without internet, music, groups of friends, schedules, things to take care of, when you leave all of it behind and it’s just you and the road, the mind starts to stray towards the important and the easily ignored. First I learned how to appreciate my feet. Now I’m thinking about my parents. Who knows, maybe by the end of this adventure I’ll learn how to be grateful for many many things I take for granted every day of my life.
Ebony and Ivory.