They say that the Camino provides…
Today I decide to do some sauntering. Some members of our group have seen the explanation for sauntering on Facebook meaning “Holy Land” travelers:
I don’t have any bananas for the road today. I have learned that to avoid cramps, I need to eat a banana at the start of the day and again at lunch. Next thing I know there is a bunch of bananas outside a café on a table. The server comes outside just as I am looking at the bananas and I ask if I could buy some. I pay 2 euros for 2 bananas, but they were there when I needed them!
I am about to start climbing the stairs toward the Magdalena monastery and I see a store that sells hiking gear. Ever since I arrived in Spain I have been looking for a ponchetta. (I have a rain jacket and rain pants, but they are heavy to carry and the pants are uncomfortable.) I go inside and I see some blue ones, but they don’t have sleeves and in the end I buy one that looks exactly the same as the one that Magdalena (my camino guide in Canada) owns. I am so happy, since now I have my very own “Magdalena” jacket.Not far outside of Sarria I meet Sandra from Saskatoon who is having some foot issues. She has walked all the way from St Jean Pied de Port! My sauntering happens to match her pace and we spend about 2 hours in each other’s company. She stops at 12 o’clock for lunch. I am not ready to stop yet and she insists in wrapping up a sausage and bread for me. She stresses how important it is to eat. I stop for lunch at a cafe about an hour later. I am halfway towards Portomarin at Mirador da Brea and I have 11,7 km left to go. I have a lovely long break before continuing on my way. By now I have completely forgotten about the food in my backpack.Here on the Camino people (pilgrims included) kind of disappear from the road at about 2pm. All of a sudden I am walking all by myself through a town with only some locals sitting outside and not another pilgrim in sight… I see this quaint-looking old man closing his farm gate and walking towards me. He has this kind of face people like to photograph. He is friendly enough and talks a lot while pointing up the hill. I tell him that I don’t understand him and he takes me by the hand and starts to walk with me up the hill. He is very happy that I am so friendly and we are walking arm-in-arm while he is talking non-stop. I do understand him when he starts pointing to his house and saying something about “Mi casa” quite a number of times and becoming more and more animated. I am not sure if he is the artist people are talking about, but as a girl alone on the road I cannot take him up on his offer without feeling unsafe. I say “Sorry, but no.” He repeats “ No?” I confirm. He makes an abrupt 180 degree turn and stomps back down the hill…
I am starting to run out of water and just as I filled up 2 bottles of water from a fountain two people come by and point out the big red X that somebody has painted above it. I have already taken two sips, but hopefully no damage was done.
I see a ‘bruja’ (European witch) hanging on one of the balconies and now I am not so happy about today’s “Holy Land” walk anymore.
After walking about 6km by myself I unexpectedly catch up with Petra from our group. I think for a moment it is Sandra again, since I had taken such a nice long break. They look a little bit the same from a distance. Petra is in really bad shape. Her feet are hurting something terrible and she is saying how she has not stopped anywhere to eat yet. Pam is also walking slowly to keep her company. It’s about 3pm by now. I am grateful for the company as we “saunter” towards Portomarin together.
I am pretty thirsty by now and the nice house at the turn in the road looks like it might be a pit-stop. It turns out not to be the case. Petra has had enough. She just collapses and is crying that she cannot go on unless she gets something to eat. Then I remember Sandra’s gift from earlier. I still have my second banana left and also some bread sticks and a muesli bar. The house itself is gorgeous. They have made a little rest stop in their front yard complete with guest book. You can sit down on the stone wall or lie down on the grass which we did after we ate. So we have a lovely long break before moving on again.Just when we leave I see that somebody has written “We are Divine Light” on one of the pots. I think of Thomas Merton’s saying “Life is simple: We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and God is shining through it all the time.”
After a real coffee at the next cafe in Mercadoiro we keep moving towards Portomarin at a painstakingly slow pace. During the last 5 km of the day I end up talking to Pam and Petra alternatively. Normally I am so slow that I end up walking by myself. I really appreciate their company.Later at night, Tanja and I talk about how God provides for us. I do not need to come back and do the rest of the Camino Frances. Just like I am only doing a part of the Camino Frances, this pilgrimage is just a part of my life’s journey. God is always with me and cares for me wherever I am. Also here on the Camino.