Sunday, June 29, 2008


This morning I stopped for a coffee in a beautiful little cafe about 5km outside of San Juan, where I slept last night. It was clean and cozy (two rarities along the Camino) and sold fruit and fresh bread and cheese instead of the usual pre-packaged stale croissants and potato chips.

The man behind the counter spoke to me in French, but when I asked if he was from France, he answered "Why are we all obligated to be from somewhere? Can't we just be where we are?"

Gregoire told me yesterday that anyone who does the Camino for more than two months becomes a mystic, so the barista's answer made a lot more sense when he told me that he has walked the Camino every year for the last 35 years, once travelling for 168 days. He complained about the tourist pilgrims who get up early in the morning to rush to the next town. "Saint James has been waiting for you for 2000 years, he won't mind a few extra days," he said. "Just walk as far as your legs will take you, and at the end of the day, soak your feet, have a few glasses of red wine, and eat some cheese and olives. You walk forever like that."

And when he puts it that way, don't you kind of want to walk forever like that?


Pancakes said...


Paula Thomas said...

Hola, Rachel!!!

Your blog made me laugh out loud and also brought tears to my eyes (partially in recollection of the pain of having lost a number of my toenails on the Camino!)

You are well on your way to becoming a mystic (which will be inside of just one month, not two!) and I can tell that St. James is with you every step of the way!

So, soak your feet, have a few glasses of red wine, and eat some cheese and olives, and not just on the Camino, but each day for the rest of your life!

I will be following your journey with great interest (and a huge amount of envy!) and wish you every ounce of peace, as you deserve in spades.

At the west end of the province of Leon, you will discover Villafranca del Bierzo -- breathtaking! -- and then O Cebreiro. O Cebreiro is where my fellow pilgrims and I began our journey in 2001, and ended our third walk in 2003, completing the Camino where we began. A true T.S. Eliot moment.

Blessings upon you and may St. James the Great continue to guide and protect you.

Have a cafe con leche grande for me one misty morning and enjoy the wonderful journey!