I have met and walked with so many great people since I started feeling the urge to take time out from everyday life and go walking instead of going on a typical beach holiday. On my Long Walk in 2012 I wrote the names of all of them on a Buen Camino page at the back of the diary I thought I would have the time and inclination to keep over the month plus it took me to walk from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port between mid August and the first of October that year. Some of them I still think about regularly, some I only remember when reminded. This is my ever expanding list of Buen Caminos to fellow walkers.
Buen Camino to Trine, first of all, who walked the Camino Ingles with me in 2009, a mix of adventure, kit testing, decision making and girls’ holiday without the pastel drinks. We had a great time, speaking in sign language when our tourist dictionaries came up short, smiling more, being showered with gifts of scallop shells on strings, freshly picked pears, cold drinks, even having our breakfast paid for us by an anonymous benefactor one morning. An unforgettable experience, I hope we can walk together again soon!
Buen Camino to Liv Anny, who despite of so much illness decided to walk what she could on the Camino Portugues, my second camino and a very different walk from any of the others. Everything fell into place as if by magic, and guardian angels seemed to be around every corner. All of it was meant to be. Santiago is going nowhere and I hope we can go there together again one day. If we can not, I will walk it for you. (And I did, in September 2015, vicarie pro.)
Buen Camino to Katrine, who started out in Saint Jean PdP with me, excited and raring to go, to see and do and take it all in and photograph every last inch of it! I will never forget the walk we had, getting into the rhythm of pilgrim life, walking, washing and whiling away the hours after a long day’s trek. The luxury of the two person cubicle room in Azofra and the occasional hotel room. Marking each and every day in the diary with a star, making them all favourites. An injury meant we couldn’t finish together, but starting together made it a safe and enjoyable beginning. Maybe one day we can finish it together?
Buen Camino to Tobias, who was enjoying the walk that was not his idea and making friends with his body when he saw what it could do. We walked perfectly together for one beautiful day, arranged to meet up again the day after to walk into Leon, only my boots were locked in (long story involving the Blue Bar) … and so I lost him, found him again, lost him and found him again over and over until he was too far ahead of me and reappeared on facebook. Keep cherishing yourself, amigo.
Buen Camino to Mette, who is no longer with us. Thank you for letting me share a part of your last few months with you, thank you for walking with me through the forest and being such a fantastically brave woman. Thank you for the laughs, the stories, the lesson in gratitude. I still keep the smiley face on my backpack, you are always with me on the trail. Buen camino, Smiler.
Buen Camino to my Bocadillas: Anne, my little Camino friend, and bubbly Rosanna, who I saw many times before I met her. Meeting Anne again on the hill up towards O Cebreiro made my day and seeing Rosanna in Laguna just made it even better. Getting ready for dinner before the storm broke out and being rained in with friends old and new made me feel like I really had a Camino family. Walking with them until Melide and meeting up again in Santiago was a joy from start to finish. May your step always be light and your bocadillo never dry.
Buen Camino Lynn, who was ready to give up and leave the Way on the day we ended up in a top double bunk together. We walked in perfect step from that day and all the way into Santiago, laughing most of the way, losing more and more stuff from her heavy pack, sharing meals and tales and vino medicino and helping each other where we could. It made me proud every time anyone thought she was my daughter and I still miss the ‘blister talk’ she did every time I had to get my sore feet up and running again. If it hadn’t been for her I might not have got married! Stay away from the Camino Vampires, peregrina.
Buen Camino to Ron, who was always my anchor at home, following my progress in an old guide book and taking calls from an excited pilgrim early in the morning, and who finally, for our honeymoon, came to walk the Camino with me from Astorga. A close to perfect honeymoon practically all alone on the mountains in the sunshine in March. Holding hands up the Donkey Killer Hill is something else. You’ll never, never walk alone.
Buen Camino to Janette, aka Ginny, bravely walking alone in a foreign land and adding to our journey her gentle soul and her heavy duty gin tonics. Did we really meet by chance, or were we meant to talk her out of that completely random schedule she was given? Avoiding the Donkey Killer was a wise move, peregrina. Keep walking the good walk.
Buen Camino to Javier, on his 17th Camino in his 70th year, close to his 50th wedding anniversary while we were on our honeymoon. His English and my Spanish were equally rubbish and together they worked wonderfully. Thanks for taking us to the best seafood meal ever, and for giving us your blessing. Maybe one day we will run into you in a bar somewhere in Galicia again!