One of the great joys of walking a camino is meeting its people; the young and the old, from all nations and walks of life. Usually you end up with someone’s contact details and stay in touch for a while or for good, taking the camino friendship into the ‘real’ world.
And sometimes it happens the other way. Colleen of Are We There Yet? blog fame and I have known each other online for years but never quite managed to be in the same place at the same time. We started discussing packing lists, itineraries, the magic of long distance walks, and gradually got to know each other very well. Then one day she told me about an idea for a group walk, I thought it was a good plan, and when the dates were set I asked if I could come along. Then I booked my tickets to France to visit her before we started on the walk up from St Jean Pied-de-Port, which I haven’t done since my first time in 2012.
Meeting Colleen in real life was just like talking to her online, and her family welcomed me with good food and visits to beautiful towns and villages in the area. They even made sure to take me past this church with a shell marker at the front! I was back on the camino!
At the end of the second day it was time to do the last bits of packing and preparation before leaving early to drive down to St Jean. I was glad I had held my packing nerve and kept my pack light as possible, because the first leg from St Jean to Orisson is steep and any extra weight would be noticed.
It felt like the night before Christmas when I went to bed!