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The People That You Meet

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Canadian Wander, Jan 23, 2019.

  1. Canadian Wander

    Canadian Wander When in doubt, rack out...

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    I have been thinking a lot about the people we meet on the Camino this week. The stories you hear, the ways people impact.
    In 2015 when my wife and I did our Camino France trek, I had met an older American gentleman. I found my short conversations the first days were pleasant, and a camino friendship started.
    Sat with him at several rest stops, sharing Café con Leche, some dinners, wine. Learning a bit about each other.
    I remember his laugh when I heard that he used to be an Air force pilot back in the day. I asked him his call sign- something no one had done in 20 years apparently.
    I remember an early morning walk that started in the dark, and a tumble he took into some bramble bushes along a step hill, and it took three of us to get him out.
    I remember his joy arriving in Santiago, and learning that it was also his birthday. I remember our dinner that night, as I slipped out to one of the side street shops to get one of those Camino marker tiles to celebrate his arrival. We laughed, shared stories of our military time, drank wine, and I called him my Camino dad.
    We have exchanged e-mail over the years, celebrating the anniversary of our Santiago arrivals, the news of his visits to the holy land with his wife, and our news of the Camino Portugal.
    This week-end I had another e-mail from him, sharing the unexpected loss of his beloved wife.
    While my thoughts and prayers are with his family, I also felt a lot of other emotions. My camino dad, so much like my own dad in many ways, making me wish I could have shared this trip with him, but his battle with illness has locked him away from this. The horror in my heart if I had to face the loss of my wife and partner... just the sheer loss and emptiness.

    I wanted to share this as while it is my story, I know we all have these stories, and people that touched us. I wanted to let him know that I loved meeting and learning about him, and sharing a time that was special to me, and in a way helped me deal with my fathers illness.
    Thoughts and prayers, but memories as well.
    Bon Camino Bill, my Camino dad.
     
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  2. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey CW - What a touching story from the Camino! As I have said before, walking the Camino is all about the human experience! There are certainly great physical challenges any long walk or endeavor presents. I, too, often think of my Camino friends and how they are as responsibly for my inner changes as anything else that happened to me over this 500 mile trek. Seeing some of the same folks day after day, breaking bread with them or sharing a glass of wine in a cafe, telling our stories and listening to theirs, and receiving spiritual or psychological help on some of those really difficult days make the experience of being a pilgrim what it is and I believe the reason why we walk in the first place. The overriding value tying this all together seems to be the kindness that we so generously offer to one another. Without that, it would just be another long walk! Thanks for sharing your story and your connection to your Camino dad. Buen Camino peregrino!
     
  3. Canadian Wander

    Canadian Wander When in doubt, rack out...

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    Bill, my Camino Dad!
    IMG_0338.JPG
     
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  4. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Fantastic Bill

    I think that the thing that makes a Camino is the people that you meet on the “Way” :)



    The most “Interesting” person that I have ever met was in Fromista where / when I split my own Camino Frances into two (Due to time constraints)

    In the Refugio there, I got into a conversation with a Spanish chap called Jose Garcia – He was on his way to Santiago de Compostela, but for his second time – Nothing unusual in that Most of you will be thinking – BUT



    Jose Garcia was a local fisherman and, a couple of years before I met him, he had been fishing when a storm had blown up, wrecked and sank his small fishing boat and, against the odds, he had been able to swim ashore. So to Thank God, he had decided to walk The Camino de Santiago.

    But – When he arrived in Santiago de Compostela, he didn’t think he had thanked god enough, so he continued his pilgrimage to Rome and had an audience with the Pope, from there he walked north through Europe and into Scandinavia, then through the former Baltic States, Poland, Germany Etc and I was privileged to meet him in Fromista on his way back to Santiago de Compostela for his Secunda Compostela.

    All he had with him was an old small rucksack and apart from a change of clothes, all that was inside this was press cuttings about his incredible journey.

    We took him out for his dinner and bought him a beer, but, although it was obvious that he had very little money, he was very reluctant to let us pay !!

    This was 20 years ago in 1999 – I checked the internet several times to see if I could find any mention of him, but as Jose Garcia is a very common name, I was unable to find out anything more.

    I have also mentioned him on here a few times, but, at least so far, no one else who posts on here appears to have run into him.



    I have, of course met many other interesting people on my Camino’s, but Jose Garcia takes the biscuit :)

    Thanks again Bill for starting this thread by posting your own experiences

    Best Regards

    Rob
     
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  5. Windwomyn

    Windwomyn New Member

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    Not sure I am doing this correctly but having been thinking of the people that helped me on my Camino and your post got me out of my slump and got me to respond. Glad to know that you had Bill as a friend along the Camino. You meet so many people along the way that provide kindness. My first day of walking from Roncevalles to Zubiri I had a group of 5 Italians help me look for albergues and eventually get me a taxi to the next town (Larrasoanna) since there were no albergues left in Zubiri at 6:30pm and I was dead tired and not going to walk any further. Another time hiking from Puente de la Reina to Lorca my back went into spasm a few kilometres from Lorca and two German women ( C @ C ) carried it the rest of the way and they still were planning on walking to Estella and it was already 5:30pm. Yet another time I had gotten ill in Carrion de los Condes along with about 6 or 7 other people and was sick on and off for quite a few weeks, a Spanish and Polish couple and two Korean women tried to help me with remedies. A shout out to the two American women that took hours helping change bookings of a 16 hour bus ride from Santiago to a train to Toulouse to get a flight home. To the women from my home town that I happened to meet and let me join them walking the meseta. Thank you for you kindness and helping me keep a smile on my face on those bad days. Take Care. Hope you get to see this post. Camino mid Sept - Oct 28, 2018

    Windwomyn
     
  6. Canadian Wander

    Canadian Wander When in doubt, rack out...

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    Another story on my Camino dad-
    One early morning, it was still dark, and most of the camino crowd were head lamping. The start was up a steep hill, a road. We saw a car coming down hill pretty fast, and head lamp lights moving to both sides of the road. The right hand side of the road was pretty steep drop, and brambles.
    It had been a few days since I had seen Bill, and I had just that morning said to my wife that I was hoping to run into him again soon to catch up.
    Ahead, one head lamp moved to the right ahead of the oncoming car, then jerked about, and ended pointing straight up.
    We rushed ahead to see if there was a problem, and another pilgrim said someone was over the edge and caught. We used our hiking poles and a lot of upper body to finally untangle the fallen pilgrim. Once they were back on the road, and my wife's head lamp on his face, and his on hers revealed Bill! Scrapped up, messy but not at all upset, he saw my wife, and said "well thank god, my physiotherapist is here!"
    Now that is a sense of humour!
    My man Bill.
     
  7. raymond john

    raymond john Well-Known Member

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    CW - Rob .
    I always enjoy working as a Volunteer Hospitalero at the CSJ Refugio Gaucelmo in Rabanal de Camino. Every day is different and you never knew who was going to walk through the door, each day bringing its own surprises. The 4 pilgrims who come to mind when working in the last 2 weeks in October 2018.

    Jose a retired Spanish air force Colonel, he has a PhD and a string of qualifications. He was a very quiet and unassuming. He loved the English because when he was eleven he saw the film Reach for the Sky and read the book about Douglas Bader, a ww2 spitfire fighter Pilot ACE who fought in the Battle of Britain and a became living legend. Who prior to WW2 lost both his legs in a flying accident and was medically retired from the Royal Air Force. At the beginning of ww2 applied to join the Royal Air Force and was excepted when he passed the pilots flying examination & test. He took command of a Royal Canadian Spitfire squadron and the rest is history. In his words, I'm the man today and all my achievements were because I was inspired by Douglas Bader.

    Fabio who studied at Pisa university and now works in a refugee camp not far from Pisa, since he graduated 3 years ago. He doesn’t see refugee’s as a problem but as an opportunity to change people’s lives and country for the better. He spoke with so much compassion and conviction an amazing young man. I wish I got his e mail address and arrange to visit him in Pisa.

    Kathryn the quiet American a very kind and warm hearted lady she had this ability to make a connection with all the pilgrims she met. She had a real presents about her.

    Then there was Martin an extrovert Dutchman who sold his home in Holland 6 years ago and has been travelling ever since. He could walk into a room full of strangers and the room would light up. He was full of laugher and joy, he had the ability to bring people out of themselves. A real live charactor

    When working as a hospitalero, and without knowing it you become part of the pilgrims Camino experience & journey, This was made very clear to me just recently. I was at the CSJ AGM meeting in London (2019). A man came up to me and said hello Ray. I was very surprised because I didn’t recognise him. He introduced himself, I'm John, you & Darlene from Toronto made me feel very welcome and enjoyed my stay with you at the CSJ Refugio Gaucelmo in Rabanal de Camino in 2016.

    One of the things that always amazes me. The pilgrims arrive as strangers and leave as friends. The way they support and help each other, the camaraderie/ advice/sharing. They become a part of a camino family during there stay with us. In the morning each leaving and going there separate ways.

    I attach a video link made by Tom & Liz Brandt volunteers from the USA of Rabanal & CSJ Refugio Gaucelmo. we are open from 1st April to 31st October. We provide bed, breakfast, hot showers, kitchen & laundry facilities and afternoon tea in the garden/courtyard/ salon depending on the weather. It's run on a donation only basis and we rely on the generosity of the pilgrims.

    https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...Compostela+(Camino+de+Santiago+de+Compostela)

    The CSJ is an english based charity set up to promote the camino. We have a good website csj.org.uk it full of information about the camino.

    Carpe Diem & Live the moment

    Raymond John

    PS I hope the video link works
     
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