This is actually a funny story, or maybe it is only funny for us, the group that formed and bonded out of the blue. I’ll just share it with you anyway.
I started walking the first day out of Saint Jean Pied de port with the couple that I met and hitch hiked with/without from Pamplona. They were actually very fast for me, so I was generally walking alone and meeting only during the couple of breaks we took to have a snack, or drink as much water as we could; and we finally re-met in Roncesvalles where I had my first pilgrim’s menu and my first decent meal in a couple of days.
The second day out of Roncesvalles, I didn’t meet Tom or Camilla, so I walked alone for a couple of hours, and then out of nowhere I was walking with “that Johnnie Walker guy” from the first night, Jenny from Germany and Naill from Ireland. We didn’t talk much, but in Zubiri (the town we spent the night in) Jenny made a great step of offering to cook for everyone, we were over 25 people sharing the meal (we cooked on 2 batches). During that meal I met lots of people, and the next day I was walking with two amazing persons, Linda from Germany and Chabelo from Mexico. That group with the three of us stayed intact and growing, with another Mexican (Bernardo) and another German (Yannik) until we started falling apart. Not because of any conflicts, but because of speed differences. We all knew that the camino is something that is very personal, and thus we let each other do whatever we see best for us.
It was one morning, about 10 or more days into walking when I started walking with a totally different group. It was one of those days when I woke up early enough to walk in the dark. Being slow in the morning I took more time packing than everyone else, so I started walking alone. Around 15 minutes later I met the first pilgrims in my way, I was actually walking a little faster than them (they didn’t have any lights, that’s why). Those were Kerstin and Leo, my slow walking mates. We climbed the first hill for that day when it was still dark, had a break on top of that small hill, then we walked a little bit more and found a “donativo” bar, drink and pay whatever you wish. So we stayed for coffee, witnessing lots of people stop by and go. I fell inlove with those two right away! They weren’t itching to walk and they enjoyed long breaks just like me!
Our third break was somewhat creative. It was a very sunny day, and the way didn’t have any shadows, so we went in someone’s land and we took a break right there in the middle of nowhere. A fourth break followed, and a fifth. Our last break was very remarkable though, it was only 1Km before the town we have planned to spend the night in, but we decided to take a 10 minutes break anyway. We were just walking and all we planned was “next shade, another break”.
What is funny is that next morning, we decided to walk together again. We woke up, got ready, went to the yard of the hostel with out backpacks and all, and then we just sat there for a cigarette. And that was when a new member joined our slow walkers group, Brady from the USA. He thought he was late and he was just rushing out of the hostel when he saw us, and he was like
“are you guys waiting for someone?”
“No, we’re just sitting here for a while”
“You’re taking a break, right below the stairs, because…”
“Because we love breaks! We take lots of breaks haha”
People in that group got alot more, our slow group was the best because we didn’t only enjoy walking el Camino de Santiago, but we also enjoyed every bar we found on the way.
And now I think I might write another part for that post about how some other people started walking with us, some funny stories and some great people!
Photo Credits of “picture of the dinner” goes to the person who took it, by Jenny’s Camera
Photo Credits of the group photo goes to the hostel’s owner in Finisterre