Although we have been in Spain for five days now, today marked the beginning of our journey on El Camino. As the Camino runs straight through towns and cities, we began immediately upon stepping out of our hotel in Leon. As with most things, the best part of the Camino is the people. It takes a certain type of person to be a peregrino, just as it takes a certain type of person to be a Hokie. There is an old Spanish proverb that reads: “Dime con quien andas, y te dire quien eres.” Those who are both peregrinos and Hokies are people with whom I am very proud to walk.
But, of course, it is not just us walking the Camino this summer. It took me exactly one hour on the trail to make friends with a kind Londoner on a soul-searching trip across 3 continents by himself. He stuck with us for a few hours. After all, even the peregrinos who begin alone certainly do not remain so for long.
After checking into our first albergue, I was pleasantly surprised by the accommodations (think sleep away camp bunks). The coolest part, though, is the walls. Countless peregrinos have left quotes, messages, and more in almost just as many languages. I left my favorite Mark Twain quote. We even found a few messages from Hokies past. It is so humbling to see how many peregrinos have come before us and so inspiring to look at the remaining blank spaces and imagine the peregrinos to come.