On our very first day of the Camino, what I was most struck by without a doubt was the immediate sense of community. As we walked through the city of León, strangers on bikes, in cars, or even on foot shouted ¨Buen camino!¨ to wish us good luck. When we finally got to the main trail, nearly every person we passed wished us a good Camino, as we did for them. The Camino was abond we held among people we had no other connections with, and this incredible commitment we had all made built a sense of community and respect. We even passed markers for the trail with shoes resting on them that said ¨take me if you need me,¨ a gift from those who had passed to those who still had far to go. Even the people in the albergues who we´ve met so far have only treated us with kindness, telling us that we wouldn´t walk through Spain hungry, and offering us pasta, salad, bread, chicken, ice cream, fruit, and wine. The generosity and selflessness of the people we´ve met so far has been reassuring and appreciated, and I can´t wait to see what else is in store for us!
Green shirt, brown socks, blue shorts, black pants. Today, in el Albergue de Jesus, the other peregrinos and I were relaxing and socializing in a grassy area out front. Everyone was wrapping up their trips and beginning to wind down; relaxing, showering, and washing and hanging clothes on a clothesline. It was striking to me to see all of the peregrinos hang their clothes on the same line, side by side. To me, that small action and simple clothesline full of clothes, reminded me of what the camino is all about. How no matter what shape, size, country of origin, native language we are all peregrinos and we are all here side by side taking this journey to Santiago together. Green shirt next to brown socks next to blue shorts next to black pants, every unique person all here for separate motives come together on this trail every single year to take this camino. Today on this very first day of my camino I feel blessed to be apart of this community and live the camino way for a of couple weeks, to share stories and experiences and to finish this journey side by side next to green shirts, brown socks, blue shorts, and black pants.
On 19 May we set out on our first day’s walk: some 20 kilometers from Leon to Villar de Mazarife.
Once in Villar de Mazarife we washed some clothes…
…and had a class session.
Finally ready for dinner!
The morning of 18 May was a bit rainy.
After dropping off our Santiago luggage at the post office…
We were off for Leon.
It was a rainy morning in Avila, but nice and sunny in Leon.
Class in front of the cathedral!
On 17 May we took the bus to Avila.
Avila is a small city that has one of the most complete medieval city walls in existence. It also has Saint Teresa’s finger.
We took a tour.
Finally, we had a lovely dinner:
On 16 May 2018—after a series of weather related airline delays—our Camino began.
We walked and walked…
And stopped to talk…
But mainly we kept on walking to stay awake!
Ice cream break!
Only 9 of our 12 peregrines were with us at this point, but the rest would soon arrive.