I did not think that it was possible to top the long foot massage. In retrospect, it was the beginning of a magical night. The plan was to have the group prepare dinner, attend mass, then eat around 8:00.
About 10 minutes before 8:00, the entire group (about 60) was herded into the courtyard. The volunteers explained that their kitchen was too small and we would have to go to the panaderia (bakery) to get the rest of our dinner. We began a procession with guitar, trash can lids with spoons, and a command to sing. The entire team marched about a block and a half to the bakery. I thought that was the end. Not even close. By country, we had to enter the circle and sing a song from home. America did a stellar rendition of Blowing in the Wind. Korea stole the show. Brazil and Greece deserved honorable mentions. After American Idol, they selected about 5 people to enter the bakery to get the food. Moments later, they returned wearing brightly colored wigs, hats, and big sunglasses. We all returned to the dining hall. There were two long tables and the crowd was a bit larger than normal, so we were elbow to elbow. Prior to eating, one of the volunteers (a Camino veteran from London) did a prayer. We were all told to bang the table to Queens’ “We Will Rock You” as he did a Spanish blessing in rap. I am not kidding!! The food, garbanzo bean soup, lentil soup, mixed green salad, tuna, and eggs, was unbelievable. Wine flowed freely throughout the table.
After dinner, we were all instructed to give a brief introduction and to say what we were feeling with encouragement for the present. In more appropriate language, I explained that each day has events that bring chills to my spine, but this entire evening was back to back spontaneous “chillgasms”. Ladies, I may finally understand. One young man from Ohio (smitten with his new love from Finland) told of seeing “The Way”, quitting his job, and finding himself at this dinner. Another man commented that while it does not, this is how the United Nations should function. Another spoke of being homesick, but tonight felt like she had a new family. It was quite a night.
In the morning, the family breaks up. Some will be forgotten, will become memories, and a few will be seen on the way.
I have never surfed, but felt the sensation of a 7 hour tidal wave this AM. I walked without effort and everything was perfect. Each person I met was pleasant and each song was perfect for the moment. Speaking of songs, my stick transforms into an air guitar to compliment my blossoming vocals. To make a smile, close your eyes for 10 seconds and picture that one. It really does happen.
There was a family (Toby, Joseph, Mateo, and Pasqual) traveling together. The significant portion of this sentence is that Pasqual is 2 and Mateo is 7. Can you imagine the life this man will lead having walked the Camino before puberty. He will lead a rich life!!! During the day, I met Harold from Houston (82) and his daughter Linda from some San Fran. This is their first Camino.
I have tried to assassinate my inner Ansel Adams, but like a cat, there appears to be nine lives. With 7 days of walking complete, I have 600 photos. Be wary if you are invited to a photo viewing session!
If the previous 24 hours were my last, I could not be more content.