No matter what one thinks, nobody can walk the Camino without depending upon the Spanish people and world along the Camino. As I walked the approximately 790 kilometers from St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela, I saw and talked with dozens of Spanish individuals. At times, I simply observed their world; at other times, I was befriended and helped.
The Spanish provided basic needs: safety, food and shelter for me and others. Along with police, members of the Civil Municipal Guard cruised the roads along the Camino. Companies, such as the Jacotrans, would carry some people’s luggage from one night’s lodging to the next night’s lodging.
Waiters and waitresses were kept busy, most of the time.
Bakers, walking stick carvers, and albergue hosts were all part of the Camino.
Besides offering drinks and food at out-of-the-way locations, Spanish entrepreneurs sometimes offered their wonderfully refreshing spirit. Musicians would perform at unexpected places.
Sometimes they provided the necessary directions. Often times they provided that all-important daily stamp for the Camino passport, and, one time, a reminder of where one could put those stamps.
Many times I heard “Buen Camino!” Their great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents probably offered those words to previous peregrinos. Sometimes a person simply stopped what they were doing to offer those words, even from a tractor!
I also thoroughly enjoyed observing their ordinary life. While all of us often think that the world revolves around our own lives, I felt renewed by simply observing individuals and the everyday features of Spanish life.
There were certainly plenty of children.
Sometimes the child was simply allowing his grandfather to be a grandfather. The young soccer player is hoping to become the next Messi.
Of course, Spanish workers had to work. They replaced street stones, sanded doors, and repaired the rail grooves for doors to close properly.
Sometimes their everyday life includes not so everyday events such as this Family Fun Run which had thousands of runners.
As part of the Mediterranean culture, the Spanish enjoyed sitting outdoors at a cafe drinking coffee, or taking a siesta on a comfortable plaza bench underneath the shade trees.
Sometimes they were watching us walk the Camino.
Sometimes they were simply going about their own business.
Two-hundred thousand peregrinos walk some part of the Camino every year. We depend upon the Spanish who make our walk possible. As we are allowed the opportunity to peek into their daily life, we can be grateful for their kindness, and even their tolerance, of all us peregrinos passing by.