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Camino coincidences

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Toffeehead

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances in four stages - September 17-June 19
Someone recently told me 'there is no such thing as coincidences'. Well, if that's true what happened to me on my last visit to the camino four weeks ago can only be explained as some good old 'Camino magic'.
I've been doing the Camino Frances in stages since 2017: St Jean-Puent de la Reina (Sept 17), Puent de la Reina-Burgos (May/June 18), Burgos-Leon (Sept 18) and finally Leon-Santiago (May/June 19).
Overall it has been an amazing experience but my final stage a month ago was absolutely mind blowing and two of the most memorable weeks of my life. The weather/scenery were perfect, the people I met were amazing, I had a Camino romance:)... and to top it all off I had the following three random encounters with people I met on the Camino EXACTLY one year before.

* The first one was when I walked into the municipal at Astorga. I'd just checked in and was on my way to the bathroom when I was struck by a familiar figure tending to his feet. Turns out it was an English guy called Charlie I'd met a year before during the stage which concluded in Burgos. It was a big surprise for us both...

* Then the very next day I'd arrived in Rabanal, got checked in to the municipal and washed/changed. I decided to return to a bar at the entrance to the village as it was playing decent music when I walked past. I'd just sat down with my beer outside when I noticed a familar looking girl a few tables away. It really looked like an American girl called Elizabeth I'd walked with, again, EXACTLY a year before. I stared... she looked at me... stared... after a few seconds she screamed - it WAS her! And she was with another guy I'd walked with a year before too. What made this one so bizarre is that they weren't even walking, they were in a car and had only decided to stop at the bar for a drink on their way to Sarria, where Elizabeth was meeting a friend for the final 100km. That was such a lovely and special moment and we sat for nearly two hours, constantly wondering how this could have happened.

* The final encounter was when I was sitting in the departure lounge in Santiago, waiting to fly back to Ireland. I noticed a group of people walking past me... one looked familiar... he looked like Emanuele, an Italian guy I'd walked with, again, EXACTLY one year before! I shouted his name - it WAS him! A big beaming smile and a hug. 'This is magic', he said. It sure was... it wouldn't have happened only that I changed my flights just a few days before... this was Wednesday and I'd originally been due to fly home on the Friday.

The odds on one of these encounters would be quite long... but the three together... I still shake my head at it.

It really put the seal on a very special final stage... wondering if anyone else has had similar 'Camino coincidences'?
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I too, had the same "camino moment" in Santiago last year when I ran into a couple whom I had walked a few days with exactly one year prior!
As Margaret would say...they are serendipitous moments!
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
As for camino coincidence and serendipity I could relate many examples, but here is a one October 2012 occurrence.

An Italian woman and I slowly climbed up the alternate route from Valcarlos towards Roncevalles. To help take our minds from the endless mounting switchbacks I recounted the importance of serendipity or fortunate good chance on the camino (as well as in daily life). Imagine our mutual surprise when AS IF ON CUE there suddenly appeared beside us another pilgrim who enthusiastically shouted "Margaret !!"; this was an Australian guy whom I had first met crossing the Meseta in 2011 the year before !!

We three were QUITE astonished by this coincidence and continued climbing up together! Five hours later while caught in a fierce wind we at last staggered breathless over the 1060 meter Ibaneta pass and peered into the tiny new chapel to glimpse the stained glass. Exhausted but joyous we then descended to the almost mythic monastery complex where we offered our thanks and soaked our very tired feet....Now I often wonder what new fortuitous chance encounters will occur whether on the trail or as I live each day.

Margaret Meredith

For many posts re camino coincidence/serendipity see this earlier forum thread--
 
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TheFl0wl

Camino addict
Camino(s) past & future
Frances:
2017 (León - Fisterra)
2018 (SJPdP - Fisterra)
2019 (SJPdP - León)
many more to come
Hey @Toffeehead,
great to hear that your Camino was so amazing with these "coincidences" and your Camino romance 🙃
It was especially funny reading about you meeting Elizabeth. I met her last year, too and sadly had to stop in Leon this year (holidays over). So I wasn't able to see her this year - But I'm happy to hear that she was able to see a lot of familiar faces! =D
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
I too have twice met friends I walked with on previous camino. Isn't it great when that happens!!
 

Toffeehead

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances in four stages - September 17-June 19
Hey @Toffeehead,
great to hear that your Camino was so amazing with these "coincidences" and your Camino romance 🙃
It was especially funny reading about you meeting Elizabeth. I met her last year, too and sadly had to stop in Leon this year (holidays over). So I wasn't able to see her this year - But I'm happy to hear that she was able to see a lot of familiar faces! =D

Hi there, I recognise your name from a whatsapp group Elisabeth et al are in!:) Meeting her (and Nigel, you probably came across him last year) was particularly bizarre. She's from America, I'm from Ireland... all the decisions we independently made to get to that moment of bumping into each other in a small town which they only stopped their car at to get a drink... it was an amazing moment. She looked really well too and was on her way to Sarria to meet Ciara, an Irish friend of hers, and walk the last 100km. Don't know how they will reproduce but both are in group pic last year, and again when I met a month ago.
 

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Paladina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles et al (2018), Mozarabe and more (2019)
It’s just happened to me too. Tonight I’m sharing a dorm in Villaviciosa, on the Camino del Norte, with Sean, an Englishman with whom I shared a dorm last year in Zafra, on the VdlP. A lovely reunion at the end of a very wet day.
 

TheFl0wl

Camino addict
Camino(s) past & future
Frances:
2017 (León - Fisterra)
2018 (SJPdP - Fisterra)
2019 (SJPdP - León)
many more to come
Hi there, I recognise your name from a whatsapp group Elisabeth et al are in!:) Meeting her (and Nigel, you probably came across him last year) was particularly bizarre. She's from America, I'm from Ireland... all the decisions we independently made to get to that moment of bumping into each other in a small town which they only stopped their car at to get a drink... it was an amazing moment. She looked really well too and was on her way to Sarria to meet Ciara, an Irish friend of hers, and walk the last 100km. Don't know how they will reproduce but both are in group pic last year, and again when I met a month ago.
I know which group you mean and Nigel (#1 ^^) & Ciara ☺ Sadly the both of us haven't met - but the next Camino might be our chance - no coincidences ;)
 

John Hungerford

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances & to Finisterre (2009), Camino Podiensis (2011), Aussie Camino (2018)
In 2011 when walking from Le Puy en Velay to St Jean Pied de Port my wife and I overlapped for a few days with a couple from England. After chatting often we discovered that the woman and I are 6th cousins.
 

WayWalker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2016
We met a couple on the Camino Norte on the exact day we met them on the Portugese route two years before.......
 

Susan Maria

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to SJPDP in sections over 2016-2019
Here’s my coincidence. On a slightly different level. Walking from Aire sur Adour on the Le Puy route to SDPDP a few weeks ago it struck me that it would be great if I could extend my walk by one day and walk into Spain. Then my legs would be well trained, rather than waiting until next year and the first day of a new trip. I worked out how to change all my travel arrangements, got no objections from work or husband. The only thing stopping me was: not having a full length pair of trousers. Could I seriously consider waking over the mountains in shorts? Would I come across a hikers’ equipment shop? But luck was on my side. The next gîte I stayed at had a very small box of objets trouvés (lost property). And it held a perfectly sized pair of abandoned trousers. I acquired them, made my arrangements and finished my trip in Spain.
 

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