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COVID Cherish the elders

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
All the elders in the tiny villages we walk through - these are the people most at risk form Covid-19.
May they be well!
These are the people we most protect by not walking. They are someone's beloved parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents - and they are a precious part of our extended human family.
To make the point less abstract, here are photos of some of the vibrant elders who urgently need our care right now - feel free to add your own:
 

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Portugués Porto'17,Lisbon'18
Inglés A Coruña y Ferrol '18
Invierno'19
I agree
55749FFB-92EF-41CE-9E3D-879A23E4F9EE.jpeg
This is why I decided to leave on Wednesday night lying below a coughing pilgrim, and why I haven't left my home since I got here Thursday, I realized that sick or not sick all my efforts to wash my hands would not keep the locals safe. I did not know just how bad it would get so fast. Never has a decision felt so right.
Buen Camino to all,
MaryEllen 55749FFB-92EF-41CE-9E3D-879A23E4F9EE.jpeg
 
Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
A few of my photos of Spain's elders.
 

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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
A gentleman who lived just past Tineo
The juxtaposition of pictures on his wall is delicious.

Loved your story and that photo, Laurie; it's a pity the pics have danished...and, Chris, those ladies are gorgeous!

Yesterday Cass Susana in Vilacha posted this. It is poignant as heck:
I live in a village of 32 people in Vilacha a d the Pepe are predominantly old and afraid. I agree it is time to put their health first and stop walking. The thing that attracted me to Galicia was the incredible friendliness, helpfulness and politeness of the people. But do not be mislead by this, underneath they are afraid and vulnerable
 
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My gosh - thank you so much for starting this beautiful thread @VNwalking. A few of the many photos I've taken of wonderful elders I have met along the way.

Felicia in her house just before Logroño.
4FADA62B-14AE-4612-B589-44C2003BCF25.jpeg
I always enjoy seeing the groups of friends walking in the park or meeting on the street.
B2C08239-B929-409D-8886-58923590D5CD.jpeg
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Waiting for mass at the Cathedral in Leon
7359AF12-4B88-46B1-BFF0-35303FC3E19E.jpeg
We were walking past a house on the Primitivo and this man came out and invited us in to see the art he creates from bits of wood. Such an interesting visit and talk with him.
4B897A49-6FE4-4156-BBFC-89DC1190FC02.jpeg
And this wonderful man, stopped to show us the chestnuts from his tree.
AE996CEA-BBAC-434F-994B-F608BBFA435D.jpeg
An evening walk
C7DB52B9-F804-422E-A81B-1E4F9B03C409.jpeg
A favourite moment from the Invierno. She asked if I wanted to walk with her and see the pasture she was taking her sheep to. I did!
06731630-2F1A-491A-9702-934697641283.jpeg
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
A favourite moment from the Invierno. She asked if I wanted to walk with her and see the pasture she was taking her sheep to. I did!
Oooo. Where was that, @Theatregal? I met a lady with a flock of sheep in the first little village after Monforte. A different lady, much older.
Your photos are priceless - thank you for posting them! I especially like the group photos. Wonderful.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
We need to extend this consideration to elderly and debilitated people globally.
Yes.
It is pure selfishness to act as though there's nothing out of the order happening right now. No matter where you live.
 
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notion900

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
>
In a vast number of villages in Spain, the only year-round residents are elderly. The villages are already at a tipping point of viability. The old people won't be just worried for themselves as individuals, but for their village and way of life being lost completely. I walked through a lot of abandoned villages and rewilded land on the Sanabres last year, very moving.
 
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Rick of Rick and Peg

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I had a short chat about gardening with this gentleman. He lives a half day's walk from Monzon and doesn't have many neighbors. Maybe a half hour later he drove by and I got a beep and a wave from him and his wife as we headed in different directions at an intersection.
Screenshot_20200315-084139.png
 

Rev Anthony

Tony Budell
Year of past OR future Camino
April 2020
I agree
View attachment 70855
This is why I decided to leave on Wednesday night lying below a coughing pilgrim, and why I haven't left my home since I got here Thursday, I realized that sick or not sick all my efforts to wash my hands would not keep the locals safe. I did not know just how bad it would get so fast. Never has a decision felt so right.
Buen Camino to all,
MaryEllen View attachment 70855
Abs
All the elders in the tiny villages we walk through - these are the people most at risk form Covid-19.
May they be well!
These are the people we most protect by not walking. They are someone's beloved parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents - and they are a precious part of our extended human family.
To make the point less abstract, here are photos of some of the vibrant elders who urgently need our care right now - feel free to add your own:
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
And the old man in Castrojeriz...

Thank you, @VNwalking for this post. Brings up fond memories of people, who have become friends, that I SO want to see again!


View attachment 70862
I bought some great rain pants at a really good price in November. I stopped by to see him in 2012 and bought some stuff in 2014. His shop is just down the steps from the Municipal albergue and to the left.
I just edited this post because I forgot to say the rain pants were very light, kept the rain out and snapped on the sides to get on and off really easily. He tore the store apart to find a pair that fit me. He is so nice and such a friend to us all.
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
That special shop in Castrojeriz which Alex mentions is undoubtedly the Bazar del Peregrino. Chock full of hiking/camping
necessities it is run by a
a true gentleman
See more in this post
May he be and stay well
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
A repeat picture, but I forgot to share this little story. I'd mimed to the 2 ladies that I wanted to take their picture. They both nodded...the one on the right side then lifted her long skirt up to expose her knee! It was so cute and endearing! I'll never forget that! Once sexy...always sexy! 😉 Screenshot_2020-03-14-21-56-03.jpg
 
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El Cascayal

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Primitivo May 2019
Invierno November 2019
Ingles April (2020) postponed
In order
1 & 2: 98 year old shepherd since the age of 5. Still has a small flock, kids want him to relax. Talked for 30 minutes, he loves his flock. Primitivo near Lugo.
3. Invierno Penasillas woman in red, milking her cows cane out to say Hola, neighbor taking a Sunday stroll. We sang to one another.
4. Near Negrelos a woman milking her 80 cows alone came out to apologize for her German shepherd rambunctious pup who nearly knocked me down. Loved her and the pup.
5. Returning home after moving their cows to greener pastures.
6. Near Santiago they came out to see Peregrinos.
 

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jmcarp

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
One elderly lady particularly comes to mind. I don't have a picture of her to share, but I will share the story of our brief encounter. It happened on our 2013 Camino Frances. My wife and I had just passed through a small village between Ponferrada and Cacabelos. This lady approached from the on-coming direction. We noticed that she was carrying a large basket covered with a cloth. As we passed, I said "Buenas dias, Senora." She smiled and responded "Buenas Tardes," (in my limited Spanish--and in my native English--I often forget the difference between morning and afternoon in my greetings). After we had taken not more than two steps in passing, she called out, "Perigrinos, espera!" As we turned around, she uncovered the basket filled with freshly picked figs and selected four of the ripest, juiciest figs from the basket and handed them to us, saying "¡Buen Camino!" with a large smile. That simple gesture of kindness made our day, and in a larger sense, represented the reception we received from the local populace through our Camino.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2011), Camino Frances (2015), Camino Ingles (2017), Camino Muxia (2017), LePuy(2019)
Here are three from 2011.
1. We were staying at Miriam's albergue in Las Herrarias, which was so small there is not town plaza. Yet, in the early evening the senior citizens had a communal place to congregate. At first they were skeptical of having a photo, but afterwards everyone wanted to see. I later sent Miriam a copy so the village would have it.
2. On the way to Las Herrarias, I was ahead of my companion and came upon an old man closing the gate to his garden. He wished me "buen camino" and then offered me a peek inside his plastic bag. It was full of fresh figs just harvested from his tree. He then urged me to take the whole bag, but I did not want to be greedy. I took 4, two for my friend and two for me. I had never had fresh figs before! I thanked him, and he got on his red bicycle ad pedaled away.
3. On our way out of Portomarin, we met this woman on the street. She was carrying the most beautiful leafy greens. At first, she was reluctant to have her photo taken but she agreed. I'm glad she did.

SeniorsofLasHerrarias.jpg ManwithFigs.jpg WomannearPortomarin.jpg
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
In a vast number of villages in Spain, the only year-round residents are elderly. The villages are already at a tipping point of viability. The old people won't be just worried for themselves as individuals, but for their village and way of life being lost completely. I walked through a lot of abandoned villages and rewilded land on the Sanabres last year, very moving.
I will be walking the VDLP with great hope next year and will connect with Sanabres route. When I first walked the CF in 2012 it seemed that your description of what you experienced was similar to what I experienced especially in the villages on the Meseta. There were so many towns then that the only people you encountered were elderly women (mostly) and so often dressed in black. In many instances stores were shuttered and often there was just one bar open. There were times that I would wonder if there was anyone under 75 in these villages. It is very different today of course as so many of these places have been revitalized. I hope you had a great experience on your camino. If you got some time, now that the whole world is supposed to stay home ;) maybe you could tell us about your experience on your camino. I sure expect to be leaving Sevilla just about March1st or so.
One last thing when I walked in 2012 there was afeeling of sadness as it seemed then that those villages and the farms that appeared to have been abandoned would not return as all the young people seemed to be gone forever. It was strikingly apparent when you walked through Rioja Alta Golf near Cirueña. It seemed like every home was empty. Now Rioja Alta is thriving.
 

m108

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2011-2016
@VNwalking - thanks! this post is great
People are different and need different time to thinking of "how dangerous this is for me" (and estimated that moderate and can walk around) to "how could I be dangerous to others." Sometimes it takes a little push to switch from "I" to "WE".
It is certainly not our intention to be "consumers" of the Camino. These older people are our family, so it's really not a basic question now how much of a risk this is for each of us.
And this post is a great and gentle push
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Here are three from 2011.
1. We were staying at Miriam's albergue in Las Herrarias, which was so small there is not town plaza. Yet, in the early evening the senior citizens had a communal place to congregate. At first they were skeptical of having a photo, but afterwards everyone wanted to see. I later sent Miriam a copy so the village would have it.
2. On the way to Las Herrarias, I was ahead of my companion and came upon an old man closing the gate to his garden. He wished me "buen camino" and then offered me a peek inside his plastic bag. It was full of fresh figs just harvested from his tree. He then urged me to take the whole bag, but I did not want to be greedy. I took 4, two for my friend and two for me. I had never had fresh figs before! I thanked him, and he got on his red bicycle ad pedaled away.
3. On our way out of Portomarin, we met this woman on the street. She was carrying the most beautiful leafy greens. At first, she was reluctant to have her photo taken but she agreed. I'm glad she did.

View attachment 70931 View attachment 70932 View attachment 70933

I am really enjoying these pictures, thanks to all who are posting them. Keep them coming!

Taiji’s first picture really surprised me, because I think it is the first co-ed conversation bench I have ever seen among Spain’s elders. It has always struck me and on many different camino routes. Not a judgment, just an observation (in my own country, I rarely see anyone sitting outside on a bench and talking, much less elders!).
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
let’s hope he stays safe.
And all of them......

Each photo here is a treasure.
Thank you everyone, thank you. 🙏 🙏 🙏

Sometimes it takes a little push to switch from "I" to "WE".
Yes, exactly. Because no matter how self-centered people seem, most of us are not monsters.

More, more! (I am loving the stories, too...gracias!)
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
VNwalking, what a marvelous idea you had in starting this thread...I love it!
I'm going to be adding a couple more.😊
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
1) Gentlemen friends enjoying a chat.
2) This lady was proud of her home when I indicated I would like to take her picture.
3) Most likely her daily walk to get a few groceries.
They almost always "dressed up" when going out...we pilgrims must have been "a sight for sore eyes"!
 

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Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
Spain Sept 13 Villa Franca (21).JPG IMG_7669.JPG IMG_9064.JPG

And it's not just the elders, but the younger folks too, perhaps with families to provide for or elders to look after...
IMG_8445.JPG IMG_7946.JPG
 
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Paladina

old woman of the roads
Year of past OR future Camino
CF, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles etc (2018), Mozarabe etc (2019), tbc (2020)
Taiji’s first picture really surprised me, because I think it is the first co-ed conversation bench I have ever seen among Spain’s elders. It has always struck me and on many different camino routes. Not a judgment, just an observation (in my own country, I rarely see anyone sitting outside on a bench and talking, much less elders!).

The first thing that struck me about the TaijiPilgrim seniors was that they all look years younger than I do.
 
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Anamiri

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
My husband was very taken with the lines of old men sitting on benches just chatting and watching the world go by. And working in their gardens. We had our grandson with us last year, and they would often come up to us and offer produce. They were always excited to see us with a kid.
But by far the funniest (craziest) thing that happened). It was super hot and dusty and an old man was trying to dig a post hole in hard ground. My husband walked over and dug the spade in a few times to help him. All with hand gestures, mime and pointing. To thank us, he allowed us to trespass across his land, cutting off several hundred metres. Once we walked out of earshot shot, it turned out I was the only one who didn't see the pistol tucked in his pants! Coming from a country where handguns aren't legal - I dont know how I missed that.
And when we walked into Ponferada we met a tiny old lady coming out of her house with her dog - which looked exactly like ours. She encouraged us to pet him, and looked with interest at the photos of our dog.
 

zimbo

New Member
What a wonderful idea to put up this thread . I have sitting here looking at all the messages and photos and welling up . I have done 2 caminos and the one thing i remember was all the elderly people in the villages and how friendly and helpful they were . may god be with them and their families .
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Ohhhh, @Kanga.
This is the most delish photo yet!
VN, your words are reminding me that when I met you last May in Santiago, the talk at the dinner table was that you loved the padron peppers and ordered them at almost every meal when they were available.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
The photo was taken in the market at Santiago. I love the old ladies who bring in their home grown produce to sell - usually only one particular thing, like these padron peppers. Often their faces are wonderful, but I don't like to focus the camera on them, it feels intrusive. But taking a photo of their produce - they are delighted! And I always buy.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Going back through old photos is good for us now — memories of happier times. And remembering the stories attached.

I took this picture on the day leaving Moclín on the Mozárabe. I saw lots of people hunched over picking things and putting them in an apron pocket, and when I got closer saw they were asparagus. This very kind man explained the backbreaking work, cutting them one by one, made more difficult by the fact that they do not mature together. That means the many rows have to be harvested over and over and over.

He told me that bunch brought him a grand total of 2€. But what impressed me, and maybe I am romanticizing here, was how he described the work proudly not as a complaint, and said he was glad his health allowed him to continue.
 

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Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2011), Camino Frances (2015), Camino Ingles (2017), Camino Muxia (2017), LePuy(2019)
I am enjoying these photos. Here are a couple from 2015 - between Logrono and Granon. First one is two local women collecting those large land snails that frequent the Camino Frances - for dinner. They told us how to cook them, but I've forgotten. The second was a woman who seemed to be pilgrim watching as a daily part of her routine. Collectingsnails.jpg WomanwatchingPilgrimParade.jpg
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
My favorite elder story comes from the Invierno.
A 'classic' elderly Spanish senora and I met as I was coming into Priaranza. She was old and tiny - bent from osteoporosis - and was slowly coming towards me with a big pail in her hand. When we were close enough to greet, I wished her a Buenas dias senora, and she beamed back - Eh, Peregrina, here! - as she dipped into the bucket with her free hand and proudly pressed more cherries than I could carry into my hands. Wow. It was so simple but one of the best things that has ever happened to me on any camino - there was something so pure and precious about her generosity. Giving, and the receiving too....just so, we lift each other up....
I was too shy to photgraph her - besides, I had my hands full! But here are the some of the cherries!
May she be safe and well right now!!

VN, your words are reminding me that when I met you last May in Santiago, the talk at the dinner table was that you loved the padron peppers and ordered them at almost every meal when they were available.
Yes, and so that photo that @Kanga posted had me salivating, literally. :oops:
I like asparagus almost as much so @peregrina2000 , your pic is a delight too....
 

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John Brierley Camino Frances Guide
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Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I don't have a photo, but in 2018, right before Castañeda, a little old man was stopping female pilgrims and asking them to help him put in eye drops. He must have been in his late 80's. He would tell them he was a widower, was rich and had a house on the hill (he'd point to it) and was looking for a wife.

He must have had a ton of eye drops put in that day.

I checked with our landlord there in the village.
He was telling the truth! lol!
We just loved him!
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
This thread is bringing back my memories. On my first Camino we were walking through a town (may have been Santa Domingo) on a Sunday.
The streets were very narrow and we stopped to watch a family in a too-large car back out of their driveway, do a 50 point turn and drive 100 metres down the road. Then "nana' got out and walked into the church.
In the meantime we had to press ourselves into doorways to avoid being squashed by the car, as the street was too narrow.
We were in fits of laughter, It obviously took 'Dad' longer to get the car out and to the church than it would have to walk. But he liked to drive his mother to church.
 

JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Year of past OR future Camino
CF - sections and whole (2012-2019) and part VF (2017)
Wonderful thread @VNwalking!

My photos are of Ublines, who was the oldest resident at Rabanal on the CF. Each day, after feeding his chickens he would do the rounds of the bars in the village - enjoying an aperitivo, a tinto and a chat with all his friends. He was a very popular man and much-loved by all the villagers. In 2017 his increasing infirmity forced him to leave the village and in July 2018, when these photos were taken, he’d been a resident of a nursing home for some months.

The villagers raised enough money to have a bronze bust made of him. The statue was erected outside his former home at the top of the village. To commemorate the unveiling of the statue, a fiesta was organised, with the guest of honour proudly attending. The local Mayor made a speech and Ublines, with the assistance of his nephew, unveiled the statue. I’m not sure if Ublines is still alive - I hope he is and I hope he is well.

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Cheers from Oz -
Jenny
 
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Madidi

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2012 & 17: Fisterra Muxia 2013 & 2015: Ingles 2014: Madrid 2015: Salvador & Primitivo 2016
I am sure most pilgrims who have walked the Camino Frances will recognise this old tree on the way down into Triacastela. When walking there in Oct 2017, I stopped to take this photo: as I did and elderly lady emerged from a nearby house with a basket and started to collect chestnuts from the ground around the tree. I decided to gather some for her too but she obviously saw me as competition, as she whizzed around gathering up everything in sight. Her face was a picture (which in hindsight I should have taken) when I placed all I had gathered in her basket :):) A fond memory indeed.
 

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Turga

Camino tortuga
Year of past OR future Camino
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
Seeing all these beautiful pictures, reading the stories and imagining the work, the role and the importance of these senior citizens, I feel bad thinking of a concept introduced by a political party in my country some years ago. They started talking about “The elderly burden” indicating that older people were only a burden to society because they were not ‘productive’. Luckily, that attitude has changed, but the term still occasionally shows its ugly face in the public debate.
 

Bob from L.A. !

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
am sure most pilgrims who have walked the Camino Frances will recognise this old tree on the way down into Triacastela. When walking there in Oct 2017, I stopped to take this photo: as I did and elderly lady emerged from a nearby house with a basket and started to collect chestnuts from the ground around the tree. I decided to gather some for her too but she obviously saw me as competition, as she whizzed around gathering up everything in sight. Her face was a picture (which in hindsight I should have taken) when I placed all I had gathered in her basket :):) A fond memory indeed.

Imagine if that tree could talk, the story's it could tell...
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Year of past OR future Camino
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
Here is one of my small ‘pictures’ that I vividly remember: One evening in 2018 I was walking down Calle Portales in Logroño looking for a place to eat when I heard a tiny voice calling. It was a little old lady who was struggling to keep her entrance door open while holding her cane and handbag. I helped her with the door and supported her by one arm. When out in the street she curled her arm under mine and started walking very slowly down the street while constantly talking and I had to follow which was fine because I wasn’t going anyplace in particular. Though I speak a reasonable Spanish, I didn’t understand much of her ‘dialect’ but that didn’t seem to bother her – neither did the fact that I was a foreigner and a total stranger. She was well dressed, obviously wearing ’La ropa para salir’, hair nicely done and fresh lipstick. We continued down the street for only a couple of hundred meters to the benches in front of the church, which were occupied by some old people who obviously were friends of hers. Probably what she did every evening: Dress up nicely and walk down to the church to meet with her friends and have a good talk. She thanked me for assisting her and her friends smiled and nodded to me, and I walked on with a good feeling.
 

Bob from L.A. !

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
Here is one of my small ‘pictures’ that I vividly remember: One evening in 2018 I was walking down Calle Portales in Logroño looking for a place to eat when I heard a tiny voice calling. It was a little old lady who was struggling to keep her entrance door open while holding her cane and handbag. I helped her with the door and supported her by one arm. When out in the street she curled her arm under mine and started walking very slowly down the street while constantly talking and I had to follow which was fine because I wasn’t going anyplace in particular. Though I speak a reasonable Spanish, I didn’t understand much of her ‘dialect’ but that didn’t seem to bother her – neither did the fact that I was a foreigner and a total stranger. She was well dressed, obviously wearing ’La ropa para salir’, hair nicely done and fresh lipstick. We continued down the street for only a couple of hundred meters to the benches in front of the church, which were occupied by some old people who obviously were friends of hers. Probably what she did every evening: Dress up nicely and walk down to the church to meet with her friends and have a good talk. She thanked me for assisting her and her friends smiled and nodded to me, and I walked on with a good feeling.

Passeggiata ! - What a great story
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2022
These are one group of my Camino angels View attachment 70987
Update: Sadly 😢
During my Camino I fell seriously ill and needed somewhere to recuperate and regain my strength. I ended up staying in Portugal with the parents of my friend for two weeks.

I am the person with my hand up, to my immediate left is the elderly, wheelchair bound Father and then next to my left, grey headed Mother of my friend (my hosts).

This was our last meal together before I left to resume my pilgrimage and all the immediate family (15+) and a neighbour joined in.

Posting this photo triggered me to email my friend to see how he and his family were faring during the crisis.

Unfortunately, my friend's father has subsequently died, not of Covid 19, but nevertheless it is a reminder of how fragile some of our elderly friends and relatives are and how precious they are to us.

Doug

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Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016

Isca-camigo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Various ones.
How lovely that this gentleman has a picture of Che Guevara displayed above the Virgin – and perhaps a good slogan these days: “Hasta la victoria siempre” :)


If you look at this link it gives you picture of the outside of his place, he had a message saying "....Ultima de filipinas"

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A person like him is a blessing, he gives me the opportunity to slow down and absorb something unexpected but special.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Caminos Francais: 2002, 2012, 2019. (Future Ingles, Primitivo, Portuguese in 2021)
On my 2002 Camino, as I crossed from the path across a gravel road, a tiny, wizened lady entirely in black appeared seemingly out of nowhere. She approached me with a questioning look, took my hands in hers, and spoke softly in Spanish. "Peregrina?" At the time, my Spainish was virtually nil but I knew enough for "Si!". She spoke again and my sense was she was asking me to pray for her when I arrived in Santiago: I did, with a full heart, for this sweet, indomitable woman whose face and arthritic hands were a legacy of unceasing labor and pain born bravely. I felt such overwhelming humility, with my smart boots and Kelty backpack, tromping through the land she had given her life to cultivate, to support, to endure and to survive. We held hands a moment longer, smiled, went our separate ways. I turned not 10 seconds later and she had vanished.
 
Wonderfully strong vital Elders at work.

Near Ligonde
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Garden at Las Herrerias de Valcarce
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Mending a fishing net at A Praia dos Pescadores de Angeiras
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A couple in their garden in San Claudio just before Montefurado
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Tending the chickens outside of Melida
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Garden near Quiroga
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Gathering and drying seaweed near Marinhas
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Checking his traps in Finisterre. He caught a small octopus in one which he cut up and fed to the seagulls.
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Bob from L.A. !

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
This is by far my favorite thread.
Such beautiful people.
It moved me to tears.
I do so hope to meet some of these folks one day.
My first Camino was planned for June this year....

Since you have not started/finished a camino as of yet, please allow me to let you know these photos are very accurate depictions of what you will encounter on a camino. IMO a very large part of a camino is about the "people", whether fellow pilgrims or the ones you pass and greet on your path or the one's who tirelessly work to make camino's "work" for everyone.
Know that you are not alone with disappointment as many of us also have/had reservations in the near future and as each day passes the light at the end of the tunnel seems to be darker.
Trying to look at the bright side of things I tell myself once the dust settles with this virus and we are all able to once again walk our caminos we will be able to look back and know we are a stronger "people" and a stronger pilgrim community.
 

David S. Coleman

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
el Norte June 2020
Since you have not started/finished a camino as of yet, please allow me to let you know these photos are very accurate depictions of what you will encounter on a camino. IMO a very large part of a camino is about the "people", whether fellow pilgrims or the ones you pass and greet on your path or the one's who tirelessly work to make camino's "work" for everyone.
Know that you are not alone with disappointment as many of us also have/had reservations in the near future and as each day passes the light at the end of the tunnel seems to be darker.
Trying to look at the bright side of things I tell myself once the dust settles with this virus and we are all able to once again walk our caminos we will be able to look back and know we are a stronger "people" and a stronger pilgrim community.

Thank you for your kind and thoughtful reply.
Yes, this will make us stronger and more resilient and hopefully engender more appreciation and gratitude.
I am seeing this as all part of my (first) Camino and I am certainly most appreciative of the fellowship on this forum right now.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Yes, this will make us stronger and more resilient and hopefully engender more appreciation and gratitude.
Amen. As well as more empathy and compassion and compassion...because much much more is at risk than our european vacations.
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
On my 2002 Camino, as I crossed from the path across a gravel road, a tiny, wizened lady entirely in black appeared seemingly out of nowhere. She approached me with a questioning look, took my hands in hers, and spoke softly in Spanish. "Peregrina?" At the time, my Spainish was virtually nil but I knew enough for "Si!". She spoke again and my sense was she was asking me to pray for her when I arrived in Santiago: I did, with a full heart, for this sweet, indomitable woman whose face and arthritic hands were a legacy of unceasing labor and pain born bravely. I felt such overwhelming humility, with my smart boots and Kelty backpack, tromping through the land she had given her life to cultivate, to support, to endure and to survive. We held hands a moment longer, smiled, went our separate ways. I turned not 10 seconds later and she had vanished.
I think one of the wonderful and fascinating things about the magic of the camino is that we so often can recall minute details of special moments we have had on our caminos...just as @catheriam has shared from 2002!
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
Many elders on the photos are from rural Galicia. And most of them would depend on the health of the baker and grocery vans and the cleaning women that the Xunta sends. I don' t know if that risk is higher than going to the supermarket in towns.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF -Sept.-Oct 2018 , CF Aug- Oct 2019
(CF or VdlP summer/fall 2020)
I was planning on doing my third camino frances this summer. Obviously plans cancelled for now. This time I was going to take my time, only go 10 to 15 km per day, stop at about 60 albergues along the way, starting in Pamplona. As all of you who have walked, you know how few people are living in the smaller hamlets. I asked a middle aged man walking towards me last year where is everyone? All the young people have moved to the cities or larger pueblos. The older, mostly retired folks, are the majority of the few left out in the country. So I'm afraid many of the smaller (under 25 beds) albergues may not be able to reopen if they remain closed for more than a month or two. Even if virus is conquered by May 1st (good luck on that) and travel is back in business, and if pilgrims return at 500 per day starting in St. Jean and 500 per day from Sarria, it could be another month before the camino is filled up, making the wait for income even longer. How many people do you know who could survive with no income for 2 to 3 months? So next time you are on the camino, make sure to say "gracias" and smile. And if this is just resulting in all of this year's potential pilgrims putting it off until next year - a "Holy Year" it will make last year's 347,000 pilgrims look like a small number.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF -Sept.-Oct 2018 , CF Aug- Oct 2019
(CF or VdlP summer/fall 2020)
OK, so not "elderly", but office in St. Jean is now closed, and this nice lady helped hundreds of us (thousands?)
I would hate to not have this office upon my return.
 

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(CF or VdlP summer/fall 2020)
Remember this man. Had a small freestanding coffee, pastries, fruit stand, and a picture of himself and Martin Sheen from his days working on the film crew of "The Way"
 

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On the walk to Los Arcos. How many of these "lifesaver" camino side carts did we patronize? I hope they all come back.
 

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(CF or VdlP summer/fall 2020)
Small, 10 bed Albergue, La Campana in the small hamlet of Espinosa (pop 40) with an elderly jewel of a host/ chef. He would only allow walking pilgrims to stay. We saw him turn away a pair on bicycles, even though he had 2 beds left. He called them Tourisgrinos - not pelegrinos. Dinner was a great experience.
 

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Year of past OR future Camino
CF -Sept.-Oct 2018 , CF Aug- Oct 2019
(CF or VdlP summer/fall 2020)
in Leon- my first Morcilla de Leon- FANTASTIC, served with a basket of grill toasted bread (on far grill) and on the near grill, a huge pile of grilled blood sausage & onions! One older man - Chef/ Bartender/ Owner running a standing room only bar (some outside tables). Sooooo good!
 

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Another first- a wedding in a Cathedral in Astorga. Groom's buddies tossed him a basketball (I guess to let the beauty know they still need him on the team)
 

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Old Kiwi

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Thank you for this thread. All of these photos brought tears to my eyes. I just loved all of the old people I met on my Caminos. I just looked through the photos from my Caminos and could not believe that I did not have any of the old people who were still busy doing their usual daily chores. I spoke (mimed) to lots of them as I was really interested in what they were doing but did not take photos as I thought it would be an intrusion. I am supposed to be doing the CP this June (it could now be later) and I have bought a new camera so this time I will be taking lots of photos of the old people as looking at this thread reminded me just how much these people add to the Camino experience. I hope they are all kept safe.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
And the old man in Castrojeriz...

Thank you, @VNwalking for this post. Brings up fond memories of people, who have become friends, that I SO want to see again!


View attachment 70862

I thought you would be happy to see that Sr. Amancio is still going strong.

 
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