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Fleeting encounters

Peregrinopaul

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
I know that it is common for pilgrims to form long-standing friendships with people they meet on the camino. As a few people have remarked, it is very different for a bicigrino. You chat with a fellow pilgrim at a bar or cafe, then you’re gone.

Occasionally it is different. in 2018, I was returning from Santiago, on my way back to Ireland. Really. I stopped for breakfast at a cafe in Moratinos. There was another pilgrim already there, and I joined him. We chatted over breakfast for maybe 30 minutes and then I was off. But he had asked me for my email address, and I realised why, when a few months later he emailed me this picture from his home in Florida.
r_DSC1165.jpeg

We have corresponded several times a year ever since. It is a friendship I now value.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
Yes, it is a significant lesson for many of us to come to terms with the ephemeral or fleeting nature of "relationships" on the Camino. Most of our encounters last only in our fading memories, others result in slightly longer contact, and only a few of them are long term. It is easy to look at others in "camino families" and feel inadequate because we don't have that sort of group. Sometimes there is a flare of peer pressure that we might not have experienced for a long time!

Most of us "repeat offenders" have found a suitable balance and accept our own different preferences. Likely a camino will result in a couple of ongoing contacts, but this is an area where expectations need to be avoided.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
It is easy to look at others in "camino families" and feel inadequate because we don't have that sort of group. Sometimes there is a flare of peer pressure that we might not have experienced for a long time!
And sometimes what appear to be "Camino families" are not the tight knit groups that they seem to be - they could just be a group that decided to get togethers for dinner one night.

The only time that I ever cried while on the Camino was on my first, when I thought that I had made a mistake by "walking my own Camino" rather than staying with the "Camino family" that formed at the beginning of my Camino. It took me a few days to connect with more pilgrims - it seemed that no one that I met spoke any English, and my Spanish was too poor to have any meaningful conversation. Then one evening I found myself at a long table for dinner with about 10 other pilgrims. In that moment, I could imagine myself looking at the happy, laughing group that I was in from the outside, and I would have thought that we were a longstanding Camino family. I realized then that I really wasn't missing anything. I wasn't part of a "family" with that group, but I knew that I could have company when I wanted it, and there were plenty of pilgrims around to share a meal with.
 
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2017), Primitivo (2019)
And sometimes what appear to be "Camino families" are not the tight knit groups that they seem to be - they could just be a group that decided to get togethers for dinner one night.

The only time that I ever cried while on the Camino was on my first, when I thought that I had made a mistake by "walking my own Camino" rather than staying with the "Camino family" that formed at the beginning of my Camino. It took me a few days to connect with more pilgrims - it seemed that no one that I met spoke any English, and my Spanish was too poor to have any meaningful conversation. Then one evening I found myself at a long table for dinner with about 10 other pilgrims. In that moment, I could imagine myself looking at the happy, laughing group that I was in from the outside, and I would have thought that we were a longstanding Camino family. I realized then that I really wasn't missing anything. I wasn't part of a "family" with that group, but I knew that I could have company when I wanted it, and there were plenty of pilgrims around to share a meal with.
I am currently waiting for a bus in Bilbao, that will take me to San Sebastián… and wondering if I should just go to Pamplona to pick up the Frances. Or go to Le Puy, where I am not sure how many pilgrims will be found and what the community is like. Can’t quite decide
 

SabineP

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
I know that it is common for pilgrims to form long-standing friendships with people they meet on the camino. As a few people have remarked, it is very different for a bicigrino. You chat with a fellow pilgrim at a bar or cafe, then you’re gone.

Occasionally it is different. in 2018, I was returning from Santiago, on my way back to Ireland. Really. I stopped for breakfast at a cafe in Moratinos. There was another pilgrim already there, and I joined him. We chatted over breakfast for maybe 30 minutes and then I was off. But he had asked me for my email address, and I realised why, when a few months later he emailed me this picture from his home in Florida.
View attachment 109998

We have corresponded several times a year ever since. It is a friendship I now value.


From the perspective of a foot pilgrim : I met a Dutch bicigrino in 2011 ( living 60 km from my town ) only for one day in the municipal of Mansilla de las Mulas ( we shared the dorm with a nice gentleman from Montpellier ) and I do remember that afternoon and our talk vividly.
We are still in contact regularly whereas I completely lost contact with the peregrina ( also Dutch and living even closer to where I live ) I shared lots of evenings with from Obanos till Calzadilla de la Cueza. We even went for some local walks in the years after but one way or another we stopped mailing to each other.
Such is life.

On other threads I already explained my idea about the concept of a Camino family.
 
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I am currently waiting for a bus in Bilbao, that will take me to San Sebastián… and wondering if I should just go to Pamplona to pick up the Frances. Or go to Le Puy, where I am not sure how many pilgrims will be found and what the community is like. Can’t quite decide
Hi Richmond.

All the best for your decision. No bad choices but I recall you had a yearning for the Le Puy and you speak French. It really is a spectacular route.

Or the Norte as you are already there.

Buen Camino or Bon Chemin
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Likely a camino will result in a couple of ongoing contacts, but this is an area where expectations need to be avoided.
I had absolutely no expectations for any potential friendships on any of my Caminos and the idea of it was not on my mind at all. That said, due to a gal asking for my email address to send a photo she had taken of me, it has spawned a six year friendship with her and two others. She and I have also visited each other's homes for a few days at a time. In addition, the four of us have met up every year since in different locations to hike, and share tapas and Rioja wine. Last year we had a few zoom meetups and chat often on WWF.
I also have met a handful of forum members, not on the trail, but when either I or them are passing through; we have enjoyed a coffee or meal together.
 
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