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Getting lost & Camino angels

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André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
I'd just like to share some of my 'getting lost' experiences.

0.
My wife and I spent a couple of years walking from our home town in the Netherlands to SJPP. We managed to walk from Holland right up te the foot of the Pyrenees without getting lost even once. Then, in 2011, I walked the Frances from SJPP on my own. Without my wife. That's when the trouble started...
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
1.
The first day, walking out of St. Jean, the weather looked fine: only some high clouds. So I decided to take the high route. Further up the mountain the weather got worse. First, the clouds became thicker and thicker, until at last there was only about 50-75 m. of sight. The wind picked up, not to drive the clouds away, but only to bring new ones, along with a drizzle that made me soaking wet, despite the poncho I was wearing, streaming me in my face until it hurt.

At last, I noticed that I was getting near the top of the mountain. I didn’t take out my guidebook because I didn’t want it to get wet and relied on my memory. I remembered I had to follow the asphalt road until there would be a path that would lead me to Roncesvalles. So I continued on the asphalt road until there was a path leading down (in retrospective: this was about 500m. after the path to the right, through the grass). The path gradually turned to the left, leading me down the mountain. As I expected. After a while there was a right turn, but very soon it turned left again. And continued to do so. After 5-6 kilometers I got below the clouds and the sight improved.

After so many left turns by now I figured out that I must have gone wrong somewhere. So I turned around, looking at the path dissappearing in the fog, wondering what to do. Because I had no idea where I had gone wrong, I decided to just follow the path down the mountain. At the foot of the mountain I got to a kind of ‘ghost town’. There were a couple of houses to the left and a ruin to the right. I knocked on four front doors, but there was no reply. So I continued on the asphalt road that led out of this town. After the last house the road crossed a small river. I sat down on the bridge, feeling weary and very lost.

Then I heard a car starting. At the ruin there was a small car park. I looked up and noticed a car pulling out of the car park and turning towards me on the asphalt road. The car stopped, the driver opened the window and asked if they could help. On the backseat there was a young woman holding a baby. It was a young Spanish couplet that had visited the ruin. Thankfully the driver spoke a little English. I explained that I was walking the Camino and had gotten lost. I took out my guidebook and showed him the map, pointing at Roncesvalles, asking him to show me where I was now. He studied the map for a couple of moments, then looked up at me with a worried face and pointed his finger in the air, beside my guidebook and explained that I had walked off the map.



When I asked him if he knew how far it was to Roncesvalles he said he wasn’t sure, but he thought it might be 10-12 kilometers. Turned out I had come down the wrong side of the mountain, walking away from Roncesvalles with every step I took. By now it was late in the afternoon, and I figured I had already walked 28-30 kilomers. No way I was going to walk another 10k. He then said they were a couple on holiday. They weren’t going to Roncesvalles, but he was willing to make a detour and drop me of at a crossroad. From there I could hitchhike to Roncesvalles. The Spanish man started talking to his wife in Spanish, explaining what I had said and that he would drop me somewhere nearer to Roncesvalles. She looked at me, started smiling and said something to her husband. He smiled at me as well and said that his wife suggested to drive me all the way to Roncesvalles and drop me off at the albergue. And they did. I proposed to give them something for the extra drive, but they wouldn’t hear of it: they were glad to be of help. So I thanked them from the bottom of my heart, being very thankful for complete strangers helping me this way.

The second time on the Frances, in 2014, it was a beautiful day. Lots of sunshine without it being too hot. Climbing the mountain I was very curious to see where I had gone wrong 3 years earlier. When I got to the top of the mountain there was this huge sign pointing to this small path to the right, through the grass. I couldn’t believe that I had missed it the first time. At the albergue in Roncesvalles I told one of the volunteers. He wasn’t sure if there had been a sign before, but he explained that this new sign had been put there after 2011 due tot he fact that I wasn’t the only pilgrim going wrong at exactly the same spot, especially if there was a heavy fog.
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
2.
By now I had great faith in the yellow arrows. They were everywhere and couldn’t be missed. So there was no need to use my guidebook when walking into Pamplona. And I had read that I had to turn left through a park until I got to the ancient city wall. And there was a park. And I did turn left (when I shouldn’t have, not yet). When I got to a wall, there were stairs. I climbed them and on top the absence of yellow arrows didn’t alarm me: if you don’t see an arrow, just continue straight ahead. And so I did.

After walking for a quarter of an hour, I ended up in a newly built suburb. Then I decided to approach a woman carrying a grocery bag and looking very local. Unfortunately she didn’t speak English. So I just said ‘Camino’, raised my shoulders and tried to look helpless. She understood what I meant and realised that I didn’t understand Spanish. She took me by the arm, turned me around and started walking. We walked for about 10 minutes until we came to a intersection.

She pointed to the left, saying ‘Cathedrale – Camino’. And yes, in the distance I could see the cathedral tower. I bowed to her and thanked her. She smiled, waved at me and turned around to walk back in the direction where we had came from. This being the second time to received help from a Spanish person in a way I couldn’t have expected, it made me realise that angels do exist.
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
3.
Walking towards Burgos. How does one get lost when you can see the city in the distance? I know how! I remember climbing a mountain before sunrise. When I got to the top, I could see the city lights in the distance. I continued the path and remember a gravel road through gentle rolling hills. I also remember looking straight ahead, noticing a highway, realising I had to cross it somewhere. I really enjoyed myself, walking in the still cool morning air.

Somewhere I failed to notice an arrow pointing to the left. I just kept on walking straight ahead. The absence of arrows didn’t alarm me, because there were no possible turns anyway. Until the gravel road led me to the highway and there was no crossing. Again, I had no idea where I had gone wrong. To the left there was a hill. So I went left, hoping that I would get a clue looking from the top of the hill. From the top of the hill I noticed two ways of crossing the highway: one to the left and one to the right.

Not knowing where to go, I just stood there for a couple of minutes, wondering which way to choose. Just when I decided to take the crossing to the right (which seemed to be a bit closer than the one to the left), in the distance I noticed a figure to my left who looked like he/she was carrying a backpack. So I turned left. Shortly before turning right to cross the highway, I paused and waited for the other pilgrim.
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
When she got close, I thanked her for saving my life. She looked at me not knowing what I was talking about. So I explained that I had gotten lost (again) and that the sight of her had pointed me in the right direction. So we introduced ourselves . The rest of the Camino we kept bumping into each other every couple of days. She was a lawyer from Australia who obviously still had great difficulties dealing with the time difference: instead of drinking café con leche, she had a beer at 10am. We are still in touch with each other.
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
4.
I don’t remember exactly where it was, but again I must have missed a turn somewhere, because the road took me to the back entrance of a Spanish ammunition depot, with the Camino running somewhere along the front entrance of this facility. At first the two guards explained me these grounds were strictly forbidden for other than Spanish military. But feeling sorry for me having to make a large detour to get back to the route, they called a higher ranking officer. He also felt sorry for me, carrying this backpack on a hot day, he agreed to accompany me (with two other soldiers) accross this facility, after having checked my backpack. Maybe angels sometimes wear a uniform?
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
5.
Once more, I forgot the name of the town, but I hadn’t been paying attention (again) and just followed a track straight ahead, only being alarmed when walking into a town I hadn’t expected walking into. When approaching a man who was working in his garden, he quickly made it clear that I was about 5 km. off-route. He was very kind, offering to drive me back to the point where I had gone wrong, but only after having lunch with him and his wife. Like the French, the Spanish do know how to lunch. But I have to admit that walking was a bit hard afterwards.
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
So, what can be concluded from the above? If women are less talented at navigation than men (like men are always keen to emphasize), it’s inevitable that women are in a lot trouble all the time when walking Camino’s. But I must admit that this is not a very scientific approach.

Anyway, getting lost has given me some of the best experiences I’ve had. And it has learned me that people really can be angels to one another and left me wishing that, as human beings, we could be so more often.
 

Lirsy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo, Norte, Francés, Volunteer Hospitalero.
Nice experiences!!:)

Fortunately, most of the people along the Camino are very friendly with pilgrims.

I remember one day, on the Camino Primitivo. I got lost, a man saw me in the distance. He realized that I was lost, took his car and drove about 2 km along an absolutely impossible path until he reached me! Fortunately, the car was not damaged !! I would have felt absolutely ashamed if it had suffered any damage!
 

pelerine

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2010j, Primitivo (2013), Plata (2014 + 2015), Salvador (2016), Torres 2017), Portugues (2018
So, what can be concluded from the above? If women are less talented at navigation than men (like men are always keen to emphasize), it’s inevitable that women are in a lot trouble all the time when walking Camino’s. But I must admit that this is not a very scientific approach.

Anyway, getting lost has given me some of the best experiences I’ve had. And it has learned me that people really can be angels to one another and left me wishing that, as human beings, we could be so more often.
Hi André! There are many angels on the caminos including fellow pilgrims. I have always been lucky to be sent the right way very shortly after taking the wrong turning, so I do not have such long tales to tell.

Thank you for sharing your experiences!
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
Hi André! There are many angels on the caminos including fellow pilgrims. I have always been lucky to be sent the right way very shortly after taking the wrong turning, so I do not have such long tales to tell.

Thank you for sharing your experiences!
Tag along with me someday and we'll get lost together for sure!
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
This has happened a couple of time, but the generic version is as follows:

You’re walking through a town on a beautiful day just admiring the town and thinking of a cafe.

Without thinking, you miss an arrow.

A couple of meters further on you hear a car horn, followed by someone asking “peregrino?”

After affirmation you get a strong “No,no” with a smile and a hand wave back to where you missed the arrow.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
...
She was a lawyer from Australia who obviously still had great difficulties dealing with the time difference: instead of drinking café con leche, she had a beer at 10am.
...
This perfectly describes an Aussie lawyer I know :D Her name is Cressey. Same person maybe?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
Thank you for these wonderful stories. I see I am not the only person whose love of walking far exceeds their navigational ability! Camino Angels have rescued me on several occasions.
I have a great talent for getting lost in cities, and now carry an old fashioned magnetic compass so when all else fails, including my reading of google maps, I can find my way.
My wife is not so impaired. Many years ago we were in Paris, enjoying A LOT of walking. The day was hot. Our planned destination was the Eiffel Tower with all those lovely stairs. On emerging from a café I pointed the direction. My wife demurred. Realizing she was overcome with heat and exhaustion I reiterated. I may have explained that she was not very good at reading maps. I don’t recall all the details, but the conversation got strident. She was simply unreasonable, and didn't understand her own limitations. Finally she just looked at me very strangely and turned me around. The Tower loomed directly behind me….
 

pelerine

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2010j, Primitivo (2013), Plata (2014 + 2015), Salvador (2016), Torres 2017), Portugues (2018
Thank you for these wonderful stories. I see I am not the only person whose love of walking far exceeds their navigational ability! Camino Angels have rescued me on several occasions.
I have a great talent for getting lost in cities, and now carry an old fashioned magnetic compass so when all else fails, including my reading of google maps, I can find my way.
My wife is not so impaired. Many years ago we were in Paris, enjoying A LOT of walking. The day was hot. Our planned destination was the Eiffel Tower with all those lovely stairs. On emerging from a café I pointed the direction. My wife demurred. Realizing she was overcome with heat and exhaustion I reiterated. I may have explained that she was not very good at reading maps. I don’t recall all the details, but the conversation got strident. She was simply unreasonable, and didn't understand her own limitations. Finally she just looked at me very strangely and turned me around. The Tower loomed directly behind me….
Love your tale!
 

MileHighPair

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012, '14: Frances
2015: Chimayo, USA.
2016, '17: VdlP
2018: Madrid, Ourense, Salvador, Primitivo
@André Walker We have walked Camino together 5 times, and almost never taken a wrong turn. I have walked Camino alone on two occasions, and gotten lost multiple times! So, yes, I have had a similar experience.

I will share one funny story. On my first "alone" Camino, the Via de la Plata in 2017, I took a wrong turn (or missed one) several times. But I didn't realize my obsession with it until after Camino. When I returned home, for the first week or so, every time I went to sleep I had a nightmare about getting lost! My brain had become so fearful of loosing the trail that it tormented me even in my sleep.

Mike.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
Here's my tale of getting "lost" on the camino. It was in Pamplona just after crossing the park. We're going straight down the major street and there's an arrow pointing to the right. So we turn right. About halfway down the block an older gentleman (meaning about our age) gets up from his outside table to stop us and turn us around. Back at the intersection I notice the problem. In the U.S. crosswalks are at the intersection. There the crosswalk was offset. So the yellow arrow turned us right but we missed the one a couple of meters later that pointed us to the left to the crosswalk.

Okay, the story isn't as good as any of Andre's but only because of luck. We could still be walking around Spain looking for the next arrow now.

Thanks Andre for a few laughs. Have one on me. I left off the tale of my backpacking trip where I climbed up the mountain that I just walked down. I'm glad I recognized the view.
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Can't say I have, except once walking out of Santo Domingo de Silos, accidentally taking a GR route instead of the camino. It was actually one of the best walking days ever, and I would have missed it if I'd gone the 'right' way.
Another option is to take the GR82 to the top of the ridge between SDdS and Contreras - there are beautiful views all around from up there!
Sierra de la Demanda from above Santo Domingo de Silos Sierra de la Demanda from above Santo Domingo de Silos

From there, you can even follow it a bit farther down to the set of the Sad Hill Cemetery from the movie The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. A nice 'day walk.'
In the not-lost-but-looking-lost category, on my last camino I had to go back about 250m to retrieve my poles from where I had left them in a tienda - and in that short distance, two people called out from cars that I was going the wrong way. This was in a small town on the Invierno without a huge amount of traffic, so it was very touching. 100% response rate!
 

Gailsie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Fall '09 ;
On the Camino Portuguese I was walking alone along a path and paying more attention to the farmers working on a farm tractor th the trail and they called out to me but I didn't understand. So one of the men took me by the arm and walked me back and pointed out the arrow that I had missed. I was embarrassed by thankful.
 

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
As a woman, my camino stories of getting lost have only been when walking with another woman. Luckily for me when I walk with my son, he has great navigation skills, so I just follow him. Last year, when I walked with a Camino girlfriend on the Le Puy route we got lost twice and I'd rather not share much of those stories.😉 Thankfully we are still friends! Once we eventually found our own way out of our predicament thanks to pre-downloaded maps that we forgot we had; the second time a Camino angel helped us out. He was a rural mail carrier who happened by at the time we were becoming quite worried and he spoke a bit of English... All good memories when you are tucked in bed end of day.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
@André Walker if you will excuse another long story on the theme...

My first Camino was blessed by several Camino angels on the first day!
I was very nervous of my first solo adventure in many years (my lovely wife could not join me for family reasons). My Spanish is poor so I had made careful arrangements online for transport to SJDP and accommodation for the first 3 nights (SJDP, Roncesvalles, Larrosoana). I flew direct from New Zealand to Madrid to find my connecting flight to Biarritz had been cancelled, with strikes in France meaning there was little prospect of a flight the next day. Several hours at harassed Airline transfer desks proved useless, so I decided to take a bus to Pamplona to arrive early evening. Possibly because so many flights had been cancelled the bus desk had a queue of over an hour, and the only suitable bus left in 20 minutes. With the help of a kind local, I approached the bus driver directly. He said sorry, just not possible. I said that’s OK, thank you anyway, I was just hoping to start my Camino. That word had a galvanising effect. He repeated it to check that was what I was saying, then he literally grabbed my cash and disappeared, returning a few minutes later with my ticket and change. Then he escorted me onto the waiting bus. When we arrived at a transfer station I tried to offer him a big tip for his kindness, he absolutely refused, saying in broken English “You are our guest”.
Later that evening I was wandering around Pamplona in a totally jetlagged daze, having been awake and travelling by then for over 45 hours (I cant sleep on planes). I was completely lost, I finally found the hostel I had chosen on the bus but it had been closed for months, and as darkness descended I resorted to asking at random bars whether they had a bed (no). All my fears about my trip were coming true on the first night! Just before 10pm I was wandering about aimlessly in the old city, barely rational, trying to figure out how to maybe get to a police station when a stranger came up to me. He pointed to the scallop shell attached to my pack and said “Camino?”. I said yes. He asked if I had a place to stay? I said no, but I was immediately suspicious, was this a scam? He said come with me, and I allowed him to escort me for 15 minutes through the streets to the Albergue Jesus y Maria. The staff were very welcoming, and once he was sure I would be OK, my Camino angel just disappeared off into the night.
And there’s more! That night I shared bunk space with a Camino family of 2 NZers and an Irish girl (who was suffering with sore shins and feet). I was so relieved I must have babbled a bit, but they were very patient and convinced me to continue to SJDP the next morning, by bus or taxi if necessary, because the first day over the Pyrenees was not to be missed. I did that, and met two wonderful ladies at the Pamplona bus station where we took a taxi together (split 3 ways) to SJDP in time to start walking by 11. After a long day over the pass in beautiful weather we arrived at Roncesvalles, and ended up forming a Camino family till Santiago, along with several other pilgrims we met along the way.
It was a wonderful start to my Caminos.
 
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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 have left my poles behind quite a few times...I hate when that happens and tell myself "never again" as I head back to retrieve them, but those words fall on my own deaf ears! 😁
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
This perfectly describes an Aussie lawyer I know :D Her name is Cressey. Same person maybe?
O yes, the same person indeed! When did you meet her and are you still in touch with her?

I met her on my 2011 Frances, when I was lost walking into Burgos. And we've met a couple of times since. As often the case on a camino: along the way you get to meet the same persons again and again. Sometimes not seeing them for days and then suddenly, walking into a bar, there they are. Like a wave, you get to meet the people who started around the same time you did, walking more or less the same daily distances.

This happened to me on my 2011 Camino. And slowly a group op friends started to evolve this way. Coming from all over the place: Scotland, Italy, France, Ireland, Rumania, Russia, Hungary, USA, Australia, Spain, Holland, ... , exchanging e-mail addresses to be in touch after the Camino. When I got back from the Camino at the end of July, I thought that it was great fun meeting them, but that I wouldn't be seeing them again.

Then, in October, Paddy from Ireland sent a message: he was still thinking about his Camino very often, missing us a lot. And how we would feel about coming to Dublin early December for a 'Camino-reunion'. And so we did. There were 12 of us, including Cressey from Australia! It was a wonderful experience seeing them again. And we kept meeting since: in France, Holland, England, Spain, Rumania. In Ireland and France a second time: first when Paddy got married, a couple of years later we were at Claire's wedding. We didn't get to meet last year, but plans are starting to materialize for a 2020 reunion.

@KinkyOne: Cressey is visiting Europe every year, doing the European Peace Walk:http://www.europeanpeacewalk.com/

@KinkyOne: did we meet in 2011?
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
I forgot to mention meeting an angel when I wasn't lost, not realising I needed an angel until I met her.

It was on my 2016 Camino Del Norte. I was walking towards the albergue in Guemes. It was hot, very hot that day. I didn't plan to stay at the albergue, because it wasn't even noon and I wasn't done walking yet.

The ones that know this albergue will remember: the last bit is a short, but steep climb up the hill. I was already sweating in the blazing sun, but climbing this hill I discovered that I still had some pores that weren't sweating until that moment. Then, at the top op of the hill, arriving in front of the albergue, sweating and gasping for air, there was this lovely, blond angel coming towards me, reaching out at me with a glass of water with condensation drops on the outside, saying: "Would you like a cold drink?".

Later Anna turned out to be a young German volunteer at the albergue, but that very first moment I thought that I had died during the climb and now had reached the gates of heaven. A glass of water never tasted so good. Anna asked if I was planning to stay at the albergue. When I told her it was just too early for me to call it a day and preferred to walk some more, she suggested to have lunch there (which would be served in about 30 minutes) and continue afterwards. This sounded good, so I stayed for lunch. And, feeling so welcome, I didn't leave that day. Everything in this albergue was donativo (lunch, dinner and stay), but for me it was the most expensive albergue so far. :)

1564467709055.png
 

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
O yes, the same person indeed! When did you meet her and are you still in touch with her?

I met her on my 2011 Frances, when I was lost walking into Burgos. And we've met a couple of times since. As often the case on a camino: along the way you get to meet the same persons again and again. Sometimes not seeing them for days and then suddenly, walking into a bar, there they are. Like a wave, you get to meet the people who started around the same time you did, walking more or less the same daily distances.

This happened to me on my 2011 Camino. And slowly a group op friends started to evolve this way. Coming from all over the place: Scotland, Italy, France, Ireland, Rumania, Russia, Hungary, USA, Australia, Spain, Holland, ... , exchanging e-mail addresses to be in touch after the Camino. When I got back from the Camino at the end of July, I thought that it was great fun meeting them, but that I wouldn't be seeing them again.

Then, in October, Paddy from Ireland sent a message: he was still thinking about his Camino very often, missing us a lot. And how we would feel about coming to Dublin early December for a 'Camino-reunion'. And so we did. There were 12 of us, including Cressey from Australia! It was a wonderful experience seeing them again. And we kept meeting since: in France, Holland, England, Spain, Rumania. In Ireland and France a second time: first when Paddy got married, a couple of years later we were at Claire's wedding. We didn't get to meet last year, but plans are starting to materialize for a 2020 reunion.

@KinkyOne: Cressey is visiting Europe every year, doing the European Peace Walk:http://www.europeanpeacewalk.com/

@KinkyOne: did we meet in 2011?
I too enjoy what my little group call "Camino Mini Reunions". We are four who met on the camino in 2015. We get together every fall for a two night meetup in a hotel and make tapas and have Rioja wine in one of the rooms. We are all Americans and live within 4-6 hour drive from each other. We choose a new location each time and plan some walking on trails or in parks.
Your reunions are more amazing as you all come from different countries! Wow!
 

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 forgot to mention meeting an angel when I wasn't lost, not realising I needed an angel until I met her.

It was on my 2016 Camino Del Norte. I was walking towards the albergue in Guemes. It was hot, very hot that day. I didn't plan to stay at the albergue, because it wasn't even noon and I wasn't done walking yet.

The ones that know this albergue will remember: the last bit is a short, but steep climb up the hill. I was already sweating in the blazing sun, but climbing this hill I discovered that I still had some pores that weren't sweating until that moment. Then, at the top op of the hill, arriving in front of the albergue, sweating and gasping for air, there was this lovely, blond angel coming towards me, reaching out at me with a glass of water with condensation drops on the outside, saying: "Would you like a cold drink?".

Later Anna turned out to be a young German volunteer at the albergue, but that very first moment I thought that I had died during the climb and now had reached the gates of heaven. A glass of water never tasted so good. Anna asked if I was planning to stay at the albergue. When I told her it was just too early for me to call it a day and preferred to walk some more, she suggested to have lunch there (which would be served in about 30 minutes) and continue afterwards. This sounded good, so I stayed for lunch. And, feeling so welcome, I didn't leave that day. Everything in this albergue was donativo (lunch, dinner and stay), but for me it was the most expensive albergue so far. :)

View attachment 61858
I went up that big hill to Ernesto's beautiful albergue in 2016 and was also treated to a cold glass of agua! I missed the dign to turn left when first coming in to town. Ended up at a bar on the other end of town and asked some local men where the "albergay" was. They had no clue what I said (and I thought I had great pronunciation). They finally understood and pointed up to the top of that big hill. I was tired, but it was worth the trudge!
 

pelerine

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2010j, Primitivo (2013), Plata (2014 + 2015), Salvador (2016), Torres 2017), Portugues (2018
I went up that big hill to Ernesto's beautiful albergue in 2016 and was also treated to a cold glass of agua! I missed the dign to turn left when first coming in to town. Ended up at a bar on the other end of town and asked some local men where the "albergay" was. They had no clue what I said (and I thought I had great pronunciation). They finally understood and pointed up to the top of that big hill. I was tired, but it was worth the trudge!
I was “replacement (substitute?)” hospitaleira in Guëmes for one week in 2010. The cold water welcome is always done for everybody - not always easy when there are several pilgrims arriving in quick succession and you also have to show them the living quarters...

Since we are mentioning Guëmes, there was talk some time ago about the camino being retraced away from the albergue and a petition against this. Chrissy, you walked there relatively recently - what was the situation then? Anybody knows what it is now?
 

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 was “replacement (substitute?)” hospitaleira in Guëmes for one week in 2010. The cold water welcome is always done for everybody - not always easy when there are several pilgrims arriving in quick succession and you also have to show them the living quarters...

Since we are mentioning Guëmes, there was talk some time ago about the camino being retraced away from the albergue and a petition against this. Chrissy, you walked there relatively recently - what was the situation then? Anybody knows what it is now?
I walked that route in May 2016...so not that recent and I heard nothing at that time.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
O yes, the same person indeed! When did you meet her and are you still in touch with her?

I met her on my 2011 Frances, when I was lost walking into Burgos. And we've met a couple of times since. As often the case on a camino: along the way you get to meet the same persons again and again. Sometimes not seeing them for days and then suddenly, walking into a bar, there they are. Like a wave, you get to meet the people who started around the same time you did, walking more or less the same daily distances.

This happened to me on my 2011 Camino. And slowly a group op friends started to evolve this way. Coming from all over the place: Scotland, Italy, France, Ireland, Rumania, Russia, Hungary, USA, Australia, Spain, Holland, ... , exchanging e-mail addresses to be in touch after the Camino. When I got back from the Camino at the end of July, I thought that it was great fun meeting them, but that I wouldn't be seeing them again.

Then, in October, Paddy from Ireland sent a message: he was still thinking about his Camino very often, missing us a lot. And how we would feel about coming to Dublin early December for a 'Camino-reunion'. And so we did. There were 12 of us, including Cressey from Australia! It was a wonderful experience seeing them again. And we kept meeting since: in France, Holland, England, Spain, Rumania. In Ireland and France a second time: first when Paddy got married, a couple of years later we were at Claire's wedding. We didn't get to meet last year, but plans are starting to materialize for a 2020 reunion.

@KinkyOne: Cressey is visiting Europe every year, doing the European Peace Walk:http://www.europeanpeacewalk.com/

@KinkyOne: did we meet in 2011?
Hola, Andre,

First I met Cressey on this forum when she mentioned (she was member but can't find her now) the EPW and since I live in Ljubljana, Slovenia through which the EPW goes, I offered her a meeting and/or a tour of the city. She was already familiar with Ljubljana so we just hang at one of the pubs along the river. If memory serves she was following me drinking 7 or 8 beers (0,5 l) without any problem. She surely is something :D

Couple of years ago when she was walking to Jerusalem the initial plan was to take Via Dinarice and I started plotting it for her but later she changed plans so I left it unfinished. But we were in contact.

Last summer we walked first two stages of Slovenian Way of St.James. The thing is that the EPW isn't plotted from Croatian border and it is suggested to take a train directly to Ljubljana. But there's no need for that because you can walk the distance on marked trail. There are even some accommodation options although scarce. And then the weather changed and we stopped. But she got the feeling what the stages are like and how they are marked so mission accomplished. We weren't in contact since then. Send my regards to her, please :)

In 2011 I have walked from SJPdP (15.05.) to Fisterra (28.06.) The second part I mostly walked with una chica catalana but otherwise I didn't really have any Camino family. The names I still remember are Ingo from Germany and Soren from Denmark. And a policemen from Valencia. So I doubt that we met ;)
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
In 2011 I have walked from SJPdP (15.05.) to Fisterra (28.06.) The second part I mostly walked with una chica catalana but otherwise I didn't really have any Camino family. The names I still remember are Ingo from Germany and Soren from Denmark. And a policemen from Valencia. So I doubt that we met ;)
I think you're right. I don't remember meeting Ingo or Søren. And I most certainly didn't meet anyone named Kinky. 🤨
How nice you got to spend some time walking and talking to Cressey. They say that 80% of the human body consists of water. I guess that's true for most of us, but I think in Cressey's case it's beer...

The girl/woman from Cataluna: could that have been Martha?
 

Dinah Shaw

Volcano Climber
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Norte and Frances Sept 6 - Oct 11, 2016
1.
The first day, walking out of St. Jean, the weather looked fine: only some high clouds. So I decided to take the high route. Further up the mountain the weather got worse. First, the clouds became thicker and thicker, until at last there was only about 50-75 m. of sight. The wind picked up, not to drive the clouds away, but only to bring new ones, along with a drizzle that made me soaking wet, despite the poncho I was wearing, streaming me in my face until it hurt.

At last, I noticed that I was getting near the top of the mountain. I didn’t take out my guidebook because I didn’t want it to get wet and relied on my memory. I remembered I had to follow the asphalt road until there would be a path that would lead me to Roncesvalles. So I continued on the asphalt road until there was a path leading down (in retrospective: this was about 500m. after the path to the right, through the grass). The path gradually turned to the left, leading me down the mountain. As I expected. After a while there was a right turn, but very soon it turned left again. And continued to do so. After 5-6 kilometers I got below the clouds and the sight improved.

After so many left turns by now I figured out that I must have gone wrong somewhere. So I turned around, looking at the path dissappearing in the fog, wondering what to do. Because I had no idea where I had gone wrong, I decided to just follow the path down the mountain. At the foot of the mountain I got to a kind of ‘ghost town’. There were a couple of houses to the left and a ruin to the right. I knocked on four front doors, but there was no reply. So I continued on the asphalt road that led out of this town. After the last house the road crossed a small river. I sat down on the bridge, feeling weary and very lost.

Then I heard a car starting. At the ruin there was a small car park. I looked up and noticed a car pulling out of the car park and turning towards me on the asphalt road. The car stopped, the driver opened the window and asked if they could help. On the backseat there was a young woman holding a baby. It was a young Spanish couplet that had visited the ruin. Thankfully the driver spoke a little English. I explained that I was walking the Camino and had gotten lost. I took out my guidebook and showed him the map, pointing at Roncesvalles, asking him to show me where I was now. He studied the map for a couple of moments, then looked up at me with a worried face and pointed his finger in the air, beside my guidebook and explained that I had walked off the map.



When I asked him if he knew how far it was to Roncesvalles he said he wasn’t sure, but he thought it might be 10-12 kilometers. Turned out I had come down the wrong side of the mountain, walking away from Roncesvalles with every step I took. By now it was late in the afternoon, and I figured I had already walked 28-30 kilomers. No way I was going to walk another 10k. He then said they were a couple on holiday. They weren’t going to Roncesvalles, but he was willing to make a detour and drop me of at a crossroad. From there I could hitchhike to Roncesvalles. The Spanish man started talking to his wife in Spanish, explaining what I had said and that he would drop me somewhere nearer to Roncesvalles. She looked at me, started smiling and said something to her husband. He smiled at me as well and said that his wife suggested to drive me all the way to Roncesvalles and drop me off at the albergue. And they did. I proposed to give them something for the extra drive, but they wouldn’t hear of it: they were glad to be of help. So I thanked them from the bottom of my heart, being very thankful for complete strangers helping me this way.

The second time on the Frances, in 2014, it was a beautiful day. Lots of sunshine without it being too hot. Climbing the mountain I was very curious to see where I had gone wrong 3 years earlier. When I got to the top of the mountain there was this huge sign pointing to this small path to the right, through the grass. I couldn’t believe that I had missed it the first time. At the albergue in Roncesvalles I told one of the volunteers. He wasn’t sure if there had been a sign before, but he explained that this new sign had been put there after 2011 due tot he fact that I wasn’t the only pilgrim going wrong at exactly the same spot, especially if there was a heavy fog.
I encountered many angels on the Camino and two or three who steered me in the right direction
 

Mudcrone

Mudcrone
Camino(s) past & future
2012-2018 Frances, Via de la Plata, Portugues Central and Seaside, Norte
Anybody else having similar experiences?
Yes, I have had many experiences like that. I got lost coming out of Boadilla, more than once, during one of them, I just got distracted by the beauty of the sunflowers. When I stopped for a moment, I realized I was lost again. There was a man in a big tractor, and I asked him, "Dónde está el Camino." He pointed to a sign, over by the roadway, that said Fromista 10km. I had already walked more than I normally walked in a day. There was very little traffic on this road. I was in the middle of nowhere. I decided to hitchhike. I hadn't done that for over 50 years. I stuck my out thumb, two drivers stopped immediately. The guy in the first car was a businessman. I hopped in and we had a lovely conversation. He was so concerned that I not get lost again, that he drove me right up to the Camino and pointed which way to go.
About a week later, I was crossing an intersection by the Parador and I heard someone yelling at me. I thought they were irritated, but I had the light. Then a man on the curb yelled at me and pointed to the guy yelling. I turned and looked. It was the guy who gave me a ride to Fromista! He said, "Como esta Nancy/" I said "Muy bien" and the light changed and he had to drive on.
I just shook my head. I mean, how does that happen?
 

Paul J

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Sept-Oct 2018) Camino Frances (Sept-Oct 2019)
In fall of 2018 I came down sick Stage 21 around 9pm. I am sure everyone around me did not sleep well. The next day I was as weak as a kitten. My wife and I didn't know what to do. A women that had bunked beside me offered to help us find a doctor. We spoke only English. My wife carried both of our bags and we walked a couple of miles and the doctor saw me ahead of others. Told me to rest for a day and drink plenty of fluids. The doctor charged nothing. We thanked the women that helped us and found out her name was Raphael, ( the archangel that helps travelers). I slept all day back at the albergue and ate a light supper then slept all night. We love the Camino are have just made reservations for this year Sept 17-Nov 5 from the US. I am very excited about going back.
 

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