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Greetings from Sevilla

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
¡Hola a todos!

Greetings from a sun drenched but relatively cool Sevilla. My camino begins as the new year begins and I feel it has been a very long time in the planning. I´m here now for a few days before beginning to walk on my own. I feel a strange mixture of excitement and apprehension...but I know all will be well. Whilst the shops as ever at this time of the year are crowded as modern Spanish families buy both presents for Christmas and then the Feast of the Kings the centre is quiet compared to the spring and summer months. Yesterday I went to the Cathedral Office to obtain the first sello of the journey. The girl on security was helpful and directed me to the office. It had all of the hallmarks of a church office at this time of the year...discarded vestments over a chair, a breviary with a copy of Adester Fideles as the bookmark and several bottles of wine. Alas no Keeper of the Sello was in attendance. After a while I asked the girl who had given me directions if she could stamp my Pilgim´s Record but there was no alternative to waiting for the proper official. What a place to wait! The Office is in the vestibule of the Day Chapel of the Cathedral, closed to tourists but open for private worship for parishioners. Quite splendid as might be expected in a cathedral they built "so big that the world will think we are mad". After some time a man shuffled in. He was like a distillation of many beadles, vergers and sacristans I have encountered over the years. He was clearly the Boss. He opened the office and motioned me in. When I asked for the stamp he opened a drawer in the most matter of fact way, produced an almost dry ink pad, made the mark and scribbled his initials and the date I was commencing..."Buen Camino" and I was dimissed. I tried to engage him a little mustering my best Spanish..."have there been other pilgrims recently...?" He looked at me as if I was asking how many astronauts had passed through his office. "It is cold" he replied with typical sacristan indifference.

So there we are. First sello. No Halleluia Chorus...but the adventure begins.

John, London/Sevilla
 
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The Via de la Plata in the winter

I have walked the camino in May - an abundance of wild flowers - when it can be very hot. However, I think you should be prepared for some cold treks when crossing the higher ground, particularly between Calzada and Salamanca. Best of luck.
 
The man in the office

We started from Sevilla in April, but when you describe the pilgrimoffice in the cathedral in Sevilla, I can see "our man" in the same office. So may be it is the same procedure all the year around? First he is not there when he should be there. Then he gives us a stamp as if we are not there. ...

Good wishes for the walking!
 
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