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Romance on the Camino?

vinotinto

Active Member
#1
During my pilgrimage, I encounted at least one couple that had originally met on the Camino. I also saw some pairs forming up here and there between star-crossed pilgrims. Indeed, there were a few women that sparked some romantic feelings in me - especially after some good conversation over vino and orujo (hehe).

So, I'm wondering if anyone here has a Camino love story, or knows about any lovers inspired by the Milky Way... :wink:
 

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Arn

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#2
Since I'm still waiting for my Camino, I will share this about Romance on the Appalachian Trail. Not me, I was way too tired to even consider romance...I had a deadline and had to push to finish. But here are my observations: one couple planned their adventure a year in advance, they had everything, the gear, the pre dried food, the sense of equality...they were a pair NOT a couple (their words). Well in the larger hostels hikers share the duties...cooking, cleaning, etc. Everyone signs up for a duty. So he picked cooking, she picked clean-up. When the meal was finished, we well rested and full...she says, "baby, I'm a little tired...would you mind cleaning up for me?" When he reminded her of her duty to the trail. She huffed and puffed. No one slept that night...and she left the trail by bus the next morning. Another couple, well into their 70's were hiking the trail together. They had met in Scotland during WWII. He was a yank airman and she a Scot Nursing Sister. They were the best. They each had their jobs, he was a bit faster on the trail so he would set up camp and have everything ready when she arrived. In the morning, she made coffee and a biscuit and, after she started for the day, he cleaned up and started his day. They would meet for lunch...then start again. How moving and sweet.

I will admit I did fall in love...with twenty Amish women...and all on the same day! I was in Pennsylvania, high on a peak. it was 90+ degrees and the closest spring was nearly 1/2 mile down a very steep path. The lean-to shelter would accommodate nearly 12 folks. About an hour after I arrived, I started to hear a song coming along the ridge. It was what I would call a "washer woman" song, because it gave the impression of a tempo that called for diligence at the appointed task. Into the clearing came 20 Amish women, dressed in traditional bonnets, long skirts Merriel Boots and Denali packs. When the leader saw me (she was about my age then...50ish or so) she halted the group and looked at me with a scowl. I guess i was in their planned campsite. I offered to vacate so they could have it, but instead of responding, she saw the sign for the spring and headed down. Following up the rear, were three teen-aged girls. Scrubbed clean beautiful! I told them that the first two springs were dry and they would have to go to the third water point to find water. They curtsied, as one, and went off giggling. Nearly an hour later they came back up from the spring. The leader...stopped...gave me a look, and said, thank you! They went off about 1/4 mile and set up camp among a copse of shade trees and soft clover. As night settled over the ridge, I heard a soft rustling behind my lean-to. For the next 30 minutes, twenty angels sang for me. It is my most memorable night on the AT!

I look forward to more nights to remember as I make my Camino.
Arn
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#3
Arn said:
I look forward to more nights to remember as I make my Camino.
Nice! Well, you'll certainly have many of those on the Way. I met a lot of fascinating women on the Camino. Two that stand out were a Slovanian I walked with for the first two days from St. Jean, and a German I met at an albergue close to Santiago. Both were in their twenties - a bit young for me, but not obnoxiously so (at least in my dreams, I suppose).

The Slovanian woman was a teacher, and I, along with an older Kiwi, began walking with her from St. Jean. I liked her because she had no guile - she spoke her mind, and not in an unpleasant way. At Roncesvalles she ran into some other women from Slovania, and they kept trying to matchmake - funny stuff. We talked a lot while walking, and she had intriguing things to say about the history of religion in her region (she would probably be classified as an atheist). But, by the time I hit Zubiri, I was hurting so bad couldn't keep up with her anymore, and that was that. I hugged and kissed her goodbye and bid her a "Buen Camino." That was my first "loss" on the Way (when a fellow pilgrim leaves your walk), and it was kind of hard. However, it's a common thing, so one has to get used to it.

As for the German woman, we met at one of my favorite alberuges on the Way (St. Xulian) - a really nice small albergue in a village a couple days walk from Santiago. The inside is like a miniature winery, with a cozy bar and large kegs and other culinary items mounted on the stone walls. The staff made a wonderful communal meal, with excellent vino tinto (hehe). I had chatted with the German woman before the meal, and afterwards we sat at the bar and had a deep talk over vino and orujo (as I remember, she hadn't tried it before, so I had to introduce her to the demon liquor). She was quite cute in a Natalie Portman sort of way, and well-spoken to boot (the Germans all seemed to speak great English). The next morning, I hugged and kissed her goodbye.

I never saw either of those two women again, but I'll always fondly remember them. However, they weren't my only brushes with enjoyable feminine company on the Way. Other memorable encounters included a deep discussion with a Danish pagan woman over vino at an albergue after a large feast/celebration for the Day of St. James (July 25th), an intense chat with yet another German woman over vino and cigars (the stogies were mine - if only I could've found Port wine in Spain, but no one seemed to have it), the English gals working at the Confraternity of St. James albergue at Rabanal who I ate and partied with, and a German mother/daughter peregrina team who were a blast to hang out with. And I can't forget the two Spanish women who took me under their wing a couple of days outside of Logrono, and the other Spanish gals I drank and danced with who were part of the large Spanish group I met during the last leg.

Normally I'm fairly introverted when it comes to women (or at least with American women, which is a story in itself). But the Camino was certainly a tonic for that, and my interactions with them are among my favorite Camino experiences. Man, all this talk makes me want to be a part of Arn's "Class of 2008" - although this time I think I'd start in Sevilla... :arrow:
 

Deirdre

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
#4
Hey! VT, you obviously didn't try any of the Osborne (don't you remember that great big black bull between Logroño and Nájera (I think it was Nájera)? Anyway just beyond Logroño. The Osborne bodegas from Jerez de la Frontera (near Cádiz) make some fine brandies, sherries (Jerez) and ports. If you're interested in the story of the bull (and don't know it) I can share... it is interesting.
Buen Camino...
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#5
Deirdre said:
If you're interested in the story of the bull (and don't know it) I can share... it is interesting.
Buen Camino...
I guess I gave up looking for Port too soon...but, yes, I remember passing the bull (and making a cross for the fence close by). I would like to read the story - post away! :)
 

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sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#6
Do you mean this el Torro - close to the fence with all the simple stick crosses in it?
 

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JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Donating Member
#7
Nancy Frey, the anthropologist, writes in her book On and Off the Road to Santiago about romance on the Camino - including in her own life. She also devotes a few pages to her observations on "Increased sexual energy" that the pilgrimage experience generates. Possibly mentioning this will cause an increase in sales!

I was really taken by the Fence of a 1000 Crosses - I thought it was a beautiful and simple expression of all of the different varieties and shades of faith and none amongst pilgrims who share one thing in their destination at the tomb of one of Christ's apostles.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#9
Hola Bharat,
It is winter on the camino.
Not many peregrinos are walking right now so we are sitting around a warm fire in Albergue Ivar with a vino tinto and a Johnny Walker discussing the weather, raincoats and blisters. Boring stuff really.
Then someone raises the subject of romance of the Camino. A couple of months ago Ivar posted a link to a newspaper article on the wedding of two pilgrims who had met on the camino - ahh, sweet!
Just last month a guy wrote an article about the camino. The header was: BLISS, BLISTERS AND BEATIFICATION
\
Spiritual seekers and power walkers from all over the world have rediscovered the Way of St. James, the old Christian pilgrimage route through Spain. Some travelers are looking for God, others for sex, while some are just trying to find themselves
. You can read the article here:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/zei ... 57,00.html
I am sure there has always been romance on pilgrimages - remember the wife of bath.

And thries hadde she been at Jerusalem;
She hadde passed many a straunge strem;
At Rome she hadde been, and at Boloigne,
In Galice at Seint-Jame, and at Coloigne.
She koude muchel of wandrynge by the weye.

Cheers, salud, prost, skal, sante, gesondheid!
 

Deirdre

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
#10
Well, at the risk of boring futher.... and since VT asked and Sil posted the pictures... but this has nothing to do with "romance", perhaps I should have posted it under the "libation" thread. Oh well.

I call them "El toro Osborne". In 1988 in an attempt to clean up the highways littered with billboard ads, the Spanish govt ordered all the billboards removed. So now as you drive across Spain the beautiful views are clear and unimpeded. The bulls however, are the logo used by the Osborne Bodega of El Puente de Santa María near Jerez de la Frontera. They adorn every bottle produced by Osborne...anyway, they were allowed to remain, with the writing removed. Along the way, these symbols became representative of Spain itself and now appear on postcards, flags, mugs, etc. much to the chagrin of Osborne! They are strategically placed on hilltops and are visible for miles as you travel through the country - I always point them out to my students who are fascinated by the mammoth silhouette against that azure Spanish sky. Approximately 89 of these gargantuan icons remain today... one being the one that we saw (and Sil, I photographed it as well!) just beyond Logroño.

That's the short version...I've included a link for those who are interested. It gives more historical and political detail (In Spain there is always something political!) :wink: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_q ... _n19443312
They've become nearly a "national symbol" if you will... rather like the Irish harp or the Scottish thistle.

Perhpas this thread is in the right place after all... romantic folklore! haha... oh by the way, the Osborne brandy, sherry (jerez) and port ain't bad either! :D
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#12
Deck me in tinsel and call me a Christmas Tree!

I was so enamored (sticking with the thread here Deirdre) with the bull pictures. I kept saying to myself...gosh, but that's exactly how I've always mentally pictured a BULL should look! How fantastic!

Then Deirdre goes and ruins the mood by revealing that they are just a silhouette. Darn!

Arn
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#13
sillydoll said:
You can read the article here:
Nice article, Sil - thanks. There were a lot of Germans on the Way this summer (for which I am thankful, because they were fun), and I believe that all the ones I talked to had read (or at least heard) of Hape Kerkeling's book. Funny how things like that can be a catalyst... :arrow:
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#14
Deirdre said:
but this has nothing to do with "romance",
Well, maybe it does...In the window of a Logrono photography studio I saw a large picture of a newlywed couple posing under the bull. And if there are better romantic stimuli than travel and spirits, I don't know what they might be...:wink:
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#15
Arn said:
Since I'm still waiting for my Camino, I will share this about Romance on the Appalachian Trail.
Well, since you, Sil, and others are SA, I should share that my biggest travel romance to date was with a young SA woman I met in Hong Kong back in 1989, while I was a young US Marine. It played out like something in a movie or novel, and it was quite the adventure...

It all happened on my last day in Hong Kong. My ship was leaving the next day, so I was hanging out in the cafe of a British armed-forces hotel. Three fellow Marines walked in, with four young women in tow. I noticed the fourth right off - nice figure, fiery eyes, and a mane of long brown hair. My friends seated their dates, and then came over to my post at the bar. I asked about the fifth-wheel, and they said she had a big chip on her shoulder towards guys. Thus forewarned, I joined them at the table.

It was kind of hate at first sight. She made some sort of snide remark, and I replied with a dig about apartheid. She told me to, "get lost," so I did. I moved over to another table that had filled with more Marines, and they asked me about her. I filled them in, and watched as each made an attempt to hit on her that crashed and burned. As they slunk back to the table in defeat, she and I would exchange dirty looks.

As the evening wore on, I began to feel bad about my knee-jerk (or just jerk, if you prefer) judgment and actions. I noticed two of her friends making their way over to the jukebox, so I sidled over to chat them up. I asked about the "chip" thing, and they told me that she'd had a bad breakup with an SA boyfriend back home. Indeed, her relocation to HK as a nanny for a rich couple was a direct result of that catastrophe.

Feeling chastened, I went over to her group, where I heard her say, "I'm so tired of men..." I interrupted and apologized for my rudeness. "No skin off my back" she said as we shook hands. They were leaving, so one of her friends invited me along for the ride. A bunch of us hit the streets of HK to find a favorite Chinese restaurant. I kept trying to chat her up, but a pushy sailor had joined the group and was hard at work wooing like only a sailor can. Now, the game was on...

We made it to the restaurant, where we sat and ordered a communal meal. I'd finally gotten some headway with her, but then she said, "I'm going to call it a night," and took off. I was bummed. However, she must've changed her mind, because to my happy surprise, she returned and sat next to me. We started chatting, and eventually the swabbie admitted defeat and left.

To make a long story short, we ended up hanging out and wandering all over HK until 3AM, talking and making out under the stars. Before she caught the hydrofoil home, we exchanged addresses and began to write each other. I visited her on a two-week leave, which was a massive adventure in itself, and we continued writing and telephoning until I returned to the States (remember, this was before the days of email).

Unfortunately, youth and distance took its toll, and despite talk of marriage we eventually split up. Looking back, I probably shouldn't have let her get away. But I suppose that's the way of things. Wherever she is, I wish her well... :arrow:
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#16
Vinotinto,

I knew there was something about you that was chemistry between us!

I met my SA wife while on embassy duty in Pretoria. I was the OX of a Marine Detachment on a carrier that carried out the evac from Saigon, we made several port calls in Hong Kong...my two favorite restaurants were the American cafe and Jimmy's Kitchen.

My Son, is a Marine...now medically retired and, after 18 months of rehab, is a contract security guy with the State Dept in Kabul!

Semper Fi!
Arn
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#17
Arn said:
I met my SA wife while on embassy duty in Pretoria.
Looks like you were the smart one between the two of us...I probably should've snapped up my SA galfriend. But, I think we were too young to wed anyway. Cie la vie, I suppose...

Arn said:
Semper Fi!
Ooh Rah! However, my hubris concerning my USMC days led me to believe I could carry a heavy load and go a long ways right out of the gate on the Camino. Unfortunately, my 40-year-old civilian self is a long ways from my days as a 23-year-old hard-charging Marine Sergeant...ow. But some of the tricks of the trade helped, and what I learned during those days got me through to Santiago, so I can't complain...:arrow:
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#18
Vinotinto,

We (Marines)always believe we can do more, with less, than most can do with plenty! You and I and many folks here are living proof that its the spirit in each of us that wins out! Gosh, to be 40 again! Then again, I'm just pleased as punch to be here at all.

Arn
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#19
U.S. Marines should make good husbands shouldn't they? Your motto is Semper Fidelis - Always Faithful?
 

oursonpolaire

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
#21
A Canadian peregrino pointed out to me that the Camino was much like being in a school play or in making a film; with the emotional intensity of the experience, one should not be surprised that sparks fly. In three Caminoes, I have seen two couples meet and eventually marry (one of them delightfully issued a wedding invitation in the form of a pilgrims' credencial), several more informal matches, and three pregnancies. Of the latter phenomenon, one of the women named her child Estephania, after one of the queens of Puente la Reina, where the baby was conceived-- she had intended to name the baby Estella, after the town where she believed that it had been conceived, but she eventually realized that it must have begun its existence in Puenta la Reina.

It was just as well, I wrote her, that the baby was not conceived in Burgos, or Hospital de Orbigo, or Villafranca de Bierzo. Even Atapuerca would not necessarily be a good name.
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#22
oursonpolaire said:
one should not be surprised that sparks fly.
Travel has that kind of effect on people. I think Shirley McLaine wrote that love/romance is on the Camino if you are willing to find it... :arrow:
 
#24
I myself found love on the Camino Frances this past spring, which was very unexpected! I was doing a solo pilgrimage, and for the first two weeks I found myself constantly having to try to ward off men (I was one of the only youngish women-23- I encountered so I guess that attracted attention from fellow male pilgrims), which was *really* annoying. I didn't do the camino for romance or to be constantly hit on.

Then, I injured my foot pretty badly and had to stay in Burgos for several days to heal. I was sad to be separated from my new friends, but the day I started walking again, I met Gianluca, and we very quickly fell in love with each other. We walked the remaining 3 weeks together, to Finisterre, and then I went back with him to Italy until returning to the US at the end of July.

I am happy to report that we are still in a happy relationship (though across an ocean), and he is coming to visit me in the US in 3 days! I have not seen him since July, so you can imagine I am very excited. The camino was a really magical way to start a relationship- I feel like it allows people to get to know each other in ways that would be otherwise impossible. I encountered a few other people who started relationships on the camino, including a couple who met on the camino several years ago, got married and had two children, and have moved to live on the path so that they can assist pilgrims (they leave out hot coffee and tea, snacks, and lovely words).

The walk have been an incredible, life changing experience even if I had not met Gianluca, but I feel like he made the experience (and my life) even richer.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#25
Well, secularists and agnostics out there might well call that coincidence I suppose ...

What a lovely story .. interesting about the foot - seems you started a few days early and had to be slowed down a bit ... just pure chance of course, nothing organised going on in this universe, just the mechanics of chaos .....

but it wasn't, was it.
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#26
fiddletree said:
(I was one of the only youngish women-23- I encountered so I guess that attracted attention from fellow male pilgrims), which was *really* annoying
Well, a woman's lot in the romantic life is to reject until a suitable one is found acceptable, and a man's lot in the romantic life is to be rejected until a suitable one is stirred by him ;-) That's a cool story - I hope the best for both of you... :arrow:

Br. David said:
just pure chance of course, nothing organised going on in this universe, just the mechanics of chaos .....
Ah, that's a big question, isn't it? I'd like to hear your thoughts (and everyone else's of course) in my new thread on this and other such ideas... :arrow:
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#27
Sorry VT - was being ironic there ... where is this other thread you wrote of?

My understanding about this man woman thing was that a man chases a woman until she catches him -- but what do I know ....
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#28
Br. David said:
where is this other thread you wrote of?
I created one yesterday called "The Varieties of Camino Experiences." It seemed appropriate to do so, since it has become apparent in various other threads that we all differ in our belief system, reasons for doing the Camino, and its after-effects upon us. So, I set up the new threat to possibly discuss that sort of thing. For example, you appear to be a theist, while Sil might be classified as non-religious. I find it fascinating that such different viewpoints can both find a home on the Way... :arrow:
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#29
Yes Br. David there are Marines, who also happen to be female. They are as close to combat as possible, though they are not in the combat arms (infantry, armor, etc.). That said, they receive the same training as male Marines, to include rifle/pistol. My Daughter Romi was accepted to Officers Candidate School, but just prior to her report day, her Mom's cancer came back with a vengence...she later dies. So Romi never went. My Son Christopher, also a Marine, was injured twice in the Middle East, recovered the first time, medically separated the second time. Went thru 18 months of rehab, and got himself together enough to go with the State Dept in Afghanistan (where he is now).

I apologize for the droning on...but Marines are a funny bunch.

Arn
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#31
Arn said:
I apologize for the droning on
We are funny, but no need to apologize for droning - you post well. I am truly sorry about your loss, though. But it sounds like you both raised a couple of good kids, and that counts for a lot in this world... :arrow:
 

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