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Special Kindnesses


Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
At the wonderful suggestion of JohnnieWalker, I shall gladly begin this new topic of "special kindnesses" along the Way. I placed it here - relating to all routes - because I'm sure that stories abound that originate from all parts of the Camino - Spain, France and farther beyond!

One early morning in Reliegos, my companion and I stopped for café con leche at a small, just opened café. After our break, we were outside putting on our packs to continue our journey. I turned and saw an elderly woman - the kind I remember from Spain of the past - very old, dressed entirely in black right down to the shoes, bent and leaning heavily on a cane. In her other hand she carried a paint pot filled with, you guessed it! - yellow paint! She was leaning down on the road repainting the yellow arrows to mark the Way. We had had to detour a little from the actual Way to get to the cafe and in order to make it easier for us to return, the route was clearly and well marked with arrows on the buildings, road, everywhere! As I passed her, I thanked her for helping us by marking it so clearly, she waved and smiled and said that it was important for the Pilgrims to easily see the markers so as not to get lost!

I'll never forget her!
Buen Camino,
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Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2006, Camino Portuguese 2009
That is an wonderful story but easy to believe after seeing the kindness of strangers in Spain. You would think they would get tired of seeing so many pilgrims day after day, year after year but they acted like they were happy to see us and never failed to say "Buen Camino" and point the way. I felt as though the whole country was cheering me on. The Spanish people are a huge part of why I want to go back to Spain.


Active Member
All right - here are a couple from me:

1) As I was leaving Pamplona, I passed into the University grounds. I started following a young attractive gal (ahem) with a pack, thinking she might know the way. I passed a young, heavily muscled groundskeeper who struck me as a jock jerk. However, he soon ran up and started grunting and pointing to the actual Camino, which I had wandered from (the gal was actually a student, I suppose). It turned out he was mute. He guided me over to the road, and with hand signals and grunts showed me the right way. I felt pretty small after that for being a judgmental dork, but I was certainly grateful to him. Indeed, a couple Pamplonans took time to get me back on track.

2) Maribel Roncal at the Roncal albergue in Cizur Menor. I've posted here about her and her tireless service to pilgrims before. She took me into the albergue before the official opening time, allowed me to rest, drained and dressed my blisters, and even tried to find me some replacement sandals. And her "maxipad on the boot" inserts trick was way cool. If there's any one person who I can point to as the savior of my Camino from failure, it was her.

3) The two Spanish groups I walked with. The first was early on the Way, and was headed up by Pilar, a woman who was a force of nature in her own right. She "took me in and gave me breakfast," as the song goes, and was quite a hilarious person to be around. The second group of Spanish I met just a couple weeks before Santiago. They also clued me in on Spain's great wines and cuisine, and partying with them was a treat I'll never forget.

4) The Planeta Agua store in Logrono. I found a flyer for them on a pole outside of Logrono, and they helped me get the right kind of boots (the ones I brought from home were simply too heavy). They also showed me the two streets with the best eats, and even gave me a souvenier gourd. Nice bunch of folks.

5) The woman who owned the albergue in Cirauqui. She made sure I was comfortable after a hard, hot day's walk, cooked one of the best meals I had on the Way, and introduced me to orujo de hierbas...muy bueno!

Of course, there were more - the folks at the Confraternity of St. James albergue (and the monks/priests) in Rabanal, the wacky Germans, the nun in white who gave pilgrims a small gold medallion as they entered the meseta, my friend in Leon who hosted me for two days, and on and, now I want to go back!!! :) :arrow:


Nunca se camina solo
I've walked in different countries over the years but it is only in Spain I have encountered such enthusiastic generosity from local people along the way. I suppose it might be because Santiago is "theirs" and like pilgrimages in other cultures most Spaniards dream of travelling to Santiago de Compostela at some point in their lives.

For me it is the little things: I most value coming across Spaniards walking towards me on a path or working in the fields who stop to chat - always with a smile and always with encouragement. In rural Spain it seems to me they thoroughly approve of pilgrims.

I have vivid memories on a long and lonely stretch of the VdlP of a lone shepherd on the hill with his arm waving in support. I had to wait a few hours in a village with only 6 people for the owner of the albergue to arrive back so a couple took me into their home and made me dinner. A woman in her garden outside of Betanzos beckoned me over on a sweltering day and insisted on filling my bottles with cold water from her garden hose - it was so hot I would have let her hose me too!

The chap in the bar in Puente Ulla buying the ubiquitous lottery tickets who paid our bill - "to bring him luck".

And many more.

All testimonies to how special prilgrimage is in this warm hearted country.
I've been the recipient of too many kindnesses to list here, but agree with the overall generosity of the Spanish people along the way towards pilgrims. However, what I really thought was cool was being honked & waved at by truckers. Here in the US, it's not such a compliment, but in Spain, I think it brings them luck to be greeted by pilgrims. They are pilgrims in their own way, of sorts, always on the road & sleeping in a different town each night, although with their wheels, they certainly can go farther each day. :)

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Time of past OR future Camino
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:
...also, the generosity and trust of those unseen locals who leave grapes, or a bowl of apples or cherries on the side of the road for passing pilgrims.
And some that leave water and fruit with a donation box - trusting that neither the fruit nor the box will be stolen.
... or the donation boxes in the albergues, like the one at Granón that has written above the box, "Leave what you can - take what you need." Pshew! We have a lot to learn from the simple, everyday things on the camino.


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On my first day on the Camino as my brother in law and I stopped to rest just at the place in the mountains where the Camino first leaves the road we sat with a group of french soldiers and shared cheese and wine. they spoke no english and we no french but we communicated. After a short while most of the soldiers go up to continue their hike in the opposite direction along the roadway. two soldiers stayed behind saying, I think, "We will cetch up with you later", to their mates. About 20 minutes later they removed from their packs some bright red "helmets" and knee pads. then they took out two small wheeled skateboards with handles. Smiling they began to honk a horn they had attached to their scooters and proceeded to travel down the road to catch their walking friends. Now, those are the kind of soldiers I want to meet and that is the kind of "war" i'd consider joining.


Veteran Member
Here's a different take on the thread...most deal with Kindnesses on the Camino, I'd like to list a few that have made my VERY soon to be Camino....all the better and more satisfying: If I were to try and list ALL the Forum members that have given Value Added to My Camino...I'm sure I'd leave someone important all the members of the Forum, from around the World and right next door....thank you from the bottom of my heart.

My very first thread started with "I think I've found a Home!' How true that initial though has come to be. I am home with my new friends, I look forward to seeing many of you when I kick off in Mid April. I have a list of: Gotto's, wantto's, and needto's.

I've PM'd a number of folks and been PM'd back. The exchanges have been both heartwarming and times. But the charity has always been there and welcomed.

My life has been changing rapidly over the past few months and my need to walk the Way as penance, while still valid...has refocused on discernment.

Last Saturday, in Son and his unit, by the Grace of God were forced to change direction while traveling down a road skirting a specific corner by a mere 10 feet. As they moved but 50 meters down the road...a van carrying a man and his two children passed over the spot and were instantly and brutally killed by an IED. Christopher and his men returned and helped the villagers gather the remains, some of which were found 100 meters away.

That morning I had sent Chris a "Happy Birthday" message. Chris isn't much on celebrating, so I told him that the neat thing about birthdays is that they are God's way of setting a date in our minds that we can always look back on and remember what took place that day and, I wanted him to know that every Birthday that comes along, for both him and his sister...I thank God I can wish them a "Happy Birthday" and they can say, "Thanks Dad!" in return.

It's my plan to enter Santiago on My Birthday and, since we've spoken of a party when several of us reach Santiago together...the VINO is on me!

Buen Miraculous Camino,


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