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The Solace of Memory

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
During this time of world-wide pandemic turmoil I seek solace in memory to comfort my tattered soul.

Although 10 caminos and more than 450 nights usually in albergues provide limitless recollections for which I am forever grateful, January 24, 2009, at Roncesvalles monastery on the Camino Frances was a very special stop to remember for a lifetime.

I had walked five hours through strong wind, heavy rain, sleet and eventually dense snow up the Valcarlos road to the almost mythic monastery. Saw few people and no other pilgrims on the route; needed to ring the monastery bell for shelter .

As he opened the monastery door a surprised monk greeted me saying "Senora in weather like this!" When asked if I might stay the night he nodded and suggested I relax on a nearby bench while he would prepare tea.

Protected at last from the bone-chilling snow storm sitting in relative warmth felt euphoric; I would be the only pilgrim in the old winter albergue opposite the cloister entrance.

Sipping our soothing (hot!!) tea the monk and I shared a long philosophic chat pondering the
necessity of both courage and hope to overcome difficulty. He then stamped my Credential and kindly invited me to the traditional evening benediction.

As always it was lovely. The service was held in the ancient Romanesque church (wonderfully heated!!) in front of the magnificent silvered sculpture of the Virgin. Three monks assisted and called me by name to stand with them at the altar.

In retrospect how special it was that snowy night to be the single pilgrim where crowds have stood throughout time.

...May we all sense the courage and hope necessary to overcome the current difficulties and
...Might thankful crowds soon again stand for their blessing at that special altar during this Holy Year.

"...but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope."
Romans 5:3-4



Margaret Meredith
 
Last edited:
Silver Oxide Camino de Santiago pendent
Camino de Santiago pendant that has a shell on the front, and "Camino de Santiago" engraved on the back. Comes with a black cord. Pendent is slightly larger than a 50 euro cent coin, about 25mm.
John Brierley Camino Frances Guide
This guide is one of the ones that has been around for over 15 years. Updated yearly. Please read the reviews.
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
During this time of world-wide pandemic turmoil I seek solace in memory to comfort my tattered soul.

Although 10 caminos and more than 450 nights usually in albergues provide limitless recollections for which I am forever grateful, January 24, 2009, at Roncesvalles monastery on the Camino Frances was a very special stop to remember for a lifetime.

I had walked five hours through strong wind, heavy rain, sleet and eventually dense snow up the Valcarlos road to the almost mythic monastery. Saw few people and no other pilgrims on the route; needed to ring the monastery bell for shelter .

As he opened the monastery door a surprised monk greeted me saying "Senora in weather like this!" When asked if I might stay the night he nodded and suggested I relax on a nearby bench while he would prepare tea.

Protected at last from the bone-chilling snow storm sitting in relative warmth felt euphoric; I would be the only pilgrim in the old winter albergue opposite the cloister entrance.

Sipping our soothing (hot!!) tea the monk and I shared a long philosophic chat pondering the
necessity of both courage and hope to overcome difficulty. He then stamped my Credential and kindly invited me to the traditional evening benediction.

As always it was lovely. The service was held in the ancient Romanesque church (wonderfully heated!!) in front of the magnificent silvered sculpture of the Virgin. Three monks assisted and called me by name to stand with them at the altar.

In retrospect how special it was that snowy night to be the single pilgrim where crowds have stood throughout time.

...May we all sense the courage and hope necessary to overcome the current difficulties and
...Might thankful crowds soon again stand for their blessing at that special altar during this Holy Year.

"...but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope."
Romans 5:3-4



Margaret Meredith
Thank you so much Margaret,
Now seriously, why do I have tears in my eyes after reading this?
I must be getting soft
 

Arn

Veteran Member
Anyone with the courage, interest, or penchant for rye humor interested enough...you can search out my earlier posts (2007-2011). Soon it will become apparent, I am a Marine, have little patience with sob stories, sudden revelations of "seeing the light", or endless complaints about bed bugs, snoring Germans, or poor planning. When I am right, I crow. When wrong, I crow longer and louder until you give in just so I will stop.
I have, in recent years, come to the realization that hubris is a two edged-sword. On one hand, a bloated expression of one's invincibility and/or accomplishments often masks a deeper insecurity.
I've had a career folks would find hard to believe and it's somewhat exposed in my factional novel "Merchant's List" (author A.N.Caird). All that said, I've come to appreciate, as mspath so elegantly recounts, the many simple and relatable little things that the Camino places before us. On the Appalachian Trail they're called "Trail Angels", on the Camino...well, maybe not angels but a singular event that strikes a cord so resoundingly beautiful that it's life changing, or at least life enhancing.
I walk today deeply changed and satisfied that in my previous life where I squandered so many opportunities, I know, more is in store and the best is yet to come.
Walking the Camino, or any path that instills a sense of well-being, satisfies a long-standing goal, or introduces you to others of a like mind, is the right Way for you.
Regrets are past opportunities missed. Each day in the future is a new opportunity to explore.
Buen Camino
Arn
 
Camino Socks
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Camino Way Markers
Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
During this time of world-wide pandemic turmoil I seek solace in memory to comfort my tattered soul.

Although 10 caminos and more than 450 nights usually in albergues provide limitless recollections for which I am forever grateful, January 24, 2009, at Roncesvalles monastery on the Camino Frances was a very special stop to remember for a lifetime.

I had walked five hours through strong wind, heavy rain, sleet and eventually dense snow up the Valcarlos road to the almost mythic monastery. Saw few people and no other pilgrims on the route; needed to ring the monastery bell for shelter .

As he opened the monastery door a surprised monk greeted me saying "Senora in weather like this!" When asked if I might stay the night he nodded and suggested I relax on a nearby bench while he would prepare tea.

Protected at last from the bone-chilling snow storm sitting in relative warmth felt euphoric; I would be the only pilgrim in the old winter albergue opposite the cloister entrance.

Sipping our soothing (hot!!) tea the monk and I shared a long philosophic chat pondering the
necessity of both courage and hope to overcome difficulty. He then stamped my Credential and kindly invited me to the traditional evening benediction.

As always it was lovely. The service was held in the ancient Romanesque church (wonderfully heated!!) in front of the magnificent silvered sculpture of the Virgin. Three monks assisted and called me by name to stand with them at the altar.

In retrospect how special it was that snowy night to be the single pilgrim where crowds have stood throughout time.

...May we all sense the courage and hope necessary to overcome the current difficulties and
...Might thankful crowds soon again stand for their blessing at that special altar during this Holy Year.

"...but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope."
Romans 5:3-4



Margaret Meredith
Thank you!
 

cathietherese

Catherine Davis
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPDP - Finistere May/June 2012
Le-Puy-en-Velay to Cahors/ June 2019
"As always it was lovely. The service was held in the ancient Romanesque church (wonderfully heated!!) in front of the magnificent silvered sculpture of the Virgin. Three monks assisted and called me by name to stand with them at the altar."
Margaret,
Thank you so much for reminding us how precious our memories are at times like these, and for evoking the Camino spirit of belonging by sharing such a beautiful experience on the altar at Roncesvalles. Your description is so rich and generous that is evokes a sense of being there with you and other pilgrims. How wonderful!
Catherine
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
During this time of world-wide pandemic turmoil I seek solace in memory to comfort my tattered soul.

Although 10 caminos and more than 450 nights usually in albergues provide limitless recollections for which I am forever grateful, January 24, 2009, at Roncesvalles monastery on the Camino Frances was a very special stop to remember for a lifetime.

I had walked five hours through strong wind, heavy rain, sleet and eventually dense snow up the Valcarlos road to the almost mythic monastery. Saw few people and no other pilgrims on the route; needed to ring the monastery bell for shelter .

As he opened the monastery door a surprised monk greeted me saying "Senora in weather like this!" When asked if I might stay the night he nodded and suggested I relax on a nearby bench while he would prepare tea.

Protected at last from the bone-chilling snow storm sitting in relative warmth felt euphoric; I would be the only pilgrim in the old winter albergue opposite the cloister entrance.

Sipping our soothing (hot!!) tea the monk and I shared a long philosophic chat pondering the
necessity of both courage and hope to overcome difficulty. He then stamped my Credential and kindly invited me to the traditional evening benediction.

As always it was lovely. The service was held in the ancient Romanesque church (wonderfully heated!!) in front of the magnificent silvered sculpture of the Virgin. Three monks assisted and called me by name to stand with them at the altar.

In retrospect how special it was that snowy night to be the single pilgrim where crowds have stood throughout time.

...May we all sense the courage and hope necessary to overcome the current difficulties and
...Might thankful crowds soon again stand for their blessing at that special altar during this Holy Year.

"...but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope."
Romans 5:3-4



Margaret Meredith
I also walked in 2009 and stayed in the old monastery at Roncesvalles, but in the Spring. I know you love those winter caminos. One day I may pick your brains and try one! Thank you for this wonderful memory.
 
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John Brierley Camino Frances Guide
This guide is one of the ones that has been around for over 15 years. Updated yearly. Please read the reviews.

MichaelB10398

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
During this time of world-wide pandemic turmoil I seek solace in memory to comfort my tattered soul.

Although 10 caminos and more than 450 nights usually in albergues provide limitless recollections for which I am forever grateful, January 24, 2009, at Roncesvalles monastery on the Camino Frances was a very special stop to remember for a lifetime.

I had walked five hours through strong wind, heavy rain, sleet and eventually dense snow up the Valcarlos road to the almost mythic monastery. Saw few people and no other pilgrims on the route; needed to ring the monastery bell for shelter .

As he opened the monastery door a surprised monk greeted me saying "Senora in weather like this!" When asked if I might stay the night he nodded and suggested I relax on a nearby bench while he would prepare tea.

Protected at last from the bone-chilling snow storm sitting in relative warmth felt euphoric; I would be the only pilgrim in the old winter albergue opposite the cloister entrance.

Sipping our soothing (hot!!) tea the monk and I shared a long philosophic chat pondering the
necessity of both courage and hope to overcome difficulty. He then stamped my Credential and kindly invited me to the traditional evening benediction.

As always it was lovely. The service was held in the ancient Romanesque church (wonderfully heated!!) in front of the magnificent silvered sculpture of the Virgin. Three monks assisted and called me by name to stand with them at the altar.

In retrospect how special it was that snowy night to be the single pilgrim where crowds have stood throughout time.

...May we all sense the courage and hope necessary to overcome the current difficulties and
...Might thankful crowds soon again stand for their blessing at that special altar during this Holy Year.

"...but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope."
Romans 5:3-4



Margaret Meredith
A wonderful prelude to a book should be in the offing. I hope you will consider it as I would enjoy such a stroll through wonderful memories.
I have found that my memory is found behind a locked door at times. It must be poked and jogged like a thief does to open a safe before it yields its jewels.
Often I sense that I have forgotten so much, but then as the mist dissolves as the sun rises over the mountain and my memories come back and pluck at my old heartstrings.
At other times, my memories are not of particular events on a given day from times long past, but they are wrapped in the feelings I once felt as I walked a road now lost to me. Faces come and go, but my feelings remain clear and oh, how they are cherished and beloved.
Our hearts are many chambered things and we each have spaces that are empty except for the memories of past days, places, and people most dear.
My sister, so deeply admired, this forum that focuses our minds on the Camino creates deep emotions for those we have never even met. From a distance, please know that you are held in the highest esteem, and prayers of gratitude have been said for the seeds of wisdom and joy that you have planted in each sharing.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
I too, wept. Thank you Margaret, for sharing your very unique, very special experience.

My 2019 early winter Portugues camino was not *quite* so solitary, but your post reminded me of the mass I attended in the chapel beside the Offices in SdC, where, including the priest and the lay chaplain there were only 9 of us in the room. I was asked to do the reading, and sobbed so at the request that I startled myself and had to decline. We shared our modest intentions for the walk with the gentle priest, and I found that I made a room full of new friends who were happy to welcome me both to supper and breakfast the next morning at their table at the San Martin Monastery in SdC.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
Anyone with the courage, interest, or penchant for rye humor interested enough...you can search out my earlier posts (2007-2011). Soon it will become apparent, I am a Marine, have little patience with sob stories, sudden revelations of "seeing the light", or endless complaints about bed bugs, snoring Germans, or poor planning. When I am right, I crow. When wrong, I crow longer and louder until you give in just so I will stop.
I have, in recent years, come to the realization that hubris is a two edged-sword. On one hand, a bloated expression of one's invincibility and/or accomplishments often masks a deeper insecurity.
I've had a career folks would find hard to believe and it's somewhat exposed in my factional novel "Merchant's List" (author A.N.Caird). All that said, I've come to appreciate, as mspath so elegantly recounts, the many simple and relatable little things that the Camino places before us. On the Appalachian Trail they're called "Trail Angels", on the Camino...well, maybe not angels but a singular event that strikes a cord so resoundingly beautiful that it's life changing, or at least life enhancing.
I walk today deeply changed and satisfied that in my previous life where I squandered so many opportunities, I know, more is in store and the best is yet to come.
Walking the Camino, or any path that instills a sense of well-being, satisfies a long-standing goal, or introduces you to others of a like mind, is the right Way for you.
Regrets are past opportunities missed. Each day in the future is a new opportunity to explore.
Buen Camino
Arn
Thank you!
 

susanawee

susanawee
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances-(2013/14/18
Camino Salvado Perth -(2015)
West Highland Way (2016)
Lyon France 2017
and I add my thanks to all these others above Margaret Meredith - Thankyou for sharing such a very special memory with us all, together with a wonderful word picture which I saw in my mind's eye as I read your post. Blessings Susanawee.
 

TrvlDad1

Covidyard Bob
Year of past OR future Camino
2017 Frances from Saria
2018 Finnisterre & Ingles
2019 Portuguese from Valenca
2020 Assisi(cancel.)
During this time of world-wide pandemic turmoil I seek solace in memory to comfort my tattered soul.

Although 10 caminos and more than 450 nights usually in albergues provide limitless recollections for which I am forever grateful, January 24, 2009, at Roncesvalles monastery on the Camino Frances was a very special stop to remember for a lifetime.

I had walked five hours through strong wind, heavy rain, sleet and eventually dense snow up the Valcarlos road to the almost mythic monastery. Saw few people and no other pilgrims on the route; needed to ring the monastery bell for shelter .

As he opened the monastery door a surprised monk greeted me saying "Senora in weather like this!" When asked if I might stay the night he nodded and suggested I relax on a nearby bench while he would prepare tea.

Protected at last from the bone-chilling snow storm sitting in relative warmth felt euphoric; I would be the only pilgrim in the old winter albergue opposite the cloister entrance.

Sipping our soothing (hot!!) tea the monk and I shared a long philosophic chat pondering the
necessity of both courage and hope to overcome difficulty. He then stamped my Credential and kindly invited me to the traditional evening benediction.

As always it was lovely. The service was held in the ancient Romanesque church (wonderfully heated!!) in front of the magnificent silvered sculpture of the Virgin. Three monks assisted and called me by name to stand with them at the altar.

In retrospect how special it was that snowy night to be the single pilgrim where crowds have stood throughout time.

...May we all sense the courage and hope necessary to overcome the current difficulties and
...Might thankful crowds soon again stand for their blessing at that special altar during this Holy Year.

"...but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope."
Romans 5:3-4



Margaret Meredith
Thank you for sharing this memory. In the end all we have are our memories.
 
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hel&scott

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
I have found that my memory is found behind a locked door at times. It must be poked and jogged like a thief does to open a safe before it yields its jewels.
Often I sense that I have forgotten so much, but then as the mist dissolves as the sun rises over the mountain and my memories come back and pluck at my old heartstrings.
At other times, my memories are not of particular events on a given day from times long past, but they are wrapped in the feelings I once felt as I walked a road now lost to me. Faces come and go, but my feelings remain clear and oh, how they are cherished and beloved.
Our hearts are many chambered things and we each have spaces that are empty except for the memories of past days, places, and people most dear.
What an apt discription of memory. Be it the recall of hot tea on a cold day, or the warmth of fellowship around an alter, both are gems.

The Camino memory that comes to me most, usually when I am tired and wondering what the hell I am doing, is the smell of oranges, from nowhere this scent travels to me and I lift my head to see Scott leaning on a marker post casually peeling an orange while he watches me puff my way up to him, then he passes me a segment at I can still taste the sweetness of the juice mixed with the tang of dust and sweat from his fingers.
 
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