What the Camino Provides for Yvonne Simon (My German Doppelgänger)

YvonneSimonI’m happy and honored to feature a guest post by a German woman I met while walking the Camino Portugués. I caught up to Yvonne as we walked alongside a vineyard about halfway between Pontevedra and Caldas de Reis, and we started chatting. Not only did we walk at the same pace, but we also used similar trekking poles and hiking clothes—the uniform of a savvy peregrina.

As we got to talking at a deeper level, we were amazed by our commonalities: we’re exactly the same age and at similar stages in life; she’s been working in the same profession for about twenty years and is wondering what else life has in store for her; and we both have taken to writing about the Camino over the last year. (She authors a beautiful blog about her Camino entitled Mein Camino.) I think I found my German doppelgänger!

We exchanged contact information and parted company in Caldas de Reis. When Yvonne returned home to Germany, she wrote the following post about what the Camino provides for her. There’s even a German translation below!


What the Camino Provides for Me

By Yvonne Simon

Sitting on the Porto Cathedral steps, I reminisce about the past three weeks—feeling happiness and sadness, pride and humility. With the late afternoon sun shining on my face, I think about what the Camino has provided for me.

CathedralOn May 16, I took my first steps from this very point on the road to Santiago de Compostela, feeling the mysticism of the path from the very first yellow arrow.

It is the encounters with people that make the Camino so unique. Thanks to an intensive exchange of pilgrims from around the world, one easily finds peace. All nations are united by a single goal: reaching Santiago de Compostela.

Santiago

On my way, I met my soul mates, and we spoke about my innermost desires, my most beautiful dreams, and my greatest fears. We shared joys and sorrows, sun and rain, and often also a bandage.

During the twelve stages of my trip from Porto, Portugal, to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, I experienced all the facets of my feelings—I laughed my laughs and cried my tears. The Camino never left me, and it always led me safely to my destination.


Instead of answering my questions for me, the Camino gave me pointers. It also taught me to distinguish the “important” from the “unimportant,” to concentrate on myself, and to listen to my inner voice.

The path took me to my physical and mental limits but never beyond. It gave me happy moments and developed trust in my own power and strength.

PathAhead

I learned to love the rain and enjoy the sun.

Despite all the blisters and pain, I walked every day, breathing deeply and freely.

My steps created a certain rhythm; the clatter of walking sticks became a meditation; the beauty of the landscapes was my cathedral.

I am quite sure, Camino, that I’ll be back.


Yvonne is someone whom I wished I had had run into in Santiago, but she was a few days behind me. I did, however, see Facebook photos of her in Finisterre (the end of the earth) with our mutual Camino friend, Miguel. He and Yvonne are two of the wonderful people I will always remember from my first Camino.

YvonneMiguel

Yvonne lived in San Francisco for a week with a host family to  study English. I hope to see her again in the Bay Area or on our next Camino. In the meantime, I will be following her blog, Mein Camino, which I have added to my ” Favorite Camino Blogs” page.


German Translation

Was der Camino mir gegeben hat

Auf den Steinen vor der Kathedrale Portos sitzend, erinnere ich mich an die hinter mir liegenden Tage – fühle Glück und Trauer, Stolz und Demut. Die Sonne scheint mir ins Gesicht und ich denke darüber nach , was der Camino für mich bedeutet.

Am 16 Mai 2016 setzte ich den ersten Schritt auf den Weg nach Santiago de Compostela und fühlte vom ersten gelben Pfeil an der Kathedrale in Porto die Mystik dieses Weges.

Es sind vor allem die Begegnungen mit den Menschen, der ihn so einzigartig macht. Der intensive Austausch der Pilger aus den verschiedensten Ländern dieser Welt und der damit verbundene Frieden ist hier so leicht. Alle Nationen eint ein Ziel : Santiago de Compostela.

Es sind Seelenverwandte, die ich auf dem Weg traf. Mit denen ich über meine innersten Wünsche, meine schönsten Träume und meine größten Ängste sprach. Wir teilten miteinander Freude und Leid, Sonne und Regen und manchmal auch nur ein Pflaster.

In zwölf Tagesetappen von Porto nach Santiago de Compostela habe ich alle Facetten meiner Gefühlswelt erlebt, habe mein Lachen gelacht und meine Tränen geweint. Aber der Camino lies mich dabei nie allein und führte mich sicher vorwärts, meinem Ziel entgegen.

Der Camino gab mir Anregungen, aber nahm mir die Antworten auf meine Fragen nicht ab. Ich lernte, wichtiges von unwichtigem zu unterscheiden, mich auf mich selbst zu konzentrieren und auf meine innere Stimme zu hören.

Er brachte mich an meine körperlichen und seelischen Grenzen , aber nie darüber hinaus. Schenkte mir glückliche Momente, Vertrauen in meine eigene Kraft und Stärke.

Ich lernte, den Regen zu lieben und genoss die Sonnenstrahlen.

Trotz aller Blasen und Schmerzen lief ich jeden Tag weiter, atmete tief und frei.

Meine Schritte bestimmten den Rhythmus, das Klappern der Wanderstöcke war meine Meditation. Die Schönheit der Landschaften meine Kathedrale.

Ich bin ganz sicher, Camino – ich kehre zurück zu dir.

 

One thought on “What the Camino Provides for Yvonne Simon (My German Doppelgänger)

  1. Pingback: Coming out of the Camino Closet | The Camino Provides

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