A cross-cultural friendship began last year when two 2016 Camino Provides patches were ordered by a man named Hans (Buijsrogge) from the Netherlands. When he received the patches, he emailed that he was very excited because he and his best friend, also named Hans (Sleven), were going to walk the Camino Portugués together in the fall. He told me of some health issues they both had, but they were finally ready to fulfill their shared dream of walking the Camino. They were enthusiastically reading my Camino Portugués Stages to prepare, and I was excited for them to soon be following in my footsteps. I wished them “Bom Caminho!” and looked forward to following the adventures of Hans & Hans online. Then, I didn’t hear from them for about six months. An unforeseen tragedy completely changed the course of their journey.
When Hans explained what had happened, I was in tears. He said they would like to eventually share their story on my blog. I remember saying, “Take as much time as you need, and heal.” He recently emailed me this interview, published by the Dutch Saint James Association and translated into English by René Sleven, the son of Hans Sleven.
I am humbled and honored to share their remarkable story of friendship, loss, and Camino camaraderie.
Part five of a series, Weaving Words and Photos into the Tapestry of My Life
by Sister Anita Fearday, a.k.a Pilgrim Weaver
Continued from Part Four: Arrival
R.S. Thomas said, “The point of travelling is not to arrive, but to return home laden with pollen you shall work up into honey the mind feeds on.” Now I am working on the honey harvest of my Camino experience. Not a day has gone by since my return that I have not savored a pinch of the pollen. This will be my first attempt at weaving words around the pilgrimage, now that I have had two months to ruminate.
Para leer en español, clic aquí.
The experience was a leap of faith in many ways. I had doubts about my physical stamina; financial viability; ability to be away from my loved ones and to relate to people of different cultures, languages, and backgrounds; and my ability to sleep on bunkbeds in big dormitories for a month. That I was stretched and called out of my comfort zone is to put it mildly, but I am glad I took the leap of faith and had the grace to persevere until the end. This experience has strengthened my faith and trust in a God who takes such tender loving care of me. Continue reading
Below is an interview with Marie Louise Muscat Azzopardi, a pilgrim who walked the European Peace Walk (EWP) in 2017, and friend of guest blogger James Portelli.
Pilgrim Interview: European Peace Walk
By James Portelli
Meeting Marie Louise
Have you ever crossed paths with someone who strikes you as a breath of fresh air, a person brimming with positive energy? My wife Tucc and I have known such a person—Marie Louise—for a few years now and we always look forward to meeting her on treks we join. I recently met with Marie Louise to discuss her most recent trek, the European Peace Walk.
Wayfaring – A Jaunt Along The Camino de Santiago
Scott Herriott 2014 ‧ Documentary ‧ 1h 19m
This film follows Scott “Squatch” Herriott, an Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trail veteran, on the Camino Francés in the spring of 2013. He interviews pilgrims, albergue owners, hospitaleros (volunteers of the Camino), and a few locals who like to flirt with young peregrinas.
Squatch can be quite hilarious at times, as are some of the subjects he meets along his jaunt. There’s a scene with a couple who met along the Camino, and a very moving story of kindness that gave me goose bumps. It was a nice surprise to see Bay Area pilgrim Nancy Reynolds interviewed at an albergue! She’s well known for her enthusiastic Camino Experience presentations and guiding people across the Pyrenees.
Why do people say the Camino provides? I am delighted to share another response to this question written by John Twort from England, who has walked eight Caminos! Below is John’s list of Caminos undertaken and in progress:
- Camino Francés: Late May 2004. Sarria to Santiago (sponsored for charity)
- Camino Del Norte: September 2011. Luarca to Santiago
- Portuguese Central: September 2012. Porto to Santiago
- Portuguese Coastal: June 2013. Lisbon to Porto (not waymarked)
- Portuguese Coastal: September 2013. Porto to Santiago
- Via de la Plata: April 2015. Seville to Caceres, Stage I
- Camino Inglés: September 2015. Ferrol to Santiago
- Via de la Plata: Planned for April 2016. Caceres to Zamora, Stage II
John shares his thoughts below on what the Caminos provided him.
Why do people say the Camino provides? I’m happy to share another response to this question written by a Polish American peregrina Pauline. She took the Camino by storm in June and captured the attention of many following her blog Pauline Flew Away: The musings of an amusing twenty-one year old traveling blonde.
Pauline shares her thoughts on her six month anniversary of her Camino below.
Camino Reflections by Pauline of PaulineFlewAway
I was honored when Laurie, of The Camino Provides, asked me to write about what “the Camino provides” meant to me.
In all honesty, I put this task off for a long time. I didn’t believe that I could actually put pen to paper and articulate how much the Camino provided me. But, when I sat down to think about it, and reflected on my life in the half year since the Camino, I knew that I finally had the answer.
It has been exactly six months since I started my Camino. Notice, I anchor to my start date, because I don’t believe that my Camino has ever really stopped.
I began on June 1st, 2015. My Camino took me from Burgos to Santiago de Compostela in 18 days. In those 18 days, I walked and I talked, I laughed and I sobbed.
I sweated through the Meseta, and shivered in the rain in Galicia. I drank too much red wine, and ate too many Spanish tortillas. Continue reading
What the “Camino Provides” means to Mike Miller
At the October monthly Camino walk, I interviewed Knute Michael Miller, who I met at a previous walk around Lake Merritt. Mike shares his experience of walking the Camino de Santiago (Camino Portugues from Lisbon- April/May 2013 and Camino Frances from St Jean Pied de Port-April/May 2015), the importance of taking a rest day, and his take on what the Camino provides. He also talks about his blog and tells us how he got the nickname Fog City Boy. Watch video on YouTube, or play below.
If you were on the American Pilgrims on the Camino Facebook group in April – May 2015, chances are that you read news from Cathy Seitchik Diaz while she was on the Camino Francés. She shared nitty-gritty details like the costs of albergues vs. private rooms, daily walking distances, typical food and drink available, and other practical tips. After following her for a few weeks, I became hooked on her real-time adventure. She revealed some personal challenges about a knee injury for which she had to slow down, see a doctor, and even stop to rest for a week. Her family and growing number of Facebook fans pulled for her and we all cheered when she and David reached Santiago.
Why do people say the Camino provides? I’m happy to share the first response to my question by fellow blogger Pablo Allen of SetMeravelles. Read Pablo’s take, along with his translation in Spanish below on why El Camino provee.
The Camino provides as many things to as many different pilgrims who walk it. I still have 580 kilometres to go before reaching Santiago, but the Camino has provided me with so much already since I left Irun on August 17, 2014.
The Camino has provided me with amusing anecdotes along the way. From getting lost and going 16 kilometers out of my way, to the people I met from all over the world, the Camino provided me with memories that will last a lifetime.