Trekking Passports Hold Treasures

Sue’s watercolor appears in Camino Sunrise.

Camino de Santiago trekkers value each unique stamp that they gather in their passports as they walk across Spain. Albergues and bars mark their signatures that certify each pilgrim’s progress toward Santiago, where compostelas are issued.

For us, the Credencial del Peregrino holds memories of albergue stays and many of our stops for coffee or a beer at the end of each day. During our trek, we carefully collected stamps, including two per day beginning in Sarria, required for the completion certificate. Today, though, the stamps in our passports hold more meaning for us than the compostelas. When I look at the stamp from our first albergue, Camino del Perdon in Uterga, I remember our first pilgrim meal, where we met four people who would become treasured friends.

Last year, we carried a Credenziale del Pellegrino along the Way of St. Francis in Italy, collecting stamps at each accommodation and some bars in order to earn our Testimonium at the Vatican. Most of the stamps lack the creativity of the Camino, but that doesn’t really matter.

A plain business stamp from Valfabbrica, Italy, recalls a wonderful moment a year ago on my birthday, when I sat with a glass of beer outside a rustic bar just a couple of feet from the road. The pink sign above my head proclaimed, “Pinky Bar.”

Cheers!

The Camino: A Question for You

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Like the many bridges on the Francés, the Camino de Santiago was a connection for me in more ways than I ever thought possible. As I wrote Camino Sunrise, more “bridges” appeared, enhancing my appreciation of the trekking experience.

So, I ask, what connection do you most treasure from your Camino?

Camino Sunrise: Now It’s Your Turn

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My wife Sue’s ink-and-watercolor paintings highlight each chapter of Camino Sunrise.

Why did I write an adventure memoir about the Camino de Santiago?

I wrote to touch readers’ hearts, tickle funny bones, and pique curiosity.

I wrote for people who have tried long-distance trekking and for those who are considering their first hiking adventure. I wrote for armchair adventurers as well.

I wrote for people who have struggled with self-doubt, childhood bullying, and poverty.

Many readers have shared their reactions to Camino Sunrise. Many wrote that my book resonated in several of the areas I mentioned above. They found a message of hope.

I would love to hear what you think.

 

Walk Hundreds of Miles? Why Not?

This post by a fellow Camino de Santiago trekker caught my eye today. Click on the link below to read the post.

After telling someone I am going on the Camino, the number one question I get is WHY? Why am I doing it? Unfortunately, this question is not one that can be answered quickly (although if time is short I really fight the urge to just answer, “Why not?!”). While medieval pilgrims were mainly walking for […]

via Walk Hundreds of Miles? Why Not? — Curious Loca

The Camino: A Night Without a Bed?

 

dscn0697A detour had taken Sue, Gert and me to Castrillo Polvazares, a traditional Maragato village off the Camino de Santiago. It was raining with darkness closing in.

From Camino Sunrise: Walking With My Shadows:

“I was about to suggest that we walk to the next town when an old, small pickup stopped next to us. A man with short, gray hair rolled down his window, stuck out his head and shouted questions in Spanish so fast  that I had no clue what he said. Gert talked to the driver, also in Spanish, then turned to us with the bad news.

”He said both albergues here are not open for the season yet.” We eyed each other quizzically, even panicked-looking. A wet journey in near-darkness loomed. We could not be certain there would be empty beds in the next village. Suddenly…”

Wonder Awaits Behind the Albergue Door

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Excerpt from Camino Sunrise: Walking With My Shadows:

“Seven miles after leaving Burgos on a thinly overcast, but warm day, I sat on a bench with my shoes off in the small village of Rabé de las Calzadas. Sue photographed bright red and yellow tulips covering a circular garden when we noticed a two-story albergue in the plaza. The guidebook said there were 24 beds; dinner and breakfast were offered. Bricks framed the windows, and benches lined the rock wall surrounding the front door, which stood alongside the Camino. A soda machine advertising Coca-Cola stood under a huge yellow arrow. Our next chance for beds was five miles farther.

Sue knew what we should do. ‘Let’s take a chance.’ . . . Our choice would be rewarded with the memory of two words that would mark the day forever.”