Left Sarria this morning at 6.30. Was surprised to find that I was on my own for the first hour. I like to say the rosary first thing. Once the sun had come up I began to put stones on distance-markers along the way. My stones joined others with the same idea. It’s a lovely way to think and pray for people as you journey to Compostella. I prayed for lots of people this morning. My American friend, Ken, asked me what I was doing; I was surprised he didn’t know. I was introduced to this by an American lady (Meghan) last year.
Today was an easy day. Just 22 Kms. I arrived in Portmarron about 1.00 and checked into the municipal hostel; just 6 euros, but no plugs. As I queued up to register (it takes ages to do this: they stamp your card called a ‘credencial’ which you present in Santiago to get a certificate, and take details from your passport; all by hand), I met two extraordinary young people, who had walked from the Czech Republic and Slovakia: Wendy & Joseph. That’s extraordinary enough but there’s more: Wendy was personal assistant to a paraplegic, a man like Stephen Hawking. He wanted to go to Compostella, and Wendy agreed to push him in a wheelchair. She sought support using Facebook. Eventually six of them set out in March. Sadly the man, Milan, died in France: they had walked together 2000 miles. Wendy, Joseph and the others decided to continue; they have now just five days to go. When they get to Santiago they will hitch-hike back to their respective countries. They have no money left; the money Milan gave them from the sponsorship has run out. I’m wondering how I can help them. They gave me a card about what they done with a web-site: http://www.lifewithabackpack.co It would have been worthwhile coming all this way to meet these two marvellous examples of youth.
The hostel is noisy as I write this, it’s raining so everyone is inside. Wendy and Joseph are speaking to a man from Eastern Europe, who noticed the card they’d given me. He told them he’d seen this card in hundreds of churches as he passed through Europe; he must have been following them. A great coincidence. There are some truly remarkable people on this pilgrimage.
Bye for now.