As we wait at the airport for the flight back to the US, I’m reflecting on walking the Camino and the memories made with the Dalas:
- Staying at the Najera albergue and hospitalero Joy’s enthusiasm for placing the first Dala there.
- Leaving a Dala at the Tosanto albergue’s chapel during the pilgrim service.
- In Santa Domingo de Calzada, placing the third one at the Cisterian albergue and the fourth by Santa Domingo’s crypt.
- Leaving the fifth at Convento San Anton’s ‘bread niches’ next to other mementos.
- In Samos at the monastery, where Fr. Augustine promised the sixth would be put in a “special place.”
- And placing the last Dala in Santiago at the cathedral near St. James’ reliquary.
Some of the many Camino experiences:
* The excitement of arriving in St. Jean, registering our credentials, getting our first stamp, and putting our shells on our backpacks.
* The first day walking through breathtaking scenery out of St. Jean, finding it hard to believe we were on our way!
* Meeting a pilgrim community from around the world with everyone walking the Camino for different reasons.
* Staying at the albergues with fellow pilgrims — bunk beds, clothes hanging to dry, sleeping bags spread out, hot (or cold) showers, communal meals, and wearing earplugs for the snoring.
* The graciousness of the Spanish people, whose patience and understanding we appreciated with our limited Spanish speaking skills.
* Walking through strains and pains, learning the Camino lesson to not push the body but keep the pace ‘slow and steady’.
* Hearing hurting pilgrims say “I thought last night I would not be able to walk today” and then seeing them somehow, magically, able to continue onward.
* The freshness of the early morning and strolling through off-the-beaten-landscapes seen only by foot.
* Sharing the Camino with Dad, whose strength and spirit were inspiring!
Dad and I are truly grateful to have had the opportunity to pay tribute on the Camino to Mom, Aunt Arlene, and Aunt Ginny. Thank you to all who sent encouraging and supportive words. My hope is that everyone can experience a transforming journey, whether it’s the one we took or another path that calls.