Thursday, 9 July 2009

Tracy Saunders, Viajera...

Sorry that this, my first "Camino" post has arrived late...but for the last week I have been almost without net access...Anyway, here goes....

It’s not exactly the Camino de Santiago, I admit, but on my way up to Compostela I had to pass via Madrid to get my passport, something I seem to lose with alarming regularity. Somewhere in the middle of chaos (demonstrations, policemen holding everyone up, one way streets – you get the idea) I picked up a traveller.

I didn’t realise it straightaway, but it was the click, click, click that gave it away. I spent the night in Leon at the Youth Hostel which doubles as a Pilgrim’s Albergue and there I met Thibault from France. He had his head out of the window enjoying a certain substance when I first met him. He seemed really pleased to have company as the hostal was more or less empty.

He had started the Camino in Bordeaux and all his friends seemed to be either ahead or behind. Despite the language “barrier” we got along famously. The next day I said I’d give him a lift to Hospital de Orbigo so that he could catch up his friend. First, I said, I had to find a particular antiquarian bookshop called La Libreria Camino de Santiago and a man who has shown interest in Peregrinos de la Herejia.

Whilst trying to find the bookshop I was virtually sideswiped by a taxi and hit a sharp curve. Have you ever heard a tyre on its last breath……. Had to call the grua (with some difficulty as couldn’t find the number of my insurance agency). Anyway the long and the short of it was three new tyres (the other two really were awful I admit) later I was “flat” (excuse the pun) broke.

Poor Thibault, who was a wonderful support through the whole thing, said: “I am so sorry for you”. Anyway, we both agreed: “It’s just stuff”, and anyway – after the very big nail was removed, and the tyre was resting in peace, we decided that better there than doing 140 kms on the highway…which I then proceded to do just for the fun of it, much to Thibault’s delight.

It was certainly the fastest he had travelled in weeks. When I dropped him at the campsite in Hospital de Orbigo (I can swim in the river! Maybe go fishing!) His last words to me were: “You are my angel”...... Thibault: it was the other way around…

By the way, I never did find the bookshop…..

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