Sunday was my last at Solana Beach Presbyterian Church for the next four months while I’m on
sabbatical. Paula Taylor reminded us of what was true about us and the church:
We love God, his church and each other; the church loves us, wants us to be
blessed while on sabbatical, and look forward to our return. Paula then prayed
a prayer of blessing for us. Hands raised, the congregation was sending us
away, so that we might be refreshed and renewed to return again. She prayed for
God’s presence to be with us as we journey together to Israel, and then walk
the five-hundred mile Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. We
all prayed together from the Northumbria Community... Christ,
as a light illumine and guide me.Christ,
as a shield overshadow me.Christ
beside me on my left and my right.This
day be within and without me,lowly
and meek, yet all-powerful.Be
in the heart of each to whom I speak;in
the mouth of each who speaks unto me.This
day be within and wit…
We decided to walk 22km to the outskirts of Santiago and walk the last few kilometers in the morning.
Neither of us could sleep, so we got up, packed our mochilas for the last time and walked to the old city at 5am. It was dark and rather than being joined by other pilgrims, we passed a few late night partiers and a woman walking her dog. It's not the entrance into Santiago we pictured, but we were all alone in the Praza do Obradoiro in front of the Cathedral.
It was June 17—thirty-eight days and 780 kilometers since we started May 11, in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.
We were two of the first ten pilgrims in line for our compostelas, which meant we got tickets for a free lunch at the historic parador. Peter from Australia showed up and introduced us to Michael and Linda from Washington DC, who also got the lucky tickets.
Peter also knew Ted and Darlene from Winnipeg, and gave them contact, since my phone died and we couldn't contact them. But we …
In 1981, the summer between my junior and senior year at UCLA, I studied in Madrid for six weeks. I had declared my Spanish major the previous September because I could graduate in four years with AP units and because I loved the language. I saw a flyer for the summer program with Bryn Mawr’s Centro de Estudios Hispánicos. I got accepted to the program with a scholarship. I packed my bags and backpack and began my first trip to Europe. Not many of my friends studied abroad, and no one in my family had traveled to Europe. Just a few years ago my mom told me she cried all the way back from the airport.
I had never been to a nation’s capitol, even our own. Madrid’s monuments, fountains, post office that looked like a palace, wide boulevards, narrow alleys and the expansive Retiro Park inspired me. I was taken by Spain’s romantic history of kings and queens, art, culture, buildings, the independence of food, I experienced the independence of travel and the journey with other students in d…