Camino de Santiago Day Thirty-two and Thirty-three

Samos to Barbadelo to Gonzar

It continued to rain through the night and into the morning. We left Samos and walked to Sarria along beautiful paths following the Río Sarria.

We took my iPhone to the phone repair shop in Sarria. We waited three hours (through the siesta lunch break) to find out my phone is dead. Muerto. We transferred my SIM card to Amy's phone and downloaded my apps and email, and then walked to Barbadelo. 

The Camino and pilgrimage is about traveling light and letting go, trusting God and his timing. But I like it better when I can decide what to let go of, to plan my losses and think through the consequences.

I dropped my phone in Burgos and didn't anticipate walking through all the rain this past week. It was wet through and through. Muerto. What pictures are on the cloud, and what else have I lost? I won't know till we are back in Barcelona in two weeks.

While we were waiting we got the newsfeed that Anthony Bourdain committed suicide last Friday. 61 years old and one of the most successful iconic food and travel journalists. Muerto.

We watched his Barcelona and San Sebastián shows while we're in Spain because he always finds the authentic, local food and tells a great story. His pintxo crawl through San Sebastián was one the best meal (in five parts) I've ever had.

We love watching him because he interviews people with great empathy and curiosity–speaking his own truth and letting others tell theirs. I love people's stories and I was always curious about his own story, which he always told with a naked, dark and brutal honesty.

He also found great hole-in-the-wall restaurants or shacks like the one in Budapest we took a thirty minute bus to for the largest (hubcap size) schnitzel and French fries.

Last night we shared a meal at our pensión with two Germans, a Brit, a Frenchman and two Canadians. Casa de Carmen sits on top of a hill above Sarria with a wonderful breeze that dries our clothes on the line. 

Pedro, Carmen's husband, welcomed us, showed us our room and served us dinner–caldo gallego and ensalada mixta.  He also served us breakfast–bread and coffee with a fresh cow cheese and membrillo.

No rain this morning, just a cool breeze and fog as we walked through more farmland and villages.

One home has a whole spread of food and drinks for a donativo. Tables were full and we enjoyed the home cooked beignets, tortilla española and chorizo.

We walked through Portomarín, a larger town on a reservoir. We stopped for lunch and ran into Stephan, our friend from Heidelberg. He's a nuclear engineer in between jobs and walking the Camino. Since we first met a few weeks ago our countries' leaders have met and we were giving the thumbs up sign that everything must be good with the world.

We walked another 8 km up to Gonzar. Again, we are walking most of the time by ourselves and up through a beautiful forest–this time oak, pine and ferns.

But a fire recently came through here and burned up all the pine needles and shrubs. Muerto.

We settled into Casa Carlos. We ate dinner with Hans from Belgium. He recently sold his company and decided to walk out his front door 86 days ago and follow the Vézelay Camino through France to Santiago. 

We talked about the Camino as a very unique time for introspection, and how amazing our bodies are to walk so far one day and after a good meal and sleep we are ready to do it again. We also talked about our different approaches to the Camino. Like many, this is not religious for him, but it is deeply personal. For me, its spiritual but not because I'm catholic–which is how the spiritual component is hardwired here in Spain. For some the institution of the church is actually a barrier to the spiritual–the ornamentation, abuses and wealth of the church is hated and avoided.

How does the church help people believe in God and not keep people from believing? How do we show hospitality in normal, kind ways that people can receive and invite into community to experience authentic, healing relationships and wonder? 

"Be in the heart of each to whom I speak, in the mouth of each who speaks unto me..." (Morning Prayer, Northumbria Community)

Out of our room there is a little farmhouse with a prayer plaque. A blessing for the house? That Jesus would be honored by those who live here and their names will be written on Jesus' heart. May that be true for us all.

Jesus died. Muerto–but he promises to be with us and lead us.

I am grieving and dealing with a few losses and trusting his leading on these last three days of the Camino.

There is an important lesson in dying to ourselves and honest self reflection. "See if my Camino is off track, and lead me in your Camino everlasting." (Psalm 139–paraphrased from Spanish).


  1. Hey Mike and Amy. How's it going? Just read your blog and realized that your smartphone was not as smart anymore. We arrive in Santiago tomorrow? What's your plan?


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