Earlier this year Jimmy Barry (Author of Under Galtee Skies) and his wife Helen joined the thousands of pilgrims who walk the ‘El Camino de Santiago’
“It was 6am when we slipped silently out of the albergue (hostel) in Burgos that had been our home for the night. In the dark we made our way up the narrow streets behind the Cathedral, where El Sid and his wife are buried, out into the countryside to make new friends and become pilgrims again.
That first morning a farmer in his field had shouted at us as we passed “buen camino,” the greeting we would receive and impart often in the days to follow. In unison we had shouted back “gracias” and walked on hand-in-hand. It was so cold that morning there was frost on the grass, but soon the sun would be up and life would return to this part of Spain called the Meseta. It’s flat as far as the eye can see, nothing but the odd tree, a small village far off in the distance - not a ditch in sight,” said Jimmy.
Jimmy’s diary reads, “ met Mike and Steve from Australia, done 30k, stayed in Boadilla del Camino, dinner with the three French ladies, one Korean and the two Germans, didn’t like the lentil soup, the albergue is full. All going well…’’
“Every day you get up, pack your gear in your bag, put it on your back and walk,” explained Jimmy. “We don’t need all that stuff that fills our life at home -no car, no TV, radio, computers, no newspapers - and we survived. The Camino gives you time to think and a chance to sort things out in your head; if you want to. During the days we walked ‘Poco a Poco’ (bit by bit) and stopped often to sit in the sun or chat with other pilgrims.
“John, how are you? Did you get any sleep last night?” “No, Jimmy you were snoring again.” John is from the USA, he is in his seventies and walks very slowly but always ends up in the same village as us every night. Carlo from Rome, who has perfect English, hopes to celebrate his 80th birthday in Santiago.”