“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”
– Saint Augustine
I was in the small village of Urtega, just past Alto del Perdon, when I met an American pilgrim I’ll call Callie. She’d started her Camino pilgrimage in Pamplona, and so this was her first day on the trail.
“Look at this town,” she gushed, peering out the window. “It all seems so old! Do you think these buildings are real, or did they recreate them for the pilgrims?”
It took me a second to realize she was serious. I looked out at the row of modest houses, made of sunbaked bricks and uneven red tiles. There was a cat climbing across a roof, hunting something.
Yes, I assured her, this was all very real.
It’s funny to think about now, but I do see where she was coming from. Rarely does an American like us have the chance to step outside the familiar tourist paths and witness the everyday beauty of normal life in an unfamiliar place.
Today’s #CaminoTuesday theme is Local Life on the Camino, and it’s been a great excuse to go back through my pictures and remember the moments when my pilgrimage intersected other people’s everyday normal. The shepherds and the farmers. The locals crowded around a TV to watch football. The communities gathering for church and festivals.
Reminders that my way of life is not the only way, and pilgrimage along the Way of St James takes us not on some set-apart holy route, but through the heart of people’s lives.
What are your memories of local life witnessed along the Camino de Santiago? Add your story, with the hashtag #CaminoTuesday, on your blog, or on Instagram/Twitter. (And while you’re there, follow me on Instagram and Twitter, too!)