My primary motivation in writing the 53-part reflection on walking the Camino in 2013 was to assemble the “chapters” into a book to gift to our 9 grandchildren. This is the sixth such volume I have created to share our life experiences with then.

The book, “The Way, Our Way”, has now been electronically assembled, lacking only an “Introduction” before sending it off to the printer. 280 pages in all and measuring 12”x12”, it is a project that I am proud to give them. We hope that in time the grandchildren (or great-grandchildren!) may find the words and images inspiring.

The book will not be available to the public, even though the contents have been presented over the preceding months on my website. Part 1: “The Way” it Began | Peter M. Schloss, J.D. – Mediator. (

Since I have shared the 53 “chapters” with you readers, I thought it appropriate that I also share my “Introduction”:

“The Butterfly Effect”

Dear Grandchildren.

Conventional wisdom holds that the keys to a life well lived are focus and dedicated effort toward a goal. I believe that to be true, but only in part. Life is also a lottery where chance often comes into play. Seemingly insignificant opportunities and events occur throughout life which later loom large as having been life changing. It is only when we gaze into the rear-view mirror of our experiences that we can fully appreciate how small decisions set into motion events with monumental consequences. Here is just one example from my life with direct consequences for your parents and each of you:

In June of 1974 I accepted a job with the State of Missouri as a Probation and Parole Officer. I was given the option of an assignment in either St. Louis or Kansas City. I chose Kansas City solely on the basis that I had never been there before.

On July 7th I arrived in Kansas City with my small dog, “Samson Socrates”. Everything that I owned fit in my 1965 Dodge. My only furniture was a small 1920’s oak typing table that was salvaged from the remodeling of an old Chicago suburban high school. It served as my dinner table, and an orange Coleman ice chest was my chair. I secured a very small studio apartment ($119.00 per month rent, including utilities) which had a “Murphy Bed” that pulled out of the wall, each night transforming my living room into my bedroom. The apartment was little more than a place to stay dry and warm. I knew no one in Kansas City. It was an emotionally bleak time spent mostly focused on work and my dog.

Samson provided me with some companionship. Taking him on long walks allowed for exploration of the neighborhoods and nearby shopping district. Occasionally, a stranger would stop to pet “Sam” and offer me some non-work related human contact. On one such evening’s walk a long-haired man who appeared to be in his 20’s called to me from the front porch of an older home that faced the busy Southwest Trafficway.  Over the noise of the traffic he yelled out, “Hey, what’s up?” I responded that I was just out walking my dog. “Want a beer?” I was surprised by the offer, and gratefully accepted.

We spoke, I finished the beer, and then as I prepared to leave, I offered my thanks. “You don’t have to thank me, this isn’t my party. The hostess is inside or out back.” I decided to extend my stay and human contact by seeking out “the hostess”. Other folks inside directed me to the back yard where I introduced myself to an attractive young woman. At her urging I became the beneficiary of a second beer, and we began to talk. I spoke of my arrival in Kansas City, my work, my travels, and more. She reciprocated, but mostly with questions that encouraged me to share more of my “story”. We sat beneath a huge oak tree as time stood still. The encounter lasted nearly 3 hours. It was with regret that I finally said that I had to be going. My spirits lifted as she asked if I might come by and visit again.

If you haven’t already guessed, that young woman was your Grandmother. We began to date, but not without a few “speedbumps” of my own creation. We married in June of 1977 and were blessed with the birth of our children, your parents.

What if I had chosen St. Louis over Kansas City? What if I had walked Samson in a different direction? What prompted that man to call out to me with the offer of a beer? What if I had not accepted? Think of how life changed for me, Christine, your parents, and each of you by my decision to seek out “the hostess” merely to say thank you. What if Christine had not invited me back for another visit? I came to know why she did. Years later she shared that she had found me handsome, fascinating, an adventurous soul, almost exotic.

The events from that day in 1974 were the flutter of a butterfly’s wing that grew into the adventure of our lives. You might ask what this has to do with walking the Camino in 2013? As you will read in these pages, a friend’s innocent suggestion that I see a movie, “The Way”, is another time that the butterfly’s wings fluttered.

In retrospect, my life appears an endless series of seemingly insignificant moments that grew into experiences of consequence. I hope that someday you may reflect on your own lives and have the good fortune to say it was the journey and not the destination that brings you to smile and embrace someone you love.

Love to each of you and those who you bring into the World.
Peace, and Buen Camino. Grandfather

Written at Kansas City, Missouri. February 2, 2022. (2-2-22!)



On May 23rd, while enjoying wine and tapas in a small Santiago bar, I shared some of my thoughts about the Camino with Irish Peregrina, Una Barrett. I likened the pilgrimage to Peter Pan’s “Never Land”, a place where an adult may return to the spirit of youth and childlike wonder.  “Tir na nÓg”, she replied, “It’s Irish for “The Land of Eternal Youth.’”

On May 31st, with cabin lights dimmed, Christine and I were relaxing aboard our west bound flight. We were crossing the Atlantic. We were heading home.

Una’s words came back to me as I gazed out the window at the clouds below. With the benefit of the plane’s Wi-Fi I was able to find passages from J. M. Barrie’s 1911 novel, “Peter Pan and Wendy” that spoke to my heart. I began to type.   

May 31st. “Tir na nÓg” (Gaelic for “The Land of Eternal Youth”)

“”Second to the Right, and Straight on till Morning.’ That, Peter had told Wendy, was the way to Neverland.” (From “Peter Pan and Wendy”)

Scarcely could there be better directions to the Camino. Over the last 6 weeks I have learned that it is not so much a place, although it is a place, as it is a Way. It is not something realized through a book or from a video, it is an experience that unfolds within. The things which were important at the start; selection of equipment, route planning, communications, became laughingly insignificant. Destination yields to Journey. Appreciation for the qualities of those dear to you gains sharper focus. One’s “guard” drops, and the door to new friendships opens wide. Expectations give way to Acceptance.

For some the Camino may remain a vacation, an adventure, or an item checked off of a “bucket list”. For me the Camino was a blossoming rebirth of the happiness, innocence, and affection found in childhood. My Camino also included anxiety, discomfort, pain, and illness. However, without the full range of experiences, good and bad, there could not have been growth or appreciation of the Camino’s “gifts”. These included sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures, which were a sensorial symphony that played every day. Also included were intense spiritual experiences, and friendships which were like a morning Espresso; deep, intense, and rich but fleeting.

At the risk of inadvertent omissions, I acknowledge those friendships at the end of this note; a final “thank you” to the people who gave special dimension to my Camino. We walked the path side-by-side, shared a table, ordered dinner and wine from a Pilgrim’s Menu, enjoyed and endured Albergues, and of course frequently exchanged the sincere declaration, “Buen Camino!”

These were friendships that carried with them the uncertainty of not knowing if a parting would be followed by a separation of a day, a week, or a lifetime. Reunions on the Camino were often unexpected and flowing with simple joy. This was the kind of delight that is more typical of a child’s excitement upon seeing a beloved but long absent grandparent. For an adult, such warmth without reservation was a rare gift.

Is it any wonder that my hesitation may be misunderstood when I am asked, “So, how was the Camino?” What can I possibly say that offers justice to the question, let alone the experience?

I carried my backpack over 800 km on the Camino. Difficult at first, but it soon became second nature. I have wondered what I might carry with me from the Camino into everyday life. During an evening prayer service in Rabanal, a monk urged us to be mindful that Christ walked the Camino disguised as a pilgrim, careful not to reveal his identity. Perhaps a metaphor, but the message worked on me. As I encountered pilgrims, I found myself thinking, “What if she…, or he…?” I became a bit more sincere, a little kinder, less inclined to judge, and more patient. Perhaps that is the best thing for me to carry forth from the Camino, that the Spirit lives within each of us, and that I must act accordingly.

There is more from the Camino that deserves to be preserved in my life: The childlike wonder that we are born with was stirred anew. It should not again be allowed to dim. Each day should be a search for a new joy, and when found it should be shared with others. There is within each of us the capacity to do our best, and in that to do good by others. Happiness has its source in these things, and when found gives the soul wings.

From “Peter Pan and Wendy”:

 (Wendy’s daughter Jane speaking to Wendy) “What do you see now?”

(Wendy) “I don’t think that I see anything tonight.”

“Yes you do, you see when you were a little girl.”

“That is a long time ago, sweetheart.. Ah me, how time flies!”

“Does it fly, the way you flew when you were a little girl?”

“… Do you know, Jane, I sometimes wonder whether I ever really did fly.”

“… Why can’t you fly now, mother?”

“Because I am grown up, dearest. When people grow up they forget the way.”

May I never forget… “The Way”.
Love to all of you. Have Fun, Do Good, and Be Safe. Buen Camino!
Peter Schloss.

Dedication: To you who I name, and to those who I forget to name, the Camino wove you into the fabric of my life. Do not underestimate your contribution or my gratitude: Kris, Maggie, Bernard, Roberto, John, Lene, Jacobien, Henk, Christine, Gabi, Sabine, Gerri, Paul, Martin, Heika, Ed, Sam, Brent, Michael, Tony, Geraldine, Jenni, Jack, David, Carole, Ramona, Kalina, Regina, Alan, Deb, Dick, Bonnie, John, Patricia, Philip, Alex, Vickie, Kate, Patrick, Karin, Sven, Claudia, Jay, Mark, Chance, Olivia, Stephanie, Marcia, Tess, Lisa, Rose, Mike, Angie, Marianne, Gurtz, Javier, Jessica, Marign, Yosmar, Una, Eric, Andre, Raphael, Begonia, Neus, a Monk, a barber in Vega de Valcarce, a Pilgrim from the 11th Century, and of course my very good wife, Christine.

Some of you I have named will read this, but for others this dedication will be a message in a bottle. If you can pass it on to another who might not otherwise receive it, then the bottle will have reached that shore.

Finally, a special thanks to Albert Hickson. In the earliest days of publishing these posts to my website, Albert began sending me near daily comments, suggestions, and corrections. His contributions were voluntary and unsolicited. Albert is 73, retired, and he has walked the Camino more than once. He and his wife of 43 years, Viv, live near London, England. We had never previously known of or communicated with each other.



May 28-31, 2013. Barcelona.

When did our Camino begin? Was it in 2011 as we exited a movie theater, inspired by the characters in “The Way”? Perhaps the beginning evolved during our discussions over the following year. More concrete: Maybe it was when we began buying our packs, hiking boots, and of course our “sporks”.

When we made airline reservations, was that the start? Or was it at Mass in Kansas City on April 5, 2013 when Father Bill and the congregation of St. Francis Xavier Church bid us farewell and the priest entered the first “sello” in our pilgrim credencials.

Any of these may have been the start of the emotional Camino. I believe that the physical Camino began when we landed in Barcelona, Spain on April 8, 2013.

When did our Camino end? Emotionally, as these hundreds of pages attest, it hasn’t. It could be said that our physical Camino ended with our arrival in Santiago on May 22nd.  However, part of the experience of our Camino was embracing the broader magic of Spain.  That alchemy continued with our return to Barcelona.

May 28th.

 A pre-dawn taxi transported us to Santiago’s international airport. We were checked in and at the gate by 7 a.m..

The two-hour flight made a mockery of the 6 weeks that it took us to transit that distance by foot. Once on the ground we returned to Ana’s hospitality and the comforts of her centrally located Guesthouse. Kris Ashton also secured a room at Ana’s for the day preceding her return to the States.

Our belongings stowed in our rooms, the three of us proceeded the few blocks on foot to the Sagrada Familia. We had learned from our experience in April that reservations to tour the Basilica were prudent and depending upon the day, necessary. It was a Tuesday, yet the park in front of the church was active with tourists, vendors, and entertainers.

A quick walk around the Sagrada Familia disclosed progress in the construction accomplished over the 6 weeks since we first gazed upon its exterior.

The organic stonework of the Nativity Façade on one side of the Basilica and the linear sculptures on Passion Façade still amazed us with their stark contrast.

The first view of the interior was breathtaking.

These images only hint at majesty of the colorful stone columns that transform into an overhead canopy. It is like an otherworldly forest, everything drawing the eye up in wonder.

We had purchased tickets to climb and tour one of the towers. While somewhat physically challenging, Christine also had to suppress her discomfort with heights in order to enjoy the experience.

It was obvious that we were touring an active construction site.

Beneath the Church were the studios of the architects who work with computers and models to execute the transition from inspiration into reality.

There was also homage paid to the genius of Antoni Gaudi. In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries Gaudi did not have the benefit of computers to aid him in creating designs that were founded on his favored elements of circles, ovoids, and parabolas. Instead, he tied strings, weighted with small bags of sand, to give vision to his thoughts. Gravity created the non-linear flows which were reflected in a large mirror underneath the “string-cathedral”. It was from this that Gaudi was able to test and draft his concepts.

I could write an entire post (or two) about the Sagrada Familia. In fact, I did during our 2018 visit to Barcelona which was part of our walk on the Portuguese Camino. Rather than recount the narratives and those many images, here are links to those posts and pictures from 2018:

The Sagrada Familia Basilica | Peter M. Schloss, J.D. (
The Sagrada Familia. A Supplement. | Peter M. Schloss, J.D. (

That evening we joined Brent, his wife Marilynn, and some of their Barcelona friends for dinner. It was a wonderful sharing with a true “Camino brother”. Sadly, Marilynn passed away on New Year’s Eve 2019. May she rest in peace. Before her passing they had returned to the States from the home they made in Barcelona. Brent now lives in “God’s Country”, otherwise known as Idaho.

May 29th.

Christine and I resumed our embrace of Barcelona with a fond reunion.

In the 1990’s we had been volunteer representatives for AFS, the foreign exchange student organization. One of the young adults who we had the honor of knowing was Neus Santacana from Barcelona. Over the years we kept in touch with Neus. She joined us for the day and evening as we toured “her city”.

May 30th.

When we flew back into Barcelona from Santiago we saw mountains near the city that seemed to rise from the surrounding land like shark’s teeth. From the tiny windows of our plane I could also make out buildings that appeared to be built into the cliffs. Upon inquiry we learned that this was the Montserrat (“serrated mountain”) Range, rising over 4,000 feet above sea level.

The buildings were the Santa Maria de Montserrat Benedictine Abbey.

An easily navigated train ride took us 30 miles to the cable car station.

We boarded the 83-year-old conveyance for the dizzying ascent of nearly 4,000 feet to the Monastery.

Founded in the 11th Century, and rebuilt in the 19th and 20th Centuries, the Monastery is world renowned. It is home to over 70 monks, and can now be reached by road, train, or cable car.

There is also a cog railway that took us farther up the mountain to the remains of the ancient Chapel of Sant Joan and ruins of hermitages, some believed to have been inhabited by Sant Joan (John) and Sant Onofre.

The precarious stairs and passages were once the only access to these remote habitations.

Hermits are believed to have lived in these mountains as early as the 6th Century. Chapels were known to have been established by the 9th Century, and more formal monastic communities not long after. Monks were held to extremely strict vows beyond those of poverty, obedience, and chastity. Among those requirements were total detachment from the outside world, complete abstinence from meat, arduous regimens of fasting, self-flagellation, and denial of virtually all worldly comforts.

In addition to the grounds, panoramic views, and history, highlights of a visit included witnessing a performance by the Escolania de Montserrat boys’ liturgical choir and seeing the 12th Century La Moreneta sculpture also known as the Virgin of Montserrat.

The choir is a 700-year-old institution consisting of boys who are educated and boarded at the Monastery. These 50+ boys are between the ages of nine and fourteen and perform each Monday thru Saturday at 1 p.m.. On Sundays and Holidays they perform at noon and again at 6:45 p.m..

By some accounts, the 38-inch Virgin of Montserrat dates to early Christianity. Alleged to have been carved in Jerusalem, legend holds that it was discovered in one of the nearby mountain caves where it had been hidden from marauding Saracens.

More likely it dates to the 12th Century. For hundreds of years the statue has been venerated by commoners, royalty, popes and saints. On March 25, 1522, St. Ignatius Loyola laid down his weapons and armor before the statue, thus beginning a period of asceticism before later founding the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits).

We returned by train to Barcelona for dinner, packing, and a night spent in sleepless contemplation of tomorrow’s departure for home.

May 31st.

Our packs were secured in duffle bags for the flight home.

Rare for us, we were traveling first class. This was largely due to an accumulation of frequent flyer miles. The perks included access to the private lounge area, stocked with alcohol and snacks at no additional charge.

Thankfully, we were isolated from the airport crowd until it neared time to board our plane.

The real advantages of first-class seating came in the form of large comfortable seats that fully reclined into sleeping position, and of course liberal servings of adult beverages.

We resisted casting aside our pilgrim identities. Onboard the plane we each continued to wear our shells, and I my beret.

Heading into the clouds with the last views of Barcelona below us, I was well into my second glass of white. I gazed out the window and reflexively pulled out my tiny iPod-Touch. One finger-stroke at a time I began to type, “Tir na nÓg”, “The Land of Eternal Youth”…
Peace Everyone, and Buen Camino. Pete
Next: Epilogue, The Final Chapter


May 24-27, 2013. Muxia, Finisterre, and return to Santago.

I had been told,There will come a moment when you realize you are no longer a pilgrim on the Camino.” That moment came on the morning of May 24th when we boarded a bus bound for Muxia. On May 25th we continued on to Finisterre by Taxi.

“…you are no longer a pilgrim…” That is not entirely correct. Within each of us there had been change. We would return to the United States retaining the experience of Pilgrimage, and with that experience came a different view of ourselves and the world around us. Once begun, that pilgrimage is lifelong.

May 25th, Finisterre.

 Finisterre (pop. 4,700) is located 90km west of Santiago on that portion of the Atlantic Coast known infamously as the “Costa da Morte” (Coast of Death) due to the many shipwrecks that have occurred over the centuries on its rocky shores.

Like Muxia, Finisterre is a seaside fishing village. Although its population is slightly less than Muxia’s, Finisterre presents more of a commercial and tourist vibe.

Fishing remains prominent in the economy, with boats that are designed for work and not pleasure seen throughout its protected harbor waters.

The history of this peninsula’s roots is ancient and runs deep. At the top of Monte Facho (elev. 781), site of the ruins of San Guillermo’s 11th Century hermitage, and just above the famous Cape Finisterre Light House, are places of pre-Christian Celtic worship. (The following two images are from the Finisterre tourist website)

Massive stones are believed to have been altars used in various rites, including fertility and sun worship. One such stone was mentioned in 1580 by the Polish adventurer, Erich Lassota of Steblovo. “These stones… that could not be dragged by several yokes of oxen, can be easily moved (rocked from side to side) with one finger, and I did this myself.” (These two images are from Google Earth)

It was long believed that Finisterre (“end of the Earth”) was the westernmost point of Europe. In actuality, a peninsula in the Municipality of Muxia is farther west, and Cabo da Roca, located in Portugal, is continental Europe’s most western point, nearly 11 miles beyond Finisterre.

The 1853 Finisterre Lighthouse stands 56 feet tall, already elevated hundreds of feet on clifftops above the sea. It casts a beam of light that can be seen by vessels over 25 miles offshore.

It is also here, just beyond a granite cross and the Pilgrim’s Monument, that many consider the historic Camino de Santiago truly completed.

In town we secured lodging for the night at the 100-year-old, two-star Hostal Mariquito. Our room, one of 16, was clean, comfortable, and a bargain at less than 50€. Late that evening we joined other guests in the bar for drinks, sharing their enthusiasm over a televised soccer match. The hotel underwent extensive renovations in 2020.

Near the town boat docks stands a monument dedicated to those who trace their roots to Galicia, “Our Galician love, scattered around the World”.

While strolling along the piers we encountered a familiar face from the Camino. After a brief visit he invited us to join him and friends for a special seafood dinner at a small neighborhood restaurant.

Seated, the wine began to flow.

Fishermen, still dressed in their work slicks, walked in carrying buckets of fish and shellfish. These they handed to women at a counter who commenced to expertly gut and clean the catch, some fish still showing movement! The spectacle took place mere feet from our table.

Before long a beautifully presented feast of the sea’s bounty was placed before us at table center.

Manners quickly became irrelevant to this meal. We all dug in and devoured, much as locals have done for centuries. Fantastic!

Most of us were unfamiliar with one species in the pile. A knowledgeable German pilgrim proceeded to provide lessons on the proper way to eat a barnacle. They had an armor-like shell. One had to carefully break them open to avoid a high-pressure squirt of saltwater in the eye. The effort was rewarded with a morsel of tasty, crab-like, meat.

As the sun fell, we were once again grateful for a day graced with friendships and good fortune.

Tomorrow we “tourists” return to Santiago de Compostela.
Peace Everyone, and Buen Camino. Pete



May 23, 2013. Santiago, the Second Day.

We slept well, and later than usual for the Camino. Showered, dressed, and no arranging packs for the next destination. Were we still pilgrims? That question had yet to enter my thoughts. Breakfast at Hospederia San Martin was a cafeteria affair shared with those lodged on the lower and less “Spartan” floors.

The options were plentiful and well prepared.

Much like our second days in Burgos and Leon, this would be a day to take in the environs of the old city. However, highest on our list was to visit the Cathedral and attend the noon “Pilgrim Mass”.

We arrived early enough to score seats at the front of the left transept, near the main altar. To our surprise and delight, our Camino friend Brent had already scored a prime seat in one of the front pews. We joined Brent.

Brent and I had first met walking across the Pyrenees Mountains to Roncesvalles. He checked in on Christine when she was ailing in Burgos. We again crossed paths in Leon where he and his walking companion, Mike, had honored me by buying and wearing berets, adopting my practice of donning them at the end of the day’s hike.

It was appropriate and unexpected that the three of us would share the pageantry of the noon Mass.

For many of us, the big question was, “Will they light and swing the Botafumeiro?”

Christine and I have attended Mass three times at the Santiago Cathedral. It has been our good fortune to see the grand censer swing on each occasion. It is typically reserved for special occasions, however a practice has developed where for a fee a congregant may arrange in advance for this sight at a particular Mass. I believe that the fee in 2013 was the equivalent of about $300.00.

A nun took the podium and gave instructions to the assembly on proper conduct, specifically when pictures were allowed and forbidden. Essentially, once Mass began cameras were only permitted during the proceedings involving the Botafumeiro.

As stated in the preceding post: This massive silver “thurible” (censer) is thought to be the largest of its kind in the world. The current censer was crafted in 1851 by a goldsmith from brass alloy and plated with silver, it stands over 5 feet tall and weighs 124 pounds when filled with just under 2 pounds of charcoal and incense. (Measurements are from a unique 1983 study of the Botafumeiro that was authorized by the Cathedral.) A mass of incense is then poured atop the lit charcoal. It is suspended by a rope and pulley mechanism located high above.

The current structure dates to 1604. The Botafumeiro is next hoisted upward by 8 robed attendants who set the massive smoking censer into a swinging motion. The arc soon travels high overhead, from near the top of one transept to the other, achieving a speed of over 50 miles per hour. Over the centuries there have been a few accidents where the Botafumeiro separated from the rope in the course of its arc. In 1499 the rope broke, and the censer rocketed out, crashing into one of the side doors of the Cathedral. Reportedly, no one was injured.

The ceremony was a highlight for us, as was the reading of the numbers of pilgrims, listed by country, that had registered at the Pilgrim Office the preceding day. Although individual names were not given, we “heard” recognition of our accomplishment as the tally of those from the United States was recited. At the end of this post I will include a link to a YouTube video of the swinging of the Botafumeiro.

 After Mass we occupied ourselves with wandering through the Cathedral and marveling at its beauty, art and history.

We passed before the Porta Santa (Holy Door), which is opened only during Jubilee years, years in which the feast day of St. James falls on a Sunday.

An effigy of Maestro Mateo is located at the foot of the central post of the Portico da Gloria.

Unlike the Apostle high above him, he faces into the church holding a sign on which was once visible the word “Architectus”.

Tradition held that if one gently “knocked heads” with the Architect, some of his genius would rub off. As with the other side of the column, this too was cordoned off to prevent further damage to Mateo’s granite skull.

We climbed the stairs into the chamber above and behind the main altar to embrace “The Saint”.

Beneath the main altar we visited the crypt which is reputed to be the repository of the earthly remains of St. James. The stonework of the tomb is comprised of part of the foundation of the original 9th Century church. Santiago’s silver reliquary, seen here, was created in the 19th Century.

Our explorations extended to the area and streets outside the Cathedral.

We continued to encounter familiar faces, including a couple, Claudia (Italy) and Sven (Eastern Europe), seated off the south façade of the Cathedral.

Store windows were filled with all things Camino, but apparently eight years ago I found only the octopi in a seafood shop worthy of a picture.

Tapas, wine, and beer made for an excellent lunch, with more sights to follow.

By pre-arrangement we joined Brent, Kris, and two of Brent’s Camino friends for an early dinner.

Others present included Sabine and Gerri (Netherlands),

Yosmar Martinez (America), who is an administrator for the American Pilgrims on the Camino (APOC) online forum,

and Una Barrett (Ireland).

Una and I engaged in a discussion during which I likened my time on the Camino to being in “Never Land” (from J. M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan”), where an adult may return to the spirit of youth and childlike wonder. “Tir na nÓg” she replied, “It’s Irish for “Land of Eternal Youth”, she continued. I would later recall those words for a reflection written a week later as our jet crossed the Atlantic bound for home.

We could not let go of Santiago, though that evening we confirmed our May 28th flight reservations on Ryanair, Santiago to Barcelona. Wandering the streets after dark we happened upon two more dear German Camino friends who we thought we would never see again.

Ramona and Kalina appeared in our photos at Orisson Refuge on day one of our Camino. We would later see them in Villamayor de Monjardin, and Torres del Rio. Mid-Camino, Kalina fell ill with pneumonia and spent a few days in hospital. We were relieved to see how well she looked. The four of us decided a late evening pizza and wine celebration were in order.

With a final “Buen Camino” we embraced and went our separate ways. Near midnight Christine and I crossed the square in front of the Santiago Cathedral. It loomed above us, echoing lives drawn to it over the centuries, lives changed one step at a time.

Peace Everyone, and Buen Camino. Pete

PS. Our return flight to Barcelona was scheduled to depart in 5 days. We had time to visit Muxia and Finisterre on the Atlantic Coast, but not on foot. To be continued…

This is the link to the video of the Botafumeiro,
or just “click” the picture: