Starting to walk again on Day 23, I was worried about two things: the first was that I'd get sick again. The second was that our Camino life had becometoo pattern-filled. Like anything in life, you adapt, you learn how to go through the motions. We wake up. We drink coffee. We walk. We find an albergue. We figure out food plans, sit in a cafe, and talk or play cards. Getting into a routine can be good, but what if it caused us to cease being inspired by our surroundings just because the romantic "honeymoon" with the Camino was over?
It turned out that I didn't have to worry at all. The fact that we, and the other pilgrims around us, had become comfortable with the pilgrim life was a good thing. Because our energy wasn't focused on getting through the day physically, because knowing what we needed to shoot had become more instinctual, it left more space for spontaneous, strange, or new things to happen that we hadn't experienced yet. And a most of it we got to capture with our cameras.
That night in Astorga for instance? After we cooked dinner in the albergue kitchen, we went outside to the dining patio and realized that we had no way to open the two bottles if wine we had bought to share with our friends. About a dozen other pilgrims were sitting outside in addition to our group, and we started asking around if anyone had a corkscrew. One pilgrim did, but the corkscrew ended up breaking in the cork.
An Italian man spoke up. He said that if we put the bottle of wine inside a shoe and hit it against the wall, the cork should come out eventually. He demonstrated, and slowly but surely, the cork started to come out of the bottle. Ron wanted to try as well, and decided to wrap a towel around the bottle just in case anything happened.
Just as it looked like the cork was going to come all the way out, the bottle shattered in Ron's hand. Everyone cheered and laughed and started cleaning up the mess. It's funny how something as simple as opening a bottle of wine became a community event. I know that it will remain one of my favorite Camino moments.
Every day since has its own great story.... Being pulled off the Camino for free wine and olives at a vineyard near Cacabelos, trying to rescue a puppy (with somewhat strange results) outside of Rabanal. People say that "the Camino is just like life", and we actually joke about how vague that analogy is, how you could say that about almost anything. But I think it's worth noting that patterns and routine, here and in life, can be a good thing. If we weren't on the Camino for such a long period of time, we might have never gotten so comfortable with it, and the moments that are happening now would never have happened. Sometimes it's easy in life to want to rush from one adventure to the next. But I'm seeing the value in consistency. It's funny that I can say that about this sort of life.