Magic of the Camino: Part 2

When you check into the Albergue Refuge Orisson you are asked if you would like to purchase a sandwich for five euros (muy caro!) to take with you upon departure as there is not much between there and Roncesvalles.

In actuality, there is a food truck on the way that is much more affordable, but not knowing that at the time, I paid for the sandwich, figuring the up-charge was worth the convenience factor.

But the next morning, ready to hit the trail for the first real full day of walking, planning to carry on past Roncesvalles to the town of Espinal (around 13 miles), I completely forgot to grab my sandwich.

By the time I remember, it was too late to even consider walking back for it and I berate myself over not being more responsible with my budget. I meditate on my issues with over-spending off and on for the rest of the walk and finally come to the conclusion that a trip like this could be literally once in a lifetime and that I should give myself a break on the “money woes” as I’ve tired of hearing myself whine about it, realizing no one else wants to hear about it either, especially in this setting.

I make it to Hostel Haizea in Espinal feeling blessed to have made it without any mishaps, a definite confidence booster considering I haven’t walked over ten miles since basic training in 1998.

The next day I walk with my new Australian friend Mary (see to the Basque town of Zubiri, meeting up with Carlos, a multi-lingual high school teacher, born in Bordeaux, France, who lived and attended college in the U.S. (Steeler Fan), and now teaches English, French, Math, and Physics (I think I’m forgetting a language…) in Mexico City (one of his parents is Mexican but I’m so good with details – all I know is he is awesome and I have a place to stay with him and his beautiful wife and daughter).

After Carlos and Mary check into their albergues, we meet up for a drink and I, unable to resist, order a salad with eggs, asparagus, tuna, green olives, and cheese. My cravings being adequately satiated, I say goodbye to my new Camino friends and head on to Larroasoana where I am booked for the night.

Upon arriving into the quiet little village of Larrasoana, I follow the signs (hard to get lost on the Camino) to my albergue, San Nicolas After checking in, my hostess shows me to my room of four and I find the room already occupied by two other women. One napping, the other taking care of their next night’s accommodations on her device (I’ve never truly appreciated WiFi until this trip).

The woke one (he-he), sees my Colorado cup attached to my bag (my plan worked!) and says,

“Hey, are you from Colorado?”

“Yeah, you”

“I live in Longmont,” she points to her friend snuggled up head to toe in her sleeping bag, “she’s lives in Loveland.”

“Oh cool, I’m from Ft. Collins,” I laugh, “One, two, three,” gesturing as if I were looking at the map of northern Colorado.

“I’m Laurie.”

“Kim, nice to meet you Laurie.”

“And that’s Stacey,” gesturing to her mummified friend on the bunk across from her.

Then it hits me. Triggered by the name Stacey, I remember being back in Fort Collins at our locally owned Old Firehouse Books picking up a copy of Paulo Coelho’s The Pilgrimage that I had preordered the week before. The woman checking me out (not like that) asked me,

“Is this the book about the Camino?”


“My friend is doing that at the end of May.”

“Oh yeah? So am I, maybe I’ll run into her, what’s her name?”

Flash forward to the hostel,

“Wait…. is her name Stacey Johnson?” I ask.

Laurie looked at me like I was the Long Island Medium (“The buttons, tell me about the buttons” – for you CJ 😉 ).

“Wait, do you know her?”

“No, not at all,” I laugh.

Apparently Stacey Johnson’s attention perks up at the mention of her name and out pops a full head of blonde locks (very Haley Mills from The Parent Trap) and a barely woke (hehe) face with one eye open.

I relay the story to them about the bookstore and we laugh at the “coincidence” and they end up inviting me along to dinner so we can keep talking.

Turns out Stacey Johnson and I have some things in common having both attended Colorado State University, graduating with English degrees around the same time. We were both born in California, and strangely enough, we both fractured our pelvic bones in car-related accidents…. weird. It also turns out that all three of us were on the same flight from Denver, scoring the same incredible $200 flight to Paris via Norwegian last Aug-Sep.

Comparing schedules, the girls and I have similar time tables for the Camino, so get connected via Facebook. The next morning, they head out early and I take my time as I had been getting over a cold I caught in Paris, so I sleep-in, literally being the last person to leave the hostel just after 8am.

Nothing in town is open yet so I hit the trail with plans to stop at the Cafe La Parada in Zurein that Stacey had mentioned the night before.

Arriving at the cafe, I opt to sit inside as there is some construction going on across the way. I get my typical cafe con leche and a tortilla with spinach (similar to a quiche). They have Wifi at the cafe and so I decide to hang out for a bit as there is a big group in white shirts walking for Diabetes and while “causes” are awesome, they take up a lot of room…. (cough, cough) on the trail.

At this point of the trip I’m not surprised when I see Mary walk into the cafe and we share a coffee with her new New Zealand pal Jan who she stayed with in Zubiri. Catching up on the happenings since we last saw each other the evening before, I relate the story about Stacey Johnson, and we shake our heads at all the “woo-woo” stuff that’s been happening since beginning the Camino.

Mary and Jan head off after their coffees and I hang out as I’m impelled to wait, kind of thinking maybe Carlos would walk in next but really just in no rush as I have all day and am content taking my time getting to my next stop in Pamplona.

Waves of people come in and out and finally I’m left alone, the solo pilgrim in the place and I decide that I’m adequately fed and coffee(d) and am ready to pack up and head out when I notice that someone forgot their sandwich on the table in front of me… their ham sandwich.

“The Camino Provides” again… and to add to that, what you have once forgot will be returned to you.

Now, will it bring back the razor I forgot in Pamplona……

We’ll have to wait and see….until then, thanks for reading!

Stay tuned 🙂


4 thoughts on “Magic of the Camino: Part 2

  1. Haha, I see your point Harry – how about, “I will let the money flow as it will – in and out!” Maybe not quite right either…. but it’s an area I’m still working on!


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