2 May – The Spaniards I’ve come to meet are some of the most generous, gracious, distinguished and happy people I’ve met. I don’t know if it’s because I travel in a bubble along the Camino and the only ones we meet are those dedicated to the welfare of us caminoites. But I suspect it’s a common character amongst the people of this fine country. Everywhere you turn you see basic acts of kindness and consideration, and you hear of many more from other caminoians. (Ledigos and the Spaniards)
One of mine occurred in some non-descript village in the middle of nowhere. I stopped at a cafe for a morning coffee and after sitting at the outside table, promptly knocked it over making a mess of everything. I went back into the store and asked the old man for a cloth to clean it up. He looked at me, smiled and followed me out with his rag. The elderly gentleman would not let me clean up my mess, even when I insisted. He then brought me a new cup of coffee and would not accept payment. When I bought a chocolate bar and tried to leave a big tip, he forced the change in my hand. That day he earned my gratitude for his simple act of kindness, and I suspect a notch up on the Karma ladder. According to many along the trail, this story is not unique.
When you utterly desecrate their language, they’re appreciative that you tried and will somehow communicate well enough to help get you what you need. During your confusing discussion, they don’t talk to you like your an idiot by slowing down and speaking loud with short, simple words, but just continue talking normally, and show you.
When traveling through the larger towns you’ll see the streets come alive around seven as people stroll up and down the tree lined streets and alleys. They’re all dressed up in their finery and the older crowd look like they’re attending a royal event. But they’re not, they believe in looking their best and certainly pull it off with aplomb. You won’t see the spandex pants, or ragged jeans and T-shirts, it would be conspicuously out of place.
Violence, though I’m sure it’s here somewhere isn’t a concern when walking the city streets late at night or early morning (as I tend to do). You’ll see legions of young Spaniards leaving their night clubs and collecting in the streets still around 0630. But as you pass the large groupings, there’s no sense of fear that you’ll be the focus of their attention or the victim of some untoward act. It’s amazing, this is how civilization is supposed to work. How refreshing and insightful.
I don’t mean to sound Polly Anna about the whole thing, on occasion you’ll come across your typical garden variety Prick and Asshole. But on this trip, they seem to be the rare exception, rather than the rule as in so many other places. Learning the beautiful language and living in Spain for a while could be a wonderful adventure. (Ledigos and the Spaniards)
Interesting Links (Ledigos and the Spaniards )
- Photos along the Camino and throughout the Iberian Peninsula
- Return to the beginning of this Journal Blog
- Enjoy our Journal Blog about our travels throughout Italy