( this was meant to be published last night, but the wifi went down in this hotel. It’s now 4:30am Sunday here… )!
This internet world is very seriously weird.
Today I met Steve and Arlene for the very first time, and yet I felt as though I’d known them for years – we’ve corresponded so often and so regularly on this blog…
I also met Greg and Donna, whom I HAVE met before, back in Brisbane Australia. And I also met Marie-Dominic, from the Basque Country. (she refers to herself as Marie the Basque!) Jennifer and I spent some time with her in Santiago late last year.
It was wonderful to finally all meet up – although as a group we’re still not complete.
Tomorrow we meet the remaining two couples – Peter & Julie and Ken & Angela.
Peter & Julie I met on the slopes of the Pyrenees this time last year, and we very quickly became friends, bonding in the shock of a shared experience. Ken and Angela I’ve not met before – yet we’ve spoken on the phone and they sound like a delightful couple.
Already there seems to be a very strong sense of camaraderie between us all.
Steve and Arlene arrived first – and literally bumped into Jennifer of the lobby of the hotel. I came down and met them both – and my first impression was that they both looked so damn fit and healthy!
Steve is a champion bodybuilder, as most of you already know, and I went to give him a hug and it was like hugging a bag of cement. This guy is early 70s and has the physique of a 26 year old.
Arlene shone like a shiny thing – beautiful and radiant.
We all went to a coffee shop and the first thing I did was challenge Steve to an arm wrestle.
Note his bicep compared to mine.
I let him win.
(That just goes to show what a good pilgrim I am…)
Later we met up with Marie Basque – who was as equally beautiful and shiny radiant as Arlene – (what is it about these Camino women??) – and then we went out to dinner – later joined for coffee by Greg and Donna, who’d eaten very well at a restaurant near the start of the Camino down by the river.
Even though they were tired from a long flight from Australia (with a one day stopover in London) nonetheless their weeks of training have paid handsome dividends – they both looked way younger and fitter than when I last saw them in Brisbane, before they’d taken the big plunge and decided to do this pilgrimage walk.
Well into the evening now, after dinner, and seven of us sitting around a table in a small cafe, talking with an ease and conviviality that completely belied the time we’d actually all spent together – perhaps all of two hours.
Tomorrow we meet up with Peter & Julie, and Angela and Ken. Then we’ll have a quorum. A Camino quorum. Won’t that be cool!
All of you look absolutely fabulous! I am so excited for you! Julie
The Camino produces,what Jennifer calls the “shine.” They all have it, and we haven’t even started yet!
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The pictures are just great! Keep ’em coming! You all look very fit! Looking forward to “walking” with you from here at my desk in Seattle.
Thanks Lynda – we look forward to you joining us!! Bill
Great pictures and I have to say everyone looks great!! Thank you for sharing this with all of us envious people! Holy Moly..what a good time!
Dear Debbie, yes, it’s so great to finally meet the people I haven’t met before, and catch up with those that I haven’t seen in a while! Wonderful group of people!
Hey everyone – you all look so happy – how cool is it that you’re all finally together!
Bill – is it too late for bicep implants?
Cheers – Jenny
Trust you, Jenny, to come up with the ultimately perfect one-liner!!
Jenny, Steve needs bicep reduction therapy!!
Make sure you look after that young lad Greg of mine. Carolyn (his mum) and I have been hearing all about the trip and wish you all have a wonderful and memorable experience. Look after each other.
Cheers from down under
Hey Barry, don’t worry, he’s in safe hands with me…
Hi, Bill, Jennifer, Steve, Arlene et al – since I couldn’t be there in person to celebrate all of you meeting up for real, I’ve been celebrating the fact of ‘you as a group’ by having a fab lunch with friends here in Sydney with a small river of ‘champagne’ to smooth the way. It certainly seems that you’re all compatible and ready for the walk. Enjoy every step 🙂 Love, Britta
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Britta, you’re a treat! Thanks mate!! Bill
Indeed a great meeting.
Everybody’s cheeks must be aching from all that smiling! I thought your first face to face meeting with Steve would be great, but arm wrestling? Absolutely epic!! Popeye the Pilgrim Man! Bill, if you struggle with your backpack, Steve certainly looks fit enough to carry it, as long as he eats his spinach!
Safe journey to all, and keep smiling!
Sonia, that’s a really great idea! Given that Steve hates walking so much, why not make his anguish even greater by giving him my backpack to carry! Brilliant! 🙂 bill
Bill, the meeting at last. Would love to have witnessed this special moment. All I can say about the arm wrestle – Crikey!!
You all have the Camino Glow and you haven’t walked a step. So look forward to the next couple of weeks and following your PGS group.
Thanks Anne – it’s going to be a hoot. A truly great bunch of people!
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