CP14 Recce D7 – all together now

We’re complete now.

Coming down into the lobby this morning, I heard – Bill! and was greeted by Peter and his wife Julie, and their two friends Ken and Angie.

This now makes our complete group.

Peter and Julie started their Camino four days ago, from a town just north of Lisbon. So they’ve already walked a long way to get here. They looked super fit – and with their backpacks and poles and Camino shine, they looked like serious pilgrims.

I’d last seen them in Zubiri, on day two of the Camino Frances last year. It was wonderful to see them again. And great to meet Ken and Angie. This will be their first Camino, yet they’ve been doing some very serious training in preparation.

Ken has a sly sense of humour that coldcocks you from behind. I’ll have to be on my guard when I’m around him…

I stepped outside the hotel to take a phone call, and I noticed this young man who was obviously smacked out of his brain trying to scam a pretty young lady. I’d seen this girl earlier – she was a pilgrim on the Camino, and she was having trouble getting rid of this bloke.

I wandered over and gave him €5. He was effusive in his thanks to me. He thought that this was an act of chivalry so that I could hook up with the pretty girl. He asked where I was from – I told him Australia – and he then proceeded to tell me that Australia made the best party drugs in the world.

I asked if I could take his photo –

druggie 1

Then as he walked away he yelled back at me and posed for a second photo –

druggie 2 I walked back into the hotel, met up with Peter & Julie, Ken & Angie, and we went out and had coffee.

The waiter offered to take our photo. I instructed him carefully – even pre-focused and took a preview test shot of him sitting in for me, to show him the correct composition with proper head room, but of course he made a complete botch of it.

Here is his first attempt.

waiter shot1 See? Too much head room. And I’d specifically told him about head room.

But he was trying to frame for the buildings in the background. He saw himself as something of an artist, it turned out. Big mistake. I told him that no-one was interested in the buildings behind, they were interested in the people in front – and he’d given us too much headroom. Wasted space in the frame.

He tried again.

Here is his second shot.

waiter shot3 Again, totally unacceptable…  Too LITTLE head room this time. Again I took a shot of him sitting in for me, and told him why I’d framed it the way I had.

waiter shot2 with waiter

This is the correct amount of headroom. How hard is that? Jeeeeees. I mean, ok, the guy is just serving us coffee – but, if you’re going to take a photo, take it properly. Please.

Here is his final attempt.

waiter shot4 This is ok. Not great, but ok. The framing is still a bit how’s-your-father, but it’s acceptable.

Meanwhile, my new pilgrims who have just joined the tour, and have just met me, think I’m a complete and utter dick. A total control freak.

Thing is, Greg – of Greg and Donna fame – Greg who runs a pool business in Brisbane – Greg is smart. Greg has got my measure. You see, we left the hotel to head off to dinner, and I took a slightly circuitous route. I went up the hill, round the corner, along a street, and down the hill. I’d forgotten which way to go…

We’re standing at the lights, and Greg taps me on the shoulder and says: Bill, we’ve just come a full circle. Why didn’t we just go down the hill and turn left. Instead of going all that way up the hill, turning right, turning right again, going down the hill, and turning left.

If we were in the army this would be deemed insubordination.

I explained to him that it was my surreptitious way of getting us in training for the Camino, going up the hill and walking around the block, and that in fact instead of him pinning me with an implied criticism, he should be thanking me for making him a little bit fitter.

But I suspect he didn’t buy it.

Like I said, Greg is smart. I can see that I can’t fool Greg. Damn. I’m going to have to watch him. He has the potential to be traitorous. I think he sees me as a Captain Queeg.

The thing about leadership, you have to do everything with bold intent.

Even if you’re wrong.

Even if you’re lost.

Even if you can’t add up.

We ate out tonight at Pedros dos Frangos, the famous Portuguese chicken joint. The bill came, and it was €112. The tour hasn’t officially started yet – it starts tomorrow – so we’d decided to split the bill evenly. Twelve of us, that makes €10 a head, leaving a tip.

Everyone chucked in €10 and I counted out the pile of cash and it came to €110. We were €10 short.

Someone hadn’t coughed up their €10. Perhaps they hadn’t heard, so I asked in a very commanding voice who hadn’t paid. I got these glares back from everyone thinking that I was accusing them of trying to shimmy out of coughing up €10.

And then Peter, who is a very successful accountant – a numbers guy – (and is unfortunately also a Hawthorne supporter but despite that, still a very nice bloke) – informed me that no-one had piked out on their €10, there were only 11 of us – so everyone had actually paid.

Then I remembered – Catarina wasn’t joining us till tomorrow.

If I hadn’t looked like a dick before, then I certainly did now.

We retired to the hotel bar and I ordered Port. I got the numbers wrong again and we got an extra glass. I shared it with Angie. It was arguable who needed it more, her or me.




23 thoughts on “CP14 Recce D7 – all together now

  1. Fabulous post Bill and great photos of everyone – especially the waiter’s brave attempts!
    ‘Hope you’ve got your Brierley Guide with you … sounds as though you’re gonna need it!


    • Got the Brierley Guide, yes. But if I can get lost walking outside the front door of the hotel, not sure how much use it’s going to be!! 🙂

      Luckily I’ve got some very experienced hikers with me! Bill


  2. Ah Bill….. Gotta laugh!!! I actually don’t see anything wrong with the waiters last photo. Perhaps just that you look in a most uncomfortable position. Poor guy.

    Did the extra port make the last photo crooked or is that artistic? Not sure about that one.

    Intrepid leader, go forth, tomorrow is another day. Have a blast!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Debbie, not enough elbow room at edges of frame – but otherwise the last shot was ok. I had to use the exposure compensation dial up two thirds of a stop because of the variance between under shelter light and background light. The waiter was very cool!

      Yes last shot was both artistic angling, but also to not have so much of the frame in darkness because of the trees. Two bottles of Vinho Verde also helped!!



  3. Well, Bill, you’ve obviously dug your own grave on so many levels. So why didn’t you vet the people who chose to come on your tour? No doubt you could have come up with a questionnaire to detect someone who’d – so easily, sorry mate, but the detour stuff! Really?! – show your failings so quickly and emphatically. With Greg and you between you having started the walk giving us so much entertainment, I just hope you can both keep up that standard for the rest of your time together. Enjoy 🙂 Britta


    • You’re right Britta – if there IS a next time, I’ll do a vetting of possible participants. Questions on the questionnaire would be something like this:

      – Are you tolerant of well meaning ineptitude?
      – If you saw the tour leader needing medical assistance, would you laugh?
      – If you found yourself in Fatima when you were meant to be going to Santiago, would you ask for your money back?
      – are you a Swans supporter?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bill, not sure that I would qualify.
        Well meaning ineptitude – difficult to cope but learning patience
        Medical assistance – call for the port bottle
        Fatima – the leader needs more prayers
        Swans – absolutely
        Where do I stand?
        Walk well and follow the arrows.
        Anne ➡️➡️


  4. OMG, this is going to be an amazing adventure and incredible blog to follow. I am still laughing. So enjoyable! And you were worried about teaching photography tips. Me thinks you should have been worried about whether your cohorts will consider you directionally challenged!! You are a riot, Bill! I am so enjoying your trip! Julie


  5. Just checking in to see how the intrepid band of pilgrims is preparing for their first day on the trail. Arm wrestling, check. Photo lessons, check. Orienteering, check. Yep, the ship is ready to set sail! Vaya con Dios!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi. Don’t worry about not being perfect as a leader. The group will bond more easily,and you let the others grow……..Enjoy the camino


    • Thanks Hilde!

      I’m fortunate that at this stage of things, they look on me with bemused tolerance. Later, after ten days of walk, when we’ve traversed 350kms when we should have traversed 200kms, it might be different… 🙂


      Liked by 1 person

  7. I thought that only the CF could make me feel humble from day one. Now I see that the CP will work the same dastardly spell on me. Thanks for the heads up – I’ll need to bring a big spork for all the humble pie I’ll be eating.


    • Dear Kathy, the spork is a great idea, whether to eat the humble pie, or just to be able to tuck into whatever of the wonderful food provided in that part of the world! 🙂


    • Kathy, I think you’d love it. I think I’ll come back this time next year, with another tour group. A great time of the year to be walking here… it’s so damn beautiful – but even 240km is hard. You forget just how hard…



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