On Saturday Jennifer and I had what is turning out to be an annual pre-Christmas lunch with our Three Camino Angels – Britta, Janet, and Jenny.
We started our lunch at 1pm, and we finished at 7pm.
That is what’s officially known as a “long lunch.”
Britta and Janet came with us on the Indian tour. Jenny was not able to come, because she’d committed to being a hospitalero on the Frances. So the lunch was, in part, a chance for us all to debrief after the tour, and to tell Jenny what she missed out on, and for Jenny to tell us what we missed out on!
She said that while it would have been wonderful to have come to India, her work as a hospitalero had been incredible, and very rewarding. She said she got back way more than she gave out. And she’s planning to do it again next year.
We spent the entire time swapping stories, catching up, chatting, laughing, drinking, eating, laughing some more, and generally having a great time.
It was interesting for Jennifer and me to find out what kind of impact the Indian tour had on Britta and Janet. They were both still buzzing from the experience. They found it at times profoundly moving, but also a lot of fun.
At some point in the hazy afternoon we talked about the power of the Camino, of how we were together because of that ancient way to Santiago, and how strong those bonds can be – even from just a fairly cursory meeting while walking.
Friendships can be made that will last a lifetime.
The Camino Angels are friends because of their meeting on the Camino. Jennifer and I are friends with them because we met on this blog, which of course came about because of the Camino. Each of us now has very strong friendships all over the world –
We spoke about other walks we could do – and we agreed that none of us are in any way interested in walking just for the sake of walking. The Pacific Crest Trail is not for us – nor the Appalachian Trail. Magnificent walks that they are, and of course supremely challenging, but they are not the Camino.
I’ve spoken before of the soul imprint that’s there on the Camino – the energetic residue of all those who have gone before. It’s the reason sick people can walk the Camino and get better. It’s the reason frail old people can walk 800kms. It’s the reason those with questions find those questions answered. They are all imbued with the accumulated energetic residues that lie within that sacred way.
At 6:30pm our waiter informed us that regrettably, our luncheon table had been reserved for dinner. We grumbled, and shifted to another table so that we could have coffee and dessert. There was still much more to talk about – more to laugh about.
At 7pm we finally left the restaurant, because there were people lining up outside wanting a table. On the street outside I suggested we sashay through to dinner at a great Greek place further up the street, but common sense ultimately prevailed.
But we didn’t want to say goodbye. There was still such a lot to talk about. That’s the power of the Camino.