Spain is opening up quickly, but remember that it was super locked down just a few days ago. Our pilgrimage was planned over 4 years ago and it all happened just in time. Folks from the States were only allowed to come over on June 7th. It is hard to believe that Spain opened up just in time for us to come over. As several shopkeepers have said they are really looking forward to larger crowds from the US and Japan.
One place that I was afraid would be closed is the famous wine fountain in Irache. Thankfully the door was wide open and each one of us was able to take a drink from the tap that poured out free wine. The tradition started hundreds of years ago when monks would offer passing pilgrims wine. Their monastery borders the Camino just outside the city of Estella. Sadly, it closed in the mid 80’s with a fall in vocations. A company purchased the property and installed a fountain that has two taps, one for water and one for red wine. Tradition is to take a sip of wine from your pilgrim’s shell.
Yesterday, we did not see or pass one single pilgrim until we got to our destination. That is very rare on the Camino de Frances (the French Way). Today was a little different. We came in contact with around 20 pilgrims along are way.
Our favorite was a older gentleman from the Netherlands, we will call him Holland. He started about 300km before us, in a town near Paris. He said his total trip would be over 1000km. This was his second time on the Camino de Francis and this 4th Camino overall. He said once you walk the Camino for the first time you get addicted. I’m not sure how my dear Teresa would feel about that!
We passed and got passed by Holland several times on our walk today. Once I found out he could speak English, I had a bunch of questions for him and he was very helpful. Hopefully we see him again and get a decent picture this time. The best one we have is at the top of this page and it was before we met him.
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I’m enjoying your blog. I spent 4 months studying in the south of Spain in 2000. This brings back lots of memories. I’ll pray for you and your boys along your journey.
– Emily Schuster
Also, make sure you try paella while you’re there and patatas bravas (basically a spicy potato appetizer, but it’s delicious!) Also, if you get a hamburguesa it will not be a hamburger but literally a ground ham burger!