I was walking this morning through the streets of Dublin in the Temple Bar area. Feeling emotional as I am leaving Ireland today after 3 months here including a 750K 34 day Irish Camino. Ireland has become my other home. I feel I belong here. But it is time to start the second leg of my Camino, 1900K from Le Puy, France to Porto, Portugal.
I walked my first Camino last year walking the Camino Frances from St. Jean Pied-de-Port, France to Valencia Portugal. My love affair with the Camino started near the top of the Pyrenees crossing into Spain from St. Jean Pied de Port on the first day. Near the peak of the walk there were a couple of beautiful French men handing out water and cookies to the peregrinos(pilgrims). I approached them with suspicion and reluctantly took a drink of water. Then one of them offered me a cookie. I hesitated and he read my thoughts and said, “We don’t want anything but your prayers for people with addictions and those people affected by people with addictions.”
So I sat chatting with these good men and soon a young man from Chicago,I think his name was Gabe Fries, walking with his mother joined us. He was caught up in the magic as well and grateful to these kind men. He pulled out his ukulele and sang “Hallelujah” on top of the Pyrenees where France and Spain meet. A fantastic start to my Camino.
Around 30 days later I was in Santiago having just attended the Pilgrims mass. I wandered over to a coffee shop to sit outside and write about my incredible experience on the Camino. In the blink of an eye my new Airbook Mac was stolen. I came to find that I had no backups so I lost 4 months of pictures, my diary, and all my stories for my website. This took me into a deep funk that I could not shake. I avoided my Camino buddies and decided in the morning I needed to get out of Santiago and back into nature. So I had breakfast with my friends and then alone started walking the Camino once again to Finnisterre and the sea. Just before reaching the Cathedral I saw a bunch of my friends and waved goodbye and broke into my Camino song, “The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond”. This cheered me up a bit as I approached the Cathedral tunnel and there I heard the song from that first day, Hallelujah. I shouted out that word. I let the anger drift away and my tears flowed as I soaked in the song and regained the joy of the peregrino. The walk to Finnisterre was one of the best stretches of the Camino for me.
One line you hear often on the Camino is that it has a way of giving you what you need. I found that to be NO Line.
So 9 months later I am in Dublin and walking through Temple Bar when I hear a song. Yes it is “Hallelujah” once again. I follow the sound into “Temple Bar” Bar and there are tons of drinkers on a Saturday afternoon. I stop near the stage and watch and listen to the man singing. The tears flow once again. The Camino is welcoming me back like an old friend. Or perhaps my Guardian Angel. Click on the link below to see and hear Gabe singing Hallelujah on top of the Pyrenees: