IT’S A SMALL WORLD-Camino de Santiago to Panama

It has been 4 months since my last day on La Compestela de Santiago or known simply as The Camino,  finishing 51 days of walking in Valencia, Portugal just across the border from Tui, Spain. The Camino is a living spirit and it remains in my soul. I miss the nature, the rhythm of the daily walking, the fellow peregrinos, and the local people.

PictureToday though I am in Bocas del Toro on the Carribean in Panama. A young Australian girl Natalie is at the hostal and she was at our hostal in Panama City and the Lost and Found Lodge in the mountains above David. The Camino came up in our conversation as her dad is walking it right now.  Another young man, a German named Julian told me about his mother who walked out her front door near Munich last year and walked to Santiago.The Camino has been on my mind during this trip, I am thinking of changing my travel plans and doing it again later this year. 

So today I am sitting in the outdoor dining area above the pool and the sea and two young girls sit down near me. We start chatting and one of them mentions she is from Australia, Bec short for Rebecca,  and the other from Lithuania, Ieva (pictured with me above). I mention that I only know one Lithuanian, a girl living in Copenhagen, Lolita. The Lithuanian stares at me a bit and says, “Lolita is my friend”. I tell her that I wrote a story on my blog mentioning her as a tough looking young girl with colored red streaks in her hair, tattoos, and was constantly smoking. I met her in Agos about 21 days before Santiago. We ran into each other frequently  and my view of her changed as I got beyond the dyed hair, tattoos, and smoking and listened to her and got to know her a bit. She was really quite nice and interesting and I came to look forward to seeing her randomly on the Camino. 3 days out of Santiago when I reached the sea, I was feeling such intense joy and stripped and swam in the ocean. Afterwards I walked down the beach barefoot a few hundred meters and coming into Finisterre there was a bar. Sitting out front was Lolita and another Camino buddy, Flower, a very sweet dark haired Basque girl. Lolita went in and got me a vino tinto, which she knew to be my drink of choice on the Camino. What a beautiful moment, sitting with these two wonderful girls, sipping my wine, enjoying the sound of the waves hitting the beach and the happiness of reaching the “Edge of the World”. Another of many moments of intense joy on the Camino.So, I suggested to Ieva, the Lithuanian girl here at Bocas, and Bec, who was friends with Lolita as well, to call Lolita and tell her she had a very detailed dream describing the scene on the beach with the Basque girl, the old American with the vino tinto. What a nice joke we played on Lolita.

The next day Ieva shared with me her conversation with Lolita and we both had a good laugh. Later sitting alone enjoying the sea, I thought back to my night at St. Jean Pied de Port where we stayed at a wonderful hostel. The manager was very intense about the Camino and he had us all share our intentions for the Camino we were to start in the morning. I had not really thought about it but I just started talking and told the others about traveling the last 2 years after retiring and how much joy I was getting. I then said that I was finding that the world was getting smaller for me and how much I liked that and I  hoped the Camino would make it even smaller. Well as many peregrinos know, the Camino has a way of providing what you want and for me it does not stop giving.

This summer I will be walking in Ireland and then touring with my wife Denise. Now I am thinking perhaps I will walk from Dublin or Paris to Finisterre and do my second Camino. Porque No (why not).

A picture of Lolita from her Facebook page is below:



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