If you are not aware already, Paul and I are going to walk a section of the St James Way, aka Camino de Santiago de Compostela. As we do this, we will be known as peregrinos, or pilgrims. The Way is broken up into stages and generally takes about 33 days-one day for each year in the life of Christ. Paul, our recent retiree, does have the luxury of that sort of time off, but I feel lucky to get the time off I have---about 13 days short of necessary time. So we are going to do this over more than one trip. This time, it is O Cebriero to Santiago de Compostela. And we are doing it the easy way--we will walk about 14 miles a day and a car service will move our luggage. This is called SLACKER PILGRIMAGE. That' us! Slackers.
In the true spirit of the Way (and we haven't arrived yet to the starting point), you stay with fellow pilgrims at the hostel. We are staying at the Hilton. Since I am a gold member, we got an upgraded room. Slackers indeed.
Here is my fellow slacker pilgrim, Paul Parris who is about to enjoy a nap (much needed on the overnight flight) on this comfy bed.
And could there be a more fitting end to Paul's paella passion than a tiny cup of espresso.
Overall, a lovely meal in Madrid, a good start to our pilgrimage and a few moments to reflect on our incredible good fortune. Paul often says love is a state of grace. Our first day was a state of grace as well.
Since the Camino is meant to be a spiritual experience, Paul and I brought a book of meditations so I will close each day with a word about that. Today's meditation, was on Ulysses, the book by James Joyce. It takes place on a single day, June 16, 1904 in Dublin, where the protagonist, Leopold Bloom, a Jew amongst Catholics, conducts his day. Paul's reflection is that while up until the time of Joyce, most writer's wrote about lives that seemed to be defined by social classes and predetermination and that Joyce wrote about life as a journey with nothing predetermined. My thoughts about it are that Leopold Bloom went about his day being a tiny hero to everyone who crossed his path...just by living an ordinary life. So we are inspired to conduct our journey with an open mind and much gratitude.
Maybe in that way at least, we won't be slackers!
Our flight from Atlanta was pretty benign and then we ended up at Casa Benigna....go figure. Regardless, after a 16 hour flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg earlier this year, 8 hours seems simple. Our best dining in Barcelona last year was "local" and we decided to try that theme this year. Casa Benigna was a fabulous example of that type of dining -- seven tables, an engaged owner, great food focused on a particular regional type of food (pealla). A good tip is it is located in a side street in an area outside of town, which turned out to be accurate. Overall, a slow day due to travel and sleep once we arrived, but satisfying. Tomorrow, the real trip begins, likely with a trip to Segovia...we shall see. We have had almost no time off this year, so we are so glad to be here and off to three weeks of adventure!