Two days...for two full days my backpack has sat hunkered in a corner of my
small, efficient semenario room at Seminario Menor in Santiago de Compostela.
A pilgrim albergue like no other I have experienced, the quiet, calm grace of this remarkable
venue has seeped into body and soul.
Sunsets on the portico shared with pilgrims from varying countries; a multitude of different camino treks: Portuguese, Norte, Francês, Ingles, Via de la Plata….all coming together at this final melting pot of pilgrim community… we are here...Santiago!
Earlier in the day we stood waiting. Some glancing at watches, others settled on century old marble stairs, I found my spirit strangely at ease. Calm… present….the doors will open when the doors open.
Anxious pilgrims walked forward, rattling door handles as if to alert the attendants they were late -- doors open at 1:30PM-- it is now past 1:32PM!
Bless them, the Germans are first to rally when a set time marker has not been met. Time - the exact mark of time - so ingrained in the culture. For the community at large it keeps a people and a country precise. It is their gift; it is their curse.
And me, my spirit? Peaceful. Truly, utterly, at peace with where I stood; the lack of concept in time. Those who know me will have a giggle at this.
“ Kate, waiting? Kate , peaceful while waiting?” Waiting has always been a challenge--- ask my Mom…. it is our joke. Her daughter has lacked patience in waiting for many a year!
And yet, 1:30 Pm slid into 1:45 PM, with others rattling iron door handles, while I leaned against my trekking poles; sore tired feet my only minor annoyance.
Bolts clanged from the other side of solid wooden doors as keys, first one then the next, were wiggled into well used locks. Double doors, opened wide immediately, framing a smiling face
As she welcomed us in with a warm, inviting “ Buenas Dias”
Halls stretched on as we found our way past lavoratories --16 private toilet stalls, 8 per side, co-ed--; Shower rooms - again 16, each with locking doors although a co-ed facility, and a separate room, almost comical in its rows upon rows of sinks. This facility had been structured to house many; priests, students, nuns...all on the same time schedule day after day- it was obvious.
As a pilgrim albergue, housing well over 100-150 pilgrims, it is perfect!
For 3Euros extra per night I have booked a private room , celebrating my two nights at the end of my pilgrimage.
A twin bed; a small, practical desk and chair; a sink and mirror grace my room. Barren.
And yet, I am fully aware I have been gifted a room once slated for those with a touch of authority.
And how do I know? 3 windows! Three windows open to the inner courtyard and a magnificent bell tower. And, even more evident, my room sits next door to a private bathroom for toilet facilities. Yes, I am certainly housed in a monastic room whose inhabitants thwarted power!
But, where did I start?
Oh yes, my backpack, dropped and hunkered in a corner. Until today, this misty grey Santiago morning, two days later.
Lifted and strapped to my back, boots tightened for proper support, I am once again peregrina… ready to walk.
It may be a short day, but I am dressed in my battle armour and entering the world anxious to see what it brings!
~~ Author Award winning Bestseller ' A Camino of the Soul: Learning to Listen When the Universe Whispers'