Smiles and Gratitude = A Common Language

Rua Maior forms a cozy invitation for pilgrims to pause and rest as they climb the hill toward their next Camino passport stop.

It’s 7:30 pm here in Sarria, Spain. That’s 1:30 pm in Virginia where I started. The last time we slept was Friday night in New York City. We’ve come a long way since.

Over a hundred passengers in line at JFK airport were entertained as all the Americans headed to Spain stressed through what became a group project as we struggled to fill out the surprise, electronic Covid form. Pop Quiz—in Spanish! After that, it was all smooth soaring.

My daughter says she wants to always fly with someone using physical assistance. Over an hour to check one bag, ten minutes through security and to our gate. Our fellow Covid form companions started showing up an hour later.

That assistance was also the only way we managed our extremely quick connection in the exceedingly large and complicated Madrid airport. God bless the delightful assistants, bus drivers, and gate security who endured my deplorable Spanish. Smiles and gratitude go a long way in any language.

A short wait for the overdue driver in Santiago and we commenced the carnival auto ride through the curving mountain roads. First stop, Sarria. It’s 90 degrees and we haven’t slept in over 24 hours; of course we dropped our bags and immediately went out exploring.

Flower-draped walls and street cafés line the Rua Maior’s up hill climb through the historic district. We missed the trimonthly cattle auction by a day but our noses led us unerringly to the ancient traditional market. On the way we admired the Iglesia Santa Maria and Iglesia de San Salvador with its guiding bells.

At our hotel we had received our Camino clam shell, the badge that marks a pilgrim. We also received the first stamp in our Camino Passport. At the top of the hill at Monasterio de la Magdalena, we received our second. Mass is still said daily at this shaded oasis for weary travelers. We rested.

I’ve never been to Spain before. It’s already ranking high in its beauty, hospitality and experiences. I even got to experience my first bidet. After that TMI I know it must be time to sleep.

Tomorrow we begin the walk. Note to self: the phone translator app only works when connected to the internet. we shall continue to smile and be grateful. That works everywhere.

2 thoughts on “Smiles and Gratitude = A Common Language

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s