Fromista – Carrion
19.3 km / 12 miles
On my way out today, I bump into a girl that looks around my age, there is something about her. We make eye contact and head on our way. It isn’t long before I make my first stop and happen to see her again. We say hi and chat. Her name is Amelie, she is from Barcelona, Spain. We naturally choose to walk together today. She takes just as many pictures as me and I can tell from what she chooses to take pictures of that she must be a photographer. I gravitate towards people like this.
No need for words yet both naturally seem to exist with each other.
Every so often one of us wanders into the field to take a pic of a tractor or donkey. Both of us follow suite. It is normal for one of us to stop dead in our tracks to admire a teal chipped painted door or an older woman sitting on a bench waiting for what I imagine is her long lost lover.
This is what we both love, this is what lights us up.
We both walk to Carrion today. We stay in the albergue Santa Clara, a convent run by nuns. They put us in a girls only room which is a pleasant surprise. We each have our own bed in a shared room of about 30 beds. It is nice, clean, bright and almost guaranteed a good nights sleep void of snoring. Each of us settle in, we take a moment to ourselves and rest from todays hike.
Amelie seems to know others staying here as well. We hear of a special event in the nearby church Santa Maria. Supposedly nuns gather with anyone who wants to join to sing songs in the universal language of music. We walk to the church to participate in a small mass and gathering. After mass we meet in a small room for songs. I look around at all the beautiful faces who join. People from all over the world are here. Australians, Europeans, Koreans, Canadians and Americans, all ages both men and women. All equally meshed with no particular group standing on its own.
The nuns pass out sheet music with lyrics in each of our own languages. We sing together, different words but same heart. We sing songs common and unknown until one arises that wasn’t planned, Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley. A boy with a guitar begins to play and the nuns sweet voice leads us until all of our voices fill the room with Hallelujah. Tears stream down each of our faces as we all look around the room at each other; still in song with our souls exposed on our faces.
This moment is a moment I will never forget in my life.
We each state why we are walking the Camino, some say to heal, to test themselves or for exercise, my answer is to be free. A girl walks up to me as we leave, she says to me, “I loved your answer.” I smile and take it in. I leave feeling different. I feel understood today, like I fit in for the first time in a long time. All of us here, some for different reasons, but mostly to feel free from something. There is a deep connection to love that I found that day that I still hold on to today.