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Thinking of Spain on America’s Independence Day

by Ted Johnson

It’s Independence Day in the United States of America. My thoughts are in Spain.

Spain was just one of many countries pissed off at the British in the 1770′s, and Spanish support for the American Colonies seeking independence was a pretty big deal.

But that’s not why my thoughts are in Spain. It’s because my wife is on a pilgrimage. She is walking the Camino de Santiago, alone, beginning today.

Madrid Camino SignShe’s been in Spain for several days, struggling to get – by train, bus, and taxi – to the starting point: Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, in France.

The “starting point” is arbitrary, because a pilgrimage really begins wherever you are when you set your mind to make a pilgrimage. What matters more is the destination. In this case, the destination is Santiago de Compostela.

But my wife wanted to begin where the guidebook said a pilgrim should begin — plus she wanted to cross the Pyrenees. She was in Pamplona yesterday, and could have just started walking westward towards Santiago. I couldn’t help thinking of how many burdens and frustrations she could cast off the sooner she relieved herself of dependence on motorized transportation and just start walking.

My ongoing attempts to be with her in spirit have included watching The Way, a 2010 film about a man who walks The Camino following the death of his adult son.

There’s a scene that takes place at Alto de Perdón, overlooking Pamplona. An overweight pilgrim named Joost is catching his breath as he compares his girth to that of an iron sculpture. Then he sees some pilgrims on bikes overtake him.

What, you can do this on a bike? Why the hell are we walking? Oh that’s ridiculous man.

The Way (screen shot)

Still from “The Way”

The fact that Joost is Dutch makes it even funnier.

But this is an American holiday. This is a bike blog. And this the best I can do today. My thoughts are in Spain.

 

 
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2 Responses to “Thinking of Spain on America’s Independence Day”

  1. This is the most interesting and worthwhile piece I have read today. May she have a great journey.

  2. fgp says:

    I’m spaniard and have done the Camino several times. It is an amazing experience.
    Although July is too hot and there are too many pilgrims. Sometimes it is more like a manifestation :-)
    Great moments are assured, anyway.

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