[연재] 사랑하면 산티아고로 떠나라, 그녀처럼

[Serial] Leave for Santiago Trail if in Love like Her

27. Message lost and found

Written by Su-a Lee, assistant principal cellist with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra

입력시간 : 2019-12-02 14:06:28 , 최종수정 : 2019-12-02 14:13:12, 편집부 기자


I was gutted to realise that, in my haste to reach the Pulperia yesterday, I had failed to pick up one of my messages on the “Barr Treasure Hunt”.

I had received a photo of it…written on the wooden post of a fruit seller’s stall, like lover’s graffiti.
The message had read :

Holà, Su-a!
Lots of love from the Brockley Barrs X❤️X



I tried not to give myself a hard time about passing it by, being aware that yesterday was exceptional in its diversion, of trying to escape the sewer situation!

Certainly, it made me all the more determined to meet up with the Barrs before they leave Santiago tomorrow morning!

The Barrs will depart at 10:30am, so in order for us to meet, I had to add on an extra 10k onto today’s walk, thus leaving only 9.5k to complete tomorrow morning. Departure time will also have to be around 6am, the earliest of the Camino yet.

Jade, George and Hartmut had all agreed to accompany me. I was very glad of this for many reasons. Firstly, I wanted the Barrs to meet them. Secondly, I wanted them to meet the Barrs!
But more importantly, we would all be completing our pilgrimage together.

It was a strange day. To be fair, the past few days have also been strange. The knowledge that we are drawing ever closer to our final destination is, in some ways, terrifying. It’s as if I need to have achieved something tangible by finishing the Camino, but the truth is, that I feel unready to end this journey, and think I need another five weeks, at the very least!

We still joke about the mass of “part-time pilgrims”, but I am getting more intrigued by them now. It’s fascinating to imagine their life stories. I am also enjoying listening to snippets of conversation.

I marvelled at the subject matter of the conversation between two young American men. They were in earnest discussion about the elements and their magical qualities (in particular, fire, earth and water). They also discussed the spirit world in great detail.

I eventually spoke with one of them and discovered that they were part of a group of US college students on a four month liberal arts exchange to Alicante from America. They were spending their Easter break doing this last part of the Camino before returning to various parts of the States.

I soon met their professor who is an interesting and handsome man from Alicante (though with no hint of Spanish in his English) and the students clearly loved him. He was a liberal arts teacher but also a musician, easily identified by the guitar on his back! I could imagine the cosy pilgrim nights around a campfire, singing songs!

Clearly he had walked this part of the Camino many times, so I asked him what some of the highlights would be.
He enthused about a place called Casa Verde in Salceda, exactly 25.5k from Santiago. He said it summed up the spirit of the Camino. I vowed to stop there for lunch.

It was a beautiful day, sunshine and warm, but not overwhelmingly hot. I paid particular attention to blooming flowers alongside the path, as well as the enthusiastic farm animals and wildlife.

When we arrived at the much lauded Casa Verde, it was packed, but we found a small table outside, tucked in a corner near the bins. From the outside, this place was unremarkable. But inside it was clear that the character was all here.

Hanging from the ceiling in great abundance, were T-shirts of all colours, shapes and sizes, covered in writings and scribbles of the passing pilgrim! As were the walls. It was an atmosphere to behold.

I caught sight of the professor surrounded by his adoring students; the father from Chicago, chatting to his daughter’s friends; the lone german lady, of the donated octopus; and dozens of excited college students.
Drink orders were copious, shots of local liqueurs followed by beer chasers. I felt like I was in a student bar on graduation day!

Food orders were chaotic and took an age, which gave me a chance to chat to some of the folk, but I was relieved to go back outside when our food eventually arrived and sit in the relative peace of exiled pilgrims!

After lunch we hadn’t progressed very far before I stopped dead in my tracks and let out a scream.
The others were a little ahead of me, so they came rushing back.
I couldn’t quite believe it…I had found the next message on the “Barr Treasure Trail”.

I was over the moon that I hadn’t missed this one. Especially as I wasn’t expecting it!
It was a special one for me, as it was our names, mine and Gordon’s, joined by a heart.

I wanted to embrace this space, this moment, this feeling. I dropped everything and just lay down, drinking in the light that was overwhelming me.
In this moment, I was engulfed by a feeling of total passion for our union.

Afterwards, I couldn’t believe how fate had allowed me to catch sight of this message. I was the last person. The others had passed it by. And if I had been chatting with them, I too, would probably have missed it.

Curiously, when I eventually dragged myself away from this spot, I was suddenly overwhelmed and inundated with white butterflies.

Such is the Way.


Su-a Lee


 


















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