Monday, July 07, 2008

el Camino de Santiago - 2002

El Camino de Santiago

We trained for months to walk the trail.
Got all the guide books in the mail
We knew that we would never fail

el Camino de Santiago

We caught the bus on our first day
to Roncesvalles, and I must say
that the twisting roads blew me away
el Camino de Santiago

Men and women in one dorm
In every single shape and form
Undressing in situ is the norm on

el Camino de Santiago

Thirty-nine years I have been wed
And no other man has shared my bed
But the man on top made my face turn red
el Camino de Santiago.

When the lights went out I prayed for morning
But I couldn’t sleep because of the snoring
And the bare-arsed man? I tried to ignore him
el Camino de Santiago.

When we reached Larrasoana the beds were full
“You can sleep on the floor,” said the mayor “if you will”.
The man in middle back-fired all night.
el Camino de Santiago.

By the third day we’d learned a thing or two.
If you wanted the laundry, shower or loo
You had to hurry to get into the queue
el Camino de Santiago

Some shower cubicles didn’t have any doors and
no hooks to hang clothes so they went on the floor
the water was freezing, my body felt raw.
el Camino de Santiago

On day number four, at last some sunshine
The Irache fuente offers water or wine
I think I’ll like the Camino just fine!
el Camino de Santiago

We’re now in wine country – in La Rioja
A ninety year-old woman offers figs, love & water

Saw Santiago Matamoros in the church of St James
El Camino de Santiago

Long shadows at daybreak, white trails in the sky,
Red poppies, green fields, and stork nests on high
And sunsets so beautiful they make you cry
el Camino de Santiago

Yellow arrows to follow day after day
Concrete stele with scallop shells showing the way
Vineyards, cherries, fields full of hay
el Camino de Santiago.

We met Germans, Italians, Carlos from Brazil
(the lady from Chile was awfully shrill)
Yanks, the French, a priest from Seville
el Camino de Santiago

Queso and pan and bocadillos too
This is the regular pilgrim’s food
A Menu del Peregrino is waiting for you
On el Camino de Santiago.

At days end I’m tired and just want to sleep
But first I have to attend to my feet
Blisters and plasters, a rub with Deep-Heat
el Camino de Santiago.

I have hair like straw and a pilgrim tan
Brown face, brown legs, brown arms and hands
We all look the same, each woman and man
el Camino de Santiago

I am sick of mud. I am tired of rocks.
I’m fed up with Compeed stuck to my socks.
Churches all look the same, Romanesque or Baroque
el Camino de Santiago

In Burgos the albergue’s in cabins - quite rough
But worse are the trees that shed thick, white fluff
I sneeze through the night – my sinuses stuffed
el Camino de Santiago

It is four in the morning; what is that racket?
A pilgrim is rustling a plastic packet
If I knew who it was I would give him a wack!
el Camino de Santiago.

At Hospital de Orbigo they abandon siesta
to celebrate an annual Medieval Fiesta
Then after Astorga the Marageteria
el camino de Santiago

Four days of flat walking on the meseta
with horizons that go on forever and ever
It’s raining and the path is getting wetter
el Camino de Santiago

It rained in the night and the path was slush
The pilgrims’ language made me blush!

One slipped and fell and said “Oh Fuck”

el Camino de Santiago.

At Manjarin the views are vast
and from Tomas the Templar a Gregorian chant
and the Cruz de Ferro, a famous landmark
el Camino de Santiago

Logrono, Najera, San Juan de Ortega,
San Anton, Fromista and Mansilla Mayor
Orbigo, Astorga, Villafranca del Bierzo
el Camino de Santiago

My mind switches off and I’m walking quite fast
I am part of the landscape, of present and past
Have I been here before - in a previous life?
el camino de Santiago

We meet different pilgrims everyday
My memories of those met before fade away

Are they ahead or behind? Who can say?

el Camino de Santiago

We entered Galicia at O’Cebreiro
The mist was so thick that it hid all the arrows
The first thing we saw was a Celtic Palloza
el Camino de Santiago

Past barnyards and farm yards, ankle deep in cow-shit.
Small hamlets, quaint houses and churches quite rustic
Corriedors through forests of
Eucalyptus and oak
el Camino de Santiago

Got a sello at the barracks-like complex of Mont de Gozo
Everyone agreed that it was a real eyesore.
Then highways and traffic, the forests no more
el Camino de Santiago

No bagpipes to meet us, no cheering, no medal
We looked up in awe at St James’ Cathedral
We’d made it! We’d done it! We all felt the thrill.
el Camino de Santiago.

Climbed stairs to hug the saint above the altar
Touched the Tree of Jesse carved by Mateo the master
Entered the crypt to look at Saint James’ casket
el Camino de Santiago

Caught a bus to Fistera - the end of the world
0.00km read the stele, markers no more.
Here I found closure, at pilgrimage end
el camino de Santiago

A Santiago cross, a certificate, a book fill of sellos,

Souvenirs of the journey - Ultreya e sus eia

But memories remain my most valuable mementos

of El Camino de Santiago.

The lessons I learned are with me still.
Let go, be kind, don’t be critical.
We’re all pilgrims on our journey to heaven
along el Camino de Santiago.



  1. Anonymous5:24 am

    Hi there, Ama. Blessings of Santiago to you today.

    I wanted to thank you for dropping by and leaving your fascinating comments on my little feast-day tribute to St. James.

    I see you've actually been to Compostela, and I'm envious. I'd so love to make a pilgrimage there while I can still walk the Way, or at least a bit of it.

    May God lavish you with His richest blessings.

    Best regards,


  2. Anonymous1:53 am

    Wonderful poem.. really took me back to the camino!
    Kay (NZ)