Day 6: Fathers

This day, the whole room rises in the still-dark morning, as most will be finishing their day in Estella. Although I have decided to go only the short distance to Puente la Reina and take a rest day, I am not yet ready to part with the group, so I start early with them. 

We spend a relaxed morning of walking, snapping photos at sculptures and churches, greeting a French pilgrim we recognize from our stay in St. Jean Pied de Port, and meeting up with some other pilgrims we know for breakfast in Puente la Reina (the Canadian family from Trinidad del Arre). 

It's this day that I caught two of my favorite photos of the pilgrimage. As we near the edges of Puente la Reina, I look back to see the English teacher from New Jersey walking with one of the teenagers from Denmark. The two have formed an unlikely bond on the trip, and it moves me to see the that outside of friendly banter and teasing, the teenager seems to really look up to the teacher. 

After a quick break in Puente la Reina, I accompany the group to the iconic bridge and we say our goodbyes. Some stay behind to wait for some of the Canadians, who will also be passing through, but for now, the group is again disbanded. It is too early to check in to any of the albergues, so I order a second cafe con leche and we park at an outside table, facing the direction of oncoming pilgrims. Looking up towards the Camino, I notice two familiar figures walking our way, sillhouetted by the sun as it continues to rise in the late morning. The Canadian father and son, in a scene of companionship that sums up the magic of the Camino de Santiago. 

 

Thank you, God, for the good men we have who are doing all they can to form even better men to come after them.