True friends (Guest Blog)

As we prepare to leave Hastings for the Camino, packing the last few bits into my rucksack, I am mindful of the time we spent this winter with the Snowflake project helping the homeless. Was this, in some small way, what it was like packing all your possessions into one bag? It made me reflect on how fortunate we are and on the journey we were about to embark on, leaving most of our creature comforts behind.

“Blessed are you Pilgrim when you contemplate the Camino and you discover it full of new friends and new dawns”

“It was 30C yesterday” the taxi driver announces as we are decanted in Ponferrada, the small ‘one castle’ Spanish town that is the start of our Camino. It is now cold and more like 9C and it is starting to rain. However as we enter our albergue, it is warm, super modern and inviting – a good start.

Ponferrada Castle

It’s now around 2pm and we have been up since 1am with only a few hours sleep. We are all tired and hungry, so we will go and grab some food, but the trick will be not to go to sleep now, but stay awake, then have an early night ready for the long walk ahead of us.
Lunch was unassuming, but now full, sleep was really beckoning, we must stay awake, but how?
We arrived back at the albergue and go to investigate what was in the basement. To our surprise we found an empty games room, complete with table football, pool table and a host of board and card games. What followed was a real fun time as we reversed our tiredness playing all sorts of games.
At this point we should introduce our friends and fellow pilgrims, Caroline and Nick.

Robin, Nick & Caroline

Now you think you know people, but after spending a couple of hours playing competitive games and tiredness has forced you to lower your “social etiquette filter”, this is when you really start to get to know one and other and build true long-lasting friendships.

Whether it was the dominoes or the games of Knock Out Whist, I think we truly started our friendship journey, which hopefully will blossom as we support each other on the road to Santiago.

One final question directed at Nick, I still do not understand your theory of when playing Knock Out Whist.

The scenario, you are dealt two cards, the 3 of Diamonds and the 8 of Spades, why is it better to choose diamonds as trumps????? Maybe you can explain that during the miles ahead?

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