Camino de Santiago, junio de 2008. Día 1: Orre...

Stranger: a friend you have not met before.

Yesterday I was walking along the Camino and I felt as if I were walking on air, fantasizing about living in this magical land of Galicia already and being able to help any number of people, when a long-haired stranger on a bike came to greet me. It was the owner of the Albergue Verde of Hospital de Órbigo(León) coming to make publicity for his establishment.

When I told him of my impecunious circumstances, he told me he would give me a bed and a meal in return for some help in the kitchen, the vegetable garden and whatever coins I could spare. I followed his directions and arrived at a green oasis, which exuded an air of relaxation and peace. The man Michu and his lovely wife are vegetarians, Buddhists and practice yoga. Their place is a little jewel and they themselves are two dear people. I did help as promised, but when I offered him the money he refused. When I protested, he asked me to please let him practice hospitality and wished me a good continuance of my pilgrimage(I did give him a big bear hug though!)

The Camino abounds with people like this and I am ever so glad that I decided to walk it, instead of taking the bus. I promised to make publicity for them, which I am doing at the present. The vegetarian food was delicious and plenty and was accompanied by some songs and guitar play from our host. One song was particularly inspiring, where Michu sang about a tree that talked to him and told him to practice patience! I can strongly recommend this hostel to anyone, who is in the neighbourhood.

May the Lord Buddha smile on you all. Hugs from Ralphie.

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