Same Same … Camino Story Year 2 Prologue

4-9-10 Bilbao – Burgos

…and then, all of a sudden, Paul and I are outside the Guggenheim in Bilbao with our pilgrim rucksacks and scallop shells blinking in the September sunshine, bleary eyed from a four a.m. start.  We don’t have long this time (just over a week) and I want to squeeze every last drop out of the experience. We have about six hours before our bus back to Burgos, so we try to take in the wonders that surround this remarkable building… the huge dog of flowers, the lake of mist, Louise Bourgeois’  spiderlike “Maman”  and the road bridge that looks like a child designed it (in a good way)…



it is a stunning place and … just a bit too much,  so we retire to the nearby park, collapse and try to snooze the hours away.

As I lay there with my head propped against my rucksack, gazing at the bright sunlight filtering through the trees,  my vision begins to swim in the afternoon heat… mad dogs again… I’m falling…


The events of the past ten months drift into my dreams… Matt limping out of the desert with his knees in bandages a week after we get home, I see us picking him up from the airport full of talk about returning to the Camino, to make another stage or even to complete it…  I see the attempts we make to stay in touch, as all the people we walked with last year, continue on, one by one or in groups, arrive at Santiago and then make their own journeys  home,  Angela and Paul keep in contact, I speak to Anna a few times, but gradually normal life settles in and takes  over.

I kept my Camino going through my daily walking, exploring the lanes where I live and further out to sites like Avebury and the White Horse of Uffington where my Father had taken me as a child… seeking, waiting…studying the tarot.


(Victorian Romantic Tarot by Baba Studios)

I see the cards laid out in front of me, the Knight of Cups watching over my journey of the heart, the High Priestess leading me forward,  away from the past few months of upheaval… my twin towers tumbling, the sudden death of my father in April and the loss of my job within a month of his death…

through it all I keep walking… I continue to develop my understanding of tarot with a new friend, Hana, who encourages and challenges me…

My dream takes me back to the day I am sitting in the gardens of Chalice Well wondering what to do next… I look down at my feet …



Lying in the leaves is a scallop shell… the way…

It’s the start of me fighting my way up through the uncertainty of the four of cups, all the fantastic options of the seven of cups, and heading towards the mystical wisdom of the Hierophant….

“Time to go Mate”

Paul smiles, as I shake out of the dream, the heat has dropped a little and we make our way over to the bus station where we have a three hour trip ahead of us.  We chat about the upcoming walk and make some anxious comparisons to last year, before  quieting  down as the comfort of our air conditioned transportation, relaxes my subconscious and looking out the window, I day dream…

The hermit card floats into my mind… these past few months I have been like a hermit,  hidden away, to the outside little is happening but I am hungrily studying, and with Hana’s help I learn more about the greek myths of Daedalus and Icarus, Persephone in the underworld, deepening my understanding of celtic mythology, trees,  Arthurian legend and the ancient alphabet of the Runes…



Norse mythology  holds that

The runes were never “invented,” but are instead eternal, pre-existent forces that (the god) Odin discovered by undergoing a tremendous ordeal. This tale has come down to us in the Old Norse poem Hávamál (“The Sayings of the High One”)


I know that I hung
On the wind-blasted tree
All of nights nine,
Pierced by my spear
And given to Odin,
Myself sacrificed to myself
On that pole
Of which none know
Where its roots run.

No aid I received,
Not even a sip from the horn.
Peering down,
I took up the runes –
Screaming I grasped them –
Then I fell back from there.


…and so here I am back on the Camino, looking for my own set of runes, about to walk across the Meseta, a part of the Camino that many people miss out because it can be so difficult. Meseta means plateau in Spanish so we are about to head across the most exposed section of the Camino in Septembers heat.  Not just demanding physically but also on the soul, on this less crowded stage of the journey, we are the newcomers… the pilgrims we are about to meet have travelled together for weeks, Paul and I will be starting over…

and so we re-enter Burgos…



The same Albergue is full to bursting and we are at the very top of its ninth floor,  we don’t know anybody.

I keep expecting to see Angela or Simon as we walk round the same square looking for a place to eat…

It just feels weird, we are in the places they walked, sleeping in their beds, eating where they ate, but they are ghosts from our past, a reminder of how it was last time…

we are back to continue on our way

back for more of the same…


same same… but different…

(Traditional Tinglish Saying)

(nb: apologies for so much exposition!)



3 thoughts on “Same Same … Camino Story Year 2 Prologue

    • Me to I got really obsessed with the Fisher King story around this time tho, it may come out as I write this part of the Camino… It seems to have taken so long just to get started on this part … not sure when the next bit will be ready…. thanks so much for your comments Sam they really do encourage me 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s