Walking the Camino is a very down to earth thing. With a car or even a bicycle you can easily hide away and you pass people so easily and without seeing them. That’s not possible during the Camino since you walk quite slowly and you need to stop quite often. So take a look at this picture and I will tell about what happened today.
After a long walk we stopped to get a coffee and rest our feet at a nice table outside a local Café. Sitting there barefoot, an old lady appeared. Its perhaps not the best manners sitting foot-naked, so we thought that she was going to straighten us up! But, she started to kindly talk to us – in Portugués, a language that is completely incomprehensible for us!!
So I tried as kindly as possible explain about our difficulties to understand her, like ‘no comprende’ and ‘don’t understand’, I think I even tried to say it in german! But that didn’t help, she talked and talked and gave us the story of her life. By gestures we understood that she had got some issues with her foot and probably cancer of the size of a little egg in her throat. And then there was something about Spain a couple of times… So we tried to listen and nod our heads and when possible, and again trying to kindly remind her, that we don’t have the faintest clue about what she was saying. But that didn’t stop our lady, she only stoped when saying hello to people passing by or people exchanging words and greetings with her. She seemed to know almost everyone and now she also wanted to tell us what had happened to her the latest fifty years.
Without upsetting her, nodding at the wrong place etc she ended the conversation and went into the Café. Three minutes later the waitress, (to whom I half an hour before had proven my absolute and complete lack of skills in Portugues by ordering Sandwiches and a Café latte in broken English-Spanish-English), came out with two Cafe Expresso for us on the behalf of the old Lady!!!
And the old lady went away with one of her friends just passing by. And there we sat as confused as perhaps you might be too. But that’s the life of the Camino; you meet, see and talk to people. And if you are lucky you may understand what they say and if not you better just listen – all people have a story to tell especially if it’s in Portugues!