BootsnAll Travel Network

Camino de Santiago No.10:Caseljeriz, Part One: Three Tables, Three Conversations

I showed up in Caseljeriz in the late afternnoon, and my ankle was needing a rest-a long one. I walked into the village knowing I would have to spend at least a two or three days there(am I on the slowest Camino in the world or what?).

I found a private refuge, and offered them the possibility of helping out around the place for a few days instead of paying. We agreed to exchange a bed and dinner for two nights with two nights of dishwashing.

Although it was privately owned, the managers running the place were new to their jobs, and they seemed glad for the extra help.

They told me to come back to the diningroom at the dinner hour, and after I had eaten dinner, I could wash dishes in the kitchen for an hour.

I took my backpack to the enormous dormitory, and settled in on the only bottom bunk left in the place. As soon as I was settled in, an enormous, very drunk man took a mattress of a top bunk and threw it onto the floor, unfortunately-right next to my bed.

I could not rest or nap becasue he kept talking to me, asking my name over and over again. he finally passed out and I covered him with the blanket from my bed, figuring he would wake up pretty cold in the middle of the night.

After I brief rest, I made my way to the diningroom, where it was complete chaos. The wife seemed to be the only person taking orders, cooking, and serving (I get the distinct sense from a few weeks travel in Spain that most Spanish men do not know how to cook!). The woman was a nervous wreck, as were some of the pilgrims.

Her stress seemed to waft out of the kitchen, causing many of the pilgrims to drink copious amounts of cheap red wine(the only thing we had on the tables at the time). Wine has a way of loosening tongues, and what follows are three of the conversations I had that evening at three different tables…

Table One: Characters are a Danish couple, who are on their second bottle of wine, and me.

Danish woman: ¨Where are you from?¨

Me: ¨The United States.¨

Danish woman:¨I thought you were German or Swiss.¨

Me: (thinking of the many times people have asked me if I am German so far on this trip, no doubt because 99% of the people on the Camino are from Germany…), ¨No, I´m American¨

Danish Woman:(gulping down more wine..) ¨Are you sure you are an American? You don´t look like an American.¨

Me: (having the sense we are about to go down a bad road..),¨Yes..I mean I´m as sure as one could be about such things…¨

Danish Woman: ¨I don´t eat with Americans. My son is in America, right now, and I told him that he had better not come back with an American wife.¨

Me: ¨May I ask why you don´t like Americans? Is it..our politics? Is it Iraq? Is it Britney Spears?¨

Danish Woman: ¨It is this: I went there on vacation two years ago-I wnet with my daughter, she wanted to go there on a holiday.
It was terrible, just terrible. You American, you love your rules. It´s rules, rules, rules, all the time. You have rules for everything. There are rules about where to go and when and how to get there and what to do when you are there too.
I went into an office, and they had all these ropes. There were all these people waiting. you know, behind the ropes. But I didn´t need to wait, I only needed to speak with someone at the counter for a few minutes about my problem, so I went to the front ofg the line. I had to squeeze past everyone, they would not let me thru.
I got to the front, past the ropes. And you Americans!-You told me to go to the end of the line! You Americans, you and your rules!¨(drinks more wine..husband is absently doing a crossword and paying no attention whatsoever to his wife´s rant)..

Me: ¨You mean to say, you had to wait your turn?¨

Danish Woman: ¨Yes. Exactly! Such rules!¨

Seeing that the conversation was slowly edging downhill, and not wanting to end up in argument, I wished her a good Camino and switched tables.

Table Two: Characters are aman from Africa, making love with his eyes to a somewhat ambivelent Danish woman; A loud Swiss woman, wearing an equally loud, tropical print sundress, who laughed at everything any one said and seemed like an extremely happy person(or perhaps it was just the wine?); and a Dutch Reformed minister, who kept bursting out into song, mostly opera…oh, and me.

They were almost done eating when I sat down.

I sat down somewhat cautiously, wondering if I should pretend I was from Germany or Finland…and I asked, ¨Do you mind sitting with an American?¨

Swiss Woman: ¨Oh, we thought you were German or Swiss.¨

African Man: ¨Who´s it going to be, Obama or Hilary?¨

Danish Woman: ¨Do you want some wine?¨

Retired Minister: ¨Dance with me-you are so tall, I think we should dance.¨(Breaks into song..)

It went on like this for about 10 more minutes, when the stressed out wife running the place came over and said she needed the table for other guests. Unfortunately, they needed my chair also, so I was invited to sit with Table No. 3.

Table Three: Such characters thes guys were..there were eight men, two men from Austria that spoke not a word of English(or Spanish), and seemed somewhat mild mannered; Two Don Juan types, who knows where they were from-but they spoke Spanish, so-probably Spain!; two Germans; and two guys from Sardinia…..and me, of course.

Me: ¨Thankyou for offering me a chair at your table.¨

Don Juan No.1: ¨Anything for you.¨

Don Juan No. 2: ¨Give her wine, she needs wine!¨

German Man No. 1: ¨Are you German?¨

German Man No. 2: ¨No, she is Swiss!¨

Sardinian Man No 1: ¨I walked 45 kilometers today…¨

Sardinian Man No. 2: ¨He is the best, the very best,he is the King of the Camino.¨

Don Juan No. 2: ¨Where did you come from? You are like a dream.¨

German Man: (to me) ¨How far did you walk today?¨

Me: ¨I walked ..about..10 kilometers, I think.¨

Sardinian man No. 1: ¨This is impossible. Impossible. She is joking. i have never heard of such a thing.¨

Me: ¨No, really, I hurt my ankle at the start, and so I´m taking it slowly. Very slowly.¨

Don Juan No 1: ¨This is terrible. A travesty. A shame. Your Camino is over with, I´m afraid, my dear.¨

Don Juan No. 2: ¨I could stay here awhile with you…..¨

German Man No 2: ¨You are missing the best of the Camino. It is a sport, it is for the fastest, the best. You have lost the game, you have lost the Camino…¨

Sardinian Man No 1: ¨You will never see Santiago. You will never get there. ¨

Me: ¨But, It´s not important to get there. The journey of the Camino is within.¨

Sardinian Man No 1: ¨What about the Compostela? Don´t you want the Compostella?¨

Me: ¨No-it´s not really all that important to me. The Camino is within. I don´t need a piece of paper to say I was here. ¨

Sardinian Man No 1: (looking at me with a somewhat dubious expression) ¨I don´t understand this woman! ¨

German Man No 2:¨You are missing it, the point of the Camino. The Compostella is the point. Your Camino is nothing if you don´t get it. You should go to the pharmacy and get some good painkillers so you can walk faster…¨

Me: ¨Well , maybe the Compostella is important for your Camino, but it is not important for my Camino. each person has their own Camino. Don´t you feel like you all are going so fast that you are missing out on some interesting experiences?¨

Sardinian Man No 2: ¨Like what?¨

Me: ¨Like..going ginto churches…like eating lunch with the looking at the landscape..¨

Sardinian Man No 2: ¨But..what do you do all day? I don´t understand.¨

Me: ¨I stop, I look around, and everytime I want to stop, I do. I´m having a wonderful time, in fact.¨

Sardinian Man No 2: ¨Who has time for such things?¨

Me: ¨Oh, I´m sorry. I guess you have to go back to work?¨

Sardinian Man No 2: ¨No, I´m retired. ¨

Don Juan No 1: ¨This woman, I think she is in love with the Camino! Such love!¨( He reaches over and squeezes my hand…I intentionally spill my glass of wine on to his lap..)

Me: ¨Oh, I´m so sorry! let me go get a towel for you!¨(And with that, I excused myself and my dishwashing duties..which lasted about 3 hours!)

(It´s interesting the characters you meet on the Camino. Some you just never forget, and others you wish you could forget from the moment you meet them. )

I go back to the dormitory. The enormous man who is still quite drunk has woken up, he is whispering to me. He knows he is drunk and seems to feel somewhat embarrassed and foolish.

He whispers, ¨They told me you gave me your blanket. Thank you, that is so kind..¨

I tuck in the blanket around his feet.

¨Shhhhh…¨, I say. ¨Go back to sleep. Dream of your Camino.¨

And to the chorus of people snoring, we both fell fast asleep.


Next: ¨Caseljeriz, Part Two: I Get Into The Village Groove.¨


16 responses to “Camino de Santiago No.10:Caseljeriz, Part One: Three Tables, Three Conversations”

  1. Wow – it’s awful when people judge you in terms of your nationality, and they just don’t see you as a person. Also, it’s aggravating when people constantly try to second guess your nationality.

    Another thing that struck a chord here, is that it is dreadful when somebody insists on talking your ear off just when you are trying to rest.

    Still – sounds like a great trip!

  2. Wow! I don’t know how you do it. You are such a wonderful judge of character, and so gracious.

    It sounds like you are having a magical journey on the Camino and the characters you meet are all so vivid, I feel like I’m reading a novel.

  3. CaminoGirl says:


    I just got back from my Camino about a week a go! Hang in there and enjoy the journey! You are so right to take your time. I enjoyed the experience of getting my Compostela but it wasn’t the reason for my journey!

    I’m from the US and know what you mean about the attitudes of some of the peregrinos towards the US. I felt as though I was constantly apologizing. Although I would follow that up with, “The last 8 years are not my fault!” I’ve traveled all over the world and sadly, that attitude is not unique to the Camino. I’ve encountered it in just about every country I’ve been to (33 so far).

    Buen Camino!

  4. Jim P says:

    Remember the duality Francisco spoke of. These people will help remind you of who you are.

  5. Outstanding information over again. I am looking forward for your next post;)

  6. 26. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited forlittering.

  7. You ought to really moderate the remarks on this page

  8. Sorry, no sale. They tried to reform healthcare without tort reform! Only the feeble minded will buy this as a common sense, good faith effort.

  9. To follow up on the update of this theme on your website and would wish to let you know simply how much I prized the time you took to generate this useful post. Within the post, you really spoke regarding how to truly handle this challenge with all comfort. It would be my own pleasure to get together some more tips from your web site and come up to offer others what I have benefited from you. I appreciate your usual fantastic effort.

  10. Ah, Frailty. I love this movie and cant seem to get it out of my head. I loved the plot twist; I wasnt expecting it, and thats saying something (usually I can predict where a movie is headed). I dont think itll ever get old.

  11. There was no point tht boastin greatness of India. It is the land of more than 1.2billion folks it has various stories apart from dark ,depressive.celebration of death .There is life .. go out on Vinayak nimarjan go out in public. find the celebration.. its life its positivity we have n we bring.not denyn the other facts which are overly depicted compared to various other things.. Kahannnnn gayi hain saali khushi

  12. Born and bred in Mass and most family is still in state. My brother is an independent I believe (never asked actually what in Mass is called unenrolled but as far as I know has always voted the Dem slate. Always been a diehard Kennedy fan if Teddy could run from the grave hed vote for him. I gave him a call this am just to tweak him about the way the race is going. When we last spoke over the holidays he was a Coakley man. Now hes voting Brown (so he says anyway). His answer when asked why, was that he changed his mind in just the last few days and it was completely based on some sort of insanely negative Coakley ad blitz going on in the state. He says that every Boston network is showing at least one if not several incredibly negative ads about Brown every single commercial break at at 2 or 3 times the rate for Brown ads. Nothing about Coakley per se, just putting down Brown. Then you get a calm Brown ads pointing out the nature of the Coakley ads, and then discussing Brown positions. According to my brother Brown had made his positions clear enough over the last 2 months(and this new admission is very important compared to his mild complaints over the holidays about Coakley being vaguer than his first Dem choice Capuano? (sic)).

  13. I would like to thnkx for the efforts youve put in writing this blog. I am hoping the same high-grade website post from you in the upcoming also. Actually your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own site now. Actually the blogging is spreading its wings fast. Your write up is a great example of it.

  14. ha woah, hnds down nicest writing i’ve ever read.

  15. There is one website where you can easily and freely optimize your YouTube Video Title and Thumbnail with our Online Thumbnail preview tool and also you will get the benefit of comparing your YouTube thumbnail to your competitor with A/B testing option is available. Choose the Perfect Thumbnail to Attract More Views.

  16. jordan jumpman air festival bag

    Archive of

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *