Bastille Day on the French Route


Thursday, July 14, 2016
Palas de Rei to Melide
Day 44

Bastille Day. I’ll have to remember to congratulate any French pilgrims I encounter.

Walking, walking, walking, but with frequent stops for cold soft drinks and then for lunch. Very slow going, overall.

Earlier along the Camino we sometimes went a full day hardly seeing anyone. Now, the streams of pilgrims from various routes, plus all the new pilgrims who started at Sarria, are joining together for the final push into Santiago. The trickle of people has become a river.

With so many more people along the Camino than was true previously, we had more occasions to talk to others. We met a group of six American Episcopalians from New Jersey. Two had already walked from Sarria to Santiago once before. We also chatted with a couple of other groups.

A wonderful experience occurred along the route. There are many high school groups walking this stage of the Camino. They are all faster walkers than I am, so I hear them approaching from behind, chatting and giggling. Eventually they catch up with me, pass me, then speed ahead.

Once, I heard a group far back singing, though I couldn’t distinguish the tunes. As they got closer, I realized they were singing Beatles tunes. As they passed me, I saw a number of them holding their telephones in their hands, the song lyrics displayed on their screens. How great to hear a group of Spanish high school girls on a religious route singing in accented English “Help,” “Let It Be,” and “Hey, Jude.”

We stopped at a church along the way, following my rule never to pass up an open church. It was called San Xulian (St. Julian). There I had an interesting conversation with the man staffing the church. He was a lay missionary in an organization that was founded by an Italian. Mostly the group does its missionary work in Africa, but they also go to Latin America. Now they are trying to get the churches along the Camino open (Hurray!) by offering to staff them.

It sounded like a very interesting group, and I heartily support getting more churches open for pilgrims. I put a slightly larger-than- usual donation in the box.

29,112 steps today

See additional photographs at

Author: Camino for Boomers

I am the owner and editor of Bayou City Press in Houston, Texas. As a Foreign Service Officer, I lived and traveled all over the world for 33 years. My new book is "Savoring the Camino de Santiago: It's the Pilgrimage, Not the Hike."

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