The Camino de Santiago. A new adventure that life was magically offering me.  We were to meet in Madrid, visit a few museums and then together drive to St Jean to Luz to join another dear friend. Sarah and I had prepared for this long-wanted trip for several months.  The plan was for me to drive from Málaga to Madrid where our journey would begin, and for her to fly in from Mexico.

In preparation for such an adventure it was essential to adjust our bodies. The first step was to start walking 1 or 2 kilometres a day. Then 3 or 4 kilometres, until reaching 15 kilometres, at least.  The second step – after ensuring that your feet were blister free –  was to track those 15 kilometres again, but this time carrying our backpacks. The backpack I wore was purchased from El Corte Inglés, imagining that walking was just walking and a backpack was just a backpack. Wrong! Walking is an art!

So, Sarah and I met on the appointed day in a certain central Madrid hotel and then took off to meet Olga in the south of France. Sarah had arrived with several suitcases.  The norm when walking the Camino, is that you should carry only 10% of your own weight, hence if you weigh 60kgs, your backpack should not weigh more than 6kgs. This was explained to Sarah (several times), but she considered that she would be walking the Camino de Santiago for more than a month, therefore she would be in need of nail polish, hair dryer, face creams, eye make-up, body creams  (besides body scrubs), several hair shampoos, plenty of slacks and tops, raincoat, heavy sweater, writing paper, several books to read and more, but my memory fails when I try to remember it all, and she couldn’t imagine leaving nail polish or creams behind.

After spending a few days with Olga, the three of us headed for Roncesvalles where we were to begin our new and welcome adventure. With the Camino passport in hand, we took our first steps into the forest with glee.

That was an enchanted forest.  As the forest opened its arms, we could hear the leaves rustle, acknowledging our passage. Sometimes unexpected swishes of wind wove their way through the ancient trees as the three of us progressed in silence, total silence. The trees, leaves, plants, earth and sometimes signs of the original Templar Camino welcomed and embraced us. We walked quietly enjoying the magic. Without sharing our feelings we felt our bodies being looked upon by an invisible energy. Every now and then, each of us would turn around to make sure that no one was following us. None of us wished to scare the others, so we kept our wild imaginings to ourselves and trudged on for several hours until we reached the edge of the magnificent forest, when a black cat crossed in front of us and raised his back as if he had suddenly witnessed an invisible entity.

Yeeks!!! Suddenly our thoughts burst out into the open.  Did you see that cat??? Yes, and he was BLACK!! Did you feel what I felt??? YES! Our hair standing up on the back of our necks, we quickly escaped whatever the cat could see and rushed out into the opening, no longer looking backwards…just in case.

As we continued our journey Sarah’s backpack became heavier by the minute, until she could hardly continue walking. She wanted Olga and I to carry some of the weight for her, but we had enough on our backs. It would be just one of the lessons waiting for us as we walked together the pilgrims' path of the Camino de Santiago.