Leaving Cajarc early in the morning I started out on the Camino path from my hotel alone. The day was cold and misty, making everything seem magical in the small medieval town. I was joining the Magician and two of his friends (who are singers in a gospel choir). Moving forward, this was going to be a completely different walk. Up until this point, I’d been walking with other people who were older than me and who were very settled in their lives and knew their needs. I was going to be walking with people younger than me, or with people who had the same questions going through their mind, and the biggest change for me would be to walk with the Magician. Walking with someone else, was the closest I’d let myself come to being in a relationship since my husband left me. It was starting to open myself to the possibility of being hurt again, but also the hope for real happiness. But as I felt so connected too him, it was as if every minute I was floating in a fairy tale definition of love.
As we walked up through the green rocky hills we spent most of the time singing lots of different songs, whilst we all compared our music tastes. And the gospel singers separated off at different points to meditate.
When we arrived late to Limogne en Quercy we agreed to camp together (my first time on the Camino). It was here that I began to see the generosity that you can experience on the Camino. On the Way you’ll find people with various financial resources available to them. Some people do the walk with no money at all and rely heavily on the generosity of others. Here the Belgium Gite owner let us stay for free in the garden. It was here I also found out how un-French I am, in that I would dare to suggest pushing the cork into a bottle of wine. I’d recommend you never do this! The French find it a waste of wine (which from their reaction, was a sin close to murder). It was already bad enough that I’d accidently previously bought ‘wine’ for a romantic night for the Magician and I (which was actually red wine with Cassis in it). Needless to say, my wine reputation was now in complete tatters.
In the morning we all sat together and shared our breakfast with the Gite owner. Here the gospel singers sang Amazing Grace together. When these two sang together I’m not exaggerating when I say you can literally feel grace. Needless to say, my eyes welded up, and I got tingles all over my body listening to them. The Gite owner was so touched by their singing he made them sing again over the phone to his wife (who promptly burst into tears). The Gite owner had kindly let us stay in his home, eat his food, and in exchange for this, he got to hear the Gospel singers. His closing words to us on this were, I am lucky enough in my life to have enough to live the life I want. I felt the magic of the Camino and I want to share this. And if I can help others who aren’t as lucky as me, then this makes me happy. This hit me all day. I worked hard to have a beautiful picket fenced home, where I used to be able to afford to go on expensive holidays, have a nice car etc. But none of this made me happy and I never sought to share anything with anyone with kindness, except for my husband and immediate family. I could have afforded to pay to stay in his Gite. But here, this man gave this willingly. With a smile on his face. And as thanks, he got to hear a song so beautiful, as to fill his eyes with tears. This is the magic of the Camino, and the possibility of magic in the world, if we take the Camino into our everyday lives.
We walked a short distance slowly throughout the day until the sun faded from the sky. The Magician and I wouldn’t let go of each other all day, but continued to state we both still needed to spend time apart, on our separate journeys, but didn’t know how and when it would come yet. But at this point in time, we didn’t want to be separate from each other yet. As the day came to a close, one of our group couldn’t walk any further as she began to feel the weight of her Camino finishing in Cahor. As we camped rough in a farmer’s field I wondered what the end of the Camino had in store for me. The priceless day was finished when we shared all the food we had together, in the middle of the road under shooting stars. Whilst we were serenaded with a dog’s continual howl at our dared intrusion.
Waking early, we set out to Cahor, stopping briefly to share a coffee cooked together over a camp stove. Up until this point I’d been incredibly proud of my bladder of steel and had refused to pee in the woods. It was here that the Magician mocked me until I agree to find a secluded spot for myself. I literally got a pat on the back for doing this. Although now done, I still don’t like it and will continue to avoid doing this like the plague!
Cahor is the first major city that we reached. The Way took us through a flat fenced off dirty track, sided by fields with wiry short stumpy trees and ruined small stone buildings. We eventually came to the edge of the city, where we walked down a steep roads to reach one of the large bridges into the city, where my group sang well known French commercial songs to me. Crossing the bridge you felt like you were entering a medieval city, that would better suit draw bridges and horses prancing round with stately soldiers. We walked along the river till we found the Gite we were staying in that night. We’d arrived in soft sunshine, gazing out on the river which looked like something out of a Monet painting.
This was a night tinged with sadness, as we said goodbye to one of the Gospel singers. But I knew that the Camino had done her good, and she would always take a part of the Way with her.