Crossing the bridge before Portomarin, we heard a group of Korean boys clapping for us. After reaching them, Christina and I began talking with the teacher in charge. For the last eight years, he has been "collecting" students for oversees backpacking trips as a way to clear their minds from the pressures of school. In Korea, there is a high level of competition for good paying jobs. Students often attend school from eight to five in the afternoon. Many continue with private school studies well into the evening.
Typically, he takes two trips per year. The students we encountered were experiencing ten days on the Camino, slowly walking from Sarria to Santiago. We were happy to see this group several times over the next twenty-four hour period. The students looked very content to be traveling together. Students are gaining a fortune traveling with him. Hopefully others will follow his lead. What better way for people to learn about themselves and others?
During this stretch, we hiked off-and-on with Isabele (German) and Oscar (Swedish). They shared stories about trips they have taken all over the world, picking up jobs along the way. Through her travels, Isabel has become fluent in many languages - quite inspiring. At this moment, I have the desire to improve my Spanish. I can make time.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Camino experience has been the people we have been fortunate enough to meet. I've learned so much, and laughed a lot, due to the variety of conversations we have had. Writing this blog, I have only mentioned a small fraction of the human interactions we've had. I truly hope that some of the people we met will come to visit us on Whidbey Island in the near future.
In sum, we walked 52.5 kilometers (32.6 miles) over the past two days.