Stage 6 and I have suddenly discovered that there are other people walking with me. They come from all nations and are of all types. A few words about some of them:
The Korean couple from California. He is carrying both sets of stuff in his pack as a number of couples do. Don’t tell Liz about this – it is the thin end of a whole bunch of nasty wedges.
The two young Korean women who I met with the couple above and who are clearly their daughters but they have only just met. El Camino is very big in Korea – a lady did it and wrote a book about it that became a best seller and now Korea is one of the biggest nations.
The Swedish lady who is 68, just retired and trying to work out what next. She does amazing stretching exercises at the end of each stage.
The Finnish couple who turned out not to be a couple at all who told me that my next walk should be in Lapland.
A Dane who is worried about his country and its place in the world and his generation and his future and a whole bunch of things. He would like to do the SW coastal walk in the UK but does not think he will find accommodation at 4 € a night. He may be right!
The German young lady who I overtake on the flat and who overtakes me on the hills. When asked where she is from, she says “Beautiful Bavaria”, not Germany. She is also without a job, after working in China for many years, she finds that now she is back in Germany she has to start from scratch. She is taking the opportunity to do this while she is free.
The Englshman who is a chef in real life, running big events such as Wimbledon. He eats all three meals a day for research and is amazed by the quality of the food. It is all in the ingredients which he could not afford in his job.
The Englishman who is taking 12 months off and writing a book. This is the last part of the time – he has been in Australia, Far East doing a bunch of jobs. The book is due out in November – he showed me the artwork, etc – looks great.
A Brazilian who speaks perfect English and Spanish as well as Portuguese. He is walking double stages – so more than 40 kilometres a day. Madness.
There are two Canadian women travelling on their own – one sounds like an American and seems to get lost at the slightest opportunity. The other is from Quebec and has very few words of English at all.
There are a number of Americans. One young man is from Washington DC and is suffering with his legs. Speaks good (Mexican) Spanish. Another from Oregon is between school and university – not sure what he wants to do. There is a threesome of Texans who do not spoil the stereotype for loudness.
There is an Italian I walked with for half a day though we could not understand one word of what the other said. He was really great about the things you can and cannot eat in the hedgerows. One orange coloured olive shaped and sized thing was very nice. Related to the orange family, he told me. Or he may have said it was the symbol of the Free Basque movement and would I like to join their next work´s outing – no idea.
There are a US girl and her Mum – she talks all the time in both English and Spanish.
A group of 4 Englishmen who have already walked 800 kms and drink about a case of red wine each every day. Never seen such capacity!
A Tasmanian who tells people he is from Australia.
A Spaniard who is in every and I mean every bar we go into all over the country. He is sitting opposite me now, waving a glass of some local spirit at me.
An young English woman who is sick of doing her hair every day and is having it nearly all cut off tomorrow.
And a whole bunch more. Phew!