Our eyes open to four pairs of walking boots, eight pairs of black thermal legs topped by shorts.
Too many people, too close, too early. Windmills thrum in my head. I plunk my face back down into dew.
” It’s the B..r…a…Z….i….l…l…e….ñ…o…..s ” says Mark.
I raise my upper body inside my sleeping bag and waterproof layer, cobra like. Four Brazillians beam down at us like grinning gods.
“Bellezzzza” say the Gods.
We smile as widely as we are able at 6 am and utter the magic words”Buen Camino” and the Brazilians tramp off into the rising mist.
“Lets get up quick, before the next wave”says Mark.
And so it is that as a new pilgrim enters our domain we are up and dressed and eating a fine breakfast of cereal bars and figs.
“Oh man. This IS BEAUTIFUL” exclaims an American male. “NATUR- RAL PEEPO” he coos.
The pilgrim moves off the track and onto our campspot.
“I’m Kelly….. It’s good to meeeet yoouuuu…. what’s yoourrr naaaame”? he extends his hand towards me.
“Anna” I say.
” I looooove you uuu….Aaanna” he purrs.
“Oh God!” I think “he’s going to hug me”. And he does. Oh NO!! It’s Mark ‘s turn to get hugged. Not sure he’s into stranger hugs.
“What’s youuurrrrr naaaaame?” asks Kelly
“Mark” says Mark.
“I looooove yoouuu Maaaarrrrrkk !”
” I love youuu Kelly!” says Mark.
Kelly gestures towards our camping gear laid out by the wayside.
“I looooove yourrrrrr Caaaamino sssstyyyyle” he says “Yoouuuur such beeeeeauuuutifullllll peeeeeoople.”
The windmills whir and slim, tanned, clean cut Kelly tells us he is from Hawaii and began his Camino in Saint Tropez, France. He tells us how he has ditched most of his gear including his music, tent and other essentials. How he is travelling light, sleeping out under the stars wrapped in a shower curtain.
“What d’you do back home” we ask, intrigued.
” I do this for a living?” he says “Don’t we have a choice”?
And off Kelly trots into his neat little future.
“Preacher man” says Mark
“Millionaire?” says me.
At lunchtime we see Kelly sitting yogi like before a statue of The Virgin, his world laid out in the sunshine to dry on a stone bench.
In the old world Camino town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada we wash a bag of cherries in a cool “fuente” and just around the corner we spot Kelly on the terrace of a busy pilgrim bar.
Kelly opens his arms wide “Helooooo Natuuuuural peeeeople” he says standing to hug us in turn.
“How are you doing”? says Mark.
“Oh I’m resting today” says Kelly” I’m gonna hangout in this cafe’s all day with PILGRIMS”
” You okay Kelly? I ask.
“Everything! hurts ” says Kelly his eyes swivelling towards buttocks, thighs, calves, ankles, feet.
” Yeah best to rest up here then ” we say “Hasta luego Kelly, have fun”
“Buen Camino Natural people” says Kelly.
(This is a one of series of pilgrim stories by Anna about her experiences with Mark on the Camino de Santiago Pilgrim Trail in Northern Spain).