The first pilgrim I met on the Camino was an older man who’d walked years before. I think. He only spoke French, and I only spoke English; nevertheless, we talked for half an hour or so.
As a local caretaker of the “hostel,” he’d come to the refuge in Lescar soon after I arrived. He added my name and stats to the register he kept — I learned that I unusually young, alone, and American — and encouraged me to make use of the beautiful country home Lescar offered pilgrims on their journeys. Then, he gave me a huge, colorful scallop shell to carry to Santiago.
When he left, I went to sleep, still exhausted from London and the travel. I was awoken by late-hiking pilgrims — young, American pilgrims! We were all surprised to see each other and have easy conversation.
As we ate dinner and discussed our love for Bernie Sanders, the skies opened up. So thankful for a roof over my head, I watched the storm from the windows.
By the time we were doing dishes, Arianna from California called the rest of us to look out to see a rainbow. Sure enough, over the field next to the house stretched one of the most vibrant rainbows I’ve ever seen. As someone who’d hiked more than 4,000 miles as “Rainbow Dash,” I couldn’t help feeling that the occasion was auspicious.