Celebrating Jess, Ryan, and Gabe

Even though the Pilgrim House Welcome Center isn’t open yet, we’ve recently been able to meet up with several pilgrims whom we didn’t know personally, but who were friends of friends from Canada and the U.S. It was great to have coffee with them, hear their stories from their time on the Camino, and celebrate with them their significant accomplishment of walking 350+ miles over the past few weeks.

A couple of highlights:

This past Saturday I met up with Jess, a singer-songwriter from Canada. She’s a friend of our friend Candace, whom we met in Amsterdam at a conference back in 2008. Jess had walked from St. Jean Pied de Port, France, to Santiago, and you can read more about her last day at her blog: http://visitjessjanz.com/2013/05/17/thoughts-on-arriving/. I love the first picture she posted – it’s so representative of the relief and emotion pilgrims feel after finally reaching Santiago! She has beautiful pictures and posts chronicling her entire Camino, so take a look at the rest of her site if you have time.

After we had coffee, we walked to the Cathedral and ran into Danielle:

Jess was off to Barcelona the next day, so shortly after this photo was taken we all said goodbye and parted ways. Buen Camino, Jess!

And yesterday, Nate and I had chocolate and churros with Ryan and Gabe. They’re from San Francisco and had met up with four other friends in San Sebastián, Spain, before heading over to St. Jean Pied de Port to start the Camino back in April. They walked into Santiago on Saturday, and it was insightful to hear what they’d learned about pilgrimage, community, reflection, and solitude from their four weeks walking. Ryan is a friend of Ted and Christina, our friends and former colleagues from International Teams.

Ryan and Gabe with their chocolate and churros:

Chocolate and Churros

Ryan, Gabe, and Nate in front of the fountain where Jess and I had seen Danielle a couple days before (it’s a small town, Santiago):

Horse Fountain in Santiago de Compostela


When Gabe, Nate, and Ryan walked through the mercado (fresh fruit, veggie, meat, seafood, and cheese market), someone ran up to them and said, “Hey, do you guys speak English? I just bought these scallops and thought they were ready-to-eat, but in fact they’re raw and I don’t have anywhere to cook them. So do you guys want them?”

“YES!” Ryan said – and he carried around this tray of scallops to the chocolate cafe and as we walked around afterward. He was going to try to cook them in his hostel last night. Don’t they look delicious?


Gabe returned back to San Francisco this morning, and Ryan was headed off to Amsterdam. You can read more about Ryan and Gabe’s Camino experience, as well as Ryan’s year-long sabbatical pilgrimage, at Ryan’s blog: http://www.walkingfarfromhome.com/

Next up, we’re hosting Steve and Matt from Wheaton’s YHM group. They’ll walk the last 5 days of the Camino and then spend some time in Santiago with us. High season is brewing, and we’re grateful for this season to be the Welcome Center before we open one. It’s going to be a good summer.


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