Tomorrow we leave Madrid for Burgos and our first steps on the Camino. We had a good day in Madrid, visiting wonderful buildings and parks. We have little to compare to the architecture and sense of history that is found in this city. Some buildings dating back well into the 16th century, open to the public, in wonderful condition, obviously treasured by the people of this city.
Today it was still just the two of us moving around the city, seeing its sites, almost as if we are in a bubble, observers without the ability to interact very well with those around us, feeling humbled each time we have to ask others to switch to our language becuase we cannot communicate in theirs.
We find ourselves noticing the others from our own “tribe” almost watching out for them. Today a young man who I heard speaking English almost left his coat in the park until I approached him and pointed out his forgotten item; a young woman speaking English asked us to take her picture in front of a historic building; two young women asked us for directions to the palace when they realized that we spoke their language. We tend to try to find people like ourselves to interact with rather than stepping too far ourside of our comfort zone.
Tonight we had our first group meeting. Michel, our guide, pointed out that, over the next 22 days, the eight of us would become a community. We will need to take care of each other. We will be together almost 24 hours each day. we would become like a family. He tells us that this is part of our Camino experience, this community that happens not only with the eight of us but also with fellow travellers.
It is this part of the journey that I am looking forward to most. Our best experiences have been those where we we able to meet and interact with those around us, both fellow travellers and those living in the places to which we travelled. Finding that sense of community in which the “other” plays a particular role in forming the community. Its the place where we can really learn, grow, and feel a sense of fufillment.
Tomorrow, our community of eight will move to join a much larger community all on a journey to the same place, each on their own journey but also somehow joined together in the effort.