On Friday morning we started with breakfast at the Albergue. This was my last morning on the Camino, as I went by train from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela this afternoon, to fly back to the Netherlands Tomorrow.

After a steep climb, the route to Sarria is all the way down. We walked for a while with Andy, a professor from the USA who is walking the Camino with 5 students. The Camino is part of their graduation. Over the past few days, we’ve seen Andy several times and had great conversations with him. This time, we talked about family and Camino experiences. Andy walked the Camino before with his family and his two-year-old daughter, bringing along a cart for the special luggage that traveling with a baby requires. That brought some special challenges for them on the small and sometimes wobbly Camino paths.

In a typically Camino fashion, during the next break we got separated from Andy and Laurens and I walked together towards Sarria. There, when walking into the city, we saw Andy again, outside on a terrace enjoying his well deserved “Cerveza”. His walk was done for the day and he already checked into the Albergue. Now he was here, in a tactical spot along the route, waiting for his students to arrive.

We joined him and we had lunch together. Laurens was getting ready to walk on and we said our goodbyes. It was weird seeing him walk away this time, knowing that our routes separate here for this Camino. We had a great week together, a week I can recommend to every parent to undertake with your children. It brings one close to each other. We were already close, yet this week allowed for deeper conversations about everything we wanted to discuss, like life, career, work, friends, spirituality, and so on. It also allowed me to observe and experience my son in his normal doing with other people. I can only conclude that I’m proud to see how he has grown into a warm and caring adult, open and respectful to others and the world.

Later in the afternoon, Andy walked with me to the train station and I departed from an empty Sarria train station for Santiago de Compostela.

In Santiago de Compostela, I decided to walk past the cathedral before heading to my hotel. When walking up to the entrance I saw a familiar face: Maggie, with whom I started my Camino back in 2013, was standing there in conversation with some others. It was good to see Maggie again, she just finished her fourth Camino, this time on the Del Norte.

It was a typical Camino encounter; on those moments you expect it the least, you meet old friends again. For me, it was a warm and worthy closure of this week on the Camino.