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Jump to first day of Caminho Português

It’s difficult to get from Santiago to New Jersey.  Nothing is direct (bus to Braga, bus to Porto, train to Lisbon, plane to U.S.) so I knew before I went to sleep that today was going to be a long day.

Yeah…that’s an understatement.

The less said about this day and the next the better.  Let’s leave it at:

  • Fevers all night
  • Bus breakdown
  • Can’t think of polite euphemism, so let’s just say: side effects of what I later found out was dysentery
  • Missed connection due to storms
  • Hotel room given away by someone who didn’t understand the principle of a credit card hold, entailing a 1.5 mile walk at 10:00 p.m. with…you got it…side effects dysentery
  • Plane flight spent in sleeping bag on galley floor, shaking with chills, while nice doctor man from first class doled out fluids…when I wasn’t in the head, of course

170+ miles of villages, drinking water out of fountains, and all it takes is one cafe in the big city to take me out.

Thank goodness it happened once the journey was all done because I can still count the trip an unqualified success.  Dirk sent me this picture after we got home.  In a way I can’t really explain and makes no sense, it is my Camino…

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…although I laugh when I realize that, while I have my compostela in my left thigh pocket, the shape of my right one tells me I’ve still got my Brierley in it even though I wouldn’t be looking at it again.

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The Chapter of this Holy Apostolic Metropolitan Cathedral of St. James, custodian of the seal of St. James’ Altar, to all faithful and pilgrims who come from everywhere over the world as an act of devotion, under vow or promise to the Apostle’s Tomb, our Patron and Protector of Spain, witnesses in the sight of all who read this document, that: Mr Tad Alan Deffler has visited devoutly this Sacred Church in a religious sense.

Witness whereof I hand this document over to him, authenticated by the seal of this Sacred Church.

Given in St. James de Compostela on the day 04 month May A.D. 2014

Segundo L. Pérez López

Dean of the S.A.M.I. Cathedral of Santiago