With a seven-week sabbatical to fill, Tony Collins wanted to do something special. But what? The answer turned out to be a very, very long walk.
I had just turned 64, and in those days, my employer offered a generous sabbatical to those who had served their years. I had been puzzled how to make use of this bounty. It was a once-off opportunity, not to be frittered. Then I
met an old friend. Douglas had always been a softly spoken, genial, self-effacing bloke, effective in a quiet way but easily overlooked. Now he was taking the lead, cracking jokes, brimming with enthusiasm, in a way I had not seen previously. The change was so arresting I asked him what had happened: where did he get the shot of happy juice?
‘I walked the Camino,’ he responded, as if that explained everything.
At that point I knew little about the Camino de Santiago. Further questioning revealed that it is the millennium-old pilgrim route between the centres of Europe and the city of Santiago, in the north...
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