… putting faces to names
Shortly after moving to Santiago, I re-started the ‘forum pilgrims meet-up’. For those of you that don’t know the >pilgrims forum< here a bit of background info.
Some time back, a few bright pilgrims that pass a lot of time on this forum had the equally bright idea that it would be great to put ‘faces to names’ and started a regular forum meet-up in Santiago in a very nice café-bar called Tertulia. Sometimes people came, sometimes they didn’t. Problem was that many people that came found nobody around, so only stayed for a short while and went, half an hour later somebody else came, found nobody around and …
I thought that having at least one person committed to be there the whole time slot might actually help with this. Even if that person was me 😉 That way, the first forum pilgrim showing up would have immediately somebody to chat to. I run a short survey on the forum to find out what time of the day people favoured and if they would be willing to come to my place instead of meeting in a café-bar. The best time slot was quickly, and with a good majority, determined to be in the later afternoon/early evening. The vote for the best place to meet was less unanimous. A bit more than half of the contributing forum members actually voted for meeting in a café-bar. Stubborn woman that I am I politely ignored that vote 😉
First of all, if nobody comes, I can still do things around the house. Second, not everybody wants to/can spend money in a café-bar. Third, by moving to Santiago I committed myself to helping pilgrims, so my ‘intruded privacy’ wasn’t really an issue for me, more a concern by others for me 😉 But as I wrote on the forum:
“When I envisioned living in Santiago, I already had it very clear in my head that I would share part of the house with pilgrims/friends, so nobody is intruding on my privacy. The ground floor is ‘open space’, the first floor is ‘invited only’ space and the second floor is ‘only my space’.”
The experiment started off well, with a few pilgrims coming by each day and yes, there were also a few days when nobody came as well as a few pilgrims that came every day they were in Santiago. As time went by it became clear that weekends were the less ‘busy’ days, perhaps because most pilgrims integrate them in their ‘travel back home plans’. So I decided to take the weekends off and offer my ‘open door’ “only” from Monday to Friday. If you are curious now, here a short FAQ that should answer all questions:
(Forum) Pilgrims Meet-Up FAQ
Do I have to be a forum member to come?
No, not at all! Whilst the idea originated in this forum community, my door is open to all pilgrims.
Where do I find more information?
Head over to https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/new-monday-to-friday-forum-meet-up.48513/ In the first, regularly updated, post you find all the info you need, including the occasional ‘cry off’ on my part if I would be out of town for example.
What happens during the meet-up?
Pretty much the same as when pilgrims meet up in any other place. We share a tea/coffee, a biscuit/cookie and there is normally a jug of homemade lemonade on the table plus plenty of fresh fruit. And we chat, lots. About the Camino, our experiences, whatever comes up.
Are there any costs for this?
Absolutely not! Sometimes pilgrims bring something to share (cookies/biscuits/fruit), sometimes not. It all balances out and, over time, I even had to restrain pilgrims that brought too much 😉
Why do you do this?
Because I am a pilgrim and I love meeting other pilgrims! And also because I hang around a lot on the forum (and others) and love to put faces to names after, sometimes, years of online interaction.
Is this some ‘Christian’ thing???
Only in the sense that I myself am a Christian, apart of that not. No bible readings, no hymns, no evangelisation or the like. Just pilgrims chatting the time away about pretty much everything. If you are looking for a pilgrims meet-up in English with a more Christian focus, I can recommend >Pilgrim House< or the >Camino Companions<.
Any further questions? Just leave a comment and hoping to see you soon in person!
Buen Camino, SY