Trailing behind Kip was what may have been, without exaggeration, the largest mass movement of humans in Western Europe since the Second World War. The Camino had begun to have the outward appearance of a refugee crisis. Fortunately though, instead of frightened families stuffing their remaining possessions onto rickety wagons or clinging to pack animals, you had generally well-fed, upper middle-class Europeans walking purposefully towards this apostolic mecca. And the irony was delightful. It was all happening on a continent that had supposedly given up on religion.


          “Let’s hope this paella is half as good as you claim it is,” Gavin said.

          “I’m telling you,” I countered, “I ate it every night on a trip to Barcelona. I slept like a baby, and was in a good mood every day.” What we were discussing was the famed Spanish dish of yellow rice, mixed seafood, and vegetables. Unfortunately, a threesome from Barcelona was trailing along with us.

          “They don’t know how to cook paella here in La Rioja,” Jose said.

          “I refuse to eat paella outside of Catalonia (Barcelona’s province),” added Gabriela.

         “Bill, looks like you didn’t do your homework for this trip,” Gavin piled on. We were rushing through the hot, dusty Spanish countryside trying to beat the siesta hour. We already knew from experience how Spanish towns completely shut down around 3:30.