The Last Stamp

We sat around a couple of tables at an outdoor cafe enjoying tapas and a glass of wine on a warm evening. We were a handful of pilgrims from a handful of countries, all heading out in different directions the next morning. Just across the way, sitting on the cobbles was a man and his dog. Someone said he had walked from Jerusalem. Interesting. I’d seen the dog sitting on his backpack a couple of days earlier and wanted to hear the guy’s story so I went over to pet his dog (dog lover that I’m not). It didn’t bite and was even friendly, as was his walking companion, a weathered Italian.

Turns out, the guy really had walked from Jerusalem, stopping first in Rome, then continuing on to Santiago. He had been walking for three years. Peregrino, the dog, walked with him for a year and a half. The man dug out his pilgrims passports that were loaded with stamps, and went on to explain that his dog had its own passport. He asked if I would like a dog stamp. But of course! I ran back to my room, grabbed my passport and watched as Peregrino stamped it for me. Number 843. This long distance pilgrim keep a logs of the name and nationality of every pilgrim who receives a stamp from Peregrino.

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My final stamp.