I'm walking the Camino with family this year and am excited that my niece, Rebecca, has joined me. We had too much fun in Porto before hopping on a train to Barcelos to begin walking. 

It took us all afternoon to reach our first albergue, Casa Fernanda. Bec was excited. I was exhausted. Shame on me for not training. Fernanda treated us like old friends, took us in the kitchen and plied us with cold drinks. The refreshments were nice but I really wanted a shower and a bed. My rare display of patience was rewarded–Fernanda put us in a private room with private bath. Refreshed, we found seats in the sun and were warmly greeted by the dozen pilgrims who had already settled in.

There were sixteen of us around Fernanda's table at dinner and the chatter volume went up and down as the food came and went.

When the last plate was cleared, out came a half dozen bottles of assorted port wine as well as the opportunity to sing a song from each pilgrim's home country. Being the only Americans there, Bec and I ended up with John Denver's Country Roads (chosen for us!). Fortunately everyone immediately joined in, saving us from certain embarrassment.

Just one night at Fernanda's and we found ourselves with an instant Camino family. A dozen people from around the globe laughed and carried on like old friends.

I think this will be a wonderful Camino.