We are all tired today, the volunteers. One is still in bed, one has gone to man the hostel or albergue and one (me) in search of coffee. We are a seventeen year old French lad, a twenty four year old Irish girl, and me, staid and English and just into my troisieme age as the French so delicately put it.
And so, 2K up hill into Santiago’s old heart in search of joy and coffee. The heart steadies itself for the build up to St James’ Day when the partying really starts. Music at every turn. A trio of opera singers, two tenors and a soprano strategically placed under the arch that leads to the cathedral square. They know a thing or two about acoustics. A crowd gathers and seats itself on the steps for the long haul of nearly an hour. Praise and applause is abundant for favourite arias, even requests and the beauty of the voices giving them goose bumps, they say. Few however, buy CD’s or drop coins in to the hat. The trio sing their hearts out to little avail financially.
Three young Brazilian women singing, dancing and playing with a hint of Fado, such brio, such rhythm that they soon have a following and are well recompensed. No one is left unmoved – literally so – heads, feet, hands, hips, no one can sit stil. If these women asked for the crowd to follow them even into a mountain never to return, they would.
And back to the albergue where we three sing along to you tube. Snow Patrol and Chasing cars. The best verse, ‘ I need your grace to remind me of my own. All that I am all that I ever was is here in your perfect eyes,’ seems to speak to all of us. We are all a bit misty eyed thinking of loved ones far away, or perhaps just tired.
I am moved, all over again, by their youth, generosity of spirit and that we can sit and sing and mean it here in our outpost waiting for pilgrims to arrive for the fiestas.