The Columbia-Snake River System will shut down from The Dalles Dam eastward (upriver) on December 10th of this year. This closure will is scheduled to last for three and a half months, and will allow for some much needed navigation lock maintenance. The company I work for provides barge transportation services on this system. This closure has created a need for us to significantly reduce our operating footprint, and that meant "time off."At first this was a bit of a shock, but once I calculated I could get by I started thinking about what I might do if I could step out of my "world" and into something totally different for this period of time. The fragments of a plan started gathering in my mind. I wonder if we might just... could we... and then, why not.
Santiago de Compostela, to me, was just a place on a map that some acquaintance, now forgotten, mentioned as a wonderful place to visit. And so in 2006 my wife and I, looking for a holiday destination, remembered that advice, and booked a flight to Madrid and onward to Santiago. Thus began our fascination with this very special place. Perhaps it was the pilgrim traffic always in circulation about the town, or the magnificent Cathedral brimming with opportunities for a prayerful moment, or the quaintness of the city and its architecture, or the food and wine, the people, or the spectacular coastline an easy day trip away. Perhaps it was all those things softened and shaped by a week of very pleasant spring weather that set the hook. It was clear that we would return, but the thought of returning on pilgrimage just hadn't gelled. That would come some years later as a consequence of another event similarly unanticipated.