September 14, the morning after the storm, we were busy sorting out the tent. It had survived the torrential rain with only a bent pole and a little damage to the fabric but many of the contents, including our precious visitors’ book, were water logged. We cleaned and dried what we could, leaving the book to dry in the sun.
And then it was time to sit and read, ready to welcome pilgrims.
Michel stopped by and came in for coffee and a chat. He worked in banking and like many was walking the Camino in stages. He enjoyed the opportunity to leave behind the things which cluttered his life, walking only with necessities.
As he left I invited him to write in the drying-out visitors’ book. He was grateful for the welcome and my smile and conversation. It turned out that he had just had a very unwelcoming experience in Arthez. But he wrote that our conversation had restored his faith in humanity. I was grateful to meet him – as all of those who pass by. And it’s fair to say that in general the people of Arthez are very welcoming of pilgrims.