I barely managed to answer, but stuttered:

'I…...don’t….know...I suddenly…got sick'

She replied:

'my darling, you lost so much weight… you even have small breasts now ;-)'

Her joke magically brought a smile to my white and gaunt face.

I never thought I would see her again! She had suddenly disappeared weeks ago, and just as sudden she was standing here in front of me!

coincidence, or destined after all?

If I hadn't become ill...I would never have seen her again!

My thoughts were suddenly interrupted by my American friend.

'hinde, I just booked a room with a jacuzzi, would you like to join me?'

Again, I was struck by her grand and abrupt action. I said:

'wauw….a room with a jacuzzi?'

It all sounded so American as well! Just as with the taxi ride, I couldn't really combine this idea with my status as a pilgrim. So I said:

‘thank you so much, but I prefer a basic room’

She understood what I meant and left me free in my choice without any judgement. We hugged and said goodbye. I thanked her for her wonderful care and the intimate friendship over the last few days. It had been very special and I'll cherish it forever!

In the meantime, my angel was still standing there patiently in front of me, with a big smile on her face!

The last time we'd seen each other was in Puente la Reina. She couldn't sleep that night because there were two other pilgrims in the dormitory making love. She couldn’t handle it and had left in the middle of the night; back on the hiking trail, in the dark.

this reunion was amazing and so special!

There she was, my angel, with her cool cowboy hat and tattoos!

I was standing in front of the tough Miss Kiwi!

How on earth was it possible that, stumbling from the taxi, I had fallen straight into her arms, right at this moment, in the middle of busy León? It had to be destined!

Miss Kiwi had already been in León for a couple of days and it was only natural that I would come with her to the Inn she was staying at. It turned out to be a wonderful place with lots of privacy, so I could recover.

We were so happy to see each other again, that we couldn’t resist sending a WhatsApp to the other three dutchies about our amazing encounter! I hadn't had any contact with the dutchies after I had said goodbye in Castrojeriz.

we had trusted our faith that we would meet again if it was meant to be

The three dutchies were flabbergasted and couldn't understand that I had suddenly overtaken them. In their view, this had of course been impossible.

They also had wonderful news for Miss Kiwi and myself. There hike had brought them just before León and they would arrive in this town later that afternoon. They even had picked out our Inn as the place to stay, not knowing, of course, that we would be there as well!

again...coincidence or destined as well?

That evening we celebrated our reunion! Even though I was still feeling shaky and weak... this was too special to miss! It turned into an evening to remember, filled with exciting stories about our experiences and adventures!

The next day, none of us was really capable of continuing the hike. So we all decided to take a day of rest! This allowed me to recuperate a bit more, surrounded by their wonderful company!

During the day we explored the beautiful town in our own ways, with the gorgeous cathedral and the famous Hostal de San Marcos, which features in the film The Way, as the absolute highlights.

By the end of the afternoon we met again for drinks. Miss Kiwi surprised us again with a wonderful stage play on her high heels!

She told us that she had somehow let herself be locked inside the luxury, old pilgrim hospital San Marcos. Miss Kiwi had used all her charms, and as a true actress, her and her high heels had fallen onto the four-poster bed of the famous actor Martin Sheen!

my jaw dropped and as a white-as-a-sheet dutchie I was hanging on every word she said

The other three dutchies fell from their chairs laughing.

In the evening we got another surprise: we also met again with my earlier Spanish friend whose slogan was:

'the best plan is no plan'

She was there with some other familiar faces. Again, the warm and pleasant evening turned into a party and we had dinner on a terrace with our reunited group of pilgrims, enjoying our reunion immensely!

The next morning, as if it were totally natural and without any consultation, we continued our hike again as four dutchies and Miss Kiwi. Before leaving León, we had a group photo in the mirror of the big glass sliding doors of San Marcos, so we had a permanent memory of our amazing reunion.

León slowly disappeared behind us and as five happy pilgrims we walked behind each other in silence. We were all immersed in our own thoughts and anticipating new adventures!

Read what happens next in Santiago 18

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