Several years ago, a friend of mine told me about El Camino de Santiago, a month-long pilgrimage that begins at the border of France and ends at the Cathedral of Saint James in the city of Santiago de Compostela in the northwest corner of Spain. The two main symbols of that pilgrimage are the shell and the arrow. The shell is the symbol of the pilgrimage, the pilgrim, and the journey itself. The arrow points the way, letting pilgrims know which way to turn, which path to follow - and lets them know that they are indeed on the right path.
On Friday, February 11th, just hours after my arrival in Spain, my dear friend, Judy, showed me her rooftop patio, a quiet place of respite above her lovely apartment in the Poblenou area of Barcelona. And there on the wall were the two symbols of El Camino. Two reminders to me that I am still on the journey and at that moment on that day, I was on the right path. I smiled and snapped a photo.
Later that same night, she and I went out for a walk near what was the Olympic village back in the summer of 1992. Above the street was this sculpture, this face looking down on us. Beautiful. Funny. Another perfectly timed and placed reminder: "Someone is watching over you - and smiling."
One of the many things that I love about Judy (and there are many) is how much she likes a good strong cup of coffee every morning. Followed by another good strong cup of coffee. Yup, she is a two-fisted coffee drinker... as am I. And she's not afraid to use real sugar in her real coffee lightened with real milk. She and I got along splendidly.
The first time I visited La Catedral de la Sagrada Familia was in August of 2002. That day there were no floors, just poured concrete slabs beneath our suspended scaffolding of a walkway. There were no walls at either end of the church and many holes in the ceiling where both sunlight and rain poured in. A lot has changed since then.