Speaking Afrikaans in Spain
Today I spoke Afrikaans in Spain. A few miles before my destination for the day, Rabanal del Camino, I saw someone with a South Africa Flag headband. I caught up to the person and started a conversation. On the outskirts of Rabanal del Camino I asked, “So, do you speak Afrikaans?” “Ja,” she said, “I grew-up in the platteland.” “Dan kan ons maar Afrikaans praat,” I said (In that case we might as well speak Afrikaans). She replied, “Nou hoekom het ons dan Engels gepraat?” (Why were we speaking English, then?).
And that is how I met Heidi. Our paths crossed a few more times until Santiago. Each time we met, we would speak Afrikaans. The next morning our paths crossed right before Foncebadón where Rita and Steven were having a coffee. The four South Africans had a a good chat, though in English this time.
La Cruz de Ferro
One of the landmarks on the Camino is Cruz Ferro. It is not anything like any of the Cathedrals on the Way. It is simply a tall wooden pole with an iron cross. Legend says that it is an ancient monument the Celts erected many years ago. When the Romans ruled the land, they dedicated this site to Mercury who is the protector of travellers. Later, the hermit Guacelmo renamed the site as Christian and a cross was added to the pole. This happened around the ninth century.
Since then pilgrims would bring a stone and place it under the cross. This represented the act of leaving your burden at the door of the cross, which makes your pilgrimage lighter in both the physical and spiritual sense.
Ask and Bring
If there is anything I have learned over these two days it is to ask. If I asked Heidi in beginning if she spoke Afrikaans we could have spoken our mother tongue right from the beginning. Is it really so bad to ask someone a question?
The second thing I learned at Cruz Ferro. I was reminded to bring my burdens to the foot of the Cross.