Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Paul on the Road : from Roncesvalles

Author: Paulo Coelho


Hi Paulo,

well following an emotional visit to Lourdes the path did finally lead me to St Jean de Pied a Port but it was an interesting journey. At the station in Lourdes, whilst awaiting my train two young women arrived at the coffee shop, soaking with rain after their bike ride from Toulouse. Laughing, joking and singing to the loud music playing in the background, they changed their wet clothing and sat down to a hearty meal. Finally, one of them, Mylene, asked me where I was going, to which I replied “oh just to Santiago!”.

She told of their Easter plan to bike from Toulouse to Avachone near Bordeaux via Biarritz. We chatted about the risks and dangers of such a long journey, but Mylene and Celine, two primary school teachers, maintained that the freedom their journey offered them, was the very essence of life itself. Asked if I could take their photo to attach it to their story, but they said “only from behind” as they teach their pupils the same at school.” It’s to protect their identities for their own safety”, they added.

So as you can imagine, the subject of blogs and internet continued and I asked if they had read Paulo’s books, “oh yes” said Celine, 4 or 5 of them and her favorite was 11 Minutes, but she had lost it and would love to read it again. So I told them of Paulo’s phylosphy of free books for the internet and they said without hesitation “that’s the future of consumption!”. So it was time to board our train and as promised, Celine and Mylene posed for a photo from behind ;) My journey continued via Bayonne to SJPP, with an unexpected delay while we tried to clear the track of a small fallen tree. We finally gave up and they ordered a small bus to pick us up. Arriving almost one hour late in St Jean Pied a Port, the Herberge people were hungry and ready to go to Mass, but they kindly issued our “Carnets” and a bed for the night. More news tomorrow,


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