Camino Angels

There is much written about the phenomenon of Camino angels. Loosely defined it is someone or something that appears and helps you along the way for some unknown reason. At first you think that is a nice legend but as the days and weeks go by and these things keep happening one starts to wonder if there is too much of this to just be the kindness of your fellow man. 

My first angel was a Lutheran priest from Finland. On day 1 of the Camino I was excited to get started and slept poorly. I awoke to go to the bathroom at 5 and there was a woman standing in the kitchen of the Albergue ready to go. She said to me that she likes to walk very early but as  a woman she did not like to walk out of town alone. Would you like to walk now?  I said yes and quickly grabbed my pack. She had walked the Camino twice before and was a huge help to me. We walked together for two days until she finished the last portion she had to walk. 

So many others:  I wrote of the young Spanish info specialists who walked with me to Lorca. The young mother who stopped her car on the street to tell me I was off the trail but where I could get back on. There was the restaurant owner who showed me where to cut 3km off the route by just staying on the traditional Camino. Then there are the people who seem to show up just as your energy and motivation are fading. Two such people in the last two days. They are always cheerful and engaging and fun to talk to which makes the km fly by. 

My nominee for angel of the Camino is Emi Gonzales Ordas. A person I met on a tour of a town in Ireland a year ago, she was kind enough to offer her email address and to show me around Leon. She took time after her job to show me Sahagun and then used her valuable day off to make sure I got to see the treasures of Leon. 

One of my many take aways from my Camino experience is that I want to be more like Emi. I wish we could all take as much pride in our country, our history, and our faith to be as  kind and giving as she. The world would be a better place.  



8 thoughts on “Camino Angels

  1. Gordy Schnabel says:


    Just caught up on your travels from the past week. Time keeps getting away from me but I relish in your tales along the way without feeling the ache in my knees and the soreness of my feet. This is truly an amazing accomplishment and I envy the experience. You have walked the Camino in the vintage Michael Ritchie way. I wish I knew Spanish in order to say something cute. Instead all I can say is Drive On to Santiago! GOD SPEED.



  2. Ricky says:

    Mikey, You are an inspiration to those of us weaker in body and/or spirit. Thanks for including us in your accomplishment. Way to go!


  3. Emi says:

    Thanks for your kind and undeserved words about me. It was a pleasure for me. I was very happy to show León and Sahagún. Thereby, all people will know how beautiful my town is. All your readers are welcome!


  4. Joe Ritchie says:

    Michael, I’m sure you will have mixed emotions when you finish tomorrow. Pride, relief, and loss. El Camino has been your life and joy for a month and it will end. The blog was a great idea. And, you could write a book.


  5. Tom and Mary Lujan says:

    Michael! Mary and I are so thrilled by your enthralling adventure! The 71 km marker was awesome! So excited for you to complete the challenge…Cousin Kathy is hanging around Santiago and would love to link up with you after church Sunday morning in Santiago! She isn’t able to access your blog but sent us an email as above which I have forwarded to your email…we so hope it works out! God Bless! Tom and Mary


  6. Kristen says:

    Like Amanda said, I was also thinking there’s no doubt that you acted as someone else’s camino angel! Perhaps on this walk, and also perhaps on the journeys that you’ve inspired your loyal readers to take. Like my dad said, I was also thinking of all of the emotions you will feel tomorrow, including some loss mixed in with all of that pride and joy. But I also know that loss will be replaced as soon as you determine your next goal or journey. Enjoy this last part of this one!! Much love!


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