Destination Compostelle

En Route vers Santiago...

Rencontres sur le Chemin de Compostelle

L’aspect le plus intéressant du pèlerinage à Compostelle est, selon moi, sa dimension humaine. Tous les pèlerins passent par les mêmes lieux, fournissent les mêmes efforts et connaissent les mêmes conditions météorologiques. Ils ont souvent le même but. Arriver à Saint-Jacques de Compostelle. Mais ce qui les unit par dessus tout, c’est le cheminement intérieur qui les a fait prendre la route en premier lieu.

Même s’il est possible de faire ce pèlerinage par simple amour de la marche, sa réalisation répond le plus souvent à un besoin. Besoin de faire le point. Besoin de tourner la page et de laisser certaines choses derrière soi. Besoin d’inspiration pour des projets futurs. Besoin de se sentir aimé. Besoin d’exprimer au monde qui l’on est.

C’est la première fois que je fais le Camino Francés, le trajet le plus fréquenté de tous, et je ne suis pas en mesure de deviner toutes les raisons qui poussent les pèlerins dans cette aventure. Il y en a autant qu’il y a de pèlerins. Mais je crois qu’il est possible de catégoriser ces derniers selon le besoin qu’ils cherchent à satisfaire.

Je dis cela car j’ai détecté plusieurs profils selon les thèmes de conversation récurrents. Chaque pèlerin est unique, et la quasi totalité d’entre eux souhaitent partager son histoire. Car bien qu’il s’agisse d’un cheminement intérieur, c’est surtout au contact des autres que l’on est en mesure de réfléchir. Et c’est en cela que le Chemin est remarquable. Toutes les personnes qui s’y trouvent sont dans la même démarche.

Après l’effort, le réconfort

Quand on fait le Chemin, est-ce que l’on voit toujours les mêmes personnes, ou est-ce qu’elles changent chaque jour?

Bien sûr, il y a des personnes que l’on revoit régulièrement. Généralement, les pèlerins marchent à la même vitesse, et il est possible de se suivre jusqu’à la fin. Mais si l’on décide d’accélérer son rythme de marche, par exemple, ou si l’on fait une pause d’une journée dans une ville que l’on souhaite visiter, il arrive de perdre de vue certaines personnes. Il faut alors se faire de nouveaux amis. Et il est toujours possible de retrouver des compagnons de voyage plus loin.

Qui sont les pèlerins?

Tous ceux que j’ai rencontrés sont majeurs. La plus jeune avait vingt ans et aimait dormir à la belle étoile. Plus tôt aujourd’hui, je parlais avec un retraité de soixante-et-onze ans. Il avait un irrépressible besoin d’être écouté, et j’avoue ne pas me souvenir de tous les détails de ce qu’il m’a raconté. C’est un de ces pèlerins qui n’hésitent pas à ouvrir le robinet dès qu’ils trouvent une oreille réceptive, même si ce qu’ils ont à dire est purement autobiographique. J’ai tendance à laisser couler un moment et à passer le relais à une autre oreille avant de m’éclipser.

Il y a aussi les vétérans de Compostelle, qui ne manquent pas une occasion de rappeler qu’ils ont déjà fait le Chemin plusieurs fois. Comme je l’écrivais dans un autre article, les pèlerins accumulent de la fierté lors de leur épopée. Avec les ampoules notamment. Mais avoir déjà fait le Chemin de Compostelle apporte aussi énormément de points de gloire. Surtout si on est parvenu jusqu’à Compostelle par plusieurs routes différentes.

Les pèlerins les plus enrichissant sont ceux qui ont un problème à résoudre. Cela les pousse à rechercher des solutions, et ils n’ont de cesse de partager avec leur entourage le fruit de leurs pensées. Parfois, on peut les aider à trouver des solutions, et c’est alors que l’on apprend le plus.

D’où viennent les pèlerins ?

Du monde entier ! L’écrasante majorité sont des européens. J’ai rencontré beaucoup d’espagnols, énormément de français, plein d’italiens, de nombreux allemands, mais aussi des autrichiens, des polonais, des hongrois, des belges, des suisses, … Mais pas seulement ! J’ai connu un homme du Tadjikistan, une colombienne, une coréenne et un russe. On m’a aussi parlé d’un couple d’américains et d’une japonaise. Quel mélange de cultures !

Outre les pèlerins, il y a les hospitaleros, celles et ceux qui nous accueillent dans les auberges. La plupart d’entre eux sont discrets. Mais certains sont des passionnés du Chemin de Compostelle. Ils ont alors une myriade d’histoires intéressantes à conter, mais il est parfois difficile de distinguer le vrai du faux.

Jusqu’où allons nous marcher demain ?

Et après le pèlerinage?

C’est encore trop tôt pour le dire, mais j’imagine que les liens tissés pendant ces semaines de marche déboucheront sur des retrouvailles. Je me souviens un de mes amis qui avait effectué le Chemin Portugais et qui avait invité chez lui certains pèlerins qu’il avait connus alors. Tout reste à faire, et je suis curieux de savoir qui seront les pèlerins avec qui je marcherai lorsque j’arriverai à Santiago!

À bientôt pour un nouvel article!

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Dan Sylvain

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J’écris des articles pendant un pèlerinage à Saint-Jacques de Compostelle. Toi aussi, commence à écrire en français et réponds-moi en commentaires!

Dan

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