Very Improper Pilgrims


Impropriety is the soul of wit – W. Somerset Maugham.


If we take Maugham’s improprietous aphorism as read we would have to conclude that our party of pilgrims is the most witty bunch of people on the face of the earth… Alas! would that it were so. Perhaps the sun that burns the ethereal mists away in the morning has likewise acted upon our, now, completely witless pilgrims. What is left, well, fair warning, it isn’t pleasant.

Vanishing mists – an apt image given the circumstances

Happily harassing innocent photographers.

Who you lookin’ at?

Menacing their lunch-to-be.

Frankly, once I’ve eaten a thing I don’t expect to see it again.

Drinking in the afternoon.

The lunchtime tipple takes its toll.

Making strange jokes.

Five years ago I was a four-stone apology… Today I am two separate gorillas!

Giving people the wrong directions.

The big stone statue of the pilgrim is that way.

Trying to denounce the very act of pilgrimage-ing.

Just a short taxi ride… please

Even amongst all this indecorous impropriety they cannot help but form orderly queues. A small mercy when one considers what they are queuing for.

Taking turns to mock an injured pilgrim they met upon the trail.
“I just mocked that injured fella good and proper!”



The day’s 25 kilometres ended in Palas de Rei which is an important pilgrim town reserved for the people who really put the I in V.I.P. People such as King Philippe II who popped in on his way to marry Mary Tudor. All this rather begs the question of how our pilgrims gained admittance. Perhaps the I in V.I.P has changed over the years, to now mean Improper. Here, at the Palas, our Very Improper Pilgrims enjoyed a meal fit for a lesser noble and went off to bed.

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On the fifth day of their pilgrimage, as they approach Santiago, our pilgrims marked Ascension day with, not only a symbolic ascension up and through the morning mists surrounding Portmartin, but a contemplative day of group and individual prayers as they marched along (pictures in slideshow below).


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  1. VIP could also stand for Very Improbable Pilgrims. But as Young Mr. Grace would say: You’ve all done very well !


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