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  • Day2

    Jesus didn't start in Sarria

    May 7, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

    “Jesus didn’t start his Camino in Sarria”, says the graffiti on the route marker, but we did.

    I was going to begin this blog yesterday evening, a little intro before we did get started, but we were hungry, so had a ‘pilgrims’ all-inclusive’ dinner - inclusive of a bottle of wine, of the taste, and strength (in my opinion) of dry sherry. Chris just described it as rough. I read somewhere that it is ok to write drunk, as long as you edit sober, but I can’t do either. I agonise and refine as I go along.

    “An Aussie fella, a scouser, an Irish woman, and a lady in a walking hat who wouldn’t be pigeon-holed were eating in a bar.”

    The mixed group at the next table who I have just stereotyped into a 1970s joke certainly wouldn’t be doing any writing last night, given that they could barely speak coherently. They sure could sing though! Motown mainly. We watched them weaving their way home to their hotels when we followed them down the hill to the church at the end of our meal. Pious little pilgrims aren’t we?

    The people you meet
    On our trip so far, we have already met up with a couple from Northamptonshire and their friend from Kent, and a South African woman from Gainsborough who’d exchanged her husband for her friend from Retford, and we’d not even begun walking at this point! We had a very interesting conversation about blisters and the location of toilets (the Camino is a very middle-aged occupation clearly). We concluded that we walked around all day without injury normally, so would not need the first aid supplies, and that the most convenient toilet was either this bush ‘aqui’, or that bush ‘alli’ if you wanted privacy. Cafes (with toilets) have in fact been fairly evenly spaced across the journey so far, so.. so far, “no hay problema.”

    Planning
    I had a list before I came - not of things that I must not forget, but of who I should remember. Quite a lengthy list. Unfortunately, the tiny chapels and churches that we have seen along the way have all been locked up - it’s disappointing, but it’s saved us a fortune in candles - I think we may be in danger of setting light to the cathedral in Santiago when we finally get there...ooh la la, it wasn’t us honest!

    Walking on solid ground
    I recently received a thank you card, signed by all, from a group that I have been working with. One member simply wrote, “May you walk on solid ground.” I thought this was really lovely - It made me think of a particular time of loss, when it felt like the earth was shifting so much that I could no longer find a safe foothold. Although I have long since regained that connection, it just seemed quite relevant to our Camino journey. The first stage is quite hilly, and the paths are scattered with stones and coursed alongside shallow rocky streams (or babbling brooks, as Chris likes to call them). However, these tricky paths are edged with ancient trees, and meadows of emerald green filled with wild flowers - flowers that by any other name would be garden and hothouse - wild lupins, (purple and yellow), bee orchids, honeysuckle, med-blue gentian, monster foxgloves, broom, extra large dog violets, and a naturalistic, planted, heathland garden - multi-coloured. Another interesting feature along the way is the grain store or horreo . Here they are raised on stilts or pillars, and made of red bricks or wood panels, with steps up. We had been a bit concerned that the area might be susceptible to flash flooding (given the weather forecast later in the week), but no, apparently it’s just to keep the rats out.

    Locals
    This area is very rural - the route is filled with people working the land, and the dogs who assist them. Every house, however small, has its own vegetable plot, and its own Alsatian. There was also one very loud and lonely donkey. He stopped braying when I spoke to him kindly, and stroked his nose :(

    Stopping over.
    We are now in Mercadoiro in a very nice alberge. Our bedroom looks rather like a wine cellar - we have taken this as a warning. Tomorrow we are aiming for Ligonde, via Portomarin. Or failing that, Alto de Hospital.

    Things learnt today:
    1. It doesn’t matter where you go, you’ll always find a Geordie.
    2. Sit your back pack belt on your waist to avoid straining your Monk Muscle (across the shoulders). Who knew? The Dutchman at our mid-morning coffee stop knew.
    A revelation!
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