• Day23

    Cast of human and animal characters

    June 14, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 66 °F

    I've walked 57 kilometers since I last posted (80 before that) and have crossed the border into Spain. Am taking a rest day in Tui.

    Animals seen so far, besides the usual domestic ones:

    Starlings like we have, but with bright orange beaks I rescued one baby off the road and put it on a limb where its mother could find it.

    Small nondescript brown birds with a beautiful, varied trilly song, magpies, seagulls, herons, and many other birds I can't identify

    A small brown vole ambled across the trail in front of me

    Green, whiptail-style lizards

    A dead grey-brown snake (about a meter long)

    Small tree frog-size brown and green frogs near springs, Larger Leopard frog-size green frogs in rivers and ponds. I followed the frog-song and grabbed a tree frog to show Sean and he squeaked like a little girl. Apparently he has a frog phobia.

    Human Cast of Characters:

    More people are showing up on the road and I've gotten to know some of them a bit as we leapfrog past each other walking and meet up in cafes and albergues.

    Sean, the British ex-policeman who drives a London cab. We keep meeting up again and again.

    The Czech woman with her 3 1/2 year old son

    Tricia, who lives 1/2 mile from me in Albuquerque

    Father John, wearing his long black robe and carrying his backpack containing - along with his regular walking gear - props used for saying Mass along the way. He's from New Hampshire and belongs to the Brothers Fraternity of St. Peter. He was invited to walk the Portuguese camino with an American family as their spiritual adviser; he’d walked the Camino Frances a year ago. Before I met him, Sean and I were walking along and he was describing this priest in a long black robe he saw and just then we turned a corner and came upon Father John sitting on a step. Sean said, “Wow, I was just telling her that I saw a priest in a black habit walking down the trail!" Fr. John replied, "that sounds like the start of a joke."

    The next day I walked with Father John for a while and I told him about the Virgen de Guadalupe mosaic mural I worked on for the Franciscan friary. He said, " I'm surprised we haven't run across any of them. This path screams Franciscans to me." We ate dinner together; I had a glass of wine and he ordered a Mojito. He wasn't walking with the family for a few days because he's required to have a 5 day solo retreat every year and he's taking that now. Apparently drinking and goofing around with me during his retreat is ok!

    Richard Parkes, the New Zealander writer and water activist who I pass every few days, sittting outside a cafe pounding away on his solar powered laptop.

    Two impossibly tall, thin Austrian women I call “the stork sisters.”(to myself, not to them)

    The group of Germans who are absorbing other Germans as they go, like an amoeba on the trail. They greet me but usually don't invite me to sit with them, because they don't want to have to speak English. One of them whistles constantly, which I really think is worse than snoring in the albergue.

    Xiao Yin, the Chinese man who lived in France and doesn't have a plan after this. He envied my poles, so tromped down into the forest and broke a couple of sticks for himself.

    A sister and brother from Mexico, across the border near South Padre Island. They are in their 20s, she wanted to walk to Fatima, so she brought her brother along and after Fatima, they are now walking to Santiago. So nice to hear and talk Mexican Spanish! They were at Fernanda's albergue, too. Buena gente.

    Older South African couple who are forever indebted to me after I gave them my Brierley guidebook to the Camino Portugues, when they lost theirs. I keep thinking they will give up, but they are real troopers, walking some good mileage each day and I run into them again and again.

    Jared, the young climber/motorcycle mechanic from Alberta, Canada who was living in Peru and then found a cheap flight to Europe and started walking the camino on a whim. He only follows the route sometimes, then gets lost for a day or two. He has a knee injury from bull riding. We talk motorcycles whenever I see him, which turns out to be often.

    Frank and Gabrielle from Holland, with fine-tuned sarcastic senses of humor.
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    Jill Gatwood

    Frank, Sean, Father John, Gabrielle

    Jill Gatwood

    Leopard frog

    Jill Gatwood

    Sean, starting up the hill. It got a lot rougher after this.

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