Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 32

Monday October 18, 2010
Day 32 on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela
Portomarin to Palas de Rei
Dear Blog Readers,

Before getting into Galicia, the most north westerly province of Spain, the daily weather television forecasts were horrific for this area - storms off the Atlantic, rain, wind, lightening, thunder and floods.  However, since crossing the mountain at El O´Cebreiro into Galicia, the Camino has been ‘charmed’.  We have been blessed with blue sky, sunshine and just a little chill each morning. I say a quiet ‘thanks’ to the Powers for the fine weather.
Today is no different from the past few mornings.  Thick fog greets the pilgrims this morning - after a cold buffet breakfast at the hotel.  I make a ham and cheese sandwich for the road as it is a longer day. The outside is chilly and mitts, scarf, fleece and jacket are the order for the morning.
There are now tons of pilgrims on the path - it is hard to find space to walk on some roadways.  The sun finally breaks through the fog about an hour out on the Camino - the trek is up and down mountains and valleys again. Chestnut burrs and acorn nuts crunch underfoot as the trail enters one forest after another.  I am knocked on the hat by a chestnut burr and a little further up the path a couple of acorns nuts choose my head to drop upon.   I have been listening to the Camino, if I see a slug, or snail I understand to take it slow - now the nuts are maybe hinting on sending my manuscript on nuts out to a publisher, and if they don´t send it, then maybe I need to self-publish it and get it into schools to help teach children about nuts. I am learning to take the hints given by the Camino.
The Camino travels through some hamlets, and pass some corn fields where the farmer is harvesting for animal feed.  For the first time I see some locals collecting chestnuts.  I take a good look at the nuts on the path, and realize they look a lot like a nut we get at home in Trinidad.  My family reading the blog will understand when I say the nuts look a lot like ´shatine´.  Come to think of it, when I´ve had chestnuts they do taste a little like this nut from home - wonder if they come from the same family?
Did I mention the people of Galicia has a history of elves, fairies etc.?  The rocks from the area actually have a fleck of something shiny - so I´ve been calling it pixie rocks and angel dust.  As the sun breaks through the tree tops in the forest, these sparkles shine along the path - it is magical.  Actually stop and pick up a small rock to place in Santiago in the name of my grandson, Eben.  He is on my mind today, so I dedicate my walk today to him.  Stop around 1 p.m. to have my sandwich and take stock of my feet and legs - I decide to make a bathroom stop at the café, but it is not in the cleanest condition - so decide to ask my bladder to be good for 7 more kms.  Meet a lot of first time pilgrims - chat and trek with a young German girl, who meets up with her friends and we trek for some kms.   Next is a Spanish trekker with his trekking group from Merída - finally with a Englishman, who is a history teacher, trekking for the first time.  He has biked the Camino twice before and now he is walking.  Only he´s brought the wrong boots and is paying for his stupidity with multiple blisters.  Arrive at 3:40 p.m. after leaving Portomarin at 8:30 a.m.  Trek almost 30 kms. today.  A shorter trek tomorrow, maybe about 17 kms.

Blessings from the Camino,
My personal thoughts for today - About 72 kms. left to Santiago.  I am getting excited as many on the Camino, who’ve done this before, say it is a wonderful experience. There is a large statue of St. James at the Santiago Cathedral, which pilgrims hug - I want to give him a huge hug - and maybe get to kiss his feet.  He’s kept me safe, injury free and has helped me to finish each day on the Camino. (I am disappointed later in Santiago, as it is only a bust of St. James, wearing a jeweled collar, gifted by one of Spain’s queens upon her death.)

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