Notes for a New Day will recount some rather older days during the next few months – journal entries from my pilgrimage on Spain’s camino in 2013.
Bit of a dismal day, so windy and cold – an unusual weather system is moving through apparently. My bunk bed doesn’t allow me to prop myself up to write, so I lay on my back and write holding my journal over my head.
Last night we stayed in Viana, after a day of walking a mere 19 km. My legs are/were incredibly sore and I just couldn’t do more. In Viana we stayed at a hotel-like hostel. Private room, private showers. Such luxury! On the pricey side at 40 euros, but so nice to not be in bunks, and it was very quiet. We somehow found ourselves at a pilgrim’s lunch, which then precluded a pilgrim’s dinner, and I missed the camaraderie of being with other pilgrims over dinner and a bottle of wine. Lunch was rabbit – too many bones – and chard with almonds. I can truly say that there was nothing recognizable about this food. Nothing chard-like or almond-shaped to be seen. We’ve eaten lots of Spanish oranges though, and they are amazing.
We went out around 6:00 pm to buy a little food, see the church and look around the town. Sleepy and empty, like every smaller town we’ve been through so far. Around 7:30 pm, however, I decided to go and get some more fruit and something to drink. Well…it was a different town! Children playing everywhere, grandmothers watching babies, every store open, an art gallery revealed just across the street. Energy and life in abundance. I bought a bottle of grapefruit juice (1.95 euros) instead of the large box of sangria (1.05 euros). As we had been told, wine is plentiful and cheap.
Today, we’ve walked 23 km to Navarette. Again, my sore legs wouldn’t go any further. I think my son is tired too, so I hope I’m not too much of a drag on this enterprise. Along the way, at the top of a windy hill we saw a young man with a table on the roadside. How entrepreneurial! Flasks of tea and coffee, fruit cookies. No charge, pay what you want. I found this to be an excellent business model, since what we took was worth far less than the 2 euros I gave him. We talked for some time with him and learned that he had been in Poland, but had come back to Spain to escape the cold, only to discover it was colder here. Not many pilgrims today.
Several times I have wanted to draw what I see. That’s not an urge I have felt before. Photos can’t capture what interests me – the expansive vistas and magnificent wildflowers in such array and abundance. The rolling hills almost appear cartoon-like in their simplicity. Photos are too small, or too literal. My drawing efforts are not worth reproducing, but I did try.