Sunday, 27 November 2011

Reflections Camino Norte part one

Due to a lack of computers on this Camino I am only now blogging one week after getting back,I'm a collector of quotes two come to mind Kierkegaard wrote "life must be lived forward,but it can only be understood backwards" and Socrates who once said "the unexamined life is not worth living"
  so in an atempt fully understand the last 2 months I am writing now
due to the weather and the terrain this walk split into 4 parts
 I flew into France September 20th and took the train into Irun just over the border in Spain not sure want to expect from this Camino having read contradicting reports and as always a little apprehensive about walking 800km but having settled into the Albergue the familiar surroundings of an Alburgue and the fellow pilgrims worked their spell and I was ready,opened a bottle of wine to have with a cold supper and was joined by Luca from Spain and Sara from Germany,all of us had started out at 5am that morning to meet round that evenings table-good people and a great start to this Camino,Luca 20 a seasonal barman in Italian alps in the winter,coastal holiday resorts in the summer-and Sara 24 a student.
the planned stop the next day was San Sebastian but we stopped just short at a religious retreat in the hills above,the day had been very hot 35c a pattern that was to be repeated for the whole of the next month
    years before I had rented a holiday flat 500 euros for a long weekend with my now ex wife and daughter number 3 in the same hills and remember looking down onto the beach where could be heard sounds of music and wishing I was down there with them,now for a donation I sleep in a 4 star yurt while Luca plays his guitar,life is good.
               Luca and his guitar became a focal part of my first week,everyday he tried carrying it in a different position till he found one that suited, what are the rules of the Camino or fight club as he called it
the first rule of fight club I said was never ever leave a bed bench or bar without first checking you hadn,t left anything behind,the second rule being never enter a toilet without tissue in your pocket-the first days he broke these rules so many times.
 Sara on a tighter schedule started walking longer days,and she left us in here wake.
           on the French route the sea is the destination here its a constant companion which is a little strange,that plus the hot weather made it more like a holiday as we walked and sometimes sunbathed on the beaches.
 we were joined by 2 more Luca's one a stylish man from Sardinia and one from Poland plus Thomas from Germany and later Natalie who also played guitar and sang Tracy Chapman songs plus a girl from South Korea,
 this was rapidly becoming a beach party as we swam sung and sunbathed our way along the coast culminating in one glorious night dancing in Deba

we had all booked into the Albergue there high above the town which was reached by a glass sided elevator that I could only travel on with my eyes tightly shut-we had dined and wined on the roof-topped terrace visited the folk festival in town and having keys to the Alburgue arrived back quite late,viewing the lights of the town from our rooftop only to see the Festa take on a more raucous sound with the sounds of a rock band filling the night-so fueled by drink and encouraged by Natalie down the glassed cased lift once more into town we went
 the rock band were circling the town-speakers carried on shopping trolleys.
 this tired bunch of pilgrims danced till 3am with the friendly Basque people and staggered back to bed and slept till 11am,having admired a poster Natalie tore it from a wall and I carried it in my pack for the rest of the Camino,
 whenever we met up again the toast was always "Deba"
 A tired bunch met up for breakfast at 12am in the main square and see Natalie off on her train to Santandar to meet up with a friend
the rest of us walked 24km mostly uphill to the next Albergue-I limped into the place at 8pm and fell into my bed.all apart from Luca from day one made it,it was the last I saw of him.
 the next day I only walked 7km and on an impulse took a bed in the monastery at Cenaruzza a small Albergue there with 11 beds,I had the place to myself.
 how far have you walked the priest asked,just 7km I replied,Ah he said you are just a tourist in the 18thC the pilgrims were penitents and walked barefoot but he said wishfully its not the 18thC anymore,I felt like telling him I had been dancing a lot of late some of which may have been barefoot but held my tongue.
a large bowl of soup and dried bread was placed before me and a bowl of fruit,I checked out the visitors book to find a message from Sara dated 2 night ago saying she was missing both me and Luca and hoped to meet up again soon and share wine plus one from Luca dated the night before saying he was going in search of her and also hoped to meet up again thus forgetting the third rule of fight club "you don't chase things or people on the Camino,they find you"
                I pointed out to the priest the coincidence of all 3 of us from day 1 staying at the same place,he told me the boy from last night was also a tourist plus he did not leave a donation pointing to the box on the wall.
   he left me in peace to reflect on this first part of my Camino,I locked the door for fear he may come back in the night and lash this sinners back..In the morning I left a large donation and this tourist continued on his way

1 comment:

  1. Harumph!! Bah Humbug...Tourist you ain't! Ah well,wonder how much and how far he's ever walked! Looking forward to more, mi amigo.