Camino Diary Entry #33
#33 Emails home from the Camino . Triacastela to Sarria 17 kms (Not!)
It was a perfect morning! The sky was clear blue, a little freshness in the air and the birds sang to serenade us on our way out of Triacastela. I love Sunday early mornings! They are just the best time to be walking! Everyone is relaxed, the locals are out walking, running, calling out “hola” and ” buen Camino”. Makes you feel good to be alive!
A stunning variety of butterflies fluttered about the path in front of us and all was well with the world.
Yesterday’s frenzy of farmers had gone and today it was back to quiet semi deserted villages.
The happiest of happy beings we have encountered are the chickens we met today! They just run about doing what all good chickens should – clucking, laying eggs and looking happy! (Someone needs to tell the old cock – of the feathered variety! – that 10 am is a little too late to be crowing!)
Before leaving Triacastela we stood pondering the sign with yellow Camino arrows pointing in both directions. A very helpful passer-by explained (in Spanish!) that to the right was through the mountains and about 8 kms longer than the route to the left via Samos where there was a most impressive monastery.I translated for Gwyn (being bi lingual-not!) and looking a little skeptical she pursed her lips and said “Well we should check that! I find you can never check some of these things too many times. No, it’s not about you and the fact that you actually don’t know any Spanish, it goes back much further than that in the experiences I’ve had”.
Several other pilgrims were making a similar decision and so we set off feeling carefree and self-righteous about how relaxed we were and being here to ‘enjoy the moment’.
We expected to be amused as the elevation map of the day had it wrong yet again. It was fun for the first couple of kilometres! 2 hours on and still we are climbing for at least twice as far as we are descending. We are no longer impressed. In short we are failing to find any humour in it at all!
The world redeems itself as we finally emerge (some 3 hours later)to a stunning view from the hill top of the monastery of Samos. An appropriate number of photos were shot and the much anticipated descent was all on.
The town blossomed before us and with our eagle eyes we spotted the supermarket – some may think of this more as a dairy! Given the gathering of little old men and little old ladies, we concluded that this must be the meeting place for those not stirred to respond to the call of the monastery bells for midday mass.
An iceblock was desperately needed to quench the thirst on what has now evolved into a cloud free 25+ summers day. At the behest of one little old man, we collapsed with our day packs and ice blocks onto a very comfy stone seat outside the shop door.
A middle aged man stepped out from an adjacent doorway wearing a white ‘doctors coat’ with a random assortment of red blood stained ‘finger wipes’ about its middle, front and back. We were still speculating – was he the butcher? the painter? or the local surgeon? when all was revealed. He crossed back in front of us carrying one very stiff, very naked (as in totally skinned) young calf! It’s skeletal head resting up on his right shoulder and at the other extreme, a naked rigomortised tail extended complete with ‘hair brush’ on the end. So it was well gutted – so what? It was gross! Gwyn’s jaw dropped in a state of shock and given that she was too stunned to pull her feet in out of his path we are all most grateful her legs are on the shorter side and Mr Butcher did not trip as we would have been obliged to assist him – and his dead beast – to get up!
Maybe this was a ‘sign’ and we failed to recognize it! I think St James perhaps has a way of dealing with the precious pilgrims such as ourselves and like it or not, he challenged us from this moment on!