Thursday, September 3, 2009


Last evening I sat in some hope on the plaza for any hungry peregrinos to arrive and gradually 12 did, which was great. It took so long to find a place to eat though that two of them peeled off. There were some old favorites as well as youngish Craig from UK, new to me, Elma whom I met in Burgos, Wolf of the grey hair, who has been pursuing Elma, and the Oz couple I mentioned, Peter and (oops). Very good time though we really weren´t settled until 9. Tonight we´re meeting at 8:30 so it will not take quite so long to find a place and order. (When I was sitting waiting, an Englishman appeared and after a time invited me to join him and some Dutch guys if my arrangements fell through. Our groups are not the only ones meeting outside the cathedral at 7pm or so.)
I´ve shifted into a single room at the hotel for the same price and am looking forward to the botafumeiro but apparently it swang(!) today so I hope that doesn´t mean they won´t swing tomorrow.
Today I went to the PO but the packet had not arrived (not there at 7pm either) so went to Finisterre by bus. 9.45 left and arrived 11.45. Sun quite hot though there was a cool breeze. The atmosphere was very heavy with a mist blurring the coast but I took some good photos of plants and coastline, including a couple of jerky films. Since I come from almost the end of the world (NZ is) Finsterre has not the same effect on me as on the Roman officer who asserted that as the sun went down he heard a hissing such as comes from iron plunged into water. Wonder what he´d been drinking? There I met six pilgims of my acquaintance and had a drink with four of them. One had just completed her third camino in three years. It gets in yer blood, though I don´t think I´m likely to do it again, certainly not by myself. Finisterre was the end of a pilgrimage thousands of years older than the Romans, and it was these early Ps who started the giant pile of rocks at Cruzferro. They were apparently following the milky way.
I re-met Flemmng who had just arrived after walking three days from Santiago. He said so many people were walking, the refuges were full each night and people were forced to sleep out. Yet the numbers in Santiago itself seem to be less, so maybe we were just part of a glut. Still summer has just begun and the pressure will really be on in July.
Saw a young couple from UK on the bus. They´re on their annual fortnight (2 weeks to you foreigners) holidays and are touring, starting in Vigo and ending in Barcelona, travelling by bus and train across the north - backwards from the camino. Had a good time talking to them. She is an archivist in Bedford who spends much of her time answering queries about family trees. It costs 26 pounds an hour. One she pursued recently was a 14 yo boy transported for stealing 3 shillings and sixpence - about two weeks wages. He was sent to Tasmania and released at 21 for good behaviour. He married a local girl, moved to Sydney and became a cobbler - his father´s trade. Years later, a report on his life in a Sydney newspaper coyly said he had come to Australia from London. Now, of course, people proudly parade their penal past, especially if they are First Fleeters.
The airconditioning in the bus broke down on the return and the driver flew home in 1.5 hours! It was also the grubbiest bus I have seen in Spain. Normally they are very clean and beautifully maintained. The trip was an interesting one and very hilly with many forested and plantation areas, the Aussie eucalypt to the fore. It´s interesting they are still planting gums though they are a pest, squeezing out the native varieties. But I note they also fell them small sometimes, stacking in piles the stripped trunks, most not much thicker than my wrist. What their use can be continues to be a puzzle.
I´m not sure that I said, but now my plan is to go to Madrid by sleeper (saves a night in a hotel), and then to Toledo. The Eurail pass pays only to Madrid. Then I MAY go on to Granada or something though the distances are great. Then up north again to sell the Carrix. I think I will contact Jean-Pierre, the Qantas bloke as well.
Marc from Alticoop where I bought the jacket replied today. He said he had passed on the information to the company that made the jacket, and they had despatched a new one "some days ago". If it doens´t come Thursday I will send the old jacket back to Marc, and redirect the new one (IF that´s possible) to Lyn´s. I will buy another jacket (cheap nylon) if we get rain. It has been a real saga. Still I am seeing some more of Spain and Santiago.
God bless you all.

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