Day 7, December 1st, 2012
I just had a beautiful dream. There was flying and magic and fantastic creatures and a battle with an evil witch and true love.
I awoke slowly from that dream into another one. I was still someone else, someone young. My friend and I were lying in the dirt, mostly naked. We were about fourteen. There were dozens of other children around us, and we were all starving. We'd been there a long time.
I did have one thing that the others didn't have. Through some lucky chance I'd gotten an old, battered laptop from a Western aid group. I'd fallen asleep with an article about seals brought up up. I also had a notebook filled with stories.
The head man came by. He's friendly but strict and businesslike. He asked if there was anything we needed – we laughed and said, “more food.” He smiled a sad smile and said yes, he knew, anything besides that? We asked (as usual) if there were any jobs. He said no, but that he hoped for something to come up for me and my friend soon.
The my real self appeared. I was still in the body of the boy – I decided to talk to the stranger for a bit. He (I) was surprised by the starvation; I said that that's how it is here. He asked about the laptop; my friend told him that I wrote stories. He asked if he could see them (he collects stories); I thought about it for a long time before giving him my notebook.
Here I returned to my real self. I opened the book to read the first line. That's when I woke up here in Igualada. 4:46am.
“Many of the places I've been have been closed because it isn't pilgrim season,” said Martin. He held up his hands to make quotation marks. “'Pilgrim season.' When is it not pilgrim season? This I do not understand.”
Expenses, Day 7
Trip Total: 203.81
Today's road thought: most of the best things that have happened to me involve meeting people. Hearing jazz for the first time, making a best friend, falling in love, reading Coelho and learning about the camino . . . all of these things came about through meeting someone else.
Everywhere is perfection, but here I can see it more easily. Two steps off the road in a tiny silent town called Porquerisses, I lay on a green embankment in a little patch of grass. It is half wild – a scattering of barren fruit trees lie amongst the wildflowers, all in the shadow of an old stone building. Across the valley are a few fields carved out of the forest. Spain abounds with forest – wild, untamed hills of twisted Cyprus and broken stone buildings. Perhaps that's why I love it so much.
The sun is hot, finally. Even in November the sun is hot here from noon to two or three in the afternoon. I can only imagine what it must be like in the summer . . . but for now, there is nothing to do besides sit and watch a few single gossamer strands of spiderweb blow in the breeze.
Five minutes in La Panadella and I think I could tell you the whole history of the town. It sits astride the old N-11 national highway, but with the construction of the freeway most of the traffic has bypassed the village. The warehouses sit empty, and only of the three restaurants/pensions still has any life to it . . .
Pension Bayona is bustling, though. It has become a truck stop. Poppy would feel at home drinking coffee here, or dad for that matter. It reminds me of the variety of Midwest truck stops I've experienced, although with a distinct European flavor (the coffee doesn't suck, for example).
But the pay phone is broken, and I need to make sure tomorrow's albergue is open. Hmm. Problem. Tarrega is a fairly big town, I can ask for a pension, but I will try the albergue tomorrow. 23Km walked today.