Where am I today? Carrion de los Condes!
Entry 33, December 27th, 2011
Expenses, Day 33
Albergue, Hortanas: 5.00
Menú Peregrino and Cerveza: 10.00
Trip Total: 762.03
Entry 34, December 28th, 2011
Expenses, Day 34
Trip Total: 780.41
31 kilometers yesterday. We've started across the meseta – it is very flat and treeless. I cannot imagine what it is like in the summer.
No heat in the albergue. Everyone was whingeing – I didn't think it was that bad. It's all mental.
Entry 35, December 29th, 2011
A quartet of haikus for some of my fellow pilgrims.
Pair of sticks and white sneakers
Crunching through the frost,
The warrior leads the way.
He points to the rising sun
Two birds sing; empty branches.
Comedian: pay attention!
Yellow arrows are no match
Pilgrims, follow him!
Will GPS find his dream?
Happy Happy Happy Beast
Spain cannot contain
All the words he can produce!
We passed a hill today with a line of pine trees on top forming a wind break. The stiff with from the Northeast made it sound like the ocean.
Trusting my intuition, I left the path and followed the ridge up. At the top was a stone marker. I stood on it, watching the sunrise and feeling the blast of cold wind on my face. I yelled – a wordless yell, the sound of an animal rejoicing in the beginning of morning. It is good to be alive this day.
I am reminded of the picture of the zen monk, standing on the open palm of god, with arms thrown outwards and mouth open in wordless shout like he is on a rollercoaster!
Expenses, Day 35
Coffee + Bocadillo: 5.50
Albergue (Carrion de los Condes, Nunnery): 5.00
Trip total: 801.91
We stopped in a small village where everything was closed. Ernesto was already there, and he explained that the grandmother of the bar's owner had just died. Just then the procession came by from the church. Mostly on foot, casket in a hearse. They were carrying a cross on a staff as well as a huge flag – after stopping at the woman's house to say a prayer, they went on to the cemetery.
The whole time we were in town the church bells were ringing – slow, slow quarter notes, one bell at a time, for the funeral. Combined with the wind in the bare branches, it was the most mournful sound I have ever heard. In C minor:
(notation in notebook) G, down M6 to Bb, up m7 to Ab, down m6 to C, back up to G to start again
33km today to Carrion de los Condes (Count of the Condors), a nice bit of work. It was my longest planned day yet. I'm in good shape – the joints were a bit tired at the end, but I didn't injure anything and I am not stiff. I'm still not particularly fast, but I feel good in the evenings and while walking. I was relaxed all day today, like sitting in a chair, and spent most of it working on my posture. Head back! But how far back?
Ernesto gave me one of his mismatched walking sticks today, as he finally got a new pair. Marten was right – the gifts come, there is no need to buy any. It is a symbol of Ernesto's victory over the mountain pass at St. Jean Pied-de-Port, as the matching stick was broken while saving him from a particularly nasty fall. Perhaps this one will do the same for me on the mountains yet to come, or maybe its brother will (the stick Cleber found for me).
Michael/Kwang-sik/the Warrior gave me a wire sculpture of a trumpet as well, for Christmas . . . the gifts just come. I am writing haikus for everyone in the group in return. There's nothing quite as light as a poem.