Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Camino Entry 42

Today's google street view, headed across the famous bridge in Hospital de Órbigo:

Entry 42, January 5th, 2012

We passed a legit jousting pitch this morning. “1st weekends in June (1° fin de semana de Junio)” say the sugar packets here in the cafe in Hospital de Órbigo. I am reminded of Arthur watching the jousts as a boy in “The Once and Future King.” This is also the town with the bridge with 19 arches.

The jousting pitch, and the bridge with 19 arches.

One of the common sights for the last 100km or so have been small rooms and houses dug out of grass hillocks. Most look like simple storage sheds but some are clearly residences, with a few windows and chimneys. Hobbit holes?

León has been settled as a city since 910, but it existed as a Roman military fort since the first century.

The path was very nice today (if a bit rocky), tracing through forest and scrubland. Climbing a hill, I came upon a small stand by the side of the camino called “La Casa de los Dioses,” and decorated with a large red heart. It is run by a Catalan man named David who sleeps in a lean-to nearby and mans the post year-round. He walked the camino from Cataluñya and back before deciding to serve the pilgrims with organic juice, bread, water, and peanut butter (he doesn't usually get the peanut butter, but he went into Astorga yesterday and had an intuition that an American would visit (me)). Everything is free, and he takes donations to pay for supplies and eventually to buy the nearby barn for a meditation center and pilgrim shelter.

Now that is a liberated lifestyle. He calls his little spot “an oasis.”

A beautiful soul, but not the life that I want to lead. I am more complex than that, for better and for worse.

Tonight we are in Astorga, the traditional resting point before crossing the mountains, and truly the end of the meseta. Perhaps we arrive on the 14th or 15th in Santiago.

Expenses, Day 42

Breakfast: 2.30
Pastries: 2.50
Provison: 4.37
Oasis: 3.00
Tomorrow's provision: 2.50
Korean albergue: 6.00
Menú: 8.50
Total: 29.17
Trip Total: 971.81

It is the eve of Reyes, the three kings' arrival to visit the baby Jesus. The kids all get their presents tomorrow and so they are bouncing off the walls with excitement. Instead of sitting on Santa's lap, they sit on one of the three kings', who have a platform set up in the middle of Astorga. The whole town is turned out for the festivities, and tomorrow is a holiday with barbecues and everything. I think the symbolism makes more sense this way than back home.

Christmas is a lovely time to visit Spain, even if everything is closed.

Those with the most faith walk the fastest. Kwang-sik, who has strong faith, can thrown down 40kms a day, no problem.

The Spanish are also fantastic walkers. My pace is comparatively slow, but I am strong on hills and rough terrain. Not a sprinter.

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