Sunday, June 6, 2010

On the Road Again

Part deux of the transcribed Camino chronology.

I write this entry sitting on my thin rubber mat on the cement floor of a warehouse turned community center in Vedra, Galicia. Snails crawl through the landmines of our discarded tennis shoes while ants venture boldly across our bags and legs until noticed and flicked away. We wear our blisters proudly, bodies prone and foot soles high in the air. Rather than hide our disfigured footsies in shame, we share our Camino injuries like soldiers comparing battle scars. And after three days and 90 km, our humble shelter is an appreciated haven. As long as Armando makes good on his promise of extra blankets, we'll be about as comfortable as the Princess and the pea. OK, so she didn't sleep so great, but neither will we.
Yesterday we woke up shivering in a monastery, her vast corridors and high ceilings doing less to keep in the heat and more to trap in the cold. With a stamp for our "heaven passports", a personally painted pint sized Jesus on cork board and pat on the head from our lilliputian friar in full habit. One of the twelve active monks living a semi twelfth century life in a small village in the northern Spanish countryside, our monk wandered daily through richly decorated altar rooms and numerous stone courtyards adorned with majestic fountains spouting the same water in nearly the same way as they had been for the last 800 years.
We set off into JR Tolkien Shire for the next 22 km until we stopped in front of a church, parked ourselves on benches, and ate our fill of cheese, jamon, chorizo, yogurt (the Americans snuck it into Armando's shopping basket) and red wine. With enough vino in our veins to dull the aches and stings, we walked another 9 km through ghost towns, pastures and wooded slopes. We spent our evening in Laxe (Lajé) in a communal dormitory with some 40 beds each filled with either one of us or a snoring, sleeping Spaniard. Dinner that night was a St. James miracle. When they took the tin foil off the mostaccioli, I think we would have been as impressed in St. Jimmy himself rowed up in his legendary stone boat.
A chilly, achy, oft interrupted night of sleep later, we performed foot surgery on our inflamed appendages. Blisters were popped, toes were bandaged, neosporin was applied, then grudgingly tennies were strapped back on our feet. Today began our creative forms of self-entertainment. To conquer the pre-lunch 7 km, we recounted the plots of our favorite books aloud. We took turns telling the tales in as much vivid detail as we could remember to our genuinely captivated audience. When we ran out of written works that we could retell with enough conviction to make them worth reciting, we switched to films and personal stories. We heard about horror films and childhood injuries, brothers and sister, parents and pets. We chronicled our love lives, first kiss 'til the present to conquer the final three km of uphill trail. At the top we were rewarded with friendly, granola-hungry horses and bouncing village puppies eager for attention. Our furry animal induced happiness was quickly dashed as we set up camp on the cold concrete, cold seeping up through our sleeping pads and the vino seeping into our brains. Buenas noches.

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