Tuesday 17 July 2012

Day 2 Portomarian

Today I´m actually at a computer paying for ¨WiFi¨  The hotel was listed as having air conditioning and wifi but...apparently this only means the common areas have ac and internet is available on the one computer in the salon.  Oh well...bare with me will I try to speed type my entry within the 40minutes I´ve purchased and on a key board that is set up in Spanish.  Thankfully, I understood enough Spanish to figure out how to switch Google over to English  lol
Ok so our morning started off nice.  Both Elena and I were feeling good, well rested and ready to tackle day two of our pilgrimage.  We packed up, took our luggage down stairs, had breakfast and then called the taxi to take us back to Morgade so we could hike to Portomarian.  Breakfast was delicious.  The weather comfortable and our taxi was quick.  The gentleman was kind but...we soon learned the ´gentle´is not a good adjective for this man.
Once in the car, he became the comicosi cab driver (CCCD) from hell.  I squealled as he hit and I do mean HIT the first flock of birds.  Swerving on the roads at break neck speed my stomach was starting to turn.  Rarely slowing down for other pilgrims on the road side...I couldn´t hold back my squeal when I was sure he was going to take the head of one of the two dogs that come out to the end of their drive way barking like crazy.  I´m sure at this point the driver realized I was QUITE nervous as he seemed to slow down a smidge.  I wonder if the dogs were trying to slow him down too.  I´m guessing CCCD would have taken out the dogs too if I hadn´t of reacted.  Finally we arrived at our new starting point.  I jumped out of that car and stayed behind it.  There was no way I wanted to learn how many bird carcasses were in that grill.  (hope my spelling is ok...no spell check)
As we begin our walk Elena and I are laughing in disbelief to what we just experienced and the fact we survived the ride.  WOW!!!!  Surely a different ride this time. 
Morgade is at the 99.5km point of our hike.  The first bit is down a steep hill.  Not as steep as those from yesterday but enough to get the juice flowing.  Today we have a 10km trek.  Most of our walk is a kind combination of gentle inclines and declines through a maze of farms spotted throughout the country side.  Sometimes Elena is in front and I fall behind - usually because I´m taking photos - and other times Elena falls behind to enjoy a view, but we always see to catch up to each other in no time.  We usually seem to create a distance when the inclines or declines are less gentle.  Today there were a lot more declines though.
I don´t know if I shared with you, but yesterday Elena met some folks she happen to walk with awhile who had been in Ontario and Quebec and who were now walking the Camino.  Among the conversation she shared with them she learned when another pilgrim says ¨Bon Camino¨you are to answer in kind, ¨Bon Camino¨ And so we too have adopted this tradition in our journey as we past or (more often) are passed by others.  At one point today, I fellow pilgrim ´snuck´up on me and asked, ¨Are you from Canada?¨ Perhaps it was the Canadian flag I have hanging from my backpack that gave me away????  Doesn´t matter the conversation (in English) was a welcomed treated.  I learn he was from Korea and lived in Toronto.  He and his family loved their time in Canada particularly the ´vacations´ they took in London.  Interesting, I never thought of London as a vacation spot but...I guess that´s because I live there.  Anyway, he and his wife started the Camino in France June 26.  That´s 720kms they´ve walked already.
As many of you know, I love the idea of ´fairy folk´.  I´ve heard it said, if you sit real still in a wooden area you can actually see the fairy folk who live in the woodlands (briar).  There were so many areas where I could have allowed myself to succumb to the woods whether or not the fairy folk exposed themselves.  So much of the walk was total magical.  The messages and signs were all around me today.  They made me think of so many people who have played important roles in my life.  Butterflies fluttered around as if to say ´catch me if you dare´.  Then just as I looked down there was a BC slug.  Crossing a huge rock was a ´smiling´snail.  I heard the cry of a Raven which urged me to turn around to look at him.  He stayed still long enough and stood so proudly that I had to take his photo too.  Birds of iridescent blue and those that looked like a smaller version of our robin seemed to appear like magic.  The country side was filled with the fragrance of so many different kinds of roses.
Along the walk today we witnessed the way cattle is taken to pasture.  In the first case the wife lead the heard while the husband brought up the rear.  We had passed the farm so I didn´t feel as if I was in the way or anything.  In the second situation....we were at the point where the gentleman talked the cattle off the path and up on to the pasture.  Elena was more couragous than I.  She continued to walk, while I stopped.  Perhaps I was in awe of what I was witnessing as I felt at peace. It was almost as if I was a part of an area where time stood still.   At the end of the heard, was seasoned woman.  ¨Hola¨ I said and I smiled at her.  She responded with several Spanish words none of which I knew let a lone recognized.  As I watched her encourage the final and much smaller cow up the hill, I began to turn and continue on my journey.  It was as fit I had travelled back in time and saw myself in another life.  I was comforted and calm. 
Not to far along, I stopped to take a photo of a cross someone had made and placed their close on.  As I turned to continue on....standing beside me was this little old man who lead the cattle to their pasture.  I was so excited to see him.  He too appeared to be excited to see me.  We walked together sometime, he chatting all the way.  I tried to explain I spoke no Spanish but he didn´t seem to care.  His eyes were kind and his smile was pure.  He smiled and sometime chuckled as he spoke.  Maybe he was thinking ´crazy english lady´but I´d prefer to think he was remembering something that made him feel good and so he chose to share with me.  I know there were times he was trying to ´teach´me something and I really wished I understood him because I´m sure his story would have been very interesting.  Finally we caught up to Elena.  I asked her to share I didn´t speak Spanish but that I enjoyed his company.  His smile grow as his eyes twinkled and he grabbed my hand shaking it as we parted ways.  Jemima....the entire time we walked together the sound of dove filled the sun soaked cool air.  I didn´t hear the dove before I met up with this man or anymore today.  The day was truly filled with many magical moments like this.
Finally we come to a clearing as we reach the 90.5km mark.  This marks almost the end of our trek today and ¨THE BRIDGE!¨ Crossing bridges is not a favourite thing to do for me, nor is being up high.  Today, I am required to cross, by foot, a high bridge with next to zero protection.  Finally I muster up the courage and begin the journey.  OMG...will this bridge ever end??????  Cars are zooming by and another pilgrim decides to stop in front of us to chat.  In my head I´m think MOVE IT or jump.  I just need to get off this fricken thing.  I try to focus on my time back in the briar and how I felt so safe; then finally I could see terra firma again.  I was so glad to be so close to solid ground.  Then... I realized I had made it!!!!  Don´t get me wrong...the walk  seemed to take forever and I believe it did.  I was just glad it finally ended...safely!
A steep trek up a set of stairs and then we need to find ´the church´to get our passports stamped.  The map is nice, but it would be nicer if the street names were actually posted someplace.  To me these don´t even look like streets so I´m most often and in a state of perpetual confussion.  Normally I´m pretty good at reading and understanding maps and directions but.... not when things are so - how would you say - VAGUE!!!!!!  Elena takes the lead with Ï think it´s this way¨and so off we go.  Finally we reach the church, stamp our passports and the lady gives us directions to our hotel where we finally arrive.  Tired, but doing well.
Our room is clean, but really warm.  The windows open (strange concept for a hotel) wide so we hope a breeze (only) will come in the room to cool it down.  There is no wifi so, I´ll miss speaking to my family tonight :(  After an epsom salt bath and arnica cream rub down, we go to the cafe for a pizza.  I enjoy a coca cola classic (in the tradition small green bottle) while Elena enjoys her cappicino.   While I am posting this blog, Elena is writing in her journal.  We´ll go into town, once everything opens up again before returning for supper and bed. 
Happy birthday Verna.  Sorry I´m not there to celebrate with you but know you are in my heart today, as always.
Until tomorrow....journey well and live richly!....Carleana

Rozie, Bunnie, Dollie & Bubba... forever and for always xoxoxoxo

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