Sunday, August 5, 2012

Day 30 Camino de Santiago Aug. 4 Cacabelos

Cacabelos????  Doesn't that mean... pretty poop?  Dr. Bellos?   Where are we getting these names??  I had the two most blessed days ever in Molinaseca.  Last night I had a glass of wine with Sonnie at the cafe terrace overlooking the river.  Sonnie is from Italy and started the Camino the day before me.  He's an interesting guy.  He only wants to do what would be called menial jobs - pick grapes, bake bread, and even then if it's not specialty breads.  He likes to work outside.  He's very different than most of the people on the Camino - college trained or bound, or shiftless bums.  He's a good guy and will be back in Italy in September to pick grapes for a small family farm that he's picked for the previous three years.  He says it's like a big family with huge meals at night.  Sounds nice.
    If my math is right, he was 78 years old when he died on the trail.  That's amazing that he was even on the trail.  Wow!  I can't remember what I've written in these blogs so if I repeat myself, just move on.  Sorry!   There was a Korean kid who saw me carrying my backpack and said,
Korean -  "You... uh... you...
me - thinking, come on spit it out!
Korean - You ... uh... you are my hero!
me - yeah well you need to get out more!
Korean - you... uh.. you.. are sooooo old and ... uh... your pack is soooooo beeeg!!
me - where's this going but?
Korean -  when I get soooooo old  I want to .....
me - keep talking and you won't have to worry about getting older
Korean - I want to be able to carry such a beeeg pack when I am sooooo old like you.
me - how do you say, "up yours!" in Korean!!
    By the time I got to Ponferrada I was getting use to walking again.  Funny how just one day off and I feel like a duck.  This is the city where they make most of the giant windmills that you see all through Spain.  They have a castle in Ponferrada that was one of the most important to the Templars and it's in great shape!  The castle supposedly contains a secret message that tells where the Arc of the Covenant and the Holy Grail are!  Great.  Reminds me of when I hide things so burglars can't find them... but then I can't either.  
These must be some awfully good peaches - Ya gotta have a guard dog!!

Talk about irony, or coincidence... There's a guy that I've been bumping into on the Camino since way back when, named Dermot.  He's Irish and a real stitch.  I ran into him the other day and knowing that he sleeps outside often I thought that this green sleeping bag was him.  It wasn't .


    Neither was this stork's nest either.  They are an amazing builder!  Where do they sleep when they are building these things?  They are huge, as in 4 feet across.  Seldom do I see them fly, but I saw this one fly to his/her nest.

     Okay so here is the coincidence - I thought I saw Dermot, but nope.  Then I turn a corner and who is picking fruit off of a tree, Dermot.  Shock and begoria!  He is one of the few people on the Camino that has the same twisted sense of humor.   I gotta lose him somehow so I can get back to thinkin'!  It'll happen naturally.  He likes to walk fast and is on a shorter time line than I am.  I like to wake up and... well... I left at 9:00 this morning.  That's about 2 hours after most Pilgrims.    But as Aunt Ni says, "If  people were suppose to "pop" out of bed, then we'd sleep in toasters!
    We've left the flat lands of the meseta and the state of Leon y Castilla and are heading through the state of Galicia.  Here's a hut that you'd see in the Cotswalds or Ireland.  The people in Ireland, supposedly came from Spain who moved to France then crossed to Ireland who then crossed to Scotland.  That is why you'll hear bagpipes in all of the countries just mentioned.  Amazing huh!  And you thought this was just some dumb ol' blog.
     In one of the nicest restaurants I've seen in a long time, (yes, I want to buy it!) they were playing what I previously have said is Irish music, but apparently is Spanish music!  The place had a wall made of logs and pendent lights that had different size jars on them.  As if they had used empty peanut butter jars or olive jars as the actual bulbs.  Very cool!
    The albergue where we are staying is interesting.  It was billed as in an old church.  Not exactly true, padre!!  There is an old church, however the beds are not in the church.  The padre built a hallway around the perimeter of the rock wall that surrounds the property and then shopped it up into many rooms.  No windows, just doors.
 Two beds and if it's full, they put mattress on the floor between the two beds.  Dermott and I got the two beds and the floor when to a guy from the Basque country.  I had passed him earlier in the day and he was walking in obvious pain and very slowly.  I was going to help him but I thought, "Unless I have a bottle of morphine or a helicopter in my back, he's like everyone else...grunting it out."  I never thought he'd make it this far.

 We were taking our afternoon siesta and heard music.  Going into the park behind the church was a group of old timers - all in their 70's and 80's having some kind of a reunion.  Dermot and I were standing and watching and one old man came up and gave us a bottle of wine... this is no country for tee toters!

    Later on I saw Sonnie in the same albergue and introduced him to Dermot.  We decided to go back to the restaurant that we had seen earlier and have dinner.  It was a full 15 minute walk through town.  On the way there we could see rain a'comin'.  Perfect example of crossing bridges and not even being at the river.  It never rain, but we fretted about getting soaked on the way to and fro.
We crossed a bridge and then passed by a beautiful old home that is built on a spur of the river.  Doesn't seem safe, but they'll live well till it's washed away.  I often wonder if I see these kinds of homes, "Are the people happy inside?"  I wonder too, "Do they realize what a peach of a place they are living in?"  Then it gets twisted and I have to change my line of thought!!

     Sonnie, the guy who has picked grapes, pointed out this giant grape press that he's seen used, but, according to him, "This is really beeg!  It's a purpose is to squeeze all a da drops from a the grapea."

    At the restaurant, they had a souvenir shop that had many things I would have bought if I didn’t have to carry or tote them for another two weeks.  I read in my book about a tradition that if you say to the clerk, she will give you a free glass of local wine and a tapas.  Being the only one of the three of us, Sonnie, Dermot, and myself, to speak Spanish, I smiled at the girl behind the counter and said with my best accent, “Tiene un vaso de vino por un peregrino que esta muriendo de sed?” (Do you have a glass of wine for a pilgrim who is dying of thirst?)
    ...and she laughed at me and said, “I don’t speak Spanish. I’m from Germany, but I am familiar wit dees tradition!”  and she brought us three glasses of wine and a slice of  ham pie, like shadon!    There were three other waitresses and they were laughing as well.  It is good to make people happy and it made for a great evening.  There was a huge wedding going on and we sat by the kitchen.  Every time a waiteress would bring a plate of appetizers by, I would smile and say, “MMMMMM, muy bueno!”, and  eventually, they would bring us a sampling.  Que bueno!!

      "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times...what!!! Talk about trying to cover your butt!"
                      Cliff Clavin

Day 31 Camino de Santiago Aug. 5 Trabadelo

Heading out of Cacabellos or “Pretty Poopville”, it looked like I was going to get buckets of rain.  But I wasn't going to worry about it.  Hence, I was the last to leave, again, and loved it... had FOUR showers to myself!!  Because I had a great wifi connection, I wrote a bit stretched as I waited for the pictures to download.  
      The day turned out to be beautiful and cool, so not much sweat to deal with.  This cherry tree reminded me of biking through a cherry orchard inNE France and getting the living bejesus scared out of us.  The farmers put a machine that fires what sounds like a shotgun and it must have been 15 feet from the side of the road.  After I changed my britches...
    The road today was mostly paved or along a road or for awhile a nice trail through beautiful farm land.  It looked like Ecuador, which was ironic since I had just met two Pilgrims from Ecuador.  They are now living in Madrid.  When asked why they moved to Madrid they said that they moved in 2000, when the Ecuadorian money was massively devalued so they move to Spain because they had a better economy....whoops!!!
     The farmers around here have many different kinds of fruit trees and mostly grapes.  It’s a special grape called a mencia grape.  I plan on checking it out tonight.  The area is also famous for sweet red peppers that are roasted and then peeled by hand.  For dessert I’ll have a special pear and a special apple from the area.  I like how this farmer planted a rose bush at the end of one of his rows of grapes.  Maybe for the love of his life... he’d think of her every time he saw the roses!  Quien sabes?  (who knows?)
    The Camino rolls through some pretty desolate towns, but I like this house.  It has a lot of promise - power, four walls, a staircase, a roof... okay it has some liabilities too - the four walls probably need to come down, the staircase is a lawsuit in waiting, and the roof has to be replaced... but oh the location!!!
      This is a view of Cacabelos from the trail.  The name does not do the town justice.  I read the minutes from the last town hall meeting and two other names were rejected, “FeoPeepeetown” (ugly peepee) and “StinkySweatville”.  Go figure!

     The trail followed the road, which normally is kind of poopy...hey...maybe that’s where they got the name... but it also followed the river, which I scoured over and over for a fisherman, but to no avail.  I wanted to pay someone to be my guide and go trout fishing.  I did see one fish and he seemed to want someone to take him out of that cold water!

 I passed this graveyard and it reminded me of the one in our hometown in Italy.  All people are interred above ground behind marble or granite slabs.  Ain’t nobody going nowhere!!
      When I am rolling my backpack, I get lots of stares and some seem to be demeaning, however, most people are either envious or incredulous.  They like the flexibility of either rolling it or caring it.  Here were some bikers who had a ton of equipment.  There was even a tandem bike.  I’d like to take a tandem, but I would be restricted to staying on the roads, which would be okay with me.  
      I saw this house and thought of a caption for it:
overheard on the walkie-talkie -"Hey Juan, call off the search party.  I think I found where the meteor landed!”  or....
 "Well THAT explains why we ain't seen the ol' widow at church lately!"

   I intended on going 26k today, however after about 12K I had some ideas for two things:  the plan to help principals to be more successful and the other is for a restaurant called the “AbitofCamino”.  More on that later.  I also wanted to see about finding a guide for the river.  I stopped in a tiny town and found a Casa Rural for 25E and it looked like it was right out of Switzerland so I called it a day at about 2:00.  


     As it turned out, I can’t fish because they have closed the fishing season until the fall.  Hmmmm....I don’t think I’m going to be fishing ...legally, anytime soon.  I have been writing like a banshee, however, and enjoying every minute.  The only fly in the ointment is that the wifi doesn’t work and that means I have to go to Ruta Nova bar to write on their wifi.  Oh well, I’m going to get to kill several birds with one stone:  work on the blog, email, drink some Mencias wine, eat some red peppers and finish the night off with pears and apples.  Things could be a lot worse! :)
From my table in the garden.  Kinda makes you wanna write, doesn't it!

Flexibility is the ability to go with the flow, not bend the flow.... SWB (ouch, I just made that up!)