When the deep purple falls
Over sleepy garden walls.
A bit of confusion over breakfast this morning. One bar was supposed to be open at seven; the other at eight. Neither was, but I suspect it was my fault. I think they would've opened had I said definitely that I was having breakfast in their particular establishment.
So I set out at eight o'clock, sans breakfast, to walk to Lazo 16 km away where I hoped I would find a bar open on Good Friday.
No rain, but a heavy fog, so I kept to the road, and avoided unnecessary excursions into the bush.
For the the past couple of days as I've been walking along the road across these moors, I've noticed the usual private property signs, but I wonder what the owners do with their land. I don't see any fences and I don't see any evidence of animals. There are no pastures, in fact there's barely any soil. The heather and gorse are just growing on slaty schist.
I passed through a couple of little villages and remained on the high moors for a couple of hours, and then descended into a deep valley. I was now right in the middle of the mountain range. I was reminded of walking on the Primitivo, and wondered whether these were the same mountains.
I had been told about the extensive religious festivals in Spain, and I was wary about being caught up in an solemn procession, but when I arrived in Laza, I found no sign of any religious life, and the bars were open.
I saw my first wisteria, a true sign of spring.
Language is a sensitive issue. Now that I'm in Galicia the signs are bilingual. Sometimes, however, the place names are the same. But they still can't be shared. So I pass signs that read "Laza (Laza)" and "A Gudina (A Gudina)", for example. I imagined a conversation between a Galician and a Castilian from these respective towns.
Castilian: I believe you live in Laza.
Galician: No, I live in Laza. And you? You come from A Gudina?
Castilian: Not at all. I come from A Gudina.
From Laza, I walked up to the head of the valley, and then I started the long climb towards Albergueria. Half way up, I ran into two English women coming towards me. "You're coming from Santiago?" I asked. "No, we're just deliberating what to do." We talked for a bit, and then one of them asked, "Are you Charles?" To cut a long story short, they had been with Joerg the German in Ludina the night before, and had come ahead by taxi. Not sure why, but it was another chance encounter.
This was the third long climb of he walk. Up and up for a thousand feet. I'll spare you the details, but a dozen times I must have said, surely the summit is around this bend. Eventually, it was. One of the great pleasures of the day is coming over a rise and seeing the roofs of the town ahead of you.
I arrived at last, and I am staying at an albergue attached to El Rincon del Peregrino, a bar that has to be one of the wonders of the modern world, well, certainly of the Camino World. Every square inch of surface in the bar - the walls, the ceiling, the beams, the posts - is covered with shells inscribed with pilgrims' names. No, there must be a square inch remaining somewhere, a place for me.
In the bar, a solemn mass was being shown on TV, various politicians doing what was expected of them, but country music was blaring from the speakers.
A sign outside the albergue says "Santiago 140 kms".