Camino de Madrid

Camino de Madrid
Camino de Madrid

Monday, 17 April 2017

Day 39. April 17, 2017. Ourense to Cea. 22 kms

He dwelt in Bonnie Scotland where blooms the sweet bluebell


The albergue was almost crowded last night. Even a couple of the upper bunks were occupied. For some Spaniards this was the beginning of the 100 km dash for those who want to walk the bare minimum to get their certificate.

Among the new arrivals was Silver the Estonian, who, believe it or not, walked 54 km yesterday He and his wife have separated, geographically, that is. She is three or four steps behind.

We walked out of the city together. He apologized for talking all the time. He said it was because he had to been by himself for a few days, but I think it is his natural inclination. He is a generous fellow, and offered me his hiking poles for the day, but I declined. His conversation leans towards a particular theme: that we cannot believe anything we read, not everything, but anything, and that we can only trust what we experience. And I think that God is part of his experience. He is much faster than I, and I let him go ahead.

Wisteria is now blooming in many a town garden, and the hedge below is perhaps the longest I have seen.


After almost an hour to get out of the city, it was a long climb out of the valley up to the hills again, and a very pleasant walk along minor roads through the woods. The gorse is fading now to an ugly brown, and there is more white broom in bloom than yellow. I saw my first fig tree, and my first bluebell.


And I paused for a moment by a brook in front of a very old bridge. Such tranquillity!


Tonight I am staying in my third albergue run by the Xunta of Galicia. They all have the same regulations and price (6€)  This one is worth describing. There are many ruined buildings in these old towns. The stone walls may stand for ever, but the roofs with their wooden rafters may collapse after a few hundred years. This albergue is built within the walls of such a ruin. A new roof has been constructed on three of the old walls, which are at least three feet thick. A ceiling has been added to separate the dorm from the kitchen and dining room downstairs. It is light and bright and airy and comfortable.

And like all refurbished albergues, it was built to discourage the bedbugs. With no carpets or skirting boards, the tile flooring is grouted against the walls.

These medieval towns have a perversity all of their own. If you leave the albergue, for example, to go to the bar, then you have to memorize every turn, and come back the same way. You cannot assume that because the albergue is in that direction, then you can walk a block in the right direction, and then turn left. Streets do not run parallel to each other. They may suddenly end without warning, or turn left, or right. There is no logic whatsoever. They follow the whim of the people who built their houses a thousand years ago.

There are not many things in life that defy explanation. Usually, one can see evidence of some kind of design or purpose. But not in the streets of a medieval town.

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