Camino de Madrid

Camino de Madrid
Camino de Madrid

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Day 41. April 19, 2017. O Castro to Silleda. 28 kms

Indicate the route to my abode,

I'm fatigued and I want to retire


There was a time when people, whether they knew one another or not, in an idle moment would break into song. You didn't plan a community singsong; it was spontaneous. Someone would start singing and others would join in. One of my very earliest memories is of a busload of grown ups singing "Two Little Girls in Blue" on a trip to Yanchep, W.A. I would have been about five. These were people my parents' age and older, many of them born in the 19th century, and they were carrying on a long tradition. 

That tradition has died, and it's a shame.  Not only was it a joyful community activity, it was almost cathartic, a healthy release. I think we revived the tradition as undergraduates, in a choir in the sixties, where I remember singing the ditty from which I've quoted the fragment above, but I doubt whether the tradition exists any more, except in isolated pockets. Today, even when together, in idle moments we revert to our phones. We probably benefitted more from singing together than from all the diversions from our devices.

No bars open this morning, so I left at 7:15 and walked about 12 km until I found a place that served me a nice tortilla. 

I have to say that I have been disappointed with the tortillas I've had this time in Spain. Until this morning they have been dry and rather tasteless, and I realize now it's because they've been mass-produced. This was a real homemade one, but with about three eggs and half a pound of potatoes, it sat heavily on my stomach.

I have been making tortillas myself at home and I would say that my last one was better than any I have tasted on this walk.

There was a fair bit of road walking today, with frequent trekking along the old stony path wherever it still existed. I didn't dare take any short cuts today. I couldn't resist giving you another picture of the stony road through an oak wood with its glorious leafy green. Towards the end of the day the path descended Into a river valley beneath a railway viaduct far above. It followed the river for a while then crossed over a Roman bridge.


I have talked about the sights and sounds on this Camino, but I haven't said anything about the scents, the aromas, the odours. Notice that I didn't say "smells".  Remember Dr. Johnson.

Woman in carriage: Sir, you smell.

Dr. Johnson: Madame, you smell. I stink

Well, today, there was a stink. There is always the barnyard stink, of course, the pig barns, the cow manure on the roads, the swill on the fields. That's normal. But there is also a frequent chemical stench, from the farmer spraying his vines, or the backyard gardener walking around with a tank on his back spraying his trees. It's an odour that I notice almost every day, and it's not pleasant.

But there is also the scent, the aroma, particularly in the south, where I would notice the rosemary, and also a sort of cinnamon, but I don't know where it came from. And the heather had a distinctive scent as well, and the eucalyptus as I walked through a stand of gum trees.

I have come to realize more than ever before the beauties of Nature.

I had though perhaps of pressing on and still trying to reach Santiago tomorrow night, but I'm exhausted. I'm staying in a private albergue which is really a flat with separate rooms attached to a bar. I'm alone in a three-bed room with actual sheets on the bed. Sheets!

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