Friday, May 25, 2007


Nearly done. We are here for two nights, staying in a hotel cum resort that General Franco built for himself to hang out with his buddies (taking a break from pillage, repression and torture). It's a Parador, meaning that the staff are government employees, and it shows clearly in their attitude and activity. There was a wedding in the resort on the 22nd, and the dirty glasses and empty bottles still litter the conference rooms on the ground floor. The Paradores have been uniformly like this: wonderful old buildings in lovely surrounding, but poor and apathetic service. Anyway.

Tomorrow we walk into Santiago de Compostella, 752 kilometres from the starting point in Roncesvalles. (I have walked about a hundred kilometres; the eager ones will have done 150 or so by the end.)

It has rained often and hard during the last few days, the Camino has been very muddy and even washed out in stretches. We are getting the tail end of a storm system that covers most of Europe: the TV news reports severe storms and flooding in southern Spain, France, Germany and Greece, so it could be much worse. Several of us staged a quiet rebellion this morning and have stayed in the village while the others, the enthusiastic ones, went off to do their duty.

One of the younger members, my own age, asked about "my commitment to walking" the other day; I had no idea what she meant. I am on holiday. I am neither a pilgrim nor an athlete, and at this stage of my life am very unlikely to become either. I enjoy the walking, and greatly enjoy being in Spain, but this is just a holiday to me. I do my 8 km or so per day, at a reasonable pace, plus a further few km walking about the cities where we stay each evening, and see no need at all to do more than that.

It is humbling to be surrounded by people who are pilgrims and athletes, who are doing the Camino in the proper way and for the proper motives. We met a Romanian in Léon who was on course to do the whole distance in five weeks; he had twice done over forty km per day on the flat. There are a pair of South African cyclists, very nice people, whom I met in the reception of the first Parador and who have kept pace with us in our bus! We met again yesterday at lunch in a restaurant on the way.

Galicia (where we currently are) is perhaps the prettiest part of Spain: rolling hills, deep valleys, green fields and forests.

In other news I have posted the remaining answers to the music quiz. You did well, my dears, though I am very surprised that nobody got the Pink Floyd reference.

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Blogger brooksba said...

I like the fact you can go on a holiday and enjoy the walking - not make it an exercise. While it is good to have different reasons for the trip amongst your traveling companions, I admire that you are there for pleasure. That's a good holiday.

May 30, 2007 at 10:31:00 a.m. GMT+2  

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