Monday, July 11, 2016

a rabbit, two frogs and an antelope walk into an art gallery

As some of you know, I did not embark on my Camino trip unsupported. I signed up to go with and a small group of people. I am well fed multiple times during the day and have stayed in a bed every night. Not once have I had to catch my own chicken.

Jennie teaches yoga, one session in the morning to help us warm up our muscles and one restorative session in the evening. Jinny, Wendy, David, Vedya, Vanessa and I partake in those sessions as we are willing and able. Today for four of us we had 72 blankets, 6 yoga mats, and numerous blocks. The furniture was flipped up and propped against the hallway wall while we synchronized our legs so we wouldn't grope someone unintentionally.

Every morning I would take a photo of a card and inspirational message from a couple of friends.

We would take a group selfie during the day also.

Jinny is my new Camino bestie and I am really enjoying our time together. We talk, sing, laugh, tease and eat ice cream. Our whole group really works well together but also speaks up to address our individual needs. We walk solo, together or in pairs at various times daily.

We walk all day. I have learned that I am good when I'm up and walking and excellent at sitting and resting, yet the parts in the middle have been tough, such as standing up, sitting down, stairs,... My feet are blistered beyond belief. I finally had to ditch the hiking boots and put on my Keen sandals, as I could not bear to put a shoe back on.  I am swollen, sore and happy.

We have stayed in cities, villages, towns, and farmhouses a few miles from nowhere. My favorite accommodations have been old stone homes. The scenery and the people are diverse and wonderful. We have walked along rivers, roads, across rolling mountains, vineyards, farmland and valleys. I've sung songs from The Sound of Music, I Love Trash from Sesame Street, Indigo Girls, Dona Nobis Pacem, Lyle Lovett, and John Denver (most of them of the duet variety with Jinny). I've discussed books, authenticity, motivation, families, first aid and the weather. I have belly-laughed daily.

Vanessa is excellent at packing suitcases. Luckily she found the right career for her. She is co-owner of Andaspain, has been with us and had been like a pit crew coordinator helping all of us along the way. She and her business partner Kate, coordinate the trips and someone from the company accompany the pilgrims. This two weeks, it's Vanessa. She was raised in South Florida to Spanish and Cuban parents. She speaks English, Spanish and Galician fluently. I'm sure she's also well versed in Pig Latin and Braille, we just haven't gotten there yet. She is personable, talented, accessible, and a problem-solver. She has bought a clothes line to hang damp clothes in the giant grey van, Bruce. She has bought a bucket in which to soak our feet.

She posed as an angel in matching Charlie's Angels clothes.

She has tried to inflate a "fatboy" enough so one's back end doesn't scrape the floor. She has made excellent lunches for the vegetarians, lactose intolerant, gluten free, vegans, and omnivores from the mid-west, and the places we've stayed have been amazing. In some places we get assigned rooms by our height.

There have been so many highlights. I skipped out on a bar bill (temporarily) as the proprietor had just mopped the floor when I ordered so said I could pay later. My fellow travelers said she was looking for "Jill" and assured her I would stop back later, as I was staying across the street and there were only about 25 people in the whole town. I was busy eating dinner in Jaime's house.

I wore a surgical cap as Victor placed a helmet on my head, while smoking a cigarette 5 inches from my face, before I got on a horse to ride into Galicia. I thought I was in the front because I had a good, gentle horse that knew the way. I was really in the front because my horse hates the other horses, which I found out after a small skirmish.

A church, shortly after the cross into Galicia, had bibles written in many languages opened to the same verse.

Yesterday I was 1k from lunch when I saw a sign that listed that in 320 mtrs the opposite way, there was an alchemist, massage, reiki, meditation, and a mineral art gallery. Ninety minutes later, Vanessa, Wendy, Jinny and I had drunk "garden" tea and had had our cards read.

That evening we toured a monastery
and ate at a place with hanging cuts of meat.  

Today we crossed into the last 100k. In the afternoon I had the pleasure of walking with Ashleigh, another partner in crime. This evening we participated in a traditional Galician pagan ceremony to ward off evil spirits. The Conxuro da Quiemada (an incantation/spell was recited while the punch made out of grain alcohol, coffee, lemon and an apple) burned for 45 minutes prior to the recitation of the Conxuro. I made sure to rub a little on one particularly ugly blister, in hopes that the evilness will disappear. One can only hope.

1 comment:

  1. Jill - thanks so much for sharing your journey in the blog. It sounds like such a great experience so far. The blisters on your feet are temporary. The memories and experience will carry you another 50 years! Safe travels.