Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Camino bore, day 18. Trout and carping: a multi-faith creed.

The long, straight road ahead.

La Virgen del Camino to Hospital de Orbigo.
T'owd man.
29 km day today, and I set off NOT wearing my duvet jacket, so, now we are into the second half of the camino, the weather might be a little less icy; it IS mid-May after all and it IS Spain! The coldest spring here for 137 years, just our luck. The journal reports treading some very long straight roads. There seemed to be a little bird accompanying us all the time, until we realised that the constant chirrupping was the sound of crickets. Actually, it could drive you mad. We rarely seemed to be free of this sound after this, and if you ever wondered what tinnitus is like, I suppose this must be it, and it is very wearing, I tell 'ee.

I found this you-tube of the albergue we stayed in; it's what I call 'slow' and of interest to those who've been there and can say 'THAT'S WHERE WE SLEPT!' etc etc, but to everyone else I think it will be very boring, but it does give a good view of the inside of one of the nicest little albergues, and the opening shows the very long bridge - the longest pilgrim bridge - by which you enter the village.


Bridge into Hospital de Orbigo.
The journal records 'Too many meals alone' and 'we are missing Juan Pablo (the priest)'. Somehow there doesn't seem to be the same communal spirit that we encountered earlier on; perhaps it is just accidental, the way things have fallen. But it is strange how we can regard some people we have only known for a few days as 'old friends', and we missed them.

The long bridge is over a river, and perhaps that is where the trout came from that we had that night. Journal records being in a restaurant run by 'normal men in shirts', and finding this very reassuring. The reason is that we have been to the occasional place where the meal is served by some bloke wanting to look very 'Spanish' and flamenco-ish, and in my experience these are to be avoided, especially if there is a plastic menu (as mentioned before). The normalman who served me trout soup had the look of someone who knew about food, and he explained exactly what to do: the soup had a big chunk of trout nestling in bread ready-dropped into the soup (I was always told off for that as a child), and he showed me how to grab it with fork and spoon and mash it all in - again, the kind of thing I used to get into trouble for. Nice to know it is the done thing somewhere else.

Lovely courtyard in the albergue at Hospital de Orbigo.
You might think that the camino journal is just a record of food eaten and blisters pricked, and you could be right. Reading it a year on is making me wonder just what makes me tick. I'm obviously deeply interested in how warm the croissants are, the texture of the bread, whether jam comes from a jar or a minute plastic pack etc etc. The sound of crickets and flat countryside that goes on and on really makes the mind go into a kind of free-fall. I wonder whether some pilgrims resolve to organise their thoughts according to a strict plan? I didn't, and just watched my brain turn to mush, just like the soup. Choosing dinner from a menu was the most intellectually demanding thing I did, that and deciding in what order to have a beer, a nap and a shower. No wonder when we got home we didn't know what a house was for nor how to live in one.

Journal records 'Mountains visible today - cheering!' We are going to go up and up in the not-too distant....

I'm in Ireland just now, and I find a yellowing scrap of newspaper I've had for some years, marking my place in the journal. It reads:

"Godliness, by contrast, was the subject of Julia Neuberger's piece in The Independent Magazine on Saturday. Nowadays, she wrote, the condition had been reduced to a puritanical carping about the way other people enjoyed themselves. 'Religion is not about lack of fun; but godliness, as once expressed by the Puritans and now by the born-again Christian Evangelicals, the newly-enthusiastic Chassidim in Judaism, the strongly orthodox Haredi in Israel, the growing fundamentalist groupings in Islam [see - I told you it was old!], makes it seem as if it is.'

'But', she wrote wistfully, 'It could be what it once was -

an awareness of the divine in everyday life,
a certainty that there are things God wants us to do in life,
and a desire to improve the lot of those around us'."

No wonder I cut this out and preserved it. It seems to me that that last paragraph would make a good multi-faith creed, something on which we could all agree. Actually, Rabbi Julia strikes me a s a really Good Thing, no wonder she is now a Baroness, and you can see some stuff about her here:


A bit like the normalman in the restaurant, you feel that you are in good hands with her; she'd make a great person to spend a couple of hours walking with on the camino. Some people are just so right for the place they occupy in life. Many on the camino are searchng for just that for themselves - that place where we ought to be so as to be able to live in the way Julia  recommends in that little piece I quote above.

(I tried to find the Jewish albergue online - we did see one - failed, but found this 'virtual albergue' which I'll have to return to when I want to wallow in memories:
 http://albergue.caminodesantiago.me/video/video )

1 comment:

  1. I MAY have found out why you can't get any signal - try this:

    press the little button on the phone with a house on it. Select Settings,
    Settings and Phone
    and then

    under that she should select '

    Network mode
    and then
    Dual mode.

    She can also try looking under
    Operator Selection
    and turning it to