Back on the meseta we were solemnly promised that somewhere down the line the endless fields and dirt plains would end and the hills, some even said mountains (if your definition of mountains includes 1,500 metres), would start up. Oh, we can´t wait, we foolishly cried. All this easy walking on flat paths, how dull. My, how quickly they forget. What´s with climbing all these damned hills, we cry now. And these steep downhills, oh how they hurt my poor feet. If only we could walk somewhere flat! Yeah, we´re a fickle bunch. And stupid. But at least both areas had more than their fair share of cow shit, so it´s never a total loss.
I believe last time around I spent an inordinate amount of time whining and complaining about all the rain we had been getting, how wet we had ended up as a result, and how disheartening the whole experience was. Well, as it turns out, we haven´t had any rain since myself and Laynni purchased our our fancy/expensive and cheap/heavy rain gear, respectively
. The big problem has been the intermittent clouds – sunglasses on, sunglasses off, sunglasses on, oh the horror. Other than that, though, luck all around, I´d say. We have had a few heavy rains at night but that rarely affects us since the evening is when we get caught up on all our huddling in sleeping bags and quietly weeping. I find the rain hardly even affects it when I scream profanities at the sky, my feet and my backpack, in that order. The last few days, however, we have seen a pretty drastic drop in temperature, down to 0C and below, which has made for some brisk mornings, some lustful leers directed at my Boca Juniors toque, some long explanations about how I have no idea why we call them toques, and some hauntingly frosty walks through forests of changing leaves with faltering chestnuts dropping forlornly around us. Sooo 19th century French painting. Cold clear mornings make for some pretty impressive scenery though. And lots of ironic ¨brrrr¨ noises, for lack of any other conversations left that we haven´t explored after 4 weeks. The scenery has actually been changing daily, from quaint rural villages to forests of changing leaves to colourful vineyards teeming with Sunday hunters clad entirely in camouflage to outsmart those wascally wabbits that, contradictory to the whole hiding in plain sight plan (especially considering the concealing shrubbery only reaches mid-thigh, lower testicles at most) and their large packs of mangy half-breed dogs wildly scampering through the undergrowth would probably distract their attention anyway
One downside has been Laynni´s wavering health – she´s been fighting a back and forth battle with a cold, slight fever and overall sluggishness (steadfastly refusing to believe that part could have anything to do with the 700 kilometres or so she´s hiked in the past 4 weeks). It doesn´t appear to be anything serious, like tuberculosis, or a horribly overworked colon, but it has nonetheless led to plenty of determined frowning and even some wild experiments with whiskey and over the counter Spanish drugs. So far, so groggy.
Anyway, my time is running low so I should wrap up. I need to go browse the net waves for news of fellow pilgrims. The last few days have been a confusing mess of shifting groups, fluctuating schedules, unrealized plans and found and lost friends, much like those first hilarious minutes after you light an animal shelter on fire. And with a strangely similar amount of barking. Plans P.S. (Post Santiago) are finally on the horizon, with everyone comparing notes and plans and goals:
I intend to make it in time for Sunday mass…
I want to be in Finisterre on the night of the..
I need to leave Santiago on this date…
I plan to stalk that girl from the shadows all the way to…
And such. Bottom line is we´ve all made a lot of good friends who we´ve spent far more time than is normal, usual or probably healthy living in close proximity to, and as of next week we´ll pretty much all be suddenly heading our separate ways. It promises to be abrupt, shocking, sad and a bit of a relief all at the same time. Kind of like when I found my first grey pubic hair.
Anyway, the countdown is on. Sunday, maybe Monday at the latest, we should be full-fledged and licensed Compostela Pilgrims. And no one will care but us. Hoorah.
Note feeling much like working? Check out my book Random Acts of Travel : Featuring Trepidation, Hammocks and Spitting.