Archive for November, 2010


2. Buen Camino: its light!

   Posted by: aman    in Other

As I finished my coffee, I met Jo from Canada who was finishing her cigarette. She is a fellow writer/editor. ‘I want to visit India.’

‘Two visits, at least,’ I said. ‘South for ashrams and Yoga, north for spirituality.’ I felt strange breaking India down as simply as that.

‘Is it expensive?’ she asked.

‘Not really, let me know when.’ We exchanged email addresses. ‘All that is expensive is the time you can take to make the visit. Keep three months or so for each one.’

‘That vast?’ she asked and smiled.

I continued down the mountainside. Around 5 kms before Porto Marin I was exhausted and toyed with taking a bed in an Albergue, even checked it out. It was nice, but per the road planner I knew I had to move farther. I remembered from my program management classes: the bigger projects get delayed, one day at a time, a few hours at a time. I sat down on a stone wall near fields, other pilgrims crossed me. I massaged my feet and kept going until I reached the town. Once there, I saw two roads going up a hill. I was like, no! A car stopped and a beautiful woman got down. Her man was on the wheel. I asked the woman: English? She replied: French, but I can speak English. I realised the name of a language is also a question of nationhood. She checked with two horsemen and pointed the road to me.

The church in Porto Marin is an elegant flat roofed building. It reminded me of Lorca’s Yerma, her rooted self-belief and quest, standing boldly in the middle of the town formed around it. Federico Lorca did travel and write in Galicia. In the market nearby, between Spanish and English incomprehensibility, a matron guided me to a restaurant that served dinner: bacon and fries – an English breakfast for dinner in a Spanish town. I wondered what does one do with the button shaped bones at the end of the slices of bacon.

The Albergue was nice. Good clean washrooms, a comfortable night and next morning my ankles felt rested. I left my previous day’s T-shirt in the dustbin along with a few more clothes Carry less, I said to myself. It was still dark when I came out to smoke a cigarette. I noticed around 70 per cent of the people had left. I asked a fellow traveller. ‘Where have they gone?’

‘On the Camino.’

‘But it is dark still.’

‘It is light.’

‘It is dark, the sun isn’t up yet.’

‘It is light.’ He said.

To be continued …

For same Santiago pictures see …



1. Buen Camino: not a race

   Posted by: aman    in Other

‘This is not a race,’ said Michael to me as I got down at Sarria station early morning in the middle of September 2010. I nodded, we had coffee together and he said, ‘All you need to do is follow the yellow arrow marks.’ he told me about the Passaporte every pilgrim needs to carry and get stamped on the way to Santiago. A Wiki article said the distance was 112 kms, the road planner he was carrying broke it up into 130+ kms and the woman at the coffee counter provided me a blank Passaporte. I was all set.

But no. The mind, it plays games. I stepped into Sarria and wanted to find the Informatio Centre. Why did I want to find it? Because I thought someone needs to give me directions. But I had directions. Can’t be that simple, my mind played with me and I did a couple of kilometers in the light rain. Thank God! JJ had asked me to use Cargoes instead of Jeans which would have been wet by now. I knew so little. Edith had given me her smaller bag; still I had stuffed in too many clothes. I was learning. After a few kilometers of wandering I realised that I was making a fool of myself. I remembered: this is not a race, follow the yellow marks.

I started in the general direction pointed to by locals who knew no English and yet were smiling and helpful. The sidewalk had ceramic tiles in the shapes of the Compostela, the Pilgrim’s stick, and I reached an old bridge on a creek where two yellow arrows beckoned me. They were clumsy, their paint had dripped, and I thought that is how I will walk, slowly, clumsily, but since it is not a race, I will reach at some point. I had enough days and I was planning about 20 kilometers a day.

The walk started with an uphill climb of about 8 kms. At the wood shack we self stamped our Passaporte and I met N who was with a friend and had been walking for almost 25 days, a total of 500 kms. She said she was from Luxumberg. It rang a bell, I knew the name of the country or city from Geography text books, but I could not place it in my mind. I moved on and might have covered another 7-8 kms before a Cafe Bar showed up. I was just ordering fresh coffee and sandwich when Michael showed up again.

‘Archangel Micheal, you got late?’ I asked.

‘Yes,’ he said. ‘Been having problems with my bag. Too many wet clothes.’

‘How are you doing?’

‘Holding up, but beginning to get tired.’

‘The hard part for today is over. Now it is downhill.’

‘I consider you Archangel. Do you mind?’

He smiled and wished me, ‘Buen Camino’.

To be continued…

For Santiago pictures see …

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