DAY FORTY THREE: 20 November 2012 Negreira to Santa Marina, Day Two of the Camino Fisterra
A grey dreary day to match my furry mouth and foggy head. It would seem that last night, I at least, fell off the razors edge between celebration and narcotisation tipping into the gap of oblivion creating a bruising start to my day. Without the energy of other pilgrims and the shoo-ing out of the hostel guardian I dont wake until close to 9.30am. Kevin is still out for the count.
I am not up for the long haul of the typical 33km route to Olveiroa but neither am I attracted to the hostels basicos that seem to be de riguer on the route; mattresses on the floor and no heating. On this far side of Santiago the chilly fingers of Autumn have a steely grip. The air is sodden with moisture always on the cusp of raining, ever poking its clamy hands into my cosy pockets; innocuous and unassuming it insidiously whinges and wheedles its way under the skin of my outer garments.
On this most normal of days I feel surrounded by the cacophony of invisible forces; it is as if I am walking the line between two worlds. One moment a gust of dirty golden leaves, the next the skittering wash of a warty witch on a broom stick, tempestuous swiping wind a field of giant trolls playing ball, glitter of winking sun through the trees, the twinkle of a glory of unicorn horns. Kevin overtakes me as ever and walking down the road he is swept into the vortex by the backdraft of a rumbling articulated lorry masquerading as an evil warlock.
After weeks of independent walking and generally incidental meetings we have agreed to connect for lunch at Vilasario in the bar adjoining Suso y Silvia’s hostel. I am realising the luxuriousness of the Camino Francaise well and unambigiously way marked. My furzy brain in and out of a state of presence is challenged to navigate the route. A late start and lunch time in Vilasario is dark. The ‘popular’ bar is dank, dreary, depressing and there is no sign of Kevin. Have I taken so long to get here that he has given up and moved on? Am I in the wrong place? Is he in a parallel universe? On second thoughts the leaden unwelcoming bar tender remembers someone passing through hours ago. Perhaps it was I that was in that parallel place. The Albergue Escuela with mattresses on the floor doesnt seem to be an option but I would still prefer to have pilgrim company than rattle around in this damp tin can of lonelyness so a quick coffee and I am back on the road. Passing the escuela it is obvious that if Kevin was ahead of me he would keep moving. The rain is now unapologetic and insistent, the way markings more illusive – no doubt the playthings of pixies. The incipient danger of road walking gives way to deep rutted cross country paths, nobviously the highways of Gulliverian carts on the way to market. I am edgy in the shadow of alcoholic withdrawal. I really dont know what world I am in. Searching the scrubby horizon for some comforting sign I see a splash of gleaming sky blue, a raucous rag of orange hunkered down by the road. Thank goodness a real person – a pilgrim who is reorganising her pack on the side of this wild thoroughfare under the umbrella of this mad day. All I see is a mischevious imp and I hasten on my way not wanting to draw the attention of scallywags.
There is an albergue at Maronas, apparently without heating but there is no way I am going to make the comforts of Olveiroa before dark. It is not what I would love but I am resigned to discomfort. It doesnt have to mean anything. Coming to that realisation it feels like I am coming out of a cloud, I am no longer straddling the dimensions of different realities. At the cross roads in Maronas there is a lady waiting and she asks me if I am looking for an albergue because Casa Pepa is just opened and down the road. She turns out to be the most tangibly magical person I have met all day. Casa Pepa is a renovated stone Galician abode across the road from Santa Marina graveyard. There is a cafe bar, a wood fire, wifi, an intimate dorm underneath the rafters and rustic stone lined showers of steaming water. I have arrived in Heaven. Still no sign of Kevin but we can connect on Facebook. He has just arrived in Vilaserio, lost in the wilderness it seems was indeed swept up by that warlock. The imp arrives and turns out to be a garrulous eccentric from San Francisco. What a day!