Walking West – Situations

Day 28 – Barbodelo to Portomarín, 13.09 miles

Breakfast of Champions. The best part of this situation was running into a Hungarian pilgrim that I’d met on Day 1 at the La Coquille Albergue in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. We’d not seen each other since that day, then here at a little bar in the middle of nowhere…
What can I say, I like sunrise pics.
This is a significant marker, Santiago de Compostela is within striking distance!
One of the great controversies of the Camino 2022 was the thickness of the Spanish Pringles. I argued they are thicker and denser than their American counterparts. Science will answer when I bring a micrometer on the next Camino.

I went to sleep with Anthony’s rhetorical questions on my mind and woke up resolved to walk to Santiago, regardless of the situation. I try to maintain harmony between my philosophy and practice of life, and this seemed the thing to do. I will write more on this later. The decision did create discord between two of my desires – one, to walk to Muxia and Finisterre after Santiago, and two, to see friends again that were behind me in Santiago. I couldn’t do both, so I pondered my dilemma as I walked today.

The walk was uneventful but beautiful. I walked most of the way to Portomarín with a couple from Virginia, they were active Anglicans and involved in the work of trying to make the world a better place. The distance flew by, and we made it to Portomarín by lunch. We had lunch together and then they moved on, headed another 7 or 8 kilometers westward. I had not made plans for a destination but came across a good deal on a private room with machine-washed laundry, so decided to stay here.

The Good Situation – My private room also had a private balcony overlooking the Galician hills to the east, a nice bonus! I decided to go to the market for some fruit and snacks and a couple of Estrella Galicias, then spend the rest of the afternoon on the balcony. It was time well spent – the weather was perfect, the view awesome, and I was able to catch up with my journal. During the downtime I made a decision about the Finisterre/Muxia/Santiago conundrum…I would walk to Santiago, stay in town for a few days as my friends arrived, spend time with them, and then head to Barcelona. I can always make it to Finisterre/Muxia on my next Camino.

The Bad Situation – The only dark spot on an otherwise great day was the late of arrival of 6 people (3 couples) from an unnamed country in the western hemisphere between Mexico and Canada. There are a lot of good people from this place, but sometimes these people are stereotyped as obnoxious world travelers. These six were of this sort. They crashed and thundered their way into their shared room, spoke in volumes high above conversational tones, and then moved out to the picnic area to continue their evening. The picnic area was directly beneath my balcony – I heard about who was sleeping around in their little town in the unnamed country, their recommendation for cryptocurrency and stock market investments, and marital advice for one another. All in a tone that echoed through the Galician hills.

The Camino places the pilgrim in many situations – most of them are mundane, some are excellent, and some bad. The trick to navigating these situations is to be present in that exact moment.

  • Mundane – rather than becoming bored with the mundane, learn to see the wonder that surrounds, look for lessons to learn, or listen to The Ramones.
  • Excellent – enjoy it while you’re in this situation, but don’t become addicted to it. You will find yourself creating a standard that can’t always exist.
  • Bad – remember it’s temporary; don’t do anything that will prolong it and don’t let it ruin your moment.

The Situation of My Water Bottle – If you’ve been paying attention, you will know that my cherished water bottle has managed to lose itself twice, 2 strikes. It struck out today in Portomarín, strike 3. It left itself at the Restaurante Pérez where I dined with my Virginia friends, I can envision exactly where it was situated. I had thoughts of retrieving it, but:

  1. We had a conversation earlier in the day about remembering what is important, and sorting and leaving things in life. We concluded that we have unhealthy attachments.
  2. I had a second water bottle, not as near and dear to my heart, but still a vessel that would contain water.
  3. It was a long walk from my albergue back to the restaurant, and back to my albergue would be a steep, uphill climb.
  4. It was Strike 3.

On this episode of Spanish Lessons with David, learn and master this important phrase – “Café (americano/con leche/corte) para llevar, por favor.”

IN MEMORIAM – here is picture of the beloved water bottle from my 2017 pilgrimage.

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