14.06.2011 - 14.06.2011
I'm not sure if I'm going mad, becoming schizophrenic or if I've just been walking alone for too many days, but my mind, heart and body have begun to take on different and separate persona. OK, I'm probably mad, but it's amusing. Essentially, my mind thinks it can do anything it wants and makes crazy suggestions (like walking 60km in one day), my body protests and my heart has to mediate between the two. It sounds something like this:
Mind: OK, we'll stop in Foncebadon, have a drink, go on to Manjarin and maybe a bit further.
Body: Are you serious? I need some lunch in Fonceblawhatever, have you seen the size of this hill?
Mind: So what, you can do it! Together we are invincible! Besides, you're not even out of breath
Body: That doesn't mean I can do another 12km!
Mind: What's 12km really, it's just a 1 and a 2, go faster.
Body: We've already walked 26km! Stop rushing me! I'll cause you pain
Heart: Hey! Chill out! We'll stop for lunch in Foncebadon, rest your feet – and if you feel like it we'll go on
Mind: Pffft, we're definitely going further than F-
Heart: You're not helping! Be quiet! We'll rest and then we'll see.
Body: I can feel a hot spot under my toes – I think it's blistering
Heart: Do I have to listen to this the whole way to Santiago?
Body: It's hot, I want some water
Mind: We're nearly there
Body: But there's shade here, let's just stop for a minute
Heart: I think we should stop
Mind: Fine, make it quick.
I stop under the shade of a tree.
Mind: Oh, that's pretty
Heart: Yeah those clouds are really swirly
Body: Shade is awesome. Whoever invented it was fucking cool.
Somehow the three of us make it to Manjarin. Staying here is an experience. It's an abandoned town, and the people running the albergue have converted what used to be a school into their house and a donativo refugio for pellegrinos. There are four men that run the place, they have lived here (in the middle of no-where) for 20 years, they are three Spanish brothers originally from Barcelona an one man from Estonia who came to live here when he was 21 and never left. The brothers groom him to look like JC – it's an interesting establishment. There's no running water. The brothers have their own Knight's Templar ceremony that they complete every night at 9pm, (with a sword and white robes). They make an amazing evening meal, there are ten billion cats, three dogs, and definitely a real pilgrim experience. We're sleeping in a sun toasted loft on mattresses and there's an outside drop toilet and a small fountain down the road to wash in. They also get drinking water from this fountain which has a large sign saying do not drink the water. JC tells us (in Spanish) that September is the best time of year to do the Camino. There's fresh fruit everywhere; cherries, raspberries, pears apples and peaches. July and August are too hot, apparently, and another pellegrino tells me a story about doing the Villa de la Plata in July and seeing birds fall out of the sky – dead – because it was so hot.
The route here was so beautiful; small rocky mountain passes with lots of trees and bushy woodland, and more strange looking bugs. The butterflies today were red and orange and looked like flames as they flit across the path in front of me. Butterflies on the Camino are supposed to be a sign of the right path, that things are going well and you're headed in the right direction. Before you get to Manjarin there is the funky town of Foncebadon, which has four fun albergues you can stay in if you don't like the sound of Manjarin. The first one on the left (second in the town) is really chilled, and if you stop for lunch you might get a free marriage proposal with your ensalata if you're lucky like me!