Saturday, 18 July 2009

Alone Again, Naturally…Part One

Wednesday 8th July: I decide that I want to revisit the museum in order to find out a bit more about the excavations which were done in front of the portico. These dated from the 4th to the 6th century and coincide with the spread of Priscillianism. I have also learned that the church was given over to the Order of Cluny in the early 12 century, all of which is important to my research. I also want to try to catch up with my e-mails.

With all the goings-on connected with Peregrinos de la Herejia this is not the best time to be away. As it is, the server goes down after 10 minutes. Maybe God is trying to tell me something. Anyway, as a result, I do not leave Sao Pedro until almost 12:30. This is a mistake I shall not repeat.

To begin with, this journey on the Camino Portuguese was as lovely as could be; through groves of sweet smelling eucalyptus and in shade, but as the day wore into the afternoon, and I found myself walking more on asphalt and cobbles, the walk became interminable even though it was still less than 20 kms.

I became aware of all the things I was trying not to think about: feet, shoulders, lower back and too much sun despite my hat. By Perreira I was feeling a bit like Mark the Overlander on his video (see this blog below, right): I was "a bit sick of the ol' Camino. By the time I got to Barcellos I knew I couldn't walk another step. I hobbled round to the Bombeiros just before the bridge (nice view of the castle etc.). They sent me up the road ("solo un kilometro y medio") to a school.

Where is Montserrat and the others? "You are the frist one". How can that be? Further enquiries revealed that I had been in Barcelinho not Barcelos which was on the other side of the bridge. In Barcellos there was a large Bombeiros Voluntarios which had space for pilgrims. How far? I took a taxi.

There were only six beds all of which were taken. Montserrat and the others had gone out. I dragged a rather dusty mattress out then went for a shower. Upon my return I could hear someone playing an oboe. I listened. The tune was familiar and I knew that I had heard it very recently. Then I realised, it was Pavane by Gabriel Fauré, one of Colin's favourites and one he had spent hours online trying find only a couple of weeks before.

It was a God-given surprise and one which took my heart home after a long and rather difficult day.

I went to the Vera Cruz restaurant which is just a little along the road from the fire station. They served me enormous prawns as "an entrada". The wine came in a "jarra". The bill was just under 8 euros. I walked back in a very undignified way. My blisters are multiplying like so many mushrooms on a spring dawn. My face is burned despite all my preparations and a hat which looks good with flowers and would be any donkey's pride and joy.

I was met by Montserrat who told me that we were able to sleep in the room which is normally occupied by the female fire-fighters but none had shown up. So instead of dusty colchon en el suelo I got white coverlets and luxury. No fires in the night either.


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