Sunday, 16 August 2009

Homeward Bound... Part One

(The week of 24th July to 31st July)

And now I am home, although I am wondering if Paolo Coelho was right in The Alchemist in that what we seek, we have already at our own front door. I feel a little homesick for my Galicia: one of the few places I have ever felt “roots”.

Life is not always so simple, you see.

The week in question was packed with incidents and I was staying at the Hostal Alameda which I cannot recommend too highly (Check out, Antonio and Angel: nice people,reasonable rates, and very central).

During my week in Santiago I met some really helpful people at the Museo das Peregrinaciones; I toured the Cathedral Museum (although my request to see the excavations was turned down, this time), and I went to San Martin Pineiro (now designated as a museum) and watched the organ tuner at San Pao de Antealtares. I was treated royally at both Casa Manolo (still by far the best pilgrim bargain in town – say hello to Paloma) and the Hostal Suso, both of which are featured in Pilgrimage to Heresy. On the day that it didn’t rain (would that it would rain in Marbella: we have had temperatures in the upper 30’s since I have been back!) I drove Simone up to Malpica and followed the Costa da Morte all the way around to Muros, a little fishing village I love well. I even went to look at a village house I have long fantasised about, but it had just been sold, for far less than it was listed. I am sure there will be another, perhaps this time in Santiago itself. I went back to Follas Novas to talk with Don Rafael – what a gentleman – and to sign copies of Peregrinos de la Herejia at Encontros (they should have a shipment of my book in English fairly soon).

On the day I was due to leave I couldn’t quite get up the ganas to go. It felt like leaving where I knew I belonged. I love Santiago de Compostela more than any other city in the world (Granada where I lived for 3 years comes a very close second). After my final fairwells at Casa Manolo I ventured back to the Placa de Obradoiro after the fireworks had finished and there I met Pedro and his dog.

He had walked from Barcelona and was sitting on the floor just below the Ayuntamento just staring up at the Cathedral. I asked if I could join him. He told me that he had only just arrived in Compostela but was not to stay too long: “I follow the Camino de las Estrellas” he told me. He was off to Fisterre his final “etapa”. His dog, a husky-mastiff cross was wearing no collar and Pedro told me that he had been warned by the police to put one on or face a multa: a fine. “I don’t want to take away his freedom,” he said gesturing to his well-travelled friend who was compliant by his side.

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