España X – Close Encounters of the Strange Kind

After being awoken by a 4 man police team and being able to talk my way out of the situation once again. I felt like I could handle anything. Casa de los Dioces was on the horizon and it would serve as another good point for me to keep a low profile for a bit before continuing, first another big city to cross though (León) and although I had cleared a couple of big cities, I always needed to be a little bit more alert when crossing them. The path there was slightly boring but there were some interesting interactions. A guy, clicking his tongue walked up to me in a little village where I was having a break and he told me I wasn’t allowed walk the camino. I mouthed off to him that he clearly isn’t a virologist and apparently that was enough for him to back down with his belittling demeanor, slightly showing off his Guardia Civil badge as he walked off. Hmm! Maybe I should be a little less cocky would be a better approach but the guy’s manners just really rubbed me the wrong way and I responded in kind. 

Then a hail storm was on the horizon and I took shelter in a sort of little cabin house thing with a chair in it, a nice guy named Felippe came by and he we started chatting, apparently he does his homework in the little shed because he can smoke there and I helped him with his English homework. Cool stuff, he was clearly as starving as me for decent human contact and it was cool having a little chat. Because rain was on the program I decided to not push my luck into the darkness. A graveyard popped up far outside of the town and I decided to try and lockpick the door just for shits and giggles, it worked and I opened it. Too bad the other door that had the power outlets wasn’t accessible and I couldn’t lockpick the door. Because of the mixed weather I was not able to recharge my powerbank using the sun. I slept in a place where they would put the coffins and/or clean the deceased for burial. A little weird, a little macabre, a faint smell of balm. There were many spiderwebs however and that gave me enough confidence that it hadn’t been used in quite sometime. Because the little building acted as a sort of greenhouse it was nice and warm inside and I had a good night sleep there.

Dead rest

Further down the road I parked my tent near a bridge in Puenta Villarente and in the morning I was awoken by a nice shepard who knocked on my tent with his stick. He was more curious than hostile or suspicious and it reminded me a lot of how French people respond when they see you wildcamping. From here its only a day to León and after that its another 2 days to Casa de los Dioces. 

I arrived in León and recognized a lot from the last time, quaint bridges, cool cathedral, friendly and interesting people. A river that you needed to cross and I hid my backpack next to it in the hopes of finding some supermarket in the town proper. I only ended up buying bullshit but it was enough to keep me in high spirits. In León I had minor difficulty finding a good camp spot but I ended up sleeping in the garden of some youth center of which I only had to scale a little fence. Being awoken by yet another gardening team in the early morning. By the time the nice lady who opened the door had come towards me, I was already rushing to get everything packed and she didn’t seem to mind at all. This town is nice. Crossing León also didn’t prove to be that hard but the road from here on out is rather boring as well. You’re either walking alongside a major highway or just on the road itself and the wind and the vista’s of beautiful mountains in the distance just takes it out of you. Last time I was here I went north towards the province of Asturias and then continued diagonally towards Santiago, so everything on the normal “Camino Frances” (the direct route) is going to be mostly new territory. In León I felt so ballsy that I even went to ask for a stamp at the local police station but they didn’t give me one.. They also didn’t ask what the hell I was doing. Too bad the cathedral is closed and I was unable to get a stamp there, soon it’s going to become pretty important to collect at least 2 stamps per day if I want to be eligible for the official certificate (the Compostela).

León Cathedral

I went through León and decided to pick up a new powerbank so I could switch and reload my battery whenever necessary. I also finally found a fucking flea collar for Lucy her tick problem, which was still a big issue, even though I had the anti tick/flea droplets to put on her fur coat.

All throughout this region I had come across several sort of hobbit houses, used to store wine and whatever else that needed protection from the scorching sun and some of em were turned into proper mancaves with stoves and fireplaces. As Im leaving León I run into one of these near Valverde de la Virgin that was unlocked, several people had written things on the wall outside and there was no lock on the front door. The inside was extremely cosy and nice, with a cool fireplace and enough wood and water to get me comfortably through the night, I had bought food already so that was not a problem either. The weather wasn’t in a good mood so I felt truly blessed once again with this little shelter. There was a spooky staircase going about 20m down and of course I had to explore a bit, finding old bottles of wine and a mouse who had made his home in a bag of straw. Also a lot of dry wood and I didn’t waste time to make a nice fire and turn the place into a sauna. Casa de los Dioces was only a stone’s throw away (roughly 30km, hah! Stone’s throw) and I took it easy.

Where Hobbits Dwell

The next day I had a very lazy start but at least the weather had cleared up a bit. I was able to recharge my powerbanks. As Im at a gas station to buy some bread and some other minor supplies, a German guy that has trouble written all over him pops up out of nowhere. He insists we talk a bit while he drinks his beer and even though he seemed like the road weary, crazy type – I still indulged him. His name is/was Marcus. Not unfriendly, just a little lost..

Over the next 10 minutes I see him pop valium and some other medication, down 2 0,5L of beer all the while he’s telling me how he lost his shit one evening in the woods and police had picked him up and brought him to a mental hospital. He left his home in Munich a month before I did and had been walking ever since, he got picked up and stopped by police several times until they finally put him near some public swimming pool in the town. People were nice enough to give him a tent but he assured me it sucked. Also when I asked him if he thought it was a good idea that he downed a liter of beer while popping valium and anti depressants, he assured me he has no choice because he’s an alcoholic you see, also liver cancer.. ‘OH HEY! DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE DEVIL? YEA?! ME TOO, HE CAME TO ME IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT WHEN I WAS WALKING THROUGH THE WOODS.. I USED TO HAVE 2 DOGS, A WHITE ONE AND A BLACK ONE BUT THE WHITE ONE GOT KILLED BY A CAR IN LEÓN!’

My oh my Marcus, interesting stuff my dude, all the best to you. I tried to give him some rolling papers for smoking but he scattered them to the wind because he probably lost all feeling in his fingers at this point. As he’s standing there slightly drooling into the sunset, I decide to leave him in the rearview mirror and get a move on, man oh man.. Its always nice when people make all the wrong choices in their life and then blame it on the devil, I guess in some roundabout way I agreed with him, maybe close the door to your Soul next time instead of leaving it wide open with every mind altering substance you can get your hands on my dude.. Marcus proved to be the first crazy quarantine pilgrim but certainly not the last. I played with the idea if I myself am going to turn into one of these people, a thought that quickly dissipated when I parked my tent a few villages over – next to a water fountain, still had food left from the gas station and an almost full powerbank to recharge my phone. I hoped not to run into Marcus again since people like that do tend to rub off on you. Im at least glad that I was straight with him and I pray for him.

Pensive

OH I also ran into Elon Musk’s Starlink, damn. Where to begin.. So I was walking in darkness, not even a moon to light my path and all of a sudden on the horizon pops up this row of stars or satellites for the trained eye, as Im fumbling around with my phone trying to call my brother to tell him theres a fucking alien invasion underway, I realize that it

I woke up the next day and there were a lot of Spanish people riding their bikes around and I wondered what the hell was up, a friend of mine informed me that the Spanish are allowed to exercise and apparently most people decided to finally start learning to ride the bicycle hahah. Wtf. I wonder how many people died when falling off their bike compared to actual covid.

I felt a little bit drained and Casa de los Dioces wasn’t that far. I made it there before darkness and as Im walking up I see a guy with a beard the side of my torso and a hat wandering away from the place. I whistle to him and he barely notices me, I decided to follow him to some structure that he climbed and we talked for a sec. His name is Tamino..hmm..tamino…tamino…

Mindblow incoming..