A thought on nature.
The nature..My God the nature, ever have I held such beautiful moments to just look at it in all its current splendor. 2 days nothing to eat? No problem, just feed dogfood (dry) to an anthill for an hour or 2. Also storks man, fucking storks everywhere. I remember my mother taking me to a place in the Netherlands as a kid where there was 1 stork being stared at by a 100 Dutch people with nothing to do on a Wednesday afternoon.. Here? Fucking 12 of em, usually on the roof of a church built long before we ever industrialized, not just one church mind you, all da churches! In urry town! Maybe thats why we think they’re an endangered species in the first place, we miss em and while they’re all hanging out in Spain, Spain doesn’t know how to count to 10..
I saw so many that they were endangering more churches than they weren’t, just by sheer weight alone.. all nesting, all coming and going.. Crazy man. Walk into a public park near Logroño and there’s just 100 bunnies in the grass, docilely foraging until Lucy started flexing her hunting skills on em and chased them back into their burrows. Covid is a blessing in disguise and the further we lock ourselves away, the harder the burn will be later, and burn it certainly will if we don’t –
Rip off the bandaid, rip off the bandaid, rip off the bandaid.
I woke up in my tent, that I had parked a reasonable distance from Casa de los Dioces on the huge plot of land behind it. Everybody was already up and about and I greeted everyone with a nice hola! Gala, the mother of the bunch made sure that I had a cup of coffee in my hand before I could properly wake up and also told me where breakfast was. Everyone seemed nice at first but I hit it off with Alan the most immediately, not only was he one of the few English speakers, but he was also a source of knowledge and wisdom, way too erudite to get locked away like this. I had no idea when I was going to leave this place but it would be a good idea to at least catch up with some diary writing and do a laundry and just cherish the social scene.
Lucausage, why am I here? Why am I rolled in a blanket?
Alan is a pretty interesting guy, not the very least because of his beautiful English accent and mentality. Started out with a broken leg and the camino seemed like a good idea to let it heal, while Im typing this I realize how ridiculous this sounds to anyone who’s never done this shit. To me it made perfect sense. Too bad he got locked up by the C-19 and had no other choice than wait around. We talked and joked around a bit and I decided to not really do any writing or do anything on the priority list in the first couple of days and just find my way around camp. David held a little ritual thingy where we all thanked for the food he made, while he was making a video of the whole thing. One of the undercurrents flowing in the place made itself visible as I clearly seemed like the most motivated to play along. I wondered how many times this had happened before to them and how tired they must be of it. That being said, being fed and sheltered is a virtue to me and I dont mind a little theater, if thats the glue that holds this place together. David apparently just got a smartphone (from what I heard around camp) and he fell into all the familiars (hard) that go along with having a smartphone for the first time, talking loudly into the phone..check. Video taping everything..check. Being on facebook all the time..Check. A little bit boomer as well since he didn’t know how to use half of the things he wanted to accomplish online. Its whatever, I dont want to paint the guy in the dark light.
On the third day the journalist came by who was making a documentary on the entire place, a kind enough guy at first before you got to know him a little bit more, very in your face without asking. Very forcefully videotaping everything and it got on my nerves pretty fast. No respect at all and just a general nuisance on top of the camp. He brought old cell phones of which half wasn’t working to give to the people around camp, a nice enough gesture if it didn’t stir the whole thing into a frenzy. In the back of my mind I maybe thought that was his goal in the first place and that he fed off misery more than anything else.
Tami(no) was very active around the place, apparently the Casa de los Dioces had built up some debts over the time and David was pretty eager to sell the place all together. Tami had come at the right time and started making incremental changes to streamline the whole operation. Spending time in the garden most of the time since everything else was still a little bit too touchy of a subject for David. Being the smart guy that he is he took it slow and he made sure that his presence was made clear without stepping on any of Davids toes, David understandably had some trouble of letting the place go and I could only imagine what its like to leave a place behind that you poured your heart and soul into..
Alan and me got along fine and he taught me some handy stuff while we we’re exchanging war stories throughout the days. We got a little bit drunk here and there but all in all it was good fun. Very interesting guy that had seen a lot in his life already, it also made him zero tolerance and a little stoic to say the least.
Hippie Drum Circle
Somewhere around the first week David and others offered I took part in an ayuwasca trip, I kindly declined since I heard about ayuwasca that the shamans that traditionally do it express the anger of the spirits for the west abusing the “medicine” without proper guidance. David did not strike me as the right spirit guide as well, let alone a shaman. Respect for him though since he did an awesome job and the singing/night/fire was all very beautiful and the people that did the ceremony felt like it was a great experience, and in the end that is all that counts. I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything though.
Community dinners were made over an open flame in the seating area closest to the camino, on the right was also a small seating area and was also David’s bed, the only female in there for the last 50 days was Lucy however. I started gaining days fast in my diary from the fourth day and I felt pretty productive, it helped that I had only 20 days to catch up on, listening to nice podcasts while writing, I felt good.
First pussy in Davids bed in over 50 days
Alan and me also went to Astorga at some point, it was allowed to move around again and certainly if you went to the supermarket or the likes, you should be alright. Alan had a bit of a limp but he chewed his way to Astorga like an absolute pro. Astorga is a pretty nice town and we had a nice sandwich in the park in front of the cathedral. In the end we only went there for some minor bullshit, but it was a good walk and a good way to keep the gears oiled at least.
The nature around the camp was beautiful and very peaceful, Alan saw a snake while he was walking around and the whole place was just surrounded by fields and pine forests. Very nice and tranquill and it was good to escape the camp every now and again and just walk out into nature.
The food around the camp consisted mostly of things with protein, potatoes with butter, nuts, egg. Oh the eggs in the shape of a tortilla. I did some minor exercises here and there but I could feel my musclemass growing. The thing with proteins however is that after a while you’re so fucking sick and tired of it. Keep eating that shit for over 50 days and you start having the situation we had at the house of the gods. Police came by every now and again to check up on minor things and also did some recreational biking around, without a mask mind you which made the whole thing a little bit more awkward. Things were slowly opening up after a good amount of time. Just when I was done with all the protein and the resting and writing my diary.
Alan and me had a bit of a falling out at some point. The fucking hypothetical was about falconry of all things lol. We were talking about Mongols (with a capital M mind you) and how proficient they are in falconry, from there we went to how much I would like to learn it from an ancient tribe and Alan opposed me by saying that they were difficult to convince to teach that to outsiders. I told him that where theres a will, theres a way and that if I helped them with things – Im sure they would be more willing to share some knowledge. Alan said that was doing the right thing for the wrong reasons to which I asked how?! Him – walking away to avoid some falsely perceived confrontation and refusing to get further into it – really rubbed me the wrong way. Especially since we had good conversations about anything from personal to general chitchat and I considered him a friend. My friends don’t accuse me of something and then refuse to back it up or just walk out of a conversation. I saw Alan in a slightly different light after that and we kind of went out of each others way. Not easy, not easy at all.
What did make things a lot easier was the fact that Gala is a great masseuse, she gave me a good massage on a table and actually checked one of the sub priority boxes on my to do list ever since a month before I left the Netherlands even. A good massage by a professional to help me with a slight problem I have in my lower back. She did an awesome job and also was able to feel that I had a traumatic experience in the past. I explained to her that I had been in a car crash and that this left me with some minor injuries, maybe for life. She did an awesome job of massaging it out however and I felt great and energetic afterwards.
My little disagreement with Alan blew over soon and he actually taught me some cool shit, of making knots. I also used his sharpener to sharpen my machete and in one small moment of distraction offered by the god of wisdom himself, I almost cut straight through my thumb tendens.. A cut that started bleeding right away but Im pretty used to inflicting heavy trauma on myself and also thank God the medical squad consisting of Alan and Gala was on me, they tied up my wound straight away while I acted like it was just another day at the office. Because my body was still in peak physical condition, the wound healed pretty fast and before I was out of there a week later, it was all but almost healed up. A nice scar that will probably be a good indicator if a storm is coming.
David saw me shave my hair and my beard at some point and he wanted me to take his ponytail clean off, I cant believe it.. What an honor. Removing this guy his guru manbun. A couple of days later he went through with it and he wanted it really really short. After it was done he wore a cap for 3 consecutive days but I think it was a good look on him. Also maybe it signals a new beginning for him since he is leaving the place and probably going to walk to Santiago as well as soon as the lockdown is over, the journalist guy hot on his tail to finish his Destiny documentary-y-y.
The evenings consisted mostly of people joking around and/or being on their phones. During the day everyone just walked around a bit, drinking teas/coffees, tending to their stuff. The 2 bike hobos Carlos and Paco went on more and more tours together and Tami(no) was getting the garden together perfectly. I also chipped in by giving him some seeds from my ever growing seed bank. I also went with Tami on a run to the plant store, which sadly was closed, but we decided to dumpsterdive and found more plants than we could have ever asked for. Having some pretty intense conversations on the way back. Tamino recommended I go see another hippie place further down the road in a place called Montán. This was where he quit his camino this time and got a bike from the people there, apparently theres a couple of people holed up there during quarantine. It being about 150km away, it fit my rhythm of walking and laying low for a little bit and/or take a rest day.
I said my goodbye’s to everyone on the 16thof may and continued onwards, apparently they were going to loosen the rules around the whole Covid lockdown further next monday. I still decided to leave before hand though since everything always changes and I felt like my time here was done, the weather was becoming a lot hotter and the coldass crossing through France seemed like a distant memory. Tamino gave me a little care package for the road and at the moment I wanted to leave, for some reason nobody was around camp, a weird surreal experience since this didn’t happen in the last 2 weeks that the camp was completely deserted . It gave more weight to my departure.
WHY AM I HERE? WHY AM I POSING BEFORE A CATHEDRAL?
The same day I arrived in Astorga and I got a lot of buen camino’s from people, I refilled my water bottle at the fountain of youth on the edge of the town and too bad I had missed the tobacco stores since I was running low on tobacco, I did find some nice camping spots along the way. Including a person talking to me as evening fell in a little town just after Astorga. He was pretty impressed with my story and that reminded me just how wonderful and special this whole thing was. I was also just glad that I got to hit the road again with my backpack, not feeling as heavy as I initially thought it would feel.