Camponayera made me leave very late because of the excruciating weather. Back to night walking it is apparently. This time however was probably the latest I had ever started walking since it was already 2000h. Before that was neigh impossible however. The road was nice and it was still hot and moist. People going for a walk in droves without masks was also a pleasant sight, some were supportive of me and others kept their distance. Its whatever. Police and me crossed paths at a point but they only asked if I had enough water, I had enough of course but still a very nice gesture and I hoped for the fact that they would be more friendly and welcoming in Galicia in general due to pilgrims being the lifeblood of the province basically. 

O’Cebreiro is a quaint little mountain town in original Galician style on top of the mountain dividing 2 Spanish departments (Castille y Leon – Galicia).I had visited the town 6 years ago weirdly enough hitchhiking on the way back and I had good memories about the place.


When I arrived in a town called Villafrance del Bierzo I decided to take advantage of a 4* wildcamping spot however. The town was built on both sides of a gorge of sorts and at the beginning there was the aforementioned 4* camping spot meaning: a nice patch of grass, somewhat secluded and sheltered, a poweroutlet on the outside of the building to recharge my powerbank, a faucet with some water, pretty perfect. The mountain range isolating Galicia from the rest of Spain was a little bit too much for me to just run through. Also the fact that my shoes were absolutely shot and I twisted my ankle about 3-4 times a week didn’t make things any better. Im just happy they didn’t twist all the way and if I took a moment and/or kept walking the pain usually subsided, no idea about the long term damage however.

The next day I woke up and went for a food run in the town, leaving my tent and other belongings next to the municipal albergue. To my surprise there were all kinds of terraces and restaurants open and I stopped and asked what was going on. Apparently the government lifted the lockdown by a good amount and people were allowed to be social again. This being a waiver apparently for everyone to go about socializing like nothing had ever happened and the Rona was defeated all together.. Then again, if the 2ndwave will come its best to face it slightly intoxicated and among friends. The vibe in the town was friendly and people were enjoying being led of the leash and I continued walking through the valleys towards my final climb into Galicia itself. At the foot of the mountain I found a good campspot in a play area for children that had water and I decided to hold off on crossing the mountain just one more day. My parents had my brother and his girlfriend over for a bbq and damn that sure sounds good at this point. It was nice to talk to them either way. 

The next day I didn’t waste much time and went on my way, little valley towns following a windy river where people were surprised to see me, some happy and some unhappy with my presence there. Police pulled me over for a personal Groovid-19 session and I rolled a cigaret and read a little bit with Lucy on my lap while they were checking my passport. I had not a shred of doubt anymore at this point about being sent home or being incarcerated and apparently they were able to pick up on that energy as they were at a loss of words as to what to do with me. I’d seen it all at this point and they soon sent me on my marry way.

Galicia crossing

Coming up the mountain and crossing into Galicia province was gorgeous, rain clouds being pushed over the mountain in a sunset is always a beautiful sight to behold. I already knew that it also meant that I would be walking in fog soon, if not rain. The rain wasn’t there thank God but the fog and the wind were pretty heavy but I just kept pushing on. At some point there were lights along the path and I was curious as to why but it turned out O’Cebreiro was just around the corner. Love it to just stroll into the place where youre going without actually realizing it. I went to the same place I wildcamped last time and parked my tent in front of the church on a grass patch under a few trees. The temperature had dropped dramatically but nothing compared to France 1 year ago, I only barely got reminded of these distant days that seemed more like a dream than reality. In the town itself everything was closed, for lockdown purposes and for the fact that there hasn’t been a tourist in the last 3 months. The light was on at a restaurant but when I knocked on the door the lady said she didn’t serve anyone at this time. Its fine, I would have turned down myself as well. The night was cold and windy and I was hungry, but its all good since its homestretch now baby.

The next day people were talking around the church where I slept and I had the opportunity to go to the mass. The people looked at me weird and surprised but they were friendly, I was even able to scoop up a stamp for the collection, the lady had to adjust the stamp with the date and she told me the last pilgrim that came through here was 20 March earlier that year.

I decided to go back to the same restaurant as yesterday and the lady who turned me away previous evening was ecstatic, reiterating what the lady in the church told me – the first pilgrim. Irena (her name) did have food now and she took a picture for her social media whatever of me eating there, her husband José walking stoically around the restaurant. A fine salad with some Galician meat that Lucy really enjoyed and she also gave me some bread for the road. After breakfast I packed my stuff and swung by again to drink a coffee and say goodbye.

I continued on the journey and the mountain paths winding over the ridges of the mountains was beautiful with little mountain towns that were sprinkled throughout. I found out there were enough albergues and hostels but not a lot of water fountains like I had found in the rest of Spain. I crossed a village called Fonfria and I walked by a house where a guy was smoking on the porch. It seemed like a dairy processing plant and I asked them if they had any food, at first they said no but the girlfriend of the guy overheard me and held up a big chunk of white cheese called Casa Torre. Bless them both! I also hung on to a piece of bread that I got this morning from Irena and I was able to take a nice break with something that could pass for dinner. With the honey, a little bit of spice and my hunger, it didn’t taste half bad. Today was also my brothers birthday and I had a nice phonecall.

Free cheese, give them a call!

In a sea of fireflies I did my descend down the mountain through different villages, where there were a lot of dogs barking, they would alarm the dogs in the village over and I kind of felt bad for alarming all the villages on the mountain side in the middle of the night but I didn’t have much of a choice, sneaky – I was not. I came across an ancient oak that I wish I could have photographed during the daytime since it was fucking impressive. The thing was apparently there for the last 700 years or so and I could only wonder with how many pilgrims it seen pass by.

Lucy and me felt good and we decided to finally settle in for the night in Triacastella in the middle of a field before the pilgrim hostel. Lucy is already in the tent and Im sitting on a bench being tired and fatigued as fuck. Just roll a cigaret and then go to sleep. Theres a light fog over the grassfield originating from the river not far away. As Im sitting completely silent for a moment with my shoes off I hear some rustling in the tree beside me and before I could react, a martyr crawls out of the tree and comes towards me. It probably mistook my feet for food as they start to smell alike at this point. As soon as it noticed that the feet was attached to a person however, it made its escape. Weird, surreal moment to be honest.

I see her walking through a pathless forest or a maze, a labyrinth. As she walks she spins and the fine threads fall behind her following her way, telling where is going, telling where she has gone, telling the story. The line, the thread of voice, the sentences saying the way. 

~ Ursula K. Le Quin (Poem along the way)

The mountain I was already staring at in the distance from Casa de los Dioces had a very important landmark on it called Cruz de Ferro. Its a bit of a climb but on top of the mountain is a bigass cross with a pile of rocks around it. The pile is made by people leaving a stone or something else that they took from the beginning of the trip, representing something they took from home with them and then carrying it all way, then leaving it there as a sort of memento of something that weighed them down.

I was running low on tobacco and I had smoked my last cigaret and ate my last food a day ago in the evening. The random meeting with the guy in the village in the evening was nice however and put fire in my legs. Things were also slowly opening back up with a couple of rebellious people walking around. Very nice. Also people seemed to be using the “workout-” or the “walking the dog”-excuse to take a little stroll outside. Very nice. Everyone seemed to be in a very good mood. Not wearing masks or anything, which is a little weird since a week ago – it was still the apocalypse, but as soon as the government says its ok to go outside for a couple of hours per day, the Covid has been defeated and everybody is groovin’ hard.

Bars were planning to open as well in a couple of weeks, looking forward to drinking my first tea on a terrace. 

The camino felt even more lonely than before and I got persuaded to take a couple of naps just in the middle of the trail under a tree, a rare thing indeed on the busiest pilgrimage route during this time of the year normally. There were more people around but I still had no social contact with them whatsoever.

After waking up next to a little chapel, I searched the town for some food and some greedy spaniard named Fernando was nice enough to sell me a sandwich for 7 €.. He also gave some food for Lucy however, so I guess its alright. Further down the town was actually a little shop where I bought some small things. I also rang the bell of a convent to get a stamp and the priest was very surprised to see me. We had a little superficial chat and I continued after a small break.

Cruz de Ferro

After climbing up the mountain and through a small town called Foncabadan, I came across the place mentioned earlier called Cruz the Ferro. A cross on top of a pillar reaching about 20 – 30m into the sky. Everything was silent and the sun was slowly setting over the mountain ridge. A weird atmosphere took hold of the place and the pile of stuff left there (mostly rocks) was pretty impressive. I didn’t linger for too long since there was no water fountain or anything and I had eaten only an apple to quell my thirst about 2 hours ago. Not an ideal situation. Also no tobacco for the entire day made me feel way too healthy. Good thing I balanced it out with borderline dehydration. I left a bullet that I collected from the house in France on the pile, it seemed only fitting.

Statue 50km back, nice foreshadowing

From the mountain top it was a breezy glide down the mountain with the occasional bushes overgrowing the path, a beautiful sunset in the West guided me along the camino and when darkness fell I walked into a small town. I had put on music and I hoped to walk all the way to Ponferrada (the next bigger city, another 15km downhill from where I was at that point, or so I thought) but all of a sudden Im being stopped by a voice of someone yelling pilgrim towards me. I took out my headphones and confirmed to them that I was indeed. 2 Germans called Franzi and Thomas walked towards me, they were working in an albergue there and invited me to come sit with them for a sec. They also smoked to my relief and it was very good to have a little tobacco. Not to mention the immediate care package they gave me, banana and nuts. I hit it off immediately with these 2 kind Souls and they were as happy and surprised to see me as I was them. We smoked a little bit of a joint and they offered to put me up for the night, and then I could continue in the morning and honestly an offer so good by such good company – how could I refuse. I chilled with them a little bit more but the weed hit me like a ton of bricks and I soon made way for my tent, replenishing my bodily fluids and chowing down the food they had given me.

The next day I woke up and crawled out of my tent that I put up in the garden, I got to meet the owner of the place – A Texan guy called Mike, who’s active nature and humor is only matched by his culinary skills. He was in a bit of a pickle due to the lockdown since there weren’t any customers for the last 50 days. I decided on staying another day and do a little helping around the garden meanwhile acquainting myself with Thomas and Franzi. Thomas and me also did an epic seed swap (no, not what you think you dirty mind). Thomas was very excited with my philosophy behind bringing along seeds to give to others and gave me all kinds of cool seeds, from tomato to pumpkinseeds and beans and herbs among other things. Thomas was really forthcoming with his collection since the philosophy of exchanging seeds really resonated with him, he also gave me a website that deals in heirloom seeds and wow wtf, also got some “street tomato” seeds. A tomato plant a friend of his found growing in the middle of the street.. Very nice.

I originally planned on going after a beautiful pasta lunch that Mike made but the masterchef and everyone else convinced me that I should just stay another day, also the fact that they were going to the supermarket in Ponferrada tomorrow made it a very clear decision for me to stay another day as I could skip the, from what they told me, pretty rough and steep path down to Ponferrada. A guy came by called Finn, from the UK. We built a fire and the beer flowed freely. Very nice to have people that are making a lot of losses still sharing everything they had and I was very thankful. Also the fire and the surrounding area and the sun making everything gold was absolutely stunning.

Nuevo Amigo’s

The next day I woke up early and Franzi had made me a nice sandwich, I hung around a little with Thomas and Franzi until Mike was ready to go. Finn had slept there but already left in the morning and Franzi, Mike and me took the car to Ponferrada. We stopped in a cool town along the way that would have been my end point for sure since they weren’t lying about the path down the mountain. It didn’t look fun to walk at all, also the lack of shade and the sun burning hardcore would have made the pretty little town with the bridge and the river flowing through it my end point for sure. They dropped me off in the city centre however and I could make some very good gains today, already shaving off 14km downhill and then another 8 to Ponferrada. Mike dropped me off very conveniently and we said our goodbye’s. 

What a fucking blessing these people were. Extremely lucky to meet them..

Ponferrada looked busy, people were out and about the and lines for the different stores was immense, still no bars or restaurants open but there were more than enough supermarkets available and I stocked up for the journey ahead. I also finally bought some tobacco and decided to buy 3 packs while Im at it. 

I also ate a shitton in the city on a bench at the edge of the town, I was a little famished however as I left the city I ate a bag of chips at the edge of a cemetary and just when I was about to go I found a hand of Fatima pendant, very cool. Now I have 3 different religious philosophies on my necklace and I certainly took it as a sign of things to come hopefully, the famous tomb of Fatima being located in Portugal and the hand of Fatima being a well known Islamic symbol.

Hand of Fatima

The next town was Camponayara and at the end I found a pretty cool spot in a sort of picknick area, it was a little bit higher up with a fountain nearby and nice pinetrees sheltering me from the rising sun the next day. An extremely good spot since the next day I already felt the heat in the early morning. Fucking 40 degrees celcius my dudes and dudettes. Holy shit.. Couldn’t even take Lucy back into the town without almost overheating her. Its fine though, I took it slow after walking back into the town to get some food and returning to the picknick spot and just watching Youtube videos and listening to podcasts all day until it finally cooled down a little.

Montán wasnt much further now, only about 90km which should make me hit it within a week if everything goes according to planned. I hoped the weather didn’t throw me a curveball though and would basically condemn me to walking in the night again. Its whatever.

Homestretch baby, homestretch..

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.

dividing phones

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.


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.

Tamino, fucking Tamino, a very familiar name to me. After inquiring if he knew my ex girlfriend that I met on the camino he responded with a resounding ‘yes’. Apparently I already met the guy 5 years ago very briefly on a terrace in Santiago de Compostela. A little less beardy but still the same calm demeanor. My ex-girlfriend walked with him from Santiago to the coast. Amazing to see him here of all places.

Casa de los Dioces is one of those pearls on the camino, a pilgrim stop run by some guy that looked guru-esque called David. It used to be a herders barn and when David purchased the land, there wasn’t much there, he created a place where pilgrims could just chill and rest for a bit. When Tamino was done smoking his weed in the sunset, we walked up to the place and I met the rest of the crew including El Rei Loco de Dioces himself, David Vidal.

I did not get much response on the first night but it was also already dark and good lighting is not a thing Casa de los Dioces is known for. Not to mention they were a little bit surprised seeing me since they had been holed up there for quite some time and every time they wanted to leave, police would find them and send them back to that place. To was a stop on the way but for these fine gods it was a place of condemnation and inertia. Not all of em but a few felt like their feathers had been clipped for sure. Needless to say, there were some tensions that had built up over the last 50 days since they’d been there. For me as a newcomer it was pretty interesting all in all. All I asked for was a shower and David truly provided me with everything that I needed, Even a crazy king takes care of his subjects…


was all I needed and maybe best of all – some decent social interaction. Walking alone and visiting all these ghost towns of scared people wearing masks really does have an impact on your psyche and is a true test for your mental fortitude, I mean damn…that moment when coercing police, into letting you go, becomes your only social outlet – thats when you know its a goddamn special experience. I don’t want to make this chronicle too sentimental so lets go over the gods that reside in this place.

David – (Crazy) King of Kings

Impulsive fella this one is, right off the bat you can tell that he’s the alpha and is looking for pussy. IF you dont have one, that automatically puts you at odds with him, the thing is though – Theres no pussy (that he’s chasing) for 500km (or more) around. All them pretty-ass pilgrims that normally stretch their pretty-ass-legs all over his-pretty-ass-bed (which is on the camino, c’mon dude) are not here at the moment. That makes him just as much a prisoner as the rest of them here, even more agonizing perhaps is the fact that this prison was build by himself. All jokes aside – in his heart and in the eyes of the true God – a good guy, a giver. He has the archetype of The Caretaker. Provide and you shall receive, there is no other credo in (his) life but to give. Giving your bread and hospitality is AS important AS giving your seed (to dat ASS). Like any good King, he gives to all his subjects EQUALLY and divides the spoils EQUALLY. He’s as much a hunter as he is a possessor, as much of a hunter as he is a shepard.. The odd ayuwasca trip here and there. A guru he may not be, a legend on the Camino, for sure though.

(Photo stolen from WhatsApp)

Tamino – Lord of Lords

Calm…Almost docile, good natured and friendly in any situation. Like that one song-that-never-really-gets-going is the first inclination that you have when you meet him. When you get to know him however, you soon see that he burns mighty with a deep passion for anything nature. An unshakable resolve to whatever he puts his mind to. Wether its him going his own way without being stubborn or wether you’re going on a flower-shop-mission with the guy, after 10-20 maybe 50 minutes of interacting with this guy, you will know that he is anything but ordinary docile Dont let the fucking beard fool you either, this guy has a fire raging inside of him that only he can put out. And put it out he did.. Long before I met him the first time, he was already able to focus it into productivity. When I met him this time around, he funnily enough was in the process of gaining ownership of Casa de Los Dioces. He had been asked to do so earlier, but everything has Go(d)t rhythm, and Tamino is one of the best dancers to this rhythm I’ve ever come across.

Gala(?) – godMother

If David is the King of the group then Gaia(?) is definitely the mother of the bunch. Free spirited but forced into an awkward situation, still constantly giving and taking care of whomever she feels worthy of her services. Kind spirited, positive and pensive on her situation, helping wherever she can and making sure that there’s as little pain to anybody as is humanly possible in any situation. Galla(?) Seen it all, been through it all, will see it all again and will surely go through everything again and again. Ever constant in awareness and ever aware of her surroundings.. For all of the above, will also never give up or relent. A true constant..

(god of the road obscured by god of the gypsy’s)

Carlos – god of the Road

This guy, the silent and gentle type…that is until he starts rambling his ass off in the early morning while you didn’t have any sleep and you’re like, damn Carlos, I wish we talked about this at a more opportune time, LIKE LAST NIGHT – WHEN WE HAD SOME GODDAMN ALCOHOL IN OUR FUCKING BODY’s. No, this guy will just walk off in the middle of a conversation to cut some wood or do any other thing that serves everyone in an indirect way. Strong group mentality and seen so much shit and loss in his life that he’s got this nice PTSD-insulation to anything life can throw at him. Get to know him though and you’re going to be surprised at how gentle and educated he is. A treasure throve of (bad) experience, from stabbings to addictions to break ins. You think you’ve been places? Pablo already been there my dude, and he wont say a word about it until he’s going in the paint ..hard…

Alan – god of Knowledge

Great guy, just fucking great. English accent, nicknames for anyone he holds dear, pleasant to the eye. Spent many days of his life in magical places where men and women alike find themselves. Educated on all that is nature and a strong contestant to be the lord of lords (if only he made more effort, if only he didn’t relent to himself). Lacking in social skills so hard that for the untrained Soul, you might think he’s against any social contact at all. On a certain level, he is against all levels I guess.. Never moves without a proper construct of a plan, inhabited by a Soul that seeks tests throughout. Not road weary as the road is weary of him. Will provide a listening ear to all talk that doesn’t rub him the wrong way. Strong mental eye that doesn’t look at him a (personally perceived wrong way).

Paco – god of the Gypsy’s

Long greasy hair, unshaven, lumberjack shirt and a thermo pants. Loves porn and motorcycles but not as much as his bicycle and the freedom it gives him. Once dragged a police officer behind a car for a good amount of kilometers before ending that lasagna with a piece of lead in the cabesa. A moment that will forever define him. Still.. a good heart. A good heart of the mischievous kind. A gangster and maybe an original one. Born and bread for the road, by the road. Fake plays a fake piano for the coins that good samaritans will throw at him.

Gypsy for fucking life!

Tau – god of shepards

Apparently he just came walking in without trouble, having only a plastic bag with him, police most likely misunderstood him for someone going to the supermercado. Still a very friendly guy from Portugal, his dream is to own a herd of sheep or goats and to just roam the lands. Very gentle in his approach and very forthcoming when it comes to helping anyone with just about anything. Had a bit of a falling out with some Italian guy in the beginning of the year after which the Italian hobo got kicked out which is a testament to his good behavior. Bless this man and his herd to be.

Manuel – snake in the grass

Im not even supposed to include him but he was around in the beginning of the first few weeks and in a sense just as stuck as the rest there, mentally – not physically mind you. Working on a documentary called…wait for it – Destiny – ((echo)y-y-y) – he was around for a week and was just straight in your face about everything that he felt like recording. A quick question if he could soon led to him taking shots of you going into your tent, taking a shower, and even taking a shit. Absolutely fucking annoying and disrespectful. Never been on a camino/pilgrimage himself but really wanted to leech off everything and everyone that has ever been. He rubbed me all the wrong ways as soon as we met and throughout I found out that it wasn’t the fact that he wanted to leech off us, he just wanted what David had. Pussy..

I eventually spent about 2 weeks here before I got fed up with everything and kept on moving. Shared some laughs and some tears. Certainly a necessary stop again with interesting people.

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.


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..

A close brush with the 4 Guardia Civil and overcoming this problem again and again really made me confident that I was able to make it all the way to Santiago if I had to. I found a couple of things to be very effective to say when confronted with police, using the Spanish..ahum..’cultural psyche’ a little bit against them. Its music really, a dance if you will..

This plan has a couple of steps, first off I wouldn’t try to evade any police directly. I got a heavy ass backpack that makes me unable to run away anyway, if they see me > they see me. If anything, it speaks in my advantage that Im not some run of the mill tourist doing a cheap vacation hike, instead Im carrying my house on my back for the last 6 months, making me very well prepared for whatever, a pandemic lockdown or snowy mountains in France.

Next up was to just be friendly and learn how to say a couple of things in Spanish, most police officers aren’t that well versed in the English language but asking them in the beginning if they speak English and then starting to speak shabby Spanish myself is a great psychological way to stay in control of the situation. Always mix in a smile here and there and just be as forthcoming towards them as possible. Another thing that I said was that if they had a place for me – I will not hesitate a single second to come with them, but if they don’t – then they should just let me go. As a anti motivational cherry on top I noticed that when I said to the Guardia civil that I already talked to loads of other police officers in different places, their faces turned sour with this look in their eyes like “why the fuck is this my problem then”.

So the-get-through-the-pandemic-repertoire goes like this; I see the police and try to completely ignore them but not in a sketchy way, to me they’re just another car driving by and if I see a hint of them trying to make their way for me, immediately lean into the situation by smiling and being forthcoming in answering their questions. They always ask what the hell Im doing and uhm, Im a pilgrim doing the camino (yo soy peregrino). The obvious thing they say thereafter is that the camino is closed – I immediately parry that with a, “no no es un camino, está abierto :)” (its a road, it cant be closed) but say it with a smile. This is the crucial part where they will probably actually get out of the car which is also the perfect moment to ask them if they speak English (WHICH THEY DONT or maybe they do), but its important to start speaking shabby Spanglish at this point. They will say that I need to go home, and all you ask is “como” meaning “how”, they will say something about trains and busses, which is the moment you shake your head and point towards Lucy “con un perra? Imposible acqui, no se permite de transporte público” (with a dog? Impossible here in Spain, not allowed on public transport”. You dont say this in an annoyed way but rather with a smile, thats where you throw in the “no soy turista” Im not a tourist – “Mi preperando, Hollanda/Belgica/Francia adando completo” which rougly translates to I walked already all this way and Im well prepared, 6 meses (6 months). This is the moment that you usually have them and they ask, where the fuck do you sleep. “Yo equipé una poco tienda” (I have a small tent equipped) and to top it all off you turn around and show them the solar panel hanging from your backpack (“energia de sol”). Meanwhile Lucy is already working her magic and jumping up against them being cute and friendly and/or making them dirty. Then you steer the conversation towards all the other cops that you have spoken to, “yo hablas de todo policia” and you start rambling off all the cities and towns that spring to mind wether you’ve spoken to police there or not (if theres a record of me talking to the cops then great, if theres no record in their system – even better because that means that the cops specifically didn’t register the interaction and just kicked the CovidCan down the road, confusion is key). Since you already have them at this point its time for the finishing blow. You explain to them that you’re well aware of the situation, that you social distance and that you sleep out in nature. This part is the “facile” (easy) part – water fountains everywhere, supermarkets everywhere, sun is shining and freezing your balls of in France was the serious part. If they are wobbling by this part then maybe you can start talking about the economy and how its all going straight into the shitter, everything you can do to draw attention away from yourself and show them you’re not nearly as crazy as you must be, to be doing this in middle of a fucking pandemic.

9 out of 10 times this will end the conversation, they will ask you for your passport which of a nice folder..not afraid to display it to them over the entire hood of their car. Like really roll it out. 

So at this point you already sowed confusion, you seem confident and capable enough, the dog is indeed a problem and yea the borders are also closed. Be unshaken in your resolve but also take the time for them, Im not in a hurry and the only clear option for them is to let you go. Since they cant place you anywhere and they don’t have a plan to get you home, you position yourself into all the possible loopholes and cracks and you make sure that if it goes in depth, you take it a little further. At some point when I noticed the cops are pretty anxious, I just calmed everything down that when they checked my passport in the car, I just took the Bible from my folder and smoked a cigaret whilst reading it. All psychological tricks that convey how well prepared and calm you are. Im not in the business of fear, especially not for these talking heads of poorly plotted out government plans to curb the spread of the virus. Your whole demeanor mixed in with the smiles and your absolute determination, the other police officers that let him off the hook and the end of the world as we know it and yea, move your ass pilgrim, we don’t want you here.. And I don’t want to be here.

The final stage is..

To thank them, mostly for their service. Thats when you stop smiling and when you start getting them puppy dog eyes of hope and gratefulness. Thank these fine officers for putting their lives on the line every, single, day.. They don’t know why they do it but they do it, the boss’s boss-boss told their boss’s boss, whom told their boss to do it and they really have no choice in the matter, and he’s the fucking spiritual father of authority in this idiosyncratic country. Go against a God and get crucified and nobody likes that one bit.. Nobody is going to get publicly crucified over one fucking pilgrim..just let me walk, and I will be out of your jurisdiction if you just let me….walk for an hour..hour and a half. There ain’t no captain checking you wherever you go in a direct sense, and even so, they shouldn’t be able to see that you talked to me. Im a nobody and Im everybody, gone before youregisterme, on my holy way before the next time you go to church and every time you tell me to just continue you’re adding fuel to my fire. MY fire. The one of walking, I will literally use your ineffectiveness and poor communication to my advantage. Im building a wobbly jenga tower of go fuck yourself and you’re but one piece in the puzzle dear officer. 

The show must go on, practice is the key to success.

The Covidance and dance,

on and on.

Blink with your eyes mr police woman sir, Im already gone.

This post is dedicated to all the brave men and women around the world enforcing rules that they dont necessarily support. They make their rounds and do their job with dignity and each and every one that let me go has a special place in my heart. if anything this blog is not to make fun of any of then, but rather the folly of our governments.

The boys were grilling in El Fuero and I was slower than a medical supply shipment from China and I could smell the charcoal all the way down the street. As Im dropping off my bag inside, I insist on getting some tobacco from down the village first and would return later. 

On my way I see a small senora, very nicely dressed, asking if Im a pilgrim and I said yea. She looked very official and I didn’t nearly speak enough Spanish to accommodate her questions. Just smile and nod, smile and nod.

As Im buying the tobacco and returning to El Fuero, I hear a voice behind me coming from the first proper chica I had seen in weeks. “Français/English?” “Yea English is fine, I reply”. She introduced herself as María and she worked for the local TV station CYL1 and they were doing an interview about the camino and Castrojarez in particular. “Could she do an interview with me?” Well, shit, SURE!

I told her where I had my bag at El Fuero and requested them to meet me there, I watched the interview for a sec with the mayor and yea, cool. Weird curveball is weird. I was smoking a cigaret in front of El Fuero and it didn’t take long for them to come find me. Asking me if it’s possible that I took my bag to the beginning of town and if they could interview me there. I can’t say María her charm didn’t persuade me into going along with it and they offered to take my bag while I walked there.

At the beginning of town María interviewed me in full pilgrim gear, which was also the first time I actually wore my entire attire again after almost 3 weeks, so I was as much of a blessing to them as they were to me. The interview was short and concise with afterwards me walking back home with the cameraman trailing me and taking shots for the segment. Ending before El Fuero where he wanted me to walk in but I asked him if he’s out of his mind and he took a shot of me giving Lucy some water was shot instead. I exchanged telephone numbers with María and before we could take a proper goodbye, Guardia Civil rolled in and asked us what the hell we’re doing there. I had already met this particular law enforcer dude some 5 times over the last couple of weeks and his password was – Im going to the supermercado (“Voy al supermercado”). This was the first time he saw me wearing my full attire, backpack and all though and I could see his eyes playfully not believing a word I said, María and José drove off followed by the Guardia Civil and I pretended to walk towards the supermercado but looped back to El Fuero, high-fiving Santiago for spinning some yarn to the police and not incriminating El Fuero for granting me access during the lockdown.

I had a coffee on the balcony overlooking Castrojarez and the surrounding landscape, taking everything in one last golden hour. We did the normal thing of chatting a bit and playing some guitar. Very nice atmosphere and at sunset, I decided this was the optimal time to go. Tiziano had recommended a camp spot about 10km away already good and well on the Mesetas, with a bag full of homemade bread, I said goodbye to them, promising I would most likely be back after the lockdown opened up and I had arrived in Santiago, maybe even working for them when they did.

I found the campspot easy enough although the climb there was a bit of a hassle, on one hand it felt good to walk again but on the other hand it was a little bit of getting used to again, Ive been through this before though and I was going to take it slow on the first day and then just work my way up to my normal rhythm of 20-30km per day. 

My first stop was a place called Itero de la Vega where I found the campspot Tiziano recommended, it was a bit of a shitty spot with a lot of bugs and high grass so the ticks were feasting on Lucy again the next day. NOTHING Im NOT used to by now however.

The next day I walked towards Fromista where there was a nice drunk Spaniard coughing on me. Always nice, ticks were still prevalent and after setting up camp next to a hermitage near Pabloción de Campos I again spent a good hour or so cleaning Lucy up. Yea I should really find a new flea collar soon, this was absolute shit and very demoralizing as well. Knowing that she’s being eaten alive and there was a meticulous search of her person after a long day of hiking everyday.

Beautiful sunset out of Fromista

The next day I walked into the sandy little pueblo and somebody yelled ¡Eeeyyyy Hollandaise! At me from a car while driving by and I took that to mean that they had already broadcasted the segment they did with me. A quick search on the website of Castille y Léon Uno and yea sure. There I was, eyes rolling on the YouTube still, fucking weird, but also very cool. They butchered the interview a little with here and there stuff not making it into the final interview, but I think I got across the happy-go-luck-yourself I was walking around with.

I had sent it to everyone and their grandmother and a lot of progress in terms of walking was not made, it was fine however. This was a real cool thing and I basked in the glory of it. Luuk, a friend of mine’s father works at the regional news station from my hometown Groningen (RTV Noord) and Luuk asked me if he could pass along my telephone number, so his father can recommend it to the editors as a possible story, seeing Im very much a striking the iron while its hot kinda guy, I accepted gratefully of course.

I found myself walking on a cloud towards the next biggerish village called Carrión de los Condes, hoping that I would find a store thats open that also sells some flea collars for poor little, casual tick herder, Lucy. I found a nice church in the middle of the town with a walled off garden. I tried lock picking the door like a gentleman at first but couldn’t get it to open, so I just scaled the wall like a hobo. It was a nice and secluded space with the grass nicely cut.

Pilgrim statue wearing a mask in Carrion de Los Condes

Sure enough, the next day it was a public holiday, of which Spain has many where the stores just don’t open and everything feels like a Sunday, or maybe it was a Sunday, I mean who’s keeping score at this point, every day and town is as deserted as a Sunday and this town didn’t feel any different from other towns I crossed. Everyday is a walking day and the Mesetas was pretty gentle with me so far. 

I found a little shop that was open but didn’t have much in the way of food, the lady from the shop still recognized me from TV though and this goddamn celebrity thing was almost going to my head. Until at the end of the village I took a little rest and then I got a call from RTV Noord. If they can do a radio interview with me about my experiences so far, innnn abouuuuut 20min. The butterflies in my stomach went from 0 to 60 but I remembered someone once told me that if you’re not nervous, you also dont care and I tried to point my nerves in the right direction.

The interview was fun and the radio program was hosted by my parents neighbor (unbeknownst to me at the time). Me, a little bit nervous, tried to answer the guy’s questions about the road so far. I told him about the applause from the balcony’s in Burgos and how the people treated me. I sleep in a tent, out in nature, mostly social distancing myself anyway.. “Scared?” “For?” “DA COVIDS” of course. I wanted to tell the good man about the collection of ticks I scooped up from my dog, or the scourging heat or the lack of food on several days, or the hide and go seek I played with police for the last 500km and that some *cough*virus from China currently takes up #5 on the priority list.. Its whatever. It was over before I could even say hi to all the people back home but it was good nonetheless and Bless Luuk and his father for the opportunity to be eternalized in the annals of Groningen radio! HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF by Duran Duran on the way out which ties a nice bow around the entire thing because I share a group chat with Luuk named…wait for it…The Wolfpack. Yes totally stolen from the Hangover in case you were wondering.

At the end of the day a radio guy contacted me if I could send them some photos, I asked them if I could also post my website alongside the news article for their website and they said yea sure. SO that made me very happy at least.

(read or translate and read the full article here)

The towns from here on out were dusty and sandy, not much in the way of business especially in the Covid season and I arrived in the dustiest of towns so far called Ledigos, arriving there well after darkness and this seemed to have become my rhythm once again with my body getting into gear only after 1700h. ‘tWas too hot during the day anyway. The next day in Ledigos I tried to open the church and I actually got in fairly easily, old locks that have been used a lot proved the easiest and I lit a couple of candles while reading a couple of pages from the Bible. I wrote “¡Hola!” on a blackboard in some dusty room of the dusty church and dusted off the dust from my boots as I set out for Sahagún, a reasonably bigger town again. The people on the way weren’t very nice but I couldn’t blame them. A thunderstorm in the distance passed by. I didn’t quite make it to Sahagún, no food the entire day although I also didn’t feel hungry. My body was able to switch to reserves easily and I stocked up on those in Castrojarez.

Sahagún was but a stones throw away from where I slept and the next day when I arrived I found the nearest shop, too bad they didn’t sell any flea collars but another shop was opening at 1700h., rain was also on the program and because my feet were properly killing me once again it was maybe better to take a little rest here. I also ate so much when I finally did arrive that I was unable to walk at all, and then rain, and yea.. fuckit. RESTDAY.

4* wildcampspot

At the end of Sahagún I found a nice soccer field / pool / sports complex and the cutest of willow trees where I was able to pitch my tent, tomorrow was a Sunday and the weather didn’t look too good even though it turned out great when I did wake up the next day. I bummed around all day, eating some of the food I still had left and on monday I was woken up by the friendly neighborhood Guardia Civil. 4 of em at once? Sure, its not like Im not used to crowds at this point..(what?)

A little more sure of myself this time around and a little better versed in Spanish that I was before Castrojarez. I was able to talk them into not giving a fuck, the guy who was there to do the gardening and his team (who probably called the cops in the first place) onlooking from a distance. Police went away after the usual song and dance and I got to walk out of the gate instead of climbing the fence, “adios muchacho-ing” my way past the gardening team. 

Some nice policia local walked by as Im raping an empanada in a little park and handed me 2 facemasks in my favorite color and damn, does your boi look apocalypslick..


Someone from the radio contacted me in the evening, someone had contacted them saying that he also did a pilgrimage and that he now owned a house in the final province of Galicia and that I was free to join him there if I wanted to.. Amazing. But I was fully planning on finishing this camino before I was going into hiding somewhere. His name is Imre and he heard/read about me on the news and contacted the editors. New possibilities were on the horizon.
Tiziano had recommended the same place that long-since-gone-Italian-pilgrim-in-France (Francesco) recommended, a place called Casa de los Dioces, a place of magic and spirituality in front of Astorga. Cant wait to arrive there and see whatsup, I had read a news article in Spanish about it and apparently there’s some people holed up there, some violent incidents, trouble with police holding them there..sounds like a place for me. Might be nice to just chill for a bit, seeing how many times it got recommended to me, Im pretty sure Im supposed to visit..

So on my way I went.

Ana and Salva are very interesting people, Salva (being from Valencia originally) trained horses and they had a little farm area going on with more cats than I can count, a flock of chickens and a large orchard with all kinds of fruit tree’s. A big piece of land and it was very interesting seeing him train horses, he was at the level now where he would just take them out of the pen and they would have to walk after him while he guided them with the briddle. Every time they overstepped their bounds, he would stop, lightly tap them against the front legs, they would step back and he would give them a treat. Watching this from a distance felt like meditation in its own right and he was being very careful and tranquilo about it. Ana was originally from Léon and they both escaped city life as they say.

Salva training one of his horses

They supplied me with fresh eggs and fruits and Ana also gave me a nice bag of oolong tea that blended well with my green tea that I still had from my parents package. A piece of cheese, a bar of chocolate. The people were literal Angels.

I had already asked them if I could make them a meal one of these days before I left, as a thank you and they gladly accepted. I had trouble finding the right ingredients in the local store however.

I had already made a walking stick for Ana (she had a dog of the same breed as Lucy) and a small whip like stick for Salva similar to what he trained his horses with. Just a small gesture, since there weren’t any other pilgrims around to make walking sticks for. I had also made a nice pilgrim staff for Nela, the Polish woman that owned the little house officially..

One faithful day Im walking out of Castrojarez and Im bumming off the local wifi to download some podcasts for the evening and all of a sudden I hear the voice of a guy behind me. He tells me that his name is Santiago (of all names) and that he’s from Barcelona, he invites me into a place called El Fuero. Inside I meet with 2 Italians called Tiziano and Gigio. Tiziano being co-owner of the restaurant and Gigio, a friend of his. There was also another guy called Jorge who lived in the village and had built the little shack that I was staying in. Pretty fucking random all in all but it gets better.

Tiziano and Santiago had done the pilgrimage in the beginning of the year from St. Jean Pied de Port, where Santiago had convinced Tiziano to rent the restaurant in the town and open it up to pilgrims and locals alike. A dream that many pilgrims hold but never make true. Gigio was brought in as a chef and they had all spent most of the beginning of the year renovating the place, new bar, water filter, a house on the 2ndfloor in the back and just when they were open for business – lockdown happened. They told me they had spent 1 busy night with mostly locals and then they had to close up shop. That was about a month ago by the time I met them and they had some take out/take away clientele with some of the locals. They gave me a beer and some weed and yea, very nice people all around. I promised them I would drop by at some point again and use their internet lol. Good conversations and it was nice having some social contact with people that also talked English (Tiziano and Santiago talked English perfectly). Gigio also had his dog with him and she (Malu) and Lucy got off on the wrong foot right away, Lucy not being very forthcoming to strong black dogs and Malu being a little possessive and tense. Still all good though and I was definitely going to drop by as soon as possible.

Easter came and went and I had a lockdown Easter brunch with the family, me taking my blanket and preparing a meal up front to eat while being in a conference call with my brother and his girlfriend and my parents. Brave, new, world I tell ya. Still very good to talk to them and to actually see them, more like them watching me eat haha.

I went by my newfound friends in the next couple of weeks and it was good fun, a few drunken nights and I got to work on the website in their nice apartment. Even got the chance to play some Playstation which was just very satisfying. Tiziano and Gigio being excellent chefs, the food was off the fucking chain and after eating omelets for a couple of weeks, it was good eating a steak or a nice pasta. Tiziano and Santiago taking very well care of me. We drove up to the castle a couple of times overlooking the Mesetas / table mountain perfectly and I wondered about ancient armies roaming these lands with the castle being used as a defensive lookout. The town itself being specifically mentioned in the documentary alchemist Roland had shown me all that time ago in France. With a skull and crossbones where on the left is a hole in the wall. No clue what it means and I wasn’t fully on board with the interpretation from the documentary, still took a nice photo in front of it though. 

Castrojarez + table mountain

Them ticks though, them fucking ticks though. They were increasing in numbers and every day I had to remove at least 10 off Lucy, sometimes I would wake up during the middle of the night because one crawled through my fucking mustache. I had grown slightly indifferent and Im not sure if I had a mild PTSD thing going on or if I just really stopped giving a fuck. Im lucky that Im not as hairy as Lucy or they would have probably feasted on me a little bit more instead of just crawling on me. 

I caught up on the diary fast enough and the blogging also went really well. Writing my final parts of France. I was falling behind a little further than expected but well, shit. Its a pandemic, what can ya do? The surrounding area were just all rolling hills, last time I was here it was as dry as the traffic to this website.

Instead of forcing a home cooked meal, I put 2 and 2 together and asked Santiago and Tiziano if I could bring Ana and Salva to their restaurant and explained my idea.. They would get some more local exposure and Ana and Salva would have a night out in the normalcy of the “old world”. Santiago being an awesome guitar player (even having an anekdote about playing for the Queen of The Netherlands, we drank and ate till our hearts content, mostly drink. At around 2100h, I felt like going home and giving creative expression to the alcohol in my blood but Ana and Salva had other plans and we were finally home around 0500h in the morning. Ana and Salva loved it though, they already knew Jorge whom they called Jorgito lovingly and the owner of El Fuero, absolutely cherishing the social contact and being out of the house. It was good to give them some sort of payback for this entire thing and even though I kind of fell behind in the whole talking Spanish department, it was still good fun and I didn’t feel left out or anything the more the alcohol flowed. Dear Ana even offering up payment for the evening at the end of it (although I already took care of it with Tiziano). 50 € was a more than fair deal since we ate and drank like kings, live music and song NOT to mention I had bummed off more meals than just that 1 night off them. Good business is about making good friends!

I was becoming restless however, the ticks were driving me nuts, the same store every 2 days and the same people, ’twas time to hit the road again soon. Having healed up about a week and a half ago. The next part wasn’t going to be pretty but the destructive heat thats normally present there didn’t quite hit yet and it was running late. I saw this as a sign and also the fact that day 200 of my trip was coming up next Wednesday made me think this was an ideal moment to leave. Having spent 23 days in San Anton and Castrojarez.

I told Ana and Salva a few days in advance as to not put them in an awkward position with police, in fact it was maybe better to leave the place like a thief in the night, French monastery style with a nice message thanking them for everything. Spanish people be weird with police and defying authority like that. I had planted some sunflower seeds that already grown a bit and I was planning on giving one to them. Along with a nice note with my stamp on it of course.

Day 199 was rainy, the weeks throughout were rather rainy and wet, switched by days of excruciating sun. It was a nice place to lay low but I felt like my day to part with the place had come. 

Day 200 I packed all my stuff and I felt slow, I wasn’t reluctant to leave but it definitely felt like something was slowing me down like I had so many times during this pilgrimage already and I prepared myself for whatever the camino had in store for me next requiring such precise timing. I swear to God during this trip it has been a couple of times where I felt like I was stuck in the mud, all before finding my stride and breaking out of it and just clearing 20km without even blinking. I planned on going by Ana and Salva but their gate was sadly locked, as it was a couple of times during the last 3 weeks I had spent in this beautiful place. I hung some of the stuff I had from them off the gate with the note and the sunflower and went off to Castrojarez to visit El Fuero. I sent Salva a message and they wished me luck and thanked me for an experience for them too, so fucking nice and humbling. He also informed me that police had spoken to them that they were keeping an eye on me and that I wasn’t allowed to leave.

Fine! Back to ninja mode it was!

For my stat-whores – The division on the Camino Frances is that you have 3 cities in reasonable short succession (Pamplona 42,8km after the Pyrenees (2-3 days), Logroño 94,4km after that (5-6 days), Burgos 121,4km after that (6-7 days)). Then its León (178,7km or 8-9 days) and finally the city of salvation itself, Santiago de Compostela (305,7km or 3 weeks). The road slowly building up but it wasn’t like I was hanging around in cities now and resting. San Anton had put me roughly 40km after Burgos so it was another good 130km to León.

I had achieved everything I set out to do here and even though I was a little bit intimidated by what was to come, I was more than ready to leave again. Feeling revitalized by all the great people that I met.

The little shack was more than enough for my needs, it had a little stove, a small (but tall enough) bed for me and Lucy, a little sitting area and 2 doors that folded open. It wasn’t really a place that you would consider luxurious but after spending 260km on the road in a tent without so much as a decent toilet.. This is all good. Not that I had a toilet, as you see in my inventory sum up, theres no toilet, also no shower, also no running water. There was a minor river flowing some 20m away though and to top the whole quarantine feel off, I had to walk at least 300m before I had a half decent amount of internet.

Perfect Pilgrim Dwelling

The next day I woke up and it was cold as shit during the night, clear sky and nothing to keep the heat from dissipating into the clear sky. Extremely hot during the day, then ice cold during the nights. My sleeping bag kept me more than warm though. I didn’t waste a moment and started on a little writing and Ana and Salva drove by and brought a little gas stove heater that Salva installed and explained to me in a jiffy. They asked me what I wanted from the supermarket in Burgos and I wasn’t completely prepared for this since I thought I was going to come with them. Turns out thats not allowed anymore, its 2 people max in a car or 1 family of more than that amount, but police set up routine checkpoints and taking me would be impossible. I would have to think a little about things I wanted from the store and promised to text it to them, Salva had given me his number and the translator app made it easy to communicate. They dropped off a big ass bag of groceries a few hours later with all kinds of nice thoughtful things. Meanwhile I chilled around my little casa and I could feel my body going into a state of constant cramps and pains, Arnold Schwarzenegger said that pain is weakness leaving the body and I guess I had a lot of weakness flowing from me, I doubt this is the same pain he was talking about though. Mine was a slow buildup of pains where my body was more in a state of survival flow than anything else. All the pains releasing now, was my body transitioning from survival flow mode into rest mode. I took naps and finally caught up on some reading. Lucy was chilling hard too. Ana and Salva brought me a big bag of dog food that she loved and that was basically the soul reason to leave the bed for her.

When they had dropped off the grocery bag they also insisted I was going to take a shower with them, I told them I was on my way and put some groceries while also gathering laundry/shower stuff. I arrived in their house and they were just ready with a pasta and how can one refuse a nice home cooked meal with your saviors.

Before dinner I took the best shower Ive maybe had in my entire life. I had cut my hair in their bathroom prior and the water washed all the grime away that I had collected from the moment I had crossed the Pyrenees. My clothes were already in the laundry and I felt truly blessed. As a beautiful cherry on top they insisted I share a nice meal with them as well. I went home fully fed/washed/cleaned. I left my dirty laundry with them with the promise to pick it up the next day.

Because there was no running water, I had asked Ana and Salva to also bring me a big 5L bottle of water, there was a water fountain in the next town over, about 5km of walk and a good time to also get some internet. The sunset was gorgeous with Castrojarez being folded around a hill that has hosted a fort for ages, pre-reconquista even, with the Goths and the Picts using the tactical natural vantage point to their benefit. The town used to host all kinds of artisans and stone workers. The town is also the longest Jacobean town on the entire camino. A Jacobean town is a town that was build along the camino becoming elongated in shape and Castrojarez was half a moon around the hill. The town was about 5km away from my little house and I planned on going there one of these days, see what I have to work with here.

At the end of the day the Guardia Civil from yesterday showed up, doing their rounds. They brought some food and the yarn I had spun was that Im waiting for the emergency coordinators in the Netherlands to contact me about going back to the Netherlands and if its possible to take Lucy back. In reality, I had no interest in the very least to go back. This house was a blessing and I had already told Ana that she should cancel the doggy transport box that she ordered for me on Amazon under direction of the police the previous day. 
If I can just wait until the storm is over in this little place then Im sure I can continue whenever it feels right. Just rest, eat, clean and improvise my way out of the quarantine was the plan for now. The fact that police brought me food and came to check up on me means that I did at least strike an emotional cord somewhere and I appreciated them for this gesture. They said they wanted me to stay there until the end of quarantine and apparently also specifically told Ana and Salva this.

The little house normally belongs to a Polish lady called Nela, who worked as a hostess in the nearby albergue, she was on Tenerife or Lanzarote (Canary Islands) and she was in lockdown there, unable to travel back. She was safe though but as long as she was gone, I was going to be able to stay in the little house and Ana and Salva said that was probably somewhere around mid May. Ana and Salva didn’t mind me being there or providing me whatever I needed, I was determined to pay them back somehow though and Im sure a fitting opportunity would present itself.

I slept/ate/rested and the next day I went by Ana and Salva again who gave me all my clean clothes, my jacket smelled so fucking fresh, unbelievable.. My fried feet and body were slowly healing and the shower yesterday made all the fucking difference. I dropped off my bag of laundry and went to Castrojarez with a bit of a stroll through the countryside. Castrojarez was like I remembered but I struggled a little bit to find a working ATM machine, finding one and buying some minor things from a small store. The lady being very surprised to see me but being friendly about it.

On my way back I dropped 20 € off at Ana and Salva which they refused at first. I said Im not some poor ass pilgrim even though I look like one and insisted on giving that to them. It wasn’t about the money as much as its about how much of a blessing they are to me, I don’t need them to lose money on me. Part of the pilgrim code and all dat jazz.. Never take more than you need and I wasn’t going to take money from these salvadores.

One thing that really bugged me was the fact that there were so many fucking ticks around. Apparently right before the desert turns into a desert proper, these little fucks are having a field day and the sheer amount of em around is absolutely astounding. I had to remove 4-5 at a time, 3x per day and I already found them to be quite bothersome in previous parts of the camino but here it became next level, as did my paranoia level about them. That is, in the first couple of days, they were in my bed, on Lucy, on me and I had to be alert in removing them. Always the balance, rest and luxury is not easily acquired, always some downside. The ticks being the counter balance to all the blessings I had received over the last few days.

Diary writing was coming along nicely and I wasn’t even as far behind as I thought I was and I quickly got things up to speed. Police dropped by several times, not bearing any gifts but rather harsh words and promises that I was being watched. I already told them that the emergency coordinators contacted me and that it wasn’t possible to take Lucy along (I never filled out the form, things were going according to plan).

I listened to some great podcasts that I downloaded during my water run and music and after my diary worked on my blogs for my website, making nice progress as well. I still got most of my electricity from my solar panel with the occasional drop off of my power banks and laptop at Ana and Salva’s.

My diet consisted mostly of awesome protein rich meals. My body healed up good and after about a week I started doing some workouts to supplement my water runs. In the town itself everyone seemed respectful and happy to see me. Some random dude who worked in the Castrojarez hostel, called Paco, giving me some food and drinks when he saw me sitting around.

At some point I even made some new friends and it was good to have some social contact with likeminded individuals that wasn’t through a phone screen.

Still cant complain..

My shoes are fried, Im fried. Ive walked in a straight line from Roncesvalles to Burgos (roughly 260km) and I still had about 40km to go to San Anton. San Anton is a place where in the past there used to be a monastery/church where they would take care of weary pilgrims that had an affliction called Saint Antony’s Fire, is also where it lends his name from, its a spot thats right before the Mesetas or table in Spanish. That in turn translates to a table mountain where water and towns are few and far between. The defensive town was (/still is) Castrojarez and San Anton the nearby monastery thats now an earth quaked to shit- church ruin. They kept the albergue part of it however and its all donation (donativo) based. Saint Anton of Padua is also the patron saint of lost things, like mentioned in earlier posts and I had bought a little pendant while staying in a monastery in France.

City Wildcamping

I woke up behind the statues and some cars passed by, some 20m away on a road that I had a nice, secluded, vantage point on. There were some people walking their dogs like they actually gave a shit but clearly just cherished their moment outside without police having an excuse to fine them. The dogs benefitted at least so that made me happy and I was just amazed by how serious every Spaniard took this whole thing. Im not saying I didn’t take it serious but damn, what I heard from the Netherlands is that theres a so called “smart lockdown” in place and there’s a reason why Spain and Italy are being ravaged the way they are. This is by no means an offense to any one country, the things that I like about the countries also make it prime targets for a disease like Covid. Being as social, outdoorsy culturally like as they are.

To me personally this whole pandemic and the lockdown is like walking the streets during riots or a flood or some other natural phenomenon that disrupts day to day life, its a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the world in a different light. This golden age is slowly coming to an end and in my mind this was never meant to last my entire lifetime. Preparations were made and were now put into action and if I can survive this far into the camino, I can manage the rest too. Having a break somewhere however is very necessary and San Anton felt like it was that place.

I went to the supermarket and there was a waiting line to outside of the store, worming along the corner and all around the block. People were yelling social things with a good 2m between them and it was nice to see their spirit wasn’t broken in that regard albeit fully on their knees in regard to the government imposed lockdown. This was the 2nd“real” city I crossed during daytime and I did not like the state of things. People that I did come across were very friendly though and I enjoyed everyone I couldn’t properly speak Spanish to but acknowledged my existence.

Brave new grocery shopping

The supermarket finally let me in and I made an nice sandwich for myself back at my tent, I noticed that Lucy had an ungodly amount of ticks on her and I continued to remove them from her. I continued walking afterwards, out of town, and onto a little bit dryer part. Still alone, still following the arrows, still enjoying the warm sun that became a burden after my last cloudy/rainy/cool day, 23 days ago. I met a nice girl on Tinder (which I use as a travel application more than anything else) and we hit it off. Her perfect English made everything very easy. My last shower (real one (/ post 1930 A.D.)) was about 20 days ago, my last laundry was also about that time ago. Still I thought it to be a good idea that, instead of asking this beautiful girl that I really got a click with for a shower before I arrived in Burgos, I decided to ask her on the day of leaving. Tinder is not for long term communication and she didn’t see the message until long after I had my breakfast and already decided to leave. Sending me a message asking if I was still around and that yea, of course it was no problem! HMMM SURE! Too bad I’d already walked 20km out of the city by the time I read the message, timing is everything and boy did I time this wrong.

I arrived in a little town and decided to put my tent up when Allison messaged me back saying it was no problem for me ! OF COURSE! Gentle men always finish last.. Too late, too far, 25km to go to San Anton and hopefully, my salvation. Even though it was a gamble. Very few good samaritans like the ones Ive encountered in France, Grañon didn’t pay off and the road became longer and longer and just a little bit further and longer. Still I kept my hopes up for San Anton. Dogs were barking in the distance the entire night but the next day was sunny and bright. I helped a lady put away her trash and the pilgrim code doesn’t permit me to not help. A brief friendly talk was all I needed to take my mind of the hurt and to push on. A nice and inspiring mural with talk of dreams. Inflammation bothering my every step.

Nice random mural in a sandy town

A rest here and there, a dusty town full of noone but a little shop supplying me with the absolute bare necessities. I sat in front of the main church and a woman walked by, apparently feeling my struggles and I made my best effort to be friendly. She scurried down the street and all of a sudden I hear music playing from a few blocks over, drowning the silence of the sandy town with mariachi and folklore music. The woman passes by again and this time takes a moment to stand still and point towards the music. I raise my thumb to her in understanding, grateful for the moment of respite and fresh mariachi tunes. I walk around the church a little bit and since there’s an uplifting soundtrack playing to my life right now, I might as well enjoy it with a coffee. Only 15km left to San Anton so why the hell not. As Im finishing up my 2nd, I walk over to my solar panel hanging out in the sun, a Guardia Civil car showed up. We had the all too familiar song and dance about my travels to a backdrop of beautiful Spanish guitar music and since they were doing their best to be as unfriendly as possible, I did not try either and stuck to my path. Packing my bag while they asked me questions..Passport? Of course..handing it over… a big struggle not to touch it with their bare hands while they tried to take a picture and run it through the scanner. All good.. Packed to go… 3 times we will stop you and then we will arrest you. A faint smile from my side with a “well shit, then what” in Dutch.. And we parted ways.

Normally theres a caravan of people on this sandy path

A beautiful sunset where I took a small break near a water pump that I had to fill myself to create water pressure. A small dusty town in the dark filled with nothing but water fountains and just when I wondered where this fucking broken down church would finally appear, it appeared. Looming and dark against a moonlit sky, only vaguely what I remember it being last time from the outside. I went through the side path and found the giant Tau bearing gates to be closed. Despair entered my mind but after a closer look I found the lock on it being modern and new however.

Never try a task thats crucial when you’re tired. I put my tent up in front of the gate. Going to try find entry tomorrow.

I woke up the next day absolutely shot still, piling on 30km after 30km day with no rest day really took its toll on me and Lucy, Lucy was enjoying the warmth however and was just fast asleep everywhere she could follow me. Lets try the door if its really as locked as it seems to be and what do you know – it wasn’t. 2 quick rakes and a minor pick switch was all it needed and the heavy gates creaked open.

A big courtyard thats now filled with green grasses and plants and pots, actual grass growed everywhere, about 50 pidgeons watching my every step. The actual hostel doors were still locked but I didn’t see why they would be hard to open, They were though! Holy shit. Spent an hour and a half raking and picking the other doors but I couldn’t get them to work, luckily there was a big ol’ water vat on the side of the building where I could at least get a little hydrated and get me through the day either way. Still, if I didn’t get this to work I would have to walk another 5km to Castrojarez and after that its the dreaded Mesetas, where pilgrims lose their mind – a place often skipped entirely by even the most resilient. I still enjoyed the little courtyard and noticed there was a paper hanging off the door with a telephone number on it. I sent the number a WhatsApp message and the next thing I know Im talking to some Italian lady, who normally runs the place there but obviously wasn’t there right now. She told me that she was home in Italy due to Covid and I told her I had a dream about San Anton and that I wanted to become a hospitalliero there. She asked me how I got her telephone number and I told her the door was open in the morning. She only 20% believed me but it wasn’t like I forced or broke anything.. She said she would contact me later on and that she was busy now.

I did a little exploring around and was able to enter a clocktower that was previously unaccessible. There was also a big watervat but I couldnt find the valve responsible for the water to the part of the building I was able to access.

I went back to my tent and decided to keep a rest day here either way, I was running a little low on water but the water tank should be able to last me at least the day and I just needed to rest.

Picture of San Anton from the previously inaccessible clocktower

As Im doing a small handwash of my socks and underwear and sitting on a bench that I positioned next to my tent, I heard a car in the distance rolling up the little path next to the church. This could only mean one thing but it was already too late to do anything about it and I just set there acceptive of my fate. Guardia Civil rolled up and of course started to talk to me. It was the same song and dance that Im already used to but these 2 were pretty forceful. I told them the door was already open and that I had no clue. 

Right at that moment a nice lady walks by walking her dog (coincidentally the same breed as Lucy) the police wouldn’t let up and they began talking to her as well. To me the whole timing was a little bit too off but its whatever at this point. Today was Sunday but still they found it the right idea to give me the number of the Dutch embassy saying that I should give them a call, so I did. No answer of course but there was a contact center for emergencies that I tried, to my surprise they actually picked up the phone on a Sunday and I asked them for the procedure of getting back home. EVEN though there was no chance in hell I was going back home, The guy on the other side of the line told me that I could fill out a form for the Dutch foreign department and I would get called within 3 days by the “emergency coordinators”, I asked them about the dog and they said that the emergency coordinators would answer that question, he also mentioned to me that if the emergency service said to contact them again, I shouldn’t accept that answer. With my callcenter experience, I knew what this meant – it was a mess and I couldn’t help but verify this. The dude on the line laughed and said yea, its a bit of a mess haha. Well no shit, the world in pandemic mode. 

The lady and the cops were having long conversations and I told them about what they said on the phone and what the plan was, that I had to wait for 3 days. The lady said that she had a little house/shed thingy where I could stay and that I could even take a shower at their house! Me, her and the police walked down the sandy path and social distancing wasnt practiced by any means as the nice lady was blowing her nose while one of the cops walked directly besides her and the whole thing was just a bit ridiculous. After about 50m we came to, what looked like, a ruined house of which the wooden door had a shabby lock on it for which she needed a key but I could see a small wooden toolshed sort of house through the cracks. Police and me walked back to their car and my tent and they gave me a bottle of water that had been drunk from but whatever, even though Im fried, Im also in top physical condition and Im pretty sure I could survive some coughing virus from China, just the whole ridiculousness and not following of the common sense guidelines by people in authority was just funny to me. 

Police left after taking a picture of my passport and the nice lady introduced herself as Ana, she said she would go get the key and that I could just wait there for her. I thanked everyone and went to sit back down on the bench.

After about an hour where I had my serious doubts if I should just leave and make a run for the Mesetas or if I should just sit tight. I chose the latter and the nice lady returned with her husband, named Salva, a handful of blankets, a bag full of food and water and holy crap, so nice.. Just when you think there’s no good samaritans anymore, there’s these 2 angels out of nowhere.

She opened the door and the little house wasn’t as shabby as I initially thought. Small, sure. But it had a bed, a little kitchen area, a little sitting area and wow. This was actually better than I expected. The door led to what used to be a house but was now a courtyard and with all the resources there, I should be able to stay there a little bit. I thanked them for everything and they said they were going to Burgos tomorrow to go to the supermarket, and that if I needed anything – I should just say so. Also laundry and showers shouldn’t be a problem and I needed just ask.




I texted the Italian lady from the Whatsapp message earlier and she said that she had sent Ana there and that they were good friends. What a blessing this was. San Anton did indeed save my hide as I really needed the rest. This was all pure luxury to me and I could nicely do some writing/resting here.

Grañon is a place thats very close to my heart on the camino. Its a small village with a big church with a very nice ceremony run by the American Pilgrim Association. A very friendly and forthcoming bunch with all these special traditions to make sure that no pilgrim that stays there ever forgets them. A special ceremony in the church, cooking together in the main hostel with 30 or more pilgrims, do a little song and dance for the bread from the bakery, a nice donation based hostel down the street. The place is just good vibes all around. Too bad when I arrived there the church was of closed. People in the town were still friendly enough and I had already gotten a meal in the previous biggerish town called Santo Domingo de la Calzada. So at least I wasn’t going to bed hungry. I decided to put my tent next to the big church in the middle of the town even though this was against the rules I had decided on a week or so ago.

The next day I woke up from a lady screaming at her father, who was going for a stroll, like he was a dog. Not long after that a cop car pulled up and I prepared myself for another opportunity to learn. A lady cop and a male cop got out. This was not Guardia Civil but the Policia Local. Your average low tier, neighborhood cop. The guy actually spoke English and we hit it off right away. He asked me the usual and I answered him the usual, I showed him my solar panel and how well prepared I was. The lady cop tried to be a little bit more firm, saying that I should buy a box from Logroño but this was already a bois party señorita and the male cop and me were well on our way to becoming friends. I asked them if they had been to Logroño lately and that theres nothing open there and that the place is deserted. I also pressured them a bit by saying that all these in theory solutions are good fun but absolutely not realistic. The male cop said that I should camp near churches and not in towns and I told him I was literally next to the church and he laughed. Then I leaned into the whole thing saying that this was a real camino for me – no stamps, no bars, no pilgrims – just me, my dog, nature and God. One of the construction workers was standing close and started “looking” for a solution to get me the hell back to my own country and Im pretty sure he called the cops. I diverted the conversation back to them, since they didn’t wear mask, were using the same tools and coughing and sneezing all over each other. The worker understood the message and made himself scarce. Senorita policia was already checking my passport in the car while me and the dude cop were having a controlled amount of fun. I learned from him that Guardia Civil are the ones to watch out for, they have been given the task to check the albergues and hostels and are doing round on the camino to make sure theres no pilgrims and giving people fines. He was just their to keep the peace in the township and thats about it. At the end of it all the dude and me shook elbows and he wished me good luck. I asked him for his name and he said its Albert. I told him that I would burn a candle for him in Santiago and he seemed to like that. Fruitful my dude, fruitful. With new energy I went to the bakery and the lady there was friendly. I asked her if I needed to do a little dance to get the bread referencing the procedure from 5 years ago, she laughed and said no, not this time hahah. 

Reinvigorated by the whole interaction with Albert, the friendly neighborhood copper, I left Grañon with fire in my boots. Burgos the next big mental milestone was only 120km from Logroño and this honestly wasn’t one of the big stretches but whatever.

I came across many places that I recognized, be it slightly different from last time. Things that I am flabbergasted to see that they’re either here already or so far into the camino from what I thought. It just shows how messed up memory can be. Even digitalizing my diary over the last 5 years didn’t correct as much as you might think. 

I slept near a ruined tower and the next day fatigue set in and I was slow as shit. Farmers are apparently a necessary job here and multiple farmers saw me but didn’t call the fucking cops on me lol. I left late in the evening and after passing a few villages I ended up on a sandy road of about 20m wide with thick, dark, forest on either side of the path. A sickle moon guided my path and 20m into the forest everything just went dead and dead silent. Like absolutely nothingness, cricket madness to absolute pitchblack silence. Eyes peering from the darkness of my mind and not the forest watching my every step, and you could hear absolutely nothing. No crickets, no cars in the distance, no light but my flashlight and the scariest witching moon that you can imagine. Needless to say I did keep my blade handy, not really expecting any wild animals other than the Homo Sapiens Sapiens kind. The absolute dead eerie night silence just fucked with my head a little.

I was glad when I finally found some form of civilization again and I kept a little break in San Juan de Ortega. Outside of the forest the temperature was a lot lower outside of the forest in the clear night sky and I decided to put my tent up on the edge of town under a road sign pointing you in the right direct. 

Roadsign campspot

I had a pretty cold night and didn’t have the best of sleeps, still glad to wake up to walk another day. I was pretty far out of the small 2 albergue town and all of a sudden I heard a car standing next to my tent for the longest time. I thought it likely to them be cops but lets wait until they actually approach the tent. This went on for about 2-3 minutes and then I decided to take the initiative. As Im opening up my flap Im looking straight into the side window of a cop car about 20m away, 2 cops wearing tac-sunglasses (on a cloudy day mind you) expressively talking to each other, nodding their heads pointing towards my tent. I gazed and dazed at the ‘Policia Local’ cockfight behind closed glass for about 15 seconds before the one facing me saw that I had opened my tent and was looking straight at him, and without thinking just puts the car into gear and drives off. I cant really lipread Spanish but I have a pretty good idea of how that conversation went lol.

The sand path through the forest continued after the place where I camped and the weather was overcast and gloomy, the forests weren’t as scary as they were last night and I wondered what the cause of my fear for it was in the first place. It goes to show just how paranoid you can make yourself under the right circumstances. I mean during this trip I had already wandered through more forests in the dark than I can count. Going through them in the winter meant that there weren’t a lot of animals around in the first place, this particular forest just went from full cricket madness to dead silence in a matter of minutes, also the fact that I was exposed on a wide instead of a narrow path forest path also played into my senses perhaps. Or maybe it was just the fact that the last 15 days, my only personal social interactions was with people that were obligated to obstruct me. It made for some uhm..interesting learning moments..

An abandoned old construction container in the middle of nowhere and a sleek forest path along the forest and a meadow and I enter this little town. Nothing special but all of a sudden there’s a man standing outside and I recognize the place from last time in clear as day..

El Alquimista. Last time I was here I was so fucking clumsy and I threw multiple tea cups on the ground due to wobbly tables. Unbeknownst to me at first until this point – I had returned multiple times to this place in my mind over the last 5 years. Ashamed that I put this guy’s handmade cups on the ground for too many times than was socially acceptable, but also him, letting me off the hook and having half a frustrated heart attack. That shit stayed with me in the back of my head I realized…

Now I was here again.

The same man outside the door, barely keeping it open enough for the smoke of his cigaret to enter, I walked by and asked him if he was open and he beckoned me as he flung away his cigaret and entered the door. I put off my backpack and attached Lucy to it, I couldnt help but touch one of the tables lightly on my way inside and yesssss. They were still wobbly..

I enter the unlit restaurant/bar/dwelling and the sort of makeshift wooden supermarket to my left. 2 glasses of wine on an empty table on the far side of the room, poorly lit. The owner puts his cigaret next to another one still smoking and apocalyptic Spanish reality news playing on the tv, overlooking it all. The lady was already behind the counter and watched me make my selection of bare necessities. Chips/chocolate/a can of coke/tin of dogfood, BARE! FUCKING! NECESSITIES!

stone spiral at the end of the alchemist town Agés

I walked for the checkout and she couldnt help but express her sense of admiration / inquisitiveness / strictness about me, plastic screen in place over the counter and she dared to ask me a couple of questions and I was all too happy to oblige, cherishing the social contact and the love and admiration of random strangers that had made France so traversable. A stamp, yes of course! A little tip, yes of course. Tough times, nothing to spare but not losing your moral compass in the process. Some fruit and a bread being transmuted out of thin air into my checkout bag, at the end of all of the entire interaction.

Bless the Alchemist!

I took a small break at the end of town and as Im remembering how someone once convinced me that banana is actually a pepper and not a vegetable, I decided to make a banana paste on the bread she just gave me and covered it in a sufficient amount of pepper. A small honey layer on top of that and damn, thats actually pretty tastey. Mabye I was just insanely hungry. A small blister on the back of my feet that I pushed through on, my shoes are really falling apart at this point and there was a sharp decline in walking quality but I’d just had to manage. The damage done on the icey tundra in France caused the shoes to literally fall apart, the rain and the dirt didn’t help by any means but its whatever at this point.

Entering Burgos was cool, a long road into the city with a big stylistic camino shell on a white building. The streets weren’t as deserted as I thought and I asked a guy for a tobacco store. He said they were all closed but gave me a cigaret anyway. I had promised Albert the friendly Policia Local that I would go to the police station and ask to be quarantined and I wasn’t planning on backtracking on that promise. On my way to the police station I walked by a tobacco store and the lady was friendly and I barely made it before closing time. When I left the tobacco store, people from the balconies across the street gave me an applause and I took a small bow thanking them. Really fucking cool and humbling.. 

Burgos Entry

The atmosphere was cool with people seeking social contact with others from their balcony, playing music echoing through the street, songs of resilience and togetherness.. The police told me through a window that I had a dog and that they didn’t have a spot for me, “continuar?” “Si, get the fuck out of here lol”. In front of the cathedral was a statue of a pilgrim sitting on a bench looking away from the cathedral and I sat in opposite sides, facing the cathedral. All of a sudden a cop car rolled up and got out of their car. I asked them if they spoke English and a firm no was the answer. The boys were geared up for a terrorist attack with the tactical vests and I explained to the cop that came from the car that I slept in nature and was only here enjoying the view. He asked me how long I’d been in Burgos, uno dias? I said like no, tres horas amigo :). He laughed and said I should continue, I told him I was going to fumar uno cigaret and he said sure. The other cop from the car giving me the thumbs up. It looks like this layer of police enforcement also wasn’t going to give me trouble.

Burgos Cathedral

At the end of Burgos I found a couple of statues with a grassfield behind it on a little slope near an old fortification wall of the city. It was higher than streetlevel and I decided to put my tent up behind there. This was as much nature as I thought was necessary.

Me gusta Burgos ❤

It was weird doing this whole thing alone. I literally had one night with other pilgrims and that was the first night over the pyrenees, after that you could already smell the fear and the doubt and the anxiety from the people I met and things only got worse over the the course of it. Police being all the more stressful was going to prove only a matter of time before I got caught. Still I cant really avoid them or anything. The only thing that I can do is just dodge them whenever I can and try to find a sort of template on dealing with them. Storm was brewing however and I wasn’t blind to this fact.

Before I was going to reach San Anton I had to pass several big city’s, namely Logroño and Burgos. Sprinkled in between them smaller city’s but still larger than a village. I didn’t think it would be too hard to make a small adjustment and just cross the bigger cities during darkness. Walking in pitch darkness had become my bread and butter this trip anyway so this is just a continuation of what I had been doing. Its weird how this trip prepared for all the things to come. I remembered the talk I had with the Italian pilgrim I met all the way back in France, we met in the bar and his day was over and I hadn’t even started to walk and we met just as I was walking out of the door to start my evening walk. I decided to send him a message and I found out that he had to go back home because of the shit storm currently engulfing Italy. Too bad..

The route through nature were absolutely gorgeous, last time I was here in was in the heart of summer and the environment was dryer than some of the coughs I heard coming from balconies when walking through the villages. Now everything was lush and green and birds and trees and sometimes rain. Truly a journey of opposites compared to the first trip. That time I had already met about a 100 people and I already had a sort of group that I hung out with. Now Im all alone and Im walking my own pace completely.

Lush paths of loneliness

I walked into a place called Viana and it was like the fucking apocalypse, red and white tape around public places slowly breezing in the wind, almost no cars just trucks on the highway in the distance and the odd person scattering into safety as soon as they saw me. The truck drivers were friendly as some of them honked their horns at me and waved and smiled. Small things like that really spur a weary, lonely, pilgrim on.

As Im entering the village over some nature road I can see a cop car driving by and turning around to come towards me. I just continued to walk and indeed he was on his way to me, even driving up this sandy path, he rolls down his window and tells me to put the dog on a leash lol. Commence theater.. Sure amigo, dog on a leash, no problemo

There was a nice supermarket that couldn’t be entered with more than 6 people at a time and I smoked a cigaret while waiting, feeling the eyes of the local burn. It was all good though. At the edge of the town I could already see Logroño in the distance, it was about 10km left. A nice lady thought I’d went the wrong way so she came out on her balcony and pointed me in the right direction, I said that I was going to eat something with a view and I remembered having the literal exact interaction with her 5 years ago.. Good to see she’s still alive. One of those camino angels living right on the path making sure pilgrims dont get lost. Cute.

deserted streets are deserted

I remembered Logroño as a pretty nice and clean city, at the entrance of the town I was beset by bigass dogs on all sides, pulling on their chains and alerting everyone and their dead grandmother to my presence. Nothing better than flimsy chains tied to flimsy fences and 60kg dogs yanking the chain like they only live to rip your face off. Of course Lucy strolled through the gauntlet like she fucking owned the place. 
In Logroño I had to cross a bridge which was kind of out in the open and I bided my time a little, smoking a cigaret and seeing cop cars roll over the well lit bridge in the distance. The bells ringed 2300h and some of the lights went out, hmm alright, good! I walked over the bridge and on the other side I saw cops driving by, looking at me – looking at each other – looking back at me and me just ignoring the shit out of them, up the little alleyway and adios muchachos.. At the backend of the city I saw some people walking their dog, well thats good at least. Spaniards actually taking care of their hounds since thats their only excuse to leaving the house, me likey. I chilled for a sec on a bench and a nice guy came by and we struck up a conversation, I told him I slept in a tent and he told me about a house about 5km out of Logroño which would be perfect in his mind for me and the dog. Out of all the Spanish names one could think of his name was Santiago of course and I decided to follow up on his lead. Being pretty glad as Im walking out of the city. 1 down, 2 more to go to Santiago, I treated the cities as sort of milestones (even though they’re not evenly spaced apart but as a mental reference, very nice). The cities posed the most threat in my eyes because there would be facilities for people like me and therefor I found it more likely to be detained while crossing the city’s than it would be crossing smaller villages, but what the fuck do I know honestly.

Santiago’s 5km actually turned out to be 10km and I was properly wrecked by the time I found it. It looked romantic as fuck sure but it was a little house under construction. No windows, no doors, marble floor. The place was basically a turbine for the wind that slightly picked up and gotten colder over the last hour. Its still funny to me how people think sleeping in a tent is and how it actually is. People think that sleeping on a concrete floor in a windy space is preferable over sleeping in a small compartment that you can easily heat up within an hour, on the dirt, well hidden instead of that very interesting looking little building next to a recreation road. I still decided to sleep there anyway, just for the fun of it and my sleeping bag was nice and warm anyway and compared to France, everything here was pretty warm..

perfect house for a lonely pilgrim

The next day led me out of the city proper and through a recreation area, there was a whole herd of bunnies covering the field, eating and foraging around. I spurred Lucy on to scare them a little bit and she had a blast. It was actually cool how the place developed because last time I was here it was just lonely and wild, not it was a little bit more descent and developed with even some water fountains that were open. The sun had started shining again and it was looking good for the coming time in terms of weather. That means that I could use my solar panel and powerbank to get all the energy I could ever need.

The route took me through some minor villages with ample supplies and vending machines, these vending machines sort of became my lifeline at this point. At least getting some rest and a sugary snack was a delight when all the shops were closed. The prices weren’t too bad either. Spain is just cheaper in every possible way.

I walzed a medium town called Najera in the dead of night, nobody around except guessed it… the cops. The look on their eyes was just absolutely priceless when they stopped next to me. A lady cop and a male cop that sighed and rolled their eyes so hard at me that they almost gave themselves a seizure. After a short, more annoyed, less inquisitive version of the conversation I had usually, we touched on all the ‘what are you doing’s/’where are you going’s’/’where do you sleep’s and the good ol’ ‘what the fuck are we supposed to do with you’ they sped off without so much as a buenos noche’s.

Just keep on walking pilgrim, get the hell out of my jurisdiction and at the edge of town I found a poorly maintained stadium in disrepair and decided to sneak my tent in some quiet spot, sheltered from prying eyes. This proven to be the right decision since the next day the police was checking on the stadium and it seemed to me like police just did a standard route of checking out different public places. Fining/Scolding people as they went along. I took it extremely slow and watched on with glee as they did another loop around. These people have no fucking clue themselves what they’re doing, they’re just being told what to do and like good dogs, they follow orders.. Amusing. I tried to learn from every interaction I had with them, be it from a distance or up close and personal, they all provided opportunities for me to adapt to this brave new world.

It was weird walking through empty streets, no cars. No nothing. I didn’t run into anymore police and I felt like I would need to take some minor precautions not to get caught by them. Still the police officer from this morning didn’t seem all that forceful and who knows. Maybe I can find a place where I could lay low.

There is a place I remembered on the camino called San Anton, a pilgrim hostel in a ruined church in a small village of 4 other houses and the last time I was there it was run by a French guy who had no clue what he was doing there. Arrived there and the guy running the place then, had just handed him the keys and told him he was running it now. He had no idea when his replacement was going to come or when he was going to leave and he just chilled until whenever. I heard he found a nice girl from pilgrims that met him later on so maybe that was the purpose for him behind it all. ANYWAY, a place like that actually sounds like a real nice place to quarantine myself until this whole thing dies down. Its still a good 300km towards San Anton (and neighbouring town Castrojarez) though and I would have to see how it goes.. I still had to cross 2 major cities and a shitton of little pueblo’s.

On the road there was nobody, nobody in the towns. No other pilgrims and everything except for little supermarkets was supposed to be closed. The thing that worried me more was the fact that there was a lot of bad weather on the program for the next couple of days. Thunder and rainstorms and sure enough, 20Km out of Pamplona it already started. I saw a very open sort of shed in a field and decided to go there. There were a couple of haybales and I took shelter there. The storm was only intensifying and some lightning actually crackled through the sky at some point, crazy phenomenon that Ive never seen before. I opened my poncho and built a little hay fort with my poncho blocking Lucy, me and my bag from any rain blowing in. I still had enough water and decided to just stay there. Lucy was fast asleep and the hay kept us pretty warm.

Ramshackle sleepingspot

I woke up the next day and the weather was just rain for the entire day, looking at the radar. No bueno! I put up my poncho around me though and that should keep me at least a little dry. I fucking hate poncho’s most of the time however. They are as wet on the inside after 10km of walking as they are on the outside. Insult to injury! I lost my blade, that I used to work on my walking stick and had to backtrack a couple of kilometers but I found it. Thank you San Antoni! So far havent lost anything this trip, in contradiction to my previous one where I lost towels, underpants, little gadgets and the like by the kilo’s..

Arriving in a little town I noticed some construction containers with little offices inside em. I tried the door and it was actually open. I wasn’t going to find a better place before it was dark and the weather was just fucking relentless.. I decided to sleep there. I walked around town trying to find a power outlet or a supermarket but the little pueblo had nothing in the way of this.

I crossed the square and I saw a police car driving around and I did my normal thing when I see police (Netherlands/Spain/France, doesnt matter). Not make eye contact, just go about your business and not look conspicuous (haha as if thats even possible), don’t walk into the path of the car. Down an alleyway to break line of sight, do a little sprint, wait a second, carlights in the distance turning around, swoop back around, through a church garden..and…listen.. car seemed to loop around again. Quickly cross the street towards the building site and my domain for the night, open the door and boom, home free. Close those blinds. The police car chugging along over the road 50m. That was close, although nothing really happened. I would have to treat the whole thing more like this from now on and be more careful. What the hell would I tell the man if he talked to me? Yea Im sleeping in that office over there? Oh yea I also have a dog? Yea, no I know about the virus. Doesn’t exactly sound like that interaction wouldnt have the desired conclusion..

I had multiple times during this trip that Im waking up at some ungodly early hour, decide to go back to sleep and all of a sudden its fucking mayhem 20 minutes later and I really should have gotten my ass into gear when I woke up instead of going back to sleep. This morning wasn’t any different and I woke up and it was still dark outside. Cold as fuck too. Lucy was snoring in my sleeping bag and I decided to change position and fell back asleep. It felt like I had slept for 5 minutes and BOOM, cars honking, doors opening and smashing, a lot of spanish people yelling Venga venga! Ohhh shit.. I went from half asleep to a 100 right away. Rolling up my mat, packing my bag, keeping an eye on the outside through the blinds and just praying they wouldn’t open the door. Most of the construction workers geared up from the other container and got into a vans/trucks and went away. Pheww.. 1 guy was left packing some stuff into crates and I opened the door and quickly turned my back and walked the other way, I could feel his eyes burning in my neck. I walked away in a calm fashion and looped back around towards the camino. This shit is all pretty intense lol.. It was about 7 o’clock in the morning and there was a light drizzle and fog around but I slept better than I expected.

As Im crossing in front of the city hall, I notice the door is open and I decided to go in. Nobody there. Hmm, a stamp? That would be cool. I went upstairs and I saw a cleaning bucket standing in the middle of the waiting area. Ahh that explains, some stumbling upstairs but I also saw a stamp standing on some desk. I put my bag down and made a little too much sound. I had my bookroll out and the lady came downstairs yelling at me to go away. I told her I wanted a stamp but she said no impossible! I said ok ok, tranquilla lol. While I was packing my bag she started making hissing sounds towards Lucy, I could only laugh at her stupidity and the ridiculousness of the situation but didnt feel well enough to confront this sour old lady and just get the stamp without her approval.

I continued on to Puenta la Reina, a little bit of a bigger city and I went to the supermarket to get some food. No clue why but it occurred to me that literally every song playing in the supermarket had an element of selling your Soul in it. Fucking strange shit and adding to the whole Apocalyptic end times feel. The cathedral was open as the rain was starting again and I was sure to find a power outlet inside. I had my lunch and chilled around in the cathedral a little bit, recharging all the electronics I had with me.. When I walked around with Lucy for a while I saw more police rolling around but they were friendly and I just greeted them when they passed me. I left at the end of the day when my phone and powerbank were almost fully charged and the drizzle plaguing my path earlier had made room for a nice although humid sunset.

I was a little worried about getting stamps on the way, that and personal hygiene were going to be my biggest problems I had contemplated during the day. Right at that moment I found a stamp just sitting outside a closed tourist office in a little town called Cirauquai, funny.. I GET IT! RELAX! HAVE FAITH! Stamps will come..

I decided to keep on walking through the dark and passed a couple of great wild camping spots but they just didn’t feel well, I already chilled in a cathedral all day, I needed to get some distance in while the weather was still dry enough. Its also not like Im not used to walking in the dark these days. I walked on until a place called Lorca and just put my tent up next to the church.

The next day some dog was barking at Lucy from the neighbors balcony, the lady came outside and threw Lucy some treats as well. Nice. An old lady scolded me in Spanish, I laughed, smiled and waved. Spain..a country of extremes..

On the menu today was Estella, an also slightly bigger place and as Im nearing the town I remembered I lost my credential (pilgrim stamp book) around here 5 years ago. I ended up backtracking 5 km and found it again in a church where I got my stamp. On the way there I stopped at a little hermitage between Estella and the town I just passed and maybe that was going to be a good place to stop this time as well. I could already see it on the horizon and some Spanish guy walking his dogs came towards me, we chatted a little and apparently the guy was living the mad hermit lifestyle. I asked if I could look inside but the guy got extremely defensive however, yelling that he has been on the camino for 12 years and that he knew what he was doing and that he wasn’t crazy. Lol I never said you were, I said the world was going loco amigo. I decided not to push it and get into a bumfight in the middle of nowhere and this spot was clearly taken anyhow. Still cool to find an actual crazy hermit though haha.

Estella looked like it was business as usual. Cars driving around and police that did pass me didn’t even look at me. I went by a store and pushed a little further, not going to stay in the city. As Im walking out of the city I saw a sign for the legendary wine fountain, 100L of red wine for pilgrims passing by and I remembered I completely missed this 5 years ago. Not getting my hopes up this time but to my surprise it was open! Fucking winning! I filled up one of my waterbottles with red wine and decided to get my drink on at the edge of the town. The free wine definitely needed to breath a little lol but I was still glad that I did got “check this box” against all odds in these crazy times.

Wine fountain

The next day I was packing up stuff and all of a sudden a car pulls up. Guardia Civil in a civilian car..well played motherfuckers. They talked a little English and started telling some other people chilling around to get the fuck off the streets. Then they of course expressed their interest in my pilgrim ass.

I explained to them that I was well prepared, showing them my solar panel and my tent. Also the fact that I had been on the road since 6 months. They called El Capitano and I think the guy told them that I was nothing but a shitton of paperwork and that if they pretended they didnt see me, I would just walk out of their jurisdiction.. The guy told me to just hit the road again and I assured them I would and thanked them for their service.

Hmm, they were definitely a little more forceful than I had encountered before and I wondered if its because they were Guardia Civil, the policia local in Puenta la Reina did not give me any shit and hardly took notice of me. The great thing about Spain is that they have 3 different branches of police, all with different tasks and I got a vague suspiscion that the Guardia Civil were responsible for keeping the people off the streets, while the policia local their responsibility was to help old ladies cross the street and make sure no cats get stuck in trees..

I continued on and the route was pretty nice. I decided to only cross cities in the dark from now on and not sleep inside villages anymore, the risk was just too high and I would run out of luck at some point for sure. So far so good though..

I was greeted by a sweet lady smoking a cigaret outside. Her name’s Annemieke and she was 1 of the Dutch volunteers running the traditional monastery albergue in Roncesvalles. We talked a little about my trip and like any good Dutch person, she roped me into getting the premium package. A shower, check-in for my tent next to the river, the dinner and even the fucking guided tour. Most of it was expected however and they didn’t charge exorbitant amounts of money for it, in fact the guided tour was free so why the hell not. The pilgrim meal was not intended but I can splurge a little after eating only mushrooms with basque cheese and an avocado on top of the mountain.

She got called back inside and I started putting up my tent, brought my laundry to the laundromat where I met the 2ndvolunteer called Han, he asked me if I wanted to have the 20 minutes or the 40 minutes program, I asked if theres a difference besides time and he said no and he just insisted on the 40 minutes. I took a fantastic shower and I noticed I was really sunburned. I was barely in time for the guided tour and it was good seeing the old priest again that I knew from 2 years ago. That guy has been running the place since forever.

The guided tour took us through the church and there were quite a few other pilgrims there. The church even had floor heating, pretty badass I must say. The tour was cool and we went into some tomb with great acoustic and the priest forced everybody to sing, awkward but still nice. It was also pretty cool getting some background history on Roncesvalles (that basically is a church/monastery/albergue, 2 hotels and 2 restaurants). Still an important place though during the Reconquista and for pilgrims for aeons. 

Afterwards there was dinner in the restaurant and it was run as a factory, the waitress had about as much charm as one of the floor heated tiles in the church. I sat alone at first but was joined by another pilgrim, an American that was also quite sunburned. Conor from Kansas and I had a good chat and the food wasn’t bad either, I suck out a literal doggy bag for Lucy that I brought in between courses. Conor had a sunburn because he also went over the mountain instead of taking the 400m elevation supermarket route and we joked that none of the other, 20 some pilgrims in the dining hall had it. This legend actually did it in one go as he left St Jean this morning. An Italian girl called Julie, that we already met on the tour, said that the pilgrim mass was about to start. This is where you attend the service and the priest gives you a blessing in your own language at the end of it. Last time I was here there were about 500 people in the church but now there were only 20 pilgrims.

I offered to go for a drink afterwards and Julie her enthusiasm got the rest of the group along, we were joined by a French guy called Louie, Conor from Kansas, Julie was from Austria (but Italy originally) and a funny guy from Argentine called Juan. We shared a couple of drinks and time flew by, curfew was 2200h for them and I went to my tent. It was nice to share some nice stories with nice pilgrims. The Spain part is always (supposed to be) the social part of the camino for me and I reveled in the opportunity.

I had a good night sleep although it was a little cold and foggy, but thats not too weird sleeping next to the river and also not something I wasn’t used to.

The next day I woke up and it was still foggy and windy. I spent way too much time on my phone last night and I was a little late compared to the other pilgrims, but thats the genius part of bringing a tent on the camino. Its not that the albergue didn’t look nice, on the contrary. I didn’t mind sleeping in my tent at all though. You’re sleeping in a large room with up to 10 other people, farting/snoring/breathing and then theres the bugs. The albergue in Roncesvalles being particularly notorious about the bed bugs.. To give some exposé – these little fuckers come out at night to drink your blood, theres 3 stages in their life cycle and man, they pro create through traumatic insemination. Thats what they do to their own kind, imagine some soggy-pilgrim-fleshbag when the lights go out.. Yea tent is fine.

A garbage bag with my shoes and clean clothes was already next to my tent, wonderful. Took some bullshit from the vending machines and I went to the church when the sun was starting to peep through. I sat a moment in the chapel in front of the San Thiago statue, burned a couple of candles and when the bells rang for midday I went on my way. Ran into a nice pilgrim and I think she was from Germany, but no clue.. Also ran into the volunteers having lunch and I barely recognized them not wearing their uniform. They asked me where I was going today and I told them I had no idea, I shook their hands regardless of Covid and at this point it was still fun and jokes.. Buen Camino!

The route was foggy at first but it burned off pretty fast. This part of the route was well known to me since 2 years ago this was the route to the supermarket, I reminisced about meeting some awesome Polish people here. Passed a crazy mural of a witch in the next town for which this part of the country is known for. The store was closed and I barely missed the tobacco store. I kept on walking and I felt good, probably due to the 3 course meal last night and skipping the alcohol.

I found a little shop in a couple of towns over where I just bought a bread and some cheese. Bag of nuts and sure, that should hold me over a little. The last part through a forest made me realize my orientation was completely off. I slipped and fell a couple of times on jagged rocks when it was getting dark. When I arrived in Zubiri there were a couple of vending machines like the ones in Roncesvalles, they also sold rolling papers! NOM! Too bad I didn’t have any coins though.

A quick look around town didn’t reveal any of the people of the day before. I did run into another guy from France called Jean-Baptiste who assured me that he wasn’t gay in the first sentences he uttered.. Omg I forgot about the crazy pilgrims, awesome. I sat and shared a cigaret with him and when I greeted a couple of German pilgrims that I met the day before, he imitated a German accent and also waved at them, then looking at me saying he had no idea what he was talking about. Its fine my dude, good stuff. He was staying in the town and I told him I wanted to push on a little towards Pamplona (only 50km from Roncesvalles, 30km from Zubiri), he asked me in the dark? I said yea sure. What else am I going to do with this night vision..

He took a liking to me and he gave me 4 €! NOT FOR ME BUT FOR LUCY. I heard this before lol. Thanks so much mon amis! He went back to the albergue because it was about curfew time and I went to the vending machine and bought some snacks that Lucy also liked and a pack of rolling papers for myself. Now I didn’t have to smoke this disgusting bio rolling papers that I fooled myself into buying. I live for this crazy random shit happening on the camino. You go from standing empty handed in front of a vending machine, to striking up a conversation with a stranger, to having enough money to buy everything you wanted and then some from the vending machine. Camino is a little life and if you do good and carry yourself with confidence, the camino will give you what you need/want.

I continued on and I had to be pretty cautious. The road wasn’t well lit but did have a lot of potholes and bushes. I arrived in a little town called Larasoaña, little grass field next to a river. Perfect. Some guy walking his dog didn’t take offense at all. More countries on lockdown and I recommended some people from back home to get some water just in case. Had a good night sleep.

The next day I woke up and decided to go search for either a stamp or a supermarket. I walked up to an albergue and I could smell the weed 5m away. This cute, stoned girl opened the door and she was really friendly and yea of course I could get a fecha (stamp). She was high as fuck lol. I shook her hand even though the COVID genie was really out of the bottle at this point but she was either too high or rebellious to refuse.

I was planning on going towards Pamplona today and the route was pretty easy and nice. Nothing like Im used to in France, multiple mountains to climb over at any given time, trails that are barely walked on. This is the complete opposite, flat and arrows everywhere. I walked into Pamplona recognizing most of it, there were a lot of people in the streets although some people were wearing masks and some other people did go to the side when I passed. I bought my first pack of cheap tobacco at the same store as before and FUCK 5 €?!. WHY THE FUCK DID I NOT GO HERE SOONER? In Spain I can buy 3 packs of my favorite brand of tobacco against 1 pack in France. Dear lord France, yellow vest this please! Some guy struck up a conversation with me asking me how it was going, I told him that I had a tent and he said ahh just surviving..I guess so, amigo

The sun was slowly setting and I remembered I was exactly in the same spot at the same time of the twilight last time around and I walked over the bridge towards a German albergue that hosted me in their cellar 5 years ago. Little did I know however that they were extremely German about this whole Corona pandemic. The lady talked to me through a window and wasn’t really the pleasant type, why the fuck become a hospitalierra if you’re going to be a dick. She told me the albergue is closed and that its government issued and that there was nothing she could do for me..Its fine. I walked around town a bit to look for a sleeping spot while I hid my bag behind the albergue but I didn’t really find a spot to sleep. So I returned to the albergue, since it was next to a park and I put my tent up on a sort of peninsula close by.
I was planning on taking a little break and work on my diary and some blogs while in the city, I like Pamplona and this place is in my heart forever since I met the ex-love of my life here back in the day and the city was very good to me back then.

This time around however,

I woke up and there weren’t many people in the streets. Also nothing was open, some bars were still open but I ran into the predicament where Lucy couldn’t be inside, but outside they had no electricity. Also didn’t really see any other pilgrims around and yea, shit is fucked.. Still nice to sit in the square a bit and watch people greet each other with a feet bump (God thats weird). Had some food and finally found a place where I could put my blanket outside of the glass patio so Lucy could chill and I could type and find some internet inside. Some obnoxious English people came in severely underestimating the whole thing and later on some Asian students, the owner of the place posed with them for a selfie supporting freedom for Hong Kong. Uhh sure, I wonder how those will hold up in Corona season.. I went back to the albergue and I asked the German lady, who did take a photo of me as I was walking towards her as she was sitting outside, if she could spare some electricity but sadly there was nothing she could do.. I should have charged you for the photo then ya dick!

I went back to my tent and the city felt a lot colder and it didn’t have the same buzz as I remembered, people were more frightened and I was definitely not having the luck I had before. I was planning on heading out the next day. 

HAHA Wake up call!

Police coming to my tent making sure I got on the road at an early hour. Just kidding, CERRADO! Im like what? Hes like yea the camino is closed.. Im like ooowwkkk, but its a path? Maybe the albergues are closed but Im not sleeping in those bedbug infested gaschambers anyway. We saw eye to no-hablas-inglais and he decided to leave. I packed up my tent and walked out of the city, most people smiling at me, some people trying to get out of my way. No cars, no people, no traffic lights and no rules.

I whipped out my solarpanel and hung it off my bag.

Special camino is gonna be special..

I woke up the next day and the weather was absolutely stunning. I resisted my childish urge to start shooting up the place with the hunting rifle and yea. Lets just leave it where I found it and send a message to my friends that will be back in April. Would be a shame if it went to waste.

On the way out I found some police tape and I wondered if this used to be a crime scene, but I was leaving now anyway.. I refilled my water bottles at the cathedral, burned a couple of candles for a safe journey and I had good hopes that it would all work out. Either I would walk up the moutain and sleep in my tent, or in a little ancient shelter that was basically some rocks and some plastic roof OR (what I was hoping for) was to sleep in a little house, built for pilgrims that gotten in over their head to at least give them a place to stay. Also I was hoping the fountain would work on top of the mountain, WERE this all not be as expected, I would just have to continue the mountain and pass over it in one go. Something I already did 2 years ago and shouldn’t be too impossible. It was all a little risky but I had good hopes and the weather was just gorgeous. I walked out of town and I had supplies and hung my solar panel off my backpack for some extra charge. 

What do you mean fermé?

The part out of St Jean Pied de Port is just absolutely shit, a literal crawl up the mountain and by far one of the hardest parts on the entire camino. The average pilgrimage experience – Fly from X on a Y hours of flying, maybe a shitty layover in Z town and then 1 day of restless sleep in St Jean and then BOOM up the fucking mountain. It properly breaks most of them and the reason why police was in such a hurry to find the missing guy 2 years ago is because theres all kinds of wildlife the further you go up. Vultures, wild horses, the occasional bear and I also saw fucking El Chupacabra on one of my many treks across a couple of years back. Its not weird at all for people to be caught of guard while taking a piss in the middle of the fog and just disappear on the mountain. That all being said – its gorgeous, wild. When you get above the tree line it becomes all increasingly spectacular. Wild horses behind the sun setting behind some distant hill, overlooking the entire valley, then walking into Spain and yea. I love it there. The reason I went there 2 years ago was because during my first camino I didn’t feel like I paid too much respect to this wonderful place. Several months before that I was in a pretty brutal car crash where I got scooped off a pedestrian path that made me doubt if I still even had it in me, the mountain however healed me and when I returned back home I noticed that I wasn’t startled by cars revving up next to me. So to me this entire mountain is special, I had already slept here many times, in the shitty ancient refuge (that I tried to build up better than it was by throwing sheep shit up against the sides of the rocks), in the little house making a coffee/tea for pilgrims that woke me up in the morning. Also camped there many times and it was just all spectacular and beautiful and I was looking forward to crossing it this time around. 


After the excruciating first part I came by a tree that has been there for ages, I had smoked my fair share of cigarets under it but only bowed to it now. I liked this tree because many pilgrims must have sat under it for ages and the view of the valley on the French side was really beautiful. A little further I walked up to a gite/albergue (hostel), the place run by some old ladies that really reminded me about my grandma, great chefs as well and they were really friendly to me back in the past, giving me the pingpong room at a discount and some free food. The ladies were still alive thank God and gave me some water but too bad they were still closed for the season. I chilled a little bit and sent my parents a message saying that I was going to cross the mountain and I told them if I hadn’t contacted them the next day by 1500h, they could maybe call the cops and tell them I haven’t checked in. For me this was just a safety net and a pretty reasonable thing to do but for my mom it was a start sign to panic lol..

Wild horse

The road was nice and sun was burning, I found some snow the further up I got and used it to cool down a little and play around with Lucy. Greeted by some wild horses that were more curious than afraid by my and Lucy’s presence. The air was becoming thinner the further up I got but it was all well worth it. Had a chill rest by some Maria statue and I had a good feeling about the water fountain and the little house being open, I mean what would be the point of locking/closing it up? Sorry we closed the mountain so we also removed all the safety nets for the unfortunate wanderers? Does NOT make any sense. Vultures circling overhead and some horses put up a little show of galloping for Lucy and my pleasure. Just as Im about to reach the summit I decided to take a little rest next to a cross. The sun was radiating pure gold and I just couldn’t help but enjoy the mountain, Lucy was running around and having fun peeing on everything. I was thankful for everything at that moment. More so than normal. Realizing Im absolutely blessed that Im able to do this and that I did went with my gut feeling of leaving last October. So easy it would have been to put the whole thing off for another half a year and COVID would have rolled around right about the time I was about to leave. Now? Im already back on the party track, pilgrims around, clear signs, easy to follow reasonably flat roads to walk on, a lot of infrastructure. Full realization of my journey and bliss swept over me as the sun went from gold to a pinkish color. I decided to push on, small bit to the summit from here, then 20m to the stone refugio that I fixed, another 2km to the water fountain and about 8km to the little house where I was planning to stay.

Little refuge

MORE SNOW, almost melted but the wind had blown all the snow in high piles and it was hard to follow the path, I sunk away in deep slush puppy and heh, I hope this isn’t going to be the whole path up to the house, on 2ndhand it didn’t really matter, since my feet were already wet anyway and as long as I kept walking it would be fine. I Found the old refuge of bricks and it seemed good, I couldn’t help but notice the small patches of grass growing on the stones and I wondered it this was due to my shit slinging efforts 2 years ago. Snow had blown in shelter so I decided to head on towards the Fountain of Roland, legendary warrior of old. As Im getting closer I could already hear the water flowing and cool! Water! First box of blessings checked, at least I could decide to camp on the mountain now if the little house proved to be closed but this shit is going to work out exactly like I hoped. 

Bear track?

I continued through the slush puppy and Lucy was jumping and running around in the snow, being more active than me by a long shot. At some point I yelled at her and she came back into the light and lol, WHERE DAFUQ IS YOUR JACKET HUH?! Yea fun time was over and she was clearly freezing her little blonde ass off. The house wasn’t that far and I would just go back the next day and look for her jacket.

Walking up to the house, there was less snow and I realized I could also put my tent up were it to be necessary. I pushed against the door however and it was open, the back window had been blown out during one storm in passed weeks but they had some makeshift window in there. It was pretty nice actually. There was an inflatable mattress with the just the pillow blown up but it would be a better pillow than my pants. I made some food and a coffee and gave Lucy some food and wrapped her in my Mexican blanket. Later on I just wrapped her in my vest with the Mexican blanket around it and she was snoring louder than the wind blowing around the cabin. Very nice, very lucky and blessed.

5 * refuge

Lucy started barking the next morning and someone was at the door, by the time I got my pants on and opened the door, the guy was already nordic walking on. I still yelled at him and waved at him and he waved back. I had a quick breakfast that I had left and went and found Lucy her jacket pretty fast. No cellphone reception whatsoever however and it was still a little ways to the Spanish side. I packed up after enjoying the sun a little and then raced to meet my own created deadline. 1445h I finally found some reception and I sent my parents a message straight away, perfect fucking timing if you’d ask me haha. 

I took the normal road towards Roncesvalles instead of taking the traitorous path through the forest. At Roncesvalles I was greeted by a nice Dutch volunteer called Annemieke, it was nice talking to another Dutch person about all kinds of stuff and she was a typical Dutch rebel like me.

Laundry, shower, food and camping next to the river..


The weather kept on raging the entire week and I was able to fix up my shelter a little bit with duct tape and some plastic bags, They made the shower a pretty nice place actually since they were already sheltered with a little roof. I mean it wasn’t exactly warm but then again it also wasn’t really cold. My biggest concern was just the endless rain that even blew inside the cabin during the first night. It was alright now though.

I went by Luis and he still recognized me, he asked if I still recognized him lol and I said yea of course, youre a legend. Luiz owned the local bar where all the Basque people go during the day (and during the evening). I also met some friends here that I kept in touch with a couple of years back but sadly they were in India for a couple of months, coming back somewhere in April. I did come across their father a couple of times and it was good that I was able to talk a lot more with him this time around since my French had improved. The other Basque people that went there were pretty nice and curious, me sitting there in the corner typing and writing away, sometimes calling friends and trying to look natural in all my abnormality. Its fine. 

The slipper people were sadly letting me up, they couldn’t find the slippers I needed and also forgot to look a couple of times, I remember this Swiss guy buying weed there and I think that has something to do with it, not judging haha.

Some really apocalyptic weather was coming in about halfway through the week, luckily I found a restaurant that had their terrace door open to their toilets, the keys were even in the door lol, maybe this could be an opportunity. They were absolutely spotless and why the fuck not.. They were even so nice as to put a piece of paper on the door saying when they’ll be back.. This could create opportunity I hoped but I was long glad I found a clean/warm place to sleep and a place to charge my electronics. 

The spread of COVID was beginning to show, stores were beginning to close, less people in the streets. Still it was allowed to move around but something was definitely in the air. Also news from other parts of Europe wasn’t really looking good. Italy was on lockdown and my buddy Francesco (whom I met in France) just had his flight back to Venice cancelled.. He was planning on taking another flight towards Austria where his family lived and I wished him all the best.

When chilling/walking around town, looking for some backup place to sleep I found an abandoned house. It was gigantic. A small trail leading through the garden was cluttered with tentacles of prickly bushes and it seemed like it hadn’t been visited in quite some time. I couldn’t resist going in since Im basically a ghost hunter at this point anyway, not afraid of things that aren’t real. Real things including fucking ticks, freezing to death, dropping to my death in some janky trailer off into a river. Yea another abandoned house is not going to make a change.

I found that the garage door on the bottom floor was open. The garage had thick spider webs in multiple places and found some wooden statues. Probably cursed.. Up a stairs that was broken, resting on a propane tank with a piece of plywood and yea! REAL DANGERS.. Still I was undeterred and continued up the stairs for a quick peek. Things seemed empty for quite sometime but definitely not the longest abandoned house Ive entered during this trip. 
The house was massive. Lucy and me looked around the most of the furniture was still there. The front door was locked and I couldn’t find any keys when looking around, I tried to lockpick the door and damn, had to rotate it twice so it fell back in the lock. Still 1 rotation closer than I was before though and it didn’t take that long to get the 2ndrotation as well. The front door entrance was completely covered in shrubs so I had to keep using the shitty stairs into the basement either way. Upstairs the rooms were empty, some were full of junk and some stuff had been thrown around. Its funny how these abandoned houses all start to look the same after some point. Always a lot of papers, always thrown over tables, always a big layer of grime over everything, always little gems hidden here and there and I intended on going back there in the next couple of days and do some looting.

Looks fine to me

I went back to my spotless domain and I had about a day left before the owners would be back. I kept the keys with me at this point (since I had my laptop and powerbank charging there). More rain although (it was improving), more good food, more wine and tea at Luiz and yea, pretty nice all in all. Feeling sad about rushing to the border evaporated over the week as did the bad weather luckily and things were looking up. The water in the river was thick and the temperatures went from jacket / freezing to hmm, nice and gloomy in the evening. Patches of snow were still on top of the mountain but I had good hopes. 

At some point the owners of the restaurant came back, I packed up everything in a slight rush and slipped out through the back alley through their terrace. Intending on returning the big bush of keys later after I installed myself in the abandoned house.

In the house there were some mattresses that I could use to sleep on, also found a few candles and I decided to use the daylight to do a little further scouting. Starting on the lower rooms, the kitchen area was just full of papers, bills and choir books. Nothing really special. I went room through room and found a nice pendant here and there but nothing really interesting. Upstairs was a completely different story however. 

Birds had been nesting in the house and it wasn’t hard to see why, a ladder up to the attic was open and I decided to take a quick look there as well, a few holes in the roof and I was glad I had a good light. There was only one big chest standing there and no japanese ladies with long black hair giving me a haircut as soon as I popped my head into the attic. Found a couple of dead birds throughout the house that fell out of the nest into a vase, or a bowl and were unable to get out, pretty sad, still fascinating to see their completely conserved skeletons however. 

Dead Bird

One of the upper rooms had a box standing in the corner and when I picked it up I felt immediately I hit the jackpot. A hunting rifle.. Where are the bulletssssssoohhh no wait, theres a full box over there next to the tv.. Weird. Couldn’t help but take a few pictures and send them around to some friends. I had the thought of firing the rifle but then again, maybe not that handy lol, don’t think the neighbors take too kind to a weapon discharge in the abandoned house that has been an eye sore since forever. The rifle itself was rusty and it wasn’t that heavy of a caliber, still a very cool find though and I had flashbacks to just about every video game I’d even played. Now I know what you’re thinking but no, Im not going to carry around a hunting rifle the size of my leg and around 5kg, maybe in the apocalypse, but that wasn’t quite happening yet.

Lighter for reference

I went back to the restaurant and they just had their briefing, I knocked on the window and they looked at me like dafuq you’re doing here, were closed. I held up the keys and they reluctantly opened the door. I told them I found them in the door and guess what I got? NOTHING, no thank you, no questions and certainly no free pizza. Also no police so Im not really complaining, I just hoped for a little bit more. The keychain had some pretty fucking expensive keys on em and the chain itself had like 25 keys on it. At least a thank you would have been nice.

I returned to Luiz and I asked him if he knew anything about the house, he didn’t.. I decided not to tell him about the rifle or that I even went into the house but he went on to another topic of some squatters raping a girl in town a month ago.. HMM yea, pretty glad I didn’t went with the guy I met on the first evening when I just arrived. I also told him I was going over the mountain, he laughed and said that I would probably be back, I said nahhh dont think so. We said our goodbye’s that I was more confident about than him. I slept in the abandoned house that night and I had a pretty good sleep, I was planning on leaving the next day if the weather was as good as everything predicted. 

Julien & Mary dropped me off in Donibane Garazi (St Jean Pied de Port in Basque). A small, but very touristic town that I already spent a fair amount of time in 2 years ago. Its nested at the foot of the Pyrenees divide and the Basque culture thrives here. Narrow streets, red and white houses with tile roofs, balconies that also create shelter when walking on the streets when its raining. A river cuts the town in half with an ancient bridge crossing it, next to the cathedral, that pilgrims (and everyone else) have crossed for ages. Bakeries/tourist shops/pilgrim shops and a few supermarkets on the edges. Overlooking it all is a sort of fort or chateau, now turned into a school or something. The campsite is located fairly close to the city centre with a cool view of the cathedral. Normally when its open, its busy as shit. Now, deserted..and not just because its COVID season, but Im sure its not helping.

I dropped my bag at a local bar (Chez Luiz) and I walked around town looking for anything to put my tent up. The town isn’t that big and the church, parallel to that the campsite, was my first stop. It was nice to be back, the air just tastes better here. I ran into a guy who smelled like alcohol and he told me he was squatting a house nearby, uhmmm I didn’t really have a good feeling about it so I decided to decline for now.

The weather wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and at the campsite, a quick inspection showed that the shower stalls weren’t all that closed. As long as Im out of the wind and the rain, its alright in my book. Bad weather tends to build up against the mountains on either side of the Pyrenees and it can storm pretty hard in this area. Looking at my weather app this was probably going to be the case for the upcoming days/week. I really hoped that I could cross the normal mountains but I would have to see if theres snow on the mountains when its daylight.

The pilgrim office is worked by the kindest, pussies you’ve ever encountered in your life that usually steer away from ANY and ALL kinds of danger. Im not taking their advice lightly but they they just want to take absolutely no chances whatsoever. They are also unbiased in their advice, like everybody is in the same situation. 2 years ago it didn’t matter if you were a pilgrim in the prime of his life or if you were an 80 year old pilgrim with a jetleg/hangover from drinking last night. Still.. bless their heart. Im sure they have the best intention but to me its kind of insulting NOR do they own the mountain. Taking the top of the mountain away from pilgrims is insulting to me next to sheer hubris thinking they own the mountain. 

Still the mountains are pretty unpredictable and hard to pass, the whole mountain is littered with crosses and memorials and 2 years ago, gendermarie stopped me at some point to ask if I’d seen a guy with a heart condition that was missing. The environment is harsh and bad weather pops up out of nowhere. Still its a doable route with only the climb being pretty harsh, but once you cross a certain plateau it becomes more flat and easy to do.

I had a rough night in the shower cabins but like usual, everything held up and me and Lucy were warm enough. Thunder bounced off the mountains creating an echo of terror rolling through the countryside. Pretty intimidating and Lucy crawled in my sleeping bag at some point. I wanted to make some minor changes to the thing and theres nothing that a little duct tape cant fix in this world.

I packed some of my stuff and walked to Chez Luiz, the owner of the bar (Luiz) was in the US for a long time so his English is very well. A good samaritan that also took it on himself to feed the stray dogs that stroll around town. He also gave me a drink for free every now and again and one of the things he liked to say was the secret of good business is making good friends. I was looking forward to seeing him again and I hoped he still remembered me. Next to this I had a couple of other objectives like getting new slippers. I bought slippers here back in the day, handmade from some African country and they were some serious Jesus stompers. 3 bands, 2 around the feet and 1 around the big toe and mannn, I dont even care how ridiculous they look. Too bad the store didnt have them, or at least have to find them. The store itself is like a museum from another part of the world, statue’s (that are probably cursed), woven baskets/wall carpets and its just a treat to crawl through the store. The lady was pretty sure they weren’t easy to find and that I would have to come back later. I walked on towards the supermarket dodging rain here and there.

On the way back I went by the nice people from the pilgrim office. They already didn’t shake hands due to the corona virus although they weren’t that surprised to see me, apparently there were already a lot of pilgrims and I guess its just always pilgrims here. They gave me a nice map and explained to me, slowly, about the route that I should take. I told them the mountains looked good and that Im waiting for maybe up to a week to cross and that I was also watching the size of the river (more water means more melting) but it all fell on deaf ears. Everything was closed, no water, you couldnt pass etc. Etc. They only advised me the route they wanted people to take and I just went along with it..

The route they recommended was over a normal road, towards the next couple of towns, there were supermarkets everywhere until you finally made the climb of all of the 400m of pure fucking excitement.. For your comparison – the normal route takes you up to about 1200m divided in a couple of very steep ascends at first, leveling off at about 1000m. So in all regards, this was the kitty route. But its fine, they gave me a stamp and I talked a little to them about the corona virus, they had some problems with it but nothing too much. A couple of Korean pilgrims came in after me and they ran em through the same routine.

The weather was on and off, rainstorms coming in and causing chaos just before dying down and sunshine for the rest of the afternoon. Very unpredictable to say the least. As long as its above freezing during the day and rain and sun switched with each other, I had good hopes of doing the normal route, keeping an eye on the weather constantly. My weather radar app said it would be clearing up the week after and this week was just looking like absolute mayhem unlike I had seen before on this trip, it added to the atmosphere though.

Not my sleeping spot 

I love this town, its a pilgrim Mecca. The cathedral is nice and ancient, small statues of pilgrims dot the town, the stones on the main street are in a shell pattern and yea I was looking forward to meeting some pilgrims here. Could already see some leaving that morning and yea, its going to be busy..

Oh France, where to begin..

At first I knew you only from driving through you, I remember hot car rides and unfriendly people from going on vacation with my parents. I did not speak your language and I found it very hard to find my stride. 

This was all before I saw what you really were. Your cities are famous and that was the only measure I ever used, I was but a tourist and mon Dieu knows, you dont need any more of those. Little did I know you’re an ocean on a landmass, wild forests and little communities of friendly people. Friendly people that arent at all like the people I knew from Paris, but rather the opposite

Your people are proud and thats well deserved. You have a great history and the flame of freedom and equality burns strong throughout your culture. People rather smile than hate. I love the amazement and playful interest in your people’s eyes when I hackle my way through your language. Your country is unified in large regards and no punk that fucks his old schoolteacher can ever change that. You put on yellow vests to protect these rights that are literally tattooed on your Souls.

Your cheese is great and very specific, every person from that region knows their cheeses and the cheeses from other regions. Your wine is fluent and specific as well, everybody knows what kind of wine comes from the region they are grown. Riots have been started over Champagne in your history is something I will never forget hearing about.

Your castles and chateau’s that dot the landscape make you wonderful to explore. Something new around every corner and your people, ever spurring the weary traveller on. How can one be weary when theres a helping hand around every corner, from the far North to the final ride into Basque country. You are the embodiment of exactly what I needed at exactly the right time.

I love getting into a car with a complete stranger in your country. They are trustworthy, respectful, curious in their approach. They look at ME like Im the victor, respecting what I do and helpful wherever they can, wherever I go..

I love your drinking culture, where every moment has a different name to drink. I love your random parties that seem to be hosted every other week in any given place. I love stumbling on a place and getting pulled into this rich social culture and history. I love how your sun sets over rolling hills accompanied by clouds and fog gathering from your flowing rivers. I love how French people work to live, instead of living to work. I love how ancient you are and wether is your bird language or your ancient Gallic traditions that have survived to this day, Im loving every second of it. I love how it permeates throughout your culture wether the people know it or not. I love your view of equality- Women and men are truly on equal footing and the disease that is neo-feminism is just a twinkle in the eye of loudmouth little girls with daddy abandonment issues. I love how foreigners from one of your many colonies are a part of most of the communities where I went. I love how most people handle most things, which is not to say that things aren’t going to be difficult for you as well but as long as there are people in France, France its light will seemingly keep on shining.. 

Please get rid of your glorification of the 1stWorld War. I know that it left a deep scar and that many Enfants de France died but it traumatizes you and breaks your true spirit, it emphasizes a deeply tragic thing even though France is still France. Also corrupt politicians that have nothing in common with the people is a little bit of a worry. That 2ndworry is easily negated by your broad sense of community however. Your villages, especially in the north are drained of young people but I feel as if today is the cusp of a change of mind, the grassroots communities that I found scattered throughout the country were evident of that. Young and bustling towns where young people return, tired of the rat race in the bigger cities..

In short,


I am away from you but I will never forget you, the way you act and handle yourself in times of tribulation, I love how you’re not afraid to be kind or to be judged, but are just nice, friendly, forthcoming, welcoming, unexpected, free at heart and spectacularly creative.

Im so thankful for everything that you have done for me, Im happy for each and everyone of your inhabitants that ever smiled, helped and kissed me. You restore my faith in humanity every time I visit and even in winter this time around, you made me feel warm..

Please don’t change, someday I will be back.. Please keep shining as bright forever and please understand that the rest of the world, is far worse off than France, at any given time.

Forever yours,


Dino and me said our goodbye’s after we exchanged telephone numbers. I went to a bakery to get some food and the lady struck up a conversation with me. Apparently there was a guy staying in her hostel that was also a pilgrim but refused to leave because of the bad weather. I asked her if he’s paying and she said yea, thats not the problem. I asked her what is then, she was hoping to dump him on me but I told her to tell him to just get on his way. Im not some charity for the disabled, the blind and the mentally troubled, also ALSO if you don’t like sand – don’t play in the fucking sandbox.. I wasn’t as harsh to her but I told her that if she wants him gone, just tell the guy.. She talking to me like Im the pilgrim police and madame, I am not..

Down the hill and I saw a hitchhiker and meheheh, why the hell not. I looked at some maps and the weather and it didn’t seem seem very promising. Its still about 350km to St. Jean Pied de Port and I was looking to shave some off that with these weather conditions and it wasn’t like the area was particularly nice in these circumstances. So I put my thumb up and it did not take long at all for the other hitchhiker to come bum a cigaret off me. We talked a little and he got his ride back into town pretty fast. I hung in there and after 20 minutes a nice lady named Carine from Bordeaux, we talked and joked about rivalry between Bordeaux and Toulouse and it was nice. She went all the way to Moissac (the place where I wanted to go if I walked) but warned me that the city was a little off, I asked her why, but she just said you’ll find out. Good shit lady, no spoilers. 

She was right, Moissac was strange.. I was looking for a bar with some wifi and just chill a bit since it was in the afternoon. Between 1300h – 1700h, you can stand by the busiest of roads but theres not that many people. Also this whole hitchhiking thing is becoming this spiritual thing of timing and rhythm and I felt like I needed to walk around town a little. 
I walked by a bar and there was a guy who took a special liking to Lucy immediately, I checked and they had WiFi and yea, perfect! Teatime! The lady owner was also very nice and the guy’s name was Abdel of Bordeaux, he handed me a piece of paper and asked me to write down my favorite music because he’s on this quest of finding new music…Uhh sure? The Ink Spots, George Mitchell Collection and a Dragon-stamp on that for good measure. I asked the lady if I could leave my bag there while I looked for a Moissac-stamp and it wasn’t a problem. I walked around, cathedral was beautiful baroque style (haha like I know what Im talking about). Beautiful tapestry’s on the wall with a cool pattern, no stamp however. I went to the abbey and a lady spoke English to me with a Dutch accent, when I asked if she spoke Dutch, she was as annoyed as I would be when people hear my Dutch accent when talking English. 
I found a stamp and went back to my backpack, Abdel came to me and gave me 5 €, snacks for Lucy he said..Nice(!)(?). Not for you! But for Lucy! Alright, alright mon frère, tranquil..

I walked to the nearest supermarket and I noticed a lot of people just standing in the street doing nothing, a lot of not French people, some Muslim people scared of Lucy and I wondered if this setting fed into the weirdness of the place. Flirted at the cash register with the cashier and went back to the cafe. Showed Lucy her trick when getting a treat and Abdel was so besides himself that he paid for another tea.. Cool stuff mon frère..

After that it felt good to hitchhike further, sun was setting, traffic was picking up and yeaaaa, even though this place is slightly off – Im sure I can find a ride. Wouldn’t want to spend the night here, the town was a little bit too big for that and the people just a little bit too sketchy..

It did not take long for a white van to stop next to me, asking where I wanted to go. I said wherever West and the guy laughed. He was of short stature and we talked, I wanted to roll a cigaret but he insisted I smoke his. Flashbacks to Romanians from 5 years ago crossed my mind. We talked and he was pretty interested. I asked him if he lived near and he said yea, but that he didn’t like Moissac. I asked why and he said the people are just fucking crazy.. I asked him why and he said Ill show you, as we crossed over a mountain he pointed to a nuclear power plant in the distance. Haha, that makes sense. This place is basically Springfield from the Simpsons..

We had to go by the guy’s house in a place called Pommevic to pick something up, he would then drop me off on a road that led exactly where I wanted to go but we got along so well that by the time we drove through his electronic gate, he offered to host me for the night. I could do laundry, he would have his wife make a beautiful tangine and sheesh, how can I refuse. MoMo was originally from Morocco and I waited in the car overlooking his staring at his kingdom while he went inside to get something.

We continued to the store and there were absurd amounts of people standing around, dafuq is up with this area lol. He told me about some Corona virus case happened in the area and that people were very concerned and slightly panicking. We laughed that the best thing against that panic is to huddle together in cramped places like these people were doing.

He got some booze and some cigarets, we went back to his compound and we walked to the mobile home in his yard, we were greeted by a sweet as fuck German Shepard that clearly wasn’t a company dog, Lucy scolded the dog and MoMo even harder.. He told me he had 5 of them scattered around the place because of people stealing his shit. In the trailer I was able to meet his son and daughter that were cleaning the place up. A little shy, but great kids. He explained to me he had his domain here, basically a big ass mancave with a TV fit for a movie theater and yea, cool. We went to this sort of greenhouse that was just full of all sorts of parts and electronics. He put on some music and he showed me around. He basically did all kinds of technical stuff, fixing it up and reselling it. The guy was a fucking mad scientist lol, I joked he was le roi de Pommevic, the king of Pommevic and he seemed to like that. In his laboratory I showed him where I was from on an Ipad and he showed me where he was originally from in Morocco. I told him I would really like to go there after the Camino / Portugal and he said that if I run into trouble there, I should give him a call, since his dad was some big guy farmer near Marrakesh and hmmm, thats pretty convenient. Im not sure if I smelled this bad but he handed me some sort of oil that hides scents. He explained to me that just a few drops will make you smell like a cheap Muslim for days. Its certainly better than a cheap pilgrim haha. His kids were done cleaning and we went back to the trailer. He turned the tv on and he only had German channels, he told me his satellite box self destructed the previous weekend and now he only had this box with 3 channels. TO MY FUCKING SURPRISE, a German movie about Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage was playing…uhh what? SUBTLE SIGNS, my dude most high, subtle signs..

MoMo brought in an oven or a stove of sorts and hooked it up, then a tangine was brought in that his wife prepared and he laughed and said this was the Moroccan way of making a tangine. A beautiful smell filled the room and my mouth started to water either from the pastis or the smell of the food. I took a shower and a laundry and after that we ate the tangine and words cant even explain how good it tasted. I always thought Mexican was my favorite cuisine but I must say.. A lot of drunken conversations about religion was what followed until it was getting very late. Very interesting evening. Alhamdellah..

Le Roi de Pommevic

The next day my clothes were dry and I didnt have the best of sleeps, maybe eating a tangine with a lot of spices at midnight isn’t the best for your nights sleep but mannn, did it taste good and I felt energetic nonetheless. MoMo woke me up and I wanted to smoke a cigaret. He explained to me this is fucking dumbass move since you need to wake up first, a move that I (of course) knew about but maybe this is a good time to start making that effort since Im being so in your face confronted by it. 

MoMo dropped me off at some fort of Gilet Jeune and we said our goodbye’s. Smelling like a Persian on a party night I got a ride with Alana from St. Antoine, a ride with Vincent from Bordeaux and boom 150km left, Lectoure was the name of the village. Lets get a stamp here since there was so much pilgrim paraphernalia scattered throughout town. I went to an abbey and the lady opening the door was extremely unfriendly, saying immediately that they didn’t have a place for me to sleep. I said uhh no, thats my concern where I sleep and I just want a stamp. Dragging her feet and talking to herself she went into an office to get a stamp.. Then the phone rang and she just threw the stamp on a table and left.. Uhhh what the hell lol. Cant really care though. I put my stamp and left that place while shaking the dust off my boots.

I walked out of town towards a spot that seemed to head on to Condom, the next stop that Im not going to even make a pun about. As Im standing next to a bridge and a house, a couple of cars go by and the weather is starting to sour again. I had put my bag up on a little bench and I heard a friendly voice behind me, a friendly old French guy laughed at me and I greeted him and asked him if its alright I put Lucy and my bag on that bench. He said yea sure, you want a coffee? Im like bien sur, merci! Next thing I know Im sitting in Albert’s kitchen drinking a powdered coffee while he runs me through his folder full of all kinds of Buddhist texts, we talked about the Baphomet and Hermetic philosophies and wtf sure! Whats most wtf about this is that Im not even the instigator of the topic lol. Good times, Albert was so full of enthusiasm and took a liking to me that he offered to take me to Condom, old timer had nothing to do anyway. We talked and laughed and listened to old French classics, it was great. He asked where I needed to go and I said Eauze was next after Condom and he said Ill just take you there! Great! Roadtrip! I peeked out the window several times and yea, the area was nothing special so I didn’t feel too bad. Albert and me hit it off like crazy and when we arrived in Eauze he dropped me off at the supermarket, we exchanged telephone numbers and addresses and we gave each other a hug and a fistbump, what the fuck haha. Still very cool to meet people like this along the way and I certainly feel like this was the right choice.

In Eauze I found an abandoned house that was under construction and sure why not. It wasn’t even that creepy compared to all the other houses Ive slept in so far. No forgotten memorabilia. I hid my bag and I went into town to do a little writing. A place that only served food with no wifi and a great other cafe where the owner was spectacularly nice to me. There was a wall where pilgrims left coins on the bricks that stuck out from the wall and he told me to also leave one. I drank a few wine and I felt good. Im really hurrying along and like expected, hitchhiking was a very good choice. I met a Muslim man and that was a great prelude of whats to come in Marocco (Inshallah), met a nice Bhuddist man who was just fun in all regards. How blessed I am. Something spurring me on, maybe this Covid thing is going to get really out of hand. I was already recommending my family to get some water and food backups because I still had a bad feeling about it. Cant wait to get to St. Jean Pied de Port.

When I woke up the next day I took it slow, ate some of the food that Dino gave me and I went back into town to find a stamp. I didn’t find some but the nice girl from yesterday who worked at the nice restaurant yelled good luck at me from across the square. Should have stayed with her instead of this abandoned house..

I looked at some Blablacar rides and I found a great fucking connection, a Blablacar would take me to Pau and another Blablacar later that day all the way to St Jean Pied de Port, crazy. When I left Figeac I had in my head I would be walking the next month in France and had ample of time to still experience the country but next thing you know it, its over.. Later that day I got in the car with Patrick and a couple of other passengers, Patrick was great and the 2 other guys were dumb young fucks so there wasn’t much chatting. We drove through the country side and Patrick embodied why I will miss this country. My backpack wrecked Patricks trunk but I shone my light and stayed until he repaired it, apparently he liked that so much that he even sent me a message later that evening wishing me a happy camino.

My 2ndride would pick me up from the edge of Pau and the weather wasn’t really working with me, causing me to have no food all day except what I ate in the morning. 
Julien and Mary however were really friendly and offered me food after 5 minutes of driving. The road to St Jean Pied de Port was in the dark and I couldn’t see much of the countryside annnnddddd boom. Back in St Jean, weird. Everything was closed and it was about midnight. I said goodbye to Julien and Mary who were just absolutely lovely during the ride. Which, due to some excellent topics, flew by. 

Cant believe Im here, St Jean Pied de Port is the town where all the different ancient pilgrim routes converge, typically Basque (WHICH is definitely not French). I spent time here 2 years ago after I was in a car crash and it just totally revived my lust for adventure. I met some people here back then and I was looking forward to seeing them again. 

Everything was closed..

Place to sleep / water / food.

Fucking lets go.

I woke up and the weather was nice, not as cold a night as before. Walked to a boulangerie to get some extra bullshit that I didn’t need BUT seriously craved.

Over the bridge, up a hill and sat by a cross with a nice view of Cahors. I didn’t have a chance to refill my water bottles and I was running low at some point, I must admit that I still felt the alcohol from 2 days earlier and I was a little low on energy during the day.


I came across a dog school, with a closed fence. Behind the shitty fence was a water tap and I had 2 options: I could climb the shitty fence with ease but I could also try to lockpick the shitty lock on the fence. Sure, why not. Got out my lockpick set and pressured the lock, tried the raking approach since it wasn’tthat kind of difficult lock and come on God, I only need some water, this be a just cause.. I can climb the fence but..hang on…keep the pressure….and turnnnnn annnnddd *click*– open…wauw.. Endorfines flushed my system, so fucking satisfying, like shooting an arrow and hitting a target, getting that first ride while hitchhiking towards where you need to go, spotting that bird.. Very fulfilling sense of accomplishment. The water tap was closed by a main valve but thanks to this random French guy from a week ago who showed it to me at some cemetery, I also knew where to look for that.. Yea this is all starting to complement each other pretty well..

I made myself a victory coffee and bragged around a little on WhatsApp.. First time I picked a lock for actual reasons though and I must say, sweetest coffee couldn’t be sweeter. 

Afterwards I left everything the way I found it and hit the road again with refilled water bottles.

I decided not to go very hard on the 1stday, time is on my side, lets find my rhythm. I ended up in a little town called La Bastide, there was a cafe open but they didn’thave any working internet connection, I drank a tea and bought and ate some stuff from the little store. Tv playing in the background with a lot of French people talking in a panicky tone about Covid-19, yea this was the talk of the town. I wanted to continue on afterwards but in my gluttonous haste I forgot my walking stick inside when the bar closed. No biggy. I just park my tent near the church under a beautiful blossom tree and just pick it up in the morning when they opened. 

Pink Wildcamp spot

The night was beautiful and a bit cold, the weather was not looking good for the following days which kind of bummed me out but I didn’thave a choice but to continue. Cold weather no problem, endless rainy days – really fucked up and it wasn’tlooking good. 

The next day I woke up and looked on my Weather Radar app (can recommend), the rain was supposed to be here already and at first I thought fuckit, Im just going to wait until it clears up and then go to the bar and pack up my tent. Something in me stirred however and I had the urge to just pack up and leave immediately, had everything ready in 5 minutes just as it slowly started to drizzle. When I entered the bar it started to pour like I hadn’tseen in quite some time. I decided to try the wifi again in the bar and it worked this time around, probably because they turned off the power during the night and when they opened back up, the modem restarted. I took it as a sign to get out my laptop and spend the last of my cash in that place. Drinking tea and eating and just rattling away on my laptop. The people were friendly. The bar closed around 1500h and that was a start sign for me to leave as well, this time not forgetting my walking stick. The weather was on and off and I took a little rest here and there sheltering. Got a free iced tea from a nice farmer.

The rain was really going nuts and I was fucking soaked, luckily at some point I came across a hunters cabin where a fresh kill had been made, blood was still spattered all over the place and the smell of decay put Lucy on edge. I looked around the place and actually found the keys to the place. I scouted the place out and no chance in hell I was going to stay for the night in that place, meat hooks everywhere, saws and other instruments I only eve saw in horror movies. I did ate a box of crackers that I found there and left them money, living on the edge eyy?

Entering Lascabanes, I had a pretty slow day and the weather wasn’tworking out at all. There was a public toilet however where there was also a heater. I used to that to my full advantage and hung everything up to dry there and put up my tent in a grassfield next to it. Normally I would have slept there but the place wasn’tall that clean to begin with. 

The weather was slightly better the next day although still very unpredictable, rainstorms popped up out of nowhere and I didn’tknow if I should wear my poncho or walk around in my t-shirt, yea not having that much fun at all. In Montcuq there were several stores but they were closed for the afternoon, I used this excuse to drink a couple of tea in a bar and I was amazed at all the English tourists there. Lucy did her rounds through the room without the bosslady giving a shit and actually got a pretty decent amount of bones, meat and fries out of it. Conversations of Coronavirus filled the room and the consensus was overwhelmingly one of underestimating it.. I was surprised at the level of ignorance but thats besides the point, Idon’twant to prop myself up as some guy who knows it all, but unlike Ebola, SARS & MERS, I had a bad feeling about this one.All the traits of a serious clusterfuck. When the stores were supposed to open they were actually closed for the entire day. YAYyyy 😦

My goal for the day was a village called Lauzerte, it seemed reasonably big and had a couple of stores and bars. The sun was setting and I made myself a coffee in a little village in the church, brewed it right there on the altar, a holy coffee if you will. There was also a ladder going up to the clocktower but Im not going to go up some janky ass ladder 15m with a hard stone floor beneath it. Risk is good, if you can mitigate it..

Holy Coffee

I walked over the road to Lauzerte and it was getting dark properly, just as I was about to take a piss on this country road, a car pulled in. I looked at them but nobody got out. I zipped everything back up and walked to the car. 2 friendly ladies opened their window and I apologized to them, they didn’tcare too much and asked where I was going, they offered to take me to Lauzerte and even though it was only 5km left, I wasn’tgoing to say no. They also offered to host me in a farm a little ways back but I didn’tfeel like accepting that. Their names were Mariëll & Lisa, bless them.

Lauzerte was indeed a bigger place, actually reminded me a lot of a bigger version of Vézelay, castle on a mountain, long winding street up the side, supermarkets at the foot. I sat at a bar of some Belgian guy and girl and the girl actually spoke Dutch. She was Belgian of course so I was kind of on my P’s & Q’s but they were very friendly, her mother even paid for a tea. Her name was Ann. It was good to talk a little Dutch face to face and I cherished the moment. In between tea’s I found out that there was a pilgrim garden and why not put my fucking tent there? I did and the weather was just complete shit, rain storms, thunder, wind – all those good things. 

The next day I went to the store, by the time I realized I went there for absolutely nothing, just as I realized this I slipped and got the wind knocked out of me, INSULT to injury followed as the store was closing for the afternoon and the lady made no exception whatsoever.. I did see a guy there with a dog who seemed friendly enough although a little rough around the edges. I went back to the town and it started to rain, great. Took some shelter and thought about what to do today, my wet shoes caused somewhat of blisters and a rest day was maybe in my best interest. Also get some more writing done doesn’t sound all the bad. 

I was sheltering for the rain and this guy with his dog walks by, I greeted him and we talked a bit, he offered to host me in town and uhhh yea dude, cool. Thanks. His name was Dino (Age: 28, Occupation; professional bullshitter) and the dog’s name was Nhala. Argentine pitbull but as sweet as can be, Lucy hated Nhala’s guts, dominant little bitch that she is. The guy explained to me that he was squatting a house on the border of town and I told him I didn’t really care haha. We came up to the house which was a little secluded and had to enter through the window. This guy haha, wtf. He had been there for about a week or so and it belonged to some English tourists as some birthday cards gave away their nationality. Dino was every sort of person your parents told you to stay away from when you were younger and as he made an omelette for the both of us, he told me the wildest stories. After dinner I remembered that I had the weed left from Gwen and I didn’t expect to use it this soon, but it seemed like a very opportune moment. Most of it were just stories but I believe there would be a kernel of truth to them, from people hanging themselves because he gave them too much LSD, squatting around Europe from Greece to France, fighting people, getting into trouble with the police, yea this guy wouldn’t be considered a good guy. I didn’t care much though, I don’t judge people on what they’ve done, only how they treat me in that moment. Apparently he had lived in this town for quite some time when he was younger, a fact that would become evident later as were walking around town. His plan was to panhandle a little at the local supermarket while I did some writing. 

We went to the office du tourism and the lady behind the counter gave me a look like I was part of the problem, no care.. Just give me the stamp.. In the bar he greeted the owner, only only to be met with contempt and raised eyebrows. Then he went towards the store where I met him earlier and I actually got some good writing in.

Dino came back soon enough and we had another drink in the bar, apparently he had gotten 20 € that day and also had a grocery bag full of food, good catch my dude, good catch. We were going to watch a movie in the evening while he made us dinner, you guessed it, more pasta carbonara. What is it with these French people honestly.. Doesn’t matter if you’resome squatter with a taste for psychedelics, some crazy bipolar Christian boomer or just some priest..When they do pasta – they do carbonara. Ehh I guess its a relatively low effort meal and you could use your local cheeses or recipes to make it.. JUST MAKE A RED ONE DAMNIT!

In the evening we watched Lawrence of Arabia, because why not watch a 3,5 hour movie from 50 years ago with some guy who barely speaks English, has a attention deficit and a mouth that just keeps on running.

Dino was a good enough guy, just ever becoming rougher as the years progressed and not really giving a shit about anything other than him and his dog. Still friendly and sharing to me though.

We went for a water run and he showed me all the places he did crazy shit in this town, it explained peoples reactions walking around earlier to say the least, as this guy was well known and most people clearly wished they didn’t. The guy was a saint to me however. Even spending some of his hard earned cash on buying some local beer that I just had to try when we finished up the movie. 


I had a good night sleep on the couch and the next day Dino loaded me up with some food, that he didn’tlike, but people had given to him. We walked into town and said our goodbyes.


I was really happy to meet you, you were like a shooting star: deeply intense, incredibly bright and nobody knows where its going. Wherever our paths will lead us, you will remain my shooting star forever..

After Manon left, I planned on leaving my bag at the tourist office and I walked around the city a bit. I found a nice cafe that had the worst internet connection ever but I still did a little writing there. When the tourist office was about to close I decided to get a sandwich and just go towards the river and the famous bridge (which was basically the only real tourist attraction of the town). 
I planned on finding a nice place to stay or somewhere to put up my tent, the town itself being positioned in a way where sleeping in a tent is not ideal due to the humidity.

Cahors devil bridge

Didn’t find anything before the sandwich but I just took it easy and trusted I would find something, sure enough after the sandwich I walked back towards the tourist office and 2 streets away from the bridge, there was a fence and what seemed to be a warehouse. I pushed against the fence and it opened up.. Closed it behind me and sure enough, the door to several warehouses was open as well. The building seemed to be used at some point to host a charity sale or something and I found a little place on some shelves that someone crudely made. Even a little broom to clean the place up. Yea Im not going to find anything better and after I cleaned it up I hurried back to the tourist office. The guy there and me had a little chat and he made some passive-aggressive comments that only crazy people did the camino in this time of year, not biting my friend, have fun helping tourists haha.

I went back to the warehouse which was about 20 minutes walk from the city center, I installed some small things to see if somebody went there in the short timespan I went away but they were undisturbed. I wasn’t just making my bed and leaving it up, so I could get it stolen while I chilled around town a bit. I hid my bag, reinstalled some of the things that would get disturbed (if someone else than me) entered the compound and packed some stuff and went back into town. Walked around town a bit but ended up at the same bar as before, yea Cahors seems nice but its not Figeac, it didnt quite have that pleasant towny feel to it.

Warehouse abode

The Blablacar ride the next day was delayed a bit and that worked out very well for me since it turned out to be pretty cold in the warehouse and at some point I woke up and could see the fog rolling through the hall. Still my sleeping bag held up good and Lucy wasnt cold either. I met the lady of the Blablacar back to Figeac and she had her little baby boy with her. Halfway through the journey I needed to distract him a little because he got fed up with the drive. The lady gave him bread to make him quiet and damn, Im pretty sure French bread also would have worked on me when I was a little toddler.

Marie and Adrian had agreed to pick me up wherever the Blablacar dropped me off and I texted them before I arrived. They were pretty hungover since there were a couple of people for the party that had arrived a day earlier. Still it was very good to see them and we headed back to their house. It felt like Ive been away for more than a week but it also didnt. Back at the house I got to meet Paulien & Colin, friends of Marie & Adrian. We at pasta carbonara (surprising..) and afterwards we went for grocery shopping. Marie told me that she and Petra had spent more time together the past week and that she was still there for the party tonight, awesome!

At the grocer I bought a lemon plant for Marie and Adrian as a housewarming gift. We returned home and the people slowly started showing up. All the familiar faces from Figeac drippled in and apparently it was also a dress up party, the dress code was that you needed an outfit that started with an F. My outfit was simple and sleak – a fucking pilgrim.. Marie her family also arrived and at some point there were close to 50 people. The atmosphere was very laidback and I left Lucy in the bedroom at first, but after a while I decided to do a little writing and not be involved with the party so much. This lasted for just about enough time for me to delete my backup diary on my phone, yea alcohol.. Maybe writing is not such a good idea and I went back upstairs to play some beer pong. 1stround I did pretty well but 2ndround did not went so well. Lucy fought a German shepard and yea. Good fucking party lol. Figeac is a really nice place I must say and this felt like a proper goodbye to all the awesome people and the town itself. 

At the end of the night I decided to sleep in my tent since my bed got hijacked by beautiful Perrine. I already spotted enough birds this week though and I decided to put my tent in the garden and just sleep there. Now the alcohol definitely played a role but holy shit, I was really bad at putting up my tent since I hadnt done it in a while.. I got it up and fell asleep right away. Great fucking party.

The next day, a few people stayed over for sleeping and we were all hungover like crazy, I did eat a lot of the left over food and yea, a lot similar like the housewarming parties Im used to but also not just quite the same.

I had a Blablacar ride booked that evening at 2200h from the local supermarket and Adrian was willing to drive me there after I had packed my bag and pretended I was writing a little bit but mostly we slept on the couch all day.

I said goodbye to Marie and Adrian and the Blablacar girl who drove me was already waiting at the parking lot. She was an extremely friendly girl from Toulouse and we talked a great deal during the trip. She was a singer and was on the road quite a bit, even though this was slow season, she had a performance somewhere. When she dropped me off in Cahors, she said she had a little gift for me and to hold up my hand, she dropped in a little bud of weed..SO FUCKING COOL. I mean Im not really in the weed smoking business anymore on this trip but Im sure it will come in handy at some point. Thank you very much Gwen, hope to see you again someday!
I went to my domain in Cahors, and my little precautions to see if someone had been there were still undisturbed, great stuff! It was not freezing cold at night this time and I was ready to set out again the next day.


From Figeac

500 km left to the border with Spain, France has been wonderful and I could feel that the French part of my adventure was nearing its end. Rumblings of Covid 19 were slowly emerging here and there but I didnt think too much of it at this point..

I woke up and I was wayyy too late, putting the blankets over my head put me in a complete bubble where time didn’t exist and when I woke up, the sun was already shining and the next day arrived. Cussing and slightly anxious, I prayed that there was nobody there yet. I put on my shoes, told Lucy to come and I went down the stairs.

Nobody was there yet and when I looked on my phone I found out it was about 0830h even though I intended on leaving the place at 0600h, lucky.. I went to the square where I hid my backpack and saw that a little shop was already open and some French people were sitting on the terrace. I did the French thing and shook their hands and joined them. Much to my delight they were as weirded out by this as I was.

I chilled a bit and my backpack was still where I left it. I talked to my new amis about the weather and my trip. Friendly as ever. They told me they did not see that many pilgrims on this route since the other one is more advertised (normal GR-65 continuation (even though this one was shorter and flatter)) and clearly used by olden pilgrims back in the day.

The sun popped through after a quick breakfast and some coffee’s. I went to the church to burn a few candles and I thought I’d forgot my tobacco at the little shop, went back but found out I had it in my other pocket..Sure.. Whatever.. Why are you delaying me Most High? Something must be up

I left town and it really started to heat up. I was going to continue on the normal road instead of following the meandering of the GR-651 through the same valley. The weather was nice, I was pumped to be on the road and not getting caught by either an evil spirit or the owner with a machete in the antique store (shoutout to Vledder) and at that point I heard a voice behind me, a nice girl on a bike struck up a conversation with me and we hit it off immediately. She was on this crazy trip of biking around Europe for the foreseeable future. She had left her home 12 days ago and she was also planning to go to Cahors today, it was only a good 45-50km and we both had good hopes to make it there today. I suggested we should get a lunch together and she agreed.

We talked and sat next to the river on my Mexican blanket, she shared her food with me and we exchanged stories and experiences. Her name was Manon (which is the 2ndgreat Manon I got to know in France) and her 2ndname was Lucy WHICH IS JUST WTF.. She was quite smart and adventurous. I literally had only walked one bend from the town I started but I didn’t really care. She had started just in front of Figeac and had already done around 30km that day. Yea, no Im not that disciplined lol.. At some point I took out a piece of chocolate that she offered and it had a camino shell on it, Manon looked at the other pieces and we came to the conclusion there were no other chocolate pieces that had a camino shell on it. Life is beautiful.

Manon made her way through France using an application called Warm Showers. Too bad not available outside of France but its basically a Couchsurfing application for bicyclists. She had her next one in Cahors and after I told her I wild camped everywhere, she insisted we would wild camp somewhere along the route instead and she cancelled her stay there.

We decided on a plan, I was planning to walk but why not hitchhike as well, I mean I wasn’t going to be able to keep up with her either way and she’s not going to bike alongside me the entire way.. Just as we decided on a plan, a car pulled up on an empty parking lot. The guy parked the car and I greeted him and we just asked him right away if it was possible for me to hitch a ride with him. He said; Yea Sure! He was first going to look for birds in that area but continue on later towards Cahors. Manon biked on and I walked into a field with Jean Pascal. JP was looking for some eagle that used to be in the area, then left because of pollution or something but was slowly reintegrating into the local fauna. Cool stuff my dude, cool stuff. Lucy and me enjoyed the weather and I already had my monocle to look with him. We saw other birds but we didn’t find the one that JP was looking for. 

We went back to the car and we talked a bit, my French was pretty decent at this point and we got along fine. Along the way to Cahors we stopped at another parking spot and continued our routine of walking into a field and look for some cliff eagle.. And.. HE FOUND ONE. A beautiful greyish bird that gave out a typical eagle call settled on the side of a beautiful cliff. Jean went from a stoic man to a little boy and insisted on showing it to me, offering me his binoculars even though I had my own. He told me that the farmers used a pesticide that killed off some beetles that the eagles used to eat, when they were gone they weren’t able to make the hard shell that covered their eggs so the eggs were not feasible for life. I also asked him where and why they would nest and he explained that owls in particular don’t give a shit about your conservation efforts and absolutely decimated the up and coming reintegrating population. We went back to the car and he put a note in a little brown book. Bird spotters..funny people.. I once again realized that there are worlds under this world or rather MY world, different etiquettes/mannerisms for all sorts of hobbies/jobs..

We continued and found another parking lot along the road in the valley, surrounded by beautiful cliffs. We crossed a river, went out into a field again and he found another few. Awesome stuff and I was happy for him, even though he thought it was too early in the season, apparently they were back in bigger numbers than the year before. JP snapped out his little brown book again and smiled as he wrote the date/name/location into it.

I got a little worried we weren’t going to catch up to Manon in time. JP and me talked and he told me about this magical town that he made out to sound like some crazy beautiful place, nested on the side of a hill overlooking a valley, called St. Cirq – lapopie. He asked me how I met Manon and found it hard to explain to him what the hell was going on. The day was passing by and we drove past some beautiful houses carved into the cliffs, a waterfall and the sun slowly dipped everything in shades of gold. At the end of the road there was a crossroad and I could already see Manon from a distance. We got out of the car and JP and Manon conversed (too fast for me to understand) but in the end we decided to go towards St. Cirq – Lapopie, which was left instead of right towards Cahors. I kind of hesitated since Cahors was still a good 35 km from the crossroads and the day was already progressing, making hitchhiking (generally speaking) harder. Manon and JP insisted however and I just went along for the ride.

The town made of unicorns and sparkles wasn’t that far of a drive to my relief, and we pulled up on another parking lot with a great view. JP had some more bird spotting to do and it wasn’t long before he found a couple, he wanted to show them to Manon as well but she had a hard time finding it. I went for a piss and a little walk with Lucy admiring this beautiful town. When I came back JP had an agitated look on his face and tried to keep pointing out to Manon where to look, I must admit it didn’t help that the bird had the same color as the side of the cliff in the shade. I looked at the town and I must admit, it was pretty gorgeous. A big church/castle on the side of the cliff with little, quaint, typically medieval rooftops of the town surrounding it. JP offered to drop me off at the edge of town while Manon took her bike (Sunrise). Such a weird and nice day and it felt a little bit dreamy, the town itself being straight from a fairy tale complemented this feeling.

St. Cirq – Lapopie

JP dropped me off just as Manon was coming up the hill and we said our goodbye’s, I thanked him and he waved goodbye to Manon. I left my bag at Manon her bike and we decided to walk around town a bit. Manon collected tourist guides from all the towns that she visited and I collected stamps and the office de tourism had both. The town was cool, weird but beautiful atmosphere, winding streets and old stone buildings. Weird thing happened on the way back to where we came into town, the street was now closed off and some monsieur was doing some work there, he told us the road was closed but we went through another path and tried to pass the red tape further on, he yelled at us but I said to him that its the only road and we literally walked in on that street 5 minutes ago. Ill swing back to this later.

Manon and me eventually found our way out of town and decided not to camp near St. Cirq – lapopie since it was still a pretty long way to Cahors and we wanted to end up as close to it as possible, I had my ride back to Figeac in 2 days and I also wanted to do some writing and get some work done in Cahors. Not saying that Manon wasn’t just the most perfectly timed distraction ever. Who cares about blogging or diary writing when you can spot birds and visit Grimm villages.

We decided to meet in a town called Vers. Only 10km away from Cahors. I would continue to hitchhike and Manon would ride on ahead. This was all very sketchy in terms of timing since hitchhiking is never a guaranteed thing. But as soon as we (again) decided on going down the hill towards a supermarket to get some food, a guy with his young son walked by and asked if we needed some help. I said, uhh yea, can I ride with you down the hill towards the supermarket and he said yea sure. His son all excited and shit.. He dropped me off at the bottom and Manon already went by the bakery. I joked about the guy who told us earlier in the town who was working on the street told us not to pass just went inside the store, he came outside and I asked him if I could hitch a ride with him..He said yea sure even though he lived close by but thats the thing about hitchhiking, first ride – most important ride and as soon as you’re on your way, you’re on your way and the whole thing just flows smoother – We drove passed Manon and the guy was actually pretty nice and chill. He went to his house and Manon drove passed me blowing a kiss at me. The spot I was didn’t feel right and I just decided to walk a little further on. The sun was properly setting now and I was a little worried I wasn’t going to make the rendezvous. The whole day was going pretty spectacular so far though and I had a positive attitude about my chances. Sure enough, 2 cars went by and the 3rdone pulled up and gave me a ride. A clear Blablacar ride and the people were quiet but friendly. We passed Manon and I arrived in Vers pretty fast. Manon still had to cover a little bit and I already went looking for a spot for us to wild camp next to the river.

I found a very nice spot soon enough on the actual campsite (even though it was closed now). Manon arrived soon enough and she was happy to see me, she looked at every car but didn’t catch me whizzing by since the Blablacar driver didn’t slow down. We put up the tent, took a shower in the river and had some food in town. Very, very interesting girl and very, very special day. Not to mention this is the first time this trip that Im actually showering in a river. It was as cold as it was refreshing. Manon had a massive tent with her (Buckingham) and we had a very good sleep when we finally did decide to go to sleep..

Morning tent view

The next day I woke up slowly and we had some good fun. I was slower than Manon was and we decided to push our luck one more time. Manon sent me a message that she arrived in Cahors right at the time when I found a ride and we met up again and walked around the sights of the city together. A beautiful bridge, a nice cathedral and a very delicious croque monsieur at a local cafe before we said our goodbye’s which hit her harder than it hit me. To me a goodbye is never goodbye and Im sure I would meet her again someday.

Really special, really thankful, very blessed all in all.

I grabbed my little brown book from my bag and wrote her name/location and date in it..

Beautiful day, beautiful people, beautiful life!

I left when the fog burned off and the sun was shining beautiful, some minor rain clouds here and there but it was all nice and peaceful. I went on my way after talking Petra into staying another few days, maybe even stay until the housewarming party. It would be a nice conclusion to her stay and I would just love to see her again.

I found my way pretty easily and without a couple of stops dodging rain showers, the road was pretty smooth. I entered a beautiful town that Perrine already told me about called Faycelles, beautiful, quaint little paths to where all the stores and bars were closed. It was no matter. Im wearing enough kebabs on me to keep me going without eating a for a lil while..

At the end of the day I reached this other little town and I had a choice to make. Either I was going to take the normal GR- 65 route (which was more inland from the river) or I was going to take a shorter route, the GR-651, it looked a little bit more difficult but there were a couple of positives. I could swerve off the path and just follow the road, also following the river (which logically flows at the lowest point) made me think that it would be more flat than the other GR route.

In the end my bet paid off. I woke up in a little town and went to the bar to drink a tea. Then went back to the entrance and walked down the mountain, being a little afraid of the risk but pushed on anyway. The weather was pleasant enough and I soon took a little break to eat some incredible homemade jam that Marie her mom gave me. I still had a good piece of spicy cheese left and the prune/mint jam made a very nice combination.

As I walked on I decided to work a little on my walking stick, it was a little too big for my taste and I decided to slim it down a tad, finding some sandpaper on one of my kebab runs in Figeac. Still had some knife work to do though before I was going to use it.

It seems I have made the right choice and the landscape was absolutely beautiful. Cliffs encompassed the entire route with birds and forests in the fertile valley. Because of the fog coming from the river in the evening I found myself walking through forests that were covered in moss, untouched by human hands for quite some time, creating this mystical atmosphere. Instead of following the GR-651, I decided on just walking on the normal road to the next village. Cars were almost none existent so I didnt see a reason why not. I entered a town and there was a massive pilgrim statue there. On my way in I had a short chat with some interested people and the mayor of the town told me not to sleep in the valley since the fog and the humidity from the river made everything pretty cold during nighttime.

The giant pilgrim statue in the town and other subtle hints I got while walking made it possible that this is maybe the original route that pilgrims took back in the day. In my mind I find it hard to believe that pilgrims back in the day decided to take the route following nature instead of walking through civilisation. Roads now are mostly laid upon roads that people used to use so why the hell not? Yea, no Im pretty sure this is the route any sane pilgrim would take when as so little as glancing at a map. It looked shorter, it went through towns, it followed the lowest point and yea I dont have anymore arguments but I cant think of anything more that matters.

At the end of the day it was getting dark, still about 40 kilometers to Cahors and I thought I was just going to keep going, maybe all through the night. It was a waxing moon however and that made everything pretty fucking dark, even with my flashlight.. I arrived in a town and I was planning on putting up my tent BUT when I walked around the town I found a backdoor open. I saw light burning behind a door but as the most ninja version of me, I walked in. Looked at the place and there was also a stairs leading up to a 2ndstory. 

Now my strategy when entering a place I shouldnt be is this; I enter the place, I look around for camera’s/any form of security and then I back out. I take a little stroll and take in the environment (neighbors/predictions about how it will look in the morning/how noticable I would be).

I walked around the building and I noticed that it belonged to an antique store. Leaving on the light in the actual shop all day, closed off by just a door when you entered from the back. This is shady. Still the fog from the river was setting in and putting up my tent was just a hassle.

I went back to the store and peeked through a crack in the old wooden door, the backroom was filled with building materials and the stairs seemed to be a little bit dusty.

Me and Lucy went up halfway, well I went halfway and Lucy ran up the stairs like she lived there wagging her tail as my cautious ass was absorbing the atmosphere.

A closed door, looked lived in..I backed down, went outside, smoked a cigaret and walked around. You see this tactic plays into silent alarms, if they had any, I would have tripped them by now and gendermarie would make its way to the store within a maximum of 20 minutes. 

I set up a tactical vantage point while also exploring the rest of the town, I found a closed up bar at the edges with a terrace, a stone oven for making pizza and a nice little tool cabinet behind it, just enough space to hide my bag. Excellent.. I went to retrieve the bag that I had left near the ruined church. The church itself was also open but the door was fenced off by a lvl 8 lock, too bad my exp is only lvl 3 at this point.

I hid my bag and went back to the antique place, this time opening and closing the door. Walking up the stairs making as little sound as possible, walk up the door and shone my light into the room. Weird stuff all over the place, a chair, some blankets and fuck yes – a mattress. I decided to open the door this time, not touching anything with my fingers as to not leave any prints. The door had a slight budge so I couldnt outright open it, finally I understood the manual and I opened the door.. Statues, paintings. Boxes with German descriptions on it…I didnt care.. It was cold but the chair looked like the best place to sleep, the matresses would be perfect as well but I would have to put a lot of stuff back in place to make it seem unvisited the next day. Yea no, the chair was the best option, Lucy on my lap, my bag safe and sound a little while away, a few real fur blankets to keep me warm. I sent my brother the exact place where I was staying, just a fail safe in the background were this to be the beginning of a horror movie..

I wanted to wake up the next day before anyone was possibly going to be there. I overslept like a motherfucker and as I put on my shoes, I noticed no sounds except for birds. Good sign. I left as quietly as I entered and went to a little bar/store thing near where I parked my backpack. 
There were some other French people there and it was nice talking to them, I drank a few coffee and bought some food for Lucy. A monsieur told me that the cold, and the fog, would burn off soon enough and I agreed with him.

Eventually it burned off and I shook hands, kissed cheeks (men and females alike), went to the church to burn 3 candles and off I went. 

Little did I know that by me taking GR-651, sleeping in the antique shop, leaving when the fog burned off, set me on an entirely different experience than I would have had if I followed the ‘normal’ pilgrim path.