Monday, August 26th

Nope, much the same as Terradillos, neater though. Passing through, virtually not stopping. The iglise is locked, as usual. Wheatfields on the left, the N120 highway on the right. Walking on a red gravel road.

a little later
Saint Nicholas de Real Camino
You really have to admire places with names of five words. Small town, though, smaller than its name.

Woohoo! My shadow is back. The sun! The sun! Walking solo, mostly by the road. Not fast, not slow, but the 11kms still took about three hours anyway.

Bypassing dogs. Dogs on the road still give me a chill, but apparently they sense fear, so I do my best to project a "come closer and you die" kind of aura, and letting them know that I'm the one with the metal stick. Seems to work. Maybe they weren't anything to be afraid of anyway, maybe the last thing in their little doggie-minds is taking a bite out of this pilgrim.
Walking past the silos, where the mongrel dogs loiter.

Then pass the railway station.

Arrived a few minutes before ten, the final 10 minutes of the walk kind of ugly, but then arriving at the absolutely beautiful albergue, the restored Iglese de Trinidad, and the hospitalero arriving at about the same time I did. And, without doubt, the prettiest hospitalero I've seen in the entire walk. Registered, claimed a bed, then downstairs to use the free Internet. They've two machines in the foyer. New hotmails, the day just keeps getting better, but Geelong got annihilated by Brisbane in the footy. Damn.


In a bar. I mean, where else would I be?
It's a fake Irish bar, it even has Guinness on tap, but I'm having the coffee anyway. Wood panelling, bare floors, a green pressed metal ceiling, but the ceiling over the bar itself is sheet music. They've done their best, it's just the Spanish music that's playing that's wrong. Should be Christy Moore or the Pogues.

Confiteria Katy
And that delicious pastry not only had chocolate on top, it was cream-filled as well. Two other pilgrims are here, but I don't recognize them, they certainly didn't start from where I did this morning. They're carrying huge sticks, more like jousting lances. Other pilgrims are walking right by, continuing their way. Pity, they don't know what they're missing. Pastries with chocolate and cream.

Back in the Irish Tavern, having a cafe solo and a donut. No expense spared on this pilgrim. although they're still not playing Christy Moore, preferring a sort of a country-and-western thing, but with Spanish lyrics, so it's more count that western.

Pity that all three iglises in Sahagun are closed. Apparently they're all certified National Monuments, but according to the hospitalero, "they worked yesterday." Fair enough. Work one day, then take the rest of the week off to recover. The hospitalero here has the most amazing voice, like a 10 year old, the last syllable of every sentence rises in tone. It's totally beguiling. Almost didn't understand what she'd said, just listening to the way she was saying it.

Them to a 'drogerie', and with mime and minimal Spanish bought some Bic razors. Had to buy a bag of five, but what the hell, after two months without a shave, I'm sure young children and small dogs are running in fear from this peregrino.

a little later
back to the refugio, and there's an American pilgrim, Christa, who's fixing her backpack with the needle and cotton I lent her. "It's okay, you don't have to hang around," she says, "I know where you live", meaning the opposite bunk to hers.

Don't know the name of this bar, but there's road works happening outside.The bar assistant sits outside and "if I need anything" that's where she'll be. Bob Marley on the sound system. Exodus! and it's pleasant, and the ceiling here is quite brilliant, a mural of huge portraits blending into one another. I think I recognize one of the portraits, a woman that was the subject of a Cezanne painting. It's great, I like this place, although that may just be my frame of mind at the moment, been walking around with a smile on my face

Had to find a restaurant, as there's only two hotplates at the albergue, and it takes an absolute age for them to get even lukewarm. So, it's to the Panaderia Bar. Pilgrim's Menu. Been here a while, with Christa. and she's been telling me of her experience at the Saint Nicholas refugio, which was totally the opposite of Louise's. To Louise, it was all magic, all candle-lit, songs being sung by the priests, all incredibly ethereal, while Christa is still angry at her attempted molestation by one of the priests' there, as she says, "what the feck was that all about ?". She also carries Daryl with her, a portion of the cremated remains of a friend who died from AIDS, in a transparent plastic container.

A few seconds before 10:00pm
Made it back to the albergue, just.

Trying to get to sleep with the sound of the rain on the roof. Bucketing down.