Thursday, September 19th

Leaving, it's still dark, and will be until about a quarter to eight. There's stars, I'm hoping that means no clouds, and in turn, I'm hoping that means a sunny day. There's dogs in the distance, singing.

Walking through many tiny villages. Pena, with the fountain, Couto-Rozas, Pena dos Corvos, Moimentos, Cotarelo Mercadoiro, Moutras, most of them amounting to not much more than the kilometre markers.
Slowly becoming light.

And a herd of goats is just passing through

Just arrived, and already been asked if we know the way out. Well, no, actually. GayEnglishpilgrim and SoFitAllAmericanpilgrim are utterly lost.
In need of a coffee, try a bar, but "No!, no!", apparently it's for taxi drivers only. Then found the Bar Espagna, subtitled Multi-Ciber, with the Internet down the back, just waitin' for me to check the hotmails. I intend to spend quite some time in here.
And we get a room at a hotel, the one nearest the Cathedral.

To the Cathedral, for a look around, and to have the passports stamped. The Iglesia de San Juan.

a little later
Wanders, and buying postcards, which I'm studying in detail, they appear to be not quite of this generation.

A couple in front of a horreo. There's something definitely odd happening here. Consider this, from the 'Pilgrimage Road':

'According to the Veneranda dies sermon in the CC, this stretch of the Road [ie from Portomarin] was famous as an open-air brothel, for whom the author had little sympathy, "The whores[,] who...are accustomed to come between the Minean Bridge and Palas del Rey in the wooded areas, are not only to be excommunicated but also are to be held in shame by all and to have their noses cut off. Usually a single one appears to a solitary traveller."'
The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago, p.324

I think maybe she's propositioning him,
"Hey there, Mr Pilgrim."
"Why, hello, Miss Pilgrim."

I mean there's some not too subtle fingerwork goin' on here.

Chris just bought a Tarta de Santiago, from the Tart Shop, so I've been making crude jokes about looking forward to enjoying a great big tart.

Second bar, and the old guy serving couldn't quite understand the order. But, he just came to our table, carrying a bottle of something, and poured some clear liquid into my coffee. "Pour acqui," he says, which I think is a local specialty. Something close to 100% alcohol, I suspect. It does make the coffee so much better.
The bar chick later tells me it's called 'Augardente'.

a little later
Taking Chris on a 'guided tour' of the Cathedral. The numbered stones from when it was removed to higher ground in the 50's or 60's; the monsters eating the sinners in stone, the angry Annunciation in which Mary is obviously thinking "No!", the Old Testament guys with muscial instruments, one of which looks like a hurdy-gurdy but it can't be, the sirens, and wondering what part of Christian mythology has sirens, aren't they Greek?

Then passing the old men of Portomarin, who seem to have been sitting in the same place since we arrived, all wearing berets, and maybe the continual parade of pilgrims and tourists is a never ending source of amusement. I know it would be to me.

Spent a while outside the Mesón de Rodriguez, chatting to Englishcyclist. Two strikes already. English and Cyclist. But he's okay, he's almost as cynical as I am.

Wanders, around the town. Through the school, accidentally, finding the other iglise, the facade of it at least. Then along the river, and back to the main drag, and a look in a souvenir shop produced a classic. A true classic. Pilgrim Barbie.
Pilgrim Barbie has a tiny backpack, just like the skimpy-hold-nothing-except-my-jimjams-and-hairbrush 14 year-olds that are now beginning to pop up in the refugios. I suppose if you're getting a Plenary Indulgence then you may as well get it young. Sorry, I digress. Pilgrim Barbie also has pilgrim sunglasses, carefully placed on the top of her head.
Could be improved though, if the Mattel company wants to totally go authentic on this line of Barbies. Pilgrim Barbie should have running shoes or sandals, as well as boots, as obviously, if Pilgrim Barbie will need something to change into once she's reached the refugio. Pilgrim Barbie's accessories should include a blue t-shirt with a large yellow arrow on it, like all the recent beginners are sporting; she should have a ski-pole type walking stick, naturally, and not the 'I Just Found It By The Side Of The Road' favoured by the Shirley Maclaine stuff, but the Leki brand ski-pole. Finally, Pilgrim Barbie also needs the scallop shell on her backpack. There you go.

Anyway, apart from the hotel we're staying in, I think that makes a drink in every bar in town. I'm very proud of that.

And the pilgrims just keep rolling in. And lordy, two guys with loaded-up donkeys just rolled in, complete with dogs at their heels. Then a few minutes late, Granny Pilgrim, in a brown robe and purple boots, and I have no idea where she's walked from but she deserves a medal if she's walked from anywhere. She's with Hippy Pilgrim, of the two walking pole variety, one of which is decorated with flora collected along the way.

Another Menu de Peregrino. Fairly ordinary, not cowlips this time, but ended up pissed again on the Vino Tinto.

a little later
Wanders, for coffee, ended up at the same cafe with the penchant for Augardente, vaguely hoping for a repeat. But no, the game playing was in full swing, the "I know you are there, I know you are waiting for service, but I'm pretending I can't see you" game. Unfortunately the game went on a little too long. Left the bar. An old woman at the door trying to reassure me that service would not be long. But feck it, and heading back to the Multi-Ciber.

I feel more comfortable there anyway. Ended up spending yet another half-hour on the Internet.