Lubian Travel Blog› entry 23 of 43 › view all entries
Who can remember that crazy imp with the patchwork clothes, long striped stockings and plaits that curled up in a U-shape? She was one of my favourite TV characters growing up and I always aspired to have crazy adventures like Pippi (with a little magic thrown in for good measure)
Well, back on the Camino I stayed in Pueblo de Sanabria in the old part of town high up on a hill near to the Castillo (15th Century). I treated myself to a night alone in a Pension with some privacy and crisp sheets instead of my restrictive sleeping bag. After taking some time to go through the contents of my pack and clean up the assorted ´souvenirs´(now debris), I made my way up towards the Castillo to find a bar with atmosphere to hang out in and watch the world go by.
I found a stunning 2nd storey old ´bohemian´bar with a friendly barman. It appeared to have once been a family home and the rooms now housed lovely rustic tables and chairs, decorated in an old but cosy style. The main bar was quite long and built of old heavy wood. The low exposed beam ceilings gave the place a comforting feel as soon as you walked in.
The barman was singing songs from his favourite collection played at a tasteful volume - a refreshing change from the terrible game shows normally played on TV in every bar. Behind the bar there was a shelf of board games for patrons and several groups of young people came in and straight away selected something to play while enjoying a hot or cold drink.
I perched at the end of the big bar with a steaming Café con leche, looking out the open terrace door to the building opposite, only about 4 metres away.
The next day was an early rise and a white frost. From my cosy room I was not expecting the countryside to be so cold and I was totally underdressed: my NZ merino wool Icebreaker singlet, a lightweight fleecy, cotton shorts and my Moben (cycling) sleeves for gloves. It was two of the coldest hours of my life as I trudged along the side of the quiet Carreterra at daybreak. It was two and a half hours later before I could start to thaw out with my forst Café con leche at the first open bar! Note that the three tiny pastries I had for breakfast also assisted in warming my veins before continuing.
[Although not medically sanctioned, I can thoroughly recommend the ´walk 1000 km´diet to enable you to eat exactly what you want to]
The sun was now out and my shadow clearly visible on the road directly in front of me. Up until a few days ago I had been walking form South to North but my direction is now East to West and therefore the sun is directly behind me in the morning. I was playing around with my new shadow shape and picked up my two little plaits, holding them to the side of my head. Instantly a shadow of Pippi Longstocking was imprinted on the path in front of me. My elongated legs and crazy hair were the spitting image of the imp I remembered from long ago. It was clearly going to be a ´Pippi´ day!
The following two days required me to walk up and over two high mountain passes and the first of these was in my sights now.
Some way up this zig-zag, I noticed a small yellow Camino arrow pointing up through some scrub as a shortcut to the road route. I took this option without any trouble and once on the road again, I noticed another arrow cutting out another corner. At the road yet again, I could see a rough track in the scrub but no arrow. The ´Pippi´in me came out of hiding and I decided to repeat the process for the third time, hopefully cutting some time from my 35km day.
I followed this ´track´ into the scrub for about 25m and then it petered out completely.
My pack had now become a dead weight attached to my shoulders and every loose strap and clip was collecting branches as I pushed on. With every step I was swallowed up further and further into the thick bush, expecting at any moment to disturb a wild boar or wolf (very common in this area). As I could not retrace my steps and had no idea which way was forward, it was time to re-group so I stood perfectly still and breathed, hatching a plan.
Ten agonising minutes later I made it to the pole! I lunged out of the undergrowth and was so elated to find myself on a little road that I ignored the blood trickling down both legs and my shredded arms. The only appropriate response was to dance around like Rocky Balboa in ´Rocky´and sing the tune to the movie! Have you got the picture?
I am not sure if it would have been a Pippi response but I know that she would have enjoyed every second of her adventure as I did.
The next village was called Padornelo and once I found the friendly bar/tienda/café I ordered some food and licked my woulds (not literally). I am not sure whether it was the adrenaline or out of necessity but I also bought a new pocket knife from the lady in the store. It is a tiny French one (Opinel) and before the day was over I had cut myself three times making sandwiches. My old Swiss Army knife is now only useful for extracting corks from bottles.
Life changed once again as I left the tienda and continued on the camino path through a beautiful thick wood; stone walled laneways, moss covered stones, lichen hanging off tall shady trees and glorious tiny wild orchids.
The next tiny hamlet called Aciberos was tucked away in the bush and the stone houses all had dark charcoal slate roofs. I nominate it as the friendliest village in all of Spain.
I walked softly out of this wonderful place with a smile on both my soul and face, and two giant tears.
The laneway from here to Lubián was just as beautiful and led me the final 4km to my home for the night. I passed through a small green meadow, home to a herd of fat happy cows and their bubs.
There are many cats in this area and the older homes that still have wooden front doors cater for their moggies by cutting a small circular hole in the bottom of the door. One Church I passed today had a magnificent old wooden set of front doors containing 20 panels. Each panel had a carved scallop shell (pilgrim symbol) except for the bottom right hand shell . This had been drilled out to make a cat hole for the old Church!
Arrival in Lubián was via the crumbling old houses no longer inhabited by man but still home to a few farm animals. It was another lovely stone Albergue on the edge of town with two small dormitories up and down. Antonio was also there and stayed up top with an Italian couple who arrived late in the evening. I was lucky to have the downstairs all to myself so I could potter around in the early morning without disturbing everyone.
Today I am minus the plaits but always ready for adventure
Besos, Grace (Pippi for a day)