Day 1: Sevilla to Guillena

September 30, 22km

The Camino began about half an hour into the walk. Crossing a bridge on the outskirts of Sevilla a man on a bike turned around to face me and said “Buen Camino!” with so much heart and a big loud encouraging voice.

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at the 1000km (from Santiago) milestone

It had been a funny old start to the day. Clearly still on Ecuador time I was completely untired at midnight last night and lay awake until 4:00am. Then the next thing I know it`s morning and, oh, none of the other three pilgrims who stayed in the room are there, and, oh goodness, their stuff`s gone. Watch check. 9:30!!! I was supposed to be out the door two hours ago. Slept through my own alarm and the waking, packing and leaving of the other three. It wasn`t stressy, though. Just funny.

After the dirty and industrial edge of Sevilla the Camino wound into Santiponce which was settled by the Romans in 206BCE as `Italica`which I think is a wicked name they should have kept, especially if Italics was invented there. There are ruins I didn`t see for thinking, oh I should press on, but I ate a tomato under a stand of Eucalypts and thought of home. The road leading to Guillena was a dead straight gravel vehicle track with ploughed fields on either side and bordered by dessicated thistles of various types. Then came cotton fields! And then orange groves! And then rockhopping across a stream that smelt of sewage. As a new pilgrim friend remarked, when you`re traveling around in the normal way, you go from nice place to interesting place to accommodation to nice place… But on the Camino you have to walk through all of it. Not just the nice bits. So yeah, there`s smelly places and rubbish and aspects of cities one can usually ignore. I like that about it. There are many people really struggling in Spain with the financial crisis and some of them are camped under bridges, with their vehicles and washing lines and pets and plastic chairs. I walked through their new home and it was sobering.

The hostel in Guillena is recently opened, clean and lovely. It has three rooms with no more than 8 beds per room, ladies and gents bathrooms and a nice hospitalera who stamps your credencial and advises on various things. Where can we eat? Where can we buy stuff? Can I visit the church? It was Sunday night, though, so her answers were limited! That said, of the two restaurants we found, one didn’t open their kitchen until 8pm, and the other until 9. 9PM! That’s when restaurants in Perth are, like, closing! There was a shower, there was clothes washing, there was meeting some other pilgrims and sussing out who I may be walking / overnighting with for the weeks to come. A pilgrim lady at the table next to me was blowing on her fresh nailpolish to dry it, made an inner ‘hmmph! That`s not very pilgrimy` then checked myself and said, Lucy, don`t be such a judgemental git! And all was good again.

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