October 13, 33km
We’re sitting under the eaves of the bar opposite the beautiful old church here in Cañaveral drinking our drinks and eating our olives and chips. It’s the first day of the hunting season today so there is much beer being drunk and bravado on display as all the men in their green breeches and shirts no doubt are telling their favourite stories. The church tower is one that has been utterly colonised by birds: the storks who make their huge and unruly nests, the pigeons who find ways into every nook: into old drain pipes and holes in the stonework, and the smaller chirripers, the tiny ones of the sky, darting around in pairs and packs. The churches are unfortunately so rarely open. Though I have to say the interiors are sometimes a bit disappointing when I do get the chance to go inside because I always hope they will be as wild, decrepit and colonised as the outside. These buildings have so much presence.
I’m reminded of something David Whyte said about old ruins, especially those of sacred buildings, being somehow more beautiful and radiant than they ever were in their untouched state, and functioning as they were designed to…. and this is like our human conceptions too. They’re much more alive when the roof has fallen down letting the weather and the sunlight in. Let the birds come in and make their nests! Let the wild bees make honey under your eaves!
We’re both a bit wrecked this afternoon after eight hours walking and without taking much of a break. The morning was an absolute pearler with the glorious host of stars above and the tiniest curve of waning moon just risen in the east. We were walking along in the dark and I said, oh, let’s just check the map because the path’s just turned a bit to the west. (Usually it is dead north). And yes, the map confirmed it was correct and went westerly for a while. Afterwards I thought to myself, good gracious, girl! You’ve just been navigating by the stars! Little moments like this are the magic of the Camino.
“The stars are far brighter than gems without measure,
The moon is far whiter than silver in treasure.
The fire is more gleaming on hearth, in the gloaming, than gold won by working – why not go a-roaming!
Oh tra-la-la lino, go walk the Camino!”
(With thanks and apologies to Tolkien)
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There’s no albergue in Cañaveral so we’re staying in the hostal Málaga, actually in a little apartment round the side. At 15€ each it’s a good deal, considering we have a whole house to ourselves. But there’s no hot water and the place is a bit grotty. [Actually the next morning when I was packing I found ten cockroaches in my food bag. Makes my face screw up just thinking about it.] There’s no way I’m getting into the bed. This is definitely a sleep on top in sleeping bag night.
But we got a great menú for dinner, with white bean and chorizo soup, fried eggs with salad and a natilla, yummy custard thing, plus half a bottle of wine and bread, all for 8€ each. Food tastes so good after a day of walking.
Travel well, and remember to leave a crack open for the swallows,