Forgive me, for I have lapsed into hermit-ness again ……. it has been 9 months since my last post. Thank you to anyone out there who still includes me in their Reader….on opening my own Reader today after such a long time, it was heartwarming to see the feed of your posts there waiting like a gathering of friends.
Since last Fall’s difficult Camino, I’ve worked on the house, painted a bit, made another quilt, rescued another house in Pittsburgh from the brink of un-sellable-ness, and hiked the Camino a second time. It might sound as if I am truly a glutton for punishment…..but the goal was “undoing” a difficult experience, thus gaining some small sense of mastery.
I thought that, having had the experience, I could “do it better this time” and have a more positive outcome, and as an affordable way to spend a month outside one’s regular life, it’s hard to beat hiking trips. Admittedly, it’s not for everyone. I wouldn’t hike the Frances as a solo female again, and I’ve hiked and run for much my adult life (and I’m aware that almost nobody wants to hear that it’s really not all peachy for females alone on these Caminos).
I re-hiked the Pyrenees in an attempt to re-experience them without the hurricane (this time it was only sleeting, hailing and muddy), then jumped ahead by train to where I’d left off hiking last time in Leon. After meeting dozens more extraordinary people with extraordinary stories, hiking day after day in gorgeous scenery with wildflowers, and experiencing a whole new set of adversity, I eventually made it to Santiago 15# lighter and happy to find that I was managing it all with more equanimity this time around. After all, this time I merely ran into another predatory and bizarre person, ran into a few concerningly persistent older males, was slammed into and pickpocketed in a grocery store line in Melide, got off-track and found myself inches from a massive and vicious dog, performed a few hiking shoe surgeries to accommodate foot problems, was called a “puta” by a swaggering local while quietly passing through a town (completely covered-up, wedding-banded, and at age 60 – as it turns out, it’s not all that hard to qualify for Puta status……. female and walking alone will do it). Then there was that small matter of two long-delayed flights and the airlines losing my backpack in Barcelona. But even so, it was a less problem-fraught Camino than the first one. Rereading this last paragraph, I feel rather sure that I am certifiable.
Relief from standard Camino-fare in Santiago – wonderful food everywhere, but especially at Damajuana and Bierzo Enxebre. Baked goat’s cheese, roasted vegetables, rustic bread.
Triple spiral stairs – each beginning from one round hall (Museum of the People of Galicia, Santiago – Museo Do Pobo Gallego), each leading to different levels like an M.C. Escher drawing.
View to Cathedral from the 4th floor pilgrim’s rooms – spartan lodging in an old monk’s cell at the Hospederia San Martin Pinario (Santiago de Compostela). Happily for both of us, the old monk wasn’t still using the room.
Paris (on both ends of the trip) seemed changed to me since the last visit in 2012 – perhaps a bit worn around the edges, but still lovely nonetheless. Or perhaps it’s me who is worn around the edges, I’m not sure. I’ve stayed in different arrondissements each time I visit (being a novelty junkie), but found a favorite this time, and will hope to find rooms in this neighborhood in the future – that would be Montparnasse with it’s street after street of Breton restaurants.
It was the start of Euro 2016, terrorism alerts were high, and police and military people were out en masse, yet the Parisians were everywhere lounging in the parks, strolling the streets, meeting friends for dinner in the sidewalk cafes, and hoards of sports fans thronged the tourist spots.
Left: An artist “hides” the I.M. Pei Pyramide at the Louvre. Right: Parisians quaking in their shoes during the increased terror alerts related to the start of the Euro 2016 games that day (Place du Carousel, Jardin de Tuileries).
Here are some pictures to take you on a little vacation too.
From the Musee des Arts Decoratifs and the Musee de la Publicite. French Advertising art, Courtesan’s bed, Art Nouveau chaise, metal “chair”, torso of curled, glossed porcelain, Art Nouveau vase in ceramic and metal.
Grateful to be home again, I mentioned to my husband that I thought I was done hiking and traveling for awhile. He just smiled and waited, as he always does, and in about a month, I’d finished Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods” and Cheryl Strayer’s “Wild”.
Appalachian Trail, anyone?:0)).