I’m sitting in the sole bar-restaurant in the tiny medieval village of Maneru, the only foreigner along with a few locals. More are starting to drift in. Too early for dinner. But it must be their equivalent of happy hour. I’ve got a plate of olives I’m munching on along with my beer. When I asked the young woman behind the bar if it was possible for me to have some from the large bowl on the counter, she kept shoveling them onto a plate until I said stop. They’re to die for. I could make a complete meal with the local bread.
I think most of the villages on the Camino must be medieval, each looks so similar to the next. Most have the big blocky churches with a tower. The few we’ve been able to see inside are spare by comparison to the Gothic cathedral San Cernin in Pamplona, which was quite elaborate.
The days are starting to run into each other with little differentiation. I’m able to keep track by any photos I may take, but more so by the thoughts I hold along the way. If I don’t jot a few things down they may be gone forever. For some, that’s appropriate and part of the process. Others have so much more meaning to me.
A few days ago my friend and old mentor Chief Hawk Pope of the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band in Ohio passed. I’d been thinking of him consistently the day prior as I walked. I saw the news the next day with shock. Since then, he’s continued to be present on this walk as I’ve gone over so many things he told me, having to do with his own walk and that of his people. When I can sort through the jumble tumbling over in my mind, I’ll probably write more. Right now, my heart is heavy.
We’d walked from Zubiri with the plan to arrive in Pamplona the same day and stay 2 nights to look around. However, the temp soared into the 90s along with high humidity. Humidity is not my friend. By the time we arrived in Villava I was about to have heat stroke. I knew if we continued to Pamplona it would be a serious mistake.
We crossed the bridge to Villava. Everything was closed. Oscar went ahead to see if he could find the municipal albergue, while I trailed some distance behind. Just as he rounded a corner out of sight, a young man on a bicycle approached me and asked if I needed a room. I usually blow off anyone who approaches me on the street. But Pedro was quite charming and had an earnestness about him. We ended up staying at his family’s pension, and he turned out to be the chef as well. Quite good. Since the place was new and off the main street, it was also his job to search out likely lodging candidates. Probably not too hard. We all pretty much look the same: dragging feet, slack-jawed, hair wild or hats askew.
The next day we went into Pamplona, a nice respite from the trail.
Climate change is an interesting thing. After all the high heat, the next day the temp dropped by 20 degrees. And the next another 15 and it began to rain.
In the afternoon we arrived in Zariquiegui that held 2 albergues. Ours was cramped and overloaded with pilgrims trying to shelter. This was also the first time we’d been with so many young ones. Most had thus far averaged between 50-68, a guess. We sat shoulder-to-shoulder for the evening meal, which was ample. Lots of noisy conversation. I will admit to meeting my threshold that night, especially with so few physical reserves. I’m an introvert who lives happily alone. This subject deserves a separate post. The contents have been running through my head.
It sounds as though I’m doing a lot of thinking. Much of the time my mind is blank appreciating the landscape, focused on my feet getting up a hill or doing a silent wazifa chant. There are the bigger things that do come up. Like the one I mentioned. I already knew this was an area where I would be challenged. It has to do with energy. But another time, maybe when I’m farther on down the road.
So that brings me full circle. The olives are gone. I’m going back to my home for the night and see if my laundry is dry.