Monday, December 3, 2012

Day 42: Just Ignore the Dead Pigeons on the Roof

Dscn2902bSeptember 22: I slept well overnight and slept in particularly late having decided to take a short day day into Sahagun. An early end of the day into town would give me a lot of time to catch up on my blog entries—my backlog I had written early was nearly out. And anyhow, maybe some of my friends behind me on the trail would catch up. Even Vivian was behind me now walking at a much slower pace than I was, and I knew very few of the people currently around me. And I still hoped to find Karolina to camp with again one of these days, although with each passing day that I didn’t find her, my hope of finding her grew dimmer.

But since I intended a measly, short 18 kilometer day into Sahagun, I slept in way late, until the sun had already risen quite a bit and warmed up. No getting ready at the coldest part of the day for me this morning! I didn’t get started with my day’s hike until 9:30.

Despite the severely late start, absolutely nobody passed me all morning. I wasn’t surprised at this since I was on an alternative path and knew few pilgrims ever took these scenic alternatives, preferring the shorter road walks instead. And not only was I on an alternative path, but I had camped out on an alternative of the alternative path! So far as I could tell, I might have been the first person to have ever done this! =)

It got better, though, when I reached an alternative to the alternative to the alternative path. I was far off the level of detail my maps held, so I was completely dependent on the Camino markers and my wits. The Camino markers I didn’t always fully trust, and I had my doubts about how well the trail would be marked on an alternative of an alternative of an alternative path that—so far as I knew—I was the only person to take it in the history of the trail. I never did see another pilgrim along this route. Not one! But my wits I had more faith in. I knew, vaguely, what direction I should be walking in, and I could see the road walk that other pilgrims were walking far in the distance, and the trail towns that the route went through but I missed. As long as I kept tabs on these distant landmarks, I couldn’t get too lost regardless of how well the actual trail was marked (or not).

Dscn2909bBut it actually was pretty well marked, and only one unmarked road intersection had me relying purely on my wits, and that worked out well enough. =)

I still found it a little disappointing that almost nobody ever took these nice alternative paths, although my anger at that had dissipated from the day before. But it still surprises me how much everyone was addicted to the horrible road walks—complained bitterly about them—while today, nearly all of it was completely avoidable.

Out of San Nicolas, I took another unmarked path shown in my French guidebook but not covered in the main English-language guidebook that most people carried. Once again, nobody else took this alternative path, although in this case, they had a good excuse for it. They just didn’t know about it since it wasn’t in their guidebook. =) It reminded me of the alternative path I took with Karolina and we used a guide to get us through. I could have used a guide on this alternative as well since I did take a wrong turn along it. The only result of my wrong turn was that I hooked up with the main trail along a busy road a few kilometers earlier than I had expected. When I realized my error, I was almost tempted to backtrack to the wrong turn in order to avoid those few kilometers of road walk, but the thought of backtracking any distance I liked even less, so I decided to take my medicine and follow the road the rest of the way into Sahagan and complain with the rest of the pilgrims about the miserable road walk. =)

At the edge of town was the Hotel Puerta—you could see it a long ways off since “Hotel” was written in giant letters at the top of the building—the hotel had a sign up for pilgrims saying that they had a pilgrim rate of 25 euros for a night. I had wanted a hotel for the night to catch up on my blog entries, and at 25 euros, it seemed unlikely I’d find anything cheaper. I booked myself a room and it was, hands down, the best 25 euro room I’d ever been in. The room was spotless, with a full-sized bathtub and shower. Two beds as well, not that I needed two of them. But it gave me a place to throw all my gear and spread it out that wasn’t on the floor. I opened the window and admired the view—I could see the Camino outside, but no pilgrims were visible on it at the moment. The ground floor spread out wider than the upper floors, and I looked at the roof of the ground floor below me noticing a few dead pigeon carcasses rotting on the roof.

It was a wonderful room, as long as you ignore the dead pigeons on the roof below my window. =) I wasn’t sure what the non-pilgrim rate for the room was, but I’d be surprised if it was at least double what I paid.

I took a brief walk around town to see the sights and see if there was anyone I knew lounging around. I found nobody I knew, but there were hundreds and hundreds of motorcycles parked all over town. There must have been some sort of motorcycle convention going on—very loud and noisy—and after a bit of grocery shopping, I headed back to the hotel room for the rest of the day.

Some more “hobbit houses” on the trail that are underground.

A lot of the structures along this area were made
out of what appeared to be nothing more than straw and mud.
You could SEE the straw in the dried mud! But
I’ll be darned if I know what keeps it from melting away in the rain…

The Meseta—it’s a wonderful place! =)

The alternative path out of San Nicolas.

When I found this marker, I knew the alternative path probably
once was the main path until it had been rerouted to follow
the busy road. The markers were no longer maintained
or the yellow arrows repainted, though, and I’d lose the alternative
path shortly after I took this photo. =)

And this was my punishment for my wrong turn—the “souless senda.”
Following alongside a well-traveled road and crowded with other pilgrims.

An old church just outside of Sahagun.

There are actually three dead pigeons in this photo. The one recent one
looks like it could still be alive (but it’s not). There’s another dead one
that’s almost completely hidden by the roofing material next to the wall.

A church in Sahagun.

Another old church in Sahagun.

An entrance to Sahagun.

I really liked this fellow, except for the creepy yellow eyes. =)

Motorcycles, motorcycles everywhere! I can only
assume that there was some sort of motorcycle festival
or convention going on in town.

I started taking all sorts of photos of the trashed
cigarette packs on the streets of Sahagun. =) This one
is about smoking causing lung cancer.

This one says that smoking can kill sperm and
reduce fertility. Which, I suppose, means that
smoking is a form of birth control? I’m a little surprised
that the tobacco companies haven’t tried to sell
it as a contraceptive! =)

This one warns about kids and the danger of
secondhand smoke.

This one warns that tobacco is very addictive,
but truth be told, I’ve never heard of anyone trying
to inject tobacco. *shrug*

This one warns that smoking can damage the health
of your child, even in the womb.


anne bonny said...

Beautiful churches. I must say that I'm at a loss as to why they would re-route the trail from some beautiful scenery to a road walk?? :Confused: Even if it meant walking a little further I'd rather walk on a pretty trail than by a road :p

MichKathy said...

Do the yellow eyes glow in the dark?