Monday 28 September 2015
So, nearly a week in to my visit in Spain. It has been a lovely, busy and sunny week with lots of fresh air and happy moments. Since I arrived a week ago, it already feels as though I have been here forever – in a good way. Neill and Cath have got to be the coolest, most laid back people I know. It cannot be easy to share your living space with essentially a complete stranger and somehow these two just do it in a way that makes me feel as if I totally belong here.
Workwise I am proud of the fact that I have planted a chestnut and walnut tree this week, I have dug (read “broken out”) two holes for a washing line in very stony soil. This was quite the task and a normal spade was simply not going to cut it. I made both these holes using only a wrecking bar. You will be excused for not knowing what this is, as up until recently I have also only been familiar with a wrecking ball thanks to a certain controversial young lady in the music industry. The wrecking bar is a heavy iron bar that does exactly what it says on the tin: wrecks. Stones, rocks, you name it, it stands no chance. It also wrecked my two thumbs with both missing some skin now, but hey these are my battle scars and I am proud of them.
There were two young German girls also volunteering at The Abbey until yesterday. They are both 22 and hitch-hiked from Germany to come and camp out, have cold showers, dig trenches and eat vegan food in a house with no electricity. Tough stuff. They left yesterday after we all had a chilled out vegan picnic on the lawn behind The Abbey.
I have also been able to go for two runs since I have been here. It is lovely to get out into the Spanish countryside and breathe in the fresh air. On Friday afternoon I walked into the old town of Pamplona and sat at a café in the main square/plaza mayor. It is only about a 20min walk from where we are staying and it was a lovely thing to sit there and reminisce about my last time in old town Pamplona, when I had to sort out new shoes, post my boots ahead to Santiago, and generally just try to keep it together. I saw many pilgrims hopping about town, all of them easily identifiable by the unmistakable pilgrim swagger that is starting to set in after their first few days of walking. The pilgrim swagger is basically a very distinct limp of some sort, and no pilgrim escapes this ever.
We paid Hanneke a couple more visits this week at the albergue where she is working. It has been so lovely to be able to speak Afrikaans in northern Spain.
A big part of our day is to talk to the pilgrims that walk past The Abbey. We show them around, tell them about the project and the building and generally just find out how their Camino’s are going. It is an amazing thing to speak to so many different people each day from so many different countries. It really is a very unique but very rewarding thing to do.
I am happy and calm and lucky. Long may this feeling continue.