Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pilgrimage Day 19: Sahagún - Reliegos

It is special to go through the city early in the morning. The sky is still dark and the street lights gives a ghostly yellow lighting to empty streets. The way out of Sahagún leads me over the Puente del Canto, a bridge that was built by Alfonso the 6th already in the year 1085. The sun rises and I get to Calzada del Coto. Here, beautiful trees are planted along the whole trail which breaks the monotony of the flat landscape. But since I am walking westward and the sun is on my back all the time, the trees give no shade for me. They give shade only for each other. Then I come to the village Bercianos. Here I find me a bench, rest up for a while and watch the world go by outside  at the local grocery store. After a few km I come to El Burgo Ranero which is slightly larger than the previous village, but otherwise quite similar. Here I go past a bar with a poster that says "access only for men, women are not allowed". Weird to see such signs in modern times.

The way forward now is a near three-hour walk, straight ahead, until the village Reliegos. There are no major differences in the pictures today because everything was really ge same. Today's hike seem to be the same, hour after hour. The monotony of life makes me feel that I am present at all time -in the same situation. I feel almost like I'm standing still. But is not life so often like this for us all? We get up, eat, go to work, come home, eat, sleep, only to do the same the next day. We continue doing the sane things day after day, week after week, year after year.

I have to focus on other things as I walk. It is my focus that is monotonous, not the landscape. I can feel and see that my beard has grown and that I'm starting to change my appearance. 19 days has changed me a bit. I'm not quite the same as when I started. I have taken off some kilos. I speak with my shadow. I have not done before.
I notice a cross-like sculpture along the trail. It is very large. Below the cross is written that the cross is in memory of those who died under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. Has the world forgotten this war? When the civil war raged here, the whole world had it's eyes focused on Spain and people came from all over the world to fight against Franco. In addition to all the fallen soldiers, it is said that up to 200 000 people were executed during Franco's dictatorship. I stop my monotonous journey and become filled with humble respect for those who fought and gave their lives to liberate the land I now walk freely on. I pick up a stone from the road and place it next to the hundreds of other stones that are placed at the foot of this memorial. I walk further and meet a farmer who has a flock of sheep behind him. They follow after him as well-behaved children. He does not have a sheepdog that keeps them together. The farmer only walks on in quick steps in front, with all his sheep running quickly behind him. I associate with how this old style of leadership still works not only for a sheepfarmer, but also in both public and private sector. I smile and take a quick picture of the situation.

Then I finally reach the village of Reliegos. I have walked 30 km today on a road that was straight and flat. Monotonous? Yes, but I managed to break the monotony by noticing other things than that which repeats itself all the time. I found out that if life is monotonous, than I have to change my attitude. If I can't change my surrondings, I can at least change my attitude to them. In Reliegos there are not many places to stay. Below is a picture of the entrance to the hostel I stayed at. There is not much to suggest that pilgrims are welcome here. I just noticed drying racks on the outside along the sidewalk and thought that here are my fellow pilgrims. Here I got a bed for the night for 3 euro (together with 10 other sols). After a good shower and a cold beer in the shade, I ate dinner with a young couple from Italy, at a bar nearby. They had a wonderful homemade stew of lamb here with icecream and pickled plums for dessert and with a good bottle of Rioja red wine. All this for a pilgrimage price of only 5 euro. I am stunned by the price. Something must be very wrong with the price level in Norway. I would in Norway gladly have payed 20 euro for this tasty meal and another 30 euro for the lovely wine, 50 euro all together. And here I pay only 5 euro. I enjoy my meal togehter with my new friends from Italy. I'm smiling.

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