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Blogging!

Yesterday: Soft is stronger than hard

Today: A place at the table: food, albergues, and conversations with strangers on the Camino.
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Camino memories, and a brief hiatus.

I actually really like that picture of the cat on the pile of tires. SO MANY FERAL CATS ON THE CAMINO.
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Friday evening grab bag, because I have a bunch of Serious Posts I would like to write (street harassment! girl-vs-girl animosity as encapsulated in the "I'm not like other girls" idea! being a food service worker!) but my attention isn't quite focused enough at the moment.

So instead, essays about Whittier, rants about Zack Snyder, videos of people performing amazingly in various ways, and pictures from the Camino.
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Today's blogging/social media:

A tangent on the VMAs, or, a healthy dose of feminist rage for a Monday morning. A friend on Facebook -- a guy I've always liked -- called Ms. Cyrus a "cheap stripper" last night and I regretted not calling him out immediately, so I made it a full blog post.

Alto de Perdon: pictures and thoughts from last year on the Camino.

And:



God, I'm so tired. I feel like I got about four hours of sleep last night.
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Two bits of blogging today, one on the srs blog:

A brief stay in Pamplona, on, well, Pamplona -- or what little I saw of it.

And one on the Tumblrs:

Hey Tumblr, I have a weird question for you about ambidexterity.
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New blog post!

Buen viaje y buen camino.

One year ago today, I left Alaska for Spain. It has taken me a year to have a bedroom to call my own again, which is where I'm writing this from.

I am steadfastly not allowing myself to get navel-gaze-y about the last year, or more to the point, the things that last year I was getting as far away from as quickly as possible. Lo que fue, fue, y que será, será. What I learned from the Camino -- among other things -- was a real appreciation for the moment of putting one foot in front of another, for watching what was around me and what was coming up ahead. We never moved backward on the Camino, and we looked over our shoulder just to make sure we were all together, and to wonder at how far we'd come.

I've got too much to look forward to (and too much to do!) to dwell too much on the past.

That said, looking through the hundreds of pictures I took of Spain (and never did anything with) makes me miss it all incredibly. And makes me want to go get a scallop shell tattoo RIGHT NOW. And since I have all these pictures and I didn't do a lot of writing about the Camino while I was on it, I will be letting myself stroll (with blistered feet and a 20-lb backpack) down memory lane.

Er, when I'm not in Italy, that is. Did I mention I'm going to Rome with my parents in a couple weeks? Probably not, because I had basically forgotten about how soon September 7th is myself. WHOOPS.
adiva_calandia: (running down the road)
It took me a couple of days after visiting Finisterre on September 29 to write about it, and then it took me longer to get around to borrowing my dad's computer so I could type it up. Here goes.

Finisterre: the end of the world. My sister and I sang REM as we climbed the hill, and as we reached the crest I began to sing "Into the West." The ancients thought this was the furthest west you could go in Europe, in the known world. When you reach the top of the hill, all you can see to the front and the right of you is ocean and horizon. The bit of land off to your left, with the town and harbor, is insignificant.

I'm no stranger to ocean, but this was impressive.

Names to call at the end of the world; or, the spiritual reasons for which I undertook this pilgrimage )

I wish I had anything more profound than that to wrap up with, but music has always seemed more efficient at this kind of thing than the thousands of words I could continue to spill, given half a chance.

I will meet you on that beautiful shore.
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6 PM: YAY WE DID IT GUYS WE GOT OUR CERTIFICATES WE'RE CERTIFIED PILGRIMS YAAAAAY

12:50AM: oh what the hell these are the worst cramps 8 I've ever h--

1AM: food poisoning! Whoops!

Anyway, here are some pictures from the good part of yesterday evening:

Read more... )

Never let it be said that this family doesn't know how to cater to end-of-an-80s-movie tropes.
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WE DID IT.

pics to follow eventually!
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Thoughts on being twelve miles from Santiago:

-You mean I slept with those socks in my sleeping bag all night and they're STILL WET?

-What a long strange trip this has been.

-My Spanish is so much better than it was a month ago!

-Well. Sort of. Still can't remember the preterite.

-Whyyyyhuuhuuuh wet socks nooooooo

-Why was everyone in the dorm this morning in such a damn hurry to get going? Slamming doors and whatnot, sheesh. It's just twelve mile, guys, you'll get there today, chill.

-goddammit my underwear is damp too

-Do other pilgrims care if I smell funky? Do they all smell funky too? Is it just me?

-Is it ignoble of me to feel kind of condescending towards the people who started in Sarria at the 100km mark, when I've walked (mostly) from Pamplona? Surely the people who started in St. Jean have a similar feeling towards me.

-Does it matter where we started? No. We're all on the same path headed for the same place. In this last week we have walked through the same storms and sunshine, the same cowshit and mud, and nobody's socks are dry.

-really though I have trouble communicating just how fucking miserable wearing damp underwear and socks makes me

-I am going to ban Via from the apartment, as it is the devil's tool, beguiling the weary pilgrim with the promise of a caffeine jumpstart and tasting like watery mud.

-How can we possibly be only twelve miles from the end of this pilgrimage? How did that happen? And what do I do next?
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So I finally finished Under the Dome, which is a relief because enow I can stop worrying about which beloved characters Stephen King was going to kill off before the end.

Spoilers )

Also reread Firestarter before that. Oh, Charlie and Andy, my heart. <3333

Two days to Santiago, guys! Cripes!
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Today is the fifteenth anniversary of my mother's bone marrow transplant, though it won't be afternoon in Seattle for some time yet. It's a cold day here in Galicia, with the wind blowng in great gusts and the rain coming down like bullets, and all the peregrinos are bundled up. We all look like humpbacked Brian Froud creations with our billowing, belling ponchos draped over our backpacks.

And out in the rain, with her poncho blowing and her stick in hand, toiling up the hills, is my mother. Fifteen years out and still going.
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This morning while walking I was composing this long post in my head about our most recent Camino miracle, but today I've walked nearly twenty miles (30km) and my hip tried to give out on me so I feel pretty good about just sitting here and eating an entire bar of chocolate and not writing.
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Hey, I aten't dead! We are currently in El Burgo Ranero, just past the midpoint of the Camino in Sahagun. Apparently one theory for the name of this town is that the burghers here sold frogs (ranas), which just makes me think uncomfortably of Hellboy and Lovecraft.

No fewer than three people misled me about where to find this albuergue when I got here!!! Malakas.

We have been on the Camino for two weeks as of today! Also mi hermana has joined us! Also I'm getting pretty good at twirling my walking stick like a baton!

Man, I'm hungry.

Also I am rereading The Gunslinger, because after three or four days on the Meseta -- the flat, hot, often shadeless and rest-area-with-water-less part of the Camino -- I have had the line "The man in black fled into the desert and the gunslinger followed" stuck in my head. (Helped, admittedly, by Joan Osborne's cover of "Man In the Long Black Coat" coming up on my music the other day.)

And while walking, I'm gritting my teeth on the annoying voices of the readers and listening tovLibriVox's Le Morte D'Arthur, which I was supposed to read, uh, three years ago in class and . . . didn't . . . . And goddamn was Uther Pendragon a DICK.

That appears to be all the news that's fit to print at the moment. Not dead!
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From tumblr:

This hostal is so charming and the fiesta out in the plaza is so much fun that I currently just want to move to Spain and open an albuerge on El Camino de Santiago and learn Spanish and meet people from all over the world every day and drink cafe from the restaurante down the street and have three gatos and write in el invierno cuando no hay muchos peregrinos.
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So my impression of the pilgrimage has become FINFAL FANTASY XVIASDF: EL CAMINO, because walking it really is just like an RPG:

*The way is marked by official signs with yellow scallop shells on them, or in some places by fancier scallop shells the towns have put into the sidewalks or along the walls, and by painted yellow arrows that are slapped up in every damn place: walls, trees, lampposts, rocks, the sidewalk, anything fairly immovable. In towns there tends to be one every block or so, but in the country they're more once a kilometer. In other words, it's a sandbox world with markers to keep you headed towards the next level, and spotting the right markers can be a challenge.

*You have a limited inventory which you are constantly performing maintenance on, and you're often forced to carry weird random things just in case they become useful.

*You run into the same dozen people through the whole thing. Occasionally they join your party.

*With each new stage you gain XP and get stronger/more tan/your Spanish gets better and you level up.

*If you want to skip particularly difficult stretches, there are codes available to do that. (They're called "bus routes" and "taxi companies".)

*The background graphics are amazing but the foreground is full of bugs.

*The final boss battle is looming. (A 1200 meter climb up O'Sobreirio.)

*It costs an ass-ton of money and time, and you can't really tell until you get to the end whether all the times you wanted to throw your stick across the room and give up were worth it. But you're pretty sure it will be. It got really good reviews.
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You have to imagine the following in allcaps because I'm on my kindle and doing allcaps on this keyboard is ungodly obnoxious:

walked fifteen miles in 30+C heat

made a paper crane for the tobacco-ravaged albuergue owner

got blisters on my neck

successfully translated for and conversed with a woman who speaks italian and french and a little spanish and no english

while drinking beer

LIKE A BOSS

/allcaps

Although much of today sucked to get through (did I mention fifteen miles through 90F heat) (UPHILL BOTH WAYS) (no but really there were a lot of hills x.x), in retrospect it was a pretty awesome day.

I'm the boss.
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I WAS NOT PREPARED FOR THAT HILL, CAMINO. NOT ON.
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ahahaaha oh my god I am so sunburned

also fuck it turns out the red cros on a traditional scallop like the one i just bought is the symbol of st. james the moorslayer

MIERDA

ETA: note to self: cuando ha caminado diez miles y ha comido poco, un litro de cerveza San Miguel es como un pint and a half normally. As Mom said, I'm already floating.

ETA: ... Moreover, apparently I speak in Spanish. TIPSY IN SPAIN. WHOOOOO.
adiva_calandia: (running down the road)
Alto de Perdon.

That means "Height of Forgiveness," and traditionally a pilgrm reaching this height was pardoned, even if she didn't make it all the way to Santiago. The wrought iron statue of peregrnos here - a recent addition - reads "donde se cruza el camino del viento con el d las estrellas."

And it is the path of the wind. Above me and stretching off along the hilltops are wind turbines. Their steady thrum contrasts with the higher, faster chirrup of a grasshopper nearby.

I am sitting in the shadow of a stone shrine much older than anythin ele up here, waiting for my parents to catch up and feeling the arches of my feet relax frm the long climb. My decidedly untraditional pedometer app tells me we havewalked more than 7 miles already.

Beside the shrine is a cairn. People have written on the stones they left, benedictons and rememberances. Hats and scarves are pinned under the te stones. Ribbons are tied to the peregrino sculpture. I have nothing to leave; the stone in my backpack I am saving for Cruzo de Ferro, later in the trip. So I kneel before the cairn and kiss my fingers to the stones, then I sit and I write, taking away intangible things since I have nothing tangible to leave.

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