camino

Camino Portugues Day 9

Pontverde – Caldas De Rais : 22 Km

I woke up with the usual rustling n zipping and instead of waiting for everyone to fuck off as i normally did to get some kip, i got up and headed out into the sun before the noisy bastards. I was so excited about writing that i flipped open Smaragda, my trusty Mac laptop in the first cafe i found and began to type furiously while scoffing sweet shit and cafe con leches.

After 5 hours i thought i better get a move on and headed out with the umberella in hand, into the unkown again. I thought about what i had just wrote and wanted to change it immediately. I had more to say. And wanted to change the way I had said certain things. It was live on the blog and people were reading it but it was all wrong. Ah fuck. I thought about it more and more and was obsessing with all i wanted to say.

I completely ignored my lessons that were rammed into my brain during my 7 hour rainy grey onslaught yesterday. The lessons of appreciating the moment. And now the weather was better, as i dreamed of yesterday, and  i was hardly aware. The sun shined and I walked as quick as i could. Kept on going. All i wanted was a Wi Fi connection so i could type more. Nothing for hours. More dogs on chains barked like rabid fucking wolves at me through large gates. In my frustration I began to bark back at them and try and scare them off. This only served to make them more and more angry and try harder to ecsape to eat me.

Three bars, 2 cafes, still no WiFi. Today was getting on my tits. I just wanted to write. I ingored all the scenery and people and just kept trying to get there. Fuck the journey get me to the WIFI!!!

I started to drift off after a few boring hours and began to think of technical ability in creativity. And how my writing and my music always seemed better when i just blurted it out with no respect for technique. Trying to capture something. The essence of something. I thought it`s far more important to capture the spirit of something than to be technically brilliant at something. But then how do you create or summon a spirit. Spirituality. Has to be the essence of something. I remembered Thomaas saying about my hurting legs how it would make me more spiritual. So is Pain the creator of Spirit?

Then from around a corner came hurtling two dogs who were on the lose. No chains. No gates. No protection for meee! FUCK!! they came straight for me. Going for one ankle each – their jaws salivating and barking like fucking beasts from hell. I must admit they werent the biggest dogs i ever seen. OK. They were tiny. But that aint the point! They were ANGRY and had sumthing to prove! As if all the other dogs in the region had howled through the hills and communicated that i had been barking back at them all day. These little fuckin insane slippers with jaws were now ready to make me pay.

I flipped around my umberella and swung it wide between the two little fucks. They kept barking but it was becoming more of a roar, like an angry pair of bears or somthing. I shat myself! And starting shouting FUCK OFF YA CUNTS and other random English abuse at them. Being Spanish dogs they probably had no idea what i was saying…

Another wide swing and as i brought the brolly up the fucker on the right darted for my ankle. i brought it down and clipped him right on the end of his nose with the bend of the brolly handle. He yelped a pussylike squeek and darted off around the corner. His freind still roaring at me. I kept swinging the umberella and screaming like a woman til he edged off backwards in the direction of his friend. My heart was pumping blood round my shit scared shaking body. I composed myself, muttering “Little Fuckers” as I turned round to get out of there. I almost walked into a tiny Spanish granny who was stood speachless having witnessed me jumping round like a bellend with an umberalla screaming at two chihuahuas.

“Olaaa!” I offered loudly
“Ola” came the stiff quiet response as i shuffled off.

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CAFE!!! WITH WIFI! and BOCAFUCKINGDILLOS! and COFFEE!
in there! sat down. was served the biggest bocadillo known to mankind.

A bocadillo is basically a sandwich. a huge sandwich. dry. no butter. no fillings except a dried piece of thin dark red meat slapped in there. like a rotten minging toungue in the middle of a crusty old loaf. I gulped it down trying to whet my pimply dry white mouth inbetween bites with the miniscule cup of coffee i was served.

I flipped open Smaragda The Laptop, ready to WRITE!

Two policemen walked in and my laptop started having a spack attack. Could it be their equipment i thought. I waited til they went. Then again the screen went nuts.. like never before.. letters and numbers all over the screen. things going bananans. then it just died.

OH. FUCK.

Now this is my intrument on stage with the band. It´s made thousands of people dance and that´s it´s main use. It´s also my communication device for keeping in touch with people. My production tool. My accounts. My diary. My Cinema. My bank. My porn beatermax. My type writer. My Skype machine. My flyer maker. My video maker. My marketing machine. My library. My… my…. My fuckin everything basically. . PLEASE DON´T FUCKING DIE!!!

i tried everyting. i ended up with just a flashing question mark on the screen everytime i tried to switch it on.

There was a big lesson for me to learn here. This happened for a reason. and i knew it.

At the albergue i drank lots of lager and was half asleep and half crying draped over an arm chair as the chorus of snores and guffs fluttered all over me.

“Technique doesn`t come into it. I deal in emotions.” -Jimmy Page

38Km to Santiago!

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Camino Portugues Day 8

Mos – Pontverde : 24 Km

The young Portugese girl who snored like a warthog all night had now stretched up onto her back legs and was blowing her trunk all over my sleep-deprived body. Then commenced the chorus of zzzipping and crunching fucking carrier bags for an hour – a ritual of the early morning in every Albergue.

I headed up a mountain with a new 6 Euro long brown umberella arched over me as the rain just kept on pelting at me. Thomaas was right the umberella is essential kit… me and him were the only pilgrims with umberellas the rest of the suckers had huge plastic capes over them and their sacks that stuck to them and made them cold and miserable. I popped on my headphones and dusted two hours of my French audio course tricking myself into believing I could hold a conversation when I headed to France in a week or so.

I walked across the soft moist mountain totally wrapped in a grey sprawling cloud that hugged me all day long. My feet were drenched  but the rest of me was indoors under my new brolly as I strolled through what was exactly like my home land of Wales. Hours passed. Wales I thought. Pay de Galles in French. Gallis is Spanish. Galliicia is a celtic country. Then you have Gallic language. Je Suis Gallois. Gallicia and Wales were so similar – so wet, so silly, so happy, so generous. In history we must be so closely related. I promised to learn the history of the Celts and where I came from when I returned home.

After 6 hours – finally I found shelter. I cuddled up in a dry corner next to a big ol´horse turd and bit into my squashed bocadillo. The rain kept on pissing. I headed out again.

Next stop a tiny church. A small dim refuge for soggy pilgrims. A group of candles flickered in the dark corner and above them on a spike was a wax sculpture of a head. It looked freaky as fuck as the flames licked at it below… I looked closer… fuckinell this was weird… This was a sculpture of a head alright… . Only… hang on… it is….!!! The head looked exactly like ME!!!! I jumped back in fright at the discovery. HOLY FREAKING SHIT!!!
There is nothing freakier than encountering a small sculpture of your own head in a tiny cold dark church on the side of the mountain in the pissing rain!! How can it be!!!!!!!!??!

I thought through the rainy day about how walking in this shit ripped me into the moment and I understood that I had to learn to appreaciate what is. This was the point. I think. The whole point of my Camino. To learn to appreaciate and stop wanting. Feeling thankful and being in the moment was the secret to really feeling alive and being happy I thought. The Camino teaches you this. I had to experience shit times and really LIVE in them in order to appreciate the good times when they came. I tried hard to appreciate the cold and wet and i managed to smile through the monotonous grey wet day.

I hung out with a group of heavy metal Spanish pilgrims in the night and joined Jonas for some pasta with a can of tuna. T´was a tough wet day and we were all glad of the heated flooring in the albergue!

‘In our daily lives, we must see
That it is not happiness that makes us grateful,
But the gratefulness that makes us happy’ –
Albert Clarke

58Km to Santiago!

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Camino Portugues Day 7

Tuy – Mos : 19 Km

I stood in a doorway as the rain pissed down. 8am and I had 25 cents in my pocket. My bank card had failed to work in every machine. Depressed. My TK Maxx jacket could wrap around my bag protecting my laptop and shit and just about squeeze my arms in… but the front was open so my belly got soaked.  The rain kept pouring over the grey town.

The smell of warm coffee and bread wafted into my cold doorway. I just wanted to sit in the cafe flip open the laptop and write. My new addiction. Wait for the storm to pass. But not even enough for a coffee. FFS.I looked down at my cold white wrinkled toe poking out of the hole in my soggy trainers. What the FUCK was I doing here. I dreamed of being entwined with my girl in bed in Wales all warm. FUCK THIS SHIT!
 FUCK SPAIN. FUCK THE CAMINO. and fuck this rain.

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I trudged through muddy paths squidging around the sides of puddles. My first day in Spain. Flattened dead frog. Flat Rat. Flat snake! why flat? Snails crossed my path. There was nothing enjoyable about this muddy trek in grey silence.

“Ola!”
“olaaa” replied the Spanish lady. I recognised her from Tamel a few days ago.
Her face burst a friendly smile. Big eyes and a lovely Th thththth Th Spanish accent.
 Esther. 41 years old. Mum of three. Married to an older man. From Valencia. A lone pilgrim.

We kept on keeping on through the ugliest part of the Camino yet.
We walked together through long stretches of ugly industrial estates for ages. Lorries and puddles.

“Ah Jason!”
There slumped on the side of the busy wet road in a heap – Thomaas!
I introduced Esther and he burst into a rant of how much he detested the Spanish. oh fuck… off he went.. from the housing, the prices, the history, the people., the government, the banks, the scandal, the muslim roots, the fuckin everything – this guy hated Spain. Esther took it all in, a bit astonished, but smiled and sat next to him and discussed his views. but WHY DID HE LIVE HERE!! He doesn´t even speak Spanish!

I explained to Thomaas I was lucky to get a place to sleep last night as I only just scraped together the 5 euros for the albergue from the bottom of my bag, and my bank card wouldn´t work.  He pulled out 20 euros and demanded I take it.
I tried to say no… I´m sure it will work in the next town.. but he made me take it ´Just In Case´
“I don´t want money back. Just pray for me. You young ones walk on now.”

______________________________________________________________________

We scoffed our faces with tortilla and coffee.
“When my little boy wakes me up on a Sunday. He tells my husband he is not allowed to be married to me any more and that it is now his turn!”
He would get into her bed and open her eye lids with his fingers and tell her she was the most beautiful woman in the world.
“Only when you have children are you grounded.”, she said, “It feels complete when you have your children.
It´s the best thing in the World. They complete you. No matter what else happens.”

We ordered a bocadillo to take in our rucksacks and Esther demanded to pay and told me to keep Thomaas´money just in case. The sheer generosity of these people blew me away. The kindness of Esther and Thomaas hit me hard and made me feel good deep inside.

I left Esther as I needed to rest as my calf muscle was playing up and she was keen to make progress today. We hugged and off she went. I rubbed cream into my leg and thought about family and what it would be like to be a dad. The rain pissed all over me. Then all of a sudden the sun burst out – like a massive orange Chewitt in the sky – mental unpredictable weather here. I hobbled on further in the sun.. Warm on my back I sung and thought and hobbled more. Until I reached a lovely tiny village called Mos.

The friendly bar lady couldn´t fill my glass enough with the deep red wine. Kept on topping up as I wrote more and more on the laptop.. It was worth carrying across countries, just because I could keep in touch with people who mattered to me… and I could WRITE! here! This shit you´re reading now! and I wrote., and wrote. and wrote. 6 hours. I wrote. skyped my lady. drunk. feeling nice. Galicia reminded me of Wales. Chubby friendly people who loved to drink and eat. Green land full of rain. It was like being in a weird alternative Wales where I could talk to my loved ones through a computer. The bar lady smiled, not a word of Enlgish. And she charged me for 3 glasses of wine but i must have drunk 7 or 8…. so nice.

Why are some people so generous? I thought as I slipped into bed at midnight drunk and happy. It always seems to be people with who radiate something special from within them – a certain care-free lightness about them. People who are confident there is more out there for them. Such an amazing quality in a person I thought.

88 Km to Santiago!

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Camino Portugues – DAY 6

Pont De Lima – Tuy : 42 Km

 

I thought Day 4 was a mountain. It was a mere speed bump in comparison to what I was now hanging off by my fingernails. I had to use all of my limbs to scale up the side of this fuckin cliff!! IT went on and on. a big rocky gash up the side of a huge mountain. I guess it was inevitable at one stage I would have to cross one of these mountains… it just so happens it was the biggest fucker in Europe!
3 hours of dangling off this cliff I finally scraped myself to the summit in a dusty pile of tears, sweat, blood and blisters. This was possibly the biggest climb I have ever done. Just before I began to scale the mountain I was talking to an elderly Canadian lady named Marie, short lady with a saggy white neck, and tortoise head dangling under a floppy hat. She smiled and strutted along all hunched over, we walked together for half an hour.

“If I have one pearl of wisdom for you.”, she said, “This would be it: Money comes and goes in life, don’t preoccupy yourself with it too much. Get a little cushion so you are safe and forget about it. The only thing you need to make sure you do is always do what you love. If you don’t love what you are doing, stop doing it NOW.”

I slid down the back end of the fucking volcano and reached a stunning village in a beautiful quiet valley with Roman bridges and silence. The big burly Bull nodded knowingly and Mooooed it´s approval. I stood in his field with my pants round my ankles, slappin on the Savlon. I sat on a little bridge cross legged and opened my bag to discover the eggs I (par)boiled this morning had broken all over my stuff and made a mess of everything. I tried to clean it up and found a lone sausage in the bottom. Ha! Lunch! As I bit into it I looked up and was faced with a black pot-bellied pig staring ritght into my eyes chewing. WHAT THE FUCK!!!! I jumped up in shock!!! Still chewing on his relative I packed my gooey bag up and headed off.
It was early – my pace was fast as my strength was definitely building everyday.

I drank a coffee and ate locally made chocolate with Jonas – a super fit young German guy who was in my Albergue last night.. Friendly german kid only 20 years old, he thought i was mid twenties! Try mid thirties bro!! We chatted in the shade. An old fat man crawled passed with a rucksack on his back, one on his belly, an umberalla, compass and several other gadgets and things hanging off him swinging every where, floppy hat and specs. We laughed at the sheer amount of shit he was carrying and how slow he crawled in the baking sun. We chilled in the freindly cafe a bit longer. “Wanna walk?” asked Jonas . “Nah you go ahead I’ll relax more – I’ll see you in the way.” I like to walk alone.

___________________________________________________________________

“How far to the next Albergue?” I shouted across the road.
“INGLESE!?!?!??!” bellowed the fat man who was now sprawled across a step in front of a church. Bells rang around us and cars whiized between us.
He was very wary of me and scooped his belongings in close to him. He then loosened up and shared his map and info with me as I lay down across the steps next to him.

He looked just like Patrick Moore from The Sky At Night and he sat there surrounded by maps, water bottles, mountain charts, rucksack, day pack, compass, watch and all sorts of shit.

“Ze next Albergue is Balenka approx 18km but i weel walk to Espana tooday”

What an azming accent. German? South African!! I have fallen in love with this accent since discovering my fave band of late Die Antwoord. I couldn’t get enough. My fave word he would say was “Yes”.
If you ever seen the Scottish hotel owner from Little Britain you know what i mean.

“You walk to Spain today?” I asked.
“mmmMMMMyyyEeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaatttcscsssshhhh!!!”

wow. I now tried to get him to say yes as much as possible!!!

“Really?”
“mmmMMMMyyyEeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaatttcscsssshhhh!!!”

He offered me to walk with him and I joined him as we completely lost  track of all the yellow Camino arrows and I deviated from The Way for the 1st time since Porto! We strolled down a super busy road as he spoke stories and history, legend and spirituality at me. lorries whizzed past his rotund collection of flab, skin, belongings and brains.

Thomaas. An astronomer. 66 years old. Walked 12,000 Km. 12,000!!! Born in Germany. Grew up in South Africa. He left because of the violence in 2004. He had 6 university degrees. Lived alone in a small village in Spain. Didn’t speak Spanish and appeared to hate the Spanish. In 2006 his last living relation, his brother, a university lecturer was murdered in his own home in S. Africa by a gang who had broke in using brute force, shot him in the head at close range and stole his… fuckin laptop.

“What do you think of Santiago.”
“Mmmmyeaash. A pile of tourist fuckin Sheeeeeit. I only go there beacuse itz ze End!”
“Oh?”
“But, You must go on to Finesterra. A 3 day walk to the West coast. Finess… Finish.. Terra.. Land!! The End of Land. You must walk zere and end you’re Camino Zere!”
He talked of the history of The Camino. Santiago. Saint James. The first apostle of Jesus. Was murdered in Palestine. His remains were brought back to Santiago by his apostles. 700 years later a monk claimed to see him in a vision and many people began the Camino de Santiago De Compestella.

He tested my knowledge on a range of subjects as we walked together for hours in the sun. He shook his head and held it in his hand in disappointment at my lack of knowledge on mainly history but many other subjects. “You must learn you’re hiztory and about where you come from!!!!”
He filled my head with stories and I enjoyed every single minute of it. Especially the YYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEASSSSHHH bits.

“Jason. Hmmm.” he said. “Yeaaaasahhhh. This reminds me of St Christopher. The Saint of Travelling. They have zimilar storieez of helping people. With Jason it waz un old ugly hag. She was at the river begging for him to carry her across. Jason did indeed carry the ugly hag across and safely to the other side. It turned out that the hag was Hera, The Queen of Gods in disguise. She was the Goddess of Women, Marriage and Birth. She rewarded him for his generosity. Jason in search of ze Golden Fleece. Hmmyeaaashh. In his mission he did not judge people and gave everyone a chance.”

“How did she reward him?” I asked.
“I don’t zememba! Doez not matter!!”

He bought me a coffe and said “Right Jason. What izz coffeeee?”
“A bean?”
“Conrinue!” he snapped and looked toward the floor listening to me.
“um caffienne?”
“yeeeeeeeeeeeaaassssshhh, what else?”
He filled me in on details of coffee and how it helps prevent skin cancer.
He made me throw my poundland sunglasses in the bin –  my eyes are very important and these cheap glasses tricked my eyes in to thinking it wasn’t bright thus opening them up to let in very dangerous UV. He told me to visit an eye specialist when i get home and to up my sunscreen to factor 50 immediatley.

“If  you are to zemember one thing from me.” He declared
“Let it be zis. Ze Law of Unintended Consequences. You never know what will come of what you do. So get actively interested in zumthing! Pursue it. And see where it takes you!”
He advised me to go to University immediately to learn. And said I would be surprised by what work would come from the people I met. He also told of the way he accidentally made his fortunes and ended up as a lonely astronomer in Spain in love with the Universe.

mmmmmYeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaatsssssssssscch!!

We walked across the Eifell bridge as the sun set, leaving Portugal behind us we approached the old ancient town of Tuy (prounounced Too-ey) in Spain. My legs were very tired and my right calf had seized and tightened up to fuck – 42 Km must  be the longest I ever walked in a day. I wondered how he must feel at 66 with all that luggage and 12,000 Km on the clock. “A bit of pain makes you more Spiritual!” quipped Thomaas.

Half way across my mind blurred with happiness and exhaustion. I climbed over the edge and slowly pushed myself off the chunky iron bridge with my big toe. I thrusted backwards screaming with my cock out, limbs a flailing –  speeding backwards towards the huge gushing river ripping my clothes off in mid air screaming – Thomaas looked over in bemusement. My back slapped the freezing cold water and I rejoiced traveling miles down in the clear water. There were mermaids and hags. And St James and St Christopher! And Marie and Jonas, Mr Eiffel! Sicknote! Stevie G! My family! Phil n Jill! Norris!!! Hera the Queen of Gods! Jesus! All my school friends! a big whale! all of us swimming and smiling!! Then my beautiful girl was there all naked and pale, smiling, huge brown eyes wide open in the clear water. Her pert perfect little tits, white skin, huge brown hair, lush little belly and long legs and arms flapping towards me excitedly – we kissed and fucked in the depths of the river surrounded by everyone I had thought about in the last week in my loneliness. This must be underwater love.

On the other side of the bridge we shook hands and Thomaas went to find a hotel while I climbed the ugly cold old town surrounded by dodgy looking drunks and muggers. In the shittest, ugliest, scabbiest and coldest Albergue I found an empty plastic piss-proof mattress, and lay down without a blanket. I thought of something both Marie and Thomaas had said today “If you are given a gift then irt is your obligation, no your duty, to share it with the world.” A symphony of smells, snores and squeeky polite farts filled the air. Darkness came over me and rain began to tickle the roof outside. Fuck.

107 Km to Sanitago

 

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Camino Portugues – DAY 5

Tamel – Pont De Lima : 25 Km

I lobbed half my shit in the bin and headed out into the blistering sun at 9.30am

Strolling down the other side of the mountain I realised my feet were healed. No Pain. How the fuck?
I was beaming. Happy as fuck. Through the trees I could hear a band playing in the distance.. like happy christian music… More Pops in the distance too.. gunfire? no idea.. It had woken me this morning along with the blaring church bells and Cockadoodledooooo!
POP. again POMPF!! pumpf! pop. Over a large stone hump bridge with no sides and over onto a vast dry empty landscape I strolled, mountains surrounded me all around at a distance, and no clouds! Then more POP! pompf! popopop! Fireworks! init?! Easter Sunday! That’s it! They’re celebrating the fucking Resurrection!!! suddenly I felt amazing.. everything seemed perfect. It felt like the first day of creation. Like everything had just been born and it was celebrating. I stretched out my arms wide in the perfect sun and screamed “FUUUUUUUUUUUUCCKK YEEEEEEEAAAHHHHH!!!!!!”
It echoed for miles off the mountains but there were no people in this empty new world to hear me!
The perfect mix of over-excited twittering birds, singing man and band coming over the land to me and fireworks popping off each of the surrounding mountains… The sun beating down on me. And just walking. With feet that felt good. It was all there..  perfect. The Resurrection. I was back. Life is fucking great.
The Way took me up North towards Spain and managed to wind me between all the various mountain ranges so I never actually climbed. It was all flat and in between the valleys. The fireworks continued on and my mouth was drying up. Time was passing hours and hours.. I was still going. No shops. No cafes. Blistering sun….. I needed to drink water. This was fucking dangerous… There’ll be one soon, I thought.. There is every day. Cafe’s everywhere. But Easter Sunday? Hmmm
I was heating up and red as fuck gasping for liquid to be poured down my neck!
I started to think of why I was doing this Camino. People have said you clear all your sins and are granted one wish on your walk. The last Camino I dedicated to the health and wellbeing of my parents. But why the fuck was I walking to Santiago again? I began to think about what I wanted. Money! A car!?! Shoes! um, Fucknose. what do I want? Dosh. Yeah. and other shit.. All these things. Lots of stuff. A huge list! My thoughts wandered and I tripped out for hours, concluding that the Universe will not supply money as it an unclear desire – what is the money for? Nor will it provide things. It is not the language of the Universe. It will however respond to desired experiences. It might give you money or things to fulfil a desired EXPERIENCE! Am I losing my mind I thought, trapped in this huge odd bubble of solitude. At this precise moment through the mad silence a Cuckoo cuckoo’d in a nearby tree.
I entered a wood and was strolling down a dusty path when the greenest lime coloured moth I have ever seen fluttered up to me and behind my head. Pure lime green. Moth? no they come at night.. Butterfly? But it looked like a moth. The lime was the limest lime ever. It reminded me of the lime flavoured callipo’s. Those ice lollys. I so wanted a lime callipo right now. Fuck YES! The ultimate quench! I used to love those things in the summer. Fuck I could taste the butterfly. I was hallucinating with my taste buds! The lime-flavoured buttermoth then came flying back down in front me now joined with a perfect brilliant white friend – Vanilla flavoured buttermoth! I was imaging the taste of them. Fuck too much time alone and dying of thirst can really fuck with your brain. I asked the Universe in that moment for an experience…. ‘The best quenching of my mouth I could possibly get NOW!!! NOW!!!’
Bang!!!
Instantly I realised the carrier bag I had been carrying in my right hand – all day – contained a pear!! I ripped it out  and ate the shit out of it. I made love to the fuckin pear with my mouth and it was indeed the most amazing quench I have ever had. It dripped all over my face and I slurped it all up like a nutcase and launched the tiny stork into the woods.
The fireworks kept on popping.
For lunch I sat on a slab of stone under a shady roof of purple flowers, with a tiny babbling brook next to me and geese looking down from a garden at me – the perfect pilgrim’s rest. I ripped open the bread I had picked up earlier that someone had left for pilgrims and stuffed it full of my lettuce and tomato and sardines. The lime green and vanilla buttermoths came back and fluttered right up to the eye of my glasses and flutter over my face gently then flew up and beyond me. Purple blossom fell onto me and the tomato I was cutting with my bank card. I stuffed my face but somehow the sardines from the tin seemed all wrong in this perfect scene.
I walked on for more several more hours.
“Agua!! Eau!! Water!! Leeequiiiid!” I squealed in pain and desperation at a lumpy woman sat on a step surrounded by four crispy old women in wheel chairs. They all pointed down the street and started shouting some shit.
This was getting fucking ridiculous! Around one more corner, was it a….?  No. Hang on. YEEEAAA! I slapped my head straight into the drinking fountain and sucked the water right down to my deepest innards and panted as I tried to get more in quicker! At Last!!!! GULP!!! splash PUFF! pant!! suck!! Gulp!!
Lowering into a clearing a wide river opened up beside me and a beautiful old bridge spanned across it in the distance with lots of cars and humans all around it. Barefoot by this point, hair everywhere, pink head, poundland shades, chunky headphones, brown shorts and a tight white sweat-ridden T-shirt with ‘Benefit Cheat’ logo on streeetched across my chunky torso.. everyone looking at me. People everywhere. Everyone staring. Lots of posh people. All strolling about. Well dressed in shirts and shoes. Serious. Looking me up n down. This was Pont De Lima and was a quiet, beautiful town FULL of people!!! All looking at me. Every one I passed.
Bow down mother fuckers!! The Chav Punk Hobbit has arrived!
I walked around more and up to the stunning old long arch bridge that lead to a church. Each old lampost in the town and across the bridge had been fitted with speakers and was playing Frank Sinatra!! So Laid Back! This place was stunning. If it was anymore laid back it would BE the fucking horizon. People looked like they couldn’t be arsed. Nothing mattered to these people. Stress clearly did not exist here. They looked me up n down and carried on doing fuck all. It slowly dawned on me. Yes. No. surely. Yes, hang on. Yes:
I was the tallest person here! NO SHIT!
I stand at 5′ 5.5″. I’m used to being amongst the shortest in any given situation. And in a way I quite like it. But everybody here – was shorter than me!! WTF! Yes, everyone I passed was shorter!! And all overweight! Chubby. And brown! Everyone. And the place was rammed – all across the bridge everywhere. All celebrating the Resurrection and strolling around in their sunday best. Event the tall ones were short. And even the skinny ones had at least three bellies. Usually things grow towards the sun, but it seemed as if this lot had cowered away from it and hid in the mud like a potato and just plumped up underground not giving a fuck – and this – Eater Sunday was their day out. Everyone strolled about under the quiet popping of fireworks and Sinatra, and I looked like a strange white Shrek crossing the bridge between them all. “I got you under my skin” crooned quietly all around the gorgeous town and everyone just strolled. It was as if they were sooooo laid back they all forgot to grow.
Then I spotted it. Someone eating a Lime Callipo!! ME!! NOW!!! YES!!!
I sat on a small island with my fat feet in the river sucking on the lime callipo, sun belting down over the bridge as the little people strolled about above me and “I Did It My Way” come quietly seeping over the bridge to me.
Fireworks kept popping til sunset.

In ditching all my belongings this morning I was wrong – all the Albergues don’t supply blankets. Shit. I put on every item of clothing I had and sank into a deep sleep.

149 Km to Santiago!

 

this journey is now a paperback  book!! get i hERE for less than a fiver. xx

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Camino Portugues – DAY 4

Barcelo – Tamel : 9 Km


Outside was grey and miserable like a typical day back in Wales. The rain held off tho so it was dry but I could feel the cold biting at me under my duvet. My feet squealed in pain as I took the three steps to the toilet. I put on all of my clothes and checked out at midday.

Each step fucking hurting.. OUCH.
“No!” said the miserable skinny man. “Menu?” I asked, “Mange?” “Food??”
His head was like an ice cream cone with tiny features placed on it.. just a tiny frown, a slender pointy nose, a small sad pointless mouth and then a slick, shiny Hitler hair-do swished over the top of it all. The ice cream cone was  placed into a perfectly ironed shirt collar, over which he wore a perfectly ironed jumper tucked into perfectly ironed chinos with black slip ons…
this guy looked seriously unhappy and slid about behind the counter drying glasses and trying to ignore me.

A microwaved pizza and beer, the grey clouds stirring over head and the unfriendly people looking over at me writing out my postcards made me wish i never fucking stopped here. Pricks.

“CIAO!” I belted out as I left, still chewing the shit cold food…

Up through and out of the outskirts of Barcelos… only a short day today I keep thinking to myself.. each step fucking ripping my soul and my sole to shreds… then i begin to climb a mountain.

Portugese Chav kids look at me odd. like they wanna fucking mug me. What i got? A sleeping bag? They probably think so. Little do they know i got a Apple Mac in me sack!! More of them in their little cars wheelspinning… Then dogs… flying at me barking like they wanna tear me up with their rabid jaws… stopping a millimeter from my nose with a CLINK!!! and a YELP!!!!! as their chain tightens and they are sent flying back to their home.. loads of the fuckers.. they all hate me!! thank fuck they’re chained up. The sky darkens more and more and the SHORT walk seemed to be taking forever…

“ALBERGUE?” I ask an old tiny woman.
She holds up 4 short brown peeling fingers with no nails on them. 4?
“KILOMETER????” I ask….
“No no, Minito!!” she croaked passed her last black tooth, pointed vertically up the hill and cracked a smile that would scare the shit out of Beelzebub…
“AHHH BELLISIMO!! ” I shout nervously and ploughed on. Bellisimo? That’s fuckin Italian init?

After an hour of hill climbing I fall into the albergue like the hunchback of notre dame, on smack, after hiking everest, in ballet shoes.

Can i go on? Fucknose

176 Km to Santiago!!!

 

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camino

Camino Portugues – DAY 3

Rates – Barcelos : 16 Km

Carrier bags rustling. Too early. Need sleep. Please pack your bag elsewhere!!! rustle. rustle. zzzzzzzip. rustle. zzzzzzzzzzzip. almost an hour or more, rustle, rustle, parp, rustle, zzzzzzzzzip, cough, whisper, zzzzzip, right next to me. shhhhhhhhh

I woke up and everybody was gone. I walked to the bathroom and smiled at the cleaner lady who babbles something at me in Portugese and throws her arms around. In the mirror I look tired, hair stuck straight up like a shrub, eyes sagging and pained, in need of rest. I must keep in mind i am still on a comedown from Freekuency Festival last weekend so should go gentle on myself!
The sun didn’t come out and the cloudy day just lingered on and on.. My feet were in agony. I realised that these trainers I had blagged off Stevie G were totally unsuitable for walking over 200 KM and was in desperate need of my boots, which sat in my empty bedroom back home. It got worse and worse, each step began to send pain shreaking right up into my brain.. 
After many hours of painful steps I arrived in the stunning town of Barcelos, all i needed was rest. I could walk no more. I sat in the church for a while and rested. people bumbled about.. i went out and tried the Albergue but it was closed.. no life. nothing… fuck man i just needed a bed.. 6 hours of walking in pain in the cold had got me, I was ready to lie down – sleep. A man cam up squawking at me in French i could work out he was saying the people weren’t there today. No shit! “Pas Normal!” he repeated then hopped in his car and sped off. “Albergue?” i ask a passing lady, “Ah!!” she exclaims and points at fucking McDonalds. Jesus.
At this point I remembered I left a bag of food in the church so I go back to get it, and the place is rammed mid service, people standing, all the seats full. I locate the bag under the seat I was in earlier near the front and as I grab it a woman starts screaming at me and tapping a guy in front thinking I’m stealing his bag, half the ceremony look round at me as she rants at me and she shaked the confused man in front and barks at me. I laugh and stroll down the side ailse and walk out with about 150 people staring at me, half expecting a preist to rugby tackle me I head down to the river to scoff my sardines and cheese.
 It was getting late and cold and I was fucked. After bartering with the lady in a hotel and getting her down from 25 Euros  to 12, I collapsed in a heap on the bed.
I woke up at 10pm in the tiniest room, but it was warm, cosy and best of all there was no one else farting next to me.
A huge fuzzy full moon stared at me as i walked out of the hotel, it was set low in the sky above a large  ancient fountain in front me, and to my left a huge old square church with bulbous spikes. 
The town was very busy for past 10pm and i strolled around. One thing i noticed about Portugese people is they all have either completely black hair, or completely white hair. I got some strange looks.. probably coz i was one of the only people left in Portugal aged 25-35 and my hair was a golden mess of curls that sat on top of my head like battered birds nest and i wore a cheap rain mac with baggy combats.
I couldn’t work out why there were so many people around. I heard in the distance a feint drum beat. 
Dum Dum Dum te DOM! When i finally found it I was blown away.
Following the 30 drummers was a march through the town, some kind of religious thing. Girls all in black with rattles, faces covered with rope around their foreheads, Ku Klux Klan type figures marching but Black costumes, monk type looking people, Priests, Popes, Kings, Warriors, Holy Men, Soldiers, then more women in black hoods, hundreds of them carrying candles in glass boxes on sticks. then groups carrying what appeared to be coffins. Young men dragging crucifixes. Other soldier type groups carrying huge upright crucifixes on a bed of flowers, other groups of men carrying tall effigies of Mary. No one smiled. Maybe a thousand people marched in these dark twisted fucked up costumes throughout the streets of Barcelo follwing the slow beat of the death march, ‘Dum Dum Dum te DOM’.
It felt like the end of the world.. they marched on real slow pausing on every left step, and the rain began to fall. The beat echoed around the cobbled streets of the town and it’s all that could be heard. I followed them back up to my hotel…
Good Friday init, thats it. A totally unplanned Easter Pilgrimage to Santiago!

185 Km to Santiogo!

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