Thursday, June 19, 2008

Day 2

I still haven´t cried. Seriously.

Last night when I finally got into Roncesvalles (probably not pronounced the same way as the street in Toronto) I hobbled into the very first building I saw. It had a picture of a bed and food outside, which seemed promising. I´d intended to stay at the municipal albergue, which apparently has 120 bunkbeds in one room (and in a town with a resident population of fewer than 100), but I didn´t speak enough Spanish to stop the woman from showing me to my private room with an en suite bathroom, in what I can only assume was not the municipal albergue. Thank god for the language barrier. The other great thing about my private room was that I managed to sleep in until about 10:30. I hadn´t planned on starting that late, but it let me lose the 37 year old Peter Pan from BC who walked beside me yesterday, telling me all about his motorcycle. We'll just call him "every mistake I've made since I was 19."

Being on the camino, particularly at the beginning, feels a bit like the first night of camp, if camp were full of retired Catholics. In St Jean Pied de Port, especially, the whole town was humming with a kind of nervous energy for the next morning.

(Speaking of the first morning: just between you, me, and the lamppost, I may have started in the wrong direction. A few hundred metres outside the town, I couldn´t figure out why I hadn´t seen any blazes or other pilgrims, until I realized I was headed back into France. A fitting start.)

Now, at dinner and on the route, I love watching people fumble for a common language. Last night I had dinner with a lawyer from Switzerland and his teenaged son. He complimented me on my French as I barely managed to choke out that I´m a student from Toronto and would he mind please passing the water. Then we switched to English and talked about bills of rights and judicial activism. I thought it might be a bit rude to tell him that his English was pretty good, but maybe the word he was looking for was "anti-miscegenation?"


Julianne said...

Fun to read about your adventures so far and looking forward to more stories. Love ya! :)

Joel said...

Okay, I almost fell off the couch laughing when I read about you starting in the wrong direction. You may have been the first camino pilgrim (or do they call you camionettes?) to end up in Bristol.

megsheff said...

Day 2 and no crying!
This is rivaling Shelter Valley already.
My heart breaks 399 times a day, every time I think of something I want to tell you or see someone to mock. I'll have to save it up for when you return, made so zen and pure and sage from long days with middle aged zealots. Perhaps the same will happen to me -- after all, it is Euro Cup season and the Toucan's never been so fervent.
Keep on rockin in the free world, Sugar Ray.