Day 8: 13 km´s
Today´s reflection/s: Step mindfully/Follow your gut/Everything is uncertain
❤️It is a bit of a late start out of Guadix. It will be a short day today. I take a little bit longer pottering in the morning, eating breakfast (sobreasada-yum!), and skyping my mother. Finally I head off, towards the cathedral, so I can pick up the thread of yellow arrows and follow them out and away. There is some fuffing about and in the end I have to resort to wikiloc to get on track (n.b the pilgrims association has a trail that you can upload to wikiloc. Wikiloc will then alert you if you veer off the camino. It has been pretty useful, I would recommend it). I put this initial visual clumsiness down to not orienting myself by following the arrows in to the cathedral the day before……
The camino leads me out of Guadix pretty quickly, but not before bringing me into contact with the woman who I stopped to talk to on the street of the town that I walked through before getting to hueneja three days earlier. She was whitewashing a wall and we had a bit of a chat about the rain. At the time, there was the usual surprise when I told her what I was doing. But, you’re doing it alone? She tells me that if I follow the road it will be more comfortable for me than if I follow the rambla (dried out riverbed) as per the camino. More confused looks appear when I tell her that all the same I am going to do the riverbed. Buen camino! That woman. Except now she is with her husband, who knows all about me because she has clearly given him the rundown on the Australian woman walking to Santiago. Five minutes later I run into Marion and Yvette, who have come into town to buy a chicken (there used to be two, but then the fox got into the coop). Damn, its a small world, even for a pilgrim who doesn’t know anybody! Fiiiiiiinalllllllyyyyyyyyyyyyy I am leaving Guadix………
Oh wow, I love the next bit of the walk back up around the back of Guadix, which gives me one last lingering glance as I pass more pockmarked mountains and follow a riverbed into a forest. I notice tracks in front of me. At first, I think that they might belong to a wild pig, but who am I kidding? I havent the foggiest. A little bit further on I see some mountain goats bounding up the hill, then stopping to watch me. We stay like this for a few minutes, watching each other. All this way, I am stepping mindfully. Thinking about where I place my foot. Thinking about putting solid intention behind each step. When I do this, I feel the knee pain ease. Food for thougt, learning. At this point, the path continues to weave its way through a pine forest before morphing into a forked path. I take the left turn and the path begins to take me up, between fairly imposing rock structures. Unfortunately, this bit of land seems to have become the local garbage dump. I walk past abandoned mattresses and various types of domestic detritus, disappointed. Between and over a couple more hills and I find myself wandering into Purullena. Passing the “cave museum” and andalucian ceramic souvenir wholesalers on the outskirts of town, it isnt long before I walk past a church and see a sign that says “Casa de Dulce” and beneath it ” casa rural”. Hmmmmmmmmm. Sweet house? That sounds kind of nice. My plan was to keep going to Cortes y Graena, but something is telling me to slow down. To stop. Here. My plan is to bunker down in cortes y graena over the weekend because it is going to rain all weekend. I half-heartedly call a couple of hostals in cortes y graena, but really I want to check out this sweet house. I walk up the hill, following the sign, following my gut, and as I get to the front gate of “casa de dulce”, Dulce herself returns home in the car. I very quickly realise that what is on offer here is a cave house, with all the mod cons, for 15€ a night. Why would I stay for two days in a single hotel room in a run of the mill Spanish hostal, when I can pay less money and have a whole cave house to myself? I am already fantasising about the silence and the darkness. I choose the room that is furthest back, in the depths of the house, so that I can feel like I am tucked away inside the earth.
Dulce is lovely, living up to her name. She tells me how she lost her husband many years ago and was left to bring up three young children. Having a business and living in a nearby town, but maintaining the cave house empty, she told me that after a while she started to feel like her head was actually increasing in size. She felt like she was starting to go crazy. Coming back to the cave house, she began to feel that each day her head was shrinking and that she was coming back into a familiar sense of herself. After spending the weekend at Casa de Dulce, I think I know what she means. Talk about restorative sleep! Talk about wild dreams! It is funny, because usually wild dreams dont result in restorative sleep-still, I felt the clay from the mountain drawing things out (mostly fears about the uncertainty of life) and giving me a chance to see them so that I can take that trash out, allowing me to rest easy………
So, the weekend was relaxing. On saturday I bit the bullet and went to the hairdresser to have my hair washed. It had been a month! I dont know if I have what it takes to go no poo…………this is definitely the line where no pasa nada doesnt work anymore- 1) when you worry that there might actually be creatures living in your hair, and 2) when you start to feel bad for the pilgrims who are going to lay their head in the same place where your manky unwashed hair once lay. Besides the total pleasure of having someone wash my hair for me, there is a whole “scene” going on in the peluqueria. Women wander in off the street, dropped off by their husbands. They dutifully sit down to wait their turn. The woman running the show is a hardworking hairdresser. She is probably thirty and someone who knows what she wants. Ambitious. I start to peruse Spanish trash mags that take the genre to a whole new level, catching up on gossip relating to the likes of Isabel Pantoja and the royal family on vacation in Mallorca. I use one photo of Queen Leticia to engage in some shade throwing, and the other ladies join in with gusto. Thinking about it now, I am not sure what my problem is exactly with that woman. Queens and Kings are old fashioned concepts? Living remnants of the past? But my distaste is far more superficial than that. I just dont like her face. It annoys me. She looks like she would be the pija to end all pija’s. This is probably a textbook case of “dont judge a book by its cover”, but the whole concept of “monarchy” is so godamned hierarchical that it doesnt seem like something we should be enabling. Plus, Hello magazine says that she redid her whole face and it’s really bloody obvious and that just isnt on. Oh yikes, and that mask of makeup………..one wonders, what lies beneath? Leticia, go to Lisa Eldridges youtube channel and check out her tutorials on how to do no-makeup makeup for godssakes! Gurrrrrrl!!! Anyway……eventually, questions are asked and I furnish them with the “what i am doing” explanation (abridged version) and then comes the question, once again “But you are doing this alone?”. Yep. Again, disbelief.
The weekend takes me (alone) to the local kebab shop where I eat “turkish pizza” and (alone) to a bar, where I end up eating breakfast (alone) three days in a row. I have wifi, so I get lost on Youtube (aaahhhhhhh the good ol’ days), and catch up on some writing, and some phonecalls. I wash my clothes, finally getting the stench of the blowfly morgue/ room at the municipal swimming pool in alboloduhy out of what I was wearing that night (and which I have not worn since)……I enjoy the sensation and smell of blessed clean hair and the sounds of the rain falling outside (and not on me as I walk). I listen to moby’s “hotel ambient” and the chemical brothers and bonibo and I think. Maybe a bit too much……….
Oh uncertainty, when will we become friends?❤️
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