Existential Breakfast

I’ve been in Holland for two days and I already have 11 pages of my notebook filled with Dutch words and phrases. Goed, eh?

That’s right, I’m in HOLLAND. Remember Rob – my partner in crime from the opening Basque phase of my camino? Well, he invited me to stay with him in the east of the country, and here I am. A reunion of the never a dull moment duo. 

Let’s backtrack a step. Before I got here, I had to endure one of those endless traveling days that liquidates the brain. 15 out of the 20 hours I traveled from Fisstera to Santiago de Compostela to Bilbao to Amsterdam to Arnhem were spent in 2 buses, 2 cabs, 1 plane, 1 train, 1 car, and I walked a ton. However, arriving to see Rob’s smiling face at the end of platform 8 was worth all the struggle it took to get here. Since then, everything has been fantastisch.

Here’s a crazy story for you… Rob and his lady took me to this Sunday festival in the park which included immensely tall Dutch guys, hyper blonde children, groovy chicks, cold beer and an American style blues-rock band. Dancing up front, flailing my arms to the Led Zeppelin covers, I was approached by a familiar face. Arja, 2 years ago, was my tango/literature buddy when I studied in Buenos Aires, Argentina. And there we were hugging on the complete other side of the world in a small park in little ol’ Arnhem AKA Pleasantville. Not only did she recognise my face, but also my dance moves. My aura, per se. Anyways, reconnecting with my old friend was completely unexpected and absolutely wonderful. When connections like that occur, it really makes you feel like you are on the right path.

The rest of my short time here has been filled with laughs, home-cooked meals like stamppot and gehkt bal, curry and pasta, guitar jams, laundry, and talking about the universe over a cup of coffee. Tomorrow I will begin editing my Camino movie. In Amsterdam. Until then, goede nacht and welterusten.

– Julius Vagabondo

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Reflections: Now

A meloncholy goodbye whistles in the sea breeze as the sun sinks into another tomorrow.  Within my thin skin, the sound of subtle sobs stop. A face frozen, wearing a cold blank stare. Completely still. Completely empty.  Memories return like flickering flames, only to fade, as does the day.

I am sitting at the edge of the ancient world. Fisstere: the end of the earth. There is no way to continue walking West. My journey is over.

Leaving the lighthouse in Fisstere, I could feel a page turning. A smooth silent move into the new.

Before I left, I burned my boxers. Old worn shorts that have accompanied me around the world. A symbol of my childhood, the past, antes. I set them ablaze on that rock and watched as the running giraffe patterns slowly melted like yesterday´s yesterday. A ritual to close the camino.

All the experiences that has lead me to this point, I will carry in my metaphorical backpack.  Memories are weightless as they sleep in our hearts.

I made it!

800 kilometers. A countless number of steps, emotions, and friendships. Marching into Santiago de Compastela with my family of peregrinos was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. We entered Plaza Obradoiro in front of the cathedral with an explosion of excitement and love, hugs and tears. Words cannot capture the feeling. Can they ever?

Now I am on my way with three friends to Finnestre, what the Romans thought was the end of the world.

 

Magia

Siempre estoy con Españoles. Siempre hablo en Castellano. Entonces, es más facil para escribir en Castellano y despúes tradicirlo. 

I am always with Spaniards.  Always speaking Spanish. So, it is easier to write in Spanish first, then translate it.

La mochilla es mi mujer

Cuando llueve, me protege

Abrazándome, siempre

Es increíble las conexiones entre peregrinos. Solo hemos conocido por poco tiempo, pero tenemos una confianza en cada uno como somos familia. De verdad, somos familia. Aunque es temporal, los momentos que tenemos y los recuerdos que hacemos nunca voy a olvidar. Felicidad con amistad es la verdad. Marc y Fran, dos Cataluñeses me han acompañado mucho durante este trozo. Mis hermanos. Ellos me han enseñado Catalan y yo les he enseñado frases en inglés. Mol bé amig meu! Un buen intercambio. Pero hay más, mis tíos, Tony y Emilio, dos Mallorquis con setenta años que han hecho el Camino trece veces. Tienen una manera de vivir tan tranquilo pero con mucha bromas y risas. Siempre siempre hay buena onda con ellos. Se llamamos ´´los pijos´´ porque siempre duermen en hoteles. Tony me quiere como un hijo. Me dijo que soy como él cuando tenía 23 años. Hablador, cantador, adventurero. Un espiritu parecido. Despues del camino, es probable que el grupo no va a encontrarse más; pero Tony esta seguro que entre las personas en esta piña, soy el unico que va a visitarlo en Mallorca… Pienso lo mismo. Sandra de Columbia tiene una mente equilibrada, muy simpatica y siempre collectando tréboles de cuatro hojas. Eva, mi tía de Gijon, se fue anteayer pero los momentos con ella fueron muy fuertes. Muuy cariñosa, sabia, feliz. Y hace una tortilla de patata de puta madre!

He estado agrabando imagenes con mi camera de video pero estoy seguro que los mejores momentos no están agrabados. Están en el amor de la cena preparada entre todos los peregrinos en el albergue. El bocadillo al mediodia. El sentimiento de llegar al pinnaculo de de montaña nublada, saltando y gritando, sabiendo que no podemos subir más. Refleciones con un porro al fin del día.  Y los sueños que vienen por la noche.

Ya quedan dos días hasta Santiago de Compastella. El camino primitivo que hemos hecho, muy tranquillo con pocas personas, ha cruzado con el Camino Frances, el camino más popular. Aqui en Melide, hay muchos peregrinos y no existe el deseo conocer más gente. Un poco extraño, diferente, cerrado. Pero tenemos nuestra piña y vamos a seguir. A Sanitago. Y despues a pie al fin del mundo, Finnestere. Poco a poco. Paso a paso. Siempre moviendo a la meta. Sin embargo, el camino es la meta. Entre punto A y punto B es donde existe la magía.

TRANSLATION:

The rucksack is my lady

When it rains, she protects me

Hugging me, always

The connection between peregrinos is incredible. We have only known each other for a little bit, but we have confidence in each other like family. Truthfully, we are family. Even though it is temporary, the moments we have and the memories we make, I will never forget. Marc and Fran, two Cantalunyans have accompanied me a lot during this slice of the camino. My brothers. They have taught me Catalan and I have taught them phrases in English. Very good my friend! A nice exchange. There are more. My uncles, Tony and Emilio, two 70-year-old Mallorcan guys that have done the Camino thirteen times. They have a way of living that is so relaxed, joking around and laughing. Always good vibes with these guys. We call them the stuck-ups because they always sleep in hotels. Tony loves me like a son, and told me that I remind him of himself when he was my age.  A chatter-box, singer, adventurer. A similar spirit. After the camino, it is probable that this group will not see each other again; but Tony is sure that out of everyone in our clan, he will see me again. I think the same…Sandra from Columbia has a balanced mind, is very sweet, and collects four-leaf-clovers. Eva, my aunt, is not with us anymore, but our time together was very strong. Very affectionate, wise, and happy.  And she makes a fucking incredible Spanish omlette!

I have been video recording during the camino, but I am positive that the best moments are not captured on video. The best moments are in the love we share during dinner we madetogether in the albergue. The sandwich at noon. The feeling of arriving at the top of the misty mountain, jumping and shouting, knowing we can´t climb any more. Reflecting at the end of the day with a spliff. And the dreams that appear during the night.

Santiago de Compastella is two days away. The Camino Primitivo that we did, very peaceful with few people, has crossed with the Camino Frances, the most popular route. Here in Melide, there are tons of peregrinos, but no desire to meet other people. A little strange, different, closed. But, we have our clan and we will continue. To Santiago. Then we go by foot to the end of the world. Finnestre. Little by little. Step by step. Always moving towards the goal. However, the camino is the goal. Between point A and point B is where you find the magic.

Footprints

New wave of peregrinos. No more excessive solitude. Now I´m surrounded by Spaniards.

WILLIE! I dont know why, but this white-haired, blue eyed Spanish guy named Tony calls me Willie. Whenever he sees me in the morning, he yells WILLIE! We can be walking together for hours then out of nowhere I hear a big WILLIE! in my left ear. Now the others peregrinos are calling me Willie. Not only that, another girl calls me Antonio because I remind her of her good friend. Oy vey…

Rhythm. Gotta go at your rhythm. I´m in the rhythm of taking siestas during the day and waking up early with the other peregrinos.  We´re taking 6:30 in the mornin. Before, I would wake up late and was always the last to leave. Then I´d walk alone all day. Lots of space to write songs, sing, yell, sing yelling. That stuff. But now I can sing with others and have good conversation. That´s the camino for ya. Gooood conversation. Its about people. Sharing. Laughing. And blisters. And bocadillos. That pain that never goes away in your left ankle. And always connecting. Whether its with people or trees. The pebbles in your shoes. Rain stains that go away. Leaving footprints in the past. And never looking back. Attacking that mountain with fuerza. Talking with Asturian miners protesting. Burning roads and being pissed. Mosquito bites. Losing stuff never felt so good. They are just a things. And things will never be more valuable than my life. My shirt is my new towel. Ants as black as midnight. Ants as black as the cold wind.

From the basement of my heart

To the attic of my mind

The house I live is growing all the time…

(Photos soon to come)

Currently in Pola de Allande

Equilibrio

´´Freedom is living each moment spontaneously,´´ he says to me, with a smile the size of a fishing boat …

I am sitting at the same computer, in the same locutorio where I wrote my last blog post. Back in Villaviciosa this morning after two amazing days away, hanging around the Oviedo area in great company.  At the time of my last blog, I was filled with emptiness, silence, exhaustion, a vacuum swollen by so much solitude.  It was here where I wrote various Couch Surfing requests to stay with locals in Oviedo. Diego responded: a happy smiley open-minded traveler with amazing philosophies about living life. I immediately fell into a group of hilarious Spanish friends, and felt part of something genuine – real. After such solitude, it was therapeuric just being around these crazy 20-something-year-olds, cooking proper meals, and going for adventures to gorgeous beaches, a colorful fishing village, and the local supermarket. It felt incredible to just be in a car again, listening to the Beach Boys with the wind in my hair, and learning intriguing things, like how this area has some of the best kiwis in the world. It was the only area of Spain that wasn´t conquered by the Moors; and from here began the Reconquista. Did you know that the Bay of Biscay was full of whales just a couple hundred years ago?

Anyways, I dont really know where this blog is going so maybe its best to just stop. I´m ready to get walking again. Gor to be true to yourself, right? Maybe I´ll hitch a ride to Oviedo. Hitchhiking here is easy and common, and what Ive learned is this: the people that stop for hitchhikers are the ones that really know what its like to be a traveler. The kind of people I´d want to meet. Today I begin the Camino Primitivo through the mountains. 500 kilometers down, 325 to go.