Saturday, September 17, 2011

Camino De Santiago - Carrión De Los Condes To Terradillo De Los Templarios

I often described my mood on the Camino as manic.  My mood would swing from one extreme to another.  Last night it was at an all time low.  This morning I woke up and felt ... all right.  Not sure what the difference was but my mood was definitely better.  I guess when you hit rock bottom, up is the only place you can go.

After leaving Carrión de los Condes I entered a stretch of the Meseta known fondly as the desert.  Up until now you ran into towns along the way.  From Carrión de los Condes to the next town, Calzadilla de la Cueza, you walk a straight, flat, grain field lined dirt road 10.75 miles (17.3 km) long.  This stretch was three hours of nothing.  This is where your mind wanders.  Some people enter imaginary worlds.  Others ponder their life issues.  The isolation of the desert brings different things to different people.  Me ... I thought about music.

I can't play a note of music and I do the world a favor when I don't try to sing, but I have always had an interest in music.  When I compose posts I more often than not have music playing.  I have music on as I write this.  When I was walking the Camino I was often humming to myself and running songs through my head.  The music kept my mind occupied as I plodded along the dirt road.  I was surprised what music came to mind along the Camino.  It was not necessarily my favorite stuff.  Here is a sample, by no means complete, of the songs in my head:

America, "Horse With No Name", "Sister Golden Hair", and "Lonely People".   Sadly Dan Peek, a member of America died in July.  "Horse With No Name" fit the desert perfectly.  "Lonely People" fit my mood at times.

John Denver, "Country Roads", "Looking For Space", and "Calypso" (Just replace Calypso with Camino and the chorus still works ... try it.)  All three songs gave me a pick me up.

Kansas, "Dust in the Wind".  This was one of the song mangled at the albergue sing-a-long.  It's still a good Camino walking song.  Kansas got me through my freshman year of college.

Notting Hillbiliies, "Weapon of Prayer".  Not sure why I like this song.  I don't much like country but then there is a song like this that grabs on and won't let go.  Maybe I'm a closet country fan.

Hollies, "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" ... kind of fits the Camino ... especially if your brother is a backpack.

Early on I hummed several marching songs like "Over There", "When Johnny Comes Marching Home", and "The Army Goes Rolling Along" (i.e. Over Hill Over Dale ...)  I guess I had some odd military streak running through my mind when I sung these in my head.

Kenny Rogers, "Gambler".  I have no idea where this came from as I'm not much a Kenny Rogers fan (though in college I did see him in concert so I guess I was a fan once).  After hearing the mangled lyrics sung in Carrión de los Condes I found myself putting together Camino lyrics of my own.  "Gambler" was one of first where I changed the lyrics to make it about pilgrims.  I don't think it would be too hard to change the whole song.  I already have the chorus:


OldNew
You got to know when to hold em
Know when to fold em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money when you're sitting at the table
There'll be time enough for counting when the dealings done.
You got to know when to Wa·alk
Know when you Sto·op
Know when to turn left
Know when to turn right
You never count your kilometers when you're walking the Camino
There'll be time enough for counting at the Al·ber·gue.


Stealers Wheel, "Stuck in the Middle With You" with altered lyrics.


OldNew
Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you,
Yes I'm stuck in the middle with you,
Stuck in the middle with you.
Pilgrims in front of me,
Pilgrims at my back, here I am,
Walking the Camino with you,
Yes I'm walking the Camino with you,
Walking the Camino with you.


Certain songs made an appearance especially when I was struggling:

Boston, "A Man I'll Never Be"  The only song here that I know all the words to.  It's also a song that fits my pessimism like a glove.  The line: "I can't get any stronger / I can't climb any higher" seemed to be written for the hills along the Camino.

Notting Hillbillies, "That's Where I belong" and "Feel Like Going Home".  I used to hum these song when I worked on intractable problems on ships.  "Feel Like Going Home" is one of the most depressing songs I know and was reserved for the most dire problems that might result in me staying on travel longer than I wanted.  It surfaced when I was near the bottom along the Camino and, strangely, lifted my spirits.

Oh, and the list wouldn't be complete without The Proclaimers "I'm Going To Be (500 Miles)" (Thank you KSam for sharing this link - totally awesome).  It went through my mind at least once along the Camino.

The music in my head got me to Terradillos de los Templarios at near record speed - 3.3 MPH (5.31 km/hr) (I was slightly faster the day before - my fastest walking day of the Camino).  I stopped at a private albergue and snagged me a bottom bunk.  After my chores I ended up running into a few people I knew.  PR and LS were here and to my surprise I ran into MA and his wife (who joined him in Burgos).  Strangely I didn't see him after that first meeting.  He may have gone to the other albergue if this one was full or our paths simply did not cross.  I also ran into a South African lady that had been in Grañon.  

There wasn't much in this small town so I spent all my time in the albergue and out in the courtyard.  I ate a ham sandwich for lunch and bought some stuff in the small store attached to the albergue.  I know I didn't buy enough.  I was losing weight.  I had to keep cinching my belt tighter to keep my pants up and my backpack properly aligned.  I just didn't have an appetite.

I must have been in a good mood as I once again started to look into ways to catch up.  This time I would catch up by the time I got to Santiago de Compostela.  I wasn't as optimistic as I was in Burgos because today I had this niggling ache in my left ankle that felt suspiciously like the beginnings of the tendonitis I'd had in my right ankle.  I hoped I was just imagining it.

Day twenty was coming to an end.  The desert was behind me.  Besides the music in my head, another feeling emerged while I was on the desert.  Despite all the pain, deep down, I was loving this.  I felt alive.  It was still an adventure.  I decided right there and then I would do the Camino again someday.  I was ready to move on.  Oh, and that niggling in my ankle ... not my imagination.


Total Distance: 16.67 Miles (26.83 km)
Total Time: 5 hours 5 minutes
Total Elevation Up: 2,242 ft (683.36 m)
Total Elevation Down: 2,114 ft (644.35 m)

[Click on map for a larger version]

No comments:

Post a Comment