So you’ve gotten up, packed the bag, said “FUCK YOU” (or in Gallego, ARAÑALLA!) to all the other pilgrims, and gotten a cafe con leche, “Grande, por favor.”
You’ve perused the guidebook and it’s time to go.
Make sure to pay, pee, strap on the pack, “Gracias, adios!” “Buen viaje” “Gracias!” and set off into the street for part 3 of your morning: LOOKING FOR THE FLECHAS.
Flechas are the little yellow arrows that are painted on trees, rocks, stop signs, lampposts, dumpsters, sidewalks and buildings all over Spain, all pointing the way toward Santiago, that seem to magically appear as soon as I think “Holy shit, I’m lost!” yet magically disappear completely once the Camino reaches a pueblo. Continue Reading
Messages from Pilgrims Past:
It’s this way, Dummy!
So, after spending a few hours waiting for me like nervous Jewish moms (and perhaps not without reason) the night before, today Hugo and Maartin decided to walk part of the way with me. Their main goal was less about protecting me from potentially hazardous tractor-drivers (they thought he was probably fine) but more about showing me how to “read” the Camino– i.e., figure out which way the arrows are pointing, or which way the trail goes if there are none– so I could avoid feeling (or, um, getting) lost and the need to actually engage with said tractor-drivers beyond a wave.
“Reading” the Camino involves tricks that are vaguely like what it must be like to stalk wildlife: we look at the ground for footprints, bicycle tracks, and small piles of stones that previous walkers may have left as a sign to those to follow. Ironically, this part of the stretch had really good waymarking – you could follow the arrows pretty much even without a book – so their effort, though well-intentioned, was kind of silly.