Sitting in the park away from the hustle and bustle of town. It’s absolutely heaving with Easter crowd tourists and pilgrims. The narrow lane ways and street look like one huge giant wave, a tsunami in fact, as the crowd swirls and sways as one, and I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. Is this really Santiago?
I took refuge in Pilgrim House for an hour or so, read a book, chatted with pilgrims and caught up with Faith, who manages the place.
My first few days have been filled with organization and learning about my surrounds. I’ve met our neighbour Michael and his wife whose name I can’t pronounce, and I have discovered the need to put aside an hour each day for a chat with our Lovely old landlord. He speaks great English as he lived in Sydney for many years and it seems he is glad to have an Aussie to chat with. He lived in Kings Cross so he has some wonderful stories.
I’ve been into town to watch some of the Easter parades and Semana Santa celebrations. The most memorable one would be at midnight on Thursday as the hooded participants walked the streets with bare feet and chains around their ankles, carrying candles and following efigies. I don’t know anything about all this and I’m probably getting it all wrong because I am not catholic and it is all a puzzle but an interesting one indeed. The energy floating around this city is fantastic and it is hard not to get caught up in it all.
I keep finding little pockets of public gardens to sit and relax in. Right now I’m on a bench under a beautiful oak tree listening to the sparrows and the hum of traffic in the background. Children are chasing each other around the fountain and I’m reminded of Oscar Wilde’s short story “The Happy Prince.” I think back to the chaos a few days ago, frantically packing, organizing things to happen in my absence and saying goodbye to friends and family. It seems like a dream. I have just slotted back into Spanish life, and I even had a siesta the other day! I’m looking forward to going to school now as Spanish is a must if you live here.
Monica and Charles will be moving into the house next week. Charles just dropped off a suitcase to the house and walked into town to meet me. We had a quick coffee but had to move on as a dog came along and smelly diarrhoead next to us! Wandered into the square and watch pilgrims arriving and then headed out for a tasty little Rioja wine. I’m now about to brave catching the bus home. Hopefully I won’t get lost as I can’t pronounce where I’m living and Gonzalo is out of town doing a day tour for someone.
Nothing funny has happened to report except I did see a small boy almost consumed by a flock of pigeons when he opened his bag to get out a sandwich! He disappeared into a cloud of birds! Poor little thing was hysterical. It Happened to me as a kid so I understood his terror. He will now be traumatized for life as I was. At least there are no emus here to chase him. That also happened to me as a kid and it left me with a huge fear of birds on the loose!
Hopefully I’ll have an adventure to write about tomorrow.