Albergues are strange places when you take a close look at them. Over a number of hours commencing in the early afternoon a mob of itinerants move in. The albergue becomes a community home where its occupants are required to live on harmony for about sixteen hours, half of which is spent sleeping. They eat in the same dining area. They use the same toilets and showers. They do their handwashisng and share the same clothes lines and fences for drying. They sleep in the same rooms. By nine o’clock the following day they’ve all moved out. That same day along comes another mob who do exactly the same things as the mob did the previous day, and the previous day to that, and the previous day to that. But if the albergues did not exist the Camino would not be what it is today.

After clearing Vilalba (Centro), about 2km from the albergue, the walk took on much the same character as yesterday, but it didn’t have the same feel about it. Isn’t this one of the intriguing aspects of life: apparent similarities can in reality be quite different. Identical twins are the perfect example: while their appearances are the same that may be where the similarities end. Today’s walk was like that.

I saw two notable things today. Both were notable because of how oddly they stood out in the places they occurred. The first was a man carving a human form out of a
dead tree trunk propped up in the yard of his home. The trunk stood more than two metres tall. I could see a head and shoulders carved into the trunk half way up the side that faced the street. The man was working with a wooden mallet and chissel at the rear of his piece when I stopped to photograph him. There was another partly completed tree trunk sculpture elsewhere in the yard, but nothing else to suggest that this was a place of artistic expression.

The second notable event was a young man hooning around his village streets in a go-kart. He was driving it hard through corners and ignoring ‘Stop’ signs when he
could. What else are village streets for?

I stopped for a rest and to eat at a bend in the path after about three hours of
walking. A few pilgrims passed by. One was a young man walking by himself. I waved and wished him ‘Buen Camino’ (Good Way). I could tell from his actions he saw me but did not hear what I said. The reason for not hearing soon became obvious as he removed earphones from his ears. I repeated my ‘Buen Camino’. He acknowledged it and walked on. (It’s very common, and probably regarded as rude to not wish a fellow pilgrim a good way as you pass them by or they pass you by.) It
made me wonder what this young man might gain from his Camino if he walks while tuned into the ‘Top 100′. To me it would reduce the expience to just a walk, and you can do a walk anywhere.

This afternoon I went for a walk to see what made Baamonde tick. At first glance it looked like one of those ‘Why is it here?’ towns. Walking through Europe I’ve gotten used to seeing the heart of the village, usually a square or plaza, that provides a central place where people meet. Then you have a place like Bamonde which has no such thing. It’s a string of buildings along a main road. But i discovered it had some
artistic credentials. I’m told that the owner of ‘Restaurante Galicia’, Xoan Corral, is
one of Spain’s best known poets. I saw the poet who wears a long grey beard. Apparently, if you eat at his restaurant he is likely to come to your table to chat with you and read poetry. Elsewhere there is a private museum where the artist shows you around the sculptures in the garden and you can freely walk around looking at his other works. The main street has a little gallery which mostly has small ceramic pieces. Maybe this town is an explanation for the man I saw carving the tree trunk earlier in the day.

Eating at the poet’s restaurant is probably out of the question tonight. When I asked what time dinner started I was told 8.30pm, but the barman quickly added ‘mas o
menos’ (‘more or less’). It would be impossible to sit and enjoy the food and ambience of his place knowing that the doors of the albergue close at 10.00pm.

And finally for a Vincent update. He has been in Denmark for about two weeks, mostly in a place called Aarhus where a Danish friend lives, and Copenhagen. He’s off to Berlin on Wednesday and is still traveling with his American friend Jack.

Amazingly, this was also jay-z’s first 1 hit as a solo artist, peaking on the billboard hot 100 for five consecutive weeks