Amazing what a little thing like a good night’s sleep can do. I can safely say that I have never made better use of €45.
It was mildly annoying to be woken up by Scooby Doo asking for Scooby Snacks in Spanish on the hotel TV at 6am (don’t think I asked for that particular service), but also a measure of my good mood having been utterly comatose for at least 7 hours that, if anything, I quite enjoyed it.
Apparently, there had been a huge thunderstorm in the night, but I didn’t hear a thing. Bliss.
On the good advice on my lovely Godmother Mary after yesterday’s post, I started the day at a very civilised 8am with some industrial strength coffee (I can’t remember what they call it in Spanish, but it roughly translates into English as ‘liquid speed’), a chocolate croissant and some freshly squeezed orange juice (Christ, I’m already telling you what I had for breakfast), after which I was definitely good to go…in the wrong direction.
I blame it on the coffee, but after striding purposefully out of town for at least a mile, I noticed a distinct lack of yellow arrows, and decided to walk back; only to discover that today’s path actually started about 100 feet from my hotel. Twat.
But my good mood prevailed and I eventually found the right way out of Gernika relatively painlessly, albeit with the help of a lovely septuagenarian Spanish local who couldn’t quite get her head round the fact that I speak no Spanish whatsoever, but nonetheless seemed quite happy with me pretending to understand her and nodding like a loon.
And after a climb of no more than 150 metres uphill out of town (kid’s stuff), I came across this:
I mentioned yesterday the words of encouragement that you encounter along The Way, and I think this example sums up the spirit of the journey beautifully (quite apart from the lovely touch of the blister plaster):
“Take heart Pilgrims! Every step along this path is an experience to live and enjoy. Unforgettable!!”
How very true.
And I think that’s what brought the title of today’s post to mind. As James & Lynne have pointed out previously, there’s something very important about slowing down and appreciating the little things. Like the fact that locals along The Way make the effort to look after you (this water stop was quite obviously pumped via the mains from a local house):
And it made me remember how important it is just to look around sometimes. They always say in London that looking up and noticing the architecture makes you appreciate your environment more, but today I was thinking little and noticed this little fella at my feet:
And this one, who was clearly taking things very nice and slow.
All of which, I think, put me in quite a thoughtful frame of mind.
Not long after I had encountered the last two chaps, I noticed a pear tree, with CDs hanging off it to scare the birds off. You’ll see cabbies in London using the same technique, although for not entirely similar reasons. Unless they’re in Essex, obviously.
Having had little else to think about, I thought I would enter into the spirit of this spirituality lark and treat this as a sign that I ought to plug into my iPhone (something I would never normally do. I quite like silence) and see what shuffle came up with. It came up with this:
Now, if I was of a stronger spiritual bent, I might have made more of the fact that the leaves on the trees surrounding me were still pregnant with last night’s rain and a new day’s sunshine was wiping that all away. But I’m not. So I won’t.
All I will say is that it put a smile on my face:
It also set the tone for the next few hours, during which time I was variously accompanied by, to name but a few, Richard Hawley, Terry Hall, George Clinton, Jason Pearce, Richard Ashcroft, Ian Dury, David Bryne, Elvis Costello, Joe Strummer and David Bowie (obviously). All of whom were extremely good company.
But I’ll tell you something: Marc Bolan might not spring to mind as a natural companion to accompany you though a Spanish mountain range; but imagine looking at this…
And listening to this. The operative word here is listen. Don’t look. It’ll spoil everything. It’s what they call car crash TV (sorry Marc). OK – look first and then listen and hopefully you’ll see what I mean…
Well, it worked for me.
So here I am in Lezama – 20km further than I was yesterday. And I thought I’d add a little colour to this whole Credencial stamping business by showing you the bloke who did tonight’s one. Check the glasses.