24. Elves and Pixies and Goblins and Trolls

… In the distance they could see a field that was full of lush sweet scrummy grass, but alas there was only one way to get to it – over a rickety bridge over a stream.  But under the bridge lived a terrifically terrifying terrible troll called Trevor – he was always hungry too.  And there was nothing he liked better than to eat a nice juicy Billy Goat…

Our Casa Rural Jorge was a treasure. We had the entire little house to ourselves. Crisp sheets and warm fluffy blankets… soft towels and hot water and a proper bath… such heaven.  Señora made us dinner at 8:00… huge salad (enough for 4) chicken paella and flan and apple for pudding… and a very nice bottle of vino tinto to wash it down with.  It was home cooking at its best and I would thoroughly recommend a stay here. Earlier we wandered up to the bar where half a dozen old men argued their way through a game of cards whilst the young chap behind the bar was engrossed in Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise as vampires… totally bizarre with the Spanish dubbing.

Last night the wind howled and the rain came down but we hoped it had blown through when we stepped out this morning.  It was cold and damp and grey but not raining.  I’d pulled my poncho out from the bottom of my bag and put my rain cover over my pack… rain was forecast.  I had my fleece and jacket on and whilst certainly not cold I am wondering how I’ll cope if it gets a lot colder.

We walked out of this ancient little town and through fields of cows… all safety gathered behind dry stone walls.  We have walked into autumn… yellows and bronze everywhere and a grey mist had settled on the hills around us.  It was perfectly autumnal… and we saw our first puddles which caused a little more excitement than they perhaps merited. Maggie asked what the equivalent word was for spring… we thought a while but couldn’t think of one.

On we walked still following the roman path.  We tried to imagine what it would have looked like back then.  Would it have been busy?  Lots of traffic?  Cattle, carts, soldiers, traders?  Or just the odd person wandering along?  What stories those stones could tell.

We greeted more cows… we see so few people it’s nice to have someone to talk to.  An old chap drove up and asked us where we had stayed last night… Jorge we said.  We think he asked if it was good … we said yes very… he said it was his and please tell our friends… we said we would. He drove off.

The landscape around us was changing… a little Dartmoor-esque… or Yorkshire moors.  Remote and a little magical.  We passed old stone bridges and imagined Trolls and three billy goats gruff… and then as we walked further we saw faerie grottos and elves and pixies.  It was a pretty walk.

We arrived at a tiny village… it promised a bar.   We asked a couple of guys and they pointed a lot… we nodded and said thank you… we didn’t really understsnd and thought it was straight on and then left.  2 minutes later their van beeped at us… not that left… this one.. we grinned and thanked them again.

There was a huge fire burning in the hearth.  No eggs today… we could have toast or chocolate croissants… I went toast and Maggie went chocolate… plus 2 cafe con leche.  The barman  watched the TV… the Spanish king and queen arrived at an event full of pomp. We gathered that it was a public holiday but no idea what for..  the event looked sombre and I wonder if it is some kind of remembrance event?

We warmed and watched and ate our second breakfast before moving on… we walked by a couple of recycling bins and I was reminded of another cow incident on another camino and it made me chuckle.

On we walked and it felt like rain was coming… we put on our ponchos but it never quite happened.   But it is cold and damp and I kept mine on for warmth… having since removed my fleece and jacket.

We walked through another village and passed an old guy, who had earlier been wandering the path with an axe in his hand… this time he was playing with a puppy who seemed very happy for the company.

On and on we walked in the cold and damp.  It wasn’t unpleasant… it’s nice to not be hot.  As we walked we spotted some pigs.  Then we spotted a male about to do “the business”.  It sounds a little voyeuristic but we were kind of fascinated by the process so we stood and watched.  The chosen girl was there of course, along with Mr Pig, but there were also two other girls… one seemed very unhappy with what was happening… we’ll call her Mother… and another seemed to be forming a queue to go next… we’ll call her Eager! Mr Pig and the Chosen One took their time… moving around a bit, with Mother and Eager following their every move… shoving and sniffing during the proceedings. We felt like spectators but we were willing them on and finally the deed was done. It was quite a process and  I half expected them to light a cigarette and roll over and gaze at the sky… but Mother was there and she was not happy.  She chased the Chosen One around the field shouting and berating her and sniffing her rear. Eager stayed with Mr Pig but he wasn’t interested. Mother was getting more and more angry and eventually Mr Pig intervened and placed himself between the two women… which was kind of sweet.  We looked at the grey sky and decided it was time to leave pigsville and move on.

We stopped for a lunch break… a half stale boccodilla we bought in the bar yesterday washed down with cold water… it tasted good though.  Then on we walked.  Through more elven lands and mossy landscapes.

I noticed that all the fields had two letters on their gates.  I know this is a pilgrim route and I guess I should soak up the history of the path but I couldn’t help but try and guess who owned each field… DA… David Attenborough… JI… John Ingham… AM… Aunt Mandy (my sister)… you get the idea. And before we knew it we were thrown out of our fairyland and back into big views and distant horizons.

We’re staying in a paroquial albergue in Fuenterroble .. there’s no heating and no wifi and it’s pretty rustic but nonetheless charming…. oooh but I’m cold.  Hilda is in our dorm but sleeping.  We wrap up and head of in search if a bar… where we now are listening to beautiful blues guitar on the radio… in the warm… sadly I’m feeling more than a little sick.

No photos today… too cold… too tired… no wifi… instead you can enjoy the music.

*** 2 days later and feeling a little better so I’ve added a few photos from the pixie day ***

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4 thoughts on “24. Elves and Pixies and Goblins and Trolls

  1. I remember distinctly feeling surrounded by trolls and faery folk on the VDLP. You have beautiful photos and I am loving reading the story. I am getting so excited to do this route again this May!!!!

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  2. Not sure about the piggy porn – where’s the video????

    Hope you’re up and walking again by now!

    A quote from that cult great (“zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance”) for you – he’s having doubts –

    “We walk up the long main street in the gathering dusk and feel the presence of the mountains, even though we talk about other things. I feel happy to be here, and still a little sad to be here too. Sometimes it’s a little better to travel than to arrive.”

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  3. What a wonderful post – I remember walking that stage, very pretty. And good to know you’re at the parrochial Albergue. You’ll enjoy a wonderful communual dinner. Sounds like you’ll be wearing a few layers to bed though. Snuggle up. Cheers, G

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    • Ah Grace it was lovely there but sadly I missed it all. Was very sick last night… the priest drove us to the bus station this morning and we’re going to spend a few nights in salamanca. Apparently lots of pilgrims are sick with a sick flu kind of bug… so I only saw my bed and the bathroom… lovely kind folks though.

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