Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A pretty good day

Janine wanted to get a jump on the locusts that descended in Sarria so we got on the road at 7:30 - late for a Camino start but early given how far we had to go and the mild weather. The new pilgrims are actually great but it gets a little tedious managing your walking with tens of people in front and behind.

We immediately struck up a conversation with Scott and his daughter S.J. from California. Two super nice people with strong ties to their church - Scott's a pastor and one of the other daughters helps to run a church in my hometown of Winston-Salem NC. We spent most of the morning chatting with them and were half way through our day before we knew it. We parted ways as they were considering a side-trip at the half-way point. We moved on through our 2011 stop of Palas de Rei and onto the roadside Inn called Casa Domingo - likely to be our favorite stop on the trip.

After a little reading and my late afternoon nap, I retired to a hammock with the public-use guitar and serenaded myself and passing pilgrims for an hour. A true communal dinner was at 7:30 at our table had two young Italians, Luka and Allessandro, and Kelly, a Montessori teacher from Florida whom we'd met a few days earlier. It was one of the best pilgrims meals we've had but the best part of the day, possibly the trip, was what followed.

Janine had been hoping to see a Queimada, which is a ceremonial fire drink usually done for winter parties or Halloween in Galicia. Upon our arrival, she noticed they would do one but at a certain cost per person and a minimum of 10 people. She secretly arranged with the bartender that she would simply pay for 10 people and treat the entire dinner party to this specialty of the house. After dinner, the Spaniards began singing and playing the guitar so most everyone stuck around. About a half hour after dessert, a ceramic bowl smelling of grain alcohol (although I think it was closer to grapa) was placed at the end of one of the tables. Sugar, lemon rind, and coffee beans were added. The windows were all shut up, the lights were turned off, and the bowl was set on fire. After some ceremonial stirring, music similar to Night on Bald Mountain began playing and the bartender appeared in Saint James Pilgrim garb. He then began a non-sensical chant in Spanish and began raising the burning liquid high in the air and pouring it back into the bowl. After several minutes, the lights came back on and we were all served this liquid - for some of us, still burning in the cup.


Eventually Janine was asked to don the Saint James outfit and read the English translation of the brewmasters chant. A few of us had a second cup of good cheer when we suddenly noticed that it was once again 10 o'clock at night and time to retire.

Post-Script/Next Day:
I didn't manage to get this one out on time. It's now the next day where nothing has happened by comparison. Janine is still struggling with her knee and both of us are counting the kilometers and towns until we get a rest in Santiago. I have only 3 pictures from today and two of them are from leaving Casa Domingo.

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