Updated: Oct 31
Sun 29th Oct., España.
I wasn't intending to write any more blogs until when we hit Ourense and started walking again, but some have asked, AND ...
... I am mindful that Day 39, Paradoxes and Connections, remained incomplete. A few things happened over the last day or so that prompted me to complete that post.
One of them was a cartoon which a good mate sent me on Friday. He must have been inside my head ...
What a beautiful reminder, thanks CD ...
The next was a sort of a series of interconnected events with folk from near and far, which I'll come back to in a moment.
I've been surprised, and a bit humbled, by the extent of the readership of the blog. It's now settled to somewhere around 130/140 per day. I know that a handful of close friends at home are regular readers, with the rest of the readers scattered far and wide, and mostly people I don't know. The analytics of the website allow me to do some research, and I thought that I'd share it with you.
Each of the pictures below is a map showing cumulative reader distribution for the last 30 days. The bigger the circle the more the readers (cumulatively).
Obviously sizable numbers from home in Western Australia generally, and Perth and the South-West specifically, are to be expected. (The connections from WA who I know are following, from your direct and indirect comments, are CL, DB, DB (yes, there's two of you), DG, HT, MW, PMF, SC, SM, SP, PA, TF, TH and TL - hullo to you all and my apologies to those I've missed or not been able to identify). I am surprised by the number from Sydney/NSW as these days I really only know a handful of folk there (so, g'day to you and to the rest of you also).
But it's the rest of the world that's rather blown me away, as shown in the two maps below:
So hola to the global community. I've been receiving about a dozen or so comments every day, mostly from home but also from all over the world, and it's great to have these connections, identified and not.
Which brings me to my "small world" anecdote. I'd been chatting electronically with Jill from New Mexico over the last week or so. She's planning to possibly walk the Sanabrés from Puebla de Sanabria to Santiago de Compostela next April, and we'd been talking via comments on the blog page.
On Thursday last, the day we had decided to return to Puebla de Sanabria from Lubián, I was sitting in the foyer of the Hotel Carlos V (thoroughly recommended by the way), waiting to make some further accommodation arrangements. A pair of somewhat bedraggled pereginos walked in, but because I was feeling sorry for myself I didn't initiate any contact (I could hear them talking and at first I thought I detected English accents). The next day, Friday, our additional spare day in Puebla, the four of us happened to be visiting the Castillo at the same time. As we passed each other this time I offered a buen camino to them, me having the advantage of knowing they were pereginos. Anyway, as happens, we got chatting. It turns out that they - Bruce and Mary - are from Albuquerque, New Mexico. You can no doubt see where this is going ...
A few personal and electronic chats followed. It turns out that Jill is also from Albuquerque, and although they don't actually know each other, Bruce and Jill have previously chatted to each other via Ivar’s forum. In some ways perhaps none of this is particularly surprising, the world is increasingly interconnected after all, but what does surprise me is that through the Camino and this blog I should find myself in the middle of a connection with three people from the same relatively small-ish city halfway around the globe.
Later that day we were having a drink at Bar España, and Bruce and Mary walked in. That led to them joining us for a drink and then dinner at La Mala Madre (also thoroughlyrecommended). They've walked from La Linea (Gibraltar) to Sevilla where they then joined the Via, so by the time we met them they'd covered about 1,000 klms. They were continuing their walk the next day, and all being well we may see them again at Ourense or thereabouts/beyond.
All of which brings me to what I had in my head those few days back when I first signalled the "connections" theme, and indeed the Tiny Dragon cartoon. As I've previously said, or at least hinted at, I've felt both connected and supported by the blog comments and feedback I've received over the last few weeks. It's been an unexpected bonus of my writing, and particularly so in the last few days post the Lubián decision. So once again thank you all.
And of course I could not end this rather personal post without acknowledging the place my closest connection, Janet, plays in my life. I don't recall exactly how it was decided to walk the Via, but I suspect that it was my idea which she agreed to go along with (same as it was my idea to climb Kilimanjaro all those years ago, and that truly was a tough walk). She came to Bhutan at my behest and we spent several freezing nights in a thin tent; and those of you who know her, and those who've come to know her through this blog, know that she and cold are not a good mix. So when she's cold and miserable and I can fix that by backtracking a bit and putting my own pride and goals to one side for a few days, that's without any doubt the right thing to do. If the tables were metaphorically turned she'd do the same in a heartbeat. Thank you my love ...
With the benefit of a few days off the Camino we've agreed that we'll get to Ourense on Tuesday, spend Wednesday having a bit of a look around, and hit the road again for the final 100 klms or so into Santiago on Thursday. Technically we'll be back on track. And if the weather's still lousy, I'll walk and she'll cab or bus to the next town and see me when I arrive. The lose-lose of a few days back will turn into win-win.
Until Tuesday or Wednesday, buen camino y hasta luego ...
(ps - for the eagle eyed. There were no Day 42 or 43 posts, nor is one planned for Day 46.)