Thursday, 13 March 2008
Hot times in the City
Wow, life is picking up speed here in Salamanca, even as I start to think about getting outta here and going back to Real Life at the Peaceable.
(Since March 1 I´ve been the host at the pilgrim albergue in Salamanca, a beautiful city along the Via de la Plata, Spain´s main south-to-north pilgrim trail to Santiago de Compostela. It´s considered a secondary and tougher trail to the "main" Camino de Santiago, where The Peaceable and Moratinos are. There are much fewer pilgrims on the Via, and they are of a different ilk.)
After three nights with no pilgrims at all, suddenly they´ve all decided to descend...if you consider three or four or six at a time a ´"descent." First it was a German and two Dutch guys, (German spoken 24/7! Yikes!) and then a French guy and two Dutch guys, and then a French guy who spoke NO other languages (thankfully there still were Dutch guys around. Those guys speak EVERY language!) I´m always surprised when I go into Full Immersion mode in a Spanish pilgrim city, and then find myself parked in a shellfish bar with Bavarian German up to my eyes. Amazing how much I´ve held onto. Those three years of high school German happened a LONG time ago.
And to top it off, last night I went to slip out the front door and who was standing out there but Dan DeKay, a wonderful old American Pilgrim I met three years ago in Canada. He´s hiking the Via de la Plata, and arrived fresh from California with lots of news about mutual friends and places and events Over There. Dan is in charge to training hospitaleros from all over North America, so it´s a little intimidating having him in the house... But he is breath of home! How refreshing, to chatter in American English after two weeks of United Nations hand-waving and charades!
It´s been a most delicious break, even if I did have to be somewhat responsible for the place at times. I am refreshed. My spoken Spanish has taken a leap forward, and I am now able to READ with some very real fluency! You can´t believe how good this feels to me... as if a crack has formed in a big wall and sunlight is now pouring in! I am back to studying indirect object pronouns in verb phrases, and it is almost ENJOYABLE. (Whether I ever use such elaborate grammar is doubtful still, but I am beyond all embarrassment and shame by now. Poor old Spanish, the things I do to it every day!)
There are some large developments in Moratinos, but I´m waiting til I get there to do any reporting on them, just to give them time to get real. I´ll be rolling in just in time for Holy Week, and I hope to attend a lot of the big solemn events in Sahagun this time around. Watch this space, as I will upload some Salamanca photos to these posts when I get back!