Fog City Boy on the Camino Primitivo
San Francisco, California – September 30, 2016
Prior to departing for Spain, I had learned of a festival in the town of Pola de Allande through which the Original Way passes and through which I calculated I would pass on September 8th – the day the festival concludes. I was quite keen to experience this fiesta, and made a hotel reservation before I left San Francisco. Alas, arriving in Tineo on September 7th, I was too far behind in my perigrenacion to make it to Pola in time for the festival. Pola would be a two day walk from Tineo.
What to do? What to do?
The answer was remarkably straightforward. Spend the night in Tineo and hire a cab to take me to Pola, about 25 km away, enjoy the festival, use my hotel reservation, and return to Tineo to continue on The Way. Taxis are remarkably affordable in that part of the world. The rate is about 1 Euro per kilometer.
I was joined by a delightful young peregrina, originally from Portugal, but presently living in Montreal. She was deep into contemplation of challenges she was facing. She also was near-fluent in Spanish. I inquired of her about her fluency, and she confessed that she thinks in Portuguese and then gives those thoughts a Spanish pronunciation. It worked well for her.
When we arrived in Pola we met up with the young fellow from Ireland I had met at Hotel Soto in Salas. The three of us explored the town.
The municipal “city hall” was decked out for the fiesta.
Though it was a Thursday, all businesses except restaurants, cafes and hotels were closed. The town was quiet, except for the recurring launches of pyrotechnics.
A pleasant river runs through the middle of town.
We visited a small chapel on the hill above the town center and were treated to the preparations for the annual procession honoring Nuestra Senora del Avellano, the patron saint of Pola de Allande.
The aerial explosions continued off and on through the late morning and early afternoon.
At mid-afternoon, after much of the town had finished a large and satisfying dinner, a procession wound its way from the chapel, through the town, and ultimately to the parish church in the town center. The procession was led by altar boys and men of the town carried the statue of Nuestra Senora, followed by a large delegation of townsfolk. It was quite a show.
It was mid-afternoon after the procession reached the church and my fellow peregrinos decided to press ahead and stay at the alberque 3 km further along the Camino at Penaseita. I accompanied them to that tiny village, bid them buen Camino! and returned by taxi to Pola to take in the continuing festivities. The peregrina and I gave each other a big hug as I headed to the taxi. I hope she found answers to her questions as she pursued her perigrenacion.
The plaza had become the temporary home of “carny” games, trampolines, and other amusements. And the pyrotechnics got bigger and better!
And later in the evening, two rock bands entertained the crowds.
The music continued until 3:30 the next morning when it abruptly stopped! I think city officials pulled the plug! I had returned to my hotel about 11:30 and drifted off – not asleep, not awake. Despite my best efforts, getting up early the next morning was not an option. However, eventually I emerged from my room, had a light breakfast, and returned by taxi to Tineo to rejoin the Camino Primitivo.
I’ll post again in a few days.
With that, I’m off!
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