Q: Where do Babies Come From? A: Church Towers.

We have made it to a little village called Agés about 40 miles west of Santo Domingo de Calzada, which is a town where Saint Dominic lived and devoted his life to making the Camino de Santiago a little easier for pilgrims. According to Lea, a friendly Filipina walker we met, Dominic is the patron saint of road workers. Upon further reading we learned that there seem to be three Spanish saints named Dominic. One is our man who devoted his life to pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela, building a bridge over the river Oja and curing pilgrims of ailments along the way (including one man who had eyes full of pus and resurrecting a young boy who was wrongfully hung for theft). Then there is another Dominic (of Silos) who is the patron saint against rabies, rabid dogs and insects, and for captives, pregnant women and shepherds. Then the third Dominic (of Osma) is the patron saint of astronomers, the Dominican Republic and of falsely accused people.

Yesterday we left Santo Domingo de Calzada, crossed over the renovated bridge he built and ran head-on into a flock of sheep (photo included). We stood to the side with the sheep filling the road and an aqueduct at our heels. The sheep were so close to us that Austin’s pants got smeared with sheep poo (photo omitted). We bravely walked on and on and on past little towns, old dogs, stone villages, and past hungry cats that looked like old filthy teddy bears with missing eyes, snot smeared on their faces and stuffing coming out of their seams. The landscape is less picturesque than previous days but still fascinating: rolling fields of green, yellow and brown with criss crossing electrical wires, decrepit brick buildings and giant 40-foot-tall collapsing hay bale structures.

We walked for a day with the aforementioned Lea and then met a man from Catalonia (which is an autonomous community in Spain with its own language and a capital named Barcelona) named Martín (or maybe it was Martí – we never did get clear). We had a great time walking with the two and shared a delicious dinner and an interesting tour of the Santo Domingo cathedral that housed an art exhibit. We learned about typical Catalán meals and celebrations.

Update: The Official Snoring Report – Code Red. All systems bad! We have spent multiple nights awake or in a shallow, restless, tossy-turney sleep due to some impressive specimens of sleep apnea. The snoring is out of this world. After walking for 6 hours with our packs day after day and then not sleeping well night after night we have had moments of puffy eyes and blank stares as we walk on down the road with our heads down or in a fight that today, for example, lasted 28 kilometers. That’s right – we can measure our arguments in kilometers.

As we enter villages we can often see from a distance the large stone cathedral tower of the church, often in the center of town. Often on the top of the tower is a huge bowl wreath made of sticks with a giant White Stork standing in the center. The birds are fantastically large, which is understandable considering the burdening bundles they are known to transport to expecting parents.

20130522-084550.jpgA road of sheep.

20130522-084943.jpgPilgrims in their natural habitat.

20130522-085056.jpgTR: This fountain only has water. Sad face. TL: This is the front gate and visible part of one of many houses built into caves. BL: Stationary skateboard.

20130522-085301.jpgTR: This cat is in much better shape than the ones described above. We feel too sad to photograph the mangy cats. BL: Squishy, squishy road of mud.

20130522-085535.jpgA sign warning us of the zombie storage area with electric fence. Or are they inviting us to play lightning limbo?

20130522-085730.jpgVarious sea shell markers alerting pilgrims of the correct path. The shape represents the many routes leading through Europe toward Santiago de Compostela.

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10 thoughts on “Q: Where do Babies Come From? A: Church Towers.

  1. We love, love, love your postings, look forward to each one! BTW, Austin, remind me to show you a photo of me at @ age 3 surrounded by sheep – my dad raised them when we lived in the country. That photo was deja vu! 🙂 Sue

  2. Didn’t we give you some earplugs to ward off potentially obnoxious loud pilgrims? If so, they may just fend off the pesky nighttime intruder. By the way, Austin, I need a haircut and you are the only one I know who accepts chocolate bars as payment. Thus when are you coming home? Also, what was the name of the website you used to find the work/trade you did there as a friend from work is curious? Finally, can Allisone and I use your kettle bells while you are away? Anyway, much love dear friends. Stay positive, watch out for electrocuted zombies, find more fountains of wine, laugh alot, and in the words of our dear friends Ren and Stimpy ” don’t whiz on the electric fence”

    • Hi Sprouts! As always, a delight to hear from you.

      Would you believe that the earplugs are a useless defense against the pilgrim sounds?! Even headphones are not able to block out the snoring.

      I would be happy to fly home to cut your hair! Just contact my agent and she will sort out the scheduling details.

      The website we have been using to seek volunteer opportunities is http://www.workaway.info. We really like it and hope it will be a good resource for your friend!

      As for the kettle bells, little else would bring us as much joy as lending those to you and Allisone and knowing that you are getting buffer and tougher. However, those iron cannon balls with handles are still living at the old Couch Street apartment with David’s sub letter friend. So sorry!

      Thanks for the Ren & Stimpy wisdom – those guys are the best (and worst).
      We really love hearing from you and miss you. See you soon for that haircut,

      Austin & David

  3. poo is so important. Im glad you go up close and personal with some from sheep. what color was it>?? 😉

    xoxo and hugs from rain-landia

  4. Hey, Austin and David. I’m the fellow Oregonian you met on the Camino west of Santa Domingo on the 20th or 21st of May. I was traveling with Blanca, the Catalonian from the Barcelona area. Your observations of the juxtaposition of the challenging, odd and wonderful along the Way are most enjoyable, and the photos you post show me that while we walked some of the same path, you often saw what I did not, which is a treat. I also found the cacophony of snoring, grunts, whistles and wheezes in the sleeping rooms of the albergues to be amazing as well as comical. Thankfully I’ve been so tired that I have been able to sleep anyway.
    I didn’t meet many Americans in Spain, but the other two were also from Portland. I hope you continue to have an enjoyable journey.
    Donna

    • Hi Donna! We are so delighted to hear from you! We are happy to know you’ve enjoyed glimpsing the Way from our perspective and we are interested to hear some of your own reflections, if you feel inspired to share. We are pleased that Lea mentioned the blog to you and we’d enjoy keeping in touch. Where are you now? We will be entering León today. Are you in touch with Blanca? Austin is still enamored with her handmade jewelry.
      All the best to you from your neighbors,
      Austin& David

  5. David, we hope you had a marvelous birthday! We really enjoy reading about all of the adventures you two are having. We love you. – Scott and Candace

  6. Pingback: The BIG News | Fodenvensel Studios

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