Monday November 24th Bañeza 22 km.

 lDe hoefschoenen the hoof shoes

Hair loss beneath belts of pack-saddle. I removed the belts Hair loss beneath belts of packsaddle. I removed the belts    Close up

 Proud hunters greyhounds-greyhounds and rabbit [/ caption]  Civilization in sight. Solar panels and smoke plume

In de verte de zonnepanelen en de beschaving ( rookpluim) civilization in sight. Solar panels and smoke plume

Trotse jagers met greyhounds-hazewindhonden en konijn Proud hunters with there greyhounds

imageAlejandro Blacksmith in action in front of the albergue


Farrier Alejandro in action in front of the inn

Today Leon doesn’t do a lot of pulling me to the waydie, so apparently he is not hungry. Leons droppings are also relatively soft, which means he had a lot of green food, so he would not drink all day. Last night at the bar, I was assured that there was no farrier in …. But 2 villages further there is one. Moreover, while I was eating my raciones tapas, I received a text message from Dutch Jan and Anna L, who now live in Northern Spain. I knew them from years ago, with shepherd Ger in Epen (Nl). They had read on my blog that Leon needed new irons and sent me the name and number of the farrier, near here, named Louis. It is apparently raining fires here, so I set off on the road. Okay, just take a break Harrie, tie Tosca and then we’ll call Louis. With a lot of bumbling I try to make clear what the problem was: today and tomorrow no time! Oh, there is another blacksmith over two villages. I released Tosca again. In her youthful enthusiasm she jumps with her filthy legs against my recently washed red jacket. God … good heaven!
Theweather was nice, pretty, nice landscape, flat, easy to walk, clear course. Because of the mild weather, there are numerous gnarly flies.  You feel them land, but once they are seated you no longer feel that they are eating you. They go to the ears, the gnats. An hour or so later , in the village, I get a lot of attention again. Mothers against their children: caballo. Have they never seen that? I realize that in my dialect we are also say “baj” or “bajke” to a horse. Most probably this word entered our dialect in the Spanish time, in sixteen hundredth. I go to the bar in the central and of course only square, ask for a farrier, order a coffee and I am addressed by a Spaniard in Dutch. He had worked in Oss (Nl) for a long, long time. I already wanted to ask: why-are-we-speaking-Spanish? A farrier? Two villages further, next to the church. He is retired, but perhaps he still has his materials. Good, I thought, being made happy again with probably nothing . Another dead sparrow, I walk on. I hear that the 2nd iron is loose too. Reminds me of that bland primary school puzzle: 999 times tick and one time boom. Rara, what is that? A centipede with a wooden leg. O.k. then I’ll put Leon the hoof shoes on. Those will keep the irons in place. That means tying the animals, unpacking everything, fixing Leon’s shoes, getting dirty. Suddenly a phone with a Spanish number. In English with a strong accent I am addressed by Carmen?
“I work for Pavo animal food”. Carmen was approached by a colleague in the Nl, who also works for Pavo and who on Facebook, I believe, had read my worries about Leon. Carmen was going to arrange for me to bring concentrates to the inn tonight in Bañeza. Carmen would also provide a blacksmith named Alejandro. And Alejandro will take Leon with him and offer Leon a nice stabel foor tonight. Very sweet of these Parvo-ladies! I am happy again.         
I’d like to know who those lasies are. Please make a note/reaction at my blog, ladies. Probably they are not only sweet, but also pretty!!                                       
Four roe deer cross the road a few hundred meters ahead, Tosca smells them when we pass that spot after a few minutes and I am excited again. 

Tomorrow we’ll be at Astorga, , from there on no more a route booklet, only names. MarliMe ice cream.
Look, this is such an example of uncertainty, which is unpleasant and occurs daily:
At 4 pm I was at the pilgrims’ hostel in Bañeza. The formalities were completed within 10 minutes: Dutch passport, signing the pilgrim’s passport, just pointing out everything, ready. Dozens of beds, spacious dining room and uncle Harry solo. From all kinds of gates and holes here in the street people came to watch Leobn, the farrier and me, almost all at a distance. I only heard caballo. I thought to understand that an old woman, 50 meters from here, with a clearly audible volume, proclaimed that this was impossible: a horse in the street. So I immediately told the old men, to whom she spoke, to explain that in one hour the farrier would come and then Leon would leave after that. But then, did I understand the farrier well? Had communication between Carmen, Alejandro and me been clear? What if Alejandro does not come and take Leon? Look, this is such an example of uncertainty, which is unpleasant and occurs daily. 10 Min. walking from here, before the village, I had seen a place where I could tie Leon up. That would still be possible. And while I’m writing this, in all uncertainty, yes, you do not believe it, Alejandro shows up. Today he treat the hooves and Leon can sleep at Alejandro’s place. I’ll be back in one hour, Alejandro says. That’ll be expensive, said the old men a few moments later. They looked into Leon’s  mouth. That horse is not 4 yrs. old, But at least 12 or 14. Weeks ago fellow rider Vincenco said that too. So did they kid me when I bought Leon. I still have official papers. Fake? Well, as long as Leon performs., I’m satiesfied. I do not have any choice now. Meanwhile, the hour has already passed. It is about to rain and I don’t see Alejandro yet. It gets dark, I want to eat and I spend the time writing my report, in front of the inn on a bench. Anyway, I have confidence, so wait. Meanwhile I hear people chatting: olandes, medico, caballo. They already know everything, just like yesterday, when I nestled in the café there.

So there we go. Stress? While walking no stress at all, as long as there are no problems with the animals I’m fine. I meet hardly anybody. The villages seem empty. The window shades often closed. Does anybody live here in winter, or anyway?
What am I doing? What’s the use of this trip? Back to basics? Doing something original? I’m too old to excell in a sport. But endurance still is possible. Mama Alice? I know that once this enterprise will be finished it will not be appreciated by listeners if I ask their attention for my trip for longer than a few minutes. Then people will think I am boring.
So why all this? Must I necessarely have a goal? I’m just walking. I am the one is changed into I am on the walk. Didn’ t Descartes say: I think so I am. Well, I walk, so I go. There is no more to it. A lady, over 90 years old, long ago told me that when she was young she used to walk from Wahlwiller to Aachen, 15 km. up, 15 km. down, with the dog chart. Eldridge Cleaver, a black power author in the roaring 60’s of last century described in his book Soul on Ice a trip in the rapid ( tram) on his way home from his work. The officials in their uniform, the secretary well dressed, haute couture, the shop owner with the newspaper and the teacher with his school bag, people with responsabities, the unsure puber, one could see at their appearance. And also in that same rapid there was the black maid. Tired of working, no fancy cloths, dried sweat. She just SAT. The same counts for walking. People walk to the store, with their children, to the neighbour, to their work, to schoo, to the mailbox. I just walk. It’s an addiction, beautifull. Leon’s pace sounds like the  heart beat twentyone, twentytwo, twentythree etc. and I notice we often keep the same pace. Leon looking for a chance to make a charge to some grass and I ready to warn him” Leon take care”. May be it’s not nice to him, but I think he can better go on now with his burden, without stopping, in order  to get more time at the end of the day to roam around eating without a burden.

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