Spring 2017

12.

Madam says she misses me.

I recall how beautiful she is in her longing...

 


I stopped looking for the light. Decided to become it instead.

 

author unknown   

author unknown

 

I partly close the blinds, light up vanilla incense and lie down, on sunny Sunday afternoon, for the serotonin storm that this album delivers...

and

my summer dreams become true 

...

 

11.

'But the chestnut trees bloom and yet I'm not in love' I found a reason to whine to a friend.

'Are you aware you're standing under a chestnut tree right now?' she asked.

 


When a higher moment comes, all details recede into the background. I never lose sight of the whole.

-Anais Nin

 

author unknown

author unknown

9.

The ring, Spanish

 

I've seen it in a shop's window on the day of my arrival. I've thought about it. On the next day, I went to try the ring on. It was size too big for my finger, and it was slightly over my budget, but that's never the point. As my trip was coming to an end, I went back to the shop on the hidden corner, a stone's throw from the Cathedral, to try on the ring one more time. In case something changed over three nights.

'We could make it smaller' says Sylvia, bright elderly lady, as I figure out shortly after - an owner of this exclusive jewelry shop. 'Give us two days.'

Oh no. Two days I don't have, I tell Sylvia. She also feels sad. 

From under the counter of thick antique glass, Sylvia pulls three more trays with rings of the similar style, for some other could wink for my heart. From the black velvet tray I take a ring Number Two I liked on the very first day. I don Number Two on my finger and show to this lady - yay very nice - encourages me Sylvia. Unfortunately it is too big, too.

A man standing aside watches us play the 'beauty me' game. He turns out to be the supplier, the artist; he brought Sylvia new collection of brooches today. Roberto only works with silver, gold and Mother of Pearl.

Sylvia, with the smile of the wise, gently point towards the man - Roberto maid this ring, she says. Ah, how delightful, I get excited as I feel pleased. This ring is different in a way that it is made to be adjusted to size. Sylvia thinks this ring is much nicer than my first choice, and as I look at my stretched hand I admit this lady knows what she is talking about. Without a slightest persuasion she pinpoints that Number Two is more worthy as it is handmade, 'unique' word she uses, aka one of a kind, thing she can't say about the ring Number One, which is kind of small factory's brand.

(All this time Sylvia talks to me in Galician, I talk back in English. If you could only see how perfectly we understand each other! So language is not crucial necessity for communication, first of all it starts from being 'willing', you see.)

In the meanwhile, Sylvia and Roberto swap a few words and the artist takes the ring into his own trustful hands. Sylvia takes out of a cupboard something wrapped in soft crimson material. She carefully unwraps a fine made hammer. Roberto opens up his old leather bag, finds two pairs of gloves, puts on the silky ones first, then thin latex, takes the hammer and finger size measuring tool, gets on his knees and begins hammering Number Two to my size. 

First attempt - the ring is still too big, second - slightly too small.

Another few strikes and Roberto polishes the ring. He asks for my hand and slips Mother Pearl Silver Beauty onto my finger. It fits perfectly. I stand fascinated in silence. Sylvia smiles same wise smile. Roberto tells Sylvia to lower the ring's price...

....................

 

As I walk down the street I see small business's owners taking down from the walls heavy ads, for they bring them indoors for a night. It tells me it's just after nine.

 

Irish coffee in most bars costs 3-4 euros. Be that in Ireland, we'd probably have round-the-clock coffee consumption and there would be nothing pathological about it.

 

....................

There are 34 bubble lamps in this place, for starters. They shine mellow yellow and milky white lights. And 14 diamond shaped lamps. Gleaming amber yellow and sapphire blue. All bright colours furniture and dazzling pink colons. Lots of exotic plants in pots, fashion and eccentric lifestyle books everywhere. Figurine of huge golden pineapple besides the record player, and the statue of Pink Panther next to the round counter-bar. All different tables, chairs, armchairs and benches, all different dishes. There's the fuzzy zebra-print wallpaper, framed black and white posters that say the name of foreign capital cities in block print, and the transgender Barbie dolls that mark the entrance to the unisex bathrooms. To say nothing of the cool, look-at-me clientele. Young guys with flippy hair and Warby Parker eyewear. Recently it's in vogue again, much like old-timey mustaches, suspenders and other grandpa traditions. Young ladies in sequin dresses, cyclamen lipsticks and spider net stockings, Chanel beads and bright colour feathers. Here I am in some kind of fancy hipsters' bar on a Friday night, but to me it feels like tea party at Alice's, hahaha! I am dressed in skinny jeans and navy silk shirt and have new ring on my finger, so pretty cool, boi, let's celebrate the farewell! I get served by a generously pierced bartender, who wordlessly plunks big mug of hot chocolate on the table along with pink macaroon cookie and walks away. So cool, this place is so cool, I start sizzling myself rooting for red lipstick in my bag.

 For the next two hours I live in rabbit's hole. Observing supreme to the extreme, enjoying the party treats, writing postcards to my boyfriend soon to come:

My dearest wonder full boyfriend!

I was, as I always am drawn into a shop of pretty dresses. They're really very good at it, and in fact anything I buy is actually a product of pretty things making me do it. Anyway, I did not, surprisingly, buy a dress. But! I saw this postcard which I am clearly in the centre of, and got it instead. I don't remember being in Santiago and having my photo taken, but it must have happened, because there I am! In pretty Polaroid, and oh, so Instagramable form too. We'll come and explore this part of the world someday when it's not that rainy and cold. You may have a puddle for a girlfriend after today, so prepare to carry me around in a pretty teacup! LOVE,b.

 

I seal the card with sticky from hot chocolate tongue.

 

I'll remember some time down the road it was here that I discovered Paolo Roversi portrait photography.

....................

 

Spanish people are not in a hurry to hug. But I am. I hugged everyone I felt happy to encounter in my Santiago 2017 story. In this part of Spain people hug twice. First hug is distant, but then you get a second chance, instantly. I believe people trust their gut instinct after the first hug, so for the second one they either open up their hands (and hearts!) wider, or they simply back off.

So much can be told from the way we hug...

I like the idea of double hug a lot, so I take it with me to Ireland.

 

Oh yes, and the tea! All places have regular teas: black, green, red and peppermint, all loose leaves. No one had any problem with my request to make the tea stronger than usual, no one warned I'll be double charged. 1,20 - 1,60 euros is the price per mug. Happy days. No tea pots. 

 


Paying attention to your experience is a skill.

 

Fisterra . Briga Saulė, 2017   

Fisterra. Briga Saulė, 2017

 

8.

Travel ad this morning shows how chipmunks fight when one of them steals oat nuts from the other, and how a red fox pinpoints field mice buried deep beneath the snow using her amazingly sensitive hearing.

North America, offers the ad. Learn Young or Die.

How very precise.

 

Last night was -2 degrees Celsius. But at least it stopped raining.

I take a trip to see the Atlantic Ocean from the other side of the world. 

 

Eight of us snuffle our noses on a mini bus: me, a couple from Uruguay, and the rest Spanish. We all sign the paper saying that Kristina, our guide, didn't kidnap us, we stepped on board of this mini bus by our own free will. This doesn't really make sense to me, but whatever.

 

The best dairy farm in Galicia was created by 10-15 people who got together and established their brand. These people are deeply committed to animal welfare, and so they invest a lot of money into research on how to win-win this game. They offer milk that is 20 cents more expensive than other brands', but exceptional quality. It is because their cows spend most of the time in the fields eating organic grass, have regular massages and clean bedsheets when back indoors. Also, they listen to the music. No, not a classical type as you might have guessed. The research noticed it makes cows too lazy. Cows most enjoy (and apparently get most productive) when listening to funk and folk.

 

Eucalyptus tree is not native to Spain. It is said to be brought from Australia in 1950ies. That time the government implemented a policy, which favoured the plantation of this tree (eucalyptus is grown to produce paper). Today though, the eucalyptus is seen as a threat to ecosystems. It grows very fast and tall, impoverishes the soil, water, as well as the fauna. And, it tends to multiply to ratio 1x15!

Nowadays the logging companies control the market lowering the prices of wood. As a consequence, the countrymen try to exploit the eucalyptus as much as they can. The government wants to prohibit further eucalyptus plantation. But people own the Galician land...

 

We pass by the area where birds make a stop on their way to warm countries for winter. There are always a handful of birdwatchers here, waiting to cheer them.

 

Wind energy turbines, rows and rows of them, embrace the whole region.

 

We stop on top of the mountain to look at the beach 8km long.

'There are still wild horses around' says Kristina.

Hard to believe. But I trip on the visuals...

 

The Mount Pindo is the most important mountain in Galician history and is regarded to be mythical place for several reasons. Some legends are related to Celts which occupied the area in ancient times. Celts called this mountain Mount Olympus, a sacred place where they made sacrifices to such extremes as collective suicides. Next, this place was considered to be a land full of nocturnal medicinal herbs. It is said that Mount Pindo is also a secret area where witches climb up into the caves to practice their sorcery. The motif of witches is very popular in Galicia, here they are called 'meigas', and many Galicians still believe in their power. As well as that, this mountain is a traditional place where people go seeking fertility help. Legends indicate that Celts used specific rocks for sun and star worship or as 'fertility beds', where they practiced pagan love-making well into Christianity times.

Mount Pindo is dark colour, covered in stones of the strangest shapes. Human imagination sees in these stones animal figures, human faces and monsters. There are many caves inside of this mountain, castles appear and disappear, people get lost. It is believed Mount Pindo has an entrance to hell.

Also to mention, a story about Roman Queen Lupa, wolf goddess, one of the heroes of Mount Olympus. She's said to hang around here training demigods, or half-bloods, a race of beings who were half-mortal, half-god (children of a human and a god). Demigods had mortal souls, but their godly blood bestowed them with special abilities that allowed them to achieve feats not usually possible by humans. The Queen Lupa was training them to be Legionnaires of the mighty Rome. So these majestic stones could be the soldiers of the Queen Lupa, conditioned to protect the eternity...

I wish we'd stop here, but unfortunately it's not on Kristina's list.

 

No one tries to talk to me, neither when we stop for a coffee, nor when we break for lunch. Even the couple from Uruguay speaks only in Spanish.

A lady at the restaurant stows my plate with paella and my glass with white wine without asking would I be willing to try. I have noticed that in Spain people often don't understand the concept of vegetarianism. 'Look, there are loads of vegetables here', says the lady as she pushes pork pieces to the side of a plate.

 

As we drive via cute villages on the bottom of the Mount Pindo, Kristina tells horror stories about fishing the most expensive sea food in the world. It's a type of shellfish, for which you have to dive deep into the Atlantic Ocean. In the late 1970ies this was extremely well paid kind of fishing; fishermen earned something like 100 euro per dive, doing 3-4 rounds a day. Today most of these men find it hard to breathe, some can't even talk. Others developed serious bone and muscle issues and lost their mobility. Most of those fishermen are only in their early sixties... How very sad.

 

Northwest shore of Spain is untouched by tourism. Just some locals come here for summer holidays. Most often Spanish people go to the islands, for weather on the mainland is too cold for them, Kristina adds to my notes.

Houses are painted in bright colours to use paint fishermen painted their boats...

 

It's always nice to see the Atlantic. Even a feeling of some silent ending sneaked within, which was nice too. However Fisterra didn't feel to me as the end of the world. I had no shoes or clothes to burn. And the promise made last night, today felt like eons ago.

It felt as it always was here, a part of that grown up girl I've become.

 

'Kristina, does Santiago de Compostela name has a meaning?' I ask on our way back to the town.

'Santiago's body was found by three men who lived in the forest. Three nights in a row they've seen stars falling on the field nearby...'

Campo means 'field' in Spanish, Stella - in Latin - 'the star'...

 

Fisterra, Northwest Spain . Briga Saulė, 2017

Fisterra, Northwest Spain. Briga Saulė, 2017

6.

And here it comes bullshit. Thanks, cigarettes, thanks.

Three of them per week are enough to kill me nowadays.

 

Everything within me tremors.

I am turning into my pain.

I reached the point where it is difficult, if not impossible, but mostly useless,

to distinguish where my pain begins and where I end.

 

Hey, Santiago, I call for you!

I walked the Camino of a nicotine drug from sheer insanity

to an early onset of depressive psychosis.

Banshees and dragons settled in my mind.

I been in the secret outdoor raves by lakes 

I seen the actual limit of the sky

I camped under the bridges of lost memories

I faded into the distance of time

.....

Cathedral bells ring while I meditate on these lines.

Church bells always distract my mind, just like an ambulance sirens. Perhaps that's a good thing, as I cannot go back to the same doomed thought there was. Maybe this time the bells call to finally leave it all where it belongs. To stop trying to comprehend 'why is that I chose to smoke', and accept there is no answer to it. Maybe Santiago Cathedral's bells call to put the end to this restlessness without the sentimental drama, for a change.

Okay so, let's go this way. Though please, Santiago, help me to become unified in my thoughts and emotions that anticipate healthy future. Please help me to expel the nicotine ghost for good, and to minimise my enthusiasm for self-destruction and desperate straits. I choose all fog drenched notions to be called history, from now as today.

You hear me, Santiago, don't you?

 

I draw a smiling sun with sunglasses on top of the right hand corner of a page, like children draw in the dead hours of a school life. I fold over the corner to cover the sun, and write 'The Secret' on it. Instant therapy, like you would not believe.

 

Three little yachts manoeuvre about in the still fountain's water, navigated by three grown up men with remote controls. 

A woman with purple hair walks three legged dog. 

I return to the hotel with box of strawberries which look like carrots.

 

...............

That night I couldn't fall asleep as my gut went on strike. I was twisting and turning my stomach was burning, I couldn't find the position to comfort myself, to get some release. I haven't felt this bad since the first attack happened six weeks ago, and became the reason for confident decision to sort myself out, as I won't allow shit like this to be part of my life.

The clock was showing almost 2 am. The realisation that I had very little left to sleep, that next will come tired morning, and, perhaps, I'll have to fast all day, made me weep. I was planning to go to the sea tomorrow you see...

I rolled into a ball, I hugged myself and started sending love to my belly, as nothing else I could come up with. The strangest thing happened next. I found myself making a promise. I didn't come up with it myself, someone has put the words into my mouth.

I am not going to consciously abuse my body ever again. I am going to look after it, just like I would after the biggest treasure. I will discover what's causing me to feel sick, I'll figure out who, and what can help, and I will heal myself. I am committing to this right here right now. I am not going to abuse my body in any way I'm fortunate to understand.

I felt the meaning of every single word I said. I knew It was the end of me smoking. I also knew that my relationship with food comes under the radar next.

I chanted this promise until I fell asleep.

 

'... all promises are made to keep', hooted the night owl.

 

Fisterra, Galicia . Briga Saulė, 2017

Fisterra, Galicia. Briga Saulė, 2017

5.

The weather girl announces more rain for Santiago, please accept her apology.

However in Fisterra, the sun will be expecting you, she winks at me.

 

...............

I walk into the local scarves' shop.

Gorgeous pieces from silk, cashmere, flax, wool. The later are especially beautiful. I can tell all handmade.

A man steps forward to assist me. He pulls from the bundle deep fuchsia colour piece, from the shelf he takes light violet one, then one more, bright green colour, shows all to me, without the slightest enthusiasm. He doesn't speak English either, except for one word 'Opportunity', which he uses after he handles me each scarf. Pretty clever. But I'd prefer us to wow the passion for the quality fabrics, or, at least, for him to allow me to express mine. But neither of this happens. First of all, because he doesn't speak the language I speak. As for the second, I sense he doesn't wow this passion for a number of years by now, if he ever did. I gently rub the wooly fuchsia scarf onto my cheek, what a sweet pleasure. The man says nothing, he simply leaves. 'What's the composition?', I turn to give him another chance, not like I don't know. He writes on a piece of paper the price - €100. I see.

I fold the gorgeous scarf with care. I could treat myself to it, I wouldn't even bargain too much. But the man fails to impress me. There is no story to the thing, if you know what I mean. So I don't buy. And I am proud.

 

For the last few months I read a lot about success in business. I find it very interesting what makes people buy things. In business you sell passion, successful business people say. Which means: you must know what you're offering, you must love what you're offering, and you must show the enthusiasm to sell the thing. The other side of the scale is no less important. You must listen to your client, you must figure out (fast!) what is that he/she likes, and you must reflect that understanding back at them. If you manage to balance the two, you'll make of yourself an extremely successful business man/woman. True.

People need to feel understood on some level for any sort of trade to happen, not only monetary ones. I come across this over and over again...

 

It's not very relevant to what I just said, but also ponder on this one:

There are two ways to succeed in business: to be unique, or to be the best.

...............

 

Many said Santiago de Compostela is the most beautiful in the rain.

I'm sure they meant summer's.

 

Next I meet Jose Ramon, the very first person to speak English. Jose Ramon grew up in London. Twelve years ago his family brought him back home to their native Santiago to run Fruit&Veg shop. Jose Ramon's answer to my question why Spanish business people wouldn't learn English, is simple - Why should they? And here it comes the diddly about 'those' people that try to impose THEIR language onto one's country. A good old fashion protest, in my face. 'The English speakers are lazy, they wouldn't speak any other language but their own', he states what is to be true in often case. 'Why they never consider to learn widely used Spanish... or...' 'Spanish?' I laugh out the ending. I cannot help it to point to one's pride, dirty business, imposes fog on our beautiful minds. 

'Maybe it's in our genes, maybe we're proud of our roots, what's wrong with that?' says he. Nothing is wrong with that, it's just not relevant to what we're talking about, in my eyes. Could ignorance be coded in the genes, silently I wonder.

'So what other language Spanish people speak?' I ask Jose Ramon. Guess what. None. Their local dialect. That is so common about all big countries, isn't it?

'English language is very limited', on top of all that says Jose Ramon, suggesting Spanish has a significantly wider dictionary. English language is limited? Don't flatter yourself, darling. Did it ever occur to you that, perhaps, your knowledge of English language is limited? Snap.

I buy a packet of cigarettes from Jose Ramon and quickly dismiss myself from his company. I choose not to waste my precious holiday time on such beaten up topic, fortunately.

As I walk down the street I remember the article I read this morning, a cleverly constructed monologue on self-defining/ego-defeating concept, to which I can relate right now: '<...> when you imagine yourself as some kind of ruthless megalomaniacal selfish soul borne on the wings of misery to wreck havoc on people with genuine, uncomplicated emotions and desires, and, alternatively, when you imagine you are some shining, charismatic genius born to condescendingly free peasants from their false consciousness, do you ever consider, even for a moment, on this absolute cline that only allows two opposite points of entry, that your character, properties and limitations of the intellect which permit these two features, may in fact be located at some unremarkable midpoint between these two, frankly unfeasible and unatractive extremes?'

-Oisin Fagan, who also proposed a few more mind opening notions. For breakfast. 

 

The Marlboro bitch gives me nothing except for a bad taste in the mouth.

 

I know I know honey, the times are changing, I know. It's time

... is the print on a t-shirt in the shop's window, makes me smile, as I know what that means.

 

In the Museum of Contemporary Art I familiarise myself with the historical period of profound social, cultural and generational transformations in Spain. 1975-1995 was the end of dictatorship and the emerging democracy, era. I am particularly in favour of the significant revolutionary movements in Arts during these fruitful times not only here in Spain, but all over the world. New investigative areas opened up, university-level Fine Art studies began and gave birth to the new generation of young critics. The emergence of installations, photography and video, as well as social and genre issues, all started to whisper winds of change. Through the prism of 'experimental', a common process of (universal) identity recognition began, and goes on into present days.

As I stand in front of twelve photographs: six of them picturing a Lily flower, and other six - a penis, both in the process of coming into the full bloom, I admit - I do like brave pioneering simplicity and bold obviousity of those times. I am keen on the idea of 'challenge' and 'change' for as long as I can remember myself. Just because. hehe

Art is a vehicle for social change.

 

On the way back to the city centre, I get lost in the neighbourhoods...

 

Santiago de Compostela .&nbsp;Briga Saulė, 2017

Santiago de Compostela. Briga Saulė, 2017

4.

Are Spanish men good looking? I'd say they are. Compare to Irish.

I stare at them while I wait for boarding, and can't decide which one is the best looking from three that sit in front of me. So I look at their shoes to make up my mind.  

A Spanish girl beside me, sitting crossed legged, eats Tesco sandwich. A young Asian man next to her, reads five hundred page book 'Why the Wall Street Matters'.

 

'Snacks and drinks for purchase, snacks and drinks', air hostess pushes the cart along the aisle. No one purchases anything. Two thirds take out from their bags Tesco sandwiches. I take out Tesco blueberries. 

 

One hour and forty minutes and we land in cold Galicia, Spain. I remind myself there won't be any old men on the streets playing dominos and smoking cigars, loudly cursing someone in the soccer match that's on the screen inside an old-school vermuteria. 

But there will be something else.

 


 Santiago, April 2017

 

7am. Pouring rain. I watch documentary about parrots.

 

In the dining room, Antonio greats me strictly in Spanish. Croissant, or toast? Yogurt fruit, or naturAL? Coffee? No, thank you, tea, please. Green tea, if you have. Tea? Antonio doesn't know what tea is. Or he kind of knows, but wants to be sure. Tea, tea, tea, tea,- we bounce at each other this word like you'd teach a parrot. A man next to my table starts twitching his green colour trousers for a clue, but at this point Antonio looks totally confused. Okay, coffee okay, I show my thumbs up. Antonio walks away, then comes back in a few minutes with a phone in his hand and insists I talk to artificial intelligence. Thanks God, I came across this thing before. So I say 'green tea' as clearly as I can, the artificial girl translates, Antonio slaps his forehead, the man next to my table laughs, I learn two very practical words: Té Verde.

Yogurt naturAL is very same texture as my hair conditioner. I have a croissant with plain olive oil. 

 

...............

In the Museum of Pilgrims, a lady asks me to take off the coat and rest my bag. Hmm. Maybe not a bad idea at all!

 

Santiago de Compostela is the final stop of El Camino de Santiago, the famous pilgrimage path, and the most popular long distance hiking trail in the world (close to 900km).

Today El Camino de Santiago is a Christian pilgrimage, but Christianity didn't invent the route. To tell the truth, there are many pagan holidays and rituals that Christian Church stole and repackaged and called them Christian. El Camino de Santiago is yet another example of this. No, of course the museum's exposition doesn't suggest that. It's El Camino's dirty little secret.

Long before Jesus was born, pagans were walking across northern Spain in a born-again ritual. They would finish at Fisterra (which means the end of the world), burn their clothes, and watch the sun fall into the infinite sea next to La Costa de Morta (the Coast of Death). This ritual symbolized a pilgrim's death and rebirth.

Eventually, Christians claimed to have brought the remains of St. James to Santiago de Compostela. They encouraged Christians to follow the pilgrimage path that the pagans have created, but this time in the name of Christianity. 

El Camino was incredibly popular during the Middle Ages, but it fell out of fashion when the Black Plague, the Protestants, and the Renaissance ruined the pilgrimage party. Not many did the pilgrimage during the mid 20th century. However, about 25 years ago, El Camino started becoming more popular. And after the release of Paulo Coelho's book 'The Pilgrimage' in 1987, this route soared in popularity and hasn't stopped since.

Later in the day I walked to the pilgrims centre (where pilgrims get the certificate of completion) and asked one of the volunteers how many pilgrims a day would pass through this place. 'On one day in August 2009, we processed 1500 pilgrims' said the girl. Imagine. My mouth dropped also.

The old stories tell that the pilgrimage to Santiago was inspired by religious convictions. Interpreted as 'the way to perfection', El Camino was walked out of pious devotion or to ask for the grace of God. For some it was the way of Atonement, the way of doing penance, the way of Purification. From about 15th century driven by Humanist urges and hero-like values, it became way of Knowledge. But there are also cultural, ecological, sporting, esoteric reasons. Others see it as a chance to meditate or as pure escapism.

One way or another, it is a way to find the truth. I believe pilgrim is transformed on some scale along the way.

 

I sit down on a bench to look at the photographs of captured emotions of pilgrims, thinking pilgrimage is a real phenomenon...

 

I believe there are many dimensions to making a pilgrimage in both, the real and the imaginary world. I like the concept of the particular route being a journey of purification while in search of perfection, or salvation, if you like. It links to the relationship between a journey to a holy place and human life itself (via the symbolic means of communication - internal and external), as well as the relationship between the earthly and the holy. The physical effort required to reach the pilgrim's goal is interpreted as a metaphor for the human spiritual journey, full of sacrifices, heartache, prayers in the gardens of olives...

Depending on a particular belief system one adheres to, the objective of pilgrimage (conscious or unconscious) is to reach the highest level of knowledge and spiritual renewal. 

 

I want to believe everyone on this path gains some clarity about themselves and about the way they live their life. I hope everyone relates with the sacred in some way. I hope everyone discovers their own bliss.

Experiences of this kind do change you. Because you fire neurons into your brain that you have never fired before, those do transform you and make you a better person. I bet, to watch the evolution of a human thought, is our God's favourite bit.

 

On the second floor I have a chance to listen to the recordings of music made with lute and oval vielle, and to explore the meaning of pilgrims' amulets. I come up with the idea to get myself a dice. Perhaps even from Azabache (local semi precious stone, Jet, or Black Amber). So beware, I'll be witching around. hehehe

 

I leave the Museum of Pilgrims knowing I'll come back to walk El Camino de Santiago. I already look forward to assign new experiences to these words:

Path, Passage, Goal, Travel, Favour, Meeting, Pilgrimage, Glory, Threshold, Earth, Energy, Paradise, Benefit, Revelation, Introspection, Sacred, Journey, Help, Solidarity, Salvation, Find, Spirit, Strength.

Sometime soon. Please God.

...............

 

In a souvenir's shop there is Jesus on a cross, with heavily bleeding knees. Virgin Mary, on some pendants, looks forteen years old.

 

Despite attracting pilgrims from all over the world, the locals hardly made any effort to learn English, so you may cherish the opportunity to practice your Spanish.

 

While it snows, I eat gorgeous vegetarian baguette in a café full of carved saints...

 

Alameda Park, Santiago de Compostela . Briga Saulė, 2017

Alameda Park, Santiago de Compostela. Briga Saulė, 2017

 

(to be continued)

 

3.

The concept, tea

 

I have adjusted my cup of green tea from two bags to three. So nowadays I carry tea bags in my handbag. In coffee shops you only get one tea bag per pot, which is always too big. An average price for it - two and half euro. What a waste of money, when you think about it. I found herbal teas in all catering places to be waste of money. These days you rarely get loose tea, which is of better quality. And if you do, you will be disappointed to see only one teaspoon of leaves per teapot, again, which is always too big. But what upsets me the most is that boiling water is poured over tea. That's like bye-bye all goodness there once was.

I don't really enjoy tea in the coffee shops, unless it happens to be a specialised one. But they seldom around those tea houses, pity.

We do have tea culture in Ireland, but only of tea of one particular kind - black (Assam) - full bodied, robust and distinctively malty. We drink this tea with milk, which kills black bitterness leaving the strenght, very nice. Those with more sophisticated taste drink Earl Grey - another type of black tea. With bergamot oil and light citrus, bit smoky flavour, usually consumed without milk. Also Darjeeling - thin bodied, floral, with musky spiciness black tea. I often add a slice of lemon to the later two, a delicious twist. I like black traditional tea too. It's just that to my taste it is more food than a drink. And if I have it paired with traditional scone, my hunger is sorted for almost half day. Is that a good or not so good thing, depends. 

I'm streaming this tea talk in the oldest cafe in Cork, 'Fellini'. French style decor. With candelabras, original ornaments on the ceiling, good quality dark vintage furniture and heavy mirrors in golden frames. Cafe's walls are full of decent artwork that frequently change due all are for sale. And those enormous size homemade cake slices on old-fashioned cake stands made of glass of different colours, all in light shades: greenish, pinkish, yellowish; I like the French grey. And the music compliments this place; that trippy a la boheme jazz and Cafe Noir divas' vocals, also Woodie Allen's movies' soundtracks. So sometimes Cork is Paris to me.

A beautiful middle aged lady who works here is always dressed in black. Today she is in an open shoulder satin blouse, defiant glamour. She likes massive silver jewelry. Those bangles look good on her darker skin. Her hair is black, pass shoulder length, gently tighten. Besides, she's very well mannered; I watch her with pleasure. The South of France la deesse, the queen of the house. Graciously brings me one bag of green tea in a pint. 

 

'... and on paper cups Japanese like to print short poems of their most treasured poets, so you could read them while enjoying your drink', my friend shared the memory from her trip in Japan once upon a time. What a wonderful idea, I was very impressed. Imagine. In a coffee shop you get tea or coffee to go, and while you wait for a bus, here is haiku for you:

 

This beautiful spring

Hyacinths' and tulips' sweet smell

Make the memories

 

Or a short aphorism:

 

Simplify. Then add lightness.*

 

Wouldn't you like that?

 

... I'm just passing the time waiting for the handle of my travel bag to be fixed. I'm flying to cold Galicia tomorrow. Santiago de Compostela is my destination this time. A friend of mine laughed pointing I'm going straight to the finish line without even walking a bit of famous Camino. Well, hello! For the past two years I walked Camino of mine.

I trust I've arrived.

 

I'll let you know do locals drink tea in Northwest Spain, and what kind.

 

 

*Colin Chapman


To live with an open heart means that pain is no stranger, but wonder will be a constant companion.

-David Oldfield

 

2.

'i love myself.'

the

quietest.

simplest.

most

powerful.

revolution.

ever.

 

-ism

1.

Cinnamon my soil

 

There is dark and there is light.

There are still some thoughts from the past, but also green tea I cannot get enough of.

There is a change in the air. No wheat or sugar diet. There is a feel for a balance. 

There are daffodils in a metal jar, new material to be learned, and those inspirational painted owls.

There is an Aaron jumper and new headphones. Music textures transparent, and desire to move.

There is a bunch of interesting people around, a few new friends, men to go on a date with, and a ticket to Spain.

There is clarity. And kindness lingers.

There is a new job, plenty of free time and enough money.

There is a possibility to go towards direction desired.

There is a wellbeing aura all over my spring.

Fresh air, deep breaths, notes of Gratitude, and a chance commitment long wanted to taste.

There is a new purple diary, paper handmade. Engraved silver pen that flickers in candlelight, and a new story.

 

Here starts the good times.

 

I come about in shoes that make not a sound...

 


You will survive your terror, and come out grand, simply grand.

-Anne Sexton, from a letter featured in 'A Self-Portrait in Letters'

 

Briga Saulė . Courtesy of Inglė Photography, Lithuania, 2016

Briga Saulė. Courtesy of Inglė Photography, Lithuania, 2016