thehealingpilgrim’s travelblog 25

Perhaps if you have just read the email about Zacs operation ( see previous post ) you could perhaps take a bit of time to say a prayer yourself for his continued recovery. Every little helps!

3rd and 4th Feb Foncebadon – Matavenero – Foncebadon

My first stay at Foncebadon was certainly full of food, but unfortunately, not full of sleep. The food was vegetarian and wonderful – i’m still suprised at how delicious food can taste, even when there is no cooking involved. There is no reason at all why i shouldn’t make more healthy food for myself. I just need to realise it’s not difficult or even time consuming.

Bedtime in Foncebadon brought about a whole different experiance.


The problem with snoring is that you can be drawn into listening to it, as opposed to just hearing it. You start waiting, nay, hoping it will stop. When it finally stops, if it does, then you begin waiting for it to start again.

I’ve had 2 nights of this with the same pilgrim so i’m kinda glad that this morning he will turn left onto the Camino while i will go right for a days diversion to a village off the camino called Matavenero ( do a search for Matavenero and youlwill learn more about it ) . At least this night i won’t hear his snoring – perhaps anothers, but not his.

As i left the camino at Foncebadon and headed across to the mountains toward Matavenero i was stopped by a slightly hippy looking Spanish guy and his teenage daughter saying something to me about Matavenero. I tried my best to understand but wasn’t doing very well at all. Anyway they began walking with me until we reached a road junction which had a hand made sign pointing down a track to Matavenero. At this point they waved me goodbye, turned around and walked back the way we had just come. I thanked them for showing me the turn off and carried on down the track. About 1/2 hour later a car pulled up beside me with 2 guys in it, one of them began shouting from the window, “this isn’t it, this isn’t the camino”. I told them i was heading for Matavenero which seemed to put them at ease again ( after looking me up and down a bit ) . 10 mins later another car pulled up beside me – it was the Spanish guy who showed me the way to the track with his teenage daughter. He asked me if i wanted a lift to Matavenero. I thanked him but said no. He didn’t insist or cajole me to accept, as can sometimes happen when people feel they are being helpful, he just said, ” ok,no problem, see you there”.

I wanted to walk to experience the place gradually, rather than just falling out of the back of a van into the village street. It was a good decision! the village is in a valley, surrounded by hills and looks like its sitting in a huge bowl. As i approached the village i could see it all, in it’s bizarre entirity. A Fairy tale mixture of Domes, Pyramids, Tipis, Slanted houses, Straight houses, Round houses, Octagenal houses, Sheds and Ruins. You reach the car park first which is at the top of the valley and this also had an incredible array of different types of caravans, motorhomes, Gypsy caravans and cars. As i have been living in a camper myself for a few months now, it all seemed very familiar otherwise i might have felt it was all a bit strange. As i turned a corner i saw 3 really hippy/ traveller looking characters, two blokes and a woman. I wondered over and noticed the woman was laughing at me. It felt like she was mocking me, but i ignored the feeling ( she could well be just amused by my appearance in a nice way ) , introduced myself and asked the guy to my right what his name was and which track should i follow down to the village. He was polite and helpful but i didn’t get the same vibe from the other 2 so i didn’t bother to extend the conversation by asking their names. I thanked Jurgen for his help and headed off down the track he had pointed out. About 10 mins later as i neared the village i saw Jurgen and the girl walking ahead of me – they obviously knew a short cut! As i approached the entrance of the village i saw a few people in the street but they went off into buildings or further down the street as i approached. I thought to myself, okay, you are here now. Now what? Are you just going to start talking to someone? What Now?

I saw the guy who had offered me a lift. I wondered over to ask him who i needed to speak to about staying the night here. He didn’t seem to know himself, in fact he looked a wee bit lost himself. I asked another passer by. He said to go to the bar. I carefully made my way up the uneven steps to the bar, opened the door and for the briefest moments thought, do i really want to stay the night here? The bar was full of punky, gothiky, traveller looking teenagers just hanging out playing loud thrash metal music. Everyone was smoking, if you get me! I said “Hola buenas dias” put my stick up against the corner by the door, took my rucksack off and ordered a coffee. At that moment Jurgen came in and started rolling so i didn’t interrupt him. At that moment ‘Laughing Girl’ came in too. I said to her, “i didn’t get your name before, what is it”? She said, ” i wasn’t telling you it, it’s Elicia”! I replied, ” i wasn’t telling you mine either, i’m Grant”. Turns out that Elicia has been here 20 years and was one of the first inhabitants but was now finding it difficult because it wasn’t so much of a community like before. People were doing their own thing and it was more difficult to keep things working well and the place up together because the collective spirit had gone. “People want everything”, she said “they want a garden to grow things but they also want to go to other places, festivals and stuff, and the plants die”. I told her i lived on a boat which then brought the barman into the conversation who had spent 7 years in the Spanish Navy. He took great pride in showing me his tattoos. Eventually Elicia left the bar so i got my stuff and left the bar as well. In a little raised seating area opposite the bar i saw a woman sat in the sun knitting. I asked if she minded if i joined her, she said “sit where you want, it’s a free place”. Her name was Ana from Austria. She had been here 11 years. She told me a lot about her life and the ups and downs of her relationship with Uli, her partner. After about an hour or so  i heard a voice say, ” are you scottish then, or what”? I looked up to see a guy about my age wearing a rainbow coloured cardigan and varios other hippy style clobber.
Posted from ES
posted Thu Feb 04, 2010

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