I have lost my iPad charger. Normally that would not be a problem but it would mean I could not write the blog or take photographs. But the really important thing is that I would have to keep it switched off for the duration of the trek as my boarding pass is on it. And... I would not be able to FaceTime my wife and see the dogs, both of which I look forward to at the end of each day.
So I set about getting another. There are no English speakers here, and indeed why should there be. There are very few Spanish speakers in the UK, a large group to which I belong. So it was back to sign language again. I took my eye pad and its lead, complete with its taped bit over wires that became exposed on the via de la Plata last year. I should have bought a new one but plaster is cheaper. I came to a cafe and there I was, not a good sight I have to say. I had lost the top button on my end of day walking shorts so they were hanging on by a thread just below the knees.
I was wearing slippers which I always do because my feet burn like heck at the end of the day, and I was waving a piece of twisted wire in the nose of a nice lady who was trying to sell me coffee and free use of her wifi.
She invited me inside the cafe and gave me the wifi passcode. Fortunately, nearby was a lady who was charging her phone while using it. I pointed to the charger and the pesetas dropped. She pointed me acros the road and mentioned macaroon. I didn't want anything to eat I wanted a charger. Then I realised she was pointing out the colour of the building. In I went in to be greated by a delightful Chinese lady. I wiggled my lead again which by now was looking like a decimated snake and pointed towards the plug socket. She got it in one. She took my iPad from me, opened a box plugged the leads into the iPad and the wall and hey presto a purple light glowed and the charging icon appeared on the iPad.
Now for the cruncher, knowing how Apple like to recognise the exclusivity of their products by their high prices I awaited in trepidation. It cost me five euro. When I got back to the hotel and plugged it in a warning came onto the screen 'This is not an authorised charger and may result
In you receiving a plague of flies. I ignored that. It charged my iPad and the hotel hasn't burnt down yet. So now I feel whole again. Life was much simpler when we just went away, walked around a bit and then came home again.
Today I walk the last 16kms into Santiago. I had taken the precaution of finding the route out and the fact it was as dark as a cow's insides did not effect my direction of travel. Over the bridge and left into the woods.
Then it was plough on head down and thump thump the legs forward. As I walked through yet another eucalyptus forest a Ryan Air jet passed close on its way into Santiago. We both had out flaps out and landing gear deployed. That said, by the time I got to,Santiago, he would be back in London.
Forset, track, lane, road it all melded into one as I skirted under and over the motorway like a serpent on a staff, eventually immerging into the outskirts of Santiago and the inevitable industrial estate. A large factory, belching white smoke into the air drenched the area with the smell of fibre board.
Then the suburbs, the same the world over. Cars being washed, verges being strimmed and dogs chasing cats up trees. This is the fourth time I have marched into Santiago, each time from a different direction, and each time I stood erect strode in as if I had been out for an afternoon jaunt. I chose to ignore my swollen knee and the blister on either heel. And what a welcome they had laid out for me.,
The square outside the cathedral was thronged with noisy cheering crowds. In one corner a magnificent troop of young men, dressed in the finery of Cavelry stood proud on snorting prancing horses. I another corner a groups of dancers swirled and dived like dervishes at a fertility rite. And all the time the packed square pushed and jostled for view of me. I told them it was all too much and that I had to go and look for a bed for the night and get my credentia for completing the walk. Perhaps I would make a speech later. That seemed to subdue them and, unable to take a selfie with me took one of themselves with the horses.
All along the Way I had been getting two pilgrim passports stamped. One for me and one for my friend. I waited in the queue in the Pilgrim office to get the certificates and when it was my turn slapped both passports on the desk. I knew what was coming. They only give certificates to live people.
'Where is your friend?' I was asked.
'He is dead' I replied. A stunned silence followed and I produced a black and gold rimmed cylinder with his ashes in. The young girl behind the counter drew back in shock as some of him fell on the counter. An elderly Irish women was also serving, and I could see was sympathetic to my plight and put her head in her hands.
'But you have to walk it' she had recovered some, but not all, of her composure.
'He did walk it. He was in my rucksack walking with me.'
'But he has to be here in person'
'He is, I've shown you, this is the Catholic church, you deal with dead people all the time, anyway, what's all this business about life after death. If that's true he must be here.'
This was escalating above this poor ladies pay scale and she went to seek help. Five minutes later she returned.
'We can make an exception to make the certificate out to you and put the fact that you dedicate the walk to your friend on the bottom of it. ' I agreed. 'Which one are you?'
For one minute I was sorely tempted but they tried so I played a straight bat and got my certificate and dedication all nicely written in Latin. The Irish lady smiled and shook my hand.
'I'll be coming this way again next Thursday if you see me don't say anything. '
She smiled again, I think she got the message. And I think you get the message too. Don't you!