really sure, I think it’s called Franca de la Playa, although there is no beach. It’s in Asturias…


jimmy Hogg

20 Mar

March 20th, 7.20pm
really sure, I think it’s called Franca de la Playa, although there
is no beach. It’s in Asturias…

walked to Unquera which looked a bit shit really and the sky was grey
and it’s been foggy all day and so I walked a bit further. My whole
plan today was just to take it easy, try and get my knee to recover
so that I can do some big walking days when I want to without
damaging myself any further.

did about 18kms in all today. At a very leisurely pace I might add.
When I left San Vincente, there was a sign that said, Unquera 11kms
and that was my target, just walk a little bit. The very next sign
said, Unquera 12kms and I nearly lost my mind. I considered going
back to double check that the first one did indeed say 11kms, but I
didn’t need to because I knew that’s what it said, that’s just a
typical bit of Spanish signage and is indicative of all signage,
mappage and anything else one might use to establish time and place
within Spain.

crazy lady with purple hair stopped me as I was leaving Unquera,
heading over the hill to tell me that I should head over the hill
because it was better over the hill. I said that that was exactly
what I was doing. She asked me where I was from. I told her. She said
she didn’t speak very good English and then told me that she was a
photographer. Okay then, bye.

a mile or two from where I am staying there’s a roundabout which had
some Guardia Civil there, stopping cars and stuff. (By the way, until
about three days ago I always thought the were called Guardia
Seville. Ha!) One of the dudes walked over and said hi, asked me what
I was doing, I told him I was walking the Camino and then he took my
passport, very politely I might add and handed it to another guy who
went into a car to check my credentials. He told me it was just
random, but it always makes me nervous, I do have a bit of a
terroristy beard at the moment. Obviously, it was fine.

I found this little place by the side of the road, basically in the
middle of nowhere, it’s a Cidery and bar and restaurant and has some
rooms upstairs, it has lots of character and characters. I had a tiny
cider and then went upstairs where I had a long bath and read in the
tub, all very relaxing and lovely and then I caught up on the
internet- sports news, mostly and seeing who wished me happy birthday
on Facebook and then finding out who these people actually are. And
then I got a phone call from a Toronto number which I answered and
the guy said he just got a call from thins number and I said, “That’s
impossible, I’m in Spain.” “You’re in Spain.” “Yes, I’m in
Spain.” “Oh, okay then.” It felt pretty cool telling a stranger
in Toronto that was somewhere rather than just at home.

just as I wrote that someone else called me and they were speaking
some language I couldn’t understand. Maybe I’ve opened up a can of
worms by answering the phone in the first place. Fuck. Okay, it’s
nearly 8, this is a reasonable time to have dinner on a Friday, I’m
heading downstairs…

March, 21st,
bar, somewhere in Pobada (?), Asturias.

finish off last night… I went downstairs, had a delicious bottle of
cider. I asked the guy how much it was beforehand- $2.30. Hahahaha,
amazing! I drank it back and ate a bowl of mixed nuts and hung out
for a bit. Then I ordered Fabada, a local speciality of white beans
(possibly lima beans, or something very like them) chorizo, morcilla
an pork. The bowl was huge and very satisfying, I crushed it with a
couple of glasses of some excellent red. Then ‘The Itis’ hit me and I
rolled upstairs and read a little before sleep overtook me.

Pork and cheese sandwich, nuts, Fabada, cider, wine, 2 coffees.


got up late. Hard to wake up when it’s grey and cloudy outside.
That’s the weather up North this time of year. It’s fine, I’ve
already decided that when I finish walking I’m heading somewhere
where it’s hot as fuck with a beach and I’m going to swim and read
and write and relax and do whatever it is I want. I’m yet to figure
out where that will be- somewhere that’s cheap to get to from
Santiago an easy to get back to the South-west of England afterwards.
We’ll see…

rolled downstairs and had a coffee and an enormous ham sandwich, half
of which I pocketed for later on, and then I headed on down the road.

so things have changed a little. The trail that is the Camino Norte
is all well and good, but I cannot emphasize enough the amount of
fucking dogs that are going ballistic whenever I walk by. It’s
traumatizing. Couple this with the fact that it’s raining a lot
making many of the underused trails very difficult to walk through.
So, to counteract this I’ve decided just to walk on the main road,
which would be terrible if it wasn’t for the fact that there is very
very little traffic. It’s a bit harder on the feet and knees, but it
allows me to walk through smaller towns which ‘the way’
circumnavigates. It gives me more options and if I’m quite honest, I
find large portions of the countryside fucking creepy when wandering
through them for hours on end. I’m much more at home with cars
hurtling towards me.

I saw some porn on the road, a page from a porno mag, something I
haven’t seen in over a decade, I thought these were the sorts of
things that people didn’t see anymore, an attraction from a bygone
era. Obviously, in Spain, where the internet (in certain circles) is
like a fire to pre-Cambrian man there’s still a thriving business in
magazines with naked women in them. I’m kind’ve happy that maybe the
youths of today will get that thrill when they stumble upon a
shredded piece of glossy paper with a disembodied boob upon it. That
shit would keep you going for months when I was a lad! Anyway, a bit
further down the road there was the whole magazine, lying in a
puddle. How did it get here? Maybe a guy threw it out the window
before getting home to his wife, maybe he was reading it while
driving and it got caught by a gust of wind and blew out the window,
maybe it fell out of a truck laden with ‘Entertainment’ magazines,
heading for the furthest reaches of northern Spain where a printed,
naked nipple is a thing to behold. Either way, it brought me back. My
first instinct was to put it in my school bag and then I realised I
was thirty-nine and if I want porn I can have/get it whenever I want.

so I’m catching up on random thoughts and things I’ve forgotten to
note that may not have occurred today, but are things that I’ve been
meaning to note for some time.

smells like manchego. The cheese. It make sense I suppose, but is a
bit weird when you walk through a field full of cows and the smell of
hem mixed with their particular shit makes you think of a delicious
Spanish cheese. I’m not sure which way round it works- whether it is
the cheese that smells like shit or the shit that smells like cheese-
perhaps something of a chicken-egg situation.

ceremony of pouring a bottle of cider is something I enjoy. They have
a corkscrew mounted to the wall with which they open the bottle. Then
they hold the glass low down and the bottle high up and pour a few
ounces of the apppley booze into a wide glass and then hand it to
you- they actually hand it to you, which is something so personal,
something quite intimate- I really like it, sometimes they encourage
you to drink the first bit straight down and they’re not trying to
get you to drink more, it’s just that they want you to enjoy it. It’s
cool, I’m definitely into it. Then they pour it for you sometimes, or
let you pour it yourself, depending on where you are. I’ve gotten
pretty good at pouring my own. There’s also the pump at a table, a
hand pump used for extracting it from the bottle, not dissimilar to
the early machines that drew blood from people.

of my favourite things, and it happens all the time, so perhaps it
makes sense that I’ve neglected to mention it, is the hellos, the
waves, the acknowledgement. Sometimes, it’s just a person saying hi
as you walk through a town or along a beach, sometimes it’s a salute
and someone wishing you a ‘good Camino’ and other times it’s someone
honking their horn as you walk along the road. The simple gesture is
something I love, it makes you feel most welcome, a part of

become a bit of a bird-spotter, there’re sections in this book I’m
reading by Jonathan Franzen where he talks about his passion for
birding and I have to admit, I can see the attraction, as dorky as it
may sound it involves so many things I enjoy- walking, being outside,
looking at wildlife- there’s a certain thrill involved in seeing
animals/birds that you’ve never seen. The thing is I almost have no
idea what the fuck I’m looking at- I’ve done a bit of research,
stumbled across a few roadside guides telling me what I might see-
I’ve certainly seen Osprey, a purple Heron, three types of gull, six
types of European songbird, some wading bird with long legs and a
yellow beak and type of buzzard. I’ve also seen a dead otter on the
side of the road and a shit load of cunty dogs- did I mention the
cunty dogs. When a dog is not a cunt I’m so happy, relieved, joyous
even. I saw some puppies today and even one of them was beginning to
be a cunt. There is no helping the dogs, hopefully the Osprey with
start eating them when the ocean has been plundered of fish.

thought the Basques were the ones who wanted to be separate, but
having now been in five different regions in Spain, the graffiti at
least, cries for independence everywhere. It makes sense when you
have a country suffering from massive unemployment that people would
think a solution lies in dissolving any kind of union and going their
own way. Someone told me not long ago that the Basques were here
before the Spanish. At the time I had no response, I didn’t know how
to treat this information which may or may not be true and which I’m
sure is quite easily disputed. Today I thought, as I have done
before, that laying claim to a country or a place anytime before very
recently- I’m talking the last 100-150 years really carries no weight
as an argument, everything has been cut up and divided and reclaimed
and disowned and argued over enough by now for meaningful discussion
on the matter to be possible. Surely. But then, I’m from the UK so…

Asturias it doesn’t really rain, insofar as you’re kind’ve living in
a cloud. It doesn’t rain on you, it rains in you. An umbrella would
simply mean that the moisture approached you from the side and from
underneath, creeping around you like a parasitic ivy of sorts. People
have always harped on about the damp of England, but it’s the
Northern Spanish who have it nailed.

walked thorough a place called “Poo” today, I took photos of all
nine signs that listed it and giggled every time. Sometimes it was
only spelled with one ‘O’ and I think there’s a bit of a war between
the Asturians and the Castillianos about how exactly to spell this
place. Needless to say, I didn’t spend much time in that village, I
mean, it was obviously shit. (Drops mic).

walked a decent amount today, about 30kms, I’m making great time. I
took a few detours that I hadn’t planned at walked through a
beautiful town called Llanes. I stopped in a place for a coffee and
saw these guys eating sea urchin out of the shell (?) husk (?) spiky
house (?). So I had to have some. I ordered a glass of Albarino to go
with them- seemed like a good choice. The guy opened them for me with
two forks, cracking them and revealing the eggs- which is the bit you
eat, the rest is spiky exterior and a kind’ve mouth that sits
underneath. Thy were delicious, just poached slightly in water,
nothing added. I got my bill, it was 3 Euros, I questioned the guy-
he said that the urchins were free, I asked why. He said that I had a
glass of wine, it’s included. I said that urchins were expensive in
Canada, he said they were expensive here, but he had them and so…
He was lovely. That was a cool thing.

walked into a village I was planning on staying in, but there wasn’t
much about it and so I carried on a little while longer and found
myself here, where I am. I grabbed a beer in a hotel and then asked
the matriarch how much for a room, she said 20E. Cool. The sign said
25, but I figured it’s d be cheaper, tis not the season. This is the
fourth place in a row where I am the only guest.

ran upstairs and showered, hand washed some clothes and then went for
a wander in ‘town.’ I’m sat now in a tiny bar having a cider and
getting ready for dinner. I think I prefer writing in bars, the words
come easier. I’m of in search of dinner…

I had some chicken with potatoes and some salad which was really just
lettuce. The worst lettuce. It was fine, really.

pissing down here. My room has a skylight above the bed so I can
watch the rain, quite literally, rain down on my face. I can see some
kind of train in my future tomorrow, it’s basically going to rain
here for the next two weeks so… what, do i just walk the next
450kms in the rain like some penitent twat? Probably not. I’m happy
to walk 30kms a day, but if it’s going to be really shit I will get
the train somewhere and then just jog around a bit indoors to meet
the quota. The thought that I could just be somewhere where the
weather is great and I’m here overriding any motivation just to walk
somewhere like a numpty, for no reason other than i said to a load of
people that that is what i was going to do. Now I think of it, it’s
way better to say to those people, “Yeah, I was walking and it
became not fun and so, thankfully, I had the strength of character to
do something I liked.”

not many, I’m avoiding them. Three puppies. 7-12 cunty dogs, mostly
BBC  Football, Richard Herring.

Ham samich, 2 coffees, crisps, nuts, banana, pear, dates, sea urchin,
white wine, cider, red wine, chicken, potatoes, ‘salad’, brandy.

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