Filed from Sansol, Navarra, dateline 3rd October 2012
From Carlos Juan Carlos
I am sitting in my favourite chair in the Cafe Bar Pedro Juan Pedro. It is 3.30pm and I have just finished my four course lunch. I really miss the other two courses; this place is going down hill fast. I am finishing a little riojita and considering having another. I am a freelance journalist and do some occasional work for the papers, not the big ones like El Mundo but regional ones. Occasionally. Not this year yet but it is only October and there is plenty of time. It is quiet in Sansol, very quiet. It always is. I glance out the windows. Suddenly, a figure comes into view. It is a tall man carrying a back pack. He walks down the long dusty road towards the village. After a few minutes, another couple of people with packs appear behind him and then four more. ¿What is happening? ¿Is it an invasion? They stop outside the bar, take off their boots and start to do elaborate stretching exercises. ¿A ballet company? The tall one comes into the bar. He has put sandals on though he still wears socks. He is wearing a hat with PORTUGAL written on it. This is unexplained. ¿Is he lost? “Me gustaria un cafe con leche, por favor”, he says to the camarero. “Big or small?” says Juan or maybe Pedro. “Grande”, the tall one says. “OK, big” says Pedro or perhaps Juan. The boyish face of the traveller creases into a frown. “No, grande.” He turns to me. “¿What are you all doing?” I ask. “What do you mean?” “¿All these people with back packs – what are you doing?” “We are pilgrims of course, peregrinos”. “¿Huh?” I say. “Peregrinos to Santiago. We have been doing it for 1,000 years. Haven’t you noticed before?” This seems like a reasonable question and I consider it carefully. “I am usually asleep at this time. Soy periodista.” He seems to know what this means and says eagerly: “Are you going to write about this? In El Mundo? Do you want my name? When will it come out?” I decide to have that second riojita after all this journalistic work and I lift a finger to Juan. “Mañana” I say.