Adventures in spain pt. 1 – paddys adventure on a small bycycle, mainly conserning paddy and a bike.

So the krew, me and Gazza, assisted by Rosie (just arrived from engalnd), began to figure out what we where up to and what was going on and other thoughts. we decided that it made sense for the time being to stick to plans of walking to Santiago to find a way of completing some form of pilgrimage, going to Malta to fulfil our joyful obligations of nurturing a new festival which is to be emerged there, influenced by the successful Earthing the Spirit festival which takes place Burnlaw, birthplace to myself and home of Garry. The way motions have been going with regards to the mast we figure that there is not a chance of getting to Haifa this year. Wheather we get there next year depends on wheather, energy, musicians and finance align, otherwise something equally glorious but maybe less magnificent will happen.

In the mean time we set to finding ways to fill the days. I had hared whisperings of an incredible free folk festival on the north coast of Galicia, 100km away from A Coruna. One of our sweet Spanish friends, Alba had given us loan of her bike, a small girls mountain bike from her youth. It came to me that it would be an adventure to try to ride to the festival, given the lack of other options I decided that it would be possible to do the journey on the small bicycle, as long as I was happy t do it slowly. First thing was to get a pannier rack for the bike, so that I could carry luggage, and then get map of Galicia. A cycle gang of youngsters accompanied me about town and showed me where to get my bits an pieces. With rack attached to bike and rucksack attached to rack, with map, lentils, special cycle masala, oats, rice and cooking pot and guitar, I was ready to leave.

On a sunny early afternoon, Rosie and Garry saw me off and I was a way, striking out in to an unknown country on a tiny bike with all I needed for a few days. The first issue was trying to get out of A Coruna avoiding motorways. After riding down cycle tracks that came to dead ends, after crossing and re crossing railway tracks and asking many people for directions that I didn’t understand I managed to pass over the first bridge away from town. After a few hills and gesses at directions, my map was inadequet, I fond my way over another bridge and out into the countryside proper. The road wound onwards and upwards out of incredibly picturesque valleys on to wooded hill tops; forests of eucalyptus and pine. I had no way of telling the time but eventually I found a beautiful woodland of young nut trees and oaks, and stopped for the evening. Fire wood was collected, a blaze lit and lentils and rice bubbled away joyfully. Filled with  food and tea I walked to watch the sun set. All way gory.

The next day I set off again. I was beginning to have doubts that I would be able to get to the festival and back again for Sunday, the day Rosie was due to leave. Despite this I worked and struggled my way onwards. Sometimes cursing my stupidity for having set off on such a insufficient bicycle, some times in bliss as I passed fertile farms, wooded valleys, over hill tops. In Galicia it seems that one is ether going up a hill or down one. I was trying to get to a town called As Pontes from where I might decide to do a smaller circuit and get back to A Coruna, however my map didn’t seem to correlate with the roads I was passing. With blind faith I worked my way onwards and was rewarded by the sights of massive chimneys poking up beyond some hills. As I neared A Pontes I began to doubt weather it had a meaningful existence for me. All in view as I rode down round the hill towards it where chimneys factories and industry, But joy, behind this peeped out a small town. I stopped for a coffee and for to buy some bread. As I sat and considered my options; weather to go on to the festival or to try to find a way back home so to lessen the torment the bicycle was offering, I noticed the sign in front of me pointed to Ortugera (the town where in the festival was happening) and explained that it was only 33km away. Is seemed like some sort of deeper sign urging me to go on, or maybe it was the conformation I needed.

With renewed determination I set off for the festival, direction decided. I realised that if I sat on the bag strapped to the bike instead of the seat I was able to almost stretch my legs out when I peddled and as I worked up hill I was aided by a wind that began to blow from behind (from my behind?), encouraging me on and making progress easier. The road rose and rose, I had to take a rest every few minuets, but slowly I rose with it up to the top of the sierra, surrounded by windmills flanking the highest ridges, surrounded by wild horses and by great beauty. after the first big climb the going became easier and Ortugera moved closer and closer. With high spirits I rode the high road, full of song and wonder and then began a long and speedy decent to Ortigara and the festival.

The festival was split between the village, where there was a big stage that played folk music from 10pm till 3am flowed by samba and Galician folk bands, and the campsite which was nestled in a woodland of pine that’s spilled on to dunes which led to a beach in a bay flanked by wooded mountains. It was incredibly beautiful. I found my way to campsite and went for a swim, I was real dirty, then managed to befriend a lovely bunch of Spaniards with which to camp with. The next few days where spent playing music, playing football with fit and skilful men, dancing to poncy technical folk and some proper banging folk, teaching the Spanish about weird Indian/hippy dhal. On the last evening, I found a crowd of a thousand dancing to a powerful samba band and managed to climb up above the rifraff on to a 12foot tall statue and then jumped in to the arms of a group of gleeful Spanish men, glory.

At the festal issues emerged with the bicycle so it had to be carried  to a train and then to a bus and then back though A Coruna, to the boat were a lovely afternoon was spent ingesting cheese and tomatoes and bread and tea and chocolate, waiting for the return of Garry and Rosie. Some Baha’i friends had taken them to meet a Baha’i community in a city close to A Coruna.

hear ends part one of adventures in spain, soon will follow the concluding part of this chapter, inclooding the walk to santiago , and indndeed a conclusion to this part of the adventure.



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