In the Winds of Change We Always Find Our Direction
DAY 18: The Adventures of Lilac Brown and Steve the Rock
Lilac Brown has been my code name for as long as I can remember. I created the identity a little under a decade ago when hiking through a National Park in South Australia. I happened upon a dusty grey gargantuan book designed to hold the comments, experiences or complaints that guests to the natural wonderland might have. Brushing my hand softly against the creamy pages, I picked up the ancient black pen and using a child’s unlimited imagination brought to life Lilac Brown.
For as long as I can remember Lilac Brown has travelled alone, a lonely silhouette against the dark sky. Traversing the world like a ghost, her name only appearing rarely in the travel books that requested a tourist’s precious outlook. Through Oceania, North America, South America, Africa and Europe she roamed until finally she embarked on The Camino de Santiago del Norte through Spain and met a solid companion in Steve the Rock. Dug up from by my brother’s hands from under the Earth at the Playas of Mioño, just outside the city of Castro Urdiales, the two were united by the most unexpected circumstances and embarked on this journey of a lifetime together.
They headed off into the scorching morning heat, a little past 10 am, to be stopped immediately by a kindly old man who led them a few steps to the right to a roadside shrine of The Virgin Mary. Here he opened a rusty black gate to reveal a golden glow emanating from the candles inside. The old man lit these sparkling red flames to light a pathway along the Camino for pilgrims and blessed their journey in his quiet Spanish. Clinking a few coins into the porcelain donation bowl, Lilac Brown and Steve the Rock continued down a criss-crossed taupe-grey road that looked like it had been seared like a steak. Here they came face to face with a young American, whose story kept them thoroughly entertained as they continued along an exquisite rocky coastal path that our companions fell in love with.
Stories of mishaps and mayhems spilled from the mouths of both parties as the meagre 12 kilometres fell away, along with any sight of civilisation. All that surrounded our adventurers were large herds of cows and calfs that grazed the emerald green valleys, which gave way onto stunning rock ledges mixed with the unmistakable sheen of quartz crystal. The young American expressed much interest in scaling the dangerous surfaces along with Steve, but due to the lack of his climbing shoes and Steve’s feet, they were both dissuaded.
However, the explorers had a chance to test their courage later on in the day when they came to the entrance of a menacingly dark cave that according to the locals, led to a magnificent view of the ocean down below. Switching on the blinding white light of a phone’s torch, they crawled their way through the sharp narrow passes, banging heads and elbows into rocks that had been hidden by inky black and grainy sand.A light flickered at the end of the tunnel and when our travellers finally made it through the grand stalagtite arches that separated land from sea, they all agreed that the view was worth their injuries. The Earth moved beneath them in time to the powerful current surges of the ocean and here, Lilac Brown closed her eyes to the rhythm of meditation. Soon more and more people began to pour into the caves and since Steve and Lilac both had sudden bouts of claustrophobia, they decided it was time to move on.
It was only an hour later and the day’s walk was completed as our Camino walkers sat outside the Albergue, waiting for the medieval double wooden doors to open. Javier, the Hospitalier, soon arrived and check-in went smoothly until Javier nearly barred the beds for the night when he found out that we were carrying tents. Our adventurers had never encountered this problem before and honestly it was quite baffling. Finally, after seeing just how tired we were, Javier gave the green light, but our American friend was not that lucky and had to continue on for another 16 kilometres to the next Albergue.
Resting and relaxation clouded the minds of Lilac Brown and Steve for the rest of the day and they only reappeared downstairs for the complimentary dinner that Javier had prepared for all the pilgrims who were staying. It was a small Albergue with not many guests spending the night and so to Lilac and Steve, it truly felt like home.
There were many bowls of a delicious lentil, rice and carrot stew, which was followed by a refreshing salad with a dressing that added a delightful zing. The lady who was sitting next to Lilac Brown struck up a conversation halfway through the lentil stew and it continued all the way until bedtime with its only interruption being Steve, who was apprehensive about eating the salad. The lady’s name was revealed to be Jen and she had a wonderful sense of humour that intoxicated our explorers and at one point may have even made the house rock on its foundation.
Soon all the pilgrims made their way upstairs to the beds at 10:00 pm, a curfew that was prominent all around The Camino. It is here, as the light is turned out and the dorm room plunged into darkness, that Lilac Brown and Steve the Rock are whisked away to the more believable world of unlimited imagination. The adventures of these two characters will continue but from behind the barrier of our minds, in a place called dreams.
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