It took three days but by yesterday evening I had covered the distance from my campsite 6km outside of Salas to Tineo. The bulk of the journey was on Sunday with an 11km walk around my neighbourhood.
I live close to the docks in a part of the city with a long industrial history which means that the real scenery I passed was quite different to the woods, waterfalls and mountains of this stage of the Camino Primitivo.
I decided to explore a road that seemed to lead to the sea, by the local waste water processing plant. There are no houses here and the phrase ‘out of sight, out of mind’ could not be more fitting. Most of the sheds and warehouses are no longer used and in various stages of decay. An abandoned lot, it’s former purpose long forgotten, has been claimed as a track for dirt bikes and quads in an entirely unofficial capacity.
The dereliction and detritus alone was enough to make me feel like I was walking through the set of some post-apocalyptic film, an experience all the more surreal during a very real pandemic.
But there is a weird and poignant beauty to be found if you are open to seeing it. It’s there in the strand of pink tinsel caught in an unraveling fence of barbed wire, in the weathered signs and the rust patinated metal, in the disused railway tracks peaking from the undergrowth like the bones of a buried giant and in the rescued remnants of broken plastic heroes.
One piece of graffiti seemed to sum up the atmosphere perfectly. Exploring this discarded corner of the city was as successful an escape from reality as last week’s walk around the loch, perhaps more so. It certainly gave me much to contemplate and isn’t that the purpose of a pilgrimage after all?