Sunday, 21 February 2010

The Fifth Test

The sanctified Pimp - Mon Amigo - Acacio                                                         Paul working for Acacio

Due to the following post in Paulo's Blog, we all had to return to Test Five after February 7th... this presented some wit problems, and for some it was a blessing... Had we taken Paulo's Update seriously, several people would have been sitting outside Acacio and Orietta's Refugio in Viloria de Rioja for two days until they arrived. Fortunately Acacio was reachable by phone, so we were able to learn of the correct date in the end.

UPDATE 18/01: From 18/01 to 05/02 the person mentioned in the Fifth Test will not be there. He will become the Guardian. So you still can continue your journey, and eventually take the required photo after that date. The road does not need to be linear...

Continue walking toward the east. A former pimp gives up everything and decides to shelter pilgrims who adventure out in winter and summer, in the fall and in springtime. Little by little he begins to approach sanctity. The roof of his hostel was donated by Saint Joseph.

Work there for a day. Shelter those who need shelter and care for those who are in need of care.
Your image with this man is the fifth test. 

The image of someone you took care of is also the fifth test.

Having spent the previous night at the Albergue in Santo Domingo de la Calzada, I was able to make a comfortable start after taking breakfast in the only coffee shop that was open on a Sunday, in that historic town.

I arrived, as expected, at 09:00 am, only to find that I was not the first of those who had been waiting for Acacio to return from location number twelve. It was Carolena Sabah, Brida's past incarnation ;) who sat at the large kitchen table with Orietta, Acacio's lovely wife. Of course the surprise factor was loosing it's polish, and we greeted each other in the usual friendly manner... "fancy meeting you here...;)"

I was offered a cup of Coffee and Acacio informed us that he wanted to wait for the arrival of SantiagosDream and two others before explaing our tasks which needed to be fulfilled at his Refugio.

SantiagosDream came soon after, followed by Rosa de los Vientos accompanied by her husband Emilio.

I asked Acacio if he was expecting anymore, and he said no, so we may begin with the briefing.

So in effect we were 4 warriors completing the fifth test at Viloria and our tasks were:

Carolena: Translation of Mantras from a tape deck into written form in the computer

Rosa: Was to be our cook for the day and I knew we were in for a Galician Treat

SantiagosDream: The sorting and washing of some heavy building rocks to the side of the Refugio

PaulfromAustria: To sort and remove nails from beams of the old roof, for use in future as firewood

Poor Acacio was quite apologetic when asking us to complete these tasks, he felt that we were all noble warriors, and didn't want us to hurt ourselves in the process I think. We all completed our duties bravely until around 13:00 when Acacio called us in to lunch, which had been prepared as I said, by Rosa and I'm sure with a little help from Orietta and Carolena.

The meal, made up of typicaly Galician dishes, was absolutely delicious, as could only be expected from our dear Rosa, whose culinary abilities I had experienced in Ribidiso last year when she came down with Emilio to visit me on the last stages of my Camino. Back then she had brought a home made Empenada of tuna fish, andthis time we were spoiled with the delights of vatious cooked meets and vegetables, and an Empenada, with a speciality desert to round the midday meal off. Orietta made us Coffee and we all sat there enjoying each other's company, and the social ambience of that winter afternoon.

Rosa then came in with 3 beautiful Roses. She handed one each to Carolena, Santiago and me, saying "whichever one of you wins, he or she who recieves the Sword, should please replace the Sword with this Rose." I wept inside when she said this, for this was a true warrior fighting for the Sword herself, but it was more important to her that the Sword be replaced by a Rose. Thank you dear Rosa, you are a Rose! A winning Rose at that!

I had comletely forgotten about the Sword... when suddenly Rosa looked at me and said "Paul Go... be careful... but go!" She had seen something that I had not, SantiagosDeam was saying goodbye and making for the door. I immediately woke from my midday dream and scrambled like a world war 2 fighter pilot, with my bags, briefly hugging everyone and saying my goodbyes... I ran up he hill to where my car was parked, and saw SantiagosDream heading off into the distance.

My God, I thought, this is going to be a car race to the finish. Of course I could not know if SD had pinpoited the location of number twelve prior to coming back to number five, but I couldn't take the risk of lifting my right foot. In a small rented and underpowered Peugeot, I drove as fast as I could, not braking for anything, and pulling the last kicks of horsepower out the poor little car. I had no navi system like SantiagosDream had in his BMW and had to rely on my instinct and orientation prowess with good old paper maps.

I drove extremely fast but careful as not to receive unwanted photographs on the way and as not to scare any of the local villagers as they made their way home from Mass. I don't think I would have received extra points for them anyway...;)

I was soon out of Spain and into France, but I had noticed that Police were standing on every bridge that crossed the Motorway between San Sebastian and Bayonne... perhaps they were looking for me?

Well they couldn't be blamed, after all, 170 kph through the small lanes and villages of spain was certainly not their usual experience of driving on a Sunday afternoon.

To my amazement there were road blocks ahead, with flashing blue lights all over the place... OMG they've got me now, I thought, but as I drew nearer they simply wave their hands to slow everyone down, looking carefully into each car as it drove by. Phew that was close, I thought.

So on through Bayonne and beyond in the direction of Toulouse. I held the pedal to the metal not lifting for anything. I did receive a few flashing headlamps from angry Sunday afternoon drivers, but otherwise no other hinderances all the way to Tarbes.

Then then supergau, once leaving the Motorway, I made a wrong turn, which forced me to drive a great distance in the wrong direction before being able to turn around. I lost precious minutes through this move, and hurridly made my way around the ringroad and turning off in the direction of Horgues.

Now on the right road to St Martin, and having checked the location almost two weeks previously,
I was sure that my chances were still good to be the first. As I turned down the small country lane towards number twelve I felt a tingle of excitement, I'm almost there. As I turned the last corner I nearly died... SantiagosDream's BMW was blocking the driveway of the entrance to the gate. The BMW was still hissing and ticking from it's arduous journey.

There was also no sign of SantiagosDream either, which was a bad sign, for it meant he had been alowed inside, because he had shown the guardian all the right photographs. I was paralyzed, shocked, depressed but could not weep!

I rang the doorbell, a futile action with hindsight, but nobody came. I waited an eternity, and finally decided to return to my car which I had parked around the corner. I sat in the car, absolutely numb with disappointment after 17 days of mental and physical exhaustion. It was so important to me to win the sword, not because of any materialistic value, the money was also not the most important factor for me, but I wanted to prove to myself that this old warrior was still capable of a good fight, and capable of winning!

Two figures finally came out in front of the Gate and looked up and down the road to see who had rung the bell. I then walked towards them and saw that it was SantiagosDream and the Guardian, Marcello. Marcello confirmed that SD had all the correct photos and was the first at the gate, so he was the winner.

I  gave SD my hand, congratulating him for this fantstic feat, as Marcello filmed the entire process. He then asked me to say a few words on film, but I was so shocked and lost for words at my defeat. I did manage to say something, but I doubt that it was coherent, so I hope he has errased it since...

The three of us walked inside and I felt as if I were in a trance, still high from all that fast driving, but still numb from the shock of not winning. I tried my best to be chipper, but my efforts were fruitless... I was downright depressed.

We all walked over to the manger on the other side of the lake and once inside, Santiago laid the Rose he had been given by Rosa, in the place where he had previously lifted the Sword... as it turns out... it was his very own Sword... but that's another (his) story...

Well done all those who took part, and all those who worked for the Enigma test locations, and last but least, thank you dear Paulo Coelho for this crazy idea, which sent us all over the place, searching not really for a Sword, that was sysmbolic, but searching for and finding our true selves...

We stopped being who we were... and became who we are... thank you... Much Love, Paul

1 comment:

  1. Dejamos de ser lo que éramos ... Y se convirtió en lo que somos ... gracias ... Much Love, Paul
    ================================================== ======

    Creio que este es el verdadero Caminho amigo Pablo ...
    Amor Com
    Acacio & Orietta
    Gracias por sus palabras