From now on pilgrims can feel clearly that the Camino de Santiago is getting to its end. Santiago de Compostela is closer and closer and that carries its pros and cons.
The landscape continues being rural, green and beautiful, sometimes reminding the Irish landscape. The villages are poor, small and made of stone. A very peculiar symbol for this final part of the Camino de Santiago is the “horreos”, which are cute small haystack and granaries elevated around a meter or more from the ground over circular stone pillars to keep the grain safe from the rain and great humidity of the ground in wintertime. Normally they would have crosses in the top of the roofs. Galicia, as heart of the Celtic culture, is a land full of myths and legends.
Once, I slept in Palas de Rei which is actually a medium size village with all kind of services and from where I keep good memories of a great dinner of fish, seafood and the famous Galician octopus which is delicious and a great white Galician wine. We also passed Melide which is another famous town for “pulperias” (bars and restaurants specialized in octopus dishes). Actually, the stretch of Palas de Rei – Melide is a proposed stage in most of the guides, however since we were coming from Ligonde which is before Palas de Rei and continued a bit more until Ribadiso we made this stage much longer up to 35km.
Somehow, walking longer stages didn’t hurt anymore in our feet and backs; the pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago was already our environment for so long that we were so well acclimatized. What, at the beginning of the pilgrimage, back in the Pyrenees, might have seemed an impossible day of walk seemed an easy enjoyable one at that point in Galicia. We were in harmony with ourselves and with Nature. Sometimes I realized that the birds weren’t disturbed when we passed by, we fit into the puzzle.
From a practical point of view now we were recovering the kilometers that we were failing to do in our lazy “meseta” days so that the full walk of the Camino de Santiago would take us around the 30-31 days which is the advertised length that most of the guides say.
Ribadiso is not even a village; it is just an albergue, which is actually a renovated rural house, by a water stream and a bridge in the middle of green fields. There is a bar nearby that serves dinner in summer time, I’m not sure in winter though.
The first time that I slept in Ribadiso I was lucky to be present in the Celtic ritual of the preparation of the Queimada drink that they performed by the “horreo”. The Queimada is a Celtic strong alcoholic beverage made of Galician aguardiente (Orujo Gallego) – a spirit distilled from wine and flavored with special herbs or coffee, plus sugar, lemon peel, coffee beans and cinnamon. Typically, while preparing the punch, a spell or incantation is recited, so that special powers are conferred to the Queimada and those who drink it. Finally, the Queimada is set on fire, and slowly burns as more brandy is added. This ritual takes place in the night so that the flames of the Queimada on fire are really impressive and illuminate the whole scene. Needless to say that it was a really special experience.
Following there is the spell recited in Galician language and its translation in English:
In Galician language:
Mouchos, curuxas, sapos e bruxas.
Demos, trasgos e diaños,
espíritos das neboadas veigas.
Corvos, píntegas e meigas:
feitizos das menciñeiras.
Podres cañotas furadas,
fogar dos vermes e alimañas.
Lume das Santas Compañas,
mal de ollo, negros meigallos,
cheiro dos mortos, tronos e raios.
Ouveo do can, pregón da morte;
fuciño do sátiro e pé do coello.
Pecadora lingua da mala muller
casada cun home vello.
Averno de Satán e Belcebú,
lume dos cadáveres ardentes,
corpos mutilados dos indecentes,
peidos dos infernais cus,
muxido da mar embravecida.
Barriga inútil da muller solteira,
falar dos gatos que andan á xaneira,
guedella porca da cabra mal parida.
Con este fol levantarei
as chamas deste lume
que asemella ao do Inferno,
e fuxirán as bruxas
a cabalo das súas vasoiras,
índose bañar na praia
das areas gordas.
¡Oíde, oíde! os ruxidos
que dan as que non poden
deixar de queimarse no augardente
quedando así purificadas.
E cando este beberaxe
baixe polas nosas gorxas,
quedaremos libres dos males
da nosa alma e de todo embruxamento.
Forzas do ar, terra, mar e lume,
a vós fago esta chamada:
se é verdade que tendes máis poder
que a humana xente,
eiquí e agora, facede que os espíritos
dos amigos que están fóra,
participen con nós desta Queimada.
Owls, barn owls, toads and witches.
Demons, goblins and devils,
spirits of the misty vales.
Crows, salamanders and midges,
charms of the folk healer(ess).
Rotten pierced canes,
home of worms and vermin.
Wisps of the Holy Company,
evil eye, black witchcraft,
scent of the dead, thunder and lightning.
Howl of the dog, omen of death,
maws of the satyr and foot of the rabbit.
Sinful tongue of the bad woman
married to an old man.
Satan and Beelzebub’s Inferno,
fire of the burning corpses,
mutilated bodies of the indecent ones,
farts of the asses of doom,
bellow of the enraged sea.
Useless belly of the unmarried woman,
speech of the cats in heat,
dirty turf of the wicked born goat.
With this bellows I will pump
the flames of this fire
which looks like that from Hell,
and witches will flee,
straddling their brooms,
going to bathe in the beach
of the thick sands.
Hear! Hear the roars
of those that cannot
stop burning in the firewater,
becoming so purified.
And when this beverage
goes down our throats,
we will get free of the evil
of our soul and of any charm.
Forces of air, earth, sea and fire,
to you I make this call:
if it’s true that you have more power
here and now, make the spirits
of the friends who are outside,
take part with us in this Queimada.