Sunday, January 17, 2010

Time's flying by...

Time's flying by so fast, or so it seems to me. I'm just at the wintry doorstep of Odessa and will be on the border of Romania within a week or so. Wow - think of all those kilometers, all that borscht!

I'm enjoying the walk, although the weather's turned on me in the last few days with snow and a strong wind pushing me westward. People seem all the friendlier, though. I feel compelled to apologize to the women of Ukraine for two things. First, I apologize for turning away your constant pleas for me to 'koosh-it, koosh-it' - I'm a small person and there's only so much I can eat. Honestly. And, though I appreciate the gesture immensely, there's only so much food I'm capable of carrying. I try to keep my backpack to it's starting weight of 7 kilos, but I'm given on an almost daily basis, another 2 to 3 kilos of food 'for the road'. It's not that I don't look forward to a roadside picnic, but 8 apples, 6 salted porkfat sandwiches, and a huge bag of butter cookies is more than I can possibly eat, especially after a huge breakfast of goose eggs and fried kielbasa... It's too much! Those tears in my eyes are a mix of genuine appreciation and horror at the approaching backache - I can't carry 10 kilos! Please understand.

Secondly, I want to apologize for turning down the gifts of heavy clothing. I realize high-tech fabrics are relatively new to the world, but my softshell jacket and capilene layers really do keep me warm and dry. A heavy floor-length wool coat with fur trim and that giant fur hat serve well at a bus stop, but I'm not a stand-around-and-wait kind of pilgrim. My lightweight clothes work well as long as I'm moving. So I move a lot these cold and windy days. I can chuckle at the thought of the kind babuska who tsk-tsked me pathetically and pulled a huge heavy bundle out from under a sofa. She turned out the heap of fur into an enormous coat that could have covered a Volkswagon. She put this over me and offered it to me as a more suitable alternative to my lightweight jacket. It seems absurd to me that anyone could think it sensible to wear a great fur coat with a backpack, but then, I'm sure she thought it equally absurd that anyone would backpack in cold weather. The fur coat weighed at least 12 kilos and dragged across the floor. Totally Doctor Zhivago and Lara... not quite in a pilgrim's kitbag. Really, my clothes are just right. There's no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. Someone said that. Sometimes I believe it.

1 comment:

Sylvia said...

Best wishes for the new year and for the rest of your trip. I am so glad you made it this far and I am certain that with the help of St. Andrew your journey will be full of more hospitality and joy!