Monday, December 8, 2014

Day 16 Great Beauty in Sodden Gray

I'm a happy pilgrim on the right track.  While I missed seeing the yellow arrow blazes on forest trees after passing through Riga, entering Lithuania, I've picked up occasional historical information signs in convenient side-by-side Lithuanian and English.  The valley I've wandered into to avoid the highway with the telling name of Via Baltica has great caches of prehistoric wealth - great glacial boulders with mythological significance and stands of ancient oaks shrouded with pagan lore.  Sprinkled about the hillsides are 17th and 18th century manor houses and farmsteads, and the occasional windmill.  I'm for sure on the Amber Road, the ancient path of this pilgrimage.

Could it be the damp and cold that makes people frown as they hurry by covered to their noses in long-wrapped scarves, bent under the burden of a wool or fur hat, stone silent in their absent greeting... but then, one-on-one, engaged in conversation, these Baltic people light up and are helpful to a friendly fault!  Despite my near constant yet polite objections, I have not managed to avoid carrying such a weighty pantry on my back - chocolate and cheese, black bread and cookies, tea leaves and ground coffee, and a log of some kind of meat product I don't know if safe to eat uncooked or not, and many pots of yogurt... I'm ready to host a candlelit supper to lighten my load, but with whom?  Of course, during the day, it's all frozen solid... and the weather is anyway rather dissuasive for a trailside picnic, so I ironically rapidly grow thin... but people always want to help, and the most obvious way is to give me food.  People are good.  My photo's been taken dozens of times now - a pilgrim, going to Rome - not an every day occasion.

A week to walk across Estonia, another week to cross Latvia, and these first four days in Lithuania will be matched with four more to make three weeks and a day to walk through these varied Baltic States.  It doesn't serve justice.  I think there's a lot to see in these forests and farm fields, but Rome awaits, and Easter's coming, and I'm on the Schengen clock: 19 days out of the allotted 90 have ticked away so fast.  The mad rush is also wrapped around the solar clock - two more weeks trying to keep ahead of the solstice and gain more hours of daylight (if the sodden shades of gray can even be called 'light')

1 comment:

Michèle Dextras & Jean-Claude Barre said...

What wonderful descriptions! It is indeed not picnic weather but eat while you are walking! Don't become so skinny you cannot be seen! Enjoy reading about your pilgrimage. And I noticed that the women from the beauty salon commented! Women are naturally nurturing! Keep on trekking.