The town appeared to be a ghost town.
After so many days of passing through tiny pueblos which clutched faithfully around Churches, in spite of all apparent signs that the town was dying, it was quite clear that this place was decidedly . . . different.
The tiniest of pueblos always seemed to have a sense of unity, of community, because they all had some kind of plaza, town center, facing the Church, which was the most important building in town and the building of which the town was most proud and cared for most. The markets, the shops, the art, music, culture, all activities circled around the Church.
The Camino de Santiago de Campostella, being a path through Spain, goes from town to town. Medieval pilgrims would not be interested in beautiful scenery or great views of vineyards. They needed to stay healthy and survive the rigorous and often treacherous trip through the mountains and fields. Towns were where they would find food, clothing, shelter and would be able to recover from injuries and illness.
The Camino makes a direct line from town center to town center.
To the plaza.
To the Church.
This town, however, seemed cold, lacking humanity. There were no signs of life, of human habitation. No cars, no children’s’ toys, no dogs or cats.
Where was the Church? In other town, you could spot the steeples from a distance. But I couldn’t find one here.
No farms, no shops, no cafes. No sound.
There were houses, however. Nice, newly built homes, with front and back yards waiting for flowers and fountains, stone pathways and swings.
They all seemed deserted.
The only place that was occupied was the golf course. Entering town, I passed next to a beautiful green golf course. Water hazards and sand traps, well manicured with lovely swatches of trees and cart paths, designed to provide a wonderful afternoon on the greens.
Cars pulled up to the clubhouse and people took golf bags and clubs out of their trunks, testing their swings, and entered.
I had planned on spending the night in this town but it was too creepy. Too “Twilight Zone.”
Just before entering the town, when the golf course was just a suggestion, there was a small resting place for pilgrims provided by the town, as many towns along the Camino provide.
After a long walk, it was greatly appreciated. Yet, there was something unusual at this one. Something that should have tipped me off that this place was happy to have you here, but not too happy.
A welcome sign that really didn’t say welcome. And, realizing that the golf course property was on the other side of the fence of the resting area, it made perfectly good sense. What other sign could you put there for peregrinos?