Thursday, 15 November 2007

Pilgrimage from Ure to Gur I Zi 13/11/07

My wet socks yesterday mustn’t have done me any good, I woke this morning with a sore throat and runny nose…but the good news is that it has stopped raining. The weather is perfect!!!

After a quick breakfast I was back to it. Alexandria walked with me a couple of hundred meters up the road to show me a little goat track as a short cut. He pointed to the track, then drew a line with his finger across to a ridge a couple of kilometers away. I understood that this was where I had to end up. I felt in great spirits as I said a big “thank you” and headed off.

All started well but then these little goat tracks started appearing everywhere. Thinking back, taking shortcuts is all good and well if you have grown up in these hills, but it probably wasn’t the best idea for me. Sure enough my goat track ended abruptly. I could still see the ridge Alexandria had pointed out so I figured I could make my own way there. Once on the ridge hopefully I would be able to see my road on the other side.

Struggling up the hill, I reached the top exhausted. But the good news was my road was right there. Or “a” road anyway. Looking at my map I wasn’t sure whether to go left or right. If it was my road I should go right, but if it was a different road I felt my road would be up to the left. My instincts told me I should go left, but after matching all the landmarks I could see to the map, I reasoned I should go right. The problem was the road was definitely going in the wrong direction. If it didn’t turn sharply within a few hundred meters I was in trouble.

It didn’t, so to put my mind at rest I headed back the other way a couple of hundred meters to see if I hit a new road. Once again I didn’t! Where were the shepherds when I needed them?

So once again after half an hour of walking back and forwards I had to decide. I almost went to flip a coin, but then reason prevailed. I am pretty good at navigation (even though you probably wouldn’t think so with the amount of times I get lost ;) ), and if after studying the map I felt I should go right then right it would have to be…

About 300m past where I turned around the first time the road did turn sharply, and just to put my mind at ease, 15 minutes later a truck drove past to ask. Sure enough everything was OK :)

I had a great walk for the next 20kms alone with the mountains. It was wonderful!

By the time I had spotted Gur I Zi the sun was setting and I was almost out of food. Let’s hope they have a restaurant or it would be a hungry night…

The road took the loooooong way around and it was well dark by the time the turnoff appeared. Not knowing how far down the road the town was, or if it had a restaurant, I was erring on the “just find a camp spot and get a big breakfast in the morning” side. Then a man appeared…

“How far is it to Gur I Zi?” He holds up two fingers on one hand and one on the other… “21???” I say copying his actions. He smiles and nods, but then seeing the confusion on my face goes and writes it on the road…“21m”
“Hmmmm, 21m” I think to myself. I could see 200m down the road and there definitely wasn’t a town so I just smiled and nodded back and decided not to ask about the restaurant :)

I took this as a sign and started looking for a place to camp. I was lucky to find such a great spot in the dark. I was perched on a little clearing, out of sight of the road, with a great view off the edge of the cliff.

Getting another fire going and eating the last of my bread and cheese I headed for bed.


Ruairi said...

Dear Ben,
Greetings from one of the irish priests you met (and filmed) in Medjugorje. I have been following your progress since. When I read your last blog account and heard of all the rain which you encountered I thought to myself - the fool! he's taken a wrong turn and ended up in Ireland. Then when you met all the drunks in the bar who couldn't couldn't speak English I thought it must definitely be Ireland.But finally I knew you couldn't be here when you wrote that the owner kicked the children out of the Bar. We'd never do that here. How are children meant to learn:)
I hope your progress continues well and that the Winter doesn't do to you what it did to Hannibal and Napoleon before you.
Tell your mother that her writing is simply beautiful and that I want to know when she writes a book.
I still haven't forgiven you for not starting your walk in Ireland by the way.
So God's speed, keep safe and know that you and your good lady mother are in my prayers.

Fr. Ruairi

Ben :) said...

hey mate

good to hear from u :)

and unlike hannibal, i can easyjet my way out of here...which is definitely on the cards ;) it is starting to get a bit silly. the rain just doesn't stop! im thinking i will start again in the spring.

hope all is well your side of the world and keep in touch...

ben :)

lucienne said...

Hello Ben and Steph: just received yr postcard from Istanbul the jewel. Where are you staying there? We were in Kuzgunjuk near Uskadar on the Asian side of the Bosphorus. Gav is in gaol in Parramatta after arrest at Apec in October. Alleged throwing metal tipped dart at policeman. I am in letter contact - he writes positively enough about his situation: on remand, awaiting trial. Love to you Neeten@Mangala