Monday, July 22, 2013

Coming Full Circle (and Coming Full Stop)

So it has been a long, long road since the first blog post.  And I didn't even realize that I was making a (really cliche) double entendre when I just referred to all of this as a "road" :)   I can't really imagine why anyone would still be reading this, but our "hit" numbers are actually up.  So while this began as, primarily, a means of creating a record for ourselves as well as letting family know we are safe......this blog has now grown into something that has found a readership across the globe.  If our Camino has brought anyone their own share of joy, then I am immensely grateful....even if I am surprised.

But it now comes time to close this blog and retire back into our normal lives of people that don't understand technology.  We've actually really enjoyed this blog, but, if anything, it has worked to make us more confident that we don't want to embrace Facebook, et al.  That has been one of the great lessons of this Camino.

Our Camino has come full circle, and now it is time to come full stop.  Last Saturday we took part in a family tradition by taking part in the 7th Annual New Orleans Running of the Bulls (this was our fifth year).  You see, only in New Orleans would people be crazy enough to re-enact the famous Basque festival of San Fermin by running through the streets chased by roller derby girls dressed as bulls and armed with wiffle bats.  This year took special meaning as we were able to wear real, authentic neckerchiefs and waste sashes.....purchased in Iruna/Pamplona.....where we stepped off for our camino on May 21st 2013.  Here is a look at the fam -->
NOLA Bulls 2013. Authentic sashes and Euskatel Euskadi tshirts.
While it is done mostly in jest, the NOLA running of the bowls goes to great pains to be as "authentic" of a simulacra as possible.  The length of the route is the same as that in Iruna.  They do the same blessing before the bulls are released.  Some signs are in Basque (though less every year).  Even the style of the billboards is the same:
Tounge in cheek, and yet oh so serious
Look out for the bulls!!!!
This was Kepa's second year running.  Last year, G-Mom was supposed to watch from the sidelines.  When Bri and I finished, we found out Kepa and G-Mom had participated....stroller and all.

The fam in 2012. Check out Bri's Basque flag cape.....and just how little Kepa was!
This event is crazy in the way that only New Orleans can be crazy.  As the NOLA Running's logo states, simply, "porque no" ("why not?").  We love that idea.  The question isn't why?  The question is why not? And for a family that likes beginnings and ends, what better end than an event that practically embodies the spirit of New Orleans yet is based upon the location where we stepped off on our camino....and in the spirit of "why not?".  We are the people that carried a baby across the north of Spain after all.

The next day, we attended New Orleans' Bastille Day Festivities
I heart pommes frites!!!!
Off with his head!  Hey, Marie Antoinette was a great film, so porque no?
Where else can you celebrate a Basque tradition one day and a French national holiday the next?

All of which brings us to think about how, no matter how sad we are to be done with our Camino, no matter how much we wish we were still walking, New Orleans ain't bad.  For our money, it is easily the greatest city in North America (sans Montreal/Quebec, which we haven't been to so we are open).  And it is here that the lessons of the Camino will live on.  To embrace local and regional, music, art. To keep moving forward, never staying still.  Eyes on the horizon because no worth pilgrimage has a real destination in sight. Yet, in spite of that, to take pleasure in symmetry, order, tradition, and beginnings and ends.  Even cycles have beginnings and ends in which they move on to the next cycle.  This camino (and this blog) may be over, but that only means on to the next thing....hopefully armed with what we've learned between Iruna and Fistera.

It is that means of tradition and symmetry that made us want to attend mass at Santiago, that made us want to eat our last meal in Madrid at Botin's, that made us want to do so many of the things we did.  Next week, before my mom returns to Virginia, we will take what is left from the Barbie money---the money my mom made from selling her year 2 Barbie, which paid for our rental car in Euskal Herria---and use it to eat dinner at Donald Link's new restaurant, Peche.  As readers of this site know, we have a deep affection for Link (who knocks the socks off of Emeril and John Besh btw).  But this restaurant is extra special.  It, too, is about beginnings and ends.  This restaurant was first inspired by Link's interest in the ways they cook fish in Uruguay, and his desire to bring that to Louisiana cooking. But the restaurant really took shape when he took a food trip with Susan Spicer to Euskal Herria, to study the open flame wood grills used at places as divergent as cheap beach fish shops in Getaria on up to the now infamous Etxebarri.  He then brought this knowledge home and created Peche.  Which he hopes will demonstrate a brilliant fusion of the basics of Louisiana and Basque cooking.  A fitting end indeed.

The night we reached Santiago Bri and I each drank a shot of patxaran---the great Basque liquor which we drank several times in Navarra and which we have smuggled back to the states every trip for years---and a shot of liquor de hierbas---a famous Galician 5 herb liquor (first brewed by monks in the Baleric islands) which we had in Galicia.  To beginnings and ends.  To happy trails for all our readers. Cheers.  Salud. Or, more fitting for us, Osasuna.

Osasuna one and all.  And Eskerrik Asko for reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment