© 2009 laurene IMG_0752

back in the library

Spent the day back in the British Library followed by a visit to the Welcome Trust.

In the library I was following up on some publications about Galicia and its history and its relationship to the Camino. It was very interesting to read these texts now after having been there. You have such a different understanding of things, words have images, conversations and emotions are attached to them. They are more than abstract descriptions, there is the other ‘knowingness’ that is associated with them. This is something that we encounter all the time. Part of reading is imagining, travel guides enable us to imagine other places and what it would be like to be there. Once you are there or you read things in hindsight, that imagining shifts. It doesn’t necessarily stop – but it is different.

I have also been reading Nancy Louise Frey’s

Pilgrims Stories: on and off the road to Santiago. In this book I have been reading the chapter on going/coming home. The text is a comprehensive ethnography of the experiences of pilgrims (people) from all over the world of walking the Camino. The focus like so many texts is on the Camino to Santiago, and the part that I have done hardly gets a mention. Despite this, I can relate to the text. What she reflects on for herself (she too has done the walk) and from her participants accounts, rings true for me. Mine was a much shorter experience than many people and despite this, it is still very real as my Camino. Like the German man who asked me in Finisterre if my pilgrimage was less because it was shorter, she too ruminates on the idea of time, distance and duration. This led me to think about when did my journey start? Was it when I left London to take the plane to Spain or was it when I left Melbourne. I think that for me, it has been the entire time of this trip – but this needs to be thought through some more.

After the library I went to the Welcome Trust where they have an exhibition on the future of medicine. Some interesting interactive installations and scientific body slices etc. I had my own logo created based on my age, height, pulse and eye colour. Interesting… a different kind of genetic mark.