We are fans of forward motion. It’s my universal truth that forward is better than back. I get itchy when things stagnate. When deadlines are missed and dates push out. Its the former project manager in me. Miss the first date and the flare goes up in my head. Miss another one and the sirens go off. But this week we are making progress. At last.
If you remember, we were having new roofing installed. We got a commitment on the start date back in July, just before August holidays in Spain. They were to start on September 15th. Jeff would be back from taking me to start my Camino. I would come home in October to a beautiful, non-leaking roof. But, because of the knee I was home by September 15th. And the date came and went. Yes, they did install the new fireplace. But then nothing. Silence. I messaged. I called. I WhatsApp’d. Nada.
At this point, my blood pressure began to rise. And by equal measure, my patience began to wane. I started shopping for another roofer. Now, I understand we are new citizens to the area. People know of us, but they don’t know us. Yet. Except the rainy season is upon us. We will not have many more warm, consecutively dry days between now and late Spring of 2022. I knew it was getting critical when Jeff started complaining about the repeated timeline slippage while looking at the weather report. He’s usually the most tranquila of the two of us.
I started meditating 3 times a day and doing deep breathing. No, the day drinking hadn’t started but I was eating antacids like candy. I tried to move on, focusing on other things I could get done. Control what you can. So, on that note, today we met with our new architect and went over our full vision. She seems great! And already she’s earned her fee.
‘Are we going for government subsidies?’ she asked after surveying the property. And to that my answer is a resounding ‘Of course! And this is why we need you.’ She will help us apply for all of them. We are going as Eco friendly as we possibly can and there is government money for that. As well as other stuff. The new EU Covid economic stimulus funds will help, too. I like her already. And, while she will submit the entire project at once, she will emphasize our phased approach so we can get approved much more quickly with phase 1. It’s why I hired her. She grew up in Palas. She knows the drill and all the players involved.
We sat down with her in a cafe and went over how we would like to lay out the phases of the project over the next two years. She is on board and will come up with the plan, and then the drawings she will submit to the concello. She says that the subsidies might slow it down a bit, but typically, once we submit to the concello we will have an answer in 30 days. Then they submit to the Patrimonio of the Camino de Santiago (the organization that protects the Camino in Galicia) I am fine with a small delay, if we can get some government funds to partner on the project. Lesson numero uno, folks – this is why you pay your taxes in Spain!
I love that she looked up regulations right there and answered my questions in real-time. It seems our property is perfect for what we want to do. Camping is in our first phase. I have heard ten times a day that you can’t allow camping on the Camino. That Albergues are not allowed to offer this. But because our property is 1/3 Urban, and the other 2/3 are Rural, we can. Each campsite must be 5 meters by 5 meters on rural land, which we have plenty of. No wonder most Albergues on the Camino are not allowed to accommodate camping. They simply do not have the required space, and the land isn’t zoned Rural. After meeting long-hauler Peregrinos who camped on the Camino last summer, camping will always be free at the Happy Camper!
My ongoing mantra of Always pay for good advice is already paying off, as well. I guess Googling stuff or asking questions of random people on Facebook isn’t the way to get accurate zoning and planning information on the Camino. Who knew? But now, our Peregrino campers will enjoy a free night in tents near the lavender crop. A fragrant, tranquill sleep on their journey. I like knowing that.
Divina will also help us with understanding the tourist regulations and specific requirements for the Camino laid down by the Xunta de Galicia, as they relate to our design. They are many and they are complicated. I now have the 36 page document.
When we returned from our meeting with the architect, an October miracle occurred. Our roofers were here with a large lift bucket, suited up, pressure washing and getting everything ready. I kid you not, when they saw me they took me aside and told me ‘Your roof leaks. You might have noticed humidity in the house.’ Is this guy for real? ‘Si.’ I told me. But I wanted to scream, with fists shaking. ‘Duh. That’s why you’re here!! Weeks late.’ But I held my tongue. They’re on site. Ready to take care of it. I went inside, head shaking, chewing glass.
But I need to be grateful. This is all really happening. I’m almost afraid to say it, but the dam has broken. It feels like we have talked about it all for so long that I’m tired of talking. It’s time to get it done. We will soon be water tight in the house. And for our café/albergue, luckily, I think we hired the right person in Divina to help guide us through the process. Sure, we are just at the starting line, but I am beginning to see over the horizon a bit. Welcoming Pilgrims in 2022 is going to happen. With a little patience, and a lot of deep breathing, we will get it across the finish line.