Devilish Details

The devil is in the details. No getting around it. Yes, we have the paper with the approval.✔️ But it’s the supporting document that arrived yesterday, personally delivered by our contractor, that was a punch to the gut.

As he sat at the dining room table, his heavy sigh was the first sign of trouble.

‘Would you like the good news first? Or the bad news?’

I gulped. Bad news? There should be no bad news. We are approved. The guy told him so on the phone. I got the notice via email and printed it out. But apparently that was not the entire story. Like so many things in Spain, and in Galicia more specifically, there will be more. There is always more.

It was in Gallego so he had to translate it for me.

‘The camping is fine. But we must divide each campsite by hedges (I thought they hated hedges) and they will notify us of the plants we can use.’

Fine. Whatever.

‘They will count your trees and if one dies or becomes damaged you must plant another from a list of trees they determine.’

Fine, again. But I noticed Diego wasn’t looking me in the eye.

‘The cabins must not be cabins. They must be small casitas and they must be white stucco and with red tile roofs. Suddenly, on the Camino they have decided that all buildings look like they are from Andalucía – but telling us that this is traditional Galicia architecture, which it is not.’ (Diego is also an architect).


‘No for the food truck.’ He hesitated. ‘You can not have it.’

What? I could barely process his words. ‘What do mean, I can’t have it?’

He read the paper verbatim, knowing I wouldn’t understand a word. Then he translated their exact wording.

‘The food truck and the setting is a abomination and an affront to the Camino. The tables and red umbrellas are against the traditional look. The positioning of the terrace destroys the tranquility of the Camino and the experience of Pilgrims. It can not operate within the sensitive zone protecting the Camino De Santiago.’

We sat there in silence before I started to tear up. ‘What are they talking about? An abomination? Between Palas and Melide there are 50 cafes and businesses. All of them right on the Camino, and most with faded old Estrella Galicia tables and chairs, emblazoned with beer logos. And red umbrellas sporting the same. That’s the true spirit of the Camino? We bought what we bought to fit in. Our tables match the cafe up the road. Granted, Estrella Galicia didn’t supply them but they are identical.’

Diego didn’t know what to say.

‘Is it because we are foreigners?’

He tried to assure me it was not. But then he made an interesting observation.

‘The wording had been lifted from the complaint against you with the council filed by the police on behalf of the cafe up the road. The exact wording.’

I didn’t know what else to say. He didn’t know what else to say.

‘Can we appeal?’ I asked.

‘Yes. We have ten days. I will get it going and file it.’

‘How long?’ I asked. ‘How long will it take for them to answer?’

Diego shook his head. ‘How long they want. They will do what they want.’ He said quietly.

So, we will not be opening any time soon. Our cabins will not be built this summer. The food truck will remain shuttered. This walking season is a washout. I have to accept it or it will drive me insane. An abomination, really? Every single pilgrim last year told me it was the most beautiful stop on their Camino. The umbrellas, the flowers. A hundred people a day stood at our gate and shouted ‘Que Bonito!’ What they have written on that paper is a lie.

But, if I accept this reality then I have options. Not the outcome we thought just 24 hours ago, but options nonetheless. Am I let down after so much hard work? Of course. Jeff and I have been up all night talking about it. At one point I threatened to move to the South of France. I bet the French would take my investment. Sometimes bad things happen so better things can fill the space. This summer I will focus on my writing and the release of my book. Energy flows where attention goes. Time to refocus my energy toward my creativity.

As Jeff reminded me at 3:30 this morning.‘You’re good writer. Take the summer in the chicken coop and fill yourself up by writing. It’s your passion. Maybe the universe is telling you to spend this year there.’

He’s right. That’s exactly what I’m going to do while we exhaust every possible appeal with The Patrimonio. As all of you who read this blog are aware, I have more than a few things to say. And more than a few writing projects already begun. I am choosing option three. I just need to pick up the pen, or the keyboard, and get to work.

6 thoughts on “Devilish Details

  • Oh Kelli, that’s awful news. Things will work out for you eventually and you can take this time to do the other things on your list, I’m so sorry 😢.


  • Kelli I’m so sorry you are going through this. There are record number of people walking the Camino this year. A shortage of accommodations and most likely places to eat.
    I do like your attitude and when it all comes to fruition you’ll know there was a reason why you were meant to write and be creative this summer. I was so looking forward to seeing your food truck on the Camino this summer when we’re in Galicia.

    And I can’t believe they want white stucco casitas! You would have thought they would want them out of stone. Have you considered making “glamping” tents? I’ve seen a couple places in Galicia doing that. We talked to the mayor of our town about building glamping tents and he loved the idea..but as what you have experienced I don’t think I would want to undertake that.

    We’ve been fortunate that our family and contractor have done all the negotiations with the bureaucrats and neighbors for our house. . It hasn’t been easy and OMG they are so slow in processing! We keep being told it’s the Galician way. Fortunately for us everyone is related and it seems to help move the process along. It feels like right now we are employing half the village. This cousin, that cousin, my sons future in-laws, you know.

    I think the hardest part is we’re all in a foreign country and we’re used to being able to take care of our business…but because we’re foreigners we have to let go of that ability and have other people help us. That’s been the hardest thing for me. Having to depend on someone else to help me. It’s humbled me a lot and taught me to go with the flow.

    Here’s to a better day for you!!


  • Well, this was a kick in the pants. A set back for sure. But I love how y’all are seeing it as a chance to do other things while you determine the next best steps. Here’s hoping that the future will be bright no matter what road you travel.


  • I’m sorry! You are right…. things happen for a reason, it’s unknown now but it will reveal itself. Sending hugs and good vibes your way!! Stay positive and keep moving forward 😘


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