Another long walk. As is my custom when living somewhere new. This is my fifth week in the Basque Country of northern Spain. I was trying to spend the day at the beach but after getting off the metro at Naguri I just kept walking. Pulled along by different curiosities: geometric mansions, ferries suspended over canals, topless elderly women, and mermen (to name a few).
I wandered almost five hours before finding a bus ride home.
One of my accidental discoveries today was the castle-like mansions of Getxo, and the transporter bridge of Portugalete. For the bridge, a ferry suspended on cables, I used the last of my Barik card metro balance for the trip across. Later, some medieval arches spined along the walking paths in the older part of the city. A weird and sobering reminder that there were hundreds of thousands of days and years and lives before this one. As Arthur C. Clark reminds us, “behind every man now alive stand 30 ghosts.”
Though Clark’s ratio wasn’t entirely accurate, it is true that the dead outweigh the living. It’s so easy to forget that everything is built upon something dead, and the “great” men who advanced civilization did so by obliterating those who opposed them, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, et. al. “Creation through destruction” is perhaps the optimistic view. Was the universe made to behave this way also? Like the renewal of a forest through fire? It is hard to imagine that the arrow of time has an ending, and to think on what first propelled it. Once it falls, will it really never be fletched again?
Mansions of Getxo
Portugalete ferry Basque ferry merman
medieval ruins, Portugalete