Cold, rain and fog accompany us as we walk through the Pyrennees from Refuge Orrison to Roncesvalles. The thumping sound of large, raindrops pelt against my rain gear… a constant drumming throughout the day. Soaked gloves offer no protection from the cold resulting in numb fingers and toes. Large flocks of sheep hunker down together, staring at the passing Pilgrims as if to say, …and they say sheep are dumb. We later discover that the mountain was closed to those leaving St. Jean that day.
Maybe I do feel like a hiking beast…
The following stretch from Roncesvalles to Larrasoana provides a much better day for hiking with plenty of photo opportunities due to the pleasant weather. I am much more appreciative of this wonderful weather today due to the rough weather yesterday. Minnesotans learn this lesson early in life.
“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” Maya Angelou
2016 Rigdon/Meyer Camino (Unfinished Business) blog post links are available in chronological order on one page. Several posts include a short video of the day and we are relieved that we aren’t still looking for Randy somewhere in France!
So, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, click on the photo below and travel along with Randy, Joyce & Joan. ~Buen Camino!
For more of our escapades, including hiking the West Highland Way in Scotland, go to rjmeyerarts.com
When I first started hiking a number of years ago, a fellow hiker gave me some important advice, “Don’t forget to look back.” When I see a memorable view I capture it with a camera so that I can revisit this moment in time. If the view is mediocre I turn back and resume hiking along my merry way with camera packed. As a photographer I have found this advice helpful, but even more I find it applies to life.
We all know life isn’t always pretty and we may stumble and step in crap from time to time. Learn, move on, without dwelling on these unfortunate moments. Likewise, there may be some unattractive elements in an image, but look beyond and see the beauty…
September 25, 2016: Short and sweet today with a bus ride from Astorga to Ponferrada, Spain which is the last major town on the French route of the Camino de Santiago until Santiago de Compostela.
Taking a step back in time, we tour the magnificent 12th century Templar castle. Originally a hill-fort and later a Roman citadel we peer through the windows and peepholes viewing the city below and the mountains in the distance.
At the beginning of the 12th century, the Templar knights took possession of the fortress. They reinforced and extended the building for use as a palace as well as provide protection of pilgrims en route to Santiago de Compostela. Its twelve original towers reproduced the shapes of the constellations.The castle hosted the Knights Templar’s Grand Master of Castille. Unfortunately, the Templars were only able to enjoy the use of their fortress for about twenty years before the order was disbanded and its properties confiscated. ~spain.info
According to andaspain.com, The Knights Templar were disbanded in 1307 by King Philip IV of France due to growing mistrust of the organization, as well as the Kings large financial debt to the group. It is thought that most members were arrested and tortured into giving false confessions, resulting in being burned at the stake. Mystery and speculation grew due to the swift disappearance of this immense and mighty group. Even now, many hold on to the belief that the Templars did not dissolve but went underground and continue to exist today. Interestingly, King Fernando IV gifted the castle to his butler once the Order of the Templars was dissolved. Hmmm… strange, indeed.
September 24, 2016: Camino Completion ~ third time’s a charm. Another dot is connected as we walk into Astorga, Spain.
Cruceiro Santo Toribio is a stone cross that commemorates the 5th century Bishop Toribio of Astorga who supposedly fell to his knees here in a final farewell having been banished from the town. Wonderful view of the city of Astorga with the mountains looming in the distance.This gentleman has welcome wagon duty today along with tending to the flowers and shrubs near the stone cross.Tonight we sleep in the loft of a very old building, Albergue de Peregrinos San Javier located on a narrow street near the cathedral. 110 beds and we are up three levels in the top loft area. As you can see, we both get a front and center bottom bunk tonight surrounded by our international roommates. Friendly conversations are a bonus to this situation and we experience absolutely no bedbugs. A full kitchen is on the bottom level of the building so we are able to cook our own meal tonight and converse with other pilgrims doing the same. Flashlights are close and ready for action in case we need to walk down the dark staircase during the night to a lower level to use the facilities. Watch to the end of the video on this blog post and you will take a walk with me from top to bottom of the albergue. I’m glad there wasn’t a fire during the night because we would surely have been toast.Inside these doors… Astorga’s cathedral was built between the 15th and 18th centuries and combines various styles including Gothic and Baroque. The edifice was begun in 1471, within the same walls of its Romanesque predecessors from the 11th-13th centuries. Construction lasted until the 18th century which explains the inclusion of elements from later styles. ~Wikipedia Is Harry Potter home? Opposite the cathedral is the Palcio Episcopal designed by Anton Gaudi for the bishop of the time who was a fellow Catalan. The palace’s bizarre appearance and enormous cost horrified the church and no future bishops ever lived in it. It is now home to the Museo de los Caminos, an excellent museum of the pilgrimage to Santiago. ~spainthisway.com
We were not able to visit Museo Chocolate also located in Astorga, Spain. Here you can see a display of tools and objects that represent the history of chocolate production: instruments for roasting, refining and rolling, as well as pans, mortars, moulds and machines from the early 19th century.