Santiago de Compostela

Camino Mozarabe, Spain, Via de la Plata

2-27-17

We are staying in a pension right next to the Grand Cathedral. The weather is cool and rainy and we are seeing a few other pilgrims wandering around. We met a German man who’d done 6,000 kilometers walking back and forth from home to here.

Carnaval is happening and people are dressing up and there are parades. We’re kind of on the edges of things but fun to see. 

We got our pilgrimage certificates and went to a special pilgrim’s mass in the Cathedral. The sermon recounted the story of Jesus telling a rich man it’s easier to pass through the eye of a needle than for a wealthy man to get to heaven. 

Santiago means Saint James, one of the twelve apostles, and he’s believed to be buried in the church. The edifice is over 800 years old and is undergoing serious renovations.

Pension Fonseca, we’re off season and rates have been quite low.

Cathedral courtyard

Tomb

Saint James

Grand Plaza

Old town

Walking down towards the convent.

Carnaval

Cathedral

Interior

Clown

Street art

Camino de la Plata РDay Four, a Sacred Summit and Santiago 

Spain, Via de la Plata

Ponte de Ulla, Pico Sacro, Santiago – 17 miles, 2-26-17

Today we followed the Camino shells to the destination of Santiago de Compostela. 

Alfred walked ahead at a brisk pace and I strolled along until I got to a sign for the “Pico Sacro” or Sacred Peak. It was rainy and foggy; perfect weather for a holy place. I followed the sign then lost my way. I saw a couple walking down the gravel road and asked for directions. They were out for a walk and offered to take me there. The man was from the area and we had a great walk to the top despite the wind. (Once again I was struck by how kind people are and how able to discuss a wide variety of topics in a lot of depth.)

Camino shell

I am sheep.

Pico Sacro

Camelias in bloom

Traditional soup with collards, potatoes and pork, (Caldo Gallego)

Walled Camino Real

Spring Primroses


Mist and rain

Camino de la Plata – Day Three, Bridges and Blue Skies

Spain, Via de la Plata

A Laxe to Ponte Ulla – 19.5 miles, 2-25-17

Down more winding idyllic country roads past newborn lambs and grazing cows in brilliant green fields. Much of the day was on the ancient Camino Real paved with polished stone and edged by gnarled oaks.

The air smelled of cut hay, cows and blooming fruit trees and sounds of birds, calling lambs and herding bells were all around.

Lambs!

Ponte de Taboada built in 912.

Worn stone steps and deep paths led to the river.

Spring violets

Romanesque church

Village scene

Pastoral glory

Macro of plants on old stone wall.

Just a few more cows.


Camino de la Plata – Day Two, Cows and Lush Fields

Spain, Via de la Plata

Oseira to A Laxe – 19.5 miles, 2-24-17

I left the monastery early climbing up into the dawn. The road of weathered stone was worn deep into the side of the mountain and I could imagine people following this path to the monastery during its flowering.

The path wound through hamlets, along streams filled with watercress and past herds of meat and dairy cows.

We stayed the night in a municipal albergue and fell asleep to the sound of parents and children playing music in the community space below.

Path up from the monastery.

Granite church

Forest floor


Wall bordering path

Cows!

Verdant river

Camino de la Plata – Day One, Ancient Roads and Vespers

Spain, Via de la Plata

Ourense to Oseira – 20 miles, 2-23-17

We walked from Cordoba to Granada then on to Almeria, following the Route of the Caliphate and the Camino Mozarabe but had not made it to the end point of all the Caminos, Santiago de Compostela.  We are going to start studying Spanish in Salamanca March 1st so decided to walk the last four days of the Via Plata into Santiago for Carnaval.

I’m really glad we did this as the Galician path is as inspiring and gorgeous as the walk through Andalucia but in a different way. In the south was sun, Arabic history, snow capped mountains and olives, here are lush green fields, stone houses, cows and deep moss covered paths trod for centuries.

We left Ourense and were soon in forests and stone. We had lunch with a retired trucker named Cesar, who opens his house and now travels via guests, then slept in a monastery where we attended vespers with the monks.

The monastery was built in 1137 and the passage of history struck me here as in few other places. The blend of poetry and sound during vespers left me with tears streaming down my face and many questions about faith and vocation.

Elves could be here.

Tidy gardens of roots and greens.

Shells are appearing more as way signs.

Water is everywhere and it’s stored and directed in stone.

Cats over the wall.

Our albergue for the chilly night. The monks make chocolate and an herbal liqueur so we ate this with fire baked bread from nearby Cea.