08 Walking Through Fire

For those who may every walk the Camino, or even find a chance to visit Los Arcos you must drop into Albergue Casa de Abuela, and speak to Sarah. Tell her Cameron from Canada sent you. This Albergue is in the literal heart of the Camino. Sarah, her husband, and their precious family give so much to the passing pilgrims, treating each person as a special, and valued guest.

When it came time to leave this morning Sarah wished me well and gave me a hug…asking me to come back next year.

What a way to start a day.

The weather forecast is for  30c termperatures and not a cloud in the sky. Knowing what the road has in store today inspires me to set out no later than 7am while it is still dark. I will be able to reach Viana by around noon, avoiding  the worst of it as long as I keep up a head of steam up though the morning.

Here’s the dilemma. I was born with a very good visual memory….I do admit my memory is not what it once was. Combine a visual with a fairly hefty dose of pain and it will be deadly accurate.

I totally recall where 4 years ago we sang the National Anthems, and where we shared chocolate and mixed nuts on a bus bench in the middle of nowhere. Vivid details are emblazoned into my mind.

So there should be no surprises.

About an hour and a half out of Los Arcos the path takes the pilgrims though  Torres Del Rio, and right in front of everyone is a perfect Knights of Templar church. Think tiny. Think stone windows where the craftspeople of the day would grind quartz rock so thin it could be set into the stone walls to allow light into the space. The inside is spartan bare, with a crusifiction in the alter space. I’m pretty sure this wasn’t original.

Livng history for sure.

Then it was out of town, and very little to divert the attention from the various challenges of the day.

As the sun came up to our backs extended shadows were created. I remember sculptures and pen and ink drawings from Spain with long spindly legs…Don Quiote and Sancho Panza perhaps. The shadows definitely reminded me of something similar. I will have to research this when I have a moment.

And the day has just started.

The landscape is cut with deep scars, weather, erosion, and the overall effects of water have left the area with sharply defined valleys. When you are on foot each of these “canyons” takes a round out of you. The steep decent on the jaws of the earth require careful footing and the progress is slow. Ascending from the depths is equally slow, and under the direct sun with no shade you feel every step.

This happens at least 4 times today, hardly mentioned in the guide, and at such an expense to the weary Pilgrim.

I have decided to stop in Viana today avoiding the worst of the sun. I arrive right around Noon, and head up for a shower, arrange for laundry, and then head into town for a light bite to eat.

I meet many people willing to press on to Lagrono today, and I wish them well…but in my opinion this is nonsense. Subjecting yourself to the elements voluntarily is beyond comprehension.

After my quick snack I decide to take a look inside the church located in the center of this small town. When I was here previously we could not enter as  there was a wedding occupying the church as I recall.

Inside the church is a stunning carved alter backdrop. To my great delight a choir was performing. I recorded 4 pieces and I’ll try to find a way to post these recordings. Simply fabulous. If you send me an email I will try to attach one or two for you.

This is also the place where Cesar Borgia is interred. Interesting to me as he gave up a career in the Catholic Church as a Cardinal to become a military commander. Even more interesting to me is the fact his father went on to become the Pope.  (Pope Alexander VI) ……hmmmm…. thought these guys were supposed to be celibate…..just sayin’. All of this takes place around the end of the 1400’s. According to what I have read, Cesar was a womanizing, visously cruel individual with a taste for the extravagant. Although I am certainly not a religious scholar, Borgia’s lifestyle may have been a kingpin or catalyst for the reformation. (I’ll let you look this up….I am too cynical)

Dinner in the Albergue tonight…here’s hoping for another home run experience tomorrow.