Monday, 16 May 2011

Camino bore, day 17

Leon to La Virgen del Camino.
Well, we're on our own today! No pics! [But there ARE now I am back home and adding them.] I'm in Ireland staying with friends, so am totally reliant on the pilgrim journal, as I haven't yet broached the idea of dealing with pictures on a strange computer.

St James points to the road.
So where were we last year? A very short walk today, from Leon to La Virgen del Camino, almost a suburb of Leon. It took three breakfasts and a couple of Ibuprofens to get me moving though, including the excellent one at the Benedictine albergue, and descriptions of my feet get more lurid still.

Went to the 9 am mass in Leon cathedral, in a large side chapel with row upon row of empty seats - long benches. There were a couple of Anglican touches, in that an old chap hobbled in and had a pilgrim move to another pew, as she was in 'his' seat. Then another cold chap sort of keeled over sideways. The moved pilgrim gesticulated to the regulars, and the man was re-propped up and seemed OK. This sort of thing happened on around 3 successive Sundays, and seemed a bit of a bad omen about the future of the church as a whole in western Europe, but perhaps I ought not to generalise from such coincidences.

Arrived at modern and spacious albergue and made use of washing machine to wash everything we could, had nap and did some planning ahead, which is rather like a military campaign. The problem being how to get to stay at the English albergue in Rabanal, run by the Confraternity of St. James, of which we are members ( It was 2 1/2 days' walk away, not helpful, as we needed it to be a round number of days away. So we generally did a bit of recharging of batteries; it's hard to walk upwards of 15 miles a day, every day, and sometimes a bit of a breather is needed.

We didn't manage to get inside the church, but you can look at the impressive exterior here.
The church seems to be built to house an ancient reredos, and the exterior is an impressive modern facade. It reminded me of our last church, St. Matthew's Fairfield in Grimsby, being  as le Corbusier might say 'a machine for worshipping in', but there the resemblance ends. A way of saying 'shoe-box style of architecture', but this was done well, so far as we could see. But modern shoe boax can be good if it isn't just a way of doing things on the cheap.

Detail on church door.
Today in 2011 I had a bit of an Absalom moment in that I was trying to get a signal for my mobile phone, so sat upon a post  and tried - failed - and then jumped down, forgetting I was wearing the camino red skirt, and caugt it on the railings. Fortunately the skirt gave way, and now has a small tear - mended of course. But the thing is getting very frail, a shame as it reminds me of the camino and may soon have to be relegated to my cloth museum. It was the first stupid thing I have done since arriving here a couple of hours ago.

Good news is that we have booked to go and see the film 'The Way', which isn't a very good film, but it will be hard not to watch it and keep from blurting out 'I remember that bit!' 'We stayed in that one!' etc etc. Sod the storyline.

So now I'll go and ponder the paper camino for today. Oh deaarrrrrr - this looks SO dull with no pics!

I spent the journey here by the way pondering on the art competition at Southwark cathedral

for which one has to create some art around the stories of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar in Genesis 11-25. There are adult and junior categories. Do pass on this info to anyone you think might be interested in it. The stories are going to take a considerable amount of pondering over and a big commitment of time, but we are getting somewhere in the head with it at least.

So if you are my husband reading this, please tell everyone that I'm sorry for lack of emails, texts etc etc., but I haven't managed to find a wall to stand that's high enough yet. I'm going to get my paintbox out now. Night all!


  1. Messages received, understood and sent out. Oh Dear about the skirt:-(( These Things Happen....

  2. "It was the first stupid thing I have done since arriving here a couple of hours ago."

    What took you so long?:-P