Yesterday we came down from the mountains and entered well-watered and hence green Spain. We are enjoying the change immensely. The Camino in this region is typically a cart track between stone walls wending it’s way through a series of small hamlets. Perhaps it’s just the contrast, but we both feel this is the most beautiful section of the Camino.
It is also increasingly crowded. We passed though Sarria today, which is the last major town before the minimum 100 km required to earn a Compostela. It appears that the number of pilgrims has doubled. Our new companions are easily identified by their sprightly step, clean shoes and coiffed hair. Many of the veteran pilgrims speak derisively of those
walking only one hundred kilometers but we are enjoying the injection of energy and enthusiasm.
Today there was a huge contrast between the road and the trail. After a few kilometers of what could have been a section of the Island Highway I went back to the trail even though I had been warned that sections were pretty rough. It was so beautiful! I kept pace with Gord all day either cycling, pushing or on two occasions carrying my bike while Gordon carried my trailer. What a guy!
I have been reading the 12th century Codex Calixtinus which includes a Pilgrim’s guide to Santiago de Compostela. It makes for very entertaining reading but perhaps not the best choice if you are only taking one guidebook. It is full of beautiful illuminations and strong opinions about different groups encountered on the way. For example:
“The Navarrese also have sex with their farm animals. And it is said that they put a lock on their backsides of their mules and horses so that nobody except themselves can have them.”
It actually gets considerably more graphic after this but this blog is rated PG so I’ll spare you the details. (Sorry Blair.)
Sadly one of two remaining copies of the original Codex was stolen from the Cathedral in Santiago this July.