Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Town with Three Names

Hello, everyone.

We got up in Arzua at our usual time and stopped by a bakery for a roll and coffee and some Spanish-language pop music. I felt like I was at home! It was the first time I had heard Spanish-language pop since leaving Texas.

Didn't you hear Spanish music in Spain? I hear you asking. The answer is, mostly, no. Everywhere we went, the bars and restaurants were either playing American pop (new or old) and just weren't playing music at all. Johnny Cash was nice, just because, but I really didn't expect to hear no "international" pop for most of the trip. Which just goes to show that expectations can be wrong.

We walked along the trail and crossed over (well under) the N-547 several times, before crossing over the small bridge of Rio Burgo and entering O Pedrouzo. Also called O Pino and Arca. One of these names is Galician, I don't know which, and I also don't know where they all came from. We stayed in a pension room that night, not wanting to have our rest interrupted by excited folks who had just joined the trail recently and hadn't worked off enough energy to be quiet.

You see my sweetie's hat posing for the picture!

The next morning, we were up before the sun and the sky was gorgeous! I snapped a photo on the way out of town.
Dawn on the Camino! I don't know why the camera thought it was June 20th. I have that day as June 21.
 About 8:30 we found an open restaurant in the middle of nowhere and had our breakfast bocadillo and coffee. Then went around the airport--didn't see any aircraft landing or leaving--and on to Monte de Gozo.

Monte de Gozo was at one time an overlook. The pilgrims would take a bath in Lavacolla, then keep on walking to Monte de Gozo. (Getting their clothes dirty all over again!) From Monte de Gozo they could view the Cathedral of Santiago. You can't do that anymore.

There is a lovely small chapel there, to get a sello at, and a small stand that sells drinks, and a gigantic modern-art thing to look at--but the view of the city is entirely blocked by the trees that have grown up on the downhill slope.
The top of the pilgrim monument. They did remember to put a shell on it.
I think the sculpture on the side is Pope St. John Paul II. I'm not sure what the thing over the shell-y path is. (And yes, I couldn't resist showing that we were there! Everybody was taking pictures of each other.)
We walked through miles of outer city before reaching the old town. We passed sculptures of various kinds and lots of traffic. Eventually we passed over the ring-road into the Cathedral area. We looked around for places to stay, even though it was only about 11:30 in the morning. After all, we had arrived! But every place we had an address for was full up. "Completo, completo." It was discouraging. As we began walking out to find one of the albergues whose signs we'd passed on the way in, I said a quick prayer: "Jesus, take us where we need to be."

Five minutes later, as we milled around like lost four-year-olds on the sidewalk, we heard a lady's voice. "Peregrinos! Peregrinos!" We turned around and saw a lady about my age. She offered to let us stay at her place--it turned out that she had an apartment that she rented out, and it was free for a couple of nights.
God watches over the pilgrims, that's all I can say.

We went to Mass on the Sunday of Corpus Christi. As it was a feastday, the confraternity of men who cares for it came out in their red robes and swung the Botafumeiro.
We paid our respects to the Saint--there is a kneeler in front of the casket with his bones, and a jeweled reliquary behind the main altar of the Cathedral--and there was also an Adoration chapel. So I was able to give thanks there as well. Over the course of our walk to Santiago, I had gone from facing the tabernacle with a laundry list of concerns--worse yet, a distracted mental babble--to on that day just sinking into the gratitude.