”Buen Camino”, is the word following the pilgrims along their walk. I guess there is no real good word for this in either English or Swedish. Can you find one?
The pilgrims pass many glorious cathedrals on the Camino, and Leon and Astorga are only two of them.
They also pass Rio Arga over Puente la Reina, built for the pilgrims in the 11th century.
In this little town I found my favourite pilgrim church, Iglesia del Crucifijo. This is almost a tiny chapel, very serene, rather dark and undecorated. But, here they have an unusual wooden crucifix in the shape of a Y, with a sad looking Christ with raised arms. The cross is said to be a gift from a German pilgrim in the 14th century.
Every pilgimage has its own story. I guess many Camino walkers are religious, but the majority of pilgrims I talked to were not – they walked for other reasons. One middle aged man had lost his wife, and he needed to collect his memories and get a closure. Another man, a young man, followed his girlfriend here. She had always dreamt of walking the Camino. Now they were both smitten.
The Camino is well signposted, just follow the shell, and the pilgrims themselves. Not all of the pilgrims want to tell their story, but some do. A young American IT-engineer told me he wanted to be ”grounded”, wanted to connect body and soul and Mother Earth. Our western society do not allow us to do so, unless we go looking for it ourselves.
The stories. Yes. A friend of mine has got a niece walking the Camino this summer. Her story tells of 19 years’ struggle to raise her autistic boy. This spring he finally graduated high school. Walking the Camino is for her a relief and a way of trying to find her old self again – after a great mission accomplished.
At Monasterio de Nuestra Señora bodega, there is a tap in the wall where pilgrims can have a glass of wine for free…This hot summer day I assure you it tasted just fine. And there are two taps – in the right one you get water. That tasted even better.
And when evening comes, hopefully there is a place for you to sleep and prepare for another strenous Camino day. Whatever your reasons to walk are – I am sure you are doing the right thing.
Buen Camino – see you in Santiago!