Friday, October 23, 2009
Yesterday morning we left our Albergue in Foncebadon (resident population 2) about 8:30 am in near total darkness with fog and mist. About a kilometer later we were facing driving sleet and rain. After a slight and unintended detour on a logging road we made it to La Cruz de Ferro where we laid our burdens down. La Cruz de Ferro is the highest point on the Camino Frances in Spain. Marking the spot is an iron cross and stones brought by pilgrims from around the world. We added our stones in gratitude as a symbolic gesture to the One who relieves our burdens. A few kilometers later, we arrived in Manjarin, a small mountain village whose only resident is Tomas who calls himself the Last Templar. His Albergue certainly provided protection for these cold pilgrims as we warmed ourselves by the fire and drank hot coffee by candlelight. After a half and hour or so we were on our way without the sleet.
For the past three days we have had rain for much of each day, but our spirits are good and our rain gear is doing its job. We have developed a good pattern of alternating periods of conversations and silence with one of us often hanging back for our own quiet time. The evening in Manzarife, now several days past was accentuated by a communal meal centered around potatos given to us by a local farmer (and of course, wine, which is incredibly inexpensive here). 10 of us cooked, ate, and cleaned with our German friend playing his guitar in the kitchen while others cooked. In Astorga, Mark, Bill, and I ate tapas after evening mass, and the past two nights we have eaten the traditional pilgrim menu with pilgrims from Spain, Slovakia, Germany, and Austria. Two nights ago after dinner, Bill (a doctor) was busy tending to another pilgrim´s feet. Today, we hope to make it to Pereje - hopefully without rain.
The past few days have provided wonderful scenery from the last of the mesata to beautiful mountain views as the clouds broke for parts of the day. We have walked through crumbling mountain villages and larger cities with beautiful churches, Roman ruins, and a Templar Castle.
Please continue to keep us in pray. We hope to arrive in Santiago in 9 days. My walk was offered for an unknown intention on Tuesday, for a special person and all others undergoing chemo or radiation on Wednesday, and all those suffering in the cold without heat. Today, I walk for the development of Catholic Legal Theory (also catholic to include other religious groups) project.