Day 12, Los Arcos to Viana

The policemen in the bar this morning (no I’m not really having wine for breakfast is just that’s where breakfast is served) thought it very funny that I was off out walking in the sleet and the snow, they could, they said, arrest me for sheer madness and deliver me to the police station at Viana, if that would be helpful. The offer was politely refused in spite of them pointing out pictures of a snowbound Spain on the television (every bar in Spain has a TV, very big and very loud)……

I set off early 7:45, which I prefer to call a quarter eight, the first seems to hint a time gone and I prefer to think of time yet to come. I set off into the sleet and rain, very little snow had settled and this proved to be to case along the whole journey. The sleet was in my eyes and I had an almost irresistible but unwise urge to walk with my eyes shut! Several pilgrims passed me on the hill out of Los Arcos, and I once again found myself trudging along at my own comfortable pace. It’s very tempting when a pilgrim passes you to quicken ones step and try a match their pace. Not only is this unwise but in my case impossible. Even if the wind and the sleet are stinging my face, and giving me a healthy (for healthy, read bright red) glow. I feel good, I feel alive……..

The way today began through farmland, the track wide and comfortable to walk on, although there was some road walking as I came toward Sansol

And a sprinkling of snow on the mountains just to remind me that it would be better to reach my destination sooner rather than later….

The track became muddy and narrow in places; here at Torres del Rio I over took the pilgrims who had set off at such a fast rate in Arcos, the church at Torres was closed, but for a mere 1€ one could ring a number and have it opened for a visit……

It’s not that a I didn’t want to boost the local economy, it’s just that the weather was so “in ones face” lingering seemed fool hardy.

And these little memorials along the side of the path a constant reminder that not everyone ends their pilgrimage in Santiago, most of these markers will give the names and date of the deceased with an ominous “it was here that he/she ended his/her pilgrimage…..”

Then I came to many piles of stones, it is believed that when one places a stone upon the pile one is leaving a burden behind with the stone, often the stone will have been brought from the pilgrims home, many are just piles of stones other are more intricate like these at Armananzas…..

Sometimes a ribbon bearing someone’s name or a poem or a prayer will be tied to a tree……

This prayer was placed here by someone from Canterbury……

Then on, still in the biting wind and the sleet to the little chapel at Armananzas……..

It has the Pilgrims blessing on the wall next to the Camino…….

There are many of these shelters along the Camino way, I don’t know what they are but I can only assume that they were provided for weary pilgrims to shelter from the weather and grab a dry nights sleep……

By this time I was becoming quite a wet and weary pilgrim myself and the sign that said ‘cafe’ up ahead filled me with thoughts of steaming hot chocolate, and the unrelenting rain and sleet bashing the Rosemary bushes along the was gave the air a wonderful scent…….

Rosemary for remembrance, traditionally worn on Anzac Day, and sometimes on Remembrance Day. We gave out springs of Rosemary at Bernard’s funeral. It grows wild and in profusion on the Gallipoli peninsular, where Willerby, my husband’s uncle lost his life in that terrible conflict. And yes how could I not remember. Legend also says that Mary hung the baby Jesus’s clothes on a Rosemary bush to dry when on their flight into Egypt, and that is way it has such a wonderful sweet smell……

I look back to where I have walked, that promised cafe must be in sight soon. The terrain is getting really quite steep……

I’m cold, I’m wet and I am beginning to have strange fantasies about the cafe, if they haven’t got hot chocolate, then tea or coffee will be fine as long as it’s hot. Up the hill, around the bend and yes, yes, yes, there it is…….

Closed of course………

Another hill to descend another hill to climb, I see a town ahead……

at last Viana, my stop for tonight, and what it that I see before me? A church with an open door……

Actually no, it’s the entrance to a church, but the church itself seems to have fallen down leaving only the grand and welcoming door………

And so ends my twelfth day. It ends with my spirits high, today I was filled with hope and peace and the Rosemary gave me joy, it was good to remember Willerby and those that died besides him. My Bernard used to say that if we forget them then everyone will forget him; either everyone matters or no one matters…….

Well, I think everyone matters………

Love Susan x

This entry was posted in Anzec Day, Architecture, bereavement, churches, death, HIstory, rain, Rosemary, snow, Storms, The Camino de Compostela and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Day 12, Los Arcos to Viana

  1. beta44 says:

    Not very considerate of St. J to end up in Santiago de Compostela as it means that you are always walking into the prevailing wind/rain.
    Peter xx

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  2. So many lives lost by ANZACs as well as Canadian, British and other Commonwealth forces – rosemary is a special plant for us all to remember those lost. Not just those poor soldiers on the beaches, but all the families they would never have. We have rosemary growing in our garden – now I will also associate it with your wonderful Bernard.
    Keep warm!

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