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PeterS - Camino De Santiago Journal - 2015

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Peter Shaw
City: Rancho Palos Verdes
State: Ca
Country: US
Begins: Apr 25, 2015
Direction: Westbound

Daily Summary
Date: Sat, May 2nd, 2015

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 369
Journal Visits: 8,676
Guestbook Views: 352
Guestbook Entrys: 15

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The Church in the Cliff

Day 8

It was a nice albergue but this was the first night that I'd been disturbed by other pilgrims. It seemed to be the same noise all night long until someone else had a big sneezing fit and I think that woke up everybody because afterwards it was silent for a while. Despite that I think I still slept pretty good and I was up with the crowd and on the trail by 7:30 am.

The first village I came to was Tosantos. I detoured to the albergue and bar hoping to get some breakfast. At the albergue there was hiker trying to take a picture of a crowd using the auto timer on his camera. I offered to take the picture and then got handed three cameras. Two of the group ran the albergue and afterwards they offered me coffee which I didn't refuse. On the way out of town there was a good view of the 12th century church that was built into the cliff - see picture that hopefully captures that.

A couple of villages further on, I did come across this really well restored Renault car that I had to take a picture of. Leaving that village was a couple of nice steep hills which made a pleasant change from the flat trail of the last couple of days. At the peak of the second hill was the Monumento de los Caidos, a monument to the Spanish Civil War and for those killed. About 50 meters from the monument was a site where in the region of 40 shallow graves were discovered of people executed in the war. Now its a shrine and an official burying place. A little somber of a moment but good to see the victims haven't been forgotten.

After that was forest which on one side of the trail looked like it had been replanted. Normally trees grow randomly but these were all in straight lines. There were two rows of trees and then a mound and the pattern repeated for several kilometres. Then I reached San Juan de Ortega, a small village with a very large church and monastery that was in the construction phase of being even bigger. The overhead crane sort of spoiled the view. I had lunch there but didn't want to stay as this was the end of the guidebook segment. I pressed on first to a small village called Ages where I decided I'd stop at a nice little tavern and have a beer as the weather had improved.

From there the trail was an asphalt road to the village of Atapuerca where I am now in a nice new albergue. This place is famous because nearby was discovered the earliest human remains in Europe. Analysis of what is now a world heritage site showed human activity going back 1.2 million years and supposedly also confirmed that our ancestors were cannibals. I guess we've matured as a species because now we just kill each other for fanatical reasons.

The weather today was quite nice. Yesterday was really windy but today it was just a strong breeze. They were a few ominous dark clouds but the rain held off and in the afternoon and there was mostly sunshine. A perfect day to hike.

In the evening I went in search of a restaurant but the one I found was closed. Was this just the holiday weekend or normal? Then I asked a local where there was a bar and he pointed me in the right direction where I met a lady from northern California and a guy from Wisconsin, both doing the Camino. We had a nice chat over a couple of drinks and I found out the restaurants did not open until 7:00 pm. After a couple of beers I went to one of the two restaurants and had the pilgrim's special, an incredible meal, including wine for an incredulously low price. I think tonight was part of the magic of the Camino.

Entry 11 of 14
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Camino De Santiago

The Camino de Santiago is the name of any of the pilgrimage routes to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried. Many take up this route as a form of spiritual path or retreat, for their spiritual growth.


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