07 July 2008

Itero de la Vega to Carrion de los Condes

Day 11
6:55 am - N/A
33.3 km

That N/A above is because I caught up with the Hungarians (saw the Swiss woman, too) and walked--very slowly--with them. Since nothing else eventful happened or is likely to happen while I am on the meseta, I will take this opportunity to say that what makes the Camino de Santiago interesting is the route it takes through Spain. It still follows, more or less, the original track, which itself is so old, you often find yourself walking on Roman roads or over medieval bridges. It passes through innumerable towns ranging in size from large cities like Pamplona and Burgos to tiny hamlets with nothing but a 500-year old church and a bar. Many of the towns (and all of them have a rustic, decayed charm) owe their existence to the traffic along the Camino. That is, they began as support centers for the medieval pilgrims, continued in that capacity until the pilgrimage almost died out, and are now experiencing a rebirth with pilgrims walking the old road once again. It's an interesting phenomenon, historically and economically speaking. I even met a Japanese university student in Logroño who's writing her thesis about it. This evening, I am staying at an albergue attached to a church. While I was typing this post, the other pilgrims stood in a circle (in the same room) and sung some kind of hymn in Spanish. Now they are eating a communal meal, after which they will each have an opportunity to offer thanks in front of the group. I must get out of here lest I am, by chance, called on to do the same.

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