Friday, June 7, 2013

Walking the Way - A Religious and Cultural Experience in Words and, Especially, Pictures - Part 1

Paul Adams (commentary) and Katryn Adams (pictures)

We flew into Barcelona, where we visited some wonderful art nouveau architecture, before making our way by train to Leon and after a short stay in that beautiful medieval city, by bus to Sarria, where we joined the Camino for the 112 km walk to Santiago de Compostela.  Even in Barcelona, it was cold (close to freezing at the end of April) and rainy.  There was such a long line to see Gaudi's famous church Sagrada Familia, his "catechism in stone" begun in 1882 and still under construction, that we decided not to stand in line in the cold and rain, though we went to Mass in a small pre-Gaudi section of the church which required no line and gave no access to the rest of the building.

And here is the Gothic cathedral in Barcelona, outside and in:

The church of Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona was funded by the dockworkers guild and there are images of them on the doors:

and on to the beautiful town and cathedral of Leon:
and on to Sarria, where we began our pilgrimage in a moment of respite from the rain:

on our way, on Ponte Aspera, outside Sarria:

Igrexa de Santiago in tiny Barbadelo, where the priest performed a mass just for us.  Most peregrinos did not attend the Masses meant specially for them along the way, though probably all attended the Pilgrims Mass in Santiago de Compostela.  But in this 12th century church, we were the only ones there apart from an elderly priest, who called us up to the altar at the end and had me read a special blessing in English.  The altarpiece was different from anything else we saw, in a primitive, folk art kind of way.

Somewhere between Barbadelo and Morgade:

A memorable moment.  As we walked past him, this man called us over to the side of the road where he was stripping the bark off a stick to make a walking pole. He gave me the pole but would take no money for it.  He asked us to pray for him at the Cathedral in Santiago.  Katryn thought he picked me out from the hundreds of pilgrims who must have passed him because I "looked sincere."  Or perhaps just old and unsteady on my feet!  In any case, along with some other commissions from friends back home, it gave the sense that we were representing others in our pilgrimage and our blessings and graces were to be shared.  The stick saved me from several bad falls on slippery rocks and mud over the next few hours and days.

Other pilgrims along the way:

These fancy corn cribs are a big thing in Galicia:
Just 100 km to go!

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