The four of us (Bob, Rowena, Chard and me) have now completed more than half our tour of duty here in Rabanal. We are scheduled for departure one week from today and are all a bit nostalgic about it. We agree that the experience has been good for each of us and take great pleasure from the fact that the vast majority (maybe all) of the pilgrims passing through our doors have left us with smiles on their faces and warmth in their hearts.
A pilgrim’s passport is the identification that is used along the various Caminos to prove that you are a pilgrim and that you have walked and stayed in the places along the way. It is just a simple card with enough space to collect stamps from various hostels and albergues. There are only a few places that can issue a pilgrims passport that will be accepted for the Compostela. Most home Confraternities can issue them, apart from that they must be the official one issued by the Cathedral in Santiago, these can be picked up at most hostels along the way.
The video below shows the Botafumeiro in action during one of the pilgrims masses.
The Santiago de Compostela Botafumeiro is the largest censer in the world, weighing 80 kg and measuring 1.60 m in height.
It is normally on exhibition in the library of the cathedral, but during certain important religious events it is attached to the pulley mechanism and filled with 40 kg of charcoal and incense.
I wonder if there if something that for many of us we do not get from our daily life. I have met and talked to many people who have walked the Camino Frances more than once. Walking the Camino Frances is a fairly big commitment in the way of time and money.
I got thinking on this yesterday while out hill walking in the Wicklow Hills. I notice a Santiago de Compostela badge attached to one of the walkers back packs. I asked, as I have a tendency to do.
This is one of the best Camino videos I have seen, although I have not cycled the Camino de Santiago I would love to and as life has become busier it seems like this mode of travel will be used on my next Camino. The problem I have is that I am not adept at changing tires or fixing punctures – my cycling here in Ireland is easy and not hard uphill or off road – the way I would prefer for the Camino.
Dara Haskins was my friend. He died, on the 18th Aug 2005 aged just 30, while I was walking the Camino in 2005. It was due to him that I found out about the Camino. He used to go on about this bloody walk in northern Spain. To me it did not sound like fun, but hell. The idea of walking every day for weeks, no room to myself, sharing in hostels with many others – not a way I thought to spend a precious summer. Eventually he convinced me. I had many misgivings about the whole idea, but I set off to start from St Jean in southern France. My life has changed as the result of this and, I suppose therefore, because of Dara. It does sound strong to say life changing, but for a cynic like me it has been.
The first time I walked the Camino I had no idea about foot care, I had never walked for more than a few days before and that had been when I was much younger. I walked a couple of long walks in my boots before heading off on the Camino and I got some blisters on the heals of both feet, they healed and left some hard skin around the heels, but I never though that would cause me a problem – it did – and a very bad one.
The Camino Aragon camino starts in Somport and joins the main French route at Puente la Reina. I walked it in 2004 after I had walked the main French route, it was quiet and deserted, there was not many hostels but it was great; also it had a completely different feels to it compared to the Camino Frances.
Last night I got a mail from Jim at Wandering the World. He has just arrived in Santiago and is heading back to Puenta la Raina to walk this route and asked for a list of Refugeos – Albergues. I put it together, it could be out of date as it is three years since I walked this part. I thought it might be an idea to share this.
Friday 23rd of July 2004 I caught a plane to Paris from Dublin. It was summer, I was happy as I had just finished my first year of university. I was a mature student and loved the opportunity I had to study full time, something I had avoided when I was younger. I was setting out to walk along a route that I have never heard of till earlier that year. One of my flat mates, fellow students, and friend, went on and on about this trip he had done a couple of times. Once he had even walked from Amsterdam to Santiago, quite something.
Today one year ago I was in El Acebo on the Camino Frances. I had had enough of sharing in a pilgrims hostel and had decided on a room to my self, (€20).
I had only walked 17km from Rabanal, I was tired and very sore. I had been taken from an albergue a few days before in an ambulance to hospital to discover that I had two hernias, one on each side. But I had decided to finish and I was taking some pain killers to keep me going. A bit mad when I look back at it.