Leon-Villar de Mazarife

By Cam

¡Hola! Today was the first day of actually hiking el Camino! Currently, we are staying in el Albergue de Jesus in the small town of el Villar Mazarife. It took us about 6 hours to walk more or less 20 km. It wasn’t too bad surprisingly, but it did start getting difficult in the end.

After a heavenly lunch of paella de marisco, we journeyed to this small museum that was right down the road from the albergue. It contained numerous artworks by Monseñor, a well-known surrealist artist among peregrinos. We had the chance of meeting his surviving sister, Cristina, who now runs the museum in his honor. The paintings on display were very dark and depressing; I discovered that many of them were centered around eyes.

We went back to the albergue afterward to rest on work on our blogs, but I actually got the chance to go back to the museum again with Annie and some others to explore Cristina’s bodega (something like a basement, but in this case the bodega was a winery). The bodega was built over a hundred years ago and it was obvious that no one had entered it in many years due to the overgrown grass. It was typical for families to have a winery in their house, something that I quite frankly do not have a problem with!

As I stepped down the small staircase, the smell of must overwhelmed me. There was a tiny room that was used to squish the grapes and it even had a small hole in the ceiling in which people could throw down grapes. A tunnel in the floor allowed the juice to flow to the next step of the wine-making process. There were numerous wine bottles on a rack that were covered with dust; I can’t help but wander how the wine tastes now after all this time.

After visiting the bodega, we got to visit Monseñor’s actual house. After his death not too long ago, Cristina move all of his artwork to the museum but left unfinished pieces. It was such an experience to walk in the household of someone so famous, to see the things that he didn’t even get the chance to finish painting. Leaning against the walk was Montesaño’s cane, as if he never even left his house.

I can’t begin to explain what an honor it was that Cristina showed us the bodega and her brother’s house. It’s amazing to meet the kind of people that you meet on the Camino; you really can’t get this anywhere else.


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