A statue of a pilgrim in Lèon gives one pause about the journey.
A modern rendition of a pilgrim, found just before the Cruz de Ferro, where pilgrims metaphorically and physically unload their burdens into an ever-growing mound of rocks.
A mosaic in Masarife.
A pellogrino leans into the next step just pass the mountain top town of O’Cebreiro.
A pre-backpack pilgrim in Astorga.
By Patrick Georgi
It’s day 6 of hiking, and it has been interesting to see the differences in the albergues. I thought we’d be sharing one huge room with a hundred people and sleeping on the floor but they’ve all been very nice so far. The beds are always comfortable and they’ve all had pillows, which really surprised me.
One interesting place, and still one of my favorites, was Albergue de Jesus. It was in this really small town called Mazarife. Annie said that the last time she was there, the place had a dirt floor and didn’t have a big grassy courtyard like it does now. It used to be the only albergue around but now there are two others. The only places that seemed to be doing ok in the town were the albergue and the restaurant we ate at. It is just interesting to think that amidst all the economic problems, hostels seem to be doing fine, even though it is so cheap to stay there. It’s cool too that the movie “The Way” (which I haven’t actually seen yet) has created a lot more interest in the Camino and, consequently, more business for hostels and restaurants. It’s good to see these kind of places doing well, especially since the rest of the country is struggling.
Photos: The Camino Hokies, shown here at the Albergue de Jesus, break for class every day and turn in journals written in Spanish.
Left: On the Camino with Patrick.
By Ashley Cordero:
Today we backpacked through a more agricultural side of the Camino compared to yesterday’s hilly countryside. On either side of the path there was farmland for what seemed to be miles upon miles. We walked by as farmers went about their day tending to their crops and we saw the occasional herd of animals grazing. As we continued to walk there was the occasional small town that would pop up. It made me think about the relationship between the peregrinos (aka pilgrims) and the residents of the small towns that have sprouted up along the Camino during the middle ages. To us tourists/peregrinos, Spain and the Camino are fun, new experiences and a nice vacation from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. However, for many towns along the Camino, our vacation is their livelihood. Many pilgrim routes acted as a route of trade and commerce years ago. Now, with what seems to be an exponential growth in the use of internet, cars, airplanes, and highways, these routes are less in demand and no longer necessary for trade and commerce. These little towns find themselves fading into the background. The pilgrims that travel the Camino have filled in these economic losses and have come to serve as a primary source of income for these towns. Pilgrims and residents rely on one other for support and strength. I am glad to experience such bonds and relationships with people along the way.