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Friday, 21 June 2013

A stone at the cross

Last night I was lucky to experience the evening vespers being sung by Bavarian Benedectine Monks. It was very moving and spiritual.
There have been some very hard physical days on our Camino like crossing over the Pyrenees but nothing really prepared us for what was in front of us today. In terms of physical, mental and emotional exertion this was the hardest day yet. This morning we left Rabanal in the pass of Irago to climb to the highest point of the whole Camino, Punto Alto, at more than 5000 ft. In very cold and windy conditions we steadily climbed towards the semi - abandoned village of Foncebadon where we stopped for a coffee break. There would be nothing from here to our final destination, about 4 hours later. Leaving Foncebadon we followed the steep, rocky mountain path through mountain gorse and heather to Cruz de Ferro, the doorway through the mountains with its memorable cross. The scenery was breathtaking and the colours had changed from the vivid reds and blues of the plains to the more muted purple, cream and amber of the mountains. It was truly spectacular and very demanding. Because of the rocky terrain you had to concentrate on your footing whilst at the same time wanting to breath in the sights and sounds. Eventually we made it to Cruz de Ferro, at 4934ft where an iron cross stands majestically above a large wooden weathered pole that has become one of the iconic symbols of the Way of St. James. At this point pilgrims for centuries have left stones or other symbols of love that have now become a great pile. It is a very emotionally charged place. Our special stone wrapped in red rosary beads, carried from Carrick, in memory of our beautiful granddaughter Rachel, was placed at the top. It felt like our Camino was now complete. The rest of the journey to Acebo was just a real effort but we eventually made it. C and M

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