Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hospital de Orbigo

This is a terrible photo of a famous bridge, Puente de Orbigo in the beautiful little town that was a major hospital for pilgrims in medieval times. It is one of the longest and oldest medieval bridges in Spain and it is a landmark on the Camino, but it is undergoing renovation right now. We just missed the fiesta de Justas where the town does a medieval reenactment and you can see the field in the photo where the jousting took place. It reenacts a famous jousting tournament in 1434 when a knight from Leon named Don Suero de Quinones, scorned by a lady, felt that his honor could be redeemed by defending the bridge against all comers. 300 broken lances later, apparently his honor was redeemed. I do not understand this any more than I understand letting bulls loose in the streets of a town to run after drunken young men. Perhaps some males could explain it to me. At any rate, this episode may have been the inspiration for Cervantes' Don Quixote who tilted at windmills for the love of Dulsinea. My SCA friends would drool at this setting for reenactments. It is a well-preserved medieval village.
To switch subjects, now, I want to try to describe to you what it is like to sit down and eat a "peregrino menu" with fellow pilgrims in a restaurant or albergue. Around the table is an assortment of humanity. Last night we had an Argentinian-Mexican, two Quebecoises, a Spaniard, a German, a Swiss man, a Turkish-German, and an American (me). You may ask how on earth we had table talk. Most spoke a little English and a little Spanish, and when there was a problem of understanding, the Swiss man, who spoke English, French, German, and Spanish, would translate as necessary. Believe me, we had a lively conversation! This is the magic of the Camino. It doesn't matter what your profession or position is in your life at home. You could be a banker, a judge, a butcher, or a student at a university. You are all pilgrims, peregrinos, and that is all that matters. That and the (usually unanswerable) question: why are you walking the Camino?
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  1. So, where are the Jews? How is it possible to think you are having a truly lively conversation without at least one Jew? Remember, if you have three rabbis, you will have at least nine opinions! More importantly, it looks like you are having fun and out of the misery of Sahagun. That place seemed the lowest ebb for you. However, I must say the laughter from your message resonated throughout BUMC. GO-GIRL-GO!

  2. When you get back, you can help me on a project to create a "Camino lingua dictionary"! Only thing is, it will have to include pictures of the special hand signals, facial expressions and body language!
    Hasta luego!

  3. Roger, a Jew on the camino, would be a bit like a Christian going to Mecca! I guess it could happen but... The rain has mostly stopped but it is still a little cool and cloudy. Perfect weather for walking. I really think we were very lucky to have rain on the plain as opposed to the hot sun.
    Sil, I will try to notice and remember camino hand signals for your dictionary.

  4. Guess you will have to "carry me" along with you next time. That will satisfy Roger's request! xo L