Pilgrimpace's Blog

October 3, 2010, 6:33 pm
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This was a transitional time in my Camino a year ago.  I had walked the long, hard solo miles from Valencia to Toledo; immensely hard and immensely enjoyable.  I met my friends Roy and Karen, on holiday, walked a little with them, enjoyed their company hugely, and spent time with them visiting the tourist and Carmelite sights and sites in Avila and Toledo.

Then began the Third Stage.  I took the train on to Zamora.  I knew there would be other pilgrims walking up the Via de la Plata from Sevilla; I knew I could take my time, walk more slowly, be less driven, reach Santiago in time to reach my family who were coming out to meet me at Half Term.

I spent two nights in Zamora to look round this romanesque gem.  Over breakfast I met a man with a laden cycle.  Was he going to Santiago?  No, but he was cycling to Africa – put my exertions into perspective! Looked round the Cathedral and the Magdalena and ate a good lunch: rice with sausage, salt cod, creme caramel, wine, water, coffee.

I attempted a siesta and then went to find a Mass.  It was the eve of St Francis Day.  The bell was tolling and people were filing into the Church attached to the Clarisses Convent.  On top sat the only storks I saw in Spain.

There was Exposition, then Rosary, then Mass.  During the sermon, the priest broke down in tears.  The Third Order gathered around a habit for the Transitus, the service marking Francis’ death and committing us to following the Way of the Gospel.  Afterwards, they were very glad to meet an Anglican member of the Franciscan family.

I walked back with the priest, who spoke to each of the people begging for money, telling me who I should give money to and how much.  I sat in the Plaza Mayor, taking in all the day, wondering about tomorrow, reflecting on it all.  As my supper arrived, I wrote:

I need to reflect about the Incarnation and what the pilgrimage teaches about it – also about everything being material for prayer, being stripped back.

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