Templars and Iron Crosses

Psalm 86:5

Who knew that we would meet a Knight of the Templar Order today. It was a day of adventure and accomplishment.

We left the peaceful village of Rabanal del Camino a little after 7:30. It was bright sunshine but blessedly cool for the morning. We faced a 600 meter climb, almost 2,000 ft, so we were nervous about heat despite rain yesterday. We reached the village of Foncebadon by a little after 9. I had coffee and Peggy took care of business. We did eat the bananas I had carried enough. Lots of Pelegrinos drinking coffee and excited about reaching one of the major landmarks on the Camino, La Cruz de Ferro.

The Iron Cross was a further 2 Kms up the road. We reached it along with many others. Everyone took turns posing and placing their rocks on the pile. The rock pile has been growing from Celtic times and became a Christian monument as the Camino started. A hermit named Gaucelmo topped the Roman/Celtic cairn with a cross. Christians have been depositing rocks, photos, notes, etc. ever since. People bring their stones bearing their contrition. We followed suit although our stones weren’t too big. It’s a Protestant thing. We waited our turn and took a memorable photo. Left before the tour bus full of “Pilgrims” had a chance to complete their 2 Kms pilgrimage from Foncebadon before and take the bus back to the city. Not very Christian but not too sorry.

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Dropped down a bit to the remains of the village of Manjarin where we not only enjoyed a Limon but met a genuine Knight Templar, Tomas. He has been resurrecting the long abandoned village and has created a bit of an oasis on the mountain. We did not take his picture as it is better that we leave him to your imagination. Let me say that the Templar in the Indiana Jones movie and he are about the same vintage. I wonder if we have room for a Templar in Sonora?

Passed through amazing stands of white broom and purple heather. Many pictures.

After climbing 600 meters, we were about to descend 900 meters or 3,000 feet. It was pretty hard negotiating the shale and slate down a steep slope. Finally reached a respite at the village of Acebo where we and most others stopped for lunch. Nice egg and ham Bocadillo and a Limon. During the middle ages the villagers of Acebo were exempted from taxes if they would maintain trail markers in the snow. That was not our problem. It was getting hot. Dropped another 4 Kms to Riego de Ambros built on the side of the hill. Continued our descent down shale and slate slopes. Not easy. Getting warmer.

We could see our destination Molinaseca in the distance. Continued on despite the building heat and tiredness. Reached our village about 2:30 after covering better than 26 Kms over tough ground. Delightful town and a nice hotel. Showers and headed out for a beer. Watched the crew removing winter rock flows from the river under the Roman bridge. It would have been the perfect job for our backhoe owning neighbors.

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Should be an easier walk tomorrow as we are now 216 Kms from Santiago and no real mountains for a couple days. We are in the Bierzo region of Spain while we walk towards Galicia. The region is surrounded by mountains and has a unique climate good for wine. Might try to find some.

2 thoughts on “Templars and Iron Crosses

  1. Wow! What a day you have had and glad to know the next few may be a bit easier! The flowers, mountains, and villages were great to see in pictures and I imagine very wonderful in person.. Hope the rest of the hike is super also. It is good here.

  2. We’re very happy to hear that you’re over that hump. What a huge effort you’ve been making! I’m disappointed not to see your Templar, though. And yes, I’m sure he’d fit right in on Big Hill–no matter what he’s like. There’s always room for one more oddball.

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