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Cruz de Ferro - plans for landscaping and redevelopment

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Local news sites have reported on plans to landscape the area around the Cruz de Ferro and add new toilet facilities and parking area. A project by the local authorities to be funded by a donation from an anonymous American pilgrim. Thanks to @SYates for pointing out the story.

 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
Here are some images that were published on Facebook:
  • an overview of the plan for "converting the Cruz de Ferro into a space of universal spirituality";
  • a closeup of the mound with a low wall around it, a pedestrian access bridge and a water area;
  • design of the current chapel and design for the addition at the back of the chapel.
Plan1.jpg Plan2.jpg Plan 3.jpg

Current aerial view:
Aerial view.jpg
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
If only we could find some way of preventing people from dropping their rubbish on the ground.
Hopefully the work will be protected with anti-graffiti paint?
Concentrate on the positive aspects, @Jeff Crawley ☺. I can imagine all sorts of horrible things happening under this new scenario. Apparently, in a second phase, there will be toilets, a space for a guard person or maintenance person, and better parking spaces on the other side of the road and the road itself will be redesigned so that it is a few meters away from the mound but that's not for this year. I wonder whether the American donation doesn't cover that?

Additional source: https://www.diariodeleon.es/articul...tualidad-universal/202002212043051989050.html
 
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Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
If only we could find some way of preventing people from dropping their rubbish on the ground.
Hopefully the work will be protected with anti-graffiti paint?
The article includes a proposal for "a small cabin for the guard that will ensure the integrity of the space". Presumably to reduce those sort of problems. But I find it quite sad that such a thing is considered to be necessary or advisable. That speaks volumes.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
The article includes a proposal for "a small cabin for the guard that will ensure the integrity of the space". Presumably to reduce those sort of problems. But I find it quite sad that such a thing is considered to be necessary or advisable. That speaks volumes.
Agreed.
 

Kiernan

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés febr/march (2012)
Camino Francés febr/march (2019)
Camino Francés febr/march (2020)
I don't know what kind of spirituality space can you make, with a parking and walks among the trees...."Tourist Spot" I would call it :confused:
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
Concentrate on the positive aspects, @Jeff Crawley ☺. I can imagine all sorts of horrible things happening under this new scenario. Apparently, in a second phase, there will be toilets, a space for a guard person or maintenance person, and better parking spaces on the other side of the road and the road itself will be redesigned so that it is a few meters away from the mound but that's not for this year. I wonder whether the American donation doesn't cover that?

Additional source: https://www.diariodeleon.es/articul...tualidad-universal/202002212043051989050.html
Oh I wasn't trying to be negative Katharina, it just seems that every time you do something good like this idiots with a spray can or Sharpie have to deface it.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
All I can think is next will come the tour buses and trinket shops like Lourdes.
Such future plans are frightening; hopefully all such
"improvements" will be hidden under snow. Thus this at least provides another reason to enjoy walking alone on empty trails during winter.
 
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pelerine

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte 10, Primitivo 13, Plata 14+15, Salvador 16, Torres 17, Portugues 18, Mozarabe 19
If only we could find some way of preventing people from dropping their rubbish on the ground.
This applies of course to any camino or any touristy spot! There should not be any need for volunteers to clean up like Rebekkah’s whatsit pigs (can’t remember what they call themselves). From now on I will carry a rubbish bag attached to my pack to pick up at least some of the rubbish I come across. But this is a different subject from the Cruz de Ferro (Fierro, Hierro).
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Like this?
Trecile, your reply and photo can be taken two ways and is like an oxy moron...both humorous😅 and serious😐 all at the same time. I didn't know which reaction I wanted to post, so chose to do them both.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
All I can think is next will come the tour buses and trinket shops like Lourdes.
For me this spot is the most meaningful place to me anywhere on any camino. When I first walked the Camino in 2012 I had so much to unburden myself that when I placed my rock down I was on my knees weeping for I do not know how long. I was completely overwhelmed by what was happening to me and completely unaware of what was around me. I was told a few days later that a tour bus did pull up and people were taking photos of me. (the photo of me here was taken that day but by a most beautiful pilgrim who I loved dearly. She told me she took the photo as a gift and if she would gladly delete it if I did not want it or felt she was intruding on me. We spoke that night just about why she took the photo and what moved her to do it). I was also told that another dear pilgrim from Mexico became so angry he started to take the cameras out of their hands and quietly yelled at the tourists that this is not a spectacle but a deeply personal moment. So even then it was a tourist attraction.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
With respect to tour buses and tourists, before I walked my first camino, a friend from work, an aging and frail priest, shared with his co-workers some of his travel experiences on the Frances by bus. I may be mistaken, but it is my impression that a majority of pilgrims travel to Santiago by public transport. As they are in groups, their photo taking in public places may sometimes be distracting; they may not, as individuals, take more photos than the average walking pilgrim who posts such photos on this forum.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
September 2012
Was that before or after the weekend of 15+16 September 2012? Apparently, the local amigos association had organised a cleaning action / jornada de limpieza y dignificación on that weekend. And we were there at the end of August during another year and I found the pole and the immediate vicinity remarkably clean but again, I knew that they had a major cleaning operation a month earlier because of the annual local pilgrimage to the chapel.

We always see just a snapshot. We had a long and very pleasant midday rest there, there are picnic tables on both sides of the road, we saw no buses, no unruly behaviour, nobody appeared to be particularly moved by it all, just a few people arriving either on foot or by car who stopped, walked around a bit, looked at stones, left again.
 
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Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
We always see just a snapshot. We had a long and very pleasant midday rest there, we saw no buses, no unruly behaviour, nobody appeared to be particularly moved by it all, just a few people arriving either on foot or by car who stopped, walked around a bit, looked at stones, left again.
I have just been reading Nancy Frey's 1998 Pilgrim Stories. In it she talks about votive offerings left at the Cruz in the mid-1990s and has a couple of photographs showing these. I have no recollection of seeing anything other than stones in 1990 but I may have been lucky enough to have passed by after a clean-up. She also notes the laughter of a Dutch foot pilgrim who saw groups drive up in cars, lift rocks from the ground and add them to the heap, then drive away again. Seems that not all that much has changed in 25 years after all...
 

Botaivica

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May - July 2016
SJPP - Santiago - Finisterra
May 2017
Caminho do Tejo
June 2017
Fatima - Santiago
CdF is a very specific site, this is place where the pilgrims feel own spirit. It should be a place of peace and quiet that everyone can experience that moment.

With a bunch of tourists, they certainly won't be able to.
 

CaminoTrails

Camino Trails
Camino(s) past & future
(2017) (2018) (2020) all on the Camino Frances.
I was there at the CDF in 2017 and it was magnificent. We got there early in the morning, but just within about 30 minutes, buses of tourists showed up and then the overcrowding began. There are tour buses that pass through here. I am doing the Camino again this summer, but won't be visiting CDF again because we are going on a different route. A rock can be left behind anywhere on the Camino that a person feels a connection to, it doesn't have to be at the CDF. Attached is a photograph.
 

Attachments

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
Was that before or after the weekend of 15+16 September 2012? Apparently, the local amigos association had organised a cleaning action / jornada de limpieza y dignificación on that weekend. And we were there at the end of August during another year and I found the pole and the immediate vicinity remarkably clean but again, I knew that they had a major cleaning operation a month earlier because of the annual local pilgrimage to the chapel.

We always see just a snapshot. We had a long and very pleasant midday rest there, there are picnic tables on both sides of the road, we saw no buses, no unruly behaviour, nobody appeared to be particularly moved by it all, just a few people arriving either on foot or by car who stopped, walked around a bit, looked at stones, left again.
In the Middle Ages they used to burn people like you at the stake . . . 🧙‍♀️ 😉

It was Sunday, 16th September. Do you really want to show off and tell everybody the time the photo was taken 🕰 :)

In 2002 when I was working at Rabanal we had a young Polish pilgrim called Adam come through. He'd walked from Gdansk and wanted to make the Cross that evening to unburden himself of a 6kg rock he'd carried since France.
We kept a bed free near the door in the bunkhouse in case he changed his mind but he wasn't there the next day so one of the Hospitaleros who wasn't on breakfast duty took him a flask of coffee and some food.
Adam had slept at the cross and was busily picking up litter as the first pilgrims arrived!
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
I have just been reading Nancy Frey's 1998 Pilgrim Stories. In it she talks about votive offerings left at the Cruz in the mid-1990s and has a couple of photographs showing these. I have no recollection of seeing anything other than stones in 1990 but I may have been lucky enough to have passed by after a clean-up. She also notes the laughter of a Dutch foot pilgrim who saw groups drive up in cars, lift rocks from the ground and add them to the heap, then drive away again. Seems that not all that much has changed in 25 years after all...
Plus ca change and all that.
A friend had a near miss in 2016. She was standing contemplating where to place her stone when a taxi screeched to a halt (her words), the passenger lobbed a stone through the window in her direction and the taxi screamed off again.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
With respect to tour buses and tourists, before I walked my first camino, a friend from work, an aging and frail priest, shared with his co-workers some of his travel experiences on the Frances by bus. I may be mistaken, but it is my impression that a majority of pilgrims travel to Santiago by public transport. As they are in groups, their photo taking in public places may sometimes be distracting; they may not, as individuals, take more photos than the average walking pilgrim who posts such photos on this forum.
This is not meant as a criticism only a question. Are tourists or others who travel to only Santiago considered pilgrims? Or are they tourists who want to visit an historic site or religious people who want to come to because of their deep faith. I am seriously just asking for clarity. Would the church, as an example refer to them as Pilgrims?
A second question. I was always under the impression the Puerto Santo was only open during a Holy Year (I have since discovered that is not true). I was also under the impression that only "pilgrims" who have received a Compostela can walk through that door. Is what I have said correct?
Thanks.
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Since 2012: CF, CdN, CP, Salvador, Aragones, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakobsweg NRW, Jakibspaad.
This is not meant as a criticism only a question. Are tourists or others who travel to only Santiago considered pilgrims? Or are they tourists who want to visit an historic site or religious people who want to come to because of their deep faith. I am seriously just asking for clarity. Would the church, as an example refer to them as Pilgrims?
Fair questions: what are people considered to be (pilgrims, tourists), by whom, and does it matter ? I do not really have the answers.

When questions like this come up, I always think of my grandmother. In the 50's she went to Lourdes, in a bus, together with other people from the catholic church in her village.

I do not know if she considered herself to be a pilgrim or a tourist (as I don't know whether these words had any meaning for her) and I do not know whether the church referred to her as a pilgrim (and I do not think she would have really cared).

I do know that her faith was a reason for wanting to visit Lourdes, that her trip to Lourdes was really important for her, and that the little statue of Virgin Mary she bought there had a special meaning for her. And it still has a special place in my house.

I always have to think about my grandmother when I see people complaining about the 'busloads of tourists' arriving at the Cruz del Ferro, as if there is a reason why this place should be reserved for 'walkers only'.
Some may have considered my grandmother as a tourist arriving in a bus, buying a tacky souvenir. But there is always more to the picture than meets the eye.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Fair questions: what are people considered to be (pilgrims, tourists), by whom, and does it matter ?
Yes indeed, what does it matter?

As far as I'm concerned, if someone considers themselves to be a pilgrim, then they are a pilgrim.
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
Plus ca change and all that.
First of all: You had me in stitches with your earlier comment. 🤣

Secondly, some things have changed a bit, though. I came across a description by a group of Spanish pilgrims who walked in 1986. It's the oldest photo of the Cruz de Ferro that I have seen to date. They write: The tradition is that each pilgrim must throw a stone backwards [debe lanzar de espaldas] at the foot of this cross, which he or she brings from his or her place of origin as a form of penance. It symbolizes that by passing through here one is freed from all the miseries of life: envy, selfishness, etc. Of course, neither we nor anyone else carries a stone from their place of origin, we took it there and then, and when we realized that there was not even one stone left, we had to go back. All the stones that were within half a kilometre were at the foot of the cross, forming a mound of several metres. ☺

BTW, difficult to say but it looks like there was a path and not a road in front of it.

Cruz Hierro 1986.jpg
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
First of all: You had me in stitches with your earlier comment. 🤣

Secondly, some things have changed a bit, though. I came across a description by a group of Spanish pilgrims who walked in 1986. It's the oldest photo of the Cruz de Ferro that I have seen to date. They write: The tradition is that each pilgrim must throw a stone backwards [debe lanzar de espaldas] at the foot of this cross, which he or she brings from his or her place of origin as a form of penance. It symbolizes that by passing through here one is freed from all the miseries of life: envy, selfishness, etc. Of course, neither we nor anyone else carries a stone from their place of origin, we took it there and then, and when we realized that there was not even one stone left, we had to go back. All the stones that were within half a kilometre were at the foot of the cross, forming a mound of several metres. ☺

BTW, difficult to say but it looks like there was a path and not a road in front of it.

View attachment 70157
You always dig deep, Kathar1na. I appreciate the time you invest in researching many historical subjects and questions forum members often have relating to the Camino...thank you.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
Fair questions: what are people considered to be (pilgrims, tourists), by whom, and does it matter ? I do not really have the answers.

When questions like this come up, I always think of my grandmother. In the 50's she went to Lourdes, in a bus, together with other people from the catholic church in her village.

I do not know if she considered herself to be a pilgrim or a tourist (as I don't know whether these words had any meaning for her) and I do not know whether the church referred to her as a pilgrim (and I do not think she would have really cared).

I do know that her faith was a reason for wanting to visit Lourdes, that her trip to Lourdes was really important for her, and that the little statue of Virgin Mary she bought there had a special meaning for her. And it still has a special place in my house.

I always have to think about my grandmother when I see people complaining about the 'busloads of tourists' arriving at the Cruz del Ferro, as if there is a reason why this place should be reserved for 'walkers only'.
Some may have considered my grandmother as a tourist arriving in a bus, buying a tacky souvenir. But there is always more to the picture than meets the eye.
Thanks for your reply. Very interesting to me your story about your Grandmother. About 22 years ago my wife and kids went to Lourdes. My wife was raised Catholic and I was raised Jewish. The interesting thing is that I found the procession in the evening much more profound than my Catholic wife. I was definitely moved alot more than she was. I hated the town as it is one big tacky souvenir shop. But the experience has always stayed with me. I also agree about who goes to the Cruz de Ferro, I can tell you I have been there twice. The first time there were rude tourists and the second time rude pilgrims. I was just wondering if the church or the people from the Pilgrim Office and any other related offices consider those just visiting the city as Pilgrims also. Nothing more or less and I would love an answer from anyone who may see this about who may enter the through the Puerto Santo during a holy year. This is without any judgement my questions are just a matter of curiosity. Nothing more. Now I really wish I knew, and WHO KNOWS WHY I EVEN CARE. I sure don't! :) Maybe I will ask it in a thread question but I am afraid it will be picked apart no matter how much I say there is no judgement just curiosity. Do you think I should risk it????
 

CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021" ... (GOD WILLING!)
Well the tour-buses are there already. But how about a stall selling stones from all around the world. “Lighten Your Load”, we import your burden for you 😜
My house should be
A House of Prayer
But you have made it
A Den of Thieves
 

CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021" ... (GOD WILLING!)
Yes indeed, what does it matter?

As far as I'm concerned, if someone considers themselves to be a pilgrim, then they are a pilgrim.
You can be whatever you want to be
Unless you want to be a Unicorn
Then you should be a Unicorn
🦄
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I was told by a local in El Acebo that every now and then the rubbish trucks move in with a front end loader and clean it up. I don't know if that is true or it is only cleaned by hand. I do know that on each of the five or six times I've been there it has looked different - sometimes almost bare, sometimes like a rubbish tip.

If you plan to leave anything there, be aware that your precious item might finish up in landfill somewhere.
 

CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021" ... (GOD WILLING!)
CdF is something I anticipate very much come my 1st Camino
I feel the need to lay my burdens there...
Perhaps it's nothing more but being sentimental and symbolic but I feel that it will be an emotional moment for me
It would be nice if there were no 'distractions' but then, I very well could be just like @lt56ny and completely tune out from 'present time'
 

Kathar1na

Member
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To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
Nothing more or less and I would love an answer from anyone who may see this about who may enter the through the Puerto Santo during a holy year. This is without any judgement my questions are just a matter of curiosity. Nothing more. Now I really wish I knew, and WHO KNOWS WHY I EVEN CARE.
Ah, the thirst for knowledge ☺. Anyone can go through the opened Holy Door during a Jacobean Holy Year such as 2021 (or during the recent Year of Mercy in 2016), also called Door of Pardon, there are no pre-conditions. Also, the faithful who wish to obtain the special graces ("plenary indulgence") don't even have to go through the opened Holy Door to obtain them. This door is not a magic door and there is no magic thinking involved, it has a symbolic function, it is something traditional and rare that makes a special occasion even more special for the faithful.
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
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BTW, difficult to say but it looks like there was a path and not a road in front of it.
hmmm, from topography in the background, I'd say the road is on the other side. The path seems to be the same one that currently runs by the roadside, up to the hermitage, and around the cruz to the Camino. (???)

Lovely photo BTW !! ... and I cannot locate any older photos than that either

But, with a wider angle :



... you can see there's no chapel in the background of this one, so it's taken from the chapel side, and the road would be hidden behind the bushes and the mound.

But it's rather hard to tell in your photo, as it may still have been a dirt road when it was taken ; or it's the dirt track beside the road.
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
I appreciate the time you invest
Thank you. I obviously have too much time on my hands and I've developed two small obsessions around this topic: finding the first report of a non-local pilgrim or other traveller from far away who actually brought a stone from home and finding something historically reliable about the use of the term 'Mercury mounts'. Both quests largely in vain so far, nothing I found goes further back than 1800-and-something at best. ☺
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
I'm sure the new plans will be lovely when completed, but I think my preference will always be to have it left "as is".
I guess you mean "as it is now" or as you remember it when you were there. It reminded me of another report by two Spanish brothers who walked in 1976, ie ten years earlier than when the photo above was taken. They write: We were perfectly aware of the existence of a passage through some semi-abandoned villages of the [area that is called] Maragatería, such as El Ganso, Rabanal, Foncebadón and the famous Cruz del Ferro, but the answer that we received to our questions made us give up the idea of walking there because the dirt track ends in Manjarín and does not reappear until El Acebo. We were not going to find anything to buy food and it was most likely that we would get lost on that old path of the [Galician] reapers that had not been trodden on for more than two decades.

The two brothers decided to take a bus from Astorga to Ponferrada along the national road over the Manzanal pass instead of trying to find their way over the Cruz de Ferro pass. So as recent as 1976, there was apparently not even an easily walkable path to the Cruz and now we are concerned about too much road and too much access ... 🙃.

Personally, I don't think that better parking options and contemporary landscaping are the biggest change here. It's the consolidation of the move to 'universal spirituality'.
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
It's the consolidation of the move to 'universal spirituality'.
Simply stating explicitly what has been the case in practice for a long time. The understanding of the pilgrimage as essentially a Christian practice (and more specifically Catholic) giving way to a much less clearly defined concept of spirituality. I think it is no coincidence that the best selling English language Camino guide for a number of years now is written by someone whose own spiritual background is not in conventional Christianity but comes from a milieu of esoteric mysticism. Some time back @Kathar1na posted statistics from Roncesvalles collected in 1987. Of those recorded there that year all but 5 declared themselves to be Christians with the vast majority being Roman Catholic. With only one individual declaring themselves to be non-religious. Extraordinary when compared to the situation today.
1582448673969.png
 
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wayfarer

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Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
I was told by a local in El Acebo that every now and then the rubbish trucks move in with a front end loader and clean it up. I don't know if that is true or it is only cleaned by hand. I do know that on each of the five or six times I've been there it has looked different - sometimes almost bare, sometimes like a rubbish tip.

If you plan to leave anything there, be aware that your precious item might finish up in landfill somewhere.
This is true, we were told the same in 2012 and shown photos of the clean up in the restaurant of the private albergue, Convento de Foncebadon where we stayed. We also encountered tour buses then even early in the morning. This is an extract from my dairy for that day.
"We started the walk to Cruz de Ferro. It was a beautiful, clear chilly morning, perfect for walking.
Both of us are feeling really excited about finally reaching the cross and leaving our stones which we had carried from home.
Just as we got to about fifty meters from the cross, a French tour bus pulled in and disgorged about fifty or so tourists who immediately walked up to the cross. They formed a big circle around the cross and started to sing then pray, then some more singing, then some speeches, then more singing and praying. This went on for about twenty or thirty minutes and many pilgrims who arrived about the same time as us left in frustration without getting near the cross.
I got a bit impatient and climbed up as far as I could go and pitched my stone, which was a flat beach stone on which I had written all the names of the people I wanted to remember in my prayers. Well the stone shattered when it made contact with all the other stones in the mound! My granddaughter had given it to me before I left home and I was so mad and disappointed when this happened, I took it as a bad omen. Iggy was a lot more patient than me and waited and let them do their thing. Eventually they left to the relief of everyone, we all got to walk up to the cross and have photos taken of each other. It was a memorable occasion but not in the way I had envisioned.
We slung our packs and headed off towards Ponferrada which was our intended destination. The rest of the day was the most beautiful day we spent on the Camino, walking through mountain trails, glades and passes with birdsong and the smell of wildflowers."
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Since 2012: CF, CdN, CP, Salvador, Aragones, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakobsweg NRW, Jakibspaad.
I was just wondering if the church or the people from the Pilgrim Office and any other related offices consider those just visiting the city as Pilgrims also. This is without any judgement my questions are just a matter of curiosity. Nothing more. Now I really wish I knew, and WHO KNOWS WHY I EVEN CARE. I sure don't! :) Maybe I will ask it in a thread question but I am afraid it will be picked apart no matter how much I say there is no judgement just curiosity. Do you think I should risk it????
Just to clarify. I did not read your post as a critic or judgment, as you clearly did not formulate your post as such. My post was more triggered by some other posts in this thread (and in the past elsewhere on the forum) and I did not intend to imply that you were being judgmental or anything. I am sorry if my post came across differently.

I do share your curiosity as to whether the church may consider people visiting Santiago (or the Cruz de Ferro, for that matter) as pilgrims, although they do not qualify for a Compostela.
 

Bradypus

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I do share your curiosity as to whether the church may consider people visiting Santiago (or the Cruz de Ferro, for that matter) as pilgrims, although they do not qualify for a Compostela.
I do not think that you are likely to find a simple definitive answer to that one. No one at the cathedral is likely to say officially that anyone who visits the shrine of the Apostle is not a pilgrim. Before the 1993 Holy Year there was no minimum distance for receiving a Compostela. You spoke with one of the cathedral staff - usually the canon with special responsibility for welcoming pilgrims. If he thought you were a pilgrim you received a Compostela. No mucking about with checking for two sellos per day or making sure that you had walked the last 100km on an approved route. With the ever more restrictive Compostela rules the cathedral now makes a de facto distinction between walkers/cyclists/equestrians and everyone else but they are not going to state publicly that if you have not walked then you are not a pilgrim. In the great majority of pilgrimage sites around the world your mode of transport is irrelevant. It is a peculiar Santiago fixation.
 
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Kathar1na

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I do share your curiosity as to whether the church may consider people visiting Santiago (or the Cruz de Ferro, for that matter) as pilgrims, although they do not qualify for a Compostela.
I don't know whether they regard the Cruz de Ferro site as a pilgrimage site - other than that there's a chapel from 1982 and a minor annual local pilgrimage in July - but the kind of trips you described when you wrote about your grandma's trip to Lourdes are regarded as pilgrimages.

Step into one of the larger churches in a diocese and look at the posters there: you will often find an announcement for an upcoming pilgrimage by bus or plane to a major European pilgrimage site such as Lourdes, Fatima or Rome, or a major national pilgrimage site such as Lisière in France, Altötting in Germany or Loreto in Italy. I think outside of Spain, Compostela isn't high on their lists and has only become better known in the wake of the increasing popularity of walking a Camino in recent years.
 

Camino Chrissy

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I guess you mean "as it is now" or as you remember it when you were there.
I meant as in when I've been there in 2015, and 2017. Quite a few painted stones among the natural stones and laminated photos, poems and trinkets usually in memory of the deceased. I found it sobering to look at in spite of the "mess" it creates. There was a thread over a year ago about this...those in favor of leaving the items and those who see it as tacky littering of the environment.
I had very good experiences at the CdF...quiet and nearly to myself. The few who were there waited their turn to go up and pray, very respectful.
 

Marc S.

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I don't know whether they regard the Cruz de Ferro site as a pilgrimage site - other than that there's a chapel from 1982 and a minor annual local pilgrimage in July - but the kind of trips you described when you wrote about your grandma's trip to Lourdes are regarded as pilgrimages.
I know, in fact the local church from my grandmom's village still organises pilgrimages to Lourdes, and also local pilgrimages. It just strikes me that (as far as I know) no certificates are given to the participants - they just know why they are doing this, and do not need a written proof of participation - I just wonder why this has become so important in the context of pilgrimages to Santiago. But I am going off-topic a bit.
 
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John H.

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Whatever.

Say good bye to its simple charm. New washrooms probably mean the tour buses will stay longer and the pilgrims will leave sooner.
 
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Kathar1na

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I was going to say that bus pilgrims and long distance Camino pilgrims inhibit two different worlds and rarely meet but then I had a look at actual programs and the Camino de Santiago may be an exception. I don't know how representative this is but I had a look at two offers, one from France and one from Germany, both offered/organised by the diocese or parish. With reference to the Cruz de Ferro, they both offer the possibility to walk a few km from Foncebadon to the Cruz and then there will be an open-air Mass resp. an open-air Bussgottesdienst where I'm not sure what that is (penitential service?) in the area of the Cruz de Ferro; both groups accompanied by Catholic priests. Scheduled for May resp. July 2020.
 

Kathar1na

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Not everyone who gets on or off a bus at the Cruz de Ferro is a “tourist” ... members of this parish group from France walked a bit, if at all, from Foncebadon to Manjarin with a stop at the Cruz de Ferro to deposit their stones and to participate in an open-air mass, and their bus was parked there ... Other photos, btw, show how the ad-hoc stone altar for this open-air Mass in October 2017 is built by members of the parish group. Those big rocks do have a purpose ...

Croix de fer.jpg
 
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Rebekah Scott

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The plan to put a foot-bath, retaining wall and steel ramp up around the Cruz, and to add onto the rear of the chapel, all require permission from Patrimonio authorities as well as the Diocese of Astorga. A pedestrian crossing requires permission from the highway department. There is also no mention of who will maintain the facilities after the initial work is done... Fraternidad Internacional del Camino de Santiago (FICS) is working now to ensure all the required permissions are granted before the cement trucks roll up.
 

JabbaPapa

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Personally, I don't think that better parking options and contemporary landscaping are the biggest change here. It's the consolidation of the move to 'universal spirituality'.
Simply stating explicitly what has been the case in practice for a long time. The understanding of the pilgrimage as essentially a Christian practice (and more specifically Catholic) giving way to a much less clearly defined concept of spirituality.
I agree with Kathar1na, and well, frankly Bradypus you're just wrong, even statistically -- the VAST majority of pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela are Catholic Christians, simply because the foot pilgrims are only a very small minority of those going on religious pilgrimages to the Cathedral. There are typically hundreds of thousands of pilgrims in Santiago on the 25th July alone ... (often over a million people -- https://www.cooperativa.cl/noticias...ago-para-estas-fiestas/2009-09-11/092014.html ; and this is a religious festival, so yep, pilgrims) AAAAARGH !!! <<<<---- Bad Link thanks Kathar1na !!!

And just look around you during Mass at the Cathedral, and you'll see that the foot pilgrims are dwarfed in numbers by the non-Camino pilgrims in the congregation.

And really, I think even your premise is wrong -- the Camino is part of a very clearly defined Catholic pilgrimage route, one of the three original major ones (though one would really need to add Fatima and Lourdes nowadays ; and before the Arab conquests/invasions, Byzantium would likely have been another), and the fact that the Camino has always been open to not only non-Catholics (as all the other major ones are BTW with the possible exception of Rome), but even to non-Christians, including in mediaeval times, does not "remove" one iota of its Catholic character, no matter how many foot pilgrims these days might claim to be "spiritual but not religious" and "I'm a spiritual person".

I will refrain from properly commenting on that from a religious perspective for the obvious reasons ; but I will say that the fact they are choosing to transform a quite clearly Catholic & historic church into a so-called "space for mysticism and universal spirituality" (really ??!) is an act of vandalism not just religiously but also historically and architecturally, and dare I say spiritually. As is BTW & IMO the proposed transformation of the mound of the Cruz de Ferro itself, which really should only ever have just been left alone apart from picking up the trash that too many people choose to dump onto it, supposing that it's all about "me" ... (reminds me of the silly padlocks that people started adding to a certain bridge in Paris, so many in fact that their combined weight was starting to put the actual structure of the bridge at risk ; architectural vandalism in the name of "me")
 
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JabbaPapa

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Thank you. I obviously have too much time on my hands and I've developed two small obsessions around this topic: finding the first report of a non-local pilgrim or other traveller from far away who actually brought a stone from home and finding something historically reliable about the use of the term 'Mercury mounts'. Both quests largely in vain so far, nothing I found goes further back than 1800-and-something at best. ☺
What I've read suggested that the creation of these montjoies dates back to Roman times, and as markers on certain Roman routes (not necessarily the major roads), sometimes more especially to mark a trail over a mountain pass, and that the mound at Cruz de Ferro is unusual in its having survived so well, as well as for its exceptionally large size.

There were piles of stones like this all over Europe, but most of them have supposedly either just disintegrated by themselves from gravity, or shifted into non-existence from landslides or rain erosion etc, or they were simply demolished when the modern road system began to replace the old semi-Roman semi-mediaeval one, from the 16th Century onwards.

But I have no idea at all about how old this tradition is of carrying a stone there from home to add to the pile ... but I seem to remember that the older practice traditionally for these sorts of montjoies was to carry a stone from the valley floor (so somewhere around Astorga in this case) (or from wherever to wherever the pile was) and then carry it up to add it --- and that this was originally a tradition of "travellers", not "pilgrims".

And I seem to recall reading in the 1980s/1990s French Camino guide book that you were supposed to carry the stone up from Astorga, not from home (though already many at the time of my first Caminos in '93 & '94 were doing so). I would suspect that this carrying from home thing is a recent innovation.
 

JabbaPapa

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... but they are not going to state publicly that if you have not walked then you are not a pilgrim
Because it's an absurd and false proposition. Anyone coming to Santiago from outside of the Diocese for religious reasons, whether for the Mass or the religious festival, is by very definition a pilgrim -- it's just that the definition is also extended to those going to Santiago along the Way of St James ; but the Camino does NOT define the pilgrimage, instead the Camino is just one part of it.

In the great majority of pilgrimage sites around the world your mode of transport is irrelevant. It is a peculiar Santiago fixation.
Your mode of transport to Santiago is irrelevant as to whether or not you're a pilgrim. The peculiarity of the Camino de Santiago is that it qualifies what kind of pilgrim you are ...

Step into one of the larger churches in a diocese and look at the posters there: you will often find an announcement for an upcoming pilgrimage by bus or plane to a major European pilgrimage site such as Lourdes, Fatima or Rome, or a major national pilgrimage site such as Lisière in France, Altötting in Germany or Loreto in Italy. I think outside of Spain, Compostela isn't high on their lists and has only become better known in the wake of the increasing popularity of walking a Camino in recent years.
Far higher on the lists than Lisière, Altötting, or Loreto (variable according to where you live of course) -- and Loreto was BTW very often visited as part of one's pilgrimage to Rome. I'd guess the order would be 1) Lourdes 2) Rome 3) Holy Land 4) Compostela and Fatima (tied -- as the two are often combined ; maybe Fatima is slightly ahead, but more often than not you'll see "pilgrimage to Fatima ; and BTW we'll get to spend one day in Compostela as well")

The first major boost in the numbers of 20th Century pilgrims to Santiago was from those going by car or by bus in the 1950s and 1960s .... The increasing popularity of walking a Camino is an outgrowth of the popularity of pilgrimages to Santiago generally, not the other way 'round ; although I have noticed that many such tour bus pilgrims do choose to kind of follow the Camino route on the way there and back a lot more than they used to.

I was going to say that bus pilgrims and long distance Camino pilgrims inhibit two different worlds and rarely meet but then I had a look at actual programs and the Camino de Santiago may be an exception.
On my 2005 from Monaco to Santiago, I sadly missed by 24/36 hours the chance to meet up with the people on our local bus/train yearly diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes ; though I did meet two stragglers not formally part of that group and indeed shared a meal with them at the old combination pilgrims hostel there, before the Santiago pilgrims one was opened in the 2010s, and all of us there were just pilgrims.

But yes, Compostela is a bit peculiar in this respect ... Including both because so many of the foot pilgrims have detached themselves from the Church and from the Faith, and because the local churches along the Francès in particular have let themselves become overly detached from the Camino.
 
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Kathar1na

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There are typically hundreds of thousands of pilgrims in Santiago on the 25th July alone ... (often over a million people -- https://www.cooperativa.cl/noticias...ago-para-estas-fiestas/2009-09-11/092014.html ; and this is a religious festival, so yep, pilgrims)
Country code ".cl" in the web address? Fiestas patrias? 2009-09-11? That must be a different Santiago than the one in Galicia ;).

I think it is obvious that we are mainly talking in this thread about what I like to call "camino pilgrimage" for lack of a better word, i.e. people who travel along the best known Camino in the direction of Santiago de Compostela, and in particular how these contemporary camino pilgrims perceive and make use of the space called Cruz de Ferro.
 

Bradypus

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@JabbaPapa I do not think that we are all that far apart in our views in practice. Personally I consider that all those who visit the shrine of the Apostle with spiritual or religious intent are pilgrims. How they got there is of no particular interest or concern. And therefore I agree with you that the great crowds of non-walkers at mass in the cathedral or in the queues to visit the relics in the crypt are also pilgrims. In my posts above I did not explicitly state that my remarks related to walking pilgrimage in particular because in the context of this thread and this forum that is more or less assumed. Perhaps I should have been more clear on that point. However I do differ from your interpretation of the impact of so many pilgrims of other faiths or spiritual outlook on the understanding of walking pilgrimage on the Caminos. For Catholics like yourself I can fully accept and understand that your personal understanding of the essence of pilgrimage is not altered by the inclusion of others of different belief. But if one views the whole concept of walking pilgrimage to Santiago objectively from the outside as a religious or sociological phenomenon I find it impossible to agree that it has not changed in perception radically.
 

JabbaPapa

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Country code ".cl" in the web address? Fiestas patrias? 2009-09-11? That must be a different Santiago than the one in Galicia ;).
aaaaargh !!! o_O

Not small numbers in any case :



(I really do wish I had stuck to my original draft version in this case ... 🤡 )
 

Molly Cassidy

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Planning to start the Camino Frances from St Jean at the end of May (2020).
I know, in fact the local church from my grandmom's village still organises pilgrimages to Lourdes, and also local pilgrimages. It just strikes me that (as far as I know) no certificates are given to the participants - they just know why they are doing this, and do not need a written proof of participation - I just wonder why this has become so important in the context of pilgrimages to Santiago. But I am going off-topic a bit.
I saw this today in an English cathedral
IMG_20200224_120926.jpg
I think those taking this trip regard themselves as pilgrims.
 

Molly Cassidy

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Planning to start the Camino Frances from St Jean at the end of May (2020).
I know, in fact the local church from my grandmom's village still organises pilgrimages to Lourdes, and also local pilgrimages. It just strikes me that (as far as I know) no certificates are given to the participants - they just know why they are doing this, and do not need a written proof of participation - I just wonder why this has become so important in the context of pilgrimages to Santiago. But I am going off-topic a bit.
I saw this today in an English cathedral
View attachment 70196
I think those taking this trip regard themselves as pilgrims.
 

JabbaPapa

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But if one views the whole concept of walking pilgrimage to Santiago objectively from the outside as a religious or sociological phenomenon I find it impossible to agree that it has not changed in perception radically.
Changed in perception, certainly -- but "radically" ??

I really don't think so.

It's certainly possible to enclose oneself into an anglophone bubble of perceptions, but what I find among most Italians, French, Spanish, Catalans, etc is how constant the perceptions and practices have been over the past 37 years of my pilgrimages.

There's still the same the same basic groups of foot pilgrims ; those doing it primarily as a hike ; doing it primarily as a religious pilgrimage ; those doing both at the same time. (ditto in the sub-groups of the bikers & etc.)

As far as I can tell, the New Age "stuff" is mainly being imported into the Camino Francès (and not much anywhere else) by inhabitants of the former British Colonies who have seen "The Way" ...
 

Bradypus

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It's certainly possible to enclose oneself into an anglophone bubble of perceptions, but what I find among most Italians, French, Spanish, Catalans, etc is how constant the perceptions and practices have been over the past 37 years of my pilgrimages.
I think you make a very valid point here. But as someone who lives within that anglophone bubble it is the perceptions and practices of those who come from places without a historic Catholic majority tradition that have the most immediate interest and impact for me. They are the group I most easily identify with and the ones for which I can most easily discern such large-scale shifts in thinking and practice.
 

JabbaPapa

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I think you make a very valid point here. But as someone who lives within that anglophone bubble it is the perceptions and practices of those who come from places without a historic Catholic majority tradition that have the most immediate interest and impact for me. They are the group I most easily identify with and the ones for which I can most easily discern such large-scale shifts in thinking and practice.
Sure -- my comment was by no means at all a criticism.

We are all pilgrims, and it is our shared Camino.
 

Pelegrin

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I guess you mean "as it is now" or as you remember it when you were there. It reminded me of another report by two Spanish brothers who walked in 1976, ie ten years earlier than when the photo above was taken. They write: We were perfectly aware of the existence of a passage through some semi-abandoned villages of the [area that is called] Maragatería, such as El Ganso, Rabanal, Foncebadón and the famous Cruz del Ferro, but the answer that we received to our questions made us give up the idea of walking there because the dirt track ends in Manjarín and does not reappear until El Acebo. We were not going to find anything to buy food and it was most likely that we would get lost on that old path of the [Galician] reapers that had not been trodden on for more than two decades.
So, in 1976 was already known as Cruz de Ferro. (No Hierro) and they knew about the Galician reapers.
But they say Cruz del Ferro which is incorrect.
I wonder if they knew what Ferro means.
 

Bradypus

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So, in 1976 was already known as Cruz de Ferro. (No Hierro) and they knew about the Galician reapers.
But they say Cruz del Ferro which is incorrect.
I wonder if they knew what Ferro means.
In the UK we used to refer to hardware shops as "ironmongers". A term going out of use. In Spain the equivalent term is ferreteria. If the correct castellano term for iron is "Hierro" then why are the shops not known as hierrateria or something similar? A puzzling bit of etymology :cool:
 

JabbaPapa

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Pelegrin

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In the UK we used to refer to hardware shops as "ironmongers". A term going out of use. In Spain the equivalent term is ferreteria. If the correct castellano term for iron is "Hierro" then why are the shops not known as hierrateria or something similar? A puzzling bit of etymology :cool:
Ok I agree that a non Galician speaker (from Spain) should know what Ferro means because Ferreteria.
But Cruz del Ferro doesn't mean Iron Cross.
It could either mean that the Cross is in a place called Ferro or that the Cross has an Iron in the middle.
Correct is Cruz de Ferro.
I thought that the reason for the name Ferro came from the Romeria organized by the Centro de Galicia de Ponferrada.
Were there those Romerias in 1976 ?
I don' t know yet.
 

JabbaPapa

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I thought that the reason for the name Ferro came from the Romeria organized by the Centro de Galicia de Ponferrada.
Nope.

And I've no idea where your "del" comes from, never seen it anywhere ...

The seminal Romeria was organised by horse and foot pilgrims from England, France, and Spain in 1965.
 

Pelegrin

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[QUOTE="JabbaPapa, post: 829428, member: 195"
The seminal Romeria was organised by horse and foot pilgrims from England, France, and Spain in 1965.
[/QUOTE]
Yes, but that Romeria was not the origin of the name Ferro. Was it ?
 

JabbaPapa

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From a post by @Kathar1na talking about two Spaniards doing the Camino in 1976. See my first post about this.
It's wrong. Likely just a simple and ordinary typo.

It's Cruz either "de Ferro", "de Fierro", "de Hierro", "de Herro" ; etc ; but no "del" ...
 

Kathar1na

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So, in 1976 was already known as Cruz de Ferro. (No Hierro) and they knew about the Galician reapers.
But they say Cruz del Ferro which is incorrect. I wonder if they knew what Ferro means.
The booklet is written by Fernando Lalando who was a student in Madrid at the time but I don't know when it was published. Yes, he uses the expression Cruz del Ferro in the booklet. He mentions that his brother had seen something on the TV about the Camino de Santiago and that 1976 was a Holy Year, and that gave them the idea to walk from Roncesvalles to Santiago.

The booklet is not exactly written in simple Spanish and therefore often not easy to understand for me but I think what they are saying at the beginning is that they got hold of a publication about the Camino with a depositó legal of 1965. It had been published by the Ministerio de Información y Turismo. He says that it was actually a rare Jacobean bibliographical jewel. Apparently it was created by the Patronato del Camino de Santiago who, among other things, had sent a comprehensive form to all the town halls along the Camino de Santiago (i.e. Frances) who had to fill in all sorts of details and send it back to them. The result was spectacular, very complete and the best practical guide that we could have had at that time to make the way on foot.

I have the impression that they certainly knew more about the background in 1976 than many who walk today in 2020 ...
 
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JabbaPapa

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I have the impression that they certainly knew more about the background in 1976 than many who walk today in 2021 ...
Sure, but I'm sure they made just as many typos and silly mistakes as we do now ...
 

Kathar1na

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@Pelegrin, put

"cruz del ferro" site:.es
in exactly this form into Google. Some of the results are surprising. You may well be right, it may be because the writer doesn't know what it means? Thanks for pointing this out. It hadn't occurred to me. But you know more about how words are spoken in these areas than all of us together. 🙂
 

Pelegrin

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@Pelegrin, put

"cruz del ferro" site:.es
in exactly this form into Google. Some of the results are surprising. You may well be right, it may be because the writer doesn't know what it means? Thanks for pointing this out. It hadn't occurred to me. But you know more about how words are spoken in these areas than all of us together. 🙂
Thank you for your words.
This was only an anecdote. But I'm trying to find out why there is a Galician word in the name. I sent an email to the Centro de Galicia de Ponferrada to see if they can help me.
If I get something I let you know.
 

JabbaPapa

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Thank you for your words.
This was only an anecdote. But I'm trying to find out why there is a Galician word in the name. I sent an email to the Centro de Galicia de Ponferrada to see if they can help me.
If I get something I let you know.
There are multiple living and fertile Iberian dialects -- there are therefore far fewer hangups about standardised spelling such as those existing in the French, English, or German manner.

You really are making an iron mountain out of an iron molehill. No offence at all intended ; but meanwhile the monument is designated using four different words for "iron" from the three dialects plus Castilian -- except that the Spaniards in other regions, the Portuguese theirs, the French in France, and so on will all use their own versions of the place name.

And at least three separate dialects are spoken by those living on either side or on top of the mountain where the Cruz de Ferro is located ...

It's actually rather unusual that a place name should be a mutable & variable in this manner, and as a stark contrary example -- O Cebreiro most certainly is not and never is !!
 

Bradypus

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It's actually rather unusual that a place name should be a mutable & variable in this manner, and as a stark contrary example -- O Cebreiro most certainly is not and never is !!
Though in the 1980s before Galician language campaigners won official recognition for using Galego in place names and official signs the village was known as El Cebreiro or just Cebreiro. I have a copy of Valina's 1985 guidebook here which uses 'El Cebreiro'. As he was its parish priest for many years and a Galician himself I think he can be trusted as an authority on the matter :cool:
 

Pelegrin

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Though in the 1980s before Galician language campaigners won official recognition for using Galego in place names and official signs the village was known as El Cebreiro or just Cebreiro. I have a copy of Valina's 1985 guidebook here which uses 'El Cebreiro'. As he was its parish priest for many years and a Galician himself I think he can be trusted as an authority on the matter :cool:
Maybe Valiña wrote "El Cebreiro" but the official name was "El Cebrero".
 

Kathar1na

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I'm trying to find out why there is a Galician word in the name. I sent an email to the Centro de Galicia de Ponferrada to see if they can help me. If I get something I let you know.
Please do. I came across some sources where Cruz de Ferro and Cruz del Ferro are mentioned. Both terms were used by Spanish writers around 1900 and earlier (in a novel resp. in a play). No mention of any pebbles. I found it interesting because the context is not one of sacredness and spirituality as we learn it through the Camino media that we consume but rather the need of leaving Galicia and of working life far from home and of having to pass the Cruz de Ferro in this context - a physical gateway. It was not only the Galician men and women who had to find seasonal work in the Castilian fields but also those - a "real army of people" - who had to go to Madrid to earn a living at the court as "lackeys, porters, handymen and housemaids".

The quotes are:
¿Pasaste la Cruz del Ferro? (from: La gallega Mari Hernández, 1611)
Esta es aquella Cruz de Ferro tan conocida de todos los de nuestra terra (El Proteo de Madrid, page 154; published in 1908)
PS: Apologies if this is not what you are looking for.
 
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Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
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Those are tales related to Galician walking to Castile and so that they used Ferro.
In reality they would say Cruz de Ferro but never Cruz do Ferro (Cruz del Ferro).
Writers can write whatever they want.
The thing is why Ferro became the "official name" in a non-Galician speaking area like Foncebadon where the word is Fierro/Hierro.
That's the question.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
The redoubtable David Gitlitz and Linda Davidson write in "The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago: The Complete Cultural Handbook" (2000): Cruz de Fierro The pass of Foncebadon over Monte Irago is 1,504 m. The enormous pile of stones at the summit may result from a variety of ancient customs. The pre-Roman Celts were in the habit of marking their high mountain passes with piles of rock (for which we still use the Gaelic word cairns). Roman travelers also customarily marked high passes by leaving stones, called murias, in honor of the god Mercury, patron of travelers. The hermit Gaucelmo, who topped the pile here with a cross, essentially Christianized a pagan monument.
"Many modern pilgrims who have picked up a stone early in their journey as a symbol of the sins they hope to expunge by pilgrimage deposit them on the height of Foncebadon as an act of contrition. Or a photo-op. ... The small chapel of Santiago, ancient in appearance, was built in 1982 by the Casa de Galicia in Ponferrada."
 

NorthernLight

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Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
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What I find interesting in the 1986 photo in post #31 is the absence of trees. The photo that follows at post # 39 shows trees but they seem very small. Was this area reforested?
 

Bradypus

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Too many and too often!
What I find interesting in the 1986 photo in post #31 is the absence of trees. The photo that follows at post # 39 shows trees but they seem very small. Was this area reforested?
I did not take photographs on my 1990 Camino Frances walk but my vague recollection is that the area around the Cruz was much more open at the time. I do remember being surprised at the surrounding trees in 2016.
 

Kathar1na

Member
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To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
The thing is why Ferro became the "official name" in a non-Galician speaking area like Foncebadon where the word is Fierro/Hierro. That's the question.
And you put this question to a Centro de Galicia ;)? I'm obviously not qualified to answer the question but my guess would be that Castilla y Leon doesn't have an official language policy for place names - a thorny topic in many areas in Europe and not easily understood by outsiders - and that Cruz de Ferro is deemed to be so widely known among Spanish speakers (that was the reason for my quotes from the 1908 novel and the comedy by Tirso de Molina from 1611) that it is promoted under this name by the tourism offices of CyL and other official institutions of CyL.

You probably know that the cross on the pass is a replica and that the original is in a museum in Astorga. Here's a picture of it and the words that they chose for the sign next to it:

Museo Astorga.jpg
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
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The thing is why Ferro became the "official name" in a non-Galician speaking area like Foncebadon where the word is Fierro/Hierro.
That's the question.
It has multiple "official" names in multiple Iberian languages.


La Cruz de Hierro (castellano)

(Cruz de Ferro, denominación usada por organismos oficiales, ( https://web.archive.org/web/2015022...ndes-rutas/camino-santiago-frances/foncebadon : Desde Rabanal hasta aquí se extiende una amplia zona montañosa de bosques y prados. Foncebadón es lugar prácticamente despoblado. Fue el eremita Gaucelmo su fundador y quien entre los siglos XI y XII levantó el hospital de peregrinos.

Además, en esta localidad se encuentra la Cruz de Ferro.)

en gallego ( https://emigracion.xunta.gal/actual...alicia-ponferrada-organiza-romaria-cruz-ferro -- Ponferrada, 21 de xullo de 2014.
Como vén sendo habitual o Centro Galicia en Ponferrada organiza a Romaría da Cruz de Ferro, festa declarada de "Interese turístico Provincial" en conmemoración ao Día de Galicia, este ano farase o domingo 27 de Xullo. Desenvólvese na Paraxe da Cruz de Ferro, pertencente ao Concello de Santa Colomba de Somoza. Así mesmo enxalzaremos o Camiño de Santiago e á figura do Peregrino no seu paso pola Cruz de Ferro. ),

Cruz de Fierro en leonés ( https://web.archive.org/web/2010050...riodeleon.es/noticias/noticia.asp?pkid=524310 -- El gran novelista Enrique Gil y Carrasco, nombre clave del romanticismo español, la nombraba Cruz de Fierro; hasta los años ochenta, dos carteles situados al pie de ella (uno de ellos en francés) exhibían los rótulos de Cruz de Fierro y Croix de Fierro ; y, en fin, los paisanos de los pueblos cercanos, cuando se les pregunta, se refieren a ella como «la cruz de fierru».

Y, sin embargo, el nombre que más se ha popularizado -”quizá por influencia de los segadores gallegos que iban camino de Campos-” ha sido «cruz de Ferro», cuando la forma ferro , sin diptongo, aparece más adelante, una vez cruzado el río Cúa. Fierro, fierru es la forma leonesa típica para la palabra hierro en los montes maragatos y altobercianos.) )

es un crucero que se halla en el punto más alto del Camino de Santiago Francés, a unos 1500 msnm. Está situado entre las localidades españolas de Foncebadón y Manjarín, pertenecientes al municipio de Santa Colomba de Somoza (León).

---

It is named "Cruz de Ferro" in Gallego ; and in the official Camino documentation, because the Cathedral and the various primary offices concerned with the Camino are in Galicia.

Locals who live up there call it "la cruz de fierru".

Other Leonese call it "Cruz de Fierro".

Castilians, "Cruz de Hierro".

Catalan : ( https://cicloturisme100x100.blogspot.com/2015/05/cami-catala-per-st-joan-de-la-penya-9.html -- Paro a dinar i segueixo cap a la comarca de la Maragateria. Castrillo dels Polvazares, Pedredo, Santa Colomba de Somoza, Rabanal del Camino. Havia pensat de quedar a dormir aquí, però encara tinc forces i temps per pujar el coll de la Cruz de Ferro, segueixo.)

French : ( https://www.chemin-compostelle.fr/le-camino-frances-culmine-a-la-cruz-de-ferro/ -- Alors cette croix de fer, qu’on peut appeler « Cruz de Ferro » en galicien, « Cruz de Hierro » en castillan, ou bien encore « Cruz de Fierro » en léonais, est-elle pour vous un souvenir marquant de votre pèlerinage, ou une irrésistible invitation au voyage ? )

English : ( https://yourwaytosantiago.com/the-ritual-at-the-iron-cross/ -- The Iron Cross, or “Cruz de Fierro”, is a monument located at the highest point of the French Way, in the Camino de Santiago. It is located in Mount Irago, between the Spanish cities of Foncebadon and Manjarin, within the Leon Mountains.

On a knoll of stones deposited by the pilgrims, stands an oak trunk about 5 meters high, topped by a simple iron cross from which the monument takes its name.)

---

Look, this really is completely non-problematic. First of all, it is not even a place name, it is a particular monument, that everyone can refer to in their own language ; the tendency of English to use the "proper" foreign names for things doesn't much exist in other languages (even though the English traditionally use for example "Marseilles" and "Lyons" instead of Marseille and Lyon).

Very simply, it can be referred to in multiple different ways in multiple different languages -- get over it !!
 

Kathar1na

Member
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To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
I have just been reading Nancy Frey's 1998 Pilgrim Stories. In it she talks about votive offerings left at the Cruz in the mid-1990s and has a couple of photographs showing these. I have no recollection of seeing anything other than stones in 1990 but I may have been lucky enough to have passed by after a clean-up.
I guess what you saw were stones without paint or writing on them? If I could wish for it, I would like it to be like this: no asphalt road, no chapel, no explanatory notice boards, no mementos of any kind, and if possible no people. Not even the sun dial although it was fun to stand on it and explore it. I'm still in two minds about the picnic tables (as we made use of them), perhaps just a bench or two? And then there are the two or more huge trash containers in plain view that never appear on any photo ...

And isn't it ironic that we are now decrying tourism while so much of the promotion and financing in the beginning was driven by the wish to make use of their natural and cultural assets to stimulate tourism in areas that desperately needed a brighter economic future? Would we even be here if that had not happened from about 1965 onwards?
 
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Bradypus

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Too many and too often!

Kathar1na

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It seems that the planned redevelopment has only received partial approval with the idea of a service building and a causeway to the cross itself being rejected.
That was quick and fast and clear. Here is a more detailed account in the Diaro de León newspaper. The Commission of Heritage and Culture for Castilla y León reported favourably on the proposal concerning the layout and pavement of the LE-142 road, the creation of a rest area in the woods behind the chapel, the provision of a parking area and water, electricity and sanitary facilities, as well as the installation of information signs. However, the Commission reported unfavourably on the rest of the proposed measures: for some of these measures because of non-compliance with Cultural Heritage Law 12/2002; other proposals, specifically the proposal to fit out the area around the Cruz de Ferro with foreign [alien] decorative elements - the footbridge and the recreation area for pilgrims [water area around the Cruz for foot baths and rest] - were not approved as they are measures "not in keeping with the origin and current meaning of this area".

In numerous contemporary descriptions and reports about the Cruz de Ferro it is often overlooked that actually very little is known about its origin and that most of the narrative about former purpose and current (universally accepted) meaning is pure speculation which I think is one reason for the occasional friction and disappointment of camino pilgrims. All that is really known about it is that travellers threw a stone onto a pile of stones.

BTW, the organisers of the local pilgrimage in July from Ponferrada to the Cruz that was initiated 30 years ago have been expressing their wish for a less dusty and tarmac covered parking area and for toilet facilities for many years; it was reported in the local newspapers since at least 2011.
 
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Bradypus

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Too many and too often!
In the contemporary descriptions and reports about the Cruz de Ferro it is often overlooked that actually very little is known about it and that most of the narrative about former purpose and current [universally accepted] meaning is pure speculation. All that is known it that travellers added a stone there.
That is true about a number of "traditions" which seem to have gained currency in recent years. Like burning clothes at Fisterra or indeed the growing practice of continuing on to Fisterra at all. Or the recently invented 'shell ceremony' where prospective pilgrims are given a shell and a blessing before they leave home. Some time ago I read a post arguing that the custom is that the shell you carry should be given to you by a pilgrim who had already made the journey. News to me :cool:
 

Kathar1na

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To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
That is true about a number of "traditions" which seem to have gained currency in recent years.
I try to look benignly on all these developments, with the exception of everything that amounts to the visual and material pollution of our environment. New traditions have to start at one point and they may well be beneficial for many. But I'm also amazed about this need to believe that they are old traditions.

A thought occurred to me just now: we usually read that "the church", i.e. that authority christianised pagan sites and pagan rituals by somehow forcing this change upon unwilling and reluctant locals. What if it was the other way round? What if a group of locals or a visitor petitioned the abbot or bishop to erect a cross and thereby create a "space of universal Christianity" around their well or their old oak tree? Early medieval European history will never be the same for me. 🙃
 
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Pelegrin

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In numerous contemporary descriptions and reports about the Cruz de Ferro it is often overlooked that actually very little is known about its origin and that most of the narrative about former purpose and current (universally accepted) meaning is pure speculation which I think is one reason for the occasional friction and disappointment of camino pilgrims. All that is really known about it is that travellers threw a stone onto a pile of stones.
Back again to the name 🤔. Today I went shopping to a fish shop in Madrid where the owner is from La Maragatería (the region of Fncebadón and Astorga).
He is around 60 and he told me that when was a boy he knew it as Cruz de Fierro and didn't know anything about the Ferro denomination. Also, a customer said that he didn't know what Ferro meant.
I think that Cruz de Ferro is now the official name because most walkers passing before the Camino relaunching where Galician speakers, either from Galicia or from the Galician speaking area of El Bierzo. The first village of that area was only 25 kms far (Dehesas in the municipallity of Ponferrada).
Also the Romeria organized every year by the Centro de Galicia de Ponferrada with Cruz de Ferro in their posters has contributed.
For the Galician reapers was clearly a reference point in their conversations with locals because they left stones.
And finally Ferro sounds cooler. :D
 

Kathar1na

Member
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To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
Also the Romeria organized every year by the Centro de Galicia de Ponferrada with Cruz de Ferro in their posters has contributed.
Always great to hear straight from a local source :).

And just to reveal the level of my ignorance: I had seen some posters for this Romeria online, and on the older posters there is an emphasis on celebrating the National Day of Galicia with this fiesta at the Cruz while on the newer posters there's mainly reference to the Apostle's feast day. This had always puzzled me a bit. Because until today I didn't even realise that they are celebrated on the same day :rolleyes:!

Would you say that the description in the Wikipedia article on the history of the National Day of Galicia is largely accurate?
 
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Kathar1na

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A local voice from 1998, only twenty years ago: The site of the Cruz de Ferro has become a symbol for pilgrims and a place of enormous attraction for visitors and tourists, and although the Diocese of Astorga has always pointed out that the tradition of throwing a stone when reaching this place is more a civil act than a religious one the respect that the site has always enjoyed has increased the anger about what happened during the last weeks. (The last sentence refers to vandalism which led to the pole being replaced by a new pole with a metal core in it, if I remember correctly).

I find it fascinating to observe these gradual changes of perception. When I first read about the Galician workers on their path that led them away from home, I visualised them standing at the foot of the heap of stones, wishing for a safe return. Now we see photos of people climbing up to the top, touching or kneeling in front of the pole in a meditative pose. It evokes quite different associations.

Source: https://www.caminosantiago.org/cpperegrino/revista/pdf/Peregrino060.pdf, page 12.
 
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Pelegrin

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Would you say that the description in the Wikipedia article on the history of the National Day of Galicia is largely accurate?
In Spanish there is more information but not that relevant in my opinion.
What is wrong is defining Santiago as the capital of Galicia in 1919.
Santiago is the capital since 1978. Before that date in modern times didn't have anything to do in the government of Galicia.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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That was quick and fast and clear. Here is a more detailed account in the Diaro de León newspaper. The Commission of Heritage and Culture for Castilla y León reported favourably on the proposal concerning the layout and pavement of the LE-142 road, the creation of a rest area in the woods behind the chapel, the provision of a parking area and water, electricity and sanitary facilities, as well as the installation of information signs. However, the Commission reported unfavourably on the rest of the proposed measures: for some of these measures because of non-compliance with Cultural Heritage Law 12/2002; other proposals, specifically the proposal to fit out the area around the Cruz de Ferro with foreign [alien] decorative elements - the footbridge and the recreation area for pilgrims [water area around the Cruz for foot baths and rest] - were not approved as they are measures "not in keeping with the origin and current meaning of this area".
Excellent news, and thank you -- the re-routing of the road is hands down the best part of the proposal.
 

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