- Camino(s) past & future
- Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
Roncesvalles is forever connected with the Carolingian hero Roland immortalized in the La Chanson de Roland – a French classic. Roland is first mentioned in his battle with a Saracen giant named Ferracutus who is only vulnerable at his navel. Later Roland was killed in a rearguard action protecting Charlemagne from the Saracen hordes at Roncesvalles. But...but...but Roland was not exactly French, it took him three days to finish off Ferracutus and that only after the giant had revealed his Achilles' navel, and those perfidious Saracen hordes were Basques rightfully infuriated after the forces of Charlemagne reneged on promises and destroyed the walls of Pamplona. Perhaps the first incidence of Fake News?. This is something most fellow pilgrims probably already know so let’s move on to the gist. Roland was armed with a divine sword, named Durendal. Now Durendal was presented by an angel to Charlemagne and passed on to Roland and apparently was some sort of very sharp and very formidable scimitar brandished in order to frighten those Saracen hordes mentioned above. Alas, as Roland was dying, he attempted to break Durendal on the stones which shattered around him. In desperation, he threw the sword as far as he could so that it would not fall into the hands of the enemy. Where is Durendal today? Those who have walked from Le Puy a-n-d have taken the Rocamadour detour will have seen something like it protruding high on the walls there. Quite a shot, 450k +-, amazing even for an NBA star who can regularly hit from mid-court! There may be another rendition, one as romantic as the La Chanson de Roland. Durendal may be encosed alongside both the lance of Saint George - Askelon -and Excalibur of Arthurian fame awaiting some future cataclysm to be returned and used again!