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State of the Camino Address

Priscillian

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 1999, Aragones 2000, Desde Le Puy 2002, Portuguese 2009, hoping RDLP 2014
Michelle Obama is about to take her holidays across the road from where I live. This has made me think how much I would love to invite her tea. Since she has a Brazilian security men (and women!) along with her, I expect I shall remain disappointed.
However, she has inspired the title of this post.
I recently returned from a 4,879 (point 5) kilometer drive of the Caminos V delP, Portuguese, Finisterre/Muxia, Frances, Aragones and even a little bit of the Camino Sur Este which begins in Cartagena and passes through Toledo,and which I have been told by Juan Frisuelos (El Correo Camino) who knows a lot about these things, may very well be the original route.
I started out believing that the Camino had changed drastically in the 11 years since I first walked. I even said so in a Galician newspaper interview.
I have sinced changed my mind.
If you are interested in following my observations, do please join me at
http://www.pilgrimagetoheresy.blogspot.com

P.S. Ivar, I walked all along the street trying to find you only to find out too late that you were almost next door from where I had lunch! Back in October for the D. Gelmirez exhibition and lunch at CM on me.
 

Priscillian

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 1999, Aragones 2000, Desde Le Puy 2002, Portuguese 2009, hoping RDLP 2014
I am nearing the end of my Camino Odyssey as I spend time at the Monastery of Leyre in the Pyrenees. I have met some amazing people and run into more than one adventure along the way. I hope you will feel welcome to join me at
http://www.pilgrimagetoheresy.blogspot.com
Buen Camino,
Tracy
 

Priscillian

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 1999, Aragones 2000, Desde Le Puy 2002, Portuguese 2009, hoping RDLP 2014
I have just returned from my second visit to Santiago this year (lucky me). Neither time was I walking but I've given a bit of shoe leather to "St. James" over the years so feel entitled to comment.
First of all, though it rained most of the time, I saw no shortage of pilgrims. Ivar told me that one day there were "only" 600 and something Compostelas granted as opposed to the usual 1000 or so over the past few months. But be that as it may, Santiago was "lleno" (full) de peregrinos. I heard perhaps more French than any other language, but there was lots of German and American English too.
My main reason for going (flying in for the first time with Vuelling from Malaga) was to attend the Exposition de Diego Gelmirez: Compostela y Europa. I am doing a lot of research about Diego Gelmirez - the first archbishop of Compostela who in many ways was the architect of the St. James Cult and the Camino (if not the cathedral: that was his predecessor, Diego Pelaez who was charged with treason and banished - a great story by the way and one I am working on). The exhibition has been first in Paris and later Rome and is in S de C until the 15th. Highly recommended if you reach the city within this time. They will give you a very interesting booklet about this very intriguing man (we still don´t know where he was buried). Like Priscillian of Avila in Pilgrimage to Heresy, Diego Gelmirez is my main protagonist in "Compostela", the second book in the Camino Chronicles series which I am currently researching and investigating. If you would like to read the early chapters, do please join me on http://www.pilgrimagetoheresy.blogspot.com Compostela will be published in the spring of 2011 by the Spanish Editoriales Boveda, and a still yet to be arranged American or English publishing house.

Rain being what it is, I looked for things to do which would involve not getting soaked. One thing I have avoided for 10 years now is the Digital Camino Exhibit which is now located on the left hand side of the Monasterio de Pineiro (just before you get to the tunnel on the north side of the cathedral). I decided to give it a try after all.
What fun! If you have anything left of the child in you, don´t hesitate to check this out. For one thing it is free, and while it is hardly cultural it really is, as the Spanish will tell you: Muy divertido.
First of all, you will experience soaring above the Cathedral in a roller coaster. You´ll also get a chance to be a Tiraboleiro pulling on the ropes of the Botefumeiro - that is if the kids in the group don´t get to it first. You might also get picked for a buggy race through the streets of the city. You also get to go down in a submarine, though what this has to do with the Camino I really don´t know. You´ll be wearing 3D glasses for most of this. Then there is the wishing well, and the Virtual Botefumeiro if you haven't had the chance to see the real thing. Finally is a virtual tour of the roof of the cathedral itself (handy when raining, but don´t forget you can tour the "Palacio de Diegio Gelmirez" - actually not, but never mind - by going to the door directly to the left of the Cathedral steps. You´ll get to go up on the roof too).
Unlike most things connected with the Cathedral, this Xunta promted virtual camino thing is free and doesn´t seem to be mentioned in any of the guidebooks. If flash photography or vertigo bothers you, you might want to give this a miss, but otherwise it´s super!

Another thing I did was visit the Casa de Troya, a reconstructed student "pension" from the late 19th century based on the famous Spanish novel of the same name which tells the story of student life in the 1890's. I also walked my feet off to finally get to see the Collegiata de Santa Maria do Sar, a remarkable 12th century church which looks like it really ought to collapse at any minute: the pillars are facing outwards - a-la leaning tower of Pisa fashion. It is truly remarkable and overlooked it seems by almost everyone who visits the city and even a few long term residents such as our esteemed moderator...

Santiago continues to draw me back time and again: as a pilgrim, a driver, a writer, an investigator, and a quasi-tourist. I hope while you are there you will take the time to discover some of its hidden spots...nine times for me now, and I am still enchanted.
Tracy Saunders
http://www.pilgrimagetoheresy.com
http://www.pilgrimagetoheresy.blogspot.com
 

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