Meseta Continued…

Before I get to Wednesday’s happenings, I have one more “El Molino” (where we stayed Tuesday night) story to share with you.

After cleaning up I was sitting on the deck, admiring the trees and river, when a bird larger than a turkey glided past me (from right to left) through the trees. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes but my curiosity about what kind of bird it might be was soon satisfied when a peacock came striding actoss the deck…

Wednesday was a relatively light (13 miles) day over country similar to what we had walked the day before.

About a third of the way through the day John started experiencing pain in his lower left leg. We both thought it might be a shin splint (without in any way being limited by our lack of knowledge). By noon it was clear a short rest would do no good, so after thinking about whether to hire a taxi or just walk very slowly to our planned destination (Castrojeriz), John decided to try the latter approach since we were only about 5 miles away. And that’s how we spent the rest of the day. John claimed he was experiencing little pain based on the way he was walking, but it was clear by the time we got to our hotel there was significant risk of doing more harm if John kept walking. So, this morning John hired a taxi, was driven to our next destination (Fromista), and went to see a doctor. He was given a diagnosis of tendonitis and was told to stay off his feet for two days (at least), take ibuprofen, and ice the leg periodically. John currently plans to do as the doctor ordered tomorrow (two days off)  and probably take off a third day as well. Each day he will be driven to our next hotel. Hopefully, his leg will heal in time for him to resume walking by Sunday. John is handling the problem superbly and remains in good spirits. Probably doing better than I would.

If I may, let me jump back to Wednesday to cover what we found in Castrojeriz. The town is quite small but has several distinguishing landmarks. If you look closely at the following picture, you can see the town to the left, the remains of a castle on top of the prominent hill, and a large church in the lower right hand corner.

This picture was taken just after passing the remains of what was a large convent centuries ago.

So the first thing that piqued my interest was what Castrojeriz must have been like in the 13th and 14th centuries. Clearly it was some form of religious center, and the castle adds to the mystery of what life may have been like back then. Might be great material for a Ken Follett novel!

The other thing that struck me involved the church.

We were having dinner with our friend Fr. Paul and he recommended I take time to go have a look inside. I am very pleased I did, because the inside of the church was both an altar/pews/etc. etc. for daily and weekend worship (very nicely done and obviously well used) AND, of all things, a museum of vestments, paintings, statues and all the various Mass related artifacts from the 14th century. As I walked through the various exhibits, with particular emphasis on a sanctuary that contained all the vestments and the 14th century Mass related materials, I had an almost overwhelming sensation of the incredible continuity in our Catholic Church.  While the vestments were slightly different in style, a priest could have walked in and said a Mass using just what was in that sanctuary and I doubt any modern worshiper would have known the difference. I just stopped and stared, and came away with a feeling I have a hard time describing. Something like increased affection for an old friend. As I was leaving the museum, I also came across a painting of the Immaculate Conception, painted well before it became Church dogma. The Holy Spirit works through the People of God! Obviously, I thanked Fr. Paul profusely for his suggestion.

Tired now so I will continue tomorrow.