Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of humankind as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or it is nothing at all. Helen Keller
This life lesson from Helen Keller seems all the truer today as we face our own vulnerability during the 2020 global Covid-19 pandemic crisis.
Today we would climb some 300 m in elevation and descend 900 m on our way to Riego de Ambros 20 km from Rabanal. The views would be gorgeous. One of the major highlights – La Cruz de Ferro – was on our route today. Again we were blessed with good weather.
We reached the highest elevation of the entire Camino pilgrimage at La Cruz de Ferro, 1505 m. We walked up a twisty highway to get to the Iron Cross. It consists of a wooden pole with an iron cross at its top. At its base is a mound that has been forming for years. The tradition is to throw a small stone or other object you brought from your home at the base of the cross, either in honour of someone or to let go of something – let go, let God.
We spent about 30 minutes there reflecting and resting. One of the characters we had met along the way was there with his wife too. I remember he was from Cognac, FR. That may be him pacing in the background above. He had all kinds of equipment that he was fiddling with – an alcohol heater of sorts, a small camping stove, pots and pans, thermoses, etc. He was telling his wife everything. She rolled her eyes a few times and we chuckled. He reminded us of Mr. Bean. Our laugh of the day!
Coming down the views were golden. Actually though, walking downhill is harder in some respects than uphill. Your toes tend to crunch forward painfully in your boots and your legs soon get tired from resisting the pull of gravity. Usually we would walk zig zag as this style was easier on your toes and legs.
At a small hamlet called Manjarin, pop. 1, we came upon a medieval scene. A man named Tomas who claims he is the last of the Knights Templar, operates a coffee shop and animal pen turned refugio for pilgrims. We were taken aback when he rang a bell and led a small ceremony while we watched increduosly. Another living mystery on the Camino.
We continued on our way to the municipal Alburgue in Riego de Ambros for the night. Most people kept going another 5 km to Molinaseca. It was clean and quiet. We ate in a restaurant with Eric and Joyce from South Africa. It was a gorgeous little town. Only problem was Dave started coughing a bit and had a sore throat by the end of the evening. It will probably go away tomorrow we thought.