Today, blue skies was the name of the game. All the way from Los Arcos to Logroño the clouds seem to play hide and seek. Although the early morning sunrise at Los Arcos did reveal some clouds in the distance, they were a thing of longing on this warm day. Perhaps what made matters even more challenging were the fact the the journey would be no less than 26 km.
Them Canadians, eh
I was more aware of Canadian Pilgrims on the Camino today than any other day. During the Camino I met Canadians from the East Coast all the way to the West Coast. I even met a few Calgarians.
Perhaps you wonder, “How did Dewey know someone was from Canada?” It wasn’t the accent nor the politeness. There were three identifying marks and Canadians had at least one of these. They were MEC clothing (No, this is not advertising for MEC, but they are the best), a Canadian Flag somewhere on their back packs, or the Canadian Company of Pilgrims emblem on their back packs.
I had a chat with a few of my fellow Canadians. One couple was from South Eastern Ontario, they were retired and part of the Mennonite Church. We had a brief chat and I would meet them a few more times on the journey. I also met a School Teacher from New Brunswick. We walked together for about 1/3 of the way and parted ways in Viana. It was quite interesting to listen to her story and why she was walking the Camino.
The St. James Way Rose
Did you know there is a St. James Way Rose? I was not aware of this. Just as I entered the city limits of Logroño, I came across a park on the side of the road with nice green grass, trees, rio Ebro, and roses. They had a little plague and it read (I copy it just as it was written, without any edits):
A Rose created and donated by Michel Adam for the city of Logroño with the aim of being converted into a union of the different cities of the St. James Way so that in all the places that celebrate the Jacobean route can be appreciated it’s beauty.
Baptised in Logroño on the 29th September 2012. The godmother was EXCM Mayoress Concepción Gamarra.
An excellent and original rose, balanced and vigorous with big flowers which separate it for its form and the effect which provides a combination and evolution of it;s colours (red, pink, white and yellow) and gives off its soft fruity scent. An intense green follage. Height of 80-100cm. Resistant to infestation and disease.
Logroño and the priest
In Logroño, on this particular weekend that was just around the corner, people from far and wide would come together for the annual wine festival and Fiesta de San Mateo. Combining a wine feast with a religious festival, well, what can we say?
There were a few churches in Logroño and after I sought out a laundromat I visited all of them. There was something that happened at one of them that stood out for me. It was at Iglesia de San Bartolomé. I was there a couple of minutes before the evening prayer service. I sat in the pew. Before the service started I had to leave, a phone call came in … on silent mode.
Since it was all the way from Canada and the time difference is about 8 hours, I silently stood up and exited the church. While I was standing on the opposite side of the street, the priest came out. He looked rather annoyed and taped a letter size paper to the door. It was written in Spanish. I was curious; so, after the phone call I went to take a look, it read: This is a house of prayer, not a tourist attraction.
What can we say
It makes you think, right? The whole day a theme was developing. Identification. I identified the blue sky, which has meant a nice and warm day. I identified Canadians by their particular attire and accessories. The St. James Rose serves as an identification of the Way. And the priest reminded people that the church is a house of prayer. How do people identify us, what does our outer and inner appearance tell them?
*This Blog Post was originally written on September 20, 2017. I have updated the post and the pictures. Enjoy.