The Hungarian Gal called Andrea

The Hungarian Gal

It is always interesting to see who you’ll meet and what you may learn from them.

Today started like any other day. I doctored my blisters, ate my breakfast, brushed my teeth, and took my bag to the lobby. I started to walk. It was still dark and few pilgrims were on the Way. When I reached the outskirts of Burgo I met Andrea, a gal from Hungary.

A Cure for Blisters

Andrea wore sandals. There was no doubt she was a pilgrim. The tell tale signs were there: backpack, walking sticks, and clam shell. We were waiting to cross the road, and I asked her, “I see you are wearing sandals, how is wearing sandals walking for 20 km working for you?”

This is when I learned that Andrea wore sandals because she had a blister in her pinky toe. She wore sandals for the past few days and it was working wonder for her blister. We walked together for the next 9 km. I learned that Andrea worked in a hotel in London. She has a Master’s Degree in Biology  from her home country. And her research had to do with mosquito wings. We had a very interesting conversation.

No Cell Reception

Andrea and I parted way in Tardojos when she stopped for a coffee break. My feet hurt and I wanted to get to my final resting place for the day. When I reached Hornillas Del Camino I reached for my cell phone to call the place I was staying at, which was in Isar (3 km off the Way). But … no cell reception. I almost cried. It meant walking 3 km on blister ridden feet.

The Irish

Off I trod to Isar, reluctantly I might add. I met the Irish couple from a few days ago. They were also staying at the same place I would for the evening. The Irish folk and I had a good chat and when we reached halfway point to Isar a van past us … it was the hotel coming to pick us up.

Iglesia San Martin

The highlight for the day was the visit to Iglesia de San Martin. Our tour guide’s name was Nati (short for Navidad). Nati opens the church for 10 minutes each day from 5-5:10 p.m.

San Martin dates back to the XII century (there were renovations . Nati also had a huge key that fitted into the door lock. She claimed that it was the original lock and key; whether that was true or not I do not know, but it was a huge key. I also had the opportunity (permission) to go and stand in the pulpit of San Martin. I shared a space which clergy have used for more than 900 years. Amazing.

Domingo de Amberes built the Altarpiece that is in San Martin today. He built it between 1558-1564. Pedro Ruiz de Camargo and Juan de Cea of Burgod gilded and painted the oak of the Altarpiece in 1595. The iconographic images that we see in the centers around the mystery of the redemption. In the Altarpiece we see the life of San Martin and the roll of the Virgin Mary (in the Catholic tradition as mediator).

The centuries has not been kind to this work of art. Moisture seeping from the stones led to a white rot fungal infection. Wood boring insects also added to the challenges of preserving the Altarpice of San Martin. However, restoration work has saved this piece of history at least for now.

And so the day has ended … with hope

Did you also experience hope in this adventure? After I spoke with Andrea I had hope for cure, lefty would be relieved of his burden. Even after there was no cell reception, hope was restore when I met the Irish couple and when the white van picked us up. When we visited the church of San Martin, once again, hope was seen with the restoration work.

Hope is an important theme in our lives as well. It is in Jesus Christ that we have hope as we walk on the Way. In Christ we have hope for a balm that will ease the blisters in our lives. In Jesus Christ we have hope of restoration … a life with God. In Jesus Christ, whom we meet on the road, we have hope.

This Blog entry was originally posted on September 27, 2017. The reflection and photos have been updated. Enjoy.


  1. What a fabulous journey you are on – blisters and all. You will have some stories to tell. Are all those altars gold leaf? I see you found a good pulpit to speak from.

    • I tell you, I cannot wait till next week when they are hopefully healed. First it was the knee, then the viral infection of the throat, and now the blisters that are getting bad. I don’t think anything else can happen (touch wood). Most of them are I believe, I never asked though. Thinking back when this was done -1500-1700, I think it is a safe bet to say “yes, it is.”

  2. Nellie Kellett

    Whow, is all I can say !!

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