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PILGRIMAGE TO SANTIAGO

3. THE MESETA

[Camino] [Journey] [Pyranees] [La Rioja] [Meseta] [Mountains of Leon] [Galicia & Santiago]
 
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Geologically, a great uplifted fault block (average elevation 2,000 ft/610 m) ringed and crossed by mountain ranges which covers about two thirds of the Iberian peninsula. More particularly, if the Camino may be compared to John Bunyan's 'The Pilgrim's Progress', then the Meseta becomes for many 'the slough of despond'. It takes upwards of a week to cross this often featureless landscape, involving many long, straight tracks, only occasionally interrupted by towns or villages. Nevertheless, the region does have an appeal of its own as well and plays a huge part in shaping the nature of the Camino. The Meseta continues past Leon towards Astorga.

 

By chicken monument, Hornillos del Camino.

First view of Boadilla. *

An excellent private hostel, Boadilla; facilities include a swimming pool. *

[I left my trekking sandals here and am grateful to the hospitalero who kindly sent them on to me. Thanks Eduardo]

Boadilla: Gothic juristictional column. *

St Martin, Fromista. *

Irigation canal - Fromista

Hostel / dosshouse - Bercianos de Real Camino.

The road goes on

St Isidoro, originally a Romanesque church, with Gothic and Baroque elements added later.

Leon Cathedral - early morning.

An important city in Old Spain, famous for its magnificent French-Gothic Cathedral. The internal luminescence created by the stained glass is truly breathtaking, and, coupled with the joyous simplicity of the gothic architecture, serve to make a visit to this church an unforgettable experience.

The bridge at Hospital de Orbigo and right, the statue of St James the Less at Santiago adorned by the ribbon of Suero de Quinones.

A town famous for its bridge which was the site of a series of 166 jousts fought by the Leonese knight, Suero de Quinones in 1492, in order to redeem a promise to a lady. This well-documented story is a major example of the 'Pas d' Arms', a popular activity of Aristocrats of the revived age of Chivalry, and is mentioned in Don Quixote. When he finished this undertaking he made a pilgrimage to Santiago and left the lady's blue ribbon around the processional statue of the apostle St James the Less, where it remains to this day.