• Day20

    Foncebaden to Monte Irago

    May 27, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    My jaw dropped when I arrived in Foncebaden: what was less than a decade ago a dilapidated, haunted village with only two functioning structures containing hippie-run albergues has become a boom town with 8 hostels and albergues, bars, minimarts and a newly surfaced boulevard. I’m glad to hear from the local hospitaleros that these are Spanish investors building here, so the Camino has brought increasing prosperity to the Spanish economy. But I sense some sadness at the changes as they tell me how the pilgrim vibe has changed in a just a few years.

    On to the famed Cruz de Ferro which stands as a pilgrim milestone at the mouth of the Monte Irago Pass for peligros to leave a stone or memento brought from home to symbolize the intention of their pilgrimage to Santiago.. To leave something here is highly symbolic and goes back to the Roman soldiers who crossed this pass and left stones on this enormous pile. “Kilroy was here”

    My daughter Gwen made me a beautiful hand-painted stone for this purpose, but after emptying my entire mochilla on the grass next to that sacred pile of rubble, I came up empty-handed—the stone nowhere to be found. This too must have a meaning, but, so be it.
    I am posing in front of the cross with the scallop shell that my choirmaster sent along with me on this Camino. I will bring it back to him soon, I hope. Update: I found the small stone Gwen painted for me wedged into a bottom pocket of my pack upon my return home. Perhaps she is meant to carry it to the Cruz de Ferro herself someday.
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