Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Feliz Pascua!

OK so I didnt exactly get this up by Sunday. And Im not actually in Leon anymore. I wrote it on Sunday in Leon though, so lets just pretend, eh?

Feliz Pascua desde Leon--Happy Easter from Leon!

It's been a long, wet and painful week. The meseta (the high flat plain between Leon and Burgos) is sometimes skipped when people dont have much time to walk the camino because it has a reputation for being boring. My experience this week was anything but boring--getting caught in the middle of a lightening storm...in the middle of nowhere...where i was the tallest thing for kilometers, getting hailed on, sloshing through mud and finding some surprisingly large hills.

It was also surprisingly beautiful. The flat horizon makes the West Texan in me breathe easier. The wheat fields were especially green against the grey skies. The views of mountains in the distance the last two days were a reward for making it through the rain and clouds. Even though I lost most of the people I knew when I took a break last week to go see friends in Cantabria I met new wonderful people. Also, in a happy surprise I found one of my favorite couples in my hostel last night.

But best of all I made it to Leon for Easter. This was my goal and a partial reason for the many 30 plus km days I did last week. My right ankle is swollen and busted up but it was worth it to get here and see the early morning Easter processions. No one does Easter like Spain. People marched through the city in elaborate robes and hoods carrying heavy sculptures of Easter scenes. Two separate processions met in front of the impressive Leon cathedral to culminate the celebration--Jesus and the empty tomb met the procession of Mary and the grieving women. The people carrying the sculptures, more or less alterpieces really, made them ¨dance¨ and all the people of the city started clapping. A small sermon and prayer were broadcast from the cathedral saying--The night is over. Death is over. Peace and love have won. At that moment they released hundreds of doves.

The whole thing was incredibly moving.

Some of you have asked if walking the Camino during Easter had any special impact. One impact was that things were more crowded--lots of people walk the Camino on their Easter holidays. The biggest thing though was that I was fortunate enough to be in the places and mindset to enjoy and to really take in all that these celebrations have to say. It´s definitely a Semana Santa (Holy Week) and Easter that I won´t soon forget.

1 comment:

asia marie @ upward said...

your post gave me goosebumps! how exciting to have been a part of that!