On the way down from the Cruz de Ferro we passed through El Acebo, which is a somewhat more substantial mountain village. The buildings here are unique, constructed of stone, double-storied and with approximately eighty centimetre deep wooden balconies in places. Sections of the slate roofs continue sloping wherever balconies protrude, forming structures like eagle’s nests attached to façades. The only street leading through the village had a central furrow, so I suspect that heavy rainfall could be expected. When I walked through, the air was heavy with moisture, it still drizzled and the wetness gave the slate roofs a polished shine.
Some of the roofs in the countryside, especially those of farm buildings, are quite unusual. The slate slabs used are large and irregular and the centre ridge is formed by interlacing the slabs from the right with those from the left slope. Interlace your fingers and let them form a roof and you will know what I mean. I wondered how the builders had managed to waterproof the ridges.
I had my favourite chocolate croissant and a café latte in El Acebo. The bar was crowded from all the pilgrims needing a hot cup after this chilly morning and, amazingly, I had caught up with the Italian from Parma again. In the afternoon I finally reached Molinaseca and it was time to stretch out. The río Maruelo flows alongside this quite large village, with its three parallel roads. The Puente de los Peregrinos over the river is fairly long, has six beautiful arches and we could imagine that it was built by the Romans. In fact it is a Romanesque bridge from the 12th century. It amazed me to see that often the arches of these bridges reach almost to the road surface, leaving just the keystone to connect each half and support the paving.
The bugs were still with me and while I fumigated my clothes in a plastic bag I walked through the old and interesting town, bought some provisions and continued with my diary while sitting on some side steps outside the parish church. People, mainly women, entered and left the church through the main entrance and after a while I heard a choir singing. I could not let this pass, as I have previously explained, so I stopped my writing and investigated the source.
It turned out that the choir consisted of just seven members: three males, three females and an energetic leader, a woman who was also singing the solo parts. Their voices perfectly filled the reasonably sized and centuries old stone church. This was probably their practice for Sunday’s mass. I sat in the last pew, quite content with myself and in harmony with the surroundings and the music. It was one of those unexpected moments in life and on the Camino that provide meaning.
During my subsequent walk along the Camino via Podiensis in France ‒ from Le Puy en Valay to St. Jean Pied de Port‒ I made it my task to write a rhyme about pilgrimage and the following is the first part of my endeavour. Other parts will follow as my journal progresses and the complete rhyme is summarised at the end of this journal.