October 24, 2002
Fromista to Carrion de los Condes
|I went to view the Church of
Santiago. It has an excellent Romanesque arch which depicts 36 vocations
or professions that were considered the range of earthly knowledge. I
fell in with a group of school kids and listened to the lecture of the
teacher. The kids were bored but I learned a lot. They didn't care about
the various occupations of the Middle Ages. After all, the only profession
they understood was being a rock star or football player. (That's soccer
to you, North American folks!) He got their attention by pointing out
some risqué sculpture in one of the capitals of the columns supporting
the central arch.
Another 12th Century church, Santa Maria del Camino, had a fine Romanesque façade and also had a notable piece of art inside. It was a polychrome wooden sculpture of Christ on a "Y" shaped cross.
|On the way back to the convent,
I saw a French couple at a bus kiosk reading the schedules. The wife said
that she was through — that she had "lost her heart" for
the camino. I thought to myself that if a little weather could
get her down, she probably wouldn't like the mountains of Galicia coming
up. I think many people start off on a lark and don't think through what
a commitment of time and effort the camino really is. These people
have come a long way. They started in France. I would think they would
have had too much personal investment in the trip to stop at the halfway
The convent had a museum with items that dated back to the 14th Century. It was very interesting to see tools that the nuns used in their daily life, and some of the items that they created as a part of their spiritual lives. While I was wandering around the museum, a door opened up and a nun started to come out. She saw me and quickly backed up and shut the door. I was surprised, not realizing that there were still nuns at the convent. I asked the hospitalero and he told me that there were still nine monjas (nuns) living an active life there. He said that most were very old and he did not know what will happen to the convent when they are gone.
After dinner, I returned to my room, determined to work. I decided to download the photos from my camera to my computer. I pulled out the fiche reader and hooked it up to the computer. But horror of horrors, it didn't work. I didn't understand what could have gone wrong except perhaps it was damaged as the result of the excessive dampness of the past two days. Desperate, I called home base and asked my partner to go buy another reader and send it via FedEx to my hotel in Madrid. As soon as I reached Leon, I will go to a hotel and have it shipped overnight from Madrid.