On Thursday, the UST pilgrims awoke in Tineo. One of Tineo’s claims to fame is that in 1222, King Alfonso IX degreed that pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela must go through Tineo and must pass the Monasterio de Santa María la Real de Obona. Today, the monastery is in ruins and the decree is voluntary, but many pilgrims still choose to visit it.
The journey from Tineo to Pola de Allende is 30 km or 18 miles. In addition to being the farthest our pilgrims have had to go in a day, the terrain is rugged and difficult. Luckily, the albergues in Pola de Allende are known to be excellent so hopefully they got a good night’s sleep!
The journey on Friday, Aug. 6 took them from Pola de Allende to La Mesa, a 20.5 km or12.3 mile trek. The pilgrims planned to start their days early so that most of their walking was done by midday before the trails became too hot. The trail from Pola de Allende to La Mesa is steep – in fact, they passed the highest point of the Camino today.
There will be little rest for them this weekend – On Saturday, they travelled from La Mesa to Castro, a 23.5 km or 14 mile distance, then today, Sunday, from Castro to O Fonsagrada/Padrón, a 20 km or 12 mile distance.
We pray today and this weekend especially for the endurance of our pilgrims. Over the past week they have made adjustments to a new time zone (Spain is 7 hours ahead of Texas), new foods, extreme physical exertion and the difficulties of living simply from a single backpack.
“To go on pilgrimage is not simply to visit a place to admire its treasures of nature, art or history,” Pope Benedict XVI said after his own visit to Santiago de Compostela in 2010. “To go on pilgrimage really means to step out of ourselves in order to encounter God where he has revealed himself, where his grace has shone with particular splendor and produced rich fruits of conversion and holiness among those who believe.”