The Holy Father had asked that today, Saturday 7th September, be a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria, which is now under threat of attack by the United States and France. At one point in the Gospel, when the disciples of Jesus could not free a young man from an evil spirit, Jesus told them: “This kind of spirit can only be driven away only by prayer and fasting”. The Pope is asking us to pray and fast that the threatened attack on Syria does not take place. We discussed over dinner last night how we could best respond. I said I didn’t think it would be a good thing for us to fast while we are walking as we need to eat given our physical exertion. So we decided to spend the first two hours of our walk today in silence praying for peace. It was a powerful experience to be walking in silent prayer. We have decided to begin each day in this way.
From Alda we descended to San Vicente de Arana, where the trail runs parallel to the quiet paved road to the village of Santa Cruz.
Today was an easy walk compared with the last three days in the mountains. We had lunch at Santa Cruz the walked on to Genevilla along a well-marked dirt road. The bus picked us up to transfer us from Genevilla to our hotel in Laguardia. But it broke down on the way. While we waited for a replacement vehicle to arrive we had our reflection on the day.
The region where we are staying is called La Rioja Alavesa where the “Rioja” wines come from. Our Hotel Villa de Laguardia (Laguardia) looks out over the vineyards in Laguardia.