Stage 10: Calahorra – Alfaro (23.7 km)



I woke feeling so much better this morning.  The swelling in my right leg has gone down considerably but it is still quite sore to walk on, so I am going to have another quiet day and I will try to begin walking tomorrow.  Having this condition is quite humbling. When we had the preparatory meetings at Campion before the Camino, I said to the group that there would be the possibility of someone taking the bus if he or she was not feeling well — not thinking for a minute that that person would be me!  Dealing with disappointments and aches and pains is all part of the Camino.

 

We gathered outside the Hotel Cuidad de Calahorra.  I introduced the Ignatian Exercise for the day beginning with the Preparatory Prayer that everything in our day — all our thoughts, words, actions, eating  a peach, changing our socks, conversations along the road, our desires, our memories and so on — would be directed purely to the praise and service of God.

The grace we are praying for.  Today we are praying for intimacy with Jesus, so that we might follow him more closely. I talked about intimacy in relationships, and that when power meets power in an interpersonal relationship, the result is conflict.  And that when vulnerability meets power, the result is alienation and fear.  But when vulnerability meets vulnerability the result is intimacy and love.  So, to grow in intimacy with Jesus all we need to do is to let down our guard and disclose to him what we are feeling and how we really are.

The Trinity (Rublev's Icon)

The Trinity (Rublev’s Icon)

Today we are reflecting on Jesus’s mission of bringing salvation to humankind. Saint Ignatius has us take the perspective of the Trinity looking down on the earth:

I try to enter into the vision of the Triune God looking upon our world: men and women aimless, despairing, hateful and killing, men and women sick and dying, the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the happy and the sad, some being born and some being laid to rest.  

And this is what our world looks like today:

Victims of the Civil War in Syria

Victims of the Civil War in Syria

Fighting in Syria

Fighting in Syria

The victims of war

The victims of war

The leap of divine joy: God knows that the time has come when the mystery of his salvific plan, hidden from the beginning of the world, will become manifest.

And how does the Trinity do this?  In the incarnation. In Luke 1:26-38, God invites Mary, through the Angel Gabriel, to collaborate in the mystery of the Incarnation. Though free to say “no”, Mary chooses to say “yes”. Mary’s “Yes” is the pivotal point of history.  I notice how the Trinity works—simply and quietly.  A world goes on, apparently oblivious of the total revolution which has begun.  I look at Mary’s complete way of responding to her Lord and God:  “Be it done unto me according to your word.”

The Annunciation

The Annunciation

Just as the Trinity works simply and quietly in Mary at the Annunciation, so too the Trinity works in us pilgrims.

What the day held:  After the bus left Sandra Dillon and I waited for the van which was booked to take the pilgrims’ luggage to the next town, Alfaro.  It came at 11.30am.  We helped the driver to load the suitcases and packs into the back of the van, and then rode with him to the Hotel Palacios in Alfaro. Alfaro is a charming town with picturesque streets and town houses with Aragonese Mudejar influences, made of brick. I hobbled up to the town square with Sandra in front of the the San Miguel Collegiate Church, which is  a 16th century Aragonese Baroque masterpiece, and declared a National Historical Monument. The immense rooftop of the church — which has several slopes, pinnacles and cornices — houses the largest urban colony of storks in Europe.

The pilgrims walked through fields today, and along a section of the Rio Ebro. The Camino traces quiet paved and gravel farm roads. Half-way along the trail, the group passed through the small town of Rincón del Soto. Peter Walden writes:

         “We had a good day today. We walked for 14 kms to the town of Rincón del Soto where we had lunch at the municipal building and stayed for 45 mins. The locals were very friendly and we got lots of waves and smiles. They were very keen to know where we were from. We made good time up to there at 4.3 km per hour as the surface was a lot less rough than yesterday. It is definitely harvest time in the region as there was a lot of tractor traffic on the road. They were harvesting pears and grapes. At one point the pear pickers got very excited upon finding out we were Australian and started tossing ripe pears to some of the group. Many of us got pilgrim stamps there. We followed the railway almost all the way and it was very flat. The challenge today was definitely the heat and the mozzies. It felt like 30°C and we were struggling under the sun as there was virtually no shade on the road. The final stretch was up a very long straight road into Alfaro that seemed to go on forever and the heat off the bitumen was quite intense. Anyway, we thankfully made it to the hotel to rest our weary feet. Total distance walked was 25.2 kms.”
In the Hotel Cuidad de Calahorra before leaving

In the Hotel Cuidad de Calahorra before leaving

The church at Calahorra

The Cathedral of Santa Maria in Calahorra

Looking back at Calahorra

Looking back at Calahorra

Walking through the vineyards

Walking through the vineyards

The long stretch up the hill to Alfaro

The long stretch up the hill to Alfaro

5 thoughts on “Stage 10: Calahorra – Alfaro (23.7 km)



  1. Egun On, otra vez Michael.
    He sabido que Joe Tailor ha cumplido años. Por favor, felicítalo de mi parte como decimos en euskera ¡ZORIONAK!.
    También tengo conocimiento de que ha tenido problemas de salud, como tu. Espero que no sea nada grave, que os mejoréis y que no os impida continuar vuestro Camino.
    Un saludo, Fermín Lopetegui.
    AGUR, ¡BUEN CAMINO!

    • Translation of Fermin’s message:

      Good day again Michael. I heard that Joe Taylor had a birthday. Please congratulate him for me … as we say in Basque ZORIONAK! I have also learned that he has had health problems, like you. I hope it’s nothing serious, and that you get better and can continue on your Way.
      Un saludo, Fermín Lopetegui.
      AGUR, ¡BUEN CAMINO!

      Dear Fermin,
      Thank you for your message. I am having another quiet day today and will go to the hospital this afternoon in Tudela. This is my Camino at present, and God is at work!
      Blessings,
      Michael

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