On from HontanaPosted on July 8, 2010 with 3 comments
The road from Hontana is fairly flat and through pasture as much as cultivated land I am so excited about getting to Castrojeriz that I forgot that on the way are some of the most romantic ruins on the Camino.
The ruins are what is left of a monastery and hospital for pilgrims that was founded by Alfonso VII in 1146. What remains are arches and three walls of the church and the gateway and more walls of the complex. One archway spans the road itself.
The place is called San Anton and was famous for curing and healing. There is an albergue within the ruins that is open to the elements and looked like a cool place but it was early in the day and after wandering and taking photos I decided to walk on to Castrojeriz- only three more kilometers and within two I could see the town in the distance.
There is a tall hill above the town and on top the ruins of a castle and as I approached there was the church of Santa Maria del Manzano. Cantigas 242,249,252 and 266 have to do with the construction of this church and the miracles performed by the Virgen del Manzano.
She is still there and if possible I wished to play for her.
Right across from the church is a bar and restaurant called the Meson Manzano and I stopped there and got permission to leave my gear while I scoped out the church.
Most of the church is a museum now but one chapel is still consecrated and in the middle of a golden retablo is the 13th c. statue. The lady who takes the money for the museum was willing to turn off the canned music and let me play. It was a very special moment to play for a statue that Alfonso himself knew and to be with one of the Santa Marias of the book.
When people ask me why I am doing this I tell them that I am thankful for thirty years of being a musician and that I want to play the cantigas in the land they come from. Quite a few people came in to hear me as word had spread and it was a big day for me.
I am now in a place called Foncebadon and tomorrow I climb to the highest point on the Camino. Soon I will be leaving Castilla y Leon and crossing into Galicia. I will fill you in on Fromista and Villalcazar de Sirga the latter having the Virgen Blanca who inspired Alfonso to commission the cantigas. I played for her too.