Day 23 (Foncebadón to Ponferrada)
Distance: 17.5 miles (27.68KM)
Time: 5 hours, 28 minutes
Total Distance To-Date: 356.96 Miles (574.47KM)
“Most High, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart, and give me right faith, certain hope, and perfect charity, wisdom and understanding, Lord, that I may carry out your holy and true command. Amen.” —St. Francis of Assisi
Today’s journey began with a short 2KM hike to Cruz de Ferro. I arrived at sunrise as planned.
Cruz de Ferro (Iron Cross) is a cross on the Camino de Santiago, located between the towns of Foncebadón and Manjarín. At its base, a mound has been forming over the years. A legend says that when the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela was being built, pilgrims were asked to contribute by bringing a stone. The tradition is to throw a stone, brought from the place of origin of the pilgrim, with his or her back to the cross to symbolize their journey.
Last fall, I attended the CREDO Conference—a clergy retreat that explores spiritual, vocational, financial, and physical/psychological health. It was during the CREDO conference, as I began to formally organize my sabbatical, I officially plotted out my Camino. At the end of the conference, we were given a rock with “CREDO” embossed on it. I knew right away it was going to be the stone I would carry to Cruce de Ferro. I offered the stone, said a prayer, and continued my journey.
Brett, Bayan, and Jennifer passed Cruce de Ferro yesterday. They left me a gift—a note on the Cross. A wonderful gift on the Camino.
After leaving the highest elevation on the Camino, I began a very, very long difficult, steep, descent over a rocky path. It was absolutely grueling—my least favorite three hours of the Camino. Thankfully, no broken bones or pulled muscles—just a little bruised spirit. The story of the day was a few thousand stones.
Lesson of the Day: The journey is built upon the foundation of past pilgrims.