Mel's Healing Pilgrimage 2016

Links to the Camino de Santiago pilgrimages are on the navigation links to the right of the web page.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Camino 2017-09-24 Real Rest, Different Guitar

I attended one final mass at Fatima before heading out. There were two other pilgrim backpacks at the back of the Basilica but I couldn't tell for sure who the pilgrims were. After that early service, I went to a majestic grove of olive trees next door, where the sun rose and bathed the field in orange light. I had a tree in mind because of its beauty and form. There a spread some of brother-in-law Tim, so that he can live among these trees and be first in line to talk about peace and restoration.

The bus trip to Coimbra was uneventful. I am largely skipping this walking segment and heading to Porto. I slept and would wake up seeing castles in the mist. Europe is like that, castles popping out for no reason whatsoever.

I got off the bus in Coimbra groggily and was trying to make out the street names when I slipped on a sidewalk that suddenly sloped to make a curb. I scraped me knee and could tell that I would be bleeding soon. I was hoping it wouldn't be a bad one. I started to feel sorry for myself when a young man helped me up. I said I was fine I think, and he smiled and walked away. I happened to be walking in that direction so I followed him. He took a ramp down while I took the stairs. And h wore shorts.

And I could see his false leg.

That made me think the rest of the morning. It's so easy to be inwardly focused when there are so many others with challenges far greater than our own. My first pilgrimage, I went in about me. I came out realizing it wasn't. And on this day of rest, when you have a chance to process what you've experienced, I got a good reminder in the morning.

I checked out the old cathedral which, when I compared to the new cathedral later in the day, turned out quite lovely and interesting. Be sure to ask for your pilgrim stamp I realized because that meant free admission here.

The university was a pleasant visit and it intrigued me that some of it was part of the first Jesuit college. Undoubtedly though to tourists, it's library was the star. Wildly ornate and gaudy, it looked more about wealth and show than substance. Given our current situation at home politically, I felt uncomfortable by this.

I walked down to the river and enjoyed a walk to the parks. I soaked in the laughter and merriment as many were line dancing to Portuguese rhythms. 

Then I caught a Fado show. Fado is a style of guitar music (on a Coimbra guitar) and singing that hints of balladeers and Hawaiians. It was sung and played by men wooing women originally. The unusual guitar is backed up with a regular one creating lovely textures. And I got my first port wine as part of this 10euro show.

I grabbed dinner and was disappointed that what started as a sunny pretty day turned into rain. I had hoped to enjoy a night out. Instead I was going to be resting in my hostal.

And that's good. I needed the rest. Like music, you need the quiet in between the notes.

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