Dolmens and Beaches
I shoulder my backpack for one last walk in Spain, walking approximately 14 miles inland and leaving the Camino for the tiny village of Carantoña. Here I will stay with author Tracy Saunders. She calls her home The Little Fox House, or A Casa do Raposito. Tracy offers pilgrims a place to relax and “settle”, to have a few days to process the Camino journey before returning to busy lives.
I shared the third-floor attic room in the old stone home with a delightful 27 year old woman from Norway, Sandra. We each had a spacious queen bed with real sheets, pillows and blankets. You might not find these to be particularly exciting details. However, after 42 days of sleeping in bunk-bed dorms in my sleeping bag, and being regularly concerned about bedbugs, this was a little slice of heaven. The Little Fox House provided an opportunity to relax, meditate, and enjoy wonderful meals prepared daily by Tracy (who very much enjoys cooking for her guests).
First day: do nothing! Read, meditate, write. In the afternoon Tracy drove Sandra and I to the beach, where we napped, sat, and walked in the waves. I brought along a Celtic colouring book and markers from the house to enjoy. One doesn’t think of a whole lot while coloring; I love listening to the sound of the wind singing and the waves crashing on the shore. It’s therapeutically mindless.
On the second day Sandra and I had a relaxing quiet morning, followed by a car tour of the area in the afternoon with Tracy. Galicia has some amazing history!
First we visited Castro Borneiro (picture in the header). It is one of the oldest Spanish Galician stone villages, occupied from the 6th century BC until the first century AD. I enjoyed sitting and imagining how life may have been like when the village was alive with daily life.
Next, we drove to some really old churches with new interesting features I’ve not seen before. The stone carving on the entry to the church was of the pieta, Mary holding the dead Jesus, which was repeated on top of the stone pillar in the church yard. Stone graves were from the sixth century, with some open unused ancient coffins in the graveyard.
(Descansa en paz, or D.E.P., is the same as R.I.P.)
I found it interesting that the birthdate and the date of death were not listed on the headstones, even in these modern times. Instead they list the age of the person because Galician birth records are not reliable.
We traveled on to find a very remote church and a side building built on a pagan Celtic site. In fact, it’s likely that many of the old churches are built on pagan sites to snuff out the old traditions and replace them with the new. This little stone structure is on a large rock that is likely to have been used as a place to ensure fertility under the moon.
I enjoyed the Neolithic burial chambers we visited called dolmens. There are many in this area that have the central burial chamber still in place, having been built somewhere from the 5th to the 3rd century BC. Imagine the ages of these dolmens! I wondered how these rock tombs have never been defaced or destroyed; Tracy mentioned that the Galician people are very superstitious – one would never damage sacred sites such as these.
The largest dolmen, considered the “cathedral” of them all, is protected by a roof. Dolmens are older than the pyramids, which gives me pause. The soil has, over the millennium, blown away to leave only the inner burial chamber with its huge stones, some scant pottery shards, petroglyphs, and anthropomorphic stone decorations. On December 21st, during the winter equinox, the sun shines exactly down the entry hall and into the burial chamber. Imagine from the photograph that the wooden roof represents the level of the soil that covered over the entire chamber, leaving only the entry hall exposed for that once a year shaft of illuminating light.
Our last stop is at a glorious Spanish beach. We return home to a delightful home cooked meal and another welcomed sleep in my snuggly bed. I couldn’t convince the cat, Puzzle, that he wasn’t welcome, so he joined me for a while, too.
Two days in Galicia as a non-pilgrim, and I think often about all the many facets of the treasured experience. My pilgrim walking buddies continue to text me, which warms my heart. The Camino Pilgrimage will always remain something dear and special.
My Camino Walk has been a fundraiser to build a new Temple of Light. Having completed over 500 miles (800km) of walking and over 1,250,000 steps, I very much welcome your generous gift to help with the Temple construction. All donations are tax-deductible, no amount is too small. Just like walking the Camino one step and one day at a time, each gift to the Temple represents additional blessings and energy added to the whole. Many blessings!
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