July 6, 2016: Ponferrada to Villafranca

So lovely to see statues of the Virgin and other saints along the Way.
Roadside markers came in many shapes and forms.  Some were just yellow arrows painted on trees or fences.  These stone markers were always welcome when we found them.
A different sort of marker, a unique one–but also very welcome!
A church with enough room for parking.  That was unusual.
The central cupola was an interesting feature of this church.
These ancient roadway religious symbols intersecting with modern power and telephone lines makes for a jarring juxtaposition.
And add on top of the power lines the Camino marker, bringing together the passage of pilgrims and time.
What a lovely modern door.  The fan-shaped glass is not exactly, but calls to mind, a cockle shell.  The lines continuing down the door gives it a hint of a fleur de lys, entirely appropriate for the French route.  Or maybe I am just too imaginative.
We pilgrims occasionally come across these ancient building styles, usually in poor repair.  It would be great to preserve some of them.
Not a particularly beautiful church, but it does give a sense of its age.
The annunciation, painted above a romanesque arch.
St. James, garbed as a Roman (?) pilgrim, in short skirt and boots, but with the traditional pilgrim symbols–wide-brimmed hat, 8-foot staff, heavy cloak, gourd for water.
The stone man and wife of the house sit and watch the passing pilgrim parade, giving silent directions via the stone marker.
A single tree left in the middle of a huge field.
Benches for weary pilgrims, particularly those placed in the shade, are so welcome.  The writing on this bench says, “Camino de Santiago: This bench is for pilgrims to rest on. Buen Camino!”
Left out so that the owner can claim in later?  I’d say it’s doubtful that the owner will pass this way again.
One of the more unusual murals along the Camino. My interpretation: the Christian pilgrim followed by the Hindu, Egyptian, and African walkers.  I guess this is a statement about the changing population of pilgrims, many of whom are not Christians at all.  My son disagrees with this interpretation, but doesn’t offer one of his own.
We always look for these markers of how much further we have to go.
A vineyard stretching up the hill
A cloudy morning makes for good walking conditions.
The red soil, big trees left in a field, and structure on top of the hill all caught my eye.
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