July 6, 2016: Ponferrada to Villafranca

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So lovely to see statues of the Virgin and other saints along the Way.
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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.
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A different sort of marker, a unique one–but also very welcome!
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A church with enough room for parking.  That was unusual.
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The central cupola was an interesting feature of this church.
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These ancient roadway religious symbols intersecting with modern power and telephone lines makes for a jarring juxtaposition.
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And add on top of the power lines the Camino marker, bringing together the passage of pilgrims and time.
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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.
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We pilgrims occasionally come across these ancient building styles, usually in poor repair.  It would be great to preserve some of them.
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Not a particularly beautiful church, but it does give a sense of its age.
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The annunciation, painted above a romanesque arch.
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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.
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The stone man and wife of the house sit and watch the passing pilgrim parade, giving silent directions via the stone marker.
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A single tree left in the middle of a huge field.
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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!”
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Left out so that the owner can claim in later?  I’d say it’s doubtful that the owner will pass this way again.
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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.
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We always look for these markers of how much further we have to go.
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A vineyard stretching up the hill
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A cloudy morning makes for good walking conditions.
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The red soil, big trees left in a field, and structure on top of the hill all caught my eye.