Monday, May 26, 2008

A further post from Ponferrada

Some afterthoughts while I´m waiting for the kitchen to be free to share in the making of pasta in a joint enterprise this evening. My input, beyond the provision of some wine and oranges for dessert, is not crucial happily.

Rabanal, Saturday night, 24 May

There were memorable Vespers (7 pm) and Compline and Pilgrim Blessing (9.30 pm) led by two tall, bearded German Benedictine monks in long black cloaks and hoods, rather like medieval pilgrims on the Camino, for that matter. They have established the religious community of San Salvador del Monte Irago in Rabanal. They sang in Gregorian Chant and five of us read from 2 Peter (1, 19-21, from memory if anyone is interested--this is for you, Mum!) in different languages. I did the English reading. It was quite moving especially with a full church on both occasions. The church is the tiny (C12?) Iglesia de la Santa Maria that may have been established by the Knights Templar, an order formed to protect pilgrims. (Not having read any of Dan Brown, I´m not full bottle historically here.)

In between the two services, we went to the Bar/Restaurante for dinner. Being Saturday night in Spain, the ubiquitous plasma screen was showing the bull-fighting. The only ones not preening are the bulls against whom the dice are thoroughly loaded. There´s an unsettling mix of blood lust and plain vanilla lust in the stands. It´s global social function must be to legitimize the local unspeakable football code. I´m feeling better about (Lethal) Leigh Matthews and the Sharks forward pack already.

Ponferrada, Monday 26 May

The Knights Templar, at the height of their power and perhaps because of it, were disbanded by Church decree in 1312. Their great castle on the Camino is at Ponferrada, completed only in 1282. It´s the centre of this town but sadly closed in Mondays!

The pasta is cooked. Must run. I never keep a kind cook waiting. Ask Ana.

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