The Pilgrim Statue of Astorga (#CaminoTuesday)

Over on Twitter, the hashtag #CaminoTuesday is becoming a thing. Someone (I don’t know who) announces a new theme every week, and people post their photos and stories that fit.

Today’s theme is “modern statuary and sculpture,” of which there are plenty of examples along the way. But for some reason, this previously unpublished photo from my 2015 walk on the Camino Frances is the first one that came to mind:

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A modern Camino pilgrim in Astorga

You may recognize this gentleman, if you walked through Astorga. He stands just outside the municipal albergue, and I wish I’d thought to get a picture of the plaque beside him, or take better notes. Some quick Google work doesn’t bring up much history about the statue–like why the poor man is carrying a suitcase–but I did learn some things about Astorga, which has long been a refuge for pilgrims on the way to Santiago.

According to the website Camino Adventures:

Astorga has a long tradition of aiding pilgrims, at one time there were twenty one hospices located here, second only to Burgos.  Unlike other towns and cities Astorga provided shelter in their albergues to the homeless and indigent.  There was a problem along the Camino Frances of the homeless continually walking the route and staying in pilgrim hospices.  Some places took measures to discourage this practice, however in the 16th century as the popularity of the pilgrimage declined several hospices in Astorga agreed to house the homeless. There is evidence of confraternities selling off land during the 18th century to pay for this continued practice.

Well, that makes me like it even more.

I’ve written before about our night in Astorga, or more specifically, our very wet, rainy morning there. Gaudi’s Episcopal Palace is well worth a visit, and I’ve heard good things about the chocolate museum, as well. (Although the day I passed through, I chose a nap instead of a tour.)

 

If you want to get in on future #CaminoTuesday photos and stories, you can follow the hashtag on Instagram or Twitter. (And while you’re there, follow me on Instagram and Twitter, too!)


4 thoughts on “The Pilgrim Statue of Astorga (#CaminoTuesday)

  1. Hello Beth,
    On my Del Norte walk this past may I met, and walked along with, one of the homeless who walk the Caminos. He was an older man, with a pilgrim’s staff, dressed a bit in the style of a Rastafarian, and he only spoke French. I heard through the Camino Radio (the gossip along the Camino) that he apparently has no home and is always walking some route. The Camino (or Caminos) is his home, and it does provide a relatively inexpensive lifestyle, filled with culture, connections, and community. Not such a bad way to be homeless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, on just our 2nd or 3rd day on the Camino in France, we met a man who had no home address and had been walking, he told us, ever since his wife died several years before. He’d been to Santiago and back at least twice, down to Rome, and to other points I don’t remember. He slept in donativos sometimes, but more often the traditional shelters still found along the roads on the less traveled routes. And there’s a book released this year called The Salt Path, about a middle aged couple in Wales who walked the Southwest Coast Trail (600 miles) after they were evicted from their home. Some interesting thoughts there on being without a home to go back to.

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  2. We took our picture with this pilgrim! I love that he’s dragging a suitcase, and I also wondered why. Perhaps it was a way of suggesting he was homeless and carried everything he owned in a suitcase. I loved Astorga! The chocolate factory was okay, but it wasn’t Willy Wonka’s factory. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have this vague memory that the plaque beside him explained the suitcase, but I don’t remember what it is, and I didn’t take a picture of it. 😦

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