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 But for some reason, this previously unpublished photo from my 2015 walk on the Camino Frances is the first one that came to mind:
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.)