Religions are important to us, and to some extend it describes your personality or how you want others to perceive you. Generalized, the essence of religions are for us to behave good, and if one do so, his afterlife will be good. In reverence of our gods, we erect buildings or constructions, and make sacrifices. Here are selection of the thousands of holy places I have visited. I tried not to put them into order, as religions now mix together as people move to new countries and settle down. Communism do not recognize any religions, yet people in communist regimes tend to look upon their leaders as they have divine power.
No pain, no glory, I read on a t-shirt in Burgos, picturing two feet with lots of blisters and chafing. And when we arrived at the square in front of the Cathedral of Santiago, we saw many who had made sure they had their honor intact. Thousands wander the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela each year and even though you do not get blisters or other physical pain, It can be quit a struggle. The landscape sure is beautiful but it is capricious. Cold air blows almost nine months a year and the heat of the plains can be unbearable, but this is a part of experiencing the glory.
If you have walked the whole way from Le Puy (France), I can understand the feeling of victory but also sadness when you arrive and see the beautiful cathedral.
Your long journey is over, and if you didn’t get to feel the pain you will have no glory, and then your long walk is in vain. Still you have met some new friends, and after all Santiago in the stardust, is really something to strive for.
In our journey toward salvation, we have not experienced pain in any way. We realize, therefore, that our salvation lies in all the good food and drink we have been served on our way to Santiago. And with all the restaurants and bars in the streets around the cathedral, I can not conclude otherwise than that Santiago has to be experienced as heaven even though you are not a pilgrim.
…said the receptionist, then it all went wrong!
Initially, we had decided to take the train from Bilbao to Bermeo, but the young boy in the hotel reception recommended the bus, Because it was easier to just take the subway to the bus terminal, than walk to the train station. And that is where it all started to go wrong. As we had limited time, we had to go strait down… Though it is more or less only two metro lines in Bilbao, it should be easy to get on the right line. But we were able to get on the train that went in the opposite direction of our destination. I took us, of course, three stops before we noticed. The lines run quit often, so it didn’t take us to long to change train. In total we had only lost ten minutes, but those ten minutes we needed to find the bus, buy the tickets, now they were lost….
Eventually we arrived at the bus terminal, but found no bus to Bermeo. Short of time we run around in the terminal, checking all the schedules. The queues to the ticket counters was long, very long. Finally we got hold of one policeman, he could confirm that the bus we were looking for, departed from a different bus stop. (This bus stop was actually just minutes form our hotel) We attacted a taxi driver, and asked him to step on it. The driver, on the other hand, responded to drive slowly, one could almost walk faster… He had not a single hint of South European attitude in terms of driving. We arrived at the roundabout, where our bus to Bermeo had it’s stop, three minuttes before departure. Unfortunately, our bus was not the only one, there were at least 7 buses! We ranfrom bus to bus shouting out ” Bermeo”
Breathless and relieved, we went on board just a minute before departure. But we had only a 50-euro banknote, and the driver did not have change. We had lost, after all this we had been through, we had to get off the bus because the driver could not give us change! With drooping heads and disappointed we went off the bus. But , an angel of a young mobile talking lady, in the first row, asked the driver to charge her bus card with three extra tickets. She made our day, but still we did not have money to pay her back, and she was getting off before Bermeo. But the other passenger started to raise money for us, one cent here and another there. Finally we are able to pay our 3€ depth, but the lady savor did not want our money, so we ended up with not paying for the bus, and in fact earning in stead of spending…
We arrived in Bermeo and cwalked all the stairs up to the Eremita monastery of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe – and had a great day, but all thanks to the lovely lady and the other passengers on the bus from Bilbao to Bermeo!