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Urbs fortitudinis nostrae Sion;
salvator ponetur in ea
murus et antemurale.
Aperite portas et ingrediatur gens iusta,
custodiens veritatem
vetus error abiit: servabis pacem;
pacem quia in te speravimus.
sperastis in Domino in saeculis aeternis;
in Domino Deo forti in perpetuum. (Isa 26.1b-4, Vulg.)


The city of our strength is Zion:
the Savior will erect in it the wall and rampart.
Throw open the city-gates
and let the just nation enter,
one who guards the truth.

The old transgression has passed away;
You will guard the peace;
a peace we have hoped for,
because peace is in You.

You have hoped in the Lord in ages eternal!
In the Lord God, steadfast forever! (Translation mine)

Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Effetti del Buon Governo in Città or “Effects of Good Government in the City” (c. 1338-40)

‘O fortunati, quorum iam moenia surgunt!’
Aeneas ait, et fastigia suspicit urbis. (Aen. I.437-438)

“Lucky are you, whose walls now rise!”
Cried Aeneas, as he surveyed the summits of the city. (Translation mine)

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I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.

I keep the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
my body also rests secure.

For you do not give me up to Sheol,
or let your faithful one see the Pit.

You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
in your right hand are pleasures for evermore. (16.7-11)

The Book of Psalms (see Acts 2)

unknown artist, The Myrrh-bearing Women

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Return, my soul, to your rest,
for the Lord has looked after you.

revertere anima mea in requiem tuam
quia Dominus reddet tibi

επιστρεψον η ψυχη μου εις την αναπαυσιν σου
οτι κυριος ευηργετησεν σε

שׁוּבִי נַפְשִׁי לִמְנוּחָיְכִי

כִּי יְהוָה גָּמַל עָלָיְכִי

Psalm 116 (114 LXX)

Samuel Herzsenberg, The Sabbath Rest (1894)

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A combination photograph shows the badly damaged Cathedral after an earthquake in Port-au-Prince almost two years later on Dec. 29, 2011 (top), on Sept. 30, 2010 (middle), and on the bottom on March 18, 2010. (The Big Picture)

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Mateo’s birthday!

8:25pm – Torres del Río

31km from Estella – our biggest distance day yet, over nineteen miles, most of which was over brilliantlyt flat dirt roads to Los Arcos. We lost leaving Estella, some twenty minutes wandering about, but we eventually found the processional of pilgrims out of town.

True to form, the first few towns involve good medium gradient hills that tests our morning legs, still weary from the trip to Estella. As it is Sunday/Domingo, nothing is open, except a cafe in Villamayor de Monjardín, which all the pilgrims raided for sandwiches and fruit juice before the 14.5km walk to Los Arcos. The walk there was only difficult in distance, but there were no hills or tough terrain to negotiate.

The final push to Torres del Río was more of the same, but too including some time along the high. It was on this last leg that we are quickly passed by a female, absolutely flying by us on the roadside. We later find her in town, along with a French gentleman, all of us looking for an open albergue. We four finally find Casa Mari, a hostel run by a half-crazy women, dead-set on pronouncing my home nation “ew sa” (USA). The French gentleman is Andrew from Britanny, and the Czech gal is Hedvika, who apparently didn’t leave Estella until 10am, as she attended Mass. Mateo and I gather she must not have stopped once until Torres. And I feel guilty for not attending Mass this morning.

Before enterting Los Arcos, a woman out for her afternoon stroll declares to us “¿qué día bonita para pasar en el camino?” / “Isn’t it a nice day to be on (the) camino?” — And it was. rather cool in the morning for most of the travel.

Also on the long traverse from Villamayor to Los Arcos, we encountered a gentleman I’m calling el lobo solo. This gut is built for camino, or the Appalachian Trail, or any other long distance trip you throw at him. He travels alone, deep-dark tan, killer boot, grey round-brimmed hat. He took only the shortest break in Los Arcos before heading  on to Tores, and not even stopping there. While Mateo and I were enjoying our sandwiches with our boots off aside a stream, he swings past us and simply utters “buen provecho” “enjoy. It seemed pretty badass at the time.

Dinner for Mateo’s birthday

Germans – Ronnie and Bruin
Canadiens – Rachel and Christian

Ronnie is an Arsenal fan and doesn’t care for the Bundesliga. We discuss Wenger, Henry, Bergkamp, and Fàbregas; Bruin is a talkative advertising agent from East Berlin, who’s done camino, but whose knees are bad and had to rest two days in Pamplona, then took a bus to Los Arcos.

A strange, scary situation: a gentleman from Guardia Civil asks Mateo (because he speaks Spanish) a series of questions about we had seen a person in a white truck along the camino. Something about a French girl getting harassed/assaulted right before Los Arcos. We’d like not to think that this is the business of the camino, but I imagine parts can be more perilous than you’d like.

But tonight I got to talk to Laura on Matt’s Skype account, which I know was big for me, since the last time we spoke was Tuesday from a pay-phone in the Dublin airport. She’s in High Point with her parents.

Antón Hurtado, “Torres del Río” (2003) (artist’s website)

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8:30pm – Puente La Reina [Bas., Gares]

It is Friday, or so I am told. We are at the Ritz Carlton of albergues. It’s usually a hotel with a hostel on the lowest level, placed behind the kitchen. Internet is only 1€/30min, so we were able to contact a few folks back home. Laura was thankfully on gChat, out first time “talking” in days. Mateo and I then take naps, then hustle into town to find a cash machine, a restaurante, and a pay phone, but all we find is a grocer, where we buy chips, bread, peach/grape juice, and jamón. We march back to the albergue, eat out foods and then watch the Spanish news equivalent to CNN.

There was a ETA bombing in Bilbao today, which is slightly scary, given that we had considered taking el camino del norte, or Northern Pass of the Camino, through the towns and cities like Bilbao and San Sebastián [Bas., Donostia]. Besides the Basque bar in Pamplona and nearly all signs in both Euskara and Spanish in Navarra, we haven’t seen too much out of sorts.

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