Saturday, September 12, 2009
The Scallop Shell
6 hours 10 minutes-21.7 km
Today was a perfect day for walking. Overcast all morning with a cool breeze made it just right, as there is very little shade in wine country.
We walked steadily uphill for more than 2 1/2 hours. Again we walked through rolling wheat fields, olive groves and ever more vineyards.
There was always the occasional shepherd with his sheep dogs directing their herds over the hills.
First you hear the distant tinkle of bells, then you see them coming over the rise in the distance. As the tinkling bells get louder and the sheep closer, you can hear them chewing their way across the countryside in unison. Marvelous!!
Our first stop this morning was at the Irache Winery. They have 2 Pilgrim fountains. One to fill our water bottles and the other is a wine fountain . Although the sun had not come up yet, we all had our traditional drink of wine from our scallop shell that we wear on our backpack to distinguish us as Pilgrims.
The scallop shell has always been the symbol of Saint James. I have heard many different versions of how it became the symbol. Here is just one of them:
When Jesus was crucified his Apostles went forth to spread the Word. The Apostle James went to Spain and when he returned to Jerusalem he was quickly beheaded by Herod Igrippa in 44AD, becoming the first Apostle to be martyred. James' followers stole his body and took it back to Spain by boat, they landed in Finisterre, the then known end of the world.
There was a pagan wedding going on and as the boat approached, the groom's horse spooked and fell from a cliff into the sea. Both horse and groom were presumed drowned. Suddenly, the horse and rider emerged from the sea alive and well and covered with scallop shells.
It is the first miracle attributed to Saint James (Santiago) and the scallop shell became the symbol of Saint James and those who make the Pilgrimage to his tomb in Santiago de Compostela.
I wish you peace, love, and laughter
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