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December 1, 2017

Astorga & Gaudi

By Maryanna Gabriel

"Today I saw a place where imagination thrived."
- Walking 2018 Calendar by Maryanna Gabriel 

    I was enjoying a slight edge to the temperature as the season began to change. There was a cool bite to the air. Santiago was a mere 250 kilometers away and I was feeling a sense of accomplishment for having walked 550 kilometers. 

     I maneuvered up an incline into the city of Astorga. Of all of the places on the Camino, Astorga was to be my favourite. It reminded me of artistic cities I have loved like my home here on Salt Spring, Santa Fe in New Mexico, San Miguel in Mexico and now Astorga in Spain. It was a vibrant place with beautiful gardens, sculpture, architecture, and interesting looking people. I walked through plazas that overflowed with restaurants and people sitting out in the sunlight. It was not long before I came upon the Bishop's Palace by architect, Antonio Gaudi. Entranced by the fairy tale castle presentation, I paid the admission and entered. Every room was different. Each ceiling was different. Designs inter played as I noticed every window also was unique . His imagination had soared and so was I. There was also displayed a series of medieval carvings of Saint James. (Sanitago, means Sant Iagao, or Saint James) usually depicted with a walking stick or crook and a gourd which held water.

           The Bishop's Palace is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever been in. I was sorry to read that Gaudi with his all of his great imagination, had died impoverished and alone.