The Pilgrim Sailor

Belorado is a small village that lies between Logrõno and Burgos in northern Spain, on the pilgrim way to Santiago de Compostela. The location has apparently been inhabited since before Roman times.

On the way into Belorado we came across a sign stating that four hundred casualties of a local battle between local volunteers and the occupying army of Napoleon were buried beneath the ground on which we were standing.

Quite a sobering thought.

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Plaque outside Belorado commemorating the 1810 battle

A little further on we came across the Albergue A Santiago and I took a room for the night.

Later, having a beer outside in the warmth of the evening sun, we chatted with two Frenchmen.  They were of early retirement age and were on their fourth pilgrimage to Santiago.  Walking from village to village for days and weeks on end can be quite addictive.

They told us of a sailor that they had recently met who had been involved in a shipwreck off Iceland many years previously. The sailor had sworn to the Virgin Mary that if he survived he would spend the rest of his life walking to Santiago de Compostela. He was subsequently saved and to date he had completed 25 pilgrimages, including one from Saint Petersburg in Russia.

It was not until later that I recalled having taken a photo in Logroño of a huge wall painting of an old man with body tattoos of the stamps of various Camino villages.

Was he the old sailor that the Frenchmen were describing?