Day twenty-three: Bacchus

As days on the Camino go, this was a pretty joyful one. After a full day of rest yesterday, I was off with fresh legs and an easy journey ahead of me. No mountains to climb, only 14 miles to cover, all through beautiful scenery. Even the threatened rain held off, and what came down was barely a sprinkle and no trouble. I even got a rainbow!

This is wine country, and my path was lined frequently with grapes, bodegas, wine tastings, etc. Somehow I resisted the urge to partake of the offerings, it being 10:00 am or so when I passed them, but the urge was there. The Roman god Bacchus is the god of agriculture and wine, and is often associated with revelry. Well, I was reveling in the day, and the ease with which I was traipsing through the countryside. I want to be sure to bring more joy into this time, rather than worrying about getting to the destination in one piece!

As I approached my destination, Villafranca del Bierzo, I heard what sounded like gunshots, or explosions or very loud fireworks (at 1:00 in the afternoon). I saw the smoke rising ahead of me from the frequent bursts of sound. Once I entered town, I realized it was fireworks of some kind as a parade passed right in front of me. There were tall masked characters dancing, a band playing, and a large crucifixtion carried by a group of men. Quite the eclectic parade, with solemn townspeople dressed up and following along. When I checked into my hotel I asked the reason for the celebration. Expecting some religious holiday that had escaped my memory, I was informed that it was a celebration of the first day of the harvest. Bacchus would be pleased.

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