Saturday, April 30, 2016

Alfonso's Whatever

I detoured from the start of my camino to visit this UNESCO site built by King Alfonso II in the 9th Century. It's now called a church. The guidebooks say he built it as part of his palace. But a local guy on the scene says no one knows why he built it. But it should be part of the Camino Primitivo, which is best translated as the Original Camino, not as the Primitive (although it is that, too). When the remains of St. James were supposedly (and exceedingly improbably) found in Galicia, Alfonso built the first Camino to Santiago de Compostella so that hordes of pilgrims could walk to see St. James's remains, and in the process provide enough Catholic boots on the ground to discourage the Moors from trying again to complete their conquest of Spain (Alfonso had beaten them off once, barely).