Many amazing things have happened during our stay at Roncesvalles. Robin’s post captured most but not all of them. As we were finishing our sandwiches, and the beer and wine Juan was kind enough to search out in the neighboring town of Burguete, in comes a priest, Fr. Juan Carlos, with a bottle of homemade pacharan (a local aperitif best described as ouzo in a shirt and tie) and plastic cups. After sampling he asked if any of us would like to tour the crypt. The church at Roncesvalles is steeped in history and the crypt holds many seldom seen treasures. So we all gathered in the dark and rain and set off to see the crypt. I must add that Fr. Juan Carlos was a man of unbounded energy and enthusiasm for the hidden delights of his church. He literally took us everywhere all over the church property. We went down into the depths, up into the rafters and seemingly everywhere in between. Fr. Juan Carlos’ guided tour was translated by Bruno, a Belgian pilgrim, whose multi lingual talents were well appreciated. It was truly a fascinating and informative night. I have included a photo of the Chains of Navarre (Google for the story) which was one of the highlights of the tour.
One final note regarding our stay in Roncesvalles was the wonderful Real Collegiata de Santa Maria church, the joy of the evening mass and the beauty of the pilgrim blessing. The presiding priest called all the pilgrims to the foot of the alter for the closing prayer and blessing. His sincerity and concern for our safety and the challenges of our journey were truly heartfelt and much appreciated.
|Chains of Navarre|
|Rental Collegiata de Santa Maria|
|Whose got my bocadillos|
|Juan, Carmen and kids|