Already in his first Guide to Magical Spain, that indefatigable knight of the roads that was Juan García Atienza, recently deceased, commented about this singular little village of León, the terrible ghost of the depopulation that was beginning to be felt in the place, and of a more or less poetic way, he remembered the screeching of the maderrais of his half sunken houses when the wind blew through those heights.
Something has changed the town in this sense, although it may not be so noticeable in its main alley, where the houses denote, possibly, an urgent need for restoration, in some cases, to the point that on traditional balconies, the Due to the fact that the wood exerts a monster as voracious as time is.
But it is better noticed, in its City Hall and in the stone houses and the newest slate roof, located behind it.
Atienza also warned of the pre-Celtic nature of the place. A nature that begins to be noticed, without going any further, in the name holly that, along with the múerdago, also formed another of the sacred plants of the famous druids.
As a reminder of these, it is still preserved at the entrance or exit of the village -depending on whether one comes from Astorga or Ponferrada- a curious fountain, known to pilgrims over the centuries, which responds to the significant name of La Trucha or Truite, in French, an appellation with which they were known, likewise, the aforementioned Celtic druids.
Also guard this town, a singular Romanesque image of the XIIth century, of Santiago Apostle, for whose vision, it is well worth a displacement to the place, because without a doubt it is one of the oldest images that exist of the Saint Jacobean Pattern.
From here, too, the road - fortunately, the road has improved a lot since those happy days when Atienza walked the most intricate peninsular roads in his battered Land Rover - that descending into the depths of the Valley of Silence, leads to the curious and the pilgrim to one of the oldest and most emblematic places in the surroundings: the village and the smithy of Compludo, which continues to function as the first day, tracing its origin, nothing more and nothing less, than that dark seventh century in which, after the African invasions, one of the most outstanding phenomena of all the Bierzo of Leon began to take place in the place: mass hermitism.
Villages and curiosities of the Camino de Santiago.
NOTICE: Originally published in my blog RECUERDOS DE UN PEREGRINO. Both the text and the accompanying photographs are my exclusive intellectual property. The original entry, where you can check the authorship of juancar347, can be found at the following address: https://jc347.blogspot.com/2012/04/de-astorga-ponferrada-el-acebo.html
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Original content by @juancar347
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