On Friday we walked in a light rain from Queruas to Otur, passing through small hamlets and twisting around farms and fields. The only urban outpost on the route was the port city of Luarca. Leaving there, the rural terrain and buildings were feeling familiar and comfortable. Descending a hill, we noticed the remains of a very old and somewhat overgrown stone building alongside a small stream.
As we approached, a great blue heron circled around from behind as if in welcome. It was a beautiful structure even in its ruin, and we were immediately drawn to explore.
There was a worn plaque near the entrance describing the structure as an ancient early medieval church and cemetery. The plaque said it dates to the 10th century with vestiges from pre-Romanesque and Romanesque times. The cemetery was moved and a new church built in 1922 because of deaths resulting from the influenza pandemic.
We walked throughout the building and grounds, taking photos, sometimes sitting quietly for a few minutes. When we compared our experiences, we both felt it was a sacred space. Was it the deep quiet? The great beauty of the structure? The flowers growing from cracks? Both of us felt a peacefulness and sense that we were on hallowed ground. A meaningful experience that brought tears and will remain a strong memory.
We felt fortunate for the opportunity to be there.
St James from Above – Only 133 miles to St. James of Compostela.