Jacobean flowers

On their arrival at Compostela the Camellias become Jacobean.

Displayed on the pilgrim’s staff, they lend gaiety to the restfulness of the tree-lined Alameda. They look out over a magic postcard-landscape which has somehow been made real. If the traveller is quite carried away, the pilgrim can look back on his life, and perhaps thanks God for what he sees before him, even though this is an image which has been seen many times. The camellias, spread everywhere over the horseshoe-shaped pathway, they are accomplices in his delight, and respectful of his silence.

The Alameda in Santiago is the natural meeting place of what was once a rural area which has now become urban. The pathway which winds around the hillside is home to ancient oak trees, called “carballos” in the local Galician language. These provide shelter to the hermitage of Santa Susana, which stands in a site once occupied by a Celtic settlement.

At the foot of this ancient site, oaks line paths and walks, in the shade of palm and lemon and banana trees, there is a place for camellias and for poets. The poets are eternal, and the camellias, ephemeral.

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>Even though the traveller may not always feel like a pilgrim, the feeling of awe is the same for both, for these are Jacobean Camelias.

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