The first hazard as you climb into the Pyrenean mountains, so Sigismund tells me, is the packs of wolves in the high forests which prey on lone pilgrims, and it was because of these that the hôpital at Roncesvalles was established. And it wasn't so long ago, that the souls of pilgrims were at risk from the pernicious teachings of the Cathar heretics who sought refuge in the mountains.
On the east of Lorca is the bitter river the local people call the Salado. There are wicked men who wait beside the river for unsuspecting pilgrims and encourage them to water their horses there. When the horses fall dead, these rogues skin them before their carcases have even cooled!
Once you pass over the mountains into Spain, do not eat their beef, pork, shad, eel or tench for they will almost certainly make you sick. (Spanish tummy? I wondered that such a thing has been known for such a long time) The Porma and the Sil are good rivers of sweet water, flowing through verdant and pleasant lands. A few miles from Santiago our party halted and we bathed in the waters of the Miño, a river surely blessed by God, stripping off even our underclothes.
Sigismund was so keen to tell me of the adventures they had been through, and the things they had learned along the road that our meal was done before ever I had a chance to ask Traudi about the song she was singing earlier. Before the poor girl had a chance to utter a word Sigismund told me with a note of pride in his voice that she had learned the song as a pupil, one of the few females admitted to the school run by the Benedictines at Disibodenberg.
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