All over the country there are pilgrims on the roads

Pilgrims from San Vito de Coto Brus are still trudging the highways en route to Cartago.

The Cruz Roja reported that aid workers were standing by at Cerro de la Muerte Tuesday keeping an eye on the walkers.

Some 205 treatments have been given to pilgrims at a clinic in  Pérez Zeledón, and all who were checked rejoined the hike, said the Cruz Roja.

Every year pilgrims from distant points of Costa Rica make news as they spend days on the highways in all kinds of weather headed for the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, the country’s patroness.

One group  of 185 pilgrims from San Vita is being escorted by an ambulance, a physician and Cruz Roja workers. They are facing cold weather in the mountains, but there are no cases of hypothermia, the Cruz Roja said.

Employers can pretty well cross off Thursday because much of the population of the Central Valley will be on foot headed to Cartago. Although there is now train service to the basilica, many pilgrims will continue the traditional hike, including President Laura Chinchilla. But they might return to their home by train. There always have been fleets of buses ready to take pilgrims home after the religious services on the morning of Aug. 2

Friday, Aug. 2, is a legal holiday, and some pilgrims will have time to rest their tired feet and muscles. But if they are in Montes de Oca, they will not be able to quench their thirst buying alcohol. The municipal council has decreed that no alcoholic beverages will be sold that day in the canton that includes San Pedro. Municipalities have the right to do this under the 2012 liquor law.

The  Consejo Nacional de Vialidad said that it was suspending the toll on the Autopista  Florencio del Castillo between Curridabat and Cartago from 6 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday in honor of the pilgrimage. Motorists probably should try to avoid that area if they can because the highway will be flooded with pilgrims.

Each year more than a million persons walk to Cartago as a test of religious faith. Some estimates range as high as two  million, nearly half the population of the country.

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