Camino Graffiti: Walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela, Spain

the tired pilgrim, Camino Murals, Cardenuela Riopico Spain.

the tired pilgrim, Camino Murals, Cardenuela Riopico Spain. 

One year ago we were preparing to leave for Spain, and to walk the Camino to Santiago de Compostela. While I had read plenty of books, researched websites, and checked out the images on sites like Flickr, there was nothing that really prepared us for the journey.

Walking and training at home a couple of hours in the evening, or 4 or 5 hours one day on the weekend does not really prepare you for walking day after day for 30 plus days.  For us the terrain and weather was different, if you can traing everyday for at least a short time and in all types of weather.

We were sleeping in a new bed each night, and for some of us that can be more difficult than you might imagine. After all, sleep specialist tell us our bedtime routine, and our bed/nest is very important to a good night sleep.  For some sleeping in an hostal/alberque, a dorm room full of strangers, some who snore, some who have to use the washroom during the night, and then some who get up even before dawn, to get an early start, all make getting a good night sleep a challenge.

These are not big problems, but not having a good night sleep can leave you looking like the guy in the wall mural above, and vulnerable to illness and or injury.  It is important when planning your camino to take these sleeping into consideration if you are going to enjoy the journey. An eye mask to keep the light out of your eyes will prevent you from being disturbed every time someone turns on their flashlight or the bathroom light. Ear plugs for the noise.   Don’t just try these things out, wear them at home and get use to them, so the feeling isn’t new, so you make sure you have the right fit and a comfort level with them.

We are planning on walking another Camino, so I have been giving all of this more thought. Bill and I didn’t stay in many alberques, mostly because sleeping in a room full of people was more difficult that we had thought. We simple could’t get a good night sleep. I am not sure if the next trip will be any different, but we are planning on walking the Via la Plata also referred to as the Silver Route, in the spring of 2014. We have read that this route is not as busy, and many of the alberques are smaller.  One Camino friend walked it last spring and there were times when he was alone or with a small number of pilgrims.  Again I research the books and websites, look at the maps and Flickr sights, I am sure that having walked one Camino we will be better prepared, but I am also sure there will be many surprises, things we hadn’t expected, and days when we look and feel like the guy above.

 

 

Camino Art, Burguete (Auritz) Spain

Camino Art, Burguete Spain

An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.
Henry David Thoreau 

Walking the Camino, The Way of St. James, to Santiago de Compostella, we were  awake, and walking early in the morning, and each day saw camino art, wonderful expressions of creativity, some of it related to the camino experience some of it related to other subjects.

Located in Burguete Spain, a little town made famous as Hemingway’s trout-fishing base in the The Sun Also Rises. I wondered if the mural was a tribute to the writer.

Astorga Spain

We arrived in Astorga Spain after a 21k walk, it was a beautiful day, perfect for walking with temperatures between about 10 degrees C and 22 degrees C. sunshine and a slight breeze. At Astorga the camino route we have been travelling meets up with a route from Seville Spain, and the accommodations are getting harder to get.  We have been staying in private albergues or pensions and it looks like we will have to start booking 2 or 3 days in advance to ensure a place to sleep.  

Each day along the walk we have been treated to public art related to the camino, perigrines and the way of St. James, and at Astorga we visited the Cathedral, the Cathedral Museum and the Gaudi’s Palace Gardens.

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Hola from Burgos Spain, Day 17 Calgary to Santiago de Compostella

Camino Mural, Belorado Spain, painted camino scallop shell,

Day 14, our journey found us travelling to Belorado, about 24 k under cloudy skies, the mist hung in the air, warm about 18C it felt like it would rain. About noon the skies cleared temperatures quickly reached mid 20’s C. during our final hour or walking.

We arrived in Belorado about 2:30 pm and found the Pension Verdeancho where we had made a reservation.  It was a lovely stone building, log beams in the ceiling, and a lovely veranda out front.  The best part – the softest bed we have slept in since leaving home!  On the camino simple pleasures like a comfortable bed and a good nights sleep become important. I realize as I type this that a good night sleep is always important, but I am lucky and at home it is a common occurrence. So common I have taken it for granted, until now!

Belorado Spain is a quaint little town, some of the buildings are closed up, some have fallen in to disrepair, but the central plaza was a hive of activity in the early evening as we sat at one of the out-door cafes and had dinner. I say early evening, because on the camino Bill and I are often sound asleep by 9:30 or 10 pm, as our morning walk starts about 7 – 7:30 am, and with 20 – 25 kilometres to travel sleep is essential.

Day 15, September 22 we left Belorado and once again we missed a camino marker, once again we had not travelled very far when someone called out to us, turned us around, and sent us on in the right direction! Once on the correct path out-of-town we travelled past several walls that had been painted with camino murals, we had seen some murals before, not as many in one spot before, or as elaborate as those in Belorado.

Camino Mural, Belorado Spain,

From Bolorado we walked through past several villages, stopping once for coffee, then up into the pine forest, to San Juan de Ortega. 23.6 k   While most days we carry lunch with us, today it was essential, there is a 12k stretch through the forest with only a picnic area to rest at.  A long, hilly, forest truck road, very quiet place to walk.

San Juan de Ortega is a very small community of about 20 people, is dominated by the church and the monastery. We pick, or I should say, we happened into San Juan Ortega on a very interesting day, September 22, the fall solstice each year a ray of sunlight enters the church at twilight, a tiny beam of light  illuminating the Annunciation of Virgin Mary, sculpted in stone at the top of the pillar. People for all over travel to the church this day, several tour buses arrived, and the plaza filled with people.

Yesterday Sept 23, 2012, day 16, we walked into Burgos Spain. We have travelled about 286 kilometres, 15 days. For the most part the weather has been good, people have been friendly and helpful, and we are enjoying the trip. today, day 17, Sept 24, 2012 we are taking a day off to see the attractions of Burgos.

Tired Pilgrim, Camino Murals, Cardenuela Riopico Spain

Buen Camino.

Street Art, Spring Blossoms

The beautiful street art reminds me that, hopefully spring is just around the corner.  While it could be almost another month before we see the trees blooming I am looking forward to the spring bulbs like crocus, tulips and daffodiffs.

Haiku, Flowers of spring

by ~Amagai-Shuusuke
The flowers of spring, Bloom upon the silent hill, Where our love was born.

Alexis, Calgary Model, Funkytown Wedding workshop

Alexis worked very hard for us on Saturday at the Funkytown Wedding workshop.  It was cold, and we were in a big parkade, but she was a trooper!

Here I had a big cement wall and thought I would try something a little different, I have started experimenting with textures a bit, I am still trying to decide if I like it. Let me know what you think.

This photo was entered into the I Heart Faces photo challenge –

Alexis, Funkytown Photography Workshop, Calgary Alberta

Alexis was one of the other models that we were working with on Saturday at the Funky Town Wedding Workshop in Calgary, she was wonderful, and we had a great time walking around the SAIT Campus working in different lighting conditions, on composition and posing, it was a great day.

Wurzburg Graffiti

It doesn’t seem to matter where we travel these days we find some walls marked by graffiti. As we rode the train from Franfurt to Wurzberg the walls along the train line were covered with it. It was very colorful and looked surprisingly similar to what we see at home.

This little gem was a small section on a wall in the walking streets of downtown Wurzberg. I am not sure which was added first the started face or the flying bird but it is quite comical, and I couldn’t resist photographing the idea to keep forever.