On the Road to Almedralejo Spain;

I have to admit that today was not very inspiring, 17.2 k of dirt road, 13k backpack, 10 C, and a 20k wind blowing in our face all day. The road was mostly flat, we could see for miles, and then….

walking the Via la Plata on our way to Almedralejo Spain we encountered goat herders at work

walking the Via la Plata on our way to Almedralejo Spain we encountered goat herders at work  

the goat herders, their dogs, and the goats came up the small hill. The goats hesitated a moment when they saw us. We stopped so as not to scare them, and the goat herder spoke, waved his stick, and the goats moved forward….

Surrounded by goats

Surrounded by goats 

the next thing we knew they were walking around us, as if we were not there…

off they go, goats and goat herders walking down the road

off they go, goats and goat herders walking down the road 

and they were on their way.

One of the things I love most about the Camino to Santiago de Compostela in general, and the Via la Plata specifically is that it brings us close to experiencing Spain, the Spanish people and their way of living that most tourists don’t experience.

 

Foggy Walk from Fuente de Cantos, on the Via la Plata, Spain

foggy walk to Jafra Spain on the Via la Plata

foggy walk to Jafra Spain on the Via la Plata 

Yup, yesterday I was raving on about the wonderful spring weather along the Via la Plata, and sure enough we wake up to fog! Temperatures were reasonable enough for walking about 10 C  and it didn’t rain on us. The fog cleared about 11 am, in the meantime I tried to get creative with the landscape photos.

foggy landscape along the via la plata, Spain

foggy landscape along the via la plata, Spain 

later in the day, after the fog cleared we came across small stream that had to be crossed, our biggest challenge; not getting the boots wet or falling down.

crossing the stream along the Via la Plata, Spain.

crossing the stream along the Via la Plata, Spain. 

Always something new along the Via la Plata.

 

 

Happy First Day of Spring, from the Via la Plata, Spain

El Castilllo de las Torres, El Real de la Jara

El Castillo de las Torres, El Real de la Jara, Spain

it is the first day of spring, and I must say that Spring in Spain has been wonderful. Most days when we are walking temperatures start about 13 – 15 C and be mid day when we are done around  23 – 25 C. Yesterday we did get a sprinkle of rain, but most days are clear or there is only a light cloud cover. Did I mention it is nice?

It is hard to document the sounds that we hear. At times there has been roosters crowing to walk us up, is sounds pleasant, and I guess it is, but at 4 am not quite so nice! At least some of the goats, sheep, and cows are wearing bells, so we can hear them clang in the distance. The occasional farm dog barks as we go by. Most of the roads are quiet, the occasional car, or tractor, although we have had times where we had to walk on or near the highway, and we had to listen to the cars swish by us at great speed, this was a little unnerving. Most of the time we are walking in the beautiful quiet country side, listening to song of the birds.  A wonderful way to spend a spring day.

 

New York City Flower District

New York City Flower District

New York City Flower District 

The New York City flower district, between 26 and 29 st. and jut of 6 Ave. a large concentration of both wholesale and retail florists. The flowers, trees, accessories can be found lining both sides of the sidewalk creating this little path.

One of the small districts that isn’t featured in many of the travel books, and just a small taste of some of the different things you will see when walking the streets of New York City.

Walking the Meseta, Camino to Santiago de Compostela

Walking the Meseta; cool fall morning on the Camino

Walking the Meseta; cool fall morning on the Camino

I remember this morning very well, the day before had been rainy and wet, so we were happy to see the sun. It was a cool morning, and we had started just before sunrise. From this little creek we climbed to the top of Alto de Mosteleres.

Many of the people we met thought I was a little crazy, because I carried a full size DSRL camera with a couple of lenses. But having the camera with me, meant that as I was looking for images, I was more aware of my surroundings, rather than just walking along, lost in my thoughts.

I found that walking with my camera, thinking about how to show our trip to family, friends and blog readers, I was more aware of how the light changed during the day, as well as how the landscape, and our surroundings changed as we walked. I thought about how best to tell the story of our journey. I also tried to learn more about the places we were visiting, so I could pass along some of the stories.

Since being home I have found a couple of extra benefits to carryin my camera. The first is the friends that I made through the blog.  But the most unexpected benefit is having images for the stock photography. The image above is just one of the many images submitted to Alamy, and one of several images that have sold since adding them to the site. It is always rewarding when someone chooses one of my images to accompany their writing and or publication.

Yes the camera was extra weight, and there were days that were tougher because of that weight, but I am glad I had the camera with me.

 

Walking in the Rain

walking in the rain

walking in the rain

If you are in Calgary today, you will need your umbrella!

It is Friday and it seems like it has been raining most of the week, but it is spring, so the rainy weather is to be expected. Having a nice red umbrella can brighten the day.  I hope you have a happy friday and a great weekend.

Meseta at Dawn; Walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela

Growing up in the Canadian Breadbasket other wise known as Saskatchewan, miles and miles of farmland is not an unfamiliar scene. Walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela through the meseta was like a trip home.  The fields and  the road went on, seemingly forever. The crops a golden color, the worked ground a beautiful brown, the sky pink as the sun was rising in the east. The scene was as familiar as it was beautiful.

The challenge as a photographer is to see even a seemingly old familiar scene (and to show it to others) in a new way. I saw this scene as blocks of color, and the detail of each cloud, line in the field, the weeds in the ditch and rocks on the road all distracted from the blocks of color I wanted to emphasis. The light was low, so I set the ISO low, the aperture for a high depth of field, and a slow shutter speed, then moved the camera sideways to blur all the detail. The image now emphasises the blocks of color as well as the beautiful pink hue of a new day.

Camino to Santiago de Compostela, a journey not just a destination

Rock Bridge, Galicia Spain

Rock Bridge, Galicia Spain

“Focus on the journey not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it”        Greg Anderson

One of the things we found while walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela, is the same thing we have found and experienced in many other areas of our life. People are goal oriented and want to reach the next destination. On the walk people were getting up well before dawn and walking in the dark, little headlights on their forehead, trying to find the next arrow or marker.  This is fine if you have spent some time the day before surveying the route out-of-town. But why walk in the dark.  Yes it is a quiet time of the day, and you can be out-of-town before the traffic gets bad, but in the small town on the country road that we were walking traffic was never a problem.

I do understand that the summer heat of Spain can make walking in mid afternoon difficult, so that might be a consideration during the summer months for some people. But walking in the dark means that you really can’t see and enjoy the town, or the countryside, the signs, the shrines or farms that you are walking by.

It isn’t reaching our goal or destination that shapes our journey, it is each mile or milestone along the way that shapes our soul.  It it the sights, sounds, people and experiences we have along the way that is what we, what I wanted to remember.  I would say to anyone planning this journey to take your time, enjoy the sights, the sounds, get to know the people along the way, live each moment of the journey.

Notre Dame, Paris France; Angel and Shadow

Notre Dame_Paris France_Angel and Shadow

Notre Dame_Paris France_Angel and Shadow

 

I am preparing a slide show; on Saturday Mar 16, 2013 I will be showing some of my work to the Calgary Chapter of Pilgrims about the Camino to Santiago.  An 820k walked from St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela Spain.

The Spring Meeting of the Calgary Chapter, Canadian Company of Pilgrims
will be held at Good Shepherd Anglican Church (408 – 38 Street SW, Calgary)
on Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30).

Everyone  welcome – light refreshments served – tapas/wine gratefully accepted.

If you have been following the blog for a while you will remember that Bill and I walked the Camino in the Fall of 2012, there are many stories and photos already on the blog.  If you are in the Calgary Area, and interested in learning more about the Camino please join us.  There are many people who attend these meetings with knowledge that is both interesting and helpful if you are thinking of doing the walk

walking words from Thich Nhat Hanh, thoughts for the camino

“When we walk like (we are rushing) we print anxiety and sorrow on the earth. We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the earth… Be aware of the contact betwen your feet and the earth. Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feelt”

Thich Nhat Hanh

old boots on the camino route. the camino to Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

old boots on the camino route. the camino to Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

I have recently started to follow Kat Eye Studio blog, and her Photo-Heart Connection for January was inspiring. Looking back over my January blog, this is the photo and memory that was in my heart, my Photo-Heart Connection.