Pilgrim Mass, Santiago de Compostela

Botafumeiro at the Santiago Cathedral, Santiago de Compostela Spain

Botafumeiro at the Santiago Cathedral, Santiago de Compostela Spain

Pilgrim Mass at the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, the Tiraboleiros, members of clergy swing an 80k silver incense burner called a botafermeiro across the transept of the Cathedral. It is a highlight of the service, the moment many pilgrims have been waiting for.

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.

The Camino to Santiago de Compostela and Thich Nhat Hahn…..

“The mind can go in a thousand directions. But on this beautiful path, I walk in peace.  With each step a cool wind blows. With each step a flower blooms.”  Thich Nhat Hanh 

I have been reading poetry by Thich Nhat Hanh and it often reminds me of the quiet days of walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. My mind could wander in a thousand directions, but it wasn’t until I focused my thoughts on the path before me, on the beauty around me that I truly began to enjoy the walk.  But if I wasn’t in the present moment I could walk and not see a thing, not remember the road I walked.

While on the Camino I learned that I had to stay conscous, I need to be thinking of what is in front of me, how it was shaped by the light, I and to think the story I wanted to tell, if I didn’t I was just getting snap shots or passing events. But it wasn’t work, I somehow managed to make it sound like work, but it wasn’t, it make the Camino, our journey, more enjoyable, more memorable.

This is a bigger problem for me at home, driving to work, thinking about all the things I have to do that day, and before I know it I am at the office, and I don’t remember the trip, what did I miss?  Did I miss waving to a friend, or the beauty of the sunrise.  Or while at work, getting caught up in the job, the chaos, going through the motions, and not really being engaged.

How about you, are you on a beautiful path, is your life blooming before you, are you finding small nugets of joy in your day/chaos?

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

Vanishing moments – and the Camino to Santiago

”We photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth can make them come back again. We cannot develop and print a memory.”     Henri Cartier-Bresson

travelling the Camino to Santiago, walking the many miles, brought the point of Vanishing moments back to me every so clearly…….

Camino way marker, yellow arrow

Camino way marker, yellow arrow

scallop shell marker

scallop shell street marker  

PilgrimYield Sign

Pilgrim Yield Sign

Pilgrim at the Cross

Pilgrim at the Cross

once we passed a sign, I wasn’t in a hurry to walk back again to take a picture; if I thought too long about what caught my attention I would miss the moment that spoke to me. These are just a couple of the sites and signs we saw and photographed while on the Camino to Santiago.  The were route markers everywhere that was needed, not so often they cluttered the view, but often enough we knew which road to take.  In Pamplona we saw the steel scallop shells every 100 feet, other cities were equally well-marked; we saw the yield signs when we had to cross a major road or highway where we might encounter vehicle traffic;  and we saw the long rock arrows on the Meseta, the flat plains of Spain.

Guest post: Walking the Camino de Santiago – by Janice Meyers Foreman

The HitchHikers’s Handbook has published a story and photos written about the Camino:  check out their site:

Guest post: Walking the Camino de Santiago – by Janice Meyers Foreman.

Besides my guest-post you will find plenty of helpful information for world wide travel.  Good information for the traveller.

Red Dalia beside the Camino Path

Red Dalia

Red Dalia

All along the Camino to Santiago we noticed gardens of herbs and garden, always looking prettiest in the rain.

the Photoblog creative project challenge is “red” and while the photo is not completely red, the main subject is red. My husband the red jacket, top right corner compliments the flower and creates a diagonal line through the image.  Have a look at the other images that have been submitted.  Let me know if you get involved in the challenge.

see  more: red and rain

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.

Camino Slideshow

You tube

I am a member to a wonderful business network group, everyone there wanted to see some of my images so I did my best to create a slideshow; because I have lots of images, but needed to keep it short (the lenght of the song) the images move quite fast, but if you have been following the blog many of the images have appeared here before with the stories of the day.

The memories are still quite strong, and I am enjoying sorting, processing, keywording my images, re-reading my notes, and re-living the camino, even if I have been spending most of my time in the basement office rather than outside taking new pictures.

I will move onto new subjects shortly…..

I hope you enjoy the slideshow, and the stories; I look forward to your feedback

Remembering our Camino, our journey to Santiago de Compostella

Pyrenees Pony, Orisson France, Camino de Santiago

We are home now, after 7 weeks on the road and it is time to sort, keyword, and process the many photos taken during our time on the camino route from Saint Jean Pied de Port France to Santiago de Compostella Spain.  As we left Orisson the sun was just coming up, and as we walked towards Roncesvalles one of our fellow travellers that day commented that at the rate I was going I would never make it. Stopping as often as I did for one more picture, I was not making great time on the road.  Here the beautiful pony was standing watching the pilgrims pass by.

During October 2012 17,790 pilgrims were received in the Pilgrim’s office in Santiago Spain. Bill and I were among the 20.26% who travelled from St. Jean Pied de Port France, and two of the 631 Canadians to completed the camino. The Pilgrim’s office provides up to date statistics and you might find it interesting to see the who is travelling the camino.

I it is going to be both challenging and interesting to go back through the many photos and notes taken during our walk and hopefully build a complete portfolio. For this images I processed in Nik Silver Effects Pro 2, then reducing the opacity of the layer by 15% I was able to bring in just a hint of the colour that was in the original images. I think it adds a bit of depth, let me know what you think.