Roncevalles to Larrasoana; Day 2 of the Camino 

27 k, 8 hours of walking, 43000 steps. My feet were hot and tired, so I stuck them in the river to cool off! 

The walk, easier than yesterday, but not easy! We walked through little towns and hamlets, beside the pastures, and we crossed a lot of beautiful little creeks with stone bridges. The signs of spring is everywhere, trees and flowers are in bloom, baby horses and sheep in the pastures, and already the first hay crop has been cut. 

We have met people from Japan, Korea, Australia, Brazil and even a couple other Canadians. 

St. Jean Pied de Port to Roncevalles 

25 k, 9 hours, 44,000 steps 

We left St Jean Pied de Port about 7 am, crossing the historic river Nive along with many others. The camino office indicated to use just over 200 people were registered to start the Camino here. April is not the busiest if months, but the weather, at least today, is suitable for the long walk. The forecast for the next few days is more great weather. 

This stage of the camino is reported to be one of the hardest, and I  can honestly say we were exhausted by the end if the day, and we are looking forward to tomorrow’s walk. 

St.Jean Pied de Port; the Camino Francés 

The Camino Francés traditionally begins in St-Jean-Pied-de-Port.Two-thirds of pilgrims arriving in Santiago walk the Camino Francés, of which 10% start their journey here, walk south on the Rue de Citadelle, past the Notre-Dame church, and through the gate of Norte -Dame. 

I used a long exposure for the photo to show the pilgrims walking down the road. This represents the beginning of their journey.

We start our walk tomorrow. 

The history of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela

St. James, Santiago Cathedral

The Way of St. James is the pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. It ranks along with Rome and Jerusalem as one of Christendom’s great pilgrim destinations.

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By the 12th century, the Camino had become a rather organized affair and what is widely regarded as the world’s first travel guide, the Codex Calixtinus from around 1140, provided the would-be pilgrim with the rudiments of what he or she would need to know while en route; advice for pilgrims, informing them where they should stop, relics and sanctuaries they should visit, bad food they should be wary of and commercial scams, including in the author’s opinion, other churches who claimed to hold relics of St. James. The book provides a valuable insight into the life of the 12th-century pilgrim.

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Just before Sunrise, Sept 20, 2012, Santa Maria de Real, Najera Spain

By the 12th and 13th centuries, half a million pilgrims made their way to and across northern Spain and back each year. Local kings and clergy built hospitals, hostels, roads and bridges to accommodate them. The Knights Templar patrolled the Camino, providing protection, places of hospitality, healing and worship, as well as a banking system that became one source of their fabled wealth.

There is evidence of a pre-christian route, the celts used this route across northern Spain, to Finisterre, the end of the world. For them, watching the sun set over the endless waters was a spiritual experience.

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Castillo de los Templarios_Ponferrada Spain

Some of it winds its way over the remains of pavement laid down by the Romans two millennia ago, they built infrastructure, including a road from Bordeaux in modern France to Astorga in northwest Spain, to mine the area’s gold and silver. Some of the original road remains on today’s Camino.

A combination of the Protestant Reformation initiated by Martin Luther around 1520, the Enlightenment and European wars gradually suppressed the Camino. In the 17th century Louis XIV of France forbade his subjects from going to Santiago in order to stop trade with Spain. The Camino fell into disfavour but was never abandoned.

The European Union has designated a network of four pilgrimage routes in northern Spain in 1993. The network of routes represent 1500 kilometres, and includes historical sites, cathedrals, churches, monasteries, hostels, bridges and natural landscapes. Pilgrimages were an essential part of European culture and spiritual life during the Middle Ages. Along the route pilgrims were provided with everything they needed to ensure their physical and spiritual well-being. The route contributed to the economic and social development of the towns along the way, and the movement of large numbers of visitors contributed to the two-way exchange of cultural advances between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe.

Now, after centuries of slumber, the Camino is alive with upward of 250,000 pilgrims—and growing—yearly.

number-of-compostelas-2016-caminoways-infographic

A week of planning and preparing…..

This has been a week of planning and preparing for our next trip and the camino. Our plan is to start our walk from St. Jean Pied de Port, France on April 22 2016. With that in mind I have been going through some of the photos from our previous camino,  a walk down memory lane. I walked to remind myself of the places we will see, and make sure we had time in certain places to see some of the sites we didn’t have time for last time.

With all the time spent on planning and preparing for the trip I have not picked up the camera more than once or twice this week. The photos on my Instagram stream this week were from our previous camino. These are some of my favourite images that give a sense of the camino, lots of walking, quiet days together on the road, early mornings are the best.

Let me know if you have any questions about the camino. Here is a google map of the route, and a link to the camino forum, full of information.

Hopefully next week I will have some new photos for you.

Last week for Morning Commute

It’s official, this is the last week for my morning commute series. I may comeback to this series some time in the future, as there are places that commuters walk or drive by everyday that we didn’t get to, there are different seasons that we didn’t photography fully, and different photographic styles and techniques that can be explored, but my days of walking to work in downtown Calgary have ended, at least for a while. Have you enjoyed the series, have you started to look out the window during your own morning commute and see things a little differently?

What’s next? Bill and I are planning to do a little travelling, I announced a couple of weeks ago, that we are going to walk camino to Santiago de Compostela once again. We are scheduled to be in St. Jean Pied de Port in south France April 19th, and begin our journey through the Pyrenees and across northern Spain on April 22, 2017.  We have been busy planning our days, places we want to stay, things we want to see, and photograph. Have you walked the camino, what was your favourite memory? Do you have any recommendations for places to see, places to stay? Do you have questions about the camino that I or the readers might be able to answer?

We are starting an exciting new chapter.

Another cold week in Calgary; my morning commute

 

It has been another extremely cold week here in Calgary, and I will admit to driving further than walking during my morning commute! My fitbit tells me I averaged about 8000 steps a day, and a lot of those steps were in the +15 walkway rather than out in the cold!  Winter seems to be colder and longer this year. When the weather is decent my average step count is closer to 12,000 steps. But I hear the weather is going to improve.

This clip from Rick Mercer on the seven day forecast explains Canadian’s love hate relationship with the weatherman. Enjoy Spring is just around the corner…..

Morning Commute Series Continues

My morning commute series continues. I have read many times that intentionally photographing a series of the same subject or scene, by forcing yourself to photograph the same thing again and again, you can actually make yourself more creative.

A photo theme simply means creating a set of photographs that are related in some way, whether it be through subject, color or re-occurring pattern. By defining a series, morning commute I was not required to constantly come up with a new subject or idea for each morning; once a theme’s subject had been established, I only needed to find a new creative view.  This allowed me to concentrate on what’s really important…taking an interesting photo.

While I am not always photography the same scene, I have been using my morning walk to work to see, to be awake and aware of my beautiful city. The thirty minutes a day, has defined my series, and to be honest it has provided the motivation to walk despite what seems like a very long very cold winter.

I appreciate hearing from you, as a photographer, artist or writer are you working on a series?  Why not introduce yourself and provide a link to your series.

Camino to Santiago de Compostela once again

Bill and I are in the midst of planning and organizing our backpacks, camera equipment, and itinerary for another walk along the French Way. The Camino to Santiago de Compostela that begins at St. Jean Pied de Port. There is lots to do before we leave, and a few side trips before we start our walk across Spain.

The biggest questions is why do it again?  It was a great experience, we love walking and we realized that there were so many place we didn’t see, or didn’t have time to enjoy. While this is a journey that many  people take in 30 days, we are planning to take 60. During our first journey we just walked through many of the cities and towns, past many of the beautiful sights and architecture.

Have you walked the camino, if so, tell us about your favourite memory, best or worst albergue and restaurant. We would love to hear about your must do or must see. We are researching different smart phone apps that we can carry with us rather than the books and maps that added weight to our backpacks during our previous trip, we would be grateful for any recommendations you have.

 

 

 

Morning Commute

 

Images from my morning commute. We have been finding new streets to stroll along on our way to the office, and I am enjoying seeing different parts of the city that we don’t get to see on a regular basis.

Downtown Calgary changes very little from day to day, but the weather does change just how it looks, one day soon I hope to see a sunrise again, not just the frost on the windows and snow on the street. The traffic does inspire me, maybe one day next week I will carry a tripod and do some long exposures.

Calgary has some wonderful sculptures, and public art and too often we race to the office, or run from place to place to get our chores done and miss the beauty of where we live. I am enjoying working on this morning commute series, it has re-energized my photography, and it has helped me to see my city again.

Are you working on photo series; if so tell us a little about it and provide a link in the comments so we  can check it out.