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.

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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.

This week on Instagram

 

We had a great time in Melbourne, getting out to see all the sights. I loved riding the old tram. Free throught the City Center the trams they are a great way to get around to all the different things to see.

I want to thank Leanne Cole, who was kind enough to get up before dawn and take the train into the city. We spent part of the morning waiting for sunrise! While we had a beautiful blue hour, when the Yarrow River was magnificently still, we did not get a colorful sunrise. While I would have loved to see the sky full of pick’s and purple clouds, I am more than happy with the wonderful reflections of the city buildings and bridges in the river. If you are interested in learning more about dramatic range photography, long exposures, head on over to her website and order the Dynamic Range Magazine it is full of great information.

 

 

 

 

Melbourne

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Bill and I spent yesterday wandering around Melbourne;  we visited the Royal Botanical Gardens, watched one of the graffiti artist in Hosier Lane, witnessed a group of small children learning to ride a skateboard and crowding onto the historic city tram #35 with all the other tourists!

Fremantle

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We have had a wonderful few days wandering the streets Fremantle Australia. We  visited the Art Center and learned a little about the aboriginal art. Of course we have been  enjoying the different restaurants and cafe’s, seeing the public art while we wandered the streets, and we have taken time to watching the sunset on the beach.

It has been a great way to recover from the about 28 hours in transit from our home in Calgary to Freemantle!

Today we are off to Melbourne for a few day before heading to Margaret River.

Walking the Camino with a Instamatic Camera

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walking the camino to Santiago de Compostela Spain with an Instamatic Camera! 

in 2012 Bill and I walked the Camino to Santiago de Compostela among the many things we carried, was the Fuji Instamatic Camera, and 5 packs of instamatic film. Each day we took a photo and mailed the photo home, my own postcard. Here are just a few of the photo. I have finally decided it is time I should put all of these memories in one place, another time I will show you the map book we used to find out way!

I had read about Polaroid Postcards, but at the time polaroid wasn’t easily available, so we travelled with a Fuji Instamatic Camera. Some of the photos didn’t make it home, some had lost their stamps but still arrived home. I put the address and stamp on the front so that the postmark and info would be on the same side as the photo. I eventually started to tape the stamp to the card to make sure they didn’t fall off.

Most people walking the camino try to adhere to the suggestion that the backpack should not be more than 10% of their body weight, it will come as no surprise to many who know me that my camera gear exceed this guideline, and this was before I added in the Instamatic camera and film. I do have to thank Bill, my wonderful husband, who always help to carry the equipment. The images are a wonderful keepsake from the walk

Angel Place Birdcages, Sydney Australia

Angel Place Birdcages, Sydney Australia: copyright jmeyersforeman 2015

Angel Place Birdcages, Sydney Australia: copyright jmeyersforeman 2015

From our visit to Sydney, last June….The Angel Place Birdcages were originally installed as a temporary exhibition, but they became so popular they have been kept in place. Another element of the installation is a recording of beautiful bird sounds that serve as yet another reminder of species not inhabiting the area any longer.

Pilgrimage through Leon Spain to Santiago de Compostela

Pilgrimage through Leon Spain

Pilgrimage through Leon Spain; copyright jmeyersforeman 2015

Bill and I have travelled through Leon Spain a couple of times, first as part of our walk along the Camino to Santiago de Compostella the autumn of 2013 the second visit was the summer of 2014 when we spend about three months visiting the beautiful cities of Spain.

Leon was one city we remembered fondly during the camino, during this visit we only had one day to see the city. During our visit last summer we spent a week wandering the streets, enjoying the festival and seeing the historic sites. It is often difficult when visiting a city to find an image that hasn’t been taken, I want it to have personal meaning, and contect with people.  I think the statue of the pilgrim sitting resting his sore feet in Plaza de San Marcos in front of the Parador “Hostal San Marcos

What is now The Parador had originally been built during the 16 century as the western headquarters for the military Order of Saint James. Built on the site of an old pilgrim’s hospital that had existed to house and help the pilgrims travelling to Santiago de Compostela. So the image of the pilgrim sitting resting his feet and looking at the convent, his resting place for the night reminds me of the first time we were in Leon.

 

Soaking up the Sun

Soaking up the sun

Soaking up the sun 

Just last Wednesday we were soaking up the Sun near Cancun Mexico! Today we are in Calgary and it is snowing! It isn’t that I mind the snow, but I do have to say that I prefer the warm sunny beaches of Cancun to the slushy streets of Calgary.

The lizard sat very still, watching me as I inched closer and closer, I wanted to see how close I could get before he bolted, as he did shortly after this image was taken. I was using the Canon 70-200 lens.  I am pretty happy with the image I did get.