Three days to reach Ponferrada from Astorga 

ASTORGA – RABANAL del CAMINO 20.6 

Rabanal del Camino to El Acebo 16.5 

El Acebo to Ponferrada 15.6 k 

A tougher stretch of road then we have had for a while. While the guide books suggest this section  can be walked in two days we planned on a three days to complete it, and we were happy we did! 

This section is characterized by the wild and rocky Cantabrian Mountains tiny stone villages nestled in the mountains.

We climb to the historic site of the Cruz Ferro and the high point of the Irago Mountains before the steep descent down to Ponferrada. Typical Maragato mountain villages with slate-roofed houses like El Acebo. On a clear day, the mountain views are superb. The guide books all warn to be prepared for the possibility of cold, rain and wind, one day our day began with fog. 

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Astorga Spain 

We have left Astotga and walked on to Ponferrada, I will write more about that paŕt of the Camino and our journey little later. 

For now I wanted to show you some photos from our visit to Astorga. 

First the 15th century Catedral de Santa María de Astorga, with a Baroque façade and a Renaissance retablos completed by a disciple of Michelangelo and Raphael (Gaspar Becerra). While it is not as elaborate or as large as the Burgos Cathedral, nor does it have the magnificent stained glass of the Leon Cathedral but it is one of the oldest cathedrals in Spain. Once inside our eyes are drawn up and there is an amazing sense of height, and it is inspiring in its simplicity as the columns and pillars are designed without ornamentation. 

Our next stop was the Plaza Mayor, Tuesday is market day and the plaza along with many of the side streets were filled with market stalls. The vendors each seemed to have their specialty, fruits and veggies, plants, flowers, bread, cheese, food trucks, stalls of cloths, shoes, toys, books, stationary, purses, bags. I did not see any antique or junk dealers, so no old cameras for me, probably a good thing since the backpack is full! 

The Yellow Camino Arrow 

Confusing and almost miss directed…..those who walk the camino follow the yellow arrows with a certain faith/knowledge that we will get to the next place on the map by following the yellow arrows. Walking into Hospital de Orbigo we were faced with arrows pointing in two different directions.  In 2012 when we walked the Camino Francis the first time, we made the choice to go left rather than straight through, thus was a mistake, we knew that turning left would take us out to the highway not into town where we wanted to go. 

It is clear that some of the arrows have been painted out and there has been an effort to misdirect walkers. Following the arrows to your left and you will, as we did in 2012 walk through an industrial section, along the highway, walking this direction will add an hour to your travel time to get into the town. 

On other sections of the Camino we have been able to trust the arrows, this one is confusing and a guide book or a good map is essential. I use the kindle app on my phone to access two different books for information. Using a digital copies if the two books means the information is always available with no extra weight. We also use the Mapme app on the smartphone, it uses GPS and the information we need is accessible when when we are off line. 

Buen camino

The Camino, Poppies and a pinhole cap

It has been more than a week since we left Burgos; most of the people we have met and walked with turning the first weeks have moved on while we took an extra rest days in Sahagun. I usually post a photo a day with a mini update on Instagram. If you want to have a look.

During this trip I have been shooting photos with a pinhole cap on my digital camera. There were so many poppies this week, they filled the ditches and the fields. The pinhole creates a dreamy affect  and the sunflare streaks through the frame in as wonderful way. I woukd love to hear your thought on my exploration into pinhole photography.

For other photos from this Camino and our previous walk can be found on this link….

The Camino, Poppies and a pinhole cap

It has been more than a week since we left Burgos; most of the people we have met and walked with turning the first weeks have moved on while we took an extra rest days in Sahagun. I usually post a photo a day with a mini update on Instagram. If you want to have a look.

During this trip I have been shooting photos with a pinhole cap on my digital camera. There were so many poppies this week, they filled the ditches and the fields. The pinhole creates a dreamy affect  and the sunflare streaks through the frame in as wonderful way. I woukd love to hear ypur thought on my exploration into pinhole photography. 

For other photos from this Camino and our previous walk can be found on this link….

Burgos Spain

A few images from the Cathedral

 

The Cathedral is a magnificent building, with such a rich history, I highly recommend visiting the cathedral if you are in the city, and allow a couple of hours to listen to the audio tour and view all the details. 

Camono to Santiago de Compostela; Najera to Burgos 

It has been several days without a blog post, below a brief copy from my notes each day….

Najera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada 21.9k, 30,500 steps, 5.5 hours, we did stop, coffee and a sandwich, only once, then 1/2 hour behind a bluff of trees out of the wind for for a rest, it was sunny and warm and a perfect place for a little nap. The  rest of the day we walked with a 25k wind blowing in our face, the day would have been easy walking had it not been for the wind…

Fields of grain crops, so many shades of green. 

To day was long, but not tough, warm no wind Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Belorado, 22k, 32500 steps 6.5hrs, lots of small towns and lots of breaks for coffee and lunch. Walking along a dirt road that ran parallel to highway N120 most of the day, one of the few days I don’t recall hearing the birds.

Beladorado to San Juan de Ortega 24k, 6.5 hrs  37,000 steps. Hot 21C, very little wind. During the first 12 k we past through 4 little towns, lots of places to stop for a rest and a coffee. During the second 12k the route past through a forested area with no town. The guide books all remind those travelling to fill up with water and we packed a lunch and at the Montes de Oca we found picnic benches, a perfect place for a comfortable lunch. 
On the camino there are times when there are people walking in front of you and people walking behind you, we are all part of the stream of people and I can just follow along. Other times there is no one around and it is like being on a scavenger hunt always looking for the next arrow, the next camino marker, as reassurance we are on the right road!

San Juan de Ortega 24.9k just over 41,000 steps  and about 7 hrs. We walked the alternate route into Burgos, west of the airport, following the river onto the city. This route brought us right into city center. We had decided to take a couple of days off and rented an apartment not far from the cathedral, we were struggling to find a street sign to make sure we were in the right place when a lady offered assistance and took us  right to the door, as it turned out we weren’t far from where we need to be but it was still wonderful to have the assistance.  

We have arrived in Burgos to find the Fiesta de la Flores is on, wonderful flower displays are being set up through the downtown, I hope to have photos and a blogs post soon! 

Buen Camino 

Navarrete to Najera 

17 k walk 

18 k wind 16C despite the sky only a sprinkle of rain, not really enough to settle the dust. To day we got a little damp, but not wet, the wind dried out our cloths as quickly as the rain cloud sprinkled a little rain.

Rocky, red clay road

Vineyards and olive trees 

No coffee, no rest stop until 3 k from the end where we found a picnic shelter and  stopped for a short rest and a  cookie.

3 1/2 hour walk, about 25,0000 steps. We arrived just after 11:30 am.  

Viana to Navarrete; Camino to Santiago de Compostela 

The church bell rang as we left Viana; it was 7:45 am. 23 k, approximately 35,000 steps and 6 hours we arrived in Navarrete. 

Today was another pleasant walk. Beautiful mural painted on the walls, on sign noted 661 kms to Santiago, arriving on Navarrete another sign said 575 kms. The miles are slowly being walked. 

Los Arcos to Viana; Camino to Santiago de Compostela 





It was a beautiful day; 18k, approx 33,000 steps and 5 hours. We walked mostly on country roads,  although the camino route did include some asphalt today. 

The weather was a little cloudy, but that meant it didn’t get to hot! We had a sprinkle of rain as we approached Viana, but not enough to get the rain gear out for. 

The spring flowers are blooming along the roadside, the crops are ripening in the fields, and we watched one sheep herder move his sheep down the road, he walked ahead, they followed, it all looked pretty routine for them, but not the group who gathered above to watch! 

There was a couple of beautiful churches, I will show you those images when I can properly edit them, and do a little more research on their history. 

All and all a lovely day, another short walk planned for tomorrow! 

Buen Camino