Poppies in the Bright Sunshine

Poppy flowers in a sunny field, yellow background
Poppies in the Bright Sunshine prints available https://society6.com/product/poppies-in-the-bright-sunshine_print?sku=s6-8442173p4a1v45

Often found growing along roadside ditches and other humble places, these flowers have enchanted poets for centuries. I found these poppies growing along the side of the Camino Francis in northern Spain, the ditches in many places were lined with them.

Pony in the Pyrenees for Monochrome Madness

 

Horse on the slopes of Pyrenees Mountains
Pony in the Pyrenees 

The first day walking the Camino Francis, one of the popular routes to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, involves walking through the Pyrenees Mountains. St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles 24km, and is said to take 7 to 9 hours. We have made this trip twice now, our first days were both days were were at least 8 hours on the road.

During the day we climbed from St Jean Pied de Port at 200 metres above sea level to just above 1,400 meters then descend steeply back down again into Roncesvalles at 900 metres, which can be hard going on your knees and shins. Pack a lunch, while there is often a coffee truck on the road the options for food and water are limited.

More Monochrome image on Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness weekly blog. Prints are available on Society6.

Santiago de Compostela; Camino Francis 

We have arrived

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We have arrived; Bill and Janice in Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Our final day, we left O Pedrouzo about 6:30am, it was 20C and the humidity was 94%! By the time we arrived at the cathedral it was 31C and the humidity was down to 54%!

The 5-hour walk was hot and muggy, the final hills in no way seemed as hard as what we had done since leaving St. Jean Pied de Port but with the heat, they were not easy either.

One of the great things about doing the Camino a second time has been all the memories that have been jarred loose, things forgotten suddenly remembered with the visual clue.

We are looking forward to visiting some favorite sites in Santiago de Compostela.

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looking at the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, Spain

 

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two glasses of Sangria to celebrate the long Camino

According to the Camino office we were among the 1514 people to register and receive the Compostela for completing their Camino. Approximately 15% walked the 799 km from St. Jean Pied de Port as we did, others were either on different routes or started at one of the many cities along the Camino Francis.

​Melida to Aruza; Camino to Santiago De Compostela 

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Moon over Melide;

​We left Melida just before 7 am to walk the 14k to Aruza; despite the short distance we headed out early as the days are getting hot, temperatures of 31C were expected.

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Beautiful morning walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela, lovely treelined walking paths in Galicia.

We walked down beautiful country lanes.

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crossing the small creek on a stone bridge

Crossed small creeks on stone bridges.

But most magical of all was passing through the eucalyptus forest. As the trees grow it sheds a layer of bark, ribbons of bark fall away revealing the smooth new layer below, and the soft smell of eucalyptus hung in the air.

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eucalyptus bark falling from the tree, all twisted and peeling. The smell of the eucalyptus is strongest in the morning.

Two more walking days to Santiago De Compostela.

Portomarin to Palas de Rey; Camino Francis 

 

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A quiet morning on The Way of St. James, a single person walking the Camino Frances, the mist hanging in the air, the forest lush and green https://jmeyersforeman.photoshelter.com/index/G0000X9dzoUqwosQ/I0000kbH9J9bBN0U

We left Portomarin about 7:15 am it was about 15C and foggy. We arrived in Palas de Rei just hefore 2 pm. In just under 7 hrs we walked 24 k. 36770 steps. By noon it was 27C – 74% humidity, just a little muggy! Galicia is not flat, all day we were either going up hill or down! Soooo tired!

Three days to reach Ponferrada from Astorga 

 

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we have arrived at the Cruz Ferro,  the Camino to Santiago de Compostela, Spain
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sunset over El Acebo, Spain
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foggy morning leaving El Acebo while walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela, Spain
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the steep descent from El Acebo to Ponferrada Spain along the Camino to Santiago de Compostela, Spain
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taking a rest break along the Camino to Santiago de Compostela, Spain

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 guidebooks suggest this section can be walked in two days we planned on 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 guidebooks all warn to be prepared for the possibility of cold, rain and wind, one day our day began with fog.

Astorga Spain 

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Astorga Cathedral, interior
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Astorga Cathedral, front door
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Astorga Cathedral, interior
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Astorga Cathedral, interior

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

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bags of beans for sale at the Astorga Market
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Astorga Market, Astorga Spain
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Astorga Market, Astorga Spain
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Astorga Market, Astorga Spain
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Astorga Market, Astorga Spain

Our next stop was the Plaza Mayor, Tuesday is market day and the plaza along with many of the side streets was filled with market stalls. The vendors each seemed to have their specialty, fruits and veggies, plants, flowers, bread, cheese, food trucks, stalls of clothes, shoes, toys, books, stationery, 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 

 

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Near Hospital de Orbigo the arrows along the Camino were a little confusing! Follow the arrows to the Puente (bridge) to reach the historic bridge. https://jmeyersforeman.photoshelter.com/index/G00002UgCy2DL2qo/I0000KE2nCOoje6s

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, this 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 guidebook or a good map is essential. I use the Kindle app on my phone to access two different books for information. Using digital copies of the two books and 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 we are offline.

Buen Camino

The Camino, Poppies and a pinhole cap

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Camino to Santiago de Compostela in the spring, the path is lined with poppies fill the fields along the Camino to Santiago de Compostela
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poppies photographed using a pinhole lens cover on my camera.
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poppies photographed using a pinhole lens cover on my camera.
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Bill rest in the sunshine

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 day 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 effect and the sun flare streaks through the frame in a wonderful way. I would 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….