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. 

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.

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

Tui to Santiago de Compostela

Tui to Santiago de Compostela 105k in under 22hrs.

Tui to Santiago de Compostela 105k in under 22hrs.

We just leaving Praza Obradario, just in front of the Santiago Cathedral when we witnessed these 5 women march, with full packs and carrying their weapons, into the Praza.  As they arrived the other military personnel that where already there welcomed them with a cheer and loud applause. It wasn’t until the next day when we went back to the square that we found out what had happened.

The next day, in the square was a big celebration, with a military band, bagpipes and all,  we learned that the women were part of a group who had walked the Camino Portugues from Tui, Spain, a city along the Spanish Portuguese border, 105 kilometres to Santiago de Compostela in under 22 hrs!   The four teams, three men, and own women’s team, that had completed the camino received medals.

The ladies didn’t speak any English, but were happy to pose for a photo, it was one of the other officers who told me of the events. He also said many who walked ended with injuries, and a few who started didn’t finish.

From Madrid to Toledo

Toledo Cathedral, Toledo Spain

Toledo Cathedral, Toledo Spain

We have left Madrid and taken a 30 minute train ride to Toledo Spain. Some of you, who have been following the blog for a while might remember that the plan was to walk the Via la Plata, a medieval camino route from Seville to Santiago de Compostela. We had walked the Camino Francis about 18 months ago, and really enjoyed our time in Spain and walking. The Via la Plata is a different route, much further between towns meaning longer walking stages, fewer travellers or pilgrims on the road, and not as well accommodated. We found we were not really enjoying ourselves. We do understand that the idea behind a camino, and we don’t expect to enjoy everyday, but still, this is our journey and so we have left he Via la Plata route, and are no longer walking north towards Santiago de Compostela. We are taking sometime off the camino path, and we are going to get a little rest, travel by train and visit some of the world heritage sites in Spain. That is what brought us to Toledo, and this great Cathedral, more about it tomorrow.

 

Spring on the Via la Plata

Rain on the Via la Plata; Spring on the Via la Plata

Rain on the Via la Plata; Spring on the Via la Plata

While it has been raining for days along the Via la Plata we have managed to be indoors when the showers hit. Not so yesterday!

It was not a heavy cold rain, like we are used to back home, but a light rain, on and off during the day. On the plus side, the trails were not too messy, and we no longer wonder why we are carrying our ponchos (they add considerable weight for one piece of clothing)

We passed the Prosperpina Reservoir not far from Merida and I noticed the raindrops on the lake. How lovely and peaceful it seemed to me, it really speaks to the walk through the Spanish countryside that we have been experiencing.

Red Poppy and Raindrops

Red Poppy

Red Poppy and Raindrops 

It rained enough today to pull on the poncho’s, a soft gentle rain that is good for the ground and the flowers. I needed to get down in the grass along the side of the road, to get close enough to the poppy I wanted to show the raindrops, and then wait for that perfect moment when she was standing still to get this shot.

I love seeing the beautiful red poppies blowing in the breeze beside the road.

The timing for our walk through Spain, and the Via la Plata has been perfect for spring flowers.

Hopefully we have more sunshine and less rain tomorrow.

Walking the Via la Plata; Spring 2014

Walking the Via la Plata, Spring 2014

March 2014

If you have been following the blog, you will know that we have been walking the Via la Plata in Spain. For those of you who might not be familiar with the walk, it is a route follows the Christian pilgrimage route from Cadiz to Santiago de Compostela. Prior to the Christians using these road, Moor and Romans built and used the road to transport commodities and move armies. Continue reading

Zafra Spain, Rest days on the Via la Plata

Plaza Grande, Zafra Spain

Plaza Grande, Zafra Spain 

Plaza Grande, Zafra Spain

Plaza Grande, Zafra Spain

We took a couple of days off from walking the Via la Plata. A lovely little town of about 15,00o people. Staying in a hotel on the Plaza Grande, shown in the image. I have read that the whole town centre is whitewashed and the facades cannot be changed, so it looks like it did in the 15th century, the streets are cobblestone, some inlaid with lovely patterns, others in simpler square shapes. In Zafra, there are two main plazas with arcades, called the Plaza Grande and the Plaza Chica.

The Plaza Grande is surrounded by a colonnaded area, over which there are houses with coats of arms and artistic lattices, metal balconies where geraniums were growing and blooming. Here in the late afternoon and early evening families gathered, friends visited, and kids played, it was a great place to sit and have a glass of wine and watch the world.

We are back on the road again. More stories from our Camino to Santiago from the Via la Plata as we travel through the countryside.

Happy First Day of Spring, from the Via la Plata, Spain

El Castilllo de las Torres, El Real de la Jara

El Castillo de las Torres, El Real de la Jara, Spain

it is the first day of spring, and I must say that Spring in Spain has been wonderful. Most days when we are walking temperatures start about 13 – 15 C and be mid day when we are done around  23 – 25 C. Yesterday we did get a sprinkle of rain, but most days are clear or there is only a light cloud cover. Did I mention it is nice?

It is hard to document the sounds that we hear. At times there has been roosters crowing to walk us up, is sounds pleasant, and I guess it is, but at 4 am not quite so nice! At least some of the goats, sheep, and cows are wearing bells, so we can hear them clang in the distance. The occasional farm dog barks as we go by. Most of the roads are quiet, the occasional car, or tractor, although we have had times where we had to walk on or near the highway, and we had to listen to the cars swish by us at great speed, this was a little unnerving. Most of the time we are walking in the beautiful quiet country side, listening to song of the birds.  A wonderful way to spend a spring day.