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.
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.
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.
Re-visiting the Leon Cathedral. We spent a couple of days in Leon in the fall of 2012 when we walked the Camino Francis from St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela, and we knew that this was one place in Spain that we wanted to return, and to spend a little more time exploring the city and the historic sites.
It is a festival week here in Leon Spain, with plenty going on in the street day and night, and we have been busy enjoying as much as we can!
We were wondering the streets of LLanes Spain, a little seaside town along the north coast in the province of Asturias. The northern route of the Camino to Santiago de Compostela runs through the town, and each day we would see several pilgrims as they passed through town. Llanes is a resort town, and a wide range of accommodation is available as well as restaurants and cafe’s serving daily menu.
There are remnants of 800 year old city walls, unfortunately the tower is now closed, there is a small harbour and along the port you can see the Cubos de la Memoria, however the main attraction is the beaches, within walking distance of the centre of town. It was on the walk home, late one afternoon that I found this large, rather overgrown fuchsia shrub, with the beautiful red and magenta flowers starting to bloom.
Not satisfied with the photos I was getting of the flowers I tried zooming several exposures to get the streaks of light. After merging the two images together I was able to achieve the affect I was looking for, that of the flowers gently blowing in the breeze. Intentional camera movement has been around for as long as I remember it, but digital cameras and the use of photoshop have given me the tools to better achieve the pre-visualized results.
We have moved onto Leon Spain, and we are enjoying our wedding anniversary amidst one of the many great festivals of Leon. We should have photos soon.
We visited Santiago de Compostela again, the last time we visited the city we had finished walking the Camino Francis in the fall of 2012. This time, while we walked a portion of the Via la Plata we arrived in Santiago de Compostela by train. The memories of our previous visit came flooding back, seeing all the pilgrims/peregrinos with their backpacks making their way towards the Cathedral. I especially love this picture as the wet cobblestone street and the sunlight create a beautiful curved line drawing our eye to the pilgrim with his backpack a sight while common in the city is still very special. Maybe it is just my memories playing tricks on me!
One year ago we were preparing to leave for Spain and to walk the Camino to Santiago de Compostela. While I had read plenty of books, researched websites, and checked out the images on sites like Flickr, there was nothing that really prepared us for the journey.
Walking and training at home a couple of hours in the evening, or 4 or 5 hours one day on the weekend does not really prepare you for walking day after day for 30 plus days. For us, the terrain and weather were different, if you can training every day for at least a short time and in all types of weather.
We were sleeping in a new bed each night, and for some of us, that can be more difficult than you might imagine. After all, sleep specialist tells us our bedtime routine, and our bed/nest is very important to a good night sleep. For some sleeping in a hostel/alberque, a dorm room full of strangers, some who snore, some who have to use the washroom during the night, and then some who get up even before dawn, to get an early start, all make getting a good night sleep a challenge.
These are not big problems, but not having a good night sleep can leave you looking like the guy in the wall mural above, and vulnerable to illness and or injury. It is important when planning your Camino to take these sleeping into consideration if you are going to enjoy the journey. An eye mask to keep the light out of your eyes will prevent you from being disturbed every time someone turns on their flashlight or the bathroom light. Ear plugs for the noise. Don’t just try these things out, wear them at home and get used to them, so the feeling isn’t new, so you make sure you have the right fit and a comfort level with them.
We are planning on walking another Camino, so I have been giving all of this more thought. Bill and I didn’t stay in many alberques, mostly because sleeping in a room full of people was more difficult than we had thought. We simply couldn’t get a good night sleep. I am not sure if the next trip will be any different, but we are planning on walking the Via la Plata also referred to as the Silver Route, in the spring of 2014. We have read that this route is not as busy, and many of the alberques are smaller. One Camino friend walked it last spring and there were times when he was alone or with a small number of pilgrims. Again I research the books and websites, look at the maps and Flickr sights, I am sure that having walked one Camino we will be better prepared, but I am also sure there will be many surprises, things we hadn’t expected, and days when we look and feel like the guy above.
I remember this morning very well, the day before had been rainy and wet, so we were happy to see the sun. It was a cool morning, and we had started just before sunrise. From this little creek. we climbed to the top of Alto de Mosteleres.
Many of the people we met thought I was a little crazy because I carried a full-size DSRL camera with a couple of lenses. But having the camera with me, meant that as I was looking for images, I was more aware of my surroundings, rather than just walking along, lost in my thoughts.
I found that walking with my camera, thinking about how to show our trip to family, friends and blog readers, I was more aware of how the light changed during the day, as well as how the landscape, and our surroundings changed as we walked. I thought about how best to tell the story of our journey. I also tried to learn more about the places we were visiting so I could pass along some of the stories.
Since being home I have found a couple of extra benefits to carrying my camera. The first is the friends that I made through the blog. But the most unexpected benefit is having images for the stock photography. The image above is just one of the many images submitted to Alamy, and one of several images that have sold since adding them to the site. It is always rewarding when someone chooses one of my images to accompany their writing and or publication.
Yes the camera was extra weight, and there were days that were tougher because of that weight, but I am glad I had the camera with me.
Growing up in the Canadian Breadbasket otherwise known as Saskatchewan, miles, and miles of farmland is not an unfamiliar scene. Walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela through the meseta was like a trip home. The fields and the road went on, seemingly forever. The crops a golden color, the worked ground a beautiful brown, the sky pink as the sun was rising in the east. The scene was as familiar as it was beautiful.
The challenge as a photographer is to see even a seemingly old familiar scene (and to show it to others) in a new way. I saw this scene as blocks of color, and the detail of each cloud, line in the field, the weeds in the ditch and rocks on the road all distracted from the blocks of color I wanted to emphasize. The light was low, so I set the ISO low, the aperture for a high depth of field, and a slow shutter speed, then moved the camera sideways to blur all the detail. The image now emphasizes the blocks of color as well as the beautiful pink hue of a new day.
St. Jean Pied de Port, France. The beginning of the Camino France for many pilgrims walking to Santiago de Compostella Spain. One of the many images, representing one of the many moments along our journey that is still very important to me. As it is the beginning of the Camino for so many pilgrims it is a little town that many remember fondly.
Recently a fellow Calgarian sent an email, interested in learning more about the Camino, and our experience, it is wonderful to visit those memories again and to think that someday Bill and I will go back.
On a completely different note, this is one of the images listed with Alamy, an online stock agency, that has licensed recently. While I haven’t been notified of the name of the publication, but I have learned from the sales contract that the image will be published as 2 pages spread, for a travel guide with a print run of up to 100,000. While this isn’t my first sale through the stock agency, it still feels awesome to have someone buy and use one of my images!