Estella to Los Arcos

After a rainy day off on Estella we headed out this morning, it was a cool start to the day, but before long the sun was shining and it was a lovely 17 k walk. 

Beautiful countryside, I am editing photos and publishing the blog using my phone, not convenient for long stories, so I will let the photos speak for me! 

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.

Castillo de los Templarios_Ponferrada Spain_IMG_3979

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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Medieval bridge, Puenta la Reina, Spain

Medieval bridge_Puenta la Reina; copyright jmeyersforeman

Medieval bridge_Puenta la Reina; copyright jmeyersforeman  

After spending a little more than a year living out of a suitcase, enjoying the foot loose and fancy free lifestyle, we arrived home to Calgary in late February. Then, in mid April we moved back into our townhouse, we started to unpack the boxes, re-hang art work and filled the closets. We stocked shelves with some of our favourite food, and most importantly are now sleeping in our own very comfortable bed. We enjoyed our time away, but we seeing, and more importantly, visiting with family and friends.

During the last month I have also started a new job! Back into the insurance world with exciting new challenges, unfortuately it is all leaving very little time for photography. I think once I get use to the routine, and the home gets settled I will have more time, but for now photography has once again taken the back seat to work.

I do have a few images listed with Alamy, a stock photography website, and recently this image of the Puenta la Reina was purchased. While I won’t be getting rich with the sale, I am happy to say that it sold for more than the $1.00 per image that some sites are offering images for. I have been a regular contributor to the stock agency for a while and periodically sell and images, so the sale isn’t unusal, as I don’t have a lot of photography news to share with you, this seemed like a good opportunity to feature my Alamy home page.

I will continue to process images, adding them to the stock site when I can, I am hoping to starting doing more family portraits on the weekend again and I will continue blogging, once I get a new routine established.

Even the horse thinks I am crazy!

Even the horse thinks I am crazy; copyright jmeyersforeman 2015

Even the horse thinks I am crazy; copyright jmeyersforeman 2015  

I wander around with my camera almost all of the time, and sometimes you will find me laying on the ground, climbing into a tree, hanging over a fence railing just to get the picture. I have gotten use to the idea that people will stop and stare I am sure they are trying to figure out what the heck am I taking a picture of. But when I got down really low to take this picture of the horse and carriage and the horse looked at me like I was crazy I knew it would be a great photo. It makes me smile!

How about you any memorable photos with crazy stories, share them on your blog and send us a link.

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.

 

The Aljafería Palace; Zaragoza Spain

The Aljafería Palace; Zaragoza Spain; copyright jmeyersforeman

The Aljafería Palace; Zaragoza Spain; copyright jmeyersforeman

The Aljaferia Place in Zaragoza, a fortified medieval Islamic palace built during the second half of the 11th century in what is now Zaragoza Spain, a wonderful example of Moorish Architecture in Spain. While much of the building has been restored to its original beauty, with the intricate doorways and arches, many of the interior doors have been left in untouched. Much has been written about the history and can be found on-line, I have provided a few links. Sunday morning has free admission, and consequently it is a busy time to visit. Guided tours are available in several languages.

I wanted to show several examples of the different arches and doorways; giving me an opportunity to experiment with a different layout, and to create a triptych, toning the background to the same colour in the images. While I like the overall effect, I used web-sized images, for my experiment and consequently have a small finished product for my blog post. Next time I will use the original images and then size for the triptych to the desired size for my post. That should give me some flexibility for my blog post. Unfortunately I am running short of time, too many things to do and see, people to visit with to redo the triptych at this time!

I hope your week is going well.

Murals and Public Art; Zaragoza Spain

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murals and public art; Zaragoza Spain

murals and public art; Zaragoza Spain 

We have been in Zaragoza Spain for a couple of days wandering the streets and checking out the sites.

It seems that in manyof the cities of Spain that we have visited we have found walls and shutters painted, sometimes to identify a  business or area of the city. You will recall the images of Madrid and of the Camino. Zaragoza is no exception, the area of  El Tubo, in the old part of town, is where we found the painted murals, and where, we also found more tapa bars per square block than any other city we have been in.

It does seem that the Spanish people are not inclined to dull or boring brick walls, and it is wonderful to see the creative expression in corners and narrow streets that might otherwise by boring brick walls!

Santa María de León Cathedral; Leon Spain

Santa María de León Cathedral; copyright jmeyersforeman

Santa María de León Cathedral; copyright jmeyersforeman 

The Leon Cathedral is one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Spain and Europe it is considered to be a Gothic masterpiece, and with 125 stained class windows the viewer is first notices the contrast between the warm dark stone walls and arches and the colourful bright stained glass windows.

We spent yesterday travelling between Leon and Zaragoza  a six-hour train ride. It’s always seems the travelling days are the hardest even when someone else is doing all the work!

 

The Leon Cathedral is a perfect subject for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: contrasts.

Umbrellas and a Rainy Day in Leon Spain

Red Umbrella, reflections on the streets of Leon Spain

Red Umbrella, reflections on the streets of Leon Spain ; copyright jmeyersforeman

Even the rainy days in Spain are nice, especially for photos.

Nothing better than wet cobblestone streets for reflecting the brightly coloured umbrellas that people sometimes carry.

Rainy Day; Leon Spain; copyright jmeyersforeman

Rainy Day; Leon Spain; copyright jmeyersforeman

Or watching the families walking together.

 

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one of the few days we have needed our umbrellas!

One of the few images we have of us together! We hope you are enjoying your friday.