St. Jean Pied de Port to Roncevalles 

Leaving St. Jean Pied de Port wp-1492807411767.
Leaving St. Jean Pied de Port; our first day on the Camino Frances, our Camino to Santiago de Compostela

25 k, 9 hours, 44,000 steps

We left St Jean Pied de Port about 7 am, crossing the historic river Nive along with many others. The Camino office indicated to use just over 200 people were registered to start the Camino here. April is not the busiest if months, but the weather, at least today, is suitable for the long walk. The forecast for the next few days is more great weather.

This stage of the Camino is reported to be one of the hardest, and I  can honestly say we were exhausted by the end of the day, and we are looking forward to tomorrow’s walk.

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. 

St. Jean Pied de Port, Camino Frances; travel photos

Rue de la Citadelle, St. Jean Pied de Port, France.  Camino Frances
Rue de la Citadelle, St. Jean Pied de Port, France. Camino Frances

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!

Notre Dame, Paris France; Angel and Shadow

Notre Dame_Paris France_Angel and Shadow
Notre Dame_Paris France_Angel and Shadow


I am preparing a slide show; on Saturday, Mar 16, 2013. I will be showing some of my work to the Calgary Chapter of Pilgrims about the Camino to Santiago.  An 820k walked from St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela Spain.

The Spring Meeting of the Calgary Chapter, Canadian Company of Pilgrims
will be held at Good Shepherd Anglican Church (408 – 38 Street SW, Calgary)
on Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30).

Everyone welcome – light refreshments served – tapas/wine gratefully accepted.

If you have been following the blog for a while you will remember that Bill and I walked the Camino in the Fall of 2012, there are many stories and photos already on the blog.  If you are in the Calgary Area, and interested in learning more about the Camino please join us.  There are many people who attend these meetings with the knowledge that is both interesting and helpful if you are thinking of doing the walk

Remembering our Camino, our journey to Santiago de Compostella

Pyrenees Pony, Orisson France, Camino de Santiago copyright jmeyersforeman

We are home now, after 7 weeks on the road and it is time to sort, keyword, and process the many photos taken during our time on the Camino route from Saint Jean Pied de Port France to Santiago de Compostella Spain.  As we left Orisson the sun was just coming up, and as we walked towards Roncesvalles one of our fellow travelers that day commented that at the rate I was going I would never make it. Stopping as often as I did for one more picture, I was not making fast time on the road.  Here the beautiful pony was standing watching the pilgrims pass by.

During October 2012 17,790 pilgrims were received in the Pilgrim’s office in Santiago Spain. Bill and I were among the 20.26% who traveled from St. Jean Pied de Port France, and two of the 631 Canadians to completed the Camino. The Pilgrim’s office provides up to date statistics and you might find it interesting to see the who is traveling the Camino.

It is going to be both challenging and interesting to go back through the many photos and notes taken during our walk and hopefully build a complete portfolio. For this images, I processed in Nik Silver Effects Pro 2, then reducing the opacity of the layer by 15% I was able to bring in just a hint of the color that was in the original images. I think it adds a bit of depth, let me know what you think.

Bill and I are off on another adventure, One like no other we have had before……..

shadow of jet taking off from airport
Leaving on a jet plane, heading for another adventure

We are going to St.  Jean Pied de Port in the south of France to begin The Camino de Santiago de Compostela, also known in English as The Way of St James. A walk of approximately 800 Kilometers, there are some various in the route, so the actual distance varies.

For the modern pilgrim or traveller the camino seems to start at one of the many pilgrimage offices along the route, and while many routes have been regaining popularity the “French Way” beginning at St. Jean Pied de Port is the most famous and most popular. there is plenty of written material, guides, maps, and stories available to acquaint yourself of the route.

In medieval times a camino or pilgrimage began the moment a person left home, often there was a formal send off from the town square. Our journey also began at home, many months before we left home. Once the decision was made to walk the camino de Santiago de Compostella,  we had to decide on the route. Books, blogs, and internet discussion forums were read, information gathered. We decided that since this was our first camino we would take the road most travelled, the French route from St. Jean Pied de Port. through the Pyrenees, Pamplona, Burgos, Leon.

We researched and purchased backpacks, walking shoes, sleeping backs, and rain gear. We read about packing lists, training guidelines, and bedbugs. We reviewed flickr and goggle images to see the places we would travel through. We read about the legends, architecture and the weather. There was so much to learn. Bill and I are planners, learning everything we can before we go.

We set up a training schedule, one that is necessary for getting use to the weight of the backpack and breaking in our new boots. Unfortunately life gets in the way, our training did not go as planned and we did not get the training we had hoped for. That does not deter us, we are heading out anyway!

As a photographer I couldn’t image taking this trip without my camera, a couple of lenses and of course a tripod. I needed to find out if I could process and blog as we travelled, or purchase enough storage to keep all the images until I got home. I decide to carry a small laptop and portable hard drive so I could at least store my images, and if possible continue with my blogging when time, energy and internet would allow. With that decision we added to the packing list; battery charges, cords, and power transformers.

We had read that our pack should not be anymore than 10% of our body weight to be comfortable and safe over a long distance, we kept checking the weight of our pack. We are close, maybe a little heavier than they should be, but close.

We need travel arrangements from Calgary to St. Jean Pied de Port, and then home again. A flight from Calgary to Toronto, Toronto to Paris, train to Biarritz France where we will overnight. The a train to St Jean Pied de Port, where we will start the walk.

We leave home today. The time for training is over, and while the backpack feels good, and the shoes are broken in. We are looking forward to the adventure. I am sure there will be days that will be harder than we expected, I am also sure there will lots of wonderful moments, beautiful towns and interesting people along the way. I am sure there will be great stories to share, we will try to blog as we go and we hope you will join us as we travel.

Below is a list of some great sites for information, maps and guides: