Santiago de Compostela; Camino Francis 

We have arrived 

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 downto 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 long forgotten suddenly remembered with the visual clue if being there once again. 

We are looking forward to visiting some favourite 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. 

The Yellow Camino Arrow 

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, thus 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 guide book or a good map is essential. I use the kindle app on my phone to access two different books for information. Using a digital copies if the two books means 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 when we are off line. 

Buen camino

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 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….

Viana to Navarrete; Camino to Santiago de Compostela 

The church bell rang as we left Viana; it was 7:45 am. 23 k, approximately 35,000 steps and 6 hours we arrived in Navarrete. 

Today was another pleasant walk. Beautiful mural painted on the walls, on sign noted 661 kms to Santiago, arriving on Navarrete another sign said 575 kms. The miles are slowly being walked. 

Camino to Santiago de Compostela; Pamplona to Uterga 

We started our slow steady climb to Cizur Menor, and the Alto de Perdon by walking between fields of wheat blowing in the wind. 

The climb steadily increase, the views of Pamplona and the valley below were stunning.

At Zarriquiegui a hamlet about 10k out of Pamplona, we rested for a bit in the 13th-century Romanesque Iglesia de San Andrés. Our timing was perfect, as these two gentleman were singing, it was a delightful and unexpected pleasure. 

It was very windy at the top of the Alto de Perdon, the iron sculptures of the first pilgrims, and if you look beyond the sculpture you can see windmills in the distance.  In 2016 wind energy was the second source of electrical generation in Spain and  Spain is the fifth country in terms of installed wind power. Every Alto seems to have dozens of these large windmills on them!  

Our journey today 17 k, 28500 steps 4C when we left this morning, cold wind blowing most of the day with a high of 13C. Sitting at the end of the day on a sunny patio, with a glass of wine,  we will remember this as another lovely day. 
 

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. 

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.

pilgrimscredential72

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.

Santa Maria de Real_IMG_2655

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.

number-of-compostelas-2016-caminoways-infographic