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. 


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 “Walking the Via la Plata; Spring 2014”

Meseta at Dawn; Walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela

Meseta at Dawn
Meseta at Dawn

Growing up in the Canadian Breadbasket other wise 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 emphasis. 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 emphasises the blocks of color as well as the beautiful pink hue of a new day.

Vanishing moments – and the Camino to Santiago

”We photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth can make them come back again. We cannot develop and print a memory.”     Henri Cartier-Bresson

travelling the Camino to Santiago, walking the many miles, brought the point of Vanishing moments back to me every so clearly…….

Camino way marker, yellow arrow
Camino way marker, yellow arrow
scallop shell marker
scallop shell street marker
PilgrimYield Sign
Pilgrim Yield Sign
Pilgrim at the Cross
Pilgrim at the Cross

once we passed a sign, I wasn’t in a hurry to walk back again to take a picture; if I thought too long about what caught my attention I would miss the moment that spoke to me. These are just a couple of the sites and signs we saw and photographed while on the Camino to Santiago.  The were route markers everywhere that was needed, not so often they cluttered the view, but often enough we knew which road to take.  In Pamplona we saw the steel scallop shells every 100 feet, other cities were equally well-marked; we saw the yield signs when we had to cross a major road or highway where we might encounter vehicle traffic;  and we saw the long rock arrows on the Meseta, the flat plains of Spain.

La Virgin del Camino to Hospital de Orbigo; 29 k of the Camino de Santiago


Camino de Santiago, Leaving La Virgen del Camino on the walker’s route to Hospital de Orbigo, Spain

We left La Virgen del Camino, just outside of Leon Oct 2, 2012 about 8:30 this morning, not too long after sunrise, temperatures about 10 degrees C, a good walking temperature. It had been cool while we were in Leon, and with autumn fast approaching we anticipate cooler temperatures, today we did not need the toque or mittens we had bought!  Our destination was Hospital de Orbiga, 29 kilometers down the road.  We choose the quiet walker’s route, rather than the near the N12o because we did not want to walk near the highway.  It was a very quiet walk, as there was very little traffic, and fewer pilgrims/peregrine’s that we were use to seeing, but we were not alone on the road.

The roses in many gardens are blooming…..

Roses by the road, Oncina de la Valdoncina

About 4:30 pm this afternoon with mid 20 degree C temperatures, we reached our destination of Hospital de Orbigo Spain. A long day and a lot of walking and we were both very tired. After checking in we showered, washed our cloths, and had a nap! About 6:30 pm we walked about town, and found the famous medieval bridge.  Near the bridge is a wonderful restaurant where we have probably had our best pilgrim’s meal since starting our journey!

Medieval Bridge, Hospital de Orbigo at sunset

One of our favourite reference books for the camino has been “Walking the Camino de Santiago” written by Bethan Davies and Ben Cole, updated by Daphne Hnatiuk and published by Pili Pala Press. they have this to say regarding the history of the bridge.

“In the late ninth century. Puente de Órbigo, the multi-arched Gothic bridge that’s one of the most important of the camino, was built-in the thirteenth century, and though it has been destroyed by floods many times since, its appearance remains resolutely mediaeval.

The most famous episode in the bridge’s history is the quest of the lovelorn Don Suero de Quiñones. In 1434, rejected by his lady-love, Suero put an iron collar around his neck as a sign that he was still shackled to her. He vowed to keep the collar on until he had broken 300 lances in fights on the bridge with the best knights in Europe.

Many knights rose to the challenge, and Suero and his friends were kept busy fight- ing them off. The tournament took place during a Holy Year and began a couple of weeks before the Día de Santiago on July 25, the peak time of year for pilgrim traf- fic. Suero successfully defended the bridge against all-comers and eventually reached his 300-lance target.Taking off his iron collar, Suero journeyed to Santiago with his lady’s jewelled bracelet; it now encircles the neck of the statue of Santiago in the cathedral. It’s said that Suero’s story may have inspired Cervantes’ Don Quixote.

The jousting tournament is recreated next to the bridge at the beginning of June each year.”