I have been missing my daily walk!

Wall Mural in the village of Burguete (Auritz) Spain of a gentleman going for a walk with his umbrella
Walking is my therapy

Bill and I love our daily walks, and there is a lot written about the importance of getting out into the fresh air and getting some exercise, and over the last couple of years we have spend most of our holiday time walking. Twice now we have done the Camino Francis, the photo about is just one of the wall murals that we took note of.

The Camino Francis is a pilgrimage through northern Spain. While the camino includes walking through several cities, it is mostly the countryside and small towns along with the relaxing afternoon in the Plaza Mayor that people enjoy. We also love the large city centres that have pedestrian streets filled with cafes, shops and people.

We returned to Calgary last week, mid winter, the streets and walking paths are a little icy, making the walk difficult, at least that is what I tell myself! you see, last winter I worked on a series of photographs called “My Morning Commute”,  one photo a day taken on my way to work. So the cold and potentially icy streets don’t normally have such a negative impact on my walking routine. So I am going to blame it on my sleep, or really the lack of sleep, you see my sleep schedule, it is way off. The combination of living in a different time zone for a number of weeks, and the long trip home, almost 30 hours in transit, yes one very long layover, has played havoc with my sleep schedule! I am caught in a bit of a catch-22, too tired and unmotivated for a long walk, yet deep down I know that walking would help return a healthier rhythm to my day.  I am pretty sure if I thought about it I could find (or make-up) one or two more excuses for my failure to take a walk over the last week! What do you do when you are stuck in a rut that isn’t good for you?

I remind myself  that “Demons don’t like fresh air” ~ Ingmar Bergman, one of my favourite quotes, and a reminder to me to get out of the house!

Time to get things in order! today we walk, hopefully tonight we sleep!

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​Melida to Aruza; Camino to Santiago De Compostela 

​We left Melida just before 7 am to walk the 14k to Aruza; despite the short distance we aheaded out early as the days are getting hot, temperatures of 31C were expected. 

We walked down beautiful country lanes. 

Crossed small creeks on stone bridges. 

But most magical of all was passing through the eucalyptus forest. As the trees grow it sheds a layer of bark, ribbons of bark fall away revealing the smooth new layer below, and the soft smell of eucalyptus hung in the air. 

Two more walking days to Santiago De Compostela. 

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….

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. 
 

On the Road to Almedralejo Spain;

I have to admit that today was not very inspiring, 17.2 k of dirt road, 13k backpack, 10 C, and a 20k wind blowing in our face all day. The road was mostly flat, we could see for miles, and then….

walking the Via la Plata on our way to Almedralejo Spain we encountered goat herders at work
walking the Via la Plata on our way to Almedralejo Spain we encountered goat herders at work  

the goat herders, their dogs, and the goats came up the small hill. The goats hesitated a moment when they saw us. We stopped so as not to scare them, and the goat herder spoke, waved his stick, and the goats moved forward….

Surrounded by goats
Surrounded by goats 

the next thing we knew they were walking around us, as if we were not there…

off they go, goats and goat herders walking down the road
off they go, goats and goat herders walking down the road 

and they were on their way.

One of the things I love most about the Camino to Santiago de Compostela in general, and the Via la Plata specifically is that it brings us close to experiencing Spain, the Spanish people and their way of living that most tourists don’t experience.

 

Foggy Walk from Fuente de Cantos, on the Via la Plata, Spain

foggy walk to Jafra Spain on the Via la Plata
foggy walk to Jafra Spain on the Via la Plata 

Yup, yesterday I was raving on about the wonderful spring weather along the Via la Plata, and sure enough we wake up to fog! Temperatures were reasonable enough for walking about 10 C  and it didn’t rain on us. The fog cleared about 11 am, in the meantime I tried to get creative with the landscape photos.

foggy landscape along the via la plata, Spain
foggy landscape along the via la plata, Spain 

later in the day, after the fog cleared we came across small stream that had to be crossed, our biggest challenge; not getting the boots wet or falling down.

crossing the stream along the Via la Plata, Spain.
crossing the stream along the Via la Plata, Spain. 

Always something new along the Via la Plata.

 

 

Happy First Day of Spring, from the Via la Plata, Spain

El Castilllo de las Torres, El Real de la Jara
El Castillo de las Torres, El Real de la Jara, Spain

it is the first day of spring, and I must say that Spring in Spain has been wonderful. Most days when we are walking temperatures start about 13 – 15 C and be mid day when we are done around  23 – 25 C. Yesterday we did get a sprinkle of rain, but most days are clear or there is only a light cloud cover. Did I mention it is nice?

It is hard to document the sounds that we hear. At times there has been roosters crowing to walk us up, is sounds pleasant, and I guess it is, but at 4 am not quite so nice! At least some of the goats, sheep, and cows are wearing bells, so we can hear them clang in the distance. The occasional farm dog barks as we go by. Most of the roads are quiet, the occasional car, or tractor, although we have had times where we had to walk on or near the highway, and we had to listen to the cars swish by us at great speed, this was a little unnerving. Most of the time we are walking in the beautiful quiet country side, listening to song of the birds.  A wonderful way to spend a spring day.

 

New York City Flower District

New York City Flower District
New York City Flower District 

The New York City flower district, between 26 and 29 st. and jut of 6 Ave. a large concentration of both wholesale and retail florists. The flowers, trees, accessories can be found lining both sides of the sidewalk creating this little path.

One of the small districts that isn’t featured in many of the travel books, and just a small taste of some of the different things you will see when walking the streets of New York City.