Camino de Santiago (Spain)-part 7

June 2015.  Day 7 of our travel on the Camino de Santiago…

This day was going to be a very special day as I was going to meet a  Spanish pen-pal at the end of the day  but first let’s see what we did that day.  We visited the remains of a Roman bath complex with numerous mosaics, it was a well preserved 4th C  AD ruins.

You can see the designs on the floor.

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There are many  routes that lead to Santiago. We were on the Camino Francés. ( The French Camino/The French Way).  Historically, due to the  codex Calixtinus , most of the pilgrims came from France: typically from  Arles, Le Puy, Paris and Vézelay ; some from Saint Gilles.  Cluny , site of the celebrated medieval abbey, was another important rallying point for pilgrims and, in 2002, it was integrated into the official European pilgrimage route linking Vézelay and Le Puy.

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We did not have to walk too much that day as we had to arrive early enough in  Leon to visit  the Gothic Cathedral and the underground royal pantheon  ( where it was forbidden to take photos). The Cathedral was  superb. I really enjoyed the magnificent stained glass. The French-inspired Santa Maria La Blanca Cathedral is known for the purity of its style and for housing the finest stained glass in Spain. some dating to the 13th C.

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It was  fun to meet with my friend Encarna.  She was very kind on driving  a few km to meet me on the day I was passing the closest from the city where she lives. She is learning English but it was my chance to practice Spanish during our visit. We always are able to communicate when we really want to.

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Another good day. I  think it would have been nice to have more time to wander in that city but we had to get our sleep and another adventure was just ahead of us  with still 4 more days on the Camino.

Thanks to read /comment.  Gracias !

 

 

 

Camino de Santiago (Spain)-part 6

June 2015.  Day 6.

Another look at the beautiful Cathedral of Burgos  while having our breakfast. And watching the pilgrims taking quickly a photo- almost not stopping -was interesting .     We know that it is much better to walk early and avoid the midday heat.

After a  30 minutes shuttle , we went in a cafe to go to the washroom  before the walk. We met the owner, very proud of his wall with souvenirs from pilgrims passing in his village.

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I also  took a shot of Sam ( our guide’s son ) .

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And then, we started our walk on the meseta. The Castilian high plain, passing scattered villages along a good rural path. Beautiful flat  land with fields of wheat and red poppies.

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Maybe the most beautiful scenery we had so far  but maybe not the last.  I walked with Sam  for a while  and try to make funny selfies. Another warm day without clouds.

We got to San Bol for our picnic and a rest. Always good to rise our legs after a long walk. We could also soak our feet in the icy fountain.

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In the afternoon, we saw some adobe homes and dovecotes . We enjoyed this educational part of our trip.  So much to learn when you travel. A dovecote or dovecot is a structure intended to house pigeons or doves.  Dovecotes may be free-standing structures in a variety of shapes, or built into the end of a house or barn. They generally contain pigeonholes for the birds to nest. Pigeons and doves were an important food source historically in Western Europe and were kept for their eggs, flesh, and dung. In some cultures, particularly  Medieval Europe , the possession of a dovecote was a symbol of status and power and was consequently regulated by law. Only nobles had this special privilege known as “droit de colombier”.

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We walked some more on a very flat trail along an 18th C canal which used to be important for transport and irrigation.

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We arrived in Carrion de los Condes.  Visited the beautiful San Zoilo Monastery founded in the 10th C.

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It had been a good day for sure. Good weather, good conversation with our new friends and good opportunities for photography.

More on the Camino … very soon! Thanks again for following my steps on this very special path !

 

 

Camino de Santiago (Spain)-part 5

Day 5 of our fun time on the Camino. On that day, we walked 13 km in the morning. An area that used to be a dreaded section for pilgrims because thieves hid in the woods.

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We arrived in Ortega to have our daily picnic. Delicious as always.

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We visited the 12th (romanesque )/15th (Gothic) Century San Juan de Ortega church.

We were on the bus after to get to Burgos where we visited the Cathedral with a local guide.  It was named an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. We were there on a special day : Corpus Christi. Celebrated 60 days after Easter.

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Once again, it was fantastic to see a beautiful  building. Our hotel was facing the Cathedral and from the 4th floor.  It was a splendid view.

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We were on our own that evening ; that means not eating with our group.                          We decided to walked up to the look-out point and enjoy a drink before dinner.

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The yellow line is an indication that we are on  the Camino.

Then, we found a place for dinner in the city . We also stopped in another place for churros before going back to our room.

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What a nice visit in Burgos.

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We had 6 more days on the Camino. We were, at that point, on a roll and walking was just what we wanted to do.

More on this journey in my next post. Thanks for reading.

Camino de Santiago (Spain)-part 4

June 2015. Day 4. The adventure on the Camino continues. After  breakfast, we walked almost 10 km through rolling countryside and vineyards.

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We passed the 575 km mark. It means, there are 225 km left before Santiago. But we are not walking it all. Just some sections! Often, we see the logo with the shell.  On the pavement or on a wall.

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That day, I saw two women from Quebec. We had a little chat as we walked together for a while. They really impressed me with their journey . They had been walking for 5 weeks already as they started their journey in Puy-en-Velay, France.  They told me that the Camino in France was really nice. They were going to walked all the way to Santiago. It means they would be walking almost 1600km in about 2 months. I am sure your life is not the same after such experience.

That day , we also visited Sta Maria La Real Monastery in Najera.  A statue of the Virgin Mary was discovered inside a cave in the cliffs.

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Another day, another great lunch.DSC00911After lunch , we walked some more to get to Santa Domingo de la Calzada.  We visited the Cathedral.  Inside the Cathedral, a rooster and a hen are kept in memory of the famous legend of the innocent hanged pilgrim kept alive.  Always a Cathedral to see in many place we go !!

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We also went up to the bell tower. The view was great. On the photo below you see the parador where we slept that night.2015-06-06 10.06.47

A few more days to go on the Camino. Thanks for following the story of our adventure.

 

 

Camino de Santiago (Spain)- part 3

Our adventure on the CAMINO  continues…(June 2015 )

Day 3. After a good night of sleep and a good breakfast, we walked in the city of Estella. Estella is twin sister of St-Jean-pied-de-Port since 1964. The city was very quiet in that early morning. At 8:20 it was already 23C. Nancy, our guide,  has asked us to start the day a little earlier in order to beat the heat of the afternoon.  We stopped at the San Miguel church known for its spectacular Romanesque carvings.

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We walked on the “Calle Rua”,  that is the street  on the  Camino in Estella.

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After a short stop in a café, we took the bus to get to the famous wine and water fountain at the Irache Bodega winery.  We tasted the wine and then got on with our morning walk (7 km) through vineyards, rolling forested hills and village garden plots.

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Here I am with my Traveling Bee and Sam  (son of our guides).

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Walking, chatting or just enjoying the view. Taking photos of course, all the time.

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We arrived in Logrono and from there we did a wine tasting at the Rioja Winery.

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For the evening, we were free to explore the town and taste as many “pinchos” as possible.  A pincho ( literally “thorn” or “spike”) is a small snack, typically eaten in bars, traditional in northern  Spain  and especially popular in the  Basque country  and Navarre. They are usually eaten in bars or taverns as a small snack while hanging out with friends or relatives; thus, they have a strong socializing component, and in the Basque country and Navarre they are usually regarded as a cornerstone of local culture and society. They are related to  tapas , the main difference being that pinchos are usually ‘spiked’ with a skewer or toothpick, often to a piece of bread. They are served in individual portions and always ordered and paid for independently from the drinks. It is not impossible, however, to have the same item called “pincho” in one place and “tapa” in other. Each little restaurant serves something different.

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Then , we needed to sleep fast and be ready for another day. Thanks again for reading.  I hope you enjoy my story on the CAMINO. Let me know what you think !!

Camino de Santiago (Spain)-part 2

June 2015.

When you hear the word CAMINO, you know that I am talking about this trail from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port ( France) to Santiago de Compostela (Spain).  This is the Spanish section.  You can start walking wherver you are in Europe ( Paris, Rome, Porto,etc…) Many people cover the distance ( The Spanish section)  in about 4 weeks. Many walk from albergue to albergue. Those are non expensive place to sleep.  There are many reasons why people  want to do it. Some have a religious or spiritual reason, some want to know  and see this part of Spain.  They like to walk .They like  physical challenge. But it doesn’t matter why people do it. Every day, many people walk in the direction of Santiago.

Who is Santiago ? What is so special about Santiago de Compostela? This is where you will find  the shrine of the  apostle  St. James the Great  in the  Cathedral .  The  tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried and for this reason many take up this route as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth.

On Day 2 of our adventure in Northern Spain, we did a walking tour in  the city of Pamplona before our daily walk on the Camino .  Here is the city hall of Pamplona.

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That day we walked about  14 km. We passed by the Sierra del Pardon.  The Alto del pardon is a  “Monument to the Pilgrim,” a set of 14 iron figures of natural size, which seem to walk on foot, horse and donkey.

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Later,  we had our first picnic prepared by Jose. We enjoyed local food every day. You don’t see bread on the photo, but there was always fresh bread that we ate with some olive oil.

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In the afternoon, we walked in the town of Puente La Reina  and saw the famous bridge  built in the 11th century.

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We enjoyed the landscape of  the area. And often we walked through little sleepy villages. Most of the time,  there was  only one store/cafe where we could buy a drink and/or go to the restroom.

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At the end of that day we rested in Estella. We enjoyed good food with our walking friends. Little by little we were getting to know each other. We slept in an old 19th century flour mill that had been restored.

More on my walking days on the Camino in the next post. Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camino de Santiago (Spain)- Part 1

June 2015

I didn’t share this experience yet and I feel like doing it although it has been more than a year we  were over there …

There are many ways to experience THE CAMINO. There are no right or bad ways. There is only the choice you make. And I know that my choice was right for me.

We didn’t want to walk the whole 800 km (500 miles)  but we were eager to walk some sections and get a feel of what it is to be a pilgrim. A pilgrim doesn’t have to be in pain or have problem to sleep because too many people are snoring.  We were a different kind of pilgrim who wanted to eat well,  learn, sleep and have a good time with other people who had the same idea.

So, we found a company offering Hiking education tours. ON FOOT IN SPAIN is a company  based in Spain. They organized  our accommodations , transportation ( when we were not walking) and meal through out the 11 days of our adventure.

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On June 3rd, we met Nancy and Jose , our guides, in Pamplona. Nancy provided great information and advice. All her knowledge added to the quality of our experience. Jose was in charge of our daily picnic and a few more responsibilities that goes with being in charge of a group. We were always delighted by the choices of the local food. So so delicious.

I won’t tell you the whole story but some parts of it. We  followed the trail and   the yellow arrow  showing  the way…

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On Day 1, we walked from Ibaneta Pass ( near the France-Spain border)  through a forest. Visited Roncesvalles and then more walk. We ate dinner and slept in Pamplona. This is the town that is famous for the RUN OF THE BULL.  “The fiestas of San Fermin are celebrated in Irunea/Pamplona, in the region of Navarre , every year from the 6th to the 14th of July. They have become internationally known because of the running of the bulls, where the bulls are lead through the streets of the old quarter as far as the bull ring by runners.

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More on this journey in my next post. Thanks for  reading.