Category Archives: camino de santiago

Planes, trains, buses & a car…

2016camino-1010356eWe lift off on August 29, 2016 and have a bird’s eye view of the Minneapolis area.

August 30, 2016:  After landing at the Paris airport we easily make our way to the Gare du Nord RER station with a couple of hours to spare and carefully watch the monitors to find our platform number for the train to Bayonne, France.  All we see listed for our train is the word delayed.

Google images

Finally, a platform number appears on the monitor and we rush to find our assigned train car. Crowds of people rush along with us trying to read the faded small car numbers and Randy has gone on ahead to locate our car. All of a sudden, the bells go off and Joan and I are pushed onto a random car by a railroad employee. This delayed train is trying to make up time with a short stop here.

Where’s Randy?   Oh, no… did he even get on the train? Is he still standing on the platform at the Paris train station? We try to walk forward through the train cars to find him.

No, we can’t… Hearts sink as we discover this train is really made up of two  trains hooked together and they will eventually separate with different destinations.  Plus, Randy has our tickets. Trying not to panic, we alert an employee and nobody seems very concerned.  No cell phones, no two-way radios and basically no French language skills other than counting to 10 and merci. Randy must have gotten on the train in front and made his dilemma known as we are aware that there is a “situation” in the other train.

Will we lose Randy in France before we even start hiking? How will we ever find him  and where will he be? Worse case scenarios rush through my mind.

tgv-map-paris-bordeaux-hendayeWe are instructed, when the train arrives in Bordeaux, to hop off and get onto the correct train before it is unhooked to split off.  Meanwhile, Randy has made friends with a wonderful gentleman named Al who speaks French and English so he interprets between Randy and the railroad employees. Several delays along the tracks means our train ride is getting longer and longer and darkness eventually surrounds us. At least Joan and I have the wine.

Five hours later…   Al helps Randy position himself just outside the car closest to our train, so that we can quickly find him before the train leaves and splits.  After a long and tense ride we are reunited and it feels so-o-o good as we can finally continue our travels together again.  A huge thank you goes out to our Camino angel named Al. Travel tip:  Do not wander away from your group when attempting to get on a train.2016camino-1010371eAugust 31, 2016:  Next leg involves buses from Bayonne to San Sebastian and on to Pamplona. It’s always interesting to visit with other travelers when using public transportation.

2016camino-1010376eLast step is the taxi ride from Pamplona to Zubiri since there is no bus service available. Thanks to Cesar Mendez we had a great ride and interesting conversation discussing our different countries and interests. Thanks, for the fabulous service, Cesar! Now we can say that we have met a person that has actually “run with the bulls” in Pamplona.

By the looks of our clothing, we appear to be homeless, don’t we? Apparently, we don’t want to put on airs and are saving on laundry during the first day of hiking.

Day 2: Pamplona to Uterga / Where the path of the wind crosses that of the stars.

September 2, 2016:  We (Joan, Randy & Joyce) leave Pamplona shortly after sunrise and find the early morning streets fairly quiet. (Short video of the day at the bottom of this post)

ALERT!!! Joan and Randy possibly witness an ATM scammer at work this morning with a Camino bicyclist as his victim and it reminds us to always be aware of people nearby when using these technologies and don’t use a machine if you view anything suspicious. Click on this link: How to avoid ATM fraud while traveling for some useful information when withdrawing cash. 2016camino-1010492dmv Also, be sure to alert your bank as to where you will be traveling so they are aware of your activity. Shout out to the fabulous customer service, while we are traveling, from our local DNB National Bank in Clear Lake/Gary, South Dakota. You are definitely an important part of our adventures.2016camino-1010505dmvSo much history… It was in this area that Charlemagne’s Christian forces defeated Aigolando’s Muslim army in the 8th century. 2016camino-1010516dmvRuins of Guendulain palace are visible from the path, but I am having trouble finding historical background of the palace. There is a hotel in Pamplona by that name –  Palacio Guendulain.  If someone has a link to its history, please leave a comment  The plowed field in the foreground is interesting as it is almost totally made up of rocks which must be hard on equipment.
2016camino-1010550dmvAs we approach the summit of Alto del Perdon (Hill of Forgiveness), we discover that there is ambulance service on the mountain and feel fortunate to not need their services. The high temperatures combined with the climb and lack of shade are certainly taking a toll on pilgrims.2016camino-1010586dmvplCheck this off the “Bucket List”:  On the summit of Alto del Perdon is an iconic sculpture dedicated to all the pilgrims who walk the Camino de Santiago. The long metal sculpture representing pilgrims on foot and on horse reflects the historical and eternal nature of the walk. There is a Spanish inscription on it “donde se cruza el camino del viento con el de las estrellas” meaning “Where the path of the wind crosses that of the stars.”  ~caminodesantiago.com

2016camino-1010588dmvBeautiful views as we look back towards Pamplona, but what goes up must go down, and we carefully make our way down the steep descent.  One wrong move and the hike is done.  The unfortunate and injured pilgrim would need to be picked up after rolling down to the bottom. It wouldn’t be pretty and I’m sure tears would be involved.

Top three photo picks of the day:2016camino-1010539dmv

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Short video link below of today’s hike.

The adventure begins…

September 1, 2016: Unfinished business awaits us as we begin our 2016 Camino de Santiago trek across northern Spain. We previously completed Astorga to Santiago and St. Jean Pied de Port, France to Zubiri, Spain, so it appears we have a little over 300 miles remaining. Click on the short “kick off” video as we begin our journey…

We stumble upon the Parish Church of Santa Lucia which has lived through the invasion of the Moors, the Spanish Inquisition, Napoleon’s crossing of the Pyrenees, two world wars and the Spanish Civil War.

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It is rumored to be a Templar church and symbols contained in and around the building seem to confirm this. Few records exist so piecing the building’s story together is quite a challenge ~the abbey.es

The intent was to stay in Arre tonight but we seemed to have bypassed the path through that particular town and, before you know it, we’ve gone 22 kilometers (13.6 miles) and find ourselves in downtown Pamplona. Oh, well… plan B will be just fine and we have a head start on our hike tomorrow. We settle into our little room above a small bar and rest our weary bones.

Below are today’s top three photo picks:

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A long walk

Click, click, click, the sticks

Rhythm of the path while walking

Lost yet found in thought

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Image by Joyce Meyer taken on the Camino de Santiago near Burguete, Spain.

I walk…

Click, click, click… walking sticks

The rhythm of the path and breath

Lost yet found in thought

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Image by Joyce Meyer along the Camino de Santiago between Roncesvalles and Zuburi, Spain.

 

 

 

Acceptance…

It has taken me quite a while to come up with the very first post for our new website RJMeyerArts.  As I reflect upon my life I have found that it has been a long and winding road (to quote the Beatles). Mistakes, I’ve had a few...  (Thanks, Frank Sinatra) well, probably quite a few. But, hey, mistakes are there for a purpose, and we just need to make the best of them.  Hence, the need for acceptance.  Acceptance of our own particular stage in life.  Acceptance of doing whatever we can with our God-given talents.  Acceptance of the fact that we are here for a purpose.

2013Camino-1030468rbgblend5dmveTX2frThe above blend of images from Cruz de Ferro in northern Spain along the Camino de Santiago, depicts a pilgrim with her own thoughts and reflections. It’s all of a personal nature, as is life. Life is a journey and has its mountains, valleys and “bumps in the road” of various kinds. You just keep moving forward.  (Click on the links above for more information and history)

No matter what happens, I sincerely hope we can all enjoy the view as we move forward with RJMeyerArts.

hunt-1386rdmvww20hpsh40wcThis website is a work in progress… check back for updates!