Category Archives: hiking

2017 Camino de Santiago: Orrison-Roncesvalles-Larrasoana

Image from “Turn to Wonder” blog.

Cold,  rain and fog accompany us as we walk through the Pyrennees from Refuge Orrison to Roncesvalles. The thumping sound of large, raindrops pelt against my rain gear… a constant drumming throughout the day. Soaked gloves offer no protection from the cold resulting in numb fingers and toes. Large flocks of sheep hunker down together, staring at the passing Pilgrims as if to say, …and they say sheep are dumb. We  later discover that the mountain was closed to those leaving St. Jean that day.

Maybe I do feel like a hiking beast…

The following stretch from Roncesvalles to Larrasoana provides a  much better day for hiking with plenty of photo opportunities due to the pleasant weather. I am much more appreciative of this wonderful weather today due to the rough weather yesterday. Minnesotans learn this lesson early in life.

Image by Joyce Meyer
Image by Joyce Meyer

Intro to Camino de Santiago

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”   Maya Angelou

Images and video clips by Joyce Meyer.

Music:  The Wrong Direction by Passenger

Camino Conversation

On the way to Logrono, two hikers take respite from the heat in the shade of a tunnel along the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain .

Image by Joyce Meyer. Edited using Topaz Impressions 2 and Photoshop CC 2015

Click on image for a larger viewing window.

Camino de Santiago…join the journey

2016 Rigdon/Meyer Camino (Unfinished Business) blog post links are available in chronological order on one page. Several posts include a short video of the day and we are relieved that we aren’t still looking for Randy somewhere in France!

So, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, click on the photo below and travel along with Randy, Joyce & Joan.  ~Buen Camino!

Camino de Santiago 2016 – “Unfinished Business” starts in Zubiri, Spain.

For more of our escapades, including hiking the West Highland Way in Scotland, go to rjmeyerarts.com 

Camino de Santiago: El Acebo to Ponferrada

September 26, 2016:  Down we go… Joan was missing this section of the Camino from El Acebo to Ponferrada, so descending down this mountain path was necessary to finalize the journey.

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After a taxi ride speeding up the dark, winding mountain road, the driver drops us off at El Acebo and at first we are amazed at the changes in this charming village. A huge, new albergue greets us complete with swimming pool, restaurant and a deck overlooking the valley below. Where is the quaint little village we remember so well?

camino-1030445We wait for daylight, slowly making our way down the mountain and I now remember why I love this stage of the camino. The scenery is becoming greener and the mountains provide layers of beauty which makes it difficult to believe this is our last day of hiking. Seems like we should keep going.
We arrive back in Ponferrada later that day and go in search of an establishment willing to provide us with a celebratory meal even though it’s much earlier than the usual Spanish meal time.camino-1030575Thankfully, family owned El Portiel Meson  adjusted their schedule just for us and cleaned out their refrigerator to provide a hearty meal complete with wine and a complimentary after dinner liquor. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

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I will confess that I am a camino addict and a large part of me doesn’t want the journey to end. I love the simple life… get up, put the backpack on and start walking (To my first cup of coffee). But that isn’t real life, is it?

I’ve been choosing my top three picks for photos from each day of this camino and to wrap things up I’m also choosing three words I hope will provide meaning and impact in my daily life.

Top three photos and top three words to bring it home:

camino-1030478e1) Acceptance ~ It is what it is.camino-10305252) Endurance ~ Personal growth from experiences no matter how difficult.camino-10304923) Appreciation ~ Live in the moment and enjoy the journey…no matter how long it takes.

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Camino de Santiago March 2013
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Camino de Santiago August 2014
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Camino de Santiago September 2016

Third time’s a charm…Thank you to my sister, Joan, for all of the planning along with her meticulously designed spreadsheets, and especially for including me in these adventures.

camino-1030570Cheers to our Camino de Santiago…el fin!

Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada

September 25, 2016:  Short and sweet today with a bus ride from Astorga to Ponferrada, Spain which is the last major town on the French route of the Camino de Santiago until Santiago de Compostela.

Taking a step back in time, we tour the magnificent 12th century Templar castle.  Originally a hill-fort and later a Roman citadel we peer through the windows and peepholes viewing the city below and the mountains in the distance.

camino-1030427At the beginning of the 12th century, the Templar knights took possession of the fortress.
camino-1030439They reinforced and extended the building for use as a palace as well as provide protection of pilgrims en route to Santiago de Compostela. Its twelve original towers reproduced the shapes of the constellations.camino-1030438The castle hosted the Knights Templar’s Grand Master of Castille. Unfortunately, the Templars were only able to enjoy the use of their fortress for about twenty years before the order was disbanded and its properties confiscated. ~spain.info 

According to andaspain.com, The Knights Templar were disbanded in 1307 by King Philip IV of France due to growing mistrust of the organization, as well as the Kings large financial debt to the group. It is thought that most members were arrested and tortured into giving false confessions, resulting in being burned at the stake. Mystery and speculation grew due to the swift disappearance of this immense and mighty group. Even now, many hold on to the belief that the Templars did not dissolve but went underground and continue to exist today. Interestingly, King Fernando IV gifted the castle to his butler once the Order of the Templars was dissolved.  Hmmm… strange, indeed.

Top three photo picks of the day:

camino-1030419 camino-1030434 camino-1030418

Camino de Santiago: Hospital de Orbigo to Astorga

September 24, 2016:  Camino Completion ~ third time’s a charm. Another dot is connected as we walk into Astorga, Spain.

villar-de-mazarife-to-astorga-elevation-mapcamino-1030350Cruceiro Santo Toribio is a stone cross that commemorates the 5th century Bishop Toribio of Astorga who supposedly fell to his knees here in a final farewell having been banished from the town. Wonderful view of the city of Astorga with the mountains looming in the distance.camino-1030356This gentleman has welcome wagon duty today along with tending to the flowers and shrubs near the stone cross.camino-1030378Tonight we sleep in the loft of a very old building,  Albergue de Peregrinos San Javier located on a narrow street near the cathedral. 110 beds and we are up three levels in the top loft area. camino-1030384As you can see, we both get a front and center bottom bunk tonight  surrounded by our international roommates. Friendly conversations are a bonus to this situation and we experience absolutely no bedbugs. A full kitchen is on the bottom level of the building so we are able to cook our own meal tonight and converse with other pilgrims doing the same. Flashlights are close and ready for action in case we need to walk down the dark staircase during the night to a lower level to use the facilities. Watch to the end of the video on this blog post and you will take a walk with me from top to bottom of the albergue. I’m glad there wasn’t a fire during the night because we would surely have been toast.camino-1030400Inside these doors… Astorga’s cathedral was built between the 15th and 18th centuries and combines various styles including Gothic and Baroque.
camino-1030398The edifice was begun in 1471, within the same walls of its Romanesque predecessors from the 11th-13th centuries. Construction lasted until the 18th century which explains the inclusion of elements from later styles.  ~Wikipedia
camino-1030388Is Harry Potter home? Opposite the cathedral is the Palcio Episcopal designed by Anton Gaudi for the bishop of the time who was a fellow Catalan. The palace’s bizarre appearance and enormous cost horrified the church and no future bishops ever lived in it. It is now home to the Museo de los Caminos, an excellent museum of the pilgrimage to Santiago. ~spainthisway.com 

We were not able to visit Museo Chocolate also located in Astorga, Spain. Here you can see a display of tools and objects that represent the history of chocolate production: instruments for roasting, refining and rolling, as well as pans, mortars, moulds and machines from the early 19th century.

Top three photo picks of the day:

camino-1030344 camino-1030393camino-1030337