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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 de Santiago: Leon to Virgen del Camino

9-22-2016:  Breathtaking… remarkable… amazing…camino-1030150First ancient Roman baths, then a palace and finally León Cathedral, dedicated to Santa María de la Regla, which was declared of Cultural Interest in 1844. It is known as the Pulchra Leonina and is a masterpiece of the Gothic style of the mid-13th century. The design is attributed to the architect Enrique. By the late 16th century it was virtually completed. ~Wikipediacamino-1030169I found it fascinating that the stained glass on the north side of the tower features cool colors to represent the Old Testament; the south side’s stained glass uses warmer colors to show how Christ brought light to the New Testament. This design also takes into account the movement of the sun during the day. Now that took an architect with keen attention to detail…

Before leaving the hostal, I check out Facebook and notice an American Pilgrims on the Camino Facebook friend is staying at the famous luxury hotel called the Parador.  Thinking I’m clever, I leave a comment that I will wave at him as I walk by in about an hour.

Around noon we leave the historic center of Leon with a 7 kilometer hike to Virgen del Camino as our destination.

Short video from our short journey today.

Approaching this magnificent building, we speculate that it must be a museum. I sit on a bench to tie my boot.  Hmmm… this can’t be the Parador…
camino-1030203Backpacks and hiking poles are dead giveaways that we are pilgrims. A gentleman approaches us and we begin to visit. Little did I know, but this was the same Facebook friend I was planning to wave to as I walk by. Small world.  He confirms that this is, indeed, The Parador. This five star Parador was originally a monastery founded in the twelfth century to provide lodging for the pilgrims travelling to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. It later became the headquarters of the Order of Saint James whose soldiers provided protection for the pilgrims. ~www.paradores-spain.com

Our conversation expands to include a wonderful young man traveling in a camper van throughout Europe with his wife and dog. I’m thinking that is a great plan as you’d always have a place to sleep.

camino-1030214As we approach our hostel for the night, the neighborhood is looking  dodgy.

No key issued to us for the front door of Hostal Sota and we are only allowed in by the lone hostal employee. In fact, we may be about the only people staying here.  Nice lounge area in the basement and our activities are constantly monitored. 

Why does the song “Hotel California” keep playing through my mind?

Top three photo picks of the day:
camino-1030228Lottery ticket sales appear to be going well before mass outside the Catholic church.

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Camino de Santiago: Ledigos to Sahagun

September 18, 2016:  Word of the day is bodega as we view many along the way today. Some quite plain, while others feature unique designs.

carrion-de-los-condes-to-sahagun-elevation-map1

camino-1020933I guess if I ever find myself with too much time on my hands I could knit tree wraps.  Or not.

camino-1020955Joan gets her Pilgrim Credentials stamped at the Camino Frances half way point, Our Lady of the Bridge sanctuary near Sahagun, Spain. This structure has XIIth Century Romanesque foundations but the original pilgrim hospic has long gone. Interesting flooring design that seems to have a Moorish influence.

camino-1020975A-h-h-h… home sweet home for tonight with half the beds empty. Seems as though the bed race has eased up for this stretch so we can snuggle in with a little privacy. Hmmm… do I feel a draft?

Top three photo picks of the day:

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Camino de Santiago: Carrion de los Condes to Ledigos

September 17, 2016:  Pretty level day as we plod along enjoying the company of Alabama John (Hence, the video song choice) and Blair today. Poor Blair’s blisters are becoming quite a struggle, but she is one tough cookie.

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Blair, Joan and I are staying in Ledigos tonight while Alabama John continues on to the next town meaning we, most likely, will not see him again. Thank you being a part of our journey.  Buen Camino, John!

We take a stroll around this quaint little village of Ledigos with its interesting buildings constructed with mud and straw. We walk up a hill to the church and discover a woman just finishing up preparing for Sunday service tomorrow. She allows us in and gives us a little tour.

Top three photo picks of the day:

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Camino de Santiago: Boadilla to Carrion de los Condes

September 16, 2016:  The way is dark as we slip out of the village of Boadilla. The Camino follows a path along a dike that separates the Canal de Castilla from farmland on the left. Constructed between the last half of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century, it runs 207 km and parts of it are still used for irrigation. ~Wikipedia

elevation-fromista-to-carrion-de-los-condesThe last stretch of this approximately 25 K day is quite easy and level but seems to take forever. That is, until we start walking with an Australian named Blair (Taught in Spain and Ireland.) and the conversation takes my mind off of the distance. Thank you, Blair!camino-1020819We meet our goal of arriving in Carrion de los Condes in time to get beds at the former convent called Albergue Espiritu Santo run by Spanish nuns. Just make sure you use this front door and don’t try to enter, for the first time, through the back courtyard.camino-1020820Nice clean rooms, clean bathrooms/showers and no bunk beds.

camino-1020847The nuns inform us of a free concert tonight in a nearby church which sounds quite interesting. After running into our Irish friend Sinead in the courtyard, the three of us decide to pursue this opportunity together. The featured musician, James Kline, designed a fascinating instrument that has 2 necks, 11 strings on one and a lute and dulcimer on the other.  Enjoyable, relaxing music.

Top three photo picks of the day:

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Camino Day 12: Exploring Burgos

9-12-2016:  Today we are tourists  exploring the city of Burgos, Spain. Click on the link below for a short highlight video :

camino-1020370Construction on the Cathedral began in 1221 and was completed in 1567 which included a hiatus of nearly 200 years with the work resuming on the Burgos Cathedral towards the middle of the 15th century and would continue for more than 100 years. The work done during this time consisted of embellishments of great splendour, assuring the Cathedral’s continued world-renown status. ~unesco.org  Audio tour is full of historical facts and I find it difficult to absorb all of the grandeur and history. Truly immense and I’m in awe.

camino-1020366eshWe are seeing more beggars in the tourist areas of town.  Scam artists? Hmmm…

camino-1020464We climb the hill and explore massive fortifications of the rebuilt Castillo de Burgos. Dating from the 9th century, the castle has a turbulent history, suffering a fire in 1736 and blown up by Napoleon’s troops in 1813. There’s a small museum featuring the history of Burgos.

camino-1020466The impressive view from the castle reveals an aerial view of our hike yesterday and we can see why the Camino path into Burgos seemed endless. We also view the route we will take out-of-town tomorrow as we face the meseta.

camino-1020443A special happy hour tonight since it’s Randy’s last night with us.  We improvise by making a tablecloth from a disposable sheet Randy saved from a previous albergue. This will aid clean-up since we aren’t suppose to eat in the room.( Sh-h-h-h… don’t tell!) Add bread from a local bakery washed down with very cheap (0.62 euro?) box wine and life is good. Don’t judge…

We meet Jim and Mary Ann (Leascomadventures.com) for the evening meal. Last time we see this lovely pair as they will proceed down the path ahead of us from now on. Buen Camino!

Top three photo picks of the day:

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Camino Day 10: Belorado to Ages

September 10, 2016:  Belorado to Ages ~ 28 kilometersbelorado-to-san-juan-de-ortega-elevation-mapOver-achievers today as we go a few kilometers past the elevation map above.

We find beds in the Ages Municipal Albergue and wander the streets exploring the village.camino-1020241eWhile exploring Ages we stumble upon a small museum of miniatures that Marcial Palacios creates of regional sites, as well as historical methods of labor in the village and on the farm.camino-1020239e The passion that Marcial puts into his works and animated explanation of each miniature  is  interesting as I try to comprehend with my limited Spanish skills along with gestures. Best salesman ever as we purchase a small, lightweight toy.camino-1020229eJunk sculptures line stone fences and fill the yards of this unique street in Ages. I couldn’t find info about these displays so your guess is as good as mine.camino-1020253eShout out and buen camino to Jim and MaryAnne Leas of leascomadventures.com.

Top three photo picks of the day:

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