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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

Looking Back…

When I first started hiking a number of years ago, a fellow hiker gave me some important advice, “Don’t forget to look back.”  When I see a memorable view I capture it with a camera so that I can revisit this moment in time. If the view is mediocre I turn back and resume hiking along my merry way with camera packed. As a photographer I have found this advice helpful, but even more I find it applies to life.

We all know life isn’t always pretty and we may stumble and step in crap from time to time. Learn, move on, without dwelling on these unfortunate moments. Likewise, there may be some unattractive elements in an image, but look beyond and see the beauty…

Looking back on Hospital de Orbigo, Spain. Image by Joyce Meyer

 

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:

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Camino Day 13: Burgos to Hornillos

9-14-2016:  It’s a dreary Tuesday and we bid farewell to Randy who is taking a bus from Burgos to Madrid to catch his flight home.

camino-1020484We trudge through parque El Parral which, we decided, was the park in the film, The Way.

burgos-to-hontanas-elevation-map

As you can see by the map, it isn’t totally flat terrain, yet. We are expecting much flatter terrain, but find the ups and downs to be just fine.

camino-1020503 This man reminds us of Randy as he is so proud of the hair brush he found along the way. Joan is not jealous as she already has a nice comb.

No reservations, but we have our minds set on Albergue Hornillos so we hustle along and get in line for a bed. Joan and I are lucky and snatch the 2nd and 3rd to the last beds while Alabama John (Young man with the cowboy style hat on the video) gets the very last bed. Bonus is a grocery store nearby and little old church to tour next door.The Camino did provide!

camino-1020558Our beds are near this kitchen where we drink our wine, cook supper  and visit with the other pilgrims.  These experiences are some of my favorites of the camino – listening to other perspectives and journeys in life.

unnamed Joan is in a tiny room with another lady next to this  dorm room and I enjoy this view from a top bunk near them. Nice and cozy. I listen to the conversations in the kitchen from my bed and soon I am lulled to sleep. Buenas Noches!

Top three photo picks of the day:camino-1020547e camino-1020539e2 camino-1020531dmv

 

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:

camino-1020222e camino-1020199e camino-1020179ecr

 

Camino Day 8: Najera to Santo Domingo

September 8, 2016:  A short video of the day…

This morning finds us departing in the dark hoping to find available beds in Santo Domingo. We are meeting more Camino friends as we trudge along and cherish these conversations and chance encounters. You know who you are!!! We look forward to and enjoy the e-mails updating us on their Camino journeys and life in general.

najera-to-santo-domingo-elevation-map

camino-1020049eBest welcoming committee on the Camino with wine in a jug, tapas and friendly staff at the Santo Domingo de la Calzada albergue operated by the Spanish Confraternity. Nice backyard area with outdoor laundry facilities, kitchen and spacious lounge/dining area. A bonus is that many of the pilgrims we have encountered along the way are staying here.

20160908_121838_resized-2ecrApparently, English and German-speaking pilgrims need rules, so we make good use of the wonderful laundry facilities in the backyard. Randy is extremely  impressed with Julio’s Scrubba Portable laundry bag (Click on link).

camino-1020077ecrOur Irish hospitalera enjoys friendly conversation with Randy and leaves him with a bro hug. camino-1020061ecrA tour of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada includes viewing a live rooster and hen. A gothic henhouse was built during the middle of the XVth century to keep alive a hen and a rooster in memory of the most famous of Santo Domingo´s miracles. Click on this link:  Hen and the Rooster Miracle for the full story behind this live display. I was told they switch out the fowl every 14 days, so I’m guessing chicken soup is on the menu every couple of weeks.camino-1020081eAfter wandering down our street we pathetically gaze inside a restaurant at 6 p.m. and inquire as to evening meal service. 7:30 p.m. is the meal time and our sad, hungry faces must appeal to the gentleman’s heart-strings as he pauses and decides to make an exception.  He rushes around and quickly sets a table for us. The best paella EVER!!!camino-1020083eThe Irish hospitaleras invited us to a prayer service in the basement of the albergue, so this early meal time means we return in time to attend.  Hard to stay awake, but glad we participated since we need all the help we can get. Bonus is this piece of artwork on the wall of the prayer room.

Top three photo picks of the day:
camino-1020054e camino-1020055e

 

 

Camino Day 5 ~ Los Arcos to Torres del Rio

Monday, September 5, 2016:

Scroll down for a short video of the day.

We take our time getting started since I (Joyce) added kilometers in my head incorrectly and we have a short day of only about 8 kilometers.  It’s tricky finding beds these days even though it’s beyond the summer rush.  It’s still unseasonably hot and challenging to beat the speedier Pilgrims for the Municipal beds in Viana while Logrono would be a long haul in this heat. We need an easy day anyway, right?  Divine intervention, for sure.camino-1010821eOh, well… on the plus side we stayed in a small apartment last night that  was very nice and we even heated up paella from the grocery store in our cute little kitchen. Not bad at all and easy on the budget.camino-1010827e

camino-1010826ecrI can see why it’s called Church of St. Mary of the Arches.

camino-1010844eSurvival of the fittest in arid, dry conditions; snails crawl up a live plant stem to obtain moisture.camino-1010867e Hey!! It’s the brother/sister pair from Israel! We last saw them in Estella.

camino-1010870eWhat?  We are here already? Cross the river right after leaving Sansol and we find our home for tonight at the San Andres Hostel.

33605558
Wikipedia image
1160-1170,
Google images

This village is best known for its 12th century church, Iglesia de Santo sepulchre  (Church of the Holy Sepulchre) linked with the Knights Templar and based on the octagonal church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The cupola with its cross-ribbed vault forming an 8 sided star, is particularly notable and emblematic of the Knights. ~ Brierley guidebook (Its locked so are unable to tour the interior.)

camino-1010872eTime for the Pilgrim Menu and we are lucky enough to share a table with a delightful couple from Italy. Thanks to Google Translate we are able to communicate, but I think their smiles say it all… Chow!

Short video of the day:

Top three photo picks of the day:camino-1010834e camino-1010861ecrcamino-1010843e