Tag Archives: Spain

End of this Journey… until next time.

The journey only requires you to put one foot in front of the other …again and again and again. If you can find  beauty every step of the way, you are truly blessed.

An early start to a  thirty kilometer walk today with random conversations and  historic villages along the way. I arrive at the steps reaching the bridge into Logrono catching the tourist information office gentleman at the top just as he is about ready to close. The excellent map he gives me makes my journey to tonight’s lodging a piece of cake allowing me time to pay it forward and help another young pilgrim find the municipal albergue in time for her to get a bed.

Seems like I’m just getting my trail legs and this Camino has ended. The departure process now begins with a bus, three planes, my very first Uber ride until my little red car takes me all the way back to the border of Minnesota/South Dakota.

It may be time to go home, but it’s never too early to start planning the next adventure… I am truly blessed.

 

 

 

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 

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: 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:

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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

 

Camino de Santiago: Virgen del Camino to Hospital Orbigo

September 23, 2016: Two options today ~ follow the highway path or take the longer alternate path. We naturally opt for the longer route since we rarely seem to do anything the easy way.camino-1030256

Short video of the day featuring the inspiration for our morning mantra ~ …Coffee Town:

camino-1030313As usual, we follow an arrow to proceed straight ahead. What’s this?  A set of large railroad tracks loom ahead and we are hesitant to cross since neither of us like to break rules. Hmmm…? Turn around and back we go to find this little arrow pointing to a road that winds us through town, up and over a pedestrian railroad crossing. Safety first and it’s a good thing we like to walk.

Image from Galicia Guide
Image from Galicia Guide

The 13th century bridge taking us into Hospital Orbigo is the longest one on the Camino at 204 metres long (approximately 670 feet) and has 20 arches. The river that it crosses doesn’t seem to appear to warrant such a lengthy bridge, but prior to a dam being built at Barrios de Luna the river was a lot wider. ~Galicia Guide

This bridge has facilitated trade since Roman times including the passage of livestock as part of the cattle trail Camino de la Canada, as well as sweaty pilgrims. ~John Brierly

I see our albergue! A  sign can be spotted from the bridge so we have finally arrived. The albergue tonight is connected to a bar/restaurant which means we have a zero kilometer walk tonight. Yes!

Top three photo picks of the day:

camino-1030248 camino-1030265 camino-1030275

 

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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