Thursday, September 30, 2010
As a matter of fact, I did take a couple of snapshots along the way. Let's see what happened over the past 37 days in weekly chunks.
Wednesday, August 25th in London
My Trusty Jansport Backpack
Weighing in at only 7.8 kilos, about 17.2 lbs., it would be my home for over a month and the envy of many an overburdened peregrino.
Thanks for the advice Jason!
St. Pancras Tube Station
I always try to go to a play when I'm in London for a day or two, on this night I was entertained by the Bard's "Henry IV - Part 1."
I paid a few extra Pounds Sterling for a seat under cover, it was worth it!
Thursday, August 26th London to Biarritz
to St. Jean Pied-de-Port, France
Ryan Air to Biarritz, France followed by a bus ride to Bayonne and finally a train ride to St. Jean Pied-de-Port made for a long travel day. It would be my last day using anything but my feet to move around for the next five weeks.
Zolton and I hooked up at the airport in Biarritz trying to find the bus to Bayonne. He was my first Camino mate as we shared a room in St. Jean Pied-de-Port and walked together for the first 12 km of the Camino before he sped off as he was trying to finish the Camino in only 22 days.
I wonder if he made it?
We met at the Bayonne Train Station and they said they were huge Gonzo fans.
These clam shells and usually yellow arrows would guide us for the next 33 days.
in St. Jean Pied-de-Port
She possessed a very positive attitude. Without the passport she prepared for me I would not have been able to stay in the albergues along the way.
A River Runs Through It
Friday, August 27th, STAGE 1
St. Jean Pied-de-Port to Roncesvalles, Spain
Zolton and I had breakfast with these two young ladies from Sweden who were starting their Camino as well today.
We got great weather for the climb of 1,285 meters, about 4,216 feet, over the Pyrenees Mountains, no easy task believe you me!
Each rock represents a person or their memory that a peregrino wants to honor on their Camino. I left more than a few along the way myself.
The Pyrenees are big Basque farming mountains full of. . .
Of course, the sound of cow bells was everywhere.
Out of nowhere near the summit, this man set up his van to sell peregrinos food and drink. It is a long stretch between villages on this Stage and he was a sight for very tired souls.
He charged rock bottom prices at a place where he could have gouged peregrinos. It is the way of the Camino to help others.
The downhill part of the Spanish Pyrenees would prove just as hard in different ways as the climb up the French side.
I went with a dry fit T-shirt and shorts every day.
Saturday, August 28th, STAGE 2
Roncesvalles to Larrasoaña
My poncho purchased in Växjö worked perfectly but it was super hot inside of it.
We all just randomly sat together for a typical Pilgrim's Menu of the day. This, for about 8 Euros, gets you a first dish (usually pasta for me), a second dish (fish or meat), dessert (flan) and a bottle of vino tinto.
I developed my first blister today and mentioned it over dinner. After dinner, George held a flashlight while Murray performed a blisterectomy in the dark in my upper bunk back at the albergue.
Camino angels and saints were everywhere.
Sunday, August 28th, STAGE 3
Larrasoaña to Cizur Menor
They travel a little heavier than I do, but they have already been walking an extended trek for several weeks at this point.
It was excellent, especially the fresh squeezed orange juice!
Great guy who would put the finishing touches to the full and speedy recovery of my blister.
I first met these ladies from San Diego walking in Pamplona. Who would have guessed that the two young Saints would soon be the cornerstones of Team North America and a source of great strength and encouragement for me.
We walked from the other side of that in just three days?????
Awesome peregrino whose giving, caring spirit is almost as great as his beard which he has cultivated for over seven years now.
It worked for me.
Classical guitarist, organist and sketch artist. What a great person he proved to be, always upbeat and making those around him feel better.
Monday, August 29th, STAGE 4
Cizur Menor to Puente La Reina
Almost as good as Spanish soap.
It was either that or a pitchfork. Thankfully, Ste. Michelle and St. Hans talked me into buying the walking stick. What a great investment!
Tuesday, August 31st, STAGE 5
Puente La Reina to Estella
Only about 5% of these bikers are rude and wreckless on the Camino but they give this style of pilgrimmage a bad name.
Patron Saint of Walking Sticks
Patron Saint of Mirth and Happiness
Martyr of the Camino
Why is this man smiling when he has a. . .
It would be matched by the blister on the heel of. . .
Martyr of the Camino
You need to be strong to survive the Camino.
Well, that does it for the first eight days of my Camino experience. I'll post more pictures when I get the chance, I've got a lot of packing to do for the trip home to California that starts Sunday morning.
I hope you enjoyed the photos.