Thursday, September 30, 2010

So, Did You Take Any Pictures of the Camino?

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

Shakespeare's Globe Theater

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."

The Globe's Stage

It rained and the Groundlings got quite wet

I paid a few extra Pounds Sterling for a seat under cover, it was worth it!

Thursday, August 26th London to Biarritz
to Bayonne
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.

Zoltan from Glumslöv, Sweden

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?

Three Girls on Holiday from Uruguay

We met at the Bayonne Train Station and they said they were huge Gonzo fans.

Two French train conductors in uniform
Tres Chic!

The Camino is this way

These clam shells and usually yellow arrows would guide us for the next 33 days.

Maria at the Peregrinos Passport Office
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.

St. Jean Pied-de-Port, France
A River Runs Through It

Friday, August 27th, STAGE 1
St. Jean Pied-de-Port to Roncesvalles, Spain

Maria, our Pension hostess

Zolton and I had breakfast with these two young ladies from Sweden who were starting their Camino as well today.

The Pyrenees Foothills

The view back at France

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!

Rocks on Camino markers

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.

The Camino Provides

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.

That is a LONG way to walk

Cold mountain water hit the spot!

Kind of early for someone
to dump their shoes

I'm in España now!

Beautiful España

The downhill part of the Spanish Pyrenees would prove just as hard in different ways as the climb up the French side.

My first Albergue in Roncesvalles, Spain


The image of the traditional Peregrino

I went with a dry fit T-shirt and shorts every day.

The Peregrino's Mass in Roncesvalles

Saturday, August 28th, STAGE 2
Roncesvalles to Larrasoaña

Dawn start in a light drizzle

My poncho purchased in Växjö worked perfectly but it was super hot inside of it.

Nice Shutters

Dinner in Larrasoaña with Martina, George, Murray and a lady whose name I don't recall

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

Another pre-dawn start

More homes on the Camino need soda machines

George and Murray happy to find out that
their operation on me was a success

They travel a little heavier than I do, but they have already been walking an extended trek for several weeks at this point.

The Basque Flag

Had to try it

It was excellent, especially the fresh squeezed orange juice!

The City Wall of Pamplona

It's not like they didn't warn us about the upcoming
September 29th Huelga

Lovely Pamplona

The Order of Malta Albergue in Cizur Menor

Ambriosio our Hospitalero

Great guy who would put the finishing touches to the full and speedy recovery of my blister.

Ste. Jaime, Ruth and Ste. Jillian, a.k.a., "Speed Racer"

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.

The Pyrennes in the distance

We walked from the other side of that in just three days?????

Felipe from Columbia

Awesome peregrino whose giving, caring spirit is almost as great as his beard which he has cultivated for over seven years now.

The Chapel of the Order of Malta

Ambrosio leads us in songs to raise our spirits

It worked for me.

St. Hans from Denmark
Patron Saint of Music and the Arts

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

Follow the Yellow Arrow and the Clam Shell

The Farmlands of Navarra

At the Alto del Perdón

I have to cover all the land that you can see in the next few days from Alto del Perdón

I wonder what is behind this Green Door?

Still a long ways to go

School kids at play in O'Banos

We were given free First Aid kits at
the albergue in Puente La Reina

My Beloved Timberland Walking Shoes

Old I think

Pelotas for sale in Puente La Reina

Nice Clock

The Puente in Puente La Reina

Puente La Reina's Church Bell Tower

Spanish Cheeses

Almost as good as Spanish soap.

These are SO good!

We need a better door at home

I bought my walking stick in this store

It was either that or a pitchfork. Thankfully, Ste. Michelle and St. Hans talked me into buying the walking stick. What a great investment!

Two new tablemates, Gerta and Margret from Germany

Puente La Reina's Church Up Close

Tuesday, August 31st, STAGE 5
Puente La Reina to Estella

Out the door early again

Navarra offered some
rugged landscapes today

Asturias is the home province of
my Abuelo and Abuela

Only about 5% of these bikers are rude and wreckless on the Camino but they give this style of pilgrimmage a bad name.

Knock Angrily, Please

The top three rocks are for
my Abuelo, Abuela and Dad

Unclear on the Concept I Think

Nearing Estella

Ste. Michelle of Germany
Patron Saint of Walking Sticks

It's For Sale and Cheap

Una Caña Pro Favor

Spaniards Love Their Flags

Follow the Clam Shells

Ste. Julie of Canada
Patron Saint of Mirth and Happiness

St. Ulf of Germany
Martyr of the Camino

Why is this man smiling when he has a. . .

Blister like this one

It would be matched by the blister on the heel of. . .

St. Trine of Denmark
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.