Friday, September 24, 2010

California Coast

Here are a couple pictures from a nice drive up the Coast and Big Sur. Beautiful scenery, good company, nice music, good times.

It doesn't much better than this!
Julia Pfeiffer State Park, CA (McWay Falls)

Looking North along the Californian Coast

Bird at McWay Fall, CA

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Montevideo, Uruguay

The capital of Uruguay has many charming areas.  It has some areas that are very refined and european.  There are other parts that fill a little more gritty.  I am glad that I have some wonderful friends in the city.  I truly enjoyed my time visiting and hope to return soon.

Here are a few pictures that I took all in the same day while I was out and about in the city. Parque Rodo always reminds me of Spain.

Patio Andaluz in El Parque Rodo

Parque Rodo
Montevideo, Uruguay
The Cannon store as seen from the bus
The Gaucho statue on Avenida 18 de Julio

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Alicante and a well deserved break

After walking, hiking, and trekking as a pilgrim across Spain for almost a month, I decided that it was time for a nice relaxing break. I have visited every region of Spain (except the islands) with the exception of Alicante. So, in order to complete my Spanish “collection” I decided to relax in the beautiful Mediterranean city of Alicante. It has been so relaxing not having to hike 8 hours a day. The first day all I did was sit on the beach or in the hotel (so nice to have a private room with wifi). After the first couple days though, I was ready to go for a longer walk. I walked along the coast and really enjoyed it. I will admit that I took the bus back into town though. :)

Levels of Lights - Alicante, Spain

Reaching into the Mediterranean - Alicante, Spain

Sunset near Alicante, Spain

Alicante, Spain

Monday, August 2, 2010

Rivera, Uruguay and Brazilian Border Crossing

There is a fun little city on the northern border of Uruguay.  The city is actually two cities.  One is in Uruguay (Rivera) and the other is in Brazil (Santana do Livramento).  There is a plaza in the middle of everything.  Half of the plaza is in Brazil and half of it is in Uruguay. If you walk across the plaza you have crossed an international border.

International border.  Brazil on the left and Uruguay on the right.

Fountain at night
Police horse taking a break in the shade

Tree and sky

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Santiago de Compostela

After more than 700km, I arrived in Santiago de Compostela on the morning of July 22nd (my birthday). This year is the Año Jacobeo and so it is a special year. It really is hard to put in words what it is like to arrive in Santiago as a true pilgrim. I have many thoughts and feelings, but for some reason I am still internalizing them. I may at some point try to put into words what it is like, but for now, all I can say is... Life is good when you have a goal, work to do, time to rest, people to meet, and time to think. It is when we don't stop and enjoy life that we become stressed, sick and tired. I also learned that there is a good kind of tired; the kind of tired you feel at the end of the day when you can look back and see that you have accomplished something. It makes you smile and gives you the confidence that you can move forward again tomorrow and slowly but surely get closer and closer to your ultimate goal which in my case was arriving in Santiago on my birthday. Buen Camino!

Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Castilian Plains to Galician Terrains

Grain fields in Navarra

Poppies in the fields near Burgos

After the long flat walks across the hot, dry, sunny Castilian plains, the Camino starts climbing into the mountains as you prepare to enter Galicia. You know when you get to Galicia because everything turns green and wet. : ) The morning walks are misty, damp and very refreshing. The forests, valleys and hills are enchanting; truly a place for fairytales and Celtic stories.

The mountain pass leading to Galicia

Galicia fields

Galicia's Enchanting Woods

Camino de Santiago

Here are my twelve favorite photographs of the Camino de Santiago. They are from Navarra, La Rioja, Castilla & Leon, and Galicia. Bueno Camino!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Stops on the Camino de Santiago

Camino de Santiago - Even though everyday you need to move forward, a lot of your time as a pilgrim is spent in various cities and small towns along the Camino. A pilgrim needs to eat, rest, sleep, relax, etc. Here are a few pictures from some of the stops on the Camino. (I have many more pictures and decided not to include pictures from places I have already talked about in this blog.)

Tempting benches, but the arrow says it all... Keep on walking... Santiago is that way --->

Knights Templar Castle in Ponferrada

Cafe, Mini & Leon

Iglesia in Torres del Rio

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Santiago - Symbols and Pilgrim Items

Saint James has several symbols. The two that I like the most are the pilgrim’s staff and the scallop shell. Virtually every pilgrim has a shell or something representing the shell and many have staffs or walking sticks. Other important items that mark a serious pilgrim are a backpack and hat. By the second day, I like most pilgrims, went through my pack and removed all items that were not absolutely necessary (Why did I bring so many books, jeans, toiletries, etc?). The final important item is of course a good pair of boots or shoes. I have seen pilgrims wearing everything from massive hiking boots, to running shoes, to sandals, to flip flops. Needless to say, your feet go through a lot as a pilgrim. I have had four blisters. I have been lucky. I’ve seen some impressive blisters. Taking care of your body is number one on to do list of any pilgrim.

Scallop Shell for Pilgrims

My pack, hat and stick

For all your pilgrim needs

Sunday, June 27, 2010

El Camino de Santiago

El Camino de Santiago

I have wanted to do the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela for a very long time. I am finally a pilgrim and will arrive in Santiago after walking about 700 kilometers and 3.5 weeks of walking. Also, being true to my goal of spending my birthday in interesting places, I will arrive on the 22nd of July. The Camino (path, trail, way, etc) is well marked with yellow arrow and signs. I have already walked some of the Camino and have enjoyed it (even with the blisters and sore shoulders). There is something strangely satisfying about waking up early, having a goal in mind, working hard to get to the destination, giving your body what it needs and then seeing the results as you slowly but surely get closer to your final destination.

El Camino de Santiago

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Walter Scott's Abbotsford - Scotland

Any trip to Scotland should include a visit to Abbotsford, home of Sir Walter Scott.  It is an amazing house placed in the charming scottish countryside.  I really enjoyed walking around the grounds, exploring the house and all its treasures, having a cup of tea on the terrace, and of course walking down to the Tweed River.  I highly recommend Abbotsford.
Some of Sir Walter Scott's books; simply lovely
Abbotsford, Scotland
On the bank of River Tweed
River Tweed