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