Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Walking The Camino: Day Twenty-three

Leon to Astorga in three days. Big city to tiny village to The Chocolate City.

 Leon Cathedral

 Leon cafe life. Late afternoon coffee and people watching.

 Downtown Leon

 The old historic district of Leon is like a maze.

Hospital de Orbigo, the jousting capital of Spain.

 Crossing on the puente.

 A nice little place to stay in a town with a population of fifty (not including farm animals).

 A flat day of walking. It's been a week of relatively flat terrain but we hit the hills tomorrow.

 Overcross ramp for wheelchairs and pilgrims.

 Approaching Astorga and the much needed Spa Hotel.

 Astorga's Plaza Mayor at dawn when we made our escape.

 Gaudi Museum in Astorga.

 Astorga has been one of our favorite places on the Camino so far. Nice restaurants serving some very interesting regional food, great architecture, lots of locals, and chocolate everywhere.

We just follow the arrows.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Walking the Camino - Day Twenty-Two

The Camino week four: after three weeks of trekking 5 to 6 hours each day, my boots and I are finally becoming friends with each other.

Friday, July 21, 2017

On The Camino, Day Twenty–More Pilgrims We Met

Over 250,000 people completed the Camino de Santiago last year. The majority of them walked, some biked, and about a hundred did it on horseback. Admittedly, you can walk as little as the last 100 kilometers (62 miles) to claim that you did it. Some people do it over the course of a few years, perhaps three ten day vacations.
Plenty of people choose to complete the 800 kilometer (500 miles) all at once in the four to five weeks it takes to do so.
You can make it as easy as you want it to be. You don't always have to stay in albergues with communal rooms. You can have your backpack or luggage transported each day. You can take no-walk rest days. You can even take a bus or taxi part of the way on any given day.
But we're walking and carrying our packs the entire way as are many of the people we're meeting along the way.
This 75 year old woman from the Netherlands is walking with her husband all the way to Santiago.

Yes, it's easier when you're healthy and young.

This guy is originally from Santiago but has been working in the U.K. for the last 13 years.
He's biking about two-thirds of the Camino because he only has two weeks of vacation.

This girl from Holland who we shared dinner with one evening, was complaining a bit about the boring walks but still plans on making it to Santiago.

A grandma from Oregon was eager to practice her Spanish on the Camino. It really does help to know some Spanish. In some of the small towns and villages there are people who speak very little English.

 This woman from Australia is biking about half the Camino. Her daughter is walking it at the same time.

This is Pat from Ireland.

This is Pat's husband, Pat. They are walking ten days this year and will return next year to continue where they left off.

This is our good friend Suki, who we met earlier this year in Mumbai. She walked the Camino two years ago and is doing it again this year with the goal of completing it in 28 days.

 Suki started three days after we did and caught up with us about half way through to Santiago.

This is a great guy named Jaiman (or James as he likes to be called). We met him early on the Camino and shared a great dinner together on the last day of his Camino in Burgos.
He's from Valencia.

Our first sighting of pilgrims with horses.

 This woman is truly inspirational. She walks every day with these braces on both legs.

Here she is taking a break. She has her bags transported each day and only carries a small day pack.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Day Nineteen On The Camino – Half Way

We're officially past the halfway point to Santiago. We'll be there in 15 days.

We've settled into a very comfortable routine averaging a little over 15 miles of walking each morning. Then it's beer, lunch, siesta, dinner, and bed time.
 Sunrise Breakfast.

 Breakfast Bar.

 On the road.

 Coffee break.
Back on the road.

 Arriving into town.

 Lunch options



Bed for the night.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Day Eighteen on the Camino – Churches

The Camino started as a religious pilgrimage over 1300 years ago so the path winds itself through the towns and will usually pass a church.
Less than half the people walking the Camino today do it for religious reasons. We certainly aren't but it doesn't hurt to take a peek inside.
 Burgos Cathedral. One of the few things worth seeing in Burgos.

 Churches usually open mid-morning, close for lunch (around 1pm), and re-open for services late in the afternoon.

Storks nesting on church bell tower.

 Priest giving blessings to pilgrims.

Main church in Fromista.

 Castrojeriz church early in the morning.

 If there's a Plaza, there's usually a church.

Every town and village has at least one church. Even if the town's population is 50 (not including pets or farm animals).

Some churches with significant works of art will charge pilgrims a fee to visit,but you can usually just sneak in during afternoon mass.

 Church bell towers are usually the tallest structures in town.

Unlike many other churches, the organs here are not necessarily over the main entry facing the altar.