The “S” Memories – walking down the Camino memory lane

Stork bra

Stork nest bra

Storks are in abundance in Spain. We see stork nests everywhere during the spring months.

The pair of parents take turns watching the nest as one of the two flies away to get food for  their little ones.

This particular nest caught my eye as I tried to make out what was that black item on the left side of the nest. As I used my zoom on my camera I finally figured out what is what – a little black lace bra – a Stork nest bra!

I made a mental note NOT to hang my clothes out during stork season!

statue-s

There are so many statues in Spain, especially concentrated in some of the churches and cathedrals. I don’t recall exactly where I took this picture (I’m thinking it’s in O’Cebreiro) and what I like about this particular statue was the stance of the person it portrayed.

The artist even added a real sword. I liked that this was a unique pose rather than the traditional standing pose we often see.

stairway to heaven-s

I call this picture “stairway to heaven”. From my vantage point this is what it looked to be – a staircase leading to the skies.

There are many old abandoned buildings in Spain. I recall walking through seemingly ghost town-like hamlets and small villages where no one could be found. I imagine at some point in time, all these hamlets were filled with laughter, joy and lots of residents.

simple pleasures

simple pleasures

Simple pleasures were easy to find on the Camino. Things that usually wouldn’t really mean much to me became treasures of the day while on the Camino.

Good local delicious cheese, uniquely flavoured chocolate (this one was flavoured with olive oil!) and good reading material made for a wonderful treat.

Oh, how simple life became on the Camino – perhaps simple items, but always an enriching experience.

signs

signs

What an absolute joy I would have when seeing any such signs indicating I was approaching a village, hamlet or town.

At times I would walk 8, 10,12 kilometers with no indication of nearby civilization; then, my eyes would rest on a while sign in the distance, and I knew I was getting close to a cafe or an albergue.

Stained Glass Shells

Stained Glass Shells

My husband Steve and I created stained glass works for many years. I’ve always been intrigued by this art, and I chanced upon this particular piece as part of a frontage of a house.

These shells are actually painted on the glass, alike most of the faces of church and cathedral stained glass windows. This is such a nice Camino-themed piece!

 

Symbols of the Camino

Symbols of the Camino

When one thinks of the Camino, many symbols come to mind that represent it. The shell is likely one of the most common one (along with the yellow arrows).

This little shop displayed various Camino related items. I’ve seen this particular shop photographed many times by pilgrims and tourists alike.

Cheers from my virtual Camino tour!

For more information about the A-Z Blog Challenge please visit http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

The “R” Memories – Walking the Camino Memory Lane

Resilience

Resilience

Resilience – this is all I could think about when I saw this lone poppy growing on the side of a stone wall. How amazing is this!

Of course, poppies hold a special place in my heart as it was my dear sister Denise’s favorite flower. Resilience is something we all have deep inside us when we face difficult situations – Like this flower, we must fight and work and grow even in the barest of conditions…

Reflection

Reflection

 

Reflection – something we do all the time as we walk on the Camino… Self reflection on our past, on choices in life, the paths we chose and the direction we select…

What a beautiful location to take a picture – I am reflected but momentarily in the water, a moment in time which will never occur again… at least, no in the same way of this particular moment. How still was this moment for me – and I can assure you, the Camino journey is one of endless reflections…

Remembering

Remembering

Pilgrims die on the Camino. Often, crosses, tombstones and grave markers are placed in their memory and honour, ans as we walked by those markers, we remember them, even though we likely do not know of them. It’s a action of respect.

The Camino is NOT a walk in the park, but it also is something most can actually do, as long as one listens to one’s body and mind, and take one’s time.

 

resting-s

Resting is just as important to a pilgrim as walking. One needs to rest when the body tells us to rest. This particular location is a special place to rest – special to me. My friends Rebekah and Patrick of Moratinos maintain this location. I knew nothing of them the first time I sat on this bench but got to know them during my stay in Moratinos.

It is people like them who care about the Camino, the pilgrims and the value of the journey who make our experience that much better… Thank you Rebekah and Patrick – from Canada, I send you my best!

Reflection of light

Reflection of light

There are moments on the Camino that take one’s breath away. I walked into this small church, tired, weary and somewhat a bit lost.

I sat down and started to think about my journeys on the Camino, and the sun was setting in such a way that it cast its rays through the windows. I looked up and saw this display of colours changing with each passing minute – and at a precise moment, I felt an urge to try to capture the sun peeking through the stained glass window. A perfect moment displaying the reflection of light.

Somehow, this just made my heart feel warm and I gained the energy and strength to walk an additional 8 kilometers. At times, inspiration and encouragement manifest themselves in peculiar ways.

Cheers from my virtual Camino tour!

For more information about the A-Z Blog Challenge please visit http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

The “Q” Memories – walking down the Camino memory lane

You might have thought that finding pictures with the letter “Q” would be difficult.
Yes, it was – – however, I did find a few…

Queso

Queso

Queso – or cheese in Spanish – Spain has some award winning cheeses.

Goat’s or cow’s cheese, both are very common in Spain and in abundance. I was so surprised at the low cost of cheese compared to back home in Canada.

Bruno, the owner of the albergue San Bruno in Moratinos is Italian, and he often makes tiramisu for dessert for the pilgrims. I went with him to the market to get mascarpone cheese and figured it would cost a small fortune, but it turns out even processed or imported cheeses cost about 1/3 of the cost in Canada. Go figure!

The next two (yes, I only have three today…) stand for the word quaint…

Quaint

Quaint

These are quaint bodegas – no, not little hobbit houses or elf dens. These little caves in the mountain actually housed (some still do) wine.

In Moratinos, there are over 25 of these still in existence. I visited the one owned by friends and I was quite surprised how big each one can be. One restaurant actually combined a few – quite interesting of a decor.

The next quaint location is in front of a flower shop in Santiago. I found this to be such an inviting storefront. and the person who runs this shop is really very nice and friendly.

 

Cheers from my virtual Camino tour!

For more information about the A-Z Blog Challenge please visit http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

The “P” Memories – Walking down the Camino memory lane

Pulpo

Pulpo

Delicious Pulpo (octopus).

In Galicia, this is a delicacy and one can find pulpo in specialized restaurants called pulperia. You can also buy in on the street at the outdoor market.

The pulpo is boiled in copper caldrons, cut with scissors and typically served on a wooden round plate drizzled with olive oil and hot paprika.

Praying statue

Praying statue

During a visit in the city of Palencia I entered a church about mid day. The sun was shining through a clear window and I stood in awe in front of this beautiful praying statue.

The details of the face was so delicate, it almost seemed real. It is my favorite statue picture and when I look at it, it fills me with serenity.

Peaceful

Peaceful

Many people asked me if I found it difficult to walk on my own. I actually often preferred walking solo because it allowed me the time to re-evaluate my life, think of the past and the present, and plan for the future.

I never felt truly alone even  though not a single pilgrim could be seen for kilometers; I felt peaceful and tranquil.

 

precariously perched-sWhen I walked in May and June, the storks could be found just about everywhere in their huge nests. Both parents would take turn going to get food for their little baby birds. I was always amazed at the size of their nests, and where they chose to make their nests. Often they could be seen on top of churches and buildings but in this case, the nest was precariously perched on a pole! A straight pole! Although we pilgrims found those birds interesting, the locals see storks the way we often see pigeons; dirty, loud and messy. It’s all about perspective!

Cheers from my virtual Camino tour!

For more information about the A-Z Blog Challenge please visit http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

The “O” Memories – Walking down the Camino Memory Lane

Ornate

Ornate

I walked into a small boutique hotel to ask for directions, and I chanced upon one of the most original entrance way.

This ornate ironwork gate caught my eye.

The sun was shining through the open wall sections and I stood there, mesmerized by these black swirls that made up this gate.

 

old and new-sDuring my walks in the various cities and towns, I noticed that often there were glaring sights of the juxtaposition of the old and the new.

Old, very old cathedrals were surrounded by very modern buildings. New city areas kept old lamp posts and street signs, and none were more strongly depicted as this scene – a very modern metro rapidly passing by the old church. What a dichotomy!

Opulance

Opulence

The churches and cathedrals on the Camino are filled with opulence.

These works of art, be they paintings, statues, columns, stained glass windows all blend together to offer a smorgasbord of historical fingerprints of their creators.

I could spend hours simply admiring the various pieces of art, however most times I only had an hour in the evenings to glance, see and capture them in photograph.

orderly-sOften the early risers arrived at the albergues before they were opened. The etiquette of waiting is such that pilgrims place their packs in the next available position. When the doors opened, the pilgrims rejoined their backpacks and filled in order.

I always thought this was such a sight – and reminded me of my grade school days when we used to stand in fill waiting to come inside the school, or leave for the day. Quite civilized, don’t you think?

 

Original chiminey

Original chimney

My last picture is of this most original chimney. Built to match the roof of its attached house, I found this to be very unique and interesting.

The builder must have been very meticulous and somewhat of an artist to take the time to create this quirky but enchanting chimney.

Cheers from my virtual Camino tour!

For more information about the A-Z Blog Challenge please visit http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

 

the “N” Memories – Walking down the Camino Memory Lane

Nave

Nave

This is a view of one of the nave in the Cathedral of Santiago. I took the picture during a rooftop walk that turned out to be an amazing experience.

Up from where I was, is where many of the medieval pilgrims stayed. The Cathedral is a beautiful sight to see, and during my two weeks of volunteering in Santiago, I visited the cathedral every single day. I think I covered all the locations available to us as pilgrims.

My next series of pictures I title “No Canvas, no problem” – and it features some of the many painted walls and structures in the city of Vitoria in the Basque area of Spain. I just am in awe of the talent of those who did these art murals.

No canvas no problem

No canvas no problem

No canvas, no problem 2

No canvas no problem 2

No canvas no problem 3

No canvas no problem 3

No canvas no problem 4

No canvas no problem 4

No canvas no problem 5

No canvas no problem 5

Cheers from my virtual Camino tour!

For more information about the A-Z Blog Challenge please visit http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

The “M” memories – walking down the Camino Memory Lane

Today’s post has many “M” photos… so let’s get going!

Majestic tree

Majestic trees

First off… the Majestic trees- These trees caught my eye as soon as I saw them on the horizon.

Standing on their own – they seemed to have an imposing presence, and for sure, they hadvery interesting shapes…

They really stood out among all others.

 

Marking

Marking

There are all types of markings on the Camino, from the very prominent yellow arrows to the more subdue city signs. I was told that many cities did not want the bright yellow arrows so they devised many original ways to show “the way” while blending in with the surroundings. This is a marker in the town of Carrion de los Condes.

I’m wearing my Crocs which means this was after my daily walk – I often walked about the town once I had settled in the albergue for the day.

Mishap

Mishap

Every now and then, mishaps happen. Although this looks very tragic, the outcome was fine although the person in the bottom bunk opted to stay where he was since the worse had happened already. The strange thing is that the pilgrim who was in the top bunk was a wee tiny Japanese woman who couldn’t have weighed more than 105 pounds. I suspect the bed was simply damaged and her movement was the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back”… All were fine.

Morning treat

Morning treat

Ah – a wonderful morning treat, albeit not available everywhere… I had this beautiful churros and chocolate (yes, that’s a cup of almost pure melted chocolate) at a wonderful cafe in Burgos called Cafe Ibanez in Burgos, very close to the cathedral. What a treat!

There is no need to worry about calories when one walks 6-8 hours per day!

mist-sMisty mornings have their charm – and some mornings the mist was so thick you could barely see ahead.

Within the first hour after sunrise, the mist disappeared. Oh those mornings were nothing short of enchanting!

 

Mystery

Mystery

What mystery lies behind that unique door? What went on in that house and who lived there? How many children were running around or what quiet couple spent their last years together? My mind would often make up these possible stories as I walked by such mysterious settings.

Ah yes, the wild imagination of a mind in motion – it’s amazing how much creativity I felt on those long days of walking…

My last picture is simply one of a mustache… a very unique one at that!

mustache

mustache

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers from my virtual Camino tour!

For more information about the A-Z Blog Challenge please visit http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

The “L” Memories – walking down the memory Camino lane

Long and Winding Road

Long and Winding Road

There is something so peaceful about a long and winding road (Cue the Beatles song). I never saw these roads as huge undertaking but as a quiet opportunity to think. Of course this would be a different story if this was after walking 6 hours already!

I admit I preferred the paths that were further away from the paved road. Being in deep thought and suddenly hearing cars go by doesn’t render itself to peaceful thinking. Nonetheless, when we are walking 300-500-800 km, we take all types of roads.

It’s all part of the journey.

Labyrinth?

Labyrinth?

I call this one Labyrinth but I’m not sure it truly is one, or one of those meditation circles.There are quite a few on the Camino, and this one seemed so perfectly placed in a wonderful location, mid point between two small villages.

And if you wonder whether I walked it all, I can tell you I certainly did. It’s made of stones perfectly placed and well maintained.

Lovely!

Lovely!

I thought this art was so lovely. This is found in the city of Vitoria, where painted walls can be found everywhere.

I was so impressed with the beautiful paintings often covering entire buildings.

I could actually create a slide show consisting entirely of Vitoria wall art and it would be amazing! This city was one of my favorite finds of my 2013 Camino.

Laves of pink

Laves of pink

At first sight, I thought these were beautiful pink flowers, and it wasn’t until I looked closer that I realized they weren’t flowers, but leaves! Pink leaves! 

I have no idea what type of tree this was, and I was taken by the beauty of it.

Thanks for joining me on my virtual Camino tour!

 

 
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The “K” Memories – walking down the memory Camino Lane

Kaleidoscope window

Kaleidoscope window

The beautiful kaleidoscope coulours of this stained glass window are simply spectacular. So many of the churches and cathedrals have some of the most elaborately painted glass storyboards, and having had the opportunity to make stained glass pieces with my husband Steve, my eye is always looking to see light shining through  the churches’ masterpieces.

Knight in shining armor?

Knight in shining armor?

During my first Camino in 2011, I chanced upon this knight and his horse as they stood near a small village’s plaza mayor. The first time I saw him I assumed he was part of a renaissance fair. I didn’t think of asking him for a picture, and I went in the nearby cafe to get some water. When I came back out, he was still there, seemingly just standing. He waved me over and asked how my journey was coming along. We chatted for a few minutes and I asked him if I could take his picture. He said “claro mi senorita” (of course, my lady) 1 Euro. I smiled and thought he has was a smart person to at least pose for a Euro. I mentioned that I wanted to get the picture just “right” and had him slightly turn his sword little by little until the sun just hit it enough to create a burst of light. And, this is what I ended up with – a perfect ray of sun shining on his sword! Well worth the one Euro!

keepsake-sThe credential is an important document as it serves to identify us as pilgrims. We get this document stamped at various locations during our journey. I always preferred to get my credential stamped at special places when possible. Churches often has someone available for us to stamp our paperwork, and in this case, the priest not only stamped my “pilgrim keepsake” but asked me about my journey, and ended our conversation with a blessing.

From previous posts you likely know about my fascination about doors. The next two pictures are related to doors – a special door knocker and a very unique keyhole.

knock knock-s

keyhole-s

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers from my virtual Camino tour!

For more information about the A-Z Blog Challenge please visit http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

The “J” Memories – walking down the memory Camino Lane

Jarring

Jarring

This sight was simply jarring to me. There was a visceral reaction that went through me when my eyes set on this part of a wall. I can’t even recall where I was when I saw this, but I can remember my exact mild shock and breath holding and complete perplexity as I tried to figure out why this was there and what was the meaning behind it.

If any of the readers know, I’d really appreciate knowing more.

 

Jeweled St. James

Jeweled St. James

In the Cathedral in Santiago are many statues of St. James. When looking at the altar one can see the very large ornate gold statue of St. James.

It’s a pilgrim tradition to climb up the stairs into the camarín or tiny room behind the altar that houses a medieval statue of St. James…and then give that statue a hug. I named it the jeweled St. James, a beautiful piece of Baroque art and offers a unique perspective of the cathedral. 

Here you see it from the back, and to show you the intricate works of this piece, I include a picture that is the only one in my blogs that I did not take myself. I wanted you to see it in all its splendor.

St James

St James

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My last photo of this entry is titled “joy” and let me tell you, this is how I felt most of the time during my Camino journeys. This photo was taken on my first walk day, in Burgos, during my first Camino in 2011.

joy

joy

I remember waking up that morning, and being so excited to start my walking journey. I met two women as I walked out of of my little hotel room (I arrived too late to stay in any albergues) and we all recognized ourselves as pilgrims with our backpacks, our boots and our smiles!

I offered to take a picture of them together, and they returned the favor. They laughed as they saw my reaction when I ran away from them, turned around and headed back towards them, hands in the air and saying “I can’t believe I’m actually here!”. That joy still remains in my heart, and likely, always will.

Cheers from my virtual Camino tour!

Cheers from my virtual Camino tour!

For more information about the A-Z Blog Challenge please visit http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/