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

favorite author-s

Antonio Machado is my favorite Spanish author followed by Miguel De Cervantes who wrote Don Quijote.

When I arrived in Burgos during my second Camino, I spent a few days in the city touring the museums. I chanced upon the opening celebrations of an exhibit of Antonio’s works. Journals with his poems were featured as well as many of his letters and notes.

When I studied in Spain in the late 70s, his poems had been made into songs featuring the singer Juan Manuel Serrat.  One of Antonio’s most known poem is so appropriate for pilgrims.

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What a perfect poem for the Camino journey!

fountain-s

Fountains are very common on the Camino, and the water is mostly potable, very cold and refreshing.

I always filled up my water bottle whenever possible, as we didn’t always know where the next fountain or cafe might be.

When every once of weight counts, water can be one of the heaviest component of the pack. Having access to safe cold water was a welcomed option and certainly alleviated the need to carry large amount of water with us at all times

Cheers from my virtual Camino tour!

 

the “E” Memories – walking down the memory Camino Lane

Enchanted Forest

Enchanted Forest

Enchanted forest is what I called this section of the Camino. We walked early in the morning and the mist was just slowly rising and burning off by the rays of the sun.

The trees covered in moss and ivy were plenty along the path. standing tall and looking like woodland protectors. Simply beautiful!

Ermita

Ermita

An ermita is a small church or chapel. Some of those structures could only hold a dozen or so people and even though they are small, some have works of art painted directly on their ceilings or walls. I had never seen anything quite like those before.

escalator-s

 

This escalator of sorts is one of the many found is the Basque Autonomous Community Capital city of Vitoria. I had not seen this type of rolling walkway (guess escalator implies stairs). Regardless of what you call it, it certainly helped those who are mobility challenged, ike us pilgrims after a very long day of walking.

Vitoria does have some good sized hills in it’s core and these apparatus are frequently used.

Eucalyptus and Lavender

Eucalyptus and Lavender

One of our early morning walks (after the Cruz de Ferro) lead us through large bushes of Eucalyptus and Lavender plants. On that day, the day was hot and humid, and  as our packs brushed the bushes their soothing fragrance made me feel as if I was at a spa. It was such a sensory experience, and I slowed down my pace to truly take in the mystical surroundings.

I didn’t encounter anything quite the same after that one experience – Must have been a one-of-a-kind gift from nature!

Cheers from my virtual Camino tour!

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

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

dedication-s1

Dedications

The Cruz de Ferro (Iron cross) is a very special location on the Camino Frances where millions of pilgrims have left rocks, stones and mementos. On my first Camino I carried with me some of my mother in law’s ashes, my father’s rosary beads, two small flowers from my parents’ grave site, and a special rock for my best friend’s father. I left everything at the cross with the exception of my father’s rosary, which stayed with me through my first and second journey. I spent more than an hour at this location being grateful for the love of my family and friends. I said many prayers for my departed loved ones and for the people currently in my life. It was one of the most emotional dedication time and the memories of that day still warm my heart.

daisy direction-sI am likely going to find out that these are NOT daisies, but that’s what they seem to be to me. The yellow arrows are markers to help us pilgrims take the right direction. 

Marie-Jo, one of my Camino friends who happened to be a bit ahead of us, decided to make a special arrow just for us! Isn’t it sweet?

 

Dance

Dancers

While In Burgos last year I chanced upon this sight! Huge manmade dancers whirled and walked around to the beat of local musicians’ notes.

I waiting to actually capture not only these giant dancers, but the people close by to give a sense of the size of these giants

Notice the even larger entrance way in the background,which gives you an idea of the scale the church.

 

Nestor the donkey

Nestor the donkey

I always get a huge smile on my face when I see pictures of Nestor the donkey. My friends from France brought Nestor along, not to carry their packs, but as a walking companion. Nestor really enjoyed walking long distance. In fact, by 7 AM every morning he would start getting impatient and called to us. His calls became louder and more insistent until we would show up, saddle him and of course, give his some hugs. He certainly opened my eyes to his kind, and I have to say that if all donkeys were like him, I would have one of my own.

Morning dew

Morning dew

Early morning starts would offer the most peaceful times and I relished in observing nature at its best. I stopped to photograph this beautiful spider web covered in morning dew.  At home I used to rush to my destinations, often not even noticing the surrounding beauty.  During my Camino journeys I experienced some of the most grounding moments when taking time to truly admire what was around me, be it animals, plants, flowers and yes, even spider webs. The Camino taught me to really look, admire, observe and appreciate.

Cheers from my virtual Camino tour!

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

Walking down the Camino memory lane

During the last 4 years, March has been  a month of preparation for my Camino journeys. Three times have I found myself packing, repacking, shopping for new items, retiring older items and dreaming about the upcoming magical journey that is the walking on the Camino de Santiago.

This year is a stay-at-home year. My last Camino journey, in honour of my fallen sister, was cut short due to a medical issue, but I never once thought that would be my last Camino. In fact, my plan is to continue to live the Camino life as often as health and providence allows.

I will however relive my Camino memories through a challenge I opted to take, that of blogging from A-Z during the month of April. This challenge requires us to write a blog entry focused on each letter of the alphabet, on a daily basis. The subject is totally up to our choosing, and I decided to dedicate my challenge to my Camino memories. I have over 5,000 pictures taken during my 3 Camino adventures, and I decided to combine text and picture to share my experience with readers.

2015 header

Most of my blog readers are not pilgrims, but most have let me know they enjoyed experiencing the Camino through my photographs and stories. In honour of the Camino and all it has brought to me, I dedicate my challenge to it. I will post 4-5 pictures each day and in choosing my photos this weekend, I opted to aim to give a less traditional view into my journeys.

I looked for pictures that perhaps were not obvious of the Camino, but pictures that still to this day stir my soul and makes me long to return once again on Spanish soil.

I hope you enjoy this 26 day photographic essay and if you prefer the convenience of receiving updates as part of your emails, you can sign up on any of the pages of my blog and updates will be delivered directly to you.

I have received much more than I could ever give back to the Camino and I hope that for pilgrims, this brings back great memories and for non-pilgrims, I hope you discover a new side of what can be while walking the Camino de Santiago.

A day at the library

Fiction, mystery, romance, biography… any book will catch my attention, and this since the tender age of six. Books were my friends when I was young as there were very few kids of my age in my neighborhood.

I had no favorites, all books were a treat to me. During the summer months we had an extra treat as a book bus traveled every two weeks in our area. In those days, we were allowed to borrow as many books as our age. Given my voracious appetite for reading, I felt this wasn’t enough for me, even at the age of seven.

I spoke to my Dad about it, and he suggested we visit the local library lady (as I called her) to see if we could get that limit increased. I remember feeling quite nervous as we entered the building but I felt confident walking in with my father. She sat in her large wooden chair as we stood in front of her waiting to be acknowledged.

Dad explained that I had a very special request to ask of her. She took off her glasses and motioned us to sit down. I nervously explained to her that I felt the book limit was too low for me as I usually finished my allocated amount within the first week and I was left with nothing to read until the book bus would return the following week. As coached by my Dad, I mentioned the fact that I returned all my books on time and in good condition.

She listened carefully, and after a short pause, she asked how many books I wanted to borrow. I had decided that since I was seven, I would be brave and ask for an additional book to my allocated limit. I hesitated and at that very moment, she asked if ten would be enough.

Imagine my surprise and joy at that beautiful number: TEN! I was so excited as I watched her write the number “10” on a small piece of paper, adding her signature and pasting it to the back of my library card. My father smiled and we both thanked her and shook her hand. I quickly headed to the children’s section to pick out ten new books for me to read.

Decades later I would constantly travel for my work often staying in one city for months. If my project was a lengthy one I would always locate the closest library and get myself a card. Never would I be short of reading material and over the course of fifteen years of travel I accumulated more than twenty out-of-town library cards.

Today I own an e-reader but nothing can replace the look and feel of a physical book. I relish the thought of walking into a used bookstore and wander about, feeling and smelling old books. No matter what the challenges are in my life, I know there is always the pleasure of escaping with a new tale, an old familiar story or a good biography.

Long live books!

all lc

The birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees

It’s 9:30 pm, Friday evening and I feel as if I am in a Hitchcock movie! There must be more than a hundred little birds flying around the old buildings.
I am sitting on the balcony overlooking this old church and between the pigeons coming in for the night through the holes in the walls and the others birds swooping everywhere, all I am waiting for is Mr Hitchcock to say “Good eeeeevening”…

Both stork parents are now in the nest and I can occasionally see the little bird’ head. Storks’ nests are a common site here, especially perched high over church towers and peaks. I have to admit this is the first time I ever see these.

The same can be said for many other birds I encounter while walking. I’ve come to recognize the approximate time of day based on the birds I see. Their songs are very distinct and it’s a true joy to actually find some familiarity after a week of walking from early morning on.

I’m sure my bird watching friends could tell which is which, but I am content to simply recognize the difference between them. The same can be said for the flowers and plants.

From Burgos to now Sahagun I am noticing the changes not only in the flora itself but also the rocks, brush and ground colors. The poppies were in great abundance early last week and now I see more of the bright yellow ones.

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Just like those in the picture. With so much time walking I really am enjoying looking around at everything I see.

In fact, some of my pictures may just be the inspiration for some art quilts I will design and make in the future.

This week has been a week of so many new sights and sounds and as predicted by others who have done this Camino, the newness of it all is keeping my mind very busy.

I am relishing each moment and I can’t even imagine what awaits me tomorrow, next week or next month!

A new tool

This is my first blog using my I-touch. I must admit I need practice. My fingers Just aren’t quite used to such a tiny keyboard or such sensitive keys.

At this moment, I expect that until I get more proficient with this, my logs will likely be short and sweet.