Muxia ….time to stop walking!

When last I spoke I was in Muxia on the Atlantic coast. Chilling out….literally!’

  But before that I had said goodbye to my two Camino Angels Hilde unt Heidi ….a sad time as I waved them off on the bus and back home to Germany….I knew I would miss them!

Then time for one last coffee in Finisterre and on the bus to Muxia…. a small fishing village on the ” Costa da Morte” or death coast. So called because of the many ship wrecks and it’s exposure to the Atlantic.

Muxia ( pronounced Mooshea)has a permanent population of just 800 but judging by the amount of hotels and quaint bars ( did my best to visit all of them) it would be bolstered by holiday makers in the summer season.

It is also a popular end point for weary Pilgrims like me. A perfect place to get body, mind and spirit aligned and prepare for life again post Camino.

Being on a peninsula there is something for everyone….raging ocean one side, safe harbour the other and a beautiful village in between.

You may remember Muxia…. it was the subject of a devsdting ship wreck and oil spill in 2003. An environmental disaster with over 20 million gallons of oil spewed into the sea!!! All good now I guess but ……

There is a monument on the point…. a bit weird actually. It was put there by the insurance company. It is supposed to represent a broken Hull…… however the locals call it “the scar”. I get what they mean.

I liked it there….. in fact I looked at a house to buy…….there was this one a bargain at $370000.

It’s a 200 year old ex police station and boasts running water and electricity ( no bathroom or kitchen yet) with ocean views that can never be built out.​

Would make a ripping Airbnb when not occupied!

Or there’s this little beauty for only $80000

It was great there although I must admit it just wasn’t the same being a tourist and not a Pilgrim. I missed my Camino family too much. We have formed such a special bond!

And it was the end now…. I was really anxious to get home, I had done what I set out to do…. being a tourist was never really part of that. I was missing home again….. missing my loving family, my beautiful grandchildren, my wonderful and supportive friends, I was missing simple things too like sleeping in sheets, a fluffy towel, a toilet that 10000 pilgrims hadn’t been to before me ha ha ….. and a meat pie!

So on the train and a 7 hour trip to Madrid…. the last stop.

Got up to speeds of over 250km per hour and you wouldn’t know.

My welcoming committee in Madrid…. wonder how they new I was coming?​

Madrid is the capital of Spain…. population of nearly 4 million. While it’s architecture and it’s many sites are remarkable

There are a few stand outs…..

Plaza Mayor….. the main plaza and social centre … originally a market outside the city walls it was developed initially in the mid 15th century but due to catastrophic fires has been rebuilt several times since.

And I was lucky enough to be there when my cab pulled up!

The biggest tapas bar ( San Miguel Market) I have ever seen….. just about anything spanish to eat or drink…..amazing!

Entertainment

The Temple of Debod…. from 2000 BC. Donated by the Egyptian government for Spain’s help in saving Abu Simbel . Debod was also going to be swallowed up by the Aswan dam.

…… and loads more I suspect but with only 2 days and the Camino magic, love, comradery and spirit still fresh in my mind I just wasn’t in the mood for a big city without soul.  What was it Paul Kelly said?

Anyway I’m off now to that tapas bar for some last of what Spain has to offer…. maybe even a vino Tinto or two!

I will gather my thoughts on the plane re lessons learned…. speak again when I’m home in Oz. Still the best damn place in the world! We are so lucky we live where we live….. spare a thought for Megs kids …. fate is all that separates us!

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So ….. Sarria to the end of the world!

Yes…. I made it….over 900km and 1.56 million steps to look out across the Atlantic ocean just as Columbus did….. just as millions of Pilgrims have done before me and if the world learns the lessons of this Camino…. that of tolerance, respect, generosity, genuine love for all mankind regardless of race, colour or creed….then the millions that  follow will also have the chance to look out across the Atlantic and give thanks for what we have!

Now …. I need to back track. ….to tell you about my journey into Santiago and beyond. I last left you in Sarria…..

But first let me tell you about an Angel I met on the way….I have met many but this one exemplifies the magic of this ancient path, this one sums up the Pilgrim saying that ” the Camino will provide and look after you”. All you have to do is believe and it will happen! Some may call it coincidence….. but it occurs way too often for it to be explained away so easily.

I was in Ponferrada. A large city of over 60000 people. The city with the magnificent Templar Castle I told you about.

 Well I got off track looking for a bank and other bits and pieces and was struggling to find the Camino trail and the way out so in best ( worst ) spanish I asked a young girl for directions. In her best english/Spanish she tried to explain! Anyway I set off clearly in the wrong direction because she came running after me…. and smiled (laughted) and said ” I will show you”. We walked together for 15 minutes. Turned out that she was from Venezuela and was living and working here to support her family back home. I told as best I could about why I was walking and about Meg’s. Eventually we found the distinctive Camino signs and arrows.

we smiled and off I went….happy that I was going the right way….. she went back to where we had met ( in all 30 mins out of her way….. can you imagine that happening anywhere else?) .

…..two full days of walking later we ( my Camino family and I) stopped at the small village of Pereje for some lunch.

and who is serving behind the bar? My Venezuelan Angel…. we hugged like we had known each other for years….such is the Camino way.

I went to pay but she refused saying ” give it to the children”….. and such is a Camino Angel!

Now from Sarria……. to Santiago.

Sarria with its Celtic origins was a major medieval centre for Pilgrims. It is now a busy town with a population of around 14000 but the old town and the ancient Camino Real ( way) is still largely intact complete with medieval churches, a monastery and castle.

Recognise this tree????

I was so surprised to see a gum tree here I picked some leaves and gave each of the family one at dinner…… little did I know that I would be walking through eucalypt forests as I approached Santiago! They are harvested for paper pulp here.

….. and of course plenty of bars!

Since they changed the rules around the qualification to receive the Compostela (a certificate to say you have walked the Camino) …. you now only have to walk 100km, Sarria is the starting point for a huge number of Pilgrims…..  the way, the Albergues and bars etc would be very crowded from here on…. another Camino lesson and challenge for those of us who had walked over 650 km to get this far. My family and I would learn the real meaning of tolerance over this next 100km!

Clearly some did not learn the lesson!

Next stop Portomarine…. a village, moved stone by stone to higher ground due to the building of a reservoir…. a breathtaking achievement! Similar to Tallangatta but stone by stone!!!!!

And ever closer to Santiago…..

This guys was a busker…. literally in the middle of nowhere! He is playing the Galacian Gaita…. a traditional instrument in this part of Spain. Similar to the Scottish bagpipes or even closer to the Irish Uillearn pipes….. either points to a Celtic influence here.

Mountain Ash….. in the middle is Spain and the beautiful smell of home!



….. to some more Camino magic! I have often spoken about John Lennon’s imagine…. and just how appropriate the lyrics are to this journey…. to life in fact. I have heard it many times here and in the most mystical of places….. well imagine this Camino moment….. coincidence?

Rubbish bins…..200 mts apart! My hope is that one day you will all join us! The world would be a much better place!

Now on to Monte del Gozo and an Albergue that sleeps 600….. interesting! Our last stop before we walk into Santiago. The excitement, an amazing sense of anticipation hangs over us all night!

……that night it is within sight!

Setting out the next morning to walk the last 6km was a surreal moment…… the family was unusually quite and, like me lost in their own thoughts…. but like a Marathon runner not wanting to think too much about the finish line that lay just ahead……one step at a time we reminded ourselves.

On we marched through the Suburbs of Santiago following the now very familiar yellow markers around corners and along busy roads until we reached the edge of the old city. Then like thirsty cattle making a charge for water…. off we went ….. arm in arm, bursting through the crowds and into the square and Santiago Cathedral…. experiencing every emotion all at the same time!

We had done it ….. we had walked the Camino de Santiago….. all 800 odd kms of it. We had met every challenge and embraced every moment. We laughed, we cried, we hugged and enjoyed the most magical moment of all! Just an amazing moment….. and to do it with a family you had grown to love made it even more special!

Our timing was perfect….. a quick breath ( and beer) and it was into the Cathedral for Sunday Mass. Even with a little bit of queue jumping we still had to sit on the floor but that was nothing compared to what we had endured and the joy we were experiencing.

The Pilgrim Mass, complete with organ and choir was very humbling.. but nothing compared to the Botafumerio…. the incense burner that in ancient times was burnt to try and nullify the smell of the Pilgrims. Just simply awesome…. and so symbolic. Not a dry eye I suspect.​

Photos of the Cathedral…inside and out( covered in scaffolding for renovations unfortunately!

Saint James slaying the Moors!

St James crypt….. and the stairs leading down…… worn down by the millions of Pilgrims over 700 years.

Then off to get our Compostela 

Then loads of beer and cheer and laughter and “wows ” and tears to celebrate! We sat for a long time cheering on, congratulating and sometimes embracing other Pilgrims as they arrived. Pilgrims for the most part we did not even know…..such is the love on this sacred way! Camino moments enveloped us!i

But my job…. my journey was not yet complete. I had another 90km to go….. another 100000 more steps to take before I would get to Finisterre and the end of the world. 

Next day I set off…..in the pouring rain and through bush that had been ravaged by bushfire just two days before.

I was cautioned not to go further by 2 Camino veterans…. mud, ash and falling trees would make it quite risky.

So…… a confession. I caught a bus to bypass this but I did walk into Finisterre and the 4km to the lighthouse and the zero km sign marking the end of the Camino and the end of the world…..

….and as luck ( the Camino magic ) would have it the sun came out and I was able to walk there with my two Camino Angels ….. Hilde and Heidi. I am blessed again!

We spent some time there soaking up the moment ….. just as we did in Santiago.

With the bronze boot.

Right on the edge….

There is an ancient symbolic tradition here that Pikgrims burn their clothes …. so they can start afresh. But due to the advent of synthetics this had been banned. Clothes are now just left there as a kind of memorial to the end…… a cleansing…. a restart.

I sacrificed the shirt I walked in the whole way and left two small scallop shells I had found on Moocow beach NSW and had carried with me just for this.

Then down to the beach to watch the sun set into the sea…. again just as millions of Pilgrims had done before me.​​


I sat there…. alone on a rock and as I watched the sun slip beneath the waves I cried!

It was done….. I had walked to the end of the world! 

I’m now in Muxia… time to take a breath…. to relax and to reflect.

It is done kids! I and my beautiful friends who have supported me have walked to the end of the world for you…. we have walked so that you could have a chance to even dare to dream of doing this yourselves one day!

Talk soon from Muxia or maybe Madrid….. I will have time to really reflect by then.

Adios and just “imagine”!

I am now in Santiago!

Hola!

I last spoke to you after the Cruz de Ferro…. wow seems so long ago now…. I have covered over 200k since then and added another 400000 steps along the way. I am now in Santiago and the end of the Camino for so many….. but for me ( and maybe some of my Camino family) another 90km before my journey ends….. another 90k of Camino moments, challenges and magic…another 90km to the “end of the world”…. another 90km to make a difference!

So here is a quick pictorial up date of highlights to Sarria ( 100k out from Santiago).

Leading up to a 1500 mtr climb to O’Cebreiro and the above sunrise!

The magnificent 12th Century Templar Castle at Ponferrada…. one of the finest examples in the whole of Spain.

Ever upwards to O’Cebriero.


And into Galacia


…..and finally sunrise from 1500mts….awesome!

O’Cebreiro’s Iglesia de Santa Maria dates from the 9th century and the oldest church associated with the Pilgrim Way…… over 1000 years old and still in use!

….. and surrounding village

Back off the mountain and on the way to Sarria…… 100 km from Santiago and a whole different Pilgrimage for some…. but more on that later.

Walking up the steep steps to Sarria…. the many very steep steps, which is just what you need after a long day’s march…. I was thinking about Meg’s Children…. thinking about my own children and how different life would have been for them if they had not been born where they where…..thinking about what an amazing job Meg’s Children Nepal is doing …… then I saw this painting on the side of a church….. pretty much sums it up….way better than I could put in words!

That night at dinner  I met a great Australian…. walking this challenging path with his lovely daughter…. thankyou for you generosity mate and bless you!

So amigos the next time we chat and I catch up again….. I will be ( hopefully) at the end of the world…. and sitting in a bar somewhere reflecting on what has been and what is still to come.

In the meantime Buen Camino everyone!

Oh that’s me icing my badly bruised toe!

Leon and beyond!

Leon (population 130000) was a Roman garrison and base for the 7th Legion…hence the name Leon. Subsequently conquered by Visigoth, Moors and finally Christian forces and all of these influences can still be seen in various Rui s and architecture throughout and seems to be meld together seamlessly.

By far the jewel is the Leon Cathedral…. simply amazing! It has over 1800 square meters of stained glass and is known locally as the Cathedral of light. One of the chief functions of the medieval church and its stained glass was to instruct the illiterate and give them pictures they could understand, to show them the story of the Gospels and the legends of the saints…. this magestic church does that perfectly!


At night I notice a queue …. must have been over 200 mts long…. so when it got shorter I jumped on the end and found myself in the Cathedral with maybe 1000 others and treated to an organ recital….. an amazing sound experience! I have a video which I will try and post here but not sure if it will load…. wifi is very inconsistent where I am now….in the mountains in a little village of Cacabelos.​

Sorry …. no download! You’ll just have to wait till I get home to play it for you…. it will be worth it!

Festivals seem to follow me! While I was in Leon there was a festival celebrating Spanish traditional music…. I have videos of that too but…. ! As I have said previously the Spanish know how to party and they party reeeeally hard. 



Still going when I left Leon at 7am! Good to see that the Spanish have also discovered the lamb sandwich as the perfect late night snack.


It was also market day…. people everywhere… the whole town was out!​



Leaving Leon I had the same feelings as leaving Burgos…. apprehensive and yet excited about what lay ahead…. missing family and friends wishing they were with me on this journey… so much to share…. looking forward th the end, whenever that would be! But this time reminded me of the lessons learned and that the end of this mystical journey will come soon enough! So off to experience more magic and find more new Camino family members.




One of the longest and best preserved bridges in Spain, built over a Roman bridge in the 13th century is in Hispital de Orbigo.

It is built over the Rio Orbigo



It’s myriad of Arches provide a passage called the ” passage of honour”. So called after a knight from Leon, Don Suero de Quinones, who scorned by a beautiful lady threw down the gauntlet to any knight who dared to pass as he undertook to defend the bridge ( and his honour). Knights from all over Europe took up his challenge but his successfully defended the bridge for over a month until the required 300 lances were broken….. and then off he went to Santiago to offer thanks for his freedom from the bonds of love.

It is thought that this story may have been the inspiration for Cervantes famous ” Don Quixote”.

Jousts are still held here to this day.

On the way to La Cruz de Ferro …. the 2nd highest mountain I will climb ( 1505 mt). 




Dawn and the last 200 mts  to the Cruz de Ferro.

The Cruz de Ferro is a humble monument where a simple iron cross stands atop a weathered pole….it is one of the abiding symbols of the entire Pilgrimage! 

Traditionally it is where pilgrims from all over the world leave rocks that they have brought from their homeland. There is literally a mountain of rocks here!

But for me it wasn’t a stone but it was where I left an Angel. An Angel who left us way too early…. an Angel who will now rest forever here… an Angel who’s spirit will talk to and encourage every Pilgrim as they pass by…. an Angel who will light the path for all of us from this high place as we continue our journeys without her laughter and sparkling eyes to brighten our days…… but who will forever be in our hearts.

Now back in the mountains and on to O’Cebreiro and a climb to 1300 mts. The terrain., the scenery, the cuisine, the houses are all beginning to change !

Oops…. another video failure! Immagine this very primitive Albergue playing Gregorian music… mystical? Spiritual…. more Camino magic!

Camino wisdom!

My 1 millionth step and a time to reflect with just 300 km to go!

Forever onwards….. one step at a time …. hoping all the way that each step will mean more donations…. each step will benefit Megs Children Nepal…. each step will make a difference to their lives.

Please dig deep…. help me help them!

Gracias Amigos!

Hola!

If you confused about that last post….. so am I?

For some mysterious reason the post ” Burgos to Leon” fell off? So I reposted a slightly different version…. maybe some different pictures too.

Hopefully I will post highlights of journey from Leon over the next day or two.

Adios

Burgos to Leon

I did promise on my last post that I would try and up date you all more regularly…. but try as I might it would seem that the life of a Pilgrim will sometimes not allow for that time at the end of the day.

My daily routine is up at 6 ( unless some who share the space decide to scratch around packing packs and the like at 5am….. zippers at that hour can sound like freight trains). Pack , a quick wash, dress, stretch and out to find a coffee…. most times that means the next village ….. 5 or 6 km away! Then follows another 15 or 20 km walk, find a bed, unpack, shower, wash cloths, find somewhere to eat and have a well earned frothy or two before falling into bed exhausted….most nights that’s about 8 or 9.  Sometimes I have wifi and sometimes it will work too!


Anyway I am now in Leon with a rest day…. so some time to catch up.

We last spoke in Burgos…. seems like a very long time ago now. Having spent a rest day there my Camino family had moved on and most were a day ahead of me now. It was tough to start again on my own. I knew I was about to start on the “mind” section of the Camino too where you get tested mentally as well as physically. It didn’t take long for tgat test to start. Apart from my pack ( who I have christened “Wilson”from castaway   fame …. Wilson goes with me everywhere… and I mean literally everywhere ) I was feeling very much alone.

Meet Wilson

With the odd tear rolling down my cheek I found myself desperately missing my beautiful family, my grandchildren who would be changing and growing and hitting tiny milestones while I’m here, my wonderful friends and extended family…. I have never really been homesick before but I was feeling it now.

I was beginning to think about the end of this journey…. imagining walking through the arrival doors into the arms of those that I love so dearly and just as the tears began to flow again I remembered the encouraging words of so many of you ” just put one foot if front of the other” ” take one step at a time”.

I began to think about that and what is really important in life. The Camino teaches you that it is not possessions. It’s not the big house or latest car. It’s not the size of the bank account or your position on some corporate ladder. It is love … love for family…. love for friends …. love and kindness for those less fortunate than ourselves….. and it is about receiving their love in return. I began to realise just how blessed I was….. just how rich I am to have love in my life….. and maybe it really is a case of reaping what you sow?

I began to think about what this Pilgrimage is teaching me …..that the journey is not about the final destination but about the journey itself ….it teaches you to embrace and live every moment in case those moments are missed and pass you by unnoticed ….. it teaches you that this is how it is or should be with life.


It is teaching me not to chase the future…. not to try and change the future…..but rather make the most of today, experience it fully……the future will come to me soon enough!

Wiping away the tears, smiling at the sun and the relentless horizon…. I was off to find additions to my Camino family who are never far away.

I was off to experience more Camino magic, look for more doors to open and more introspection.

…..more signposts and Way markers to follow.

at least there are no Golden Arches on this journey

In Hontanas I found a humble church with a poster of some of the worlds most inspirational leaders…. I thought it fitting to light a candle for those less fortunate than me…. for Meg’s children and for all the other disadvantaged kids around the world. I saw Gandhi looking down on me ….and it was Gandhi who said ” If we are to teach real peace in the world and if we are to carry on a real war against poverty we shall have to begin with the children”.

Walking through the mist to the ruined 15th century abbey of San Anton…… once a place of safety and healing to thousands of Medieval pilgrims in times past…. even recesses to leave bread out for them.

Through the mist to Castrojeriz and a Roman fort rumoured to have once been occupied by Emporer Augustus.

A hard climb back up to the Meseta…. before another Camino moment at San Nicolas

San Nicolas ….. an absolute gem on this star studded road. A restored 11th century church….. in the middle of wheat fields miles away from any village but a haven for body, mind and spirit for those lucky enough to find a bed there.


Run by the Italian fraternity del Camino and manned by volunteers there is no electricity or any real concession to modernity. They retain candle light as the only source of illumination and maintain the ancient tradition of washing pilgrims feet. Rarely do they celebrate mass there but on this night they did ….

Pilgrims from Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, The Dominican Republic and ,of course Australia all ate a communal dinner together under candle light.

One if there rules was no alarms. They would wake us at 7 o’clock for breakfast. Imagine when at 7 sharp we woke to a Gregorian chant while the candles where relit and breakfast prepared…. I was transported back 1000 years in an instant!

As I left that place ….. I could hear them playing ” imagine”……..only on the Camino!

I felt renewed that day as I set off again

From the very old to the brand new. Albergue Finca… all the mod cons including sleeping cubicles and even a washing machine ….. and I had it all to myself…. no snoring to keep me awake or zippers to wake me up! All alone……

Apart from Wilson of course!

That night I shared one of the best Peregrino dinners I have had with a really nice ( and generous) guy from Illinois USA. We share stories of life, family and adventure. Buen Camino Kenton!


Next stop Carion de Los Condes and the Albergue Santa Maria. Another gem of the Way. Run by the singing Augustinian sisters we were treated to a night full of singing and blessings…it was a special place. They asked us all to say why we were doing our Pilgrimages. The honesty and the emotion in the answers was just amazing. They gave us all a little star that they had made saying as long as we kept the star they would be with us on our journey no natter where it lead . I believe that they are indeed with me now.

I was woken early the next morning… those zips again! As I left in the dark I walked past the church of Santa Maria…. the same church where I had lit a candle for each of you the day before

The door was open and a candle threw a little light on the interior. Like a moth I was drawn in and sat for a little while to wait for the dawn. As I sat I reflected on what I was doing and why,. I reflected on Meg’s Children and what more I could do to get to our $100000 target. I wondered just what an amazing difference that money would make to those young lives.

Leaving the church I walked down the street about a block and randomly stopped to check my pack…. and there on the ground and in the early morning gloom I found 4×5 euro notes….. Camino magic or an even higher intervention? You decide but either way another $30 to the Children.

Along the way to Leon




Walking on 18 k on a 2000 year old Roman road…and still intact!

More on the way to Leon

Walking into Leon…. and a well deserved rest day and a private room….. with Wilson.

More from Leon and beyond later….. off to explore this vibrant city now.

Adios and gracias!

Viana to Burgos.

Sorry this has taken so long. It was my intention to write every 2 days so that I don’t leave anything out but…. sometimes I get wifi, sometimes I get wifi but it doesn’t work, sometime there is just nothing at all and sometimes the journey is just so full of awe there just isn’t time in case there is a “Camino event ” that I would miss!

So…. the magic of The Way from  Viana to Burgos.


Leaving Viana I walked alone to the large, university city of Logrono ( pop 150000). It is the Capital of La Rioga region…  famous for its wine…… and its is good and there is muchos available at $1.50 a glass!


Along the way I met Tom from a small town ( Kimberly) in the East Kootenays of BC , Canada. 


We all have stories. We all have reasons for walking this route…. they are mostly very different and quite personal but they are all inspirational in a unique way. His was to learn how to live in the moment again. Something we could all remember to try and do in our fast paced world… to enjoy life for what it is now and for what it throws up…… to thrive on and accept the challenges and speed humps along the way.


Reached Navarrete, a small village, oozing charm, warn by time and millions of Pilgrim footsteps. With its narrow streets, it’s modest but beautiful church, it felt comfortable…  it was warm in its welcoming…as was the Albergue del Pelegrinos.




Run by Angel ( real name and quite fitting ) and his aging Mother and Father. Angel has walked the Camino 5 times and is still in awe of its spirituality. He believes, as do many, that it is the alignment of the Sun and the Milky Way that enhances and magnifies the mystery of this path. Just as we are today, people have been walking  this “way” for many thousands of years….. following the Sun and giving thanks for all it provides.


I met many more good people over our pelegrino dinner that night…. more to add to my Camino Family…. people like Annli from Denmark and Mario from Milano who I would walk with, people who I would share many Camino moments and life stories with, people who come and go but  who will stay with me in spirit throughout.


So on to Nagera. 


 Nagera and yet another beautiful church.



and yet another festival! This one? Wait for it…. the Rio de Nagera carnival!!! Ring a bell?


My Albergue was literally right next to the bandstand and the music went on until 5am…. up again at 6 to keep walking… no sleep that night!


Walking into Santa Domingo de la Calzada, feeling good in body and mind. Feeling so blessed to be able to do this when so many will never have the chance… determined to make every second count.

My bed that night was in a converted 15th century monastery ( Acadia Cistercienses) that I shared with 33 others. A wonderfully peaceful and calm place, it has been welcoming and providing safety to Pilgrims for over 500 years!

I shared a fireplace with other pilgrims from all over the world…. not many had English …. I only have English…. and yet we were all soon deep in conversation….so it is on The Way!


Santo Domingo is famous, amongst so many other things for its Church which houses live chooks to keep a ” miracle” alive.


The town has a drinking fountain…. but so does every town and village, this one though had a date of 1799….. just 29 years after Europeans discovered Australia ….made me think just how young we are as a  Nation…… and still to create our own history.


….. and next to it was this thought provoker! Is this what our journey’s are all about?


On to Belorado…. changing landscapes as we go.



And yet another Camino moment. A Pilgrim blessing with a difference!


…..immagine people from Spain, Brazil, Australia, Korea, Sweden, Japan, France, Peru, Germany, and Switzerland. All united, all saying the prayer of St James, one by one and in their own language then all, one by one singing a religious song in their own language then all embracing each other as one! Camino magic at its most spontaneous and unexpected!

By the way so glad I didn’t have to represent Australia in song. The only religious song I could think of at the time was “up there Gazaly”!

Then back to the Albergue and more wine and singing with more Camino family


A big climb to 1150 mts and the monumento de los Caidos, a reminder of the Spanish civil war. The monument marks the spot were people were summarily shot and buried in shallow graves.


Then on through the forest to San Juan de Oretaga and lodgings with 100 other very smelly Pelegrinos, 2 showers and 2 toilets…. just immagine…. the worst yet!


A walk of 28k ( plus another 11 around the city) to Burgos.



Burgos is s large sprawling city and at least 10 km of the walk was through the burbs. Has a population of 180000 and is an architectural wonder full of monuments and is often referred to as the Gothic capital of Spain. It is named after its heavy defensive towers ( burgos) and was home to the legendary El Cid .


Burgos Cathedral… oh my! The 2nd largest and best in Spain. It is overwhelming…. you would need days to see it all and take in what it has. The detail and workmanship of the artisans of the medieval time is just amazing…. something that could not be repeated or replaced.



Did you ever wonder where all that Inca gold went ?





Today is a rest day for me …. they say that the Camino is made up of 3 parts. The 1st about the body ( mine hurts… right knee and quad, left calf and foot, neck and back), the second ( the Meseta…. which I am about to walk through) is about the mind and will power and the third is about the Spirit. Time to rest the body, do the washing, explore this city and find the best Sangria and Paella a few Euro can buy.

Siesta time in Burgos!


……And in the words of El Cid himself ( who, by the way is buried in the Burgo Cathedral), Adios Amigos…. please don’t forget the Children at Meg’s…… it is way better to give than it is to receive…. for, as I am finding, it is in giving that you truly receive.


Talk soon….. off around another bend on this intriguing journey.

The missing pictures!

Los Arcos Church of Santa Maria….. what a gem!

But wait there’s more 

……. and more!

Now to Viana and the running with the bulls festival ​


and so the sun sets on Viana and the Camino for another day.

Oops! 

My big fat fingers pressed publish before I had finished and added the pics….. I will add them tonight!

Logono Cathedral having breakfast! Another 15 k in front of me.

Till tonight!

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