Walkabout California

Hiking Inn to Inn

October 2011 Blog Posts (7)

Entering Galicia

Leaving the plains of north-central Spain, the pilgrim climbs and decends through the mountains of eastern Leon and into Galicia.  As each day passes and the Atlantic Coast draws nearer,  the terrain becomes more lush and verdant.  Ascending out of Rabanal for 1,000 feet, we reached the highest peak on the Camino, Cruz de Ferr, at 4,938 feet.  The trail passes through dense forests of oak, eucalyptus, birch, chestnut, and pine. Climbing out of Villafranca, the trail ascends 1,200 feet, drops…

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Added by Tom Courtney on October 29, 2011 at 11:29am — No Comments

Catholic Spain

Spain has deep Roman Catholic roots, going back, legend tells us, to Christ´s apostle, St. James, Santiago.  The pilgrim passes through perhaps a half a dozen village each day, almost all dominated by an ancient stone and wooden church.  We often stop to sit in the cool, dark sanctuaries for a moment of contemplation and to experience the beauty and devotion  represented by centuries old statues and paintings of the saints and Holy Family.  We have occasionally attended services in churches…

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Added by Tom Courtney on October 22, 2011 at 12:21pm — No Comments

Leon

I entered the narow, winding streets of the old city of Leon.  It was the day of the festival of San Froilan y las cantaderas and a grand medieval faire filled the plazas with hundreds of booths selling roasted meats and octopus, pastries, sweets, jewerlry, soaps, perfumes, clothes, wood carvings, and tarot readings.  People were dressed in renaissance costumes.…

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Added by Tom Courtney on October 15, 2011 at 9:17am — No Comments

The meseta

After hiking the verdant foothills of the Pyrenese and through the lush vineyards of La Rioja, the Camino enters the meseta, flat tabletop land that covers 40% of Spain.  For the next 120 miles the pilgrim ascends long mesas and descends into broad valleys.  Wheat fields stretch for as far as the eye can see, now freshly harvested in early October.  Rivers, lined with cottonwoods, meander through the plain.  Small medieval villages along the rivers, break up the sameness of the terrains.…

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Added by Tom Courtney on October 10, 2011 at 10:53am — No Comments

Burgos

The ancient city of Burgos was founded in 884 as a defensive fortress for the Kingdom of Navarra against the Muslims to the south.  Today´s pilgrim hikes several kilometers through stark, modern Burgos before passing through 14th century walls, under Arco de Santa Maria, and into the magical old city.  Here the streets are narrow and winding, there are few cars, but the lanes are busy with foot traffic.  People crowd the shops and sidewalk cafes.

After 13 days of hiking and 180 miles,…

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Added by Tom Courtney on October 7, 2011 at 10:07am — No Comments

A day in the life of a pilgrim

After a few days on the Camino, the pilgrim´s life settles into an easy rhythym.  Albergues may be small with only a dozen beds or big with bunk beds for 100 in a large room.  It is wise to sleep with earplugs or you will enjoy all the sounds of nocturnal humanity.

People begin to stir around 5:30am.  alarms beep, pilgrim pack away sleeping bags and prepare to hit the trail.  I usually am out of bed by 6:30 and hiking by seven.  This is my favorite time of day.  It is still dark and…

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Added by Tom Courtney on October 5, 2011 at 9:27am — 1 Comment

Entering Rioja

The Camino traverses western Navarra Province mostly on country trails, passing through small villages, always dominated by a church, the tallest building.  Pilgrims are a major source of revenue, and many villages will offer a cafe, a fountain, and possibly a small inn and/or albergue.  The harvested grain fields of the rolling farmland yielded to bountiful vineyards as the trail approaches Rioja Province, the home of some of Spain´s finest red wines.

I entered the city of Logrono at…

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Added by Tom Courtney on October 3, 2011 at 7:14am — 1 Comment

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