Posts Tagged Camino

NEW! – The Race Before Us on YouTube

MY CAMINO – the Video (The Camino de Santiago)

[Editor’s Note: I have still not posted fully the entire trip from southern France to Santiago, Spain, but there is now a video slideshow of the trip.  The slideshow features just 15% of my 2,000 photographs taken over 30 days on the Camino de Santiago.  Accompanied by the music of Steven Curtis Chapman, James Taylor, Alison Krauss and Gordon Lightfoot, the photographs move chronologically until the trip along the Camino ends at the Cathedral de Santiago and at the “end of the earth” at Muxia and Finisterre.]

 

CLICK ON THE PHOTOGRAPH BELOW TO WATCH

MY CAMINO - THY CAMINO:  The Camino de Santiago and The Walk Before Us

MY CAMINO – THY CAMINO: The Camino de Santiago and The Walk Before Us

, , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

MY CAMINO – Leon

IMG_1789

[My apologies if you received this already, but although it was posted, no regular recipient I spoke with had received it today.  So I am re-posting in hopes that the auto-emails will work this time.]

Not only is the 17 km walk (10 miles) into Leon considered the “one place on the Camino where you might want to take the bus,” but precipitation was in the forecast. So my goal was simply to get to Leon as quickly as possible to avoid rain. As billed, the walk was ugly and industrial, but for some reason I was among a fairly large contingent headed into the cathedral city. I finally met a couple from Brazil, who I had seen almost every day for the prior week (and I would see almost every day until Santiago – and we finished within a couple of hours of each other). I hopscotched with three from Ireland and saw my two French buddies a few times during the otherwise uninteresting walk to Leon. (The Frenchmen had spent the night with be in Hontanas and I had seen them the next evening in Fromista and two days later in Mansilla – its just the way of the Camino).

IMG_1767IMG_1772

Despite the forecast, by 9:30 it’s partly sunny. Trying to counteract the ugly walk along busy roads, I listened to a Tim Keller talk about the “fruit of the spirit” and a variety of tunes by Bruce Hornsby, James Taylor, and Alison Krauss. Although the walk was billed as flat there was one really good hill climb after 11 kilometers. As blessed as I am, the sun came out as I made my way to the city center. Arriving right around noon, I marveled at the cathedral as I stood before it in its large, entrance square. Thinking that I needed a photograph of me before the grand church I spotted a young man who looked American to me and asked if he’d mind taking my photograph. With that request I was introduced to David – a medical student from Michigan. (I did not see David again in Leon, but little did I know then that David would play a prominent role in a number of my future days on the Camino.)

IMG_1811IMG_1818

I checked into Boccalino Hostel and cleaned up. I had a good half of a day to explore, which is just what I did. The city is believed to have been settled as early as 29 B.C. as part of the Romans efforts to protect the shipment of god out of Galicia to the west on its way to Italy. Leon has an interesting history of being run over and conquered and re-conquered by Muslims, Visagoths, Asturians and others. Just about the time that Santiago was being recognized as an important pilgrimage detention, Leon was rebuilt and became an important commercial center for the wool trade. That prosperity helped to fund the construction of a grand cathedral.

Leon Cathedral was begun in 1205 and finished in just under 100 years – apparently a record time. Guidebooks explain that its most noteworthy feature is its large stained glass windows, which emphasizes the use of light in the cathedral. One guidebook: “Without a flashy retablo, the cathedral lets the the streaming light steal the show.” There was an excellent audio self-tour that explained the history and architecture, including an extensive and risky, but ingenious renovation (that probably saved the cathedral from ruin) in the late 19th century. I also roamed the city and viewed its major historical and architectural highlights, including the 11th century Basilica de San Isidoro (“one of the premier Romanesque structures” in all of northern Spain, which was commissioned to house relics returned by Muslims after being defeated in the Reconquista), the more “modern” (19th century) Casa Los Botines, the Cathedral’s museum and Cloister, and the ancient city walls.

IMG_1793IMG_1794

Incredibly, as I cut through a square to return to my hotel I heard “Bruce! Bruce! off to my right. And in typical, but amazing Camino style, there was Frida, Lynn and Jen finishing a late lunch at an outdoor café. I sat with them and caught up on everyone’s journeys – and I heard “the rest of the story” about George’s boots. (I had not seen Frida or Jen since the rainy morning after Hontanas and I last saw Lynn early in the morning at Carrion as we both stood by the front door to the hostel that was locked and keeping us from starting our day’s walk.) Jen had just replicated one of the events in The Way – the movie about the Camino de Santiago starring Martin Sheen. Like Sheen’s character in the movie, after growing tired of hostel living, Jen treated the three of them to a night or two in the Parador – a five-star luxury hotel just outside the city center and on the route as the Camino starts to leave Leon. (I would pass right by it very early the next morning as I started my trek to the next destination. I assumed Frida, Jen, and Lynn were sleeping in, so I dared not stop.)

IMG_1819

IMG_1800

 

 

,

Leave a comment

MY CAMINO – Leon

IMG_1789

Not only is the 17 km walk (10 miles) into Leon considered the “one place on the Camino where you might want to take the bus,” but precipitation was in the forecast. So my goal was simply to get to Leon as quickly as possible to avoid rain. As billed, the walk was ugly and industrial, but for some reason I was among a fairly large contingent headed into the cathedral city. I finally met a couple from Brazil, who I had seen almost every day for the prior week (and I would see almost every day until Santiago – and we finished within a couple of hours of each other). I hopscotched with three from Ireland and saw my two French buddies a few times during the otherwise uninteresting walk to Leon. (The Frenchmen had spent the night with be in Hontanas and I had seen them the next evening in Fromista and two days later in Mansilla – its just the way of the Camino).

IMG_1767IMG_1772

Despite the forecast, by 9:30 it’s partly sunny. Trying to counteract the ugly walk along busy roads, I listened to a Tim Keller talk about the “fruit of the spirit” and a variety of tunes by Bruce Hornsby, James Taylor, and Alison Krauss. Although the walk was billed as flat there was one really good hill climb after 11 kilometers. As blessed as I am, the sun came out as I made my way to the city center. Arriving right around noon, I marveled at the cathedral as I stood before it in its large, entrance square. Thinking that I needed a photograph of me before the grand church I spotted a young man who looked American to me and asked if he’d mind taking my photograph. With that request I was introduced to David – a medical student from Michigan. (I did not see David again in Leon, but little did I know then that David would play a prominent role in a number of my future days on the Camino.)

IMG_1811IMG_1818

I checked into Boccalino Hostel and cleaned up. I had a good half of a day to explore, which is just what I did. The city is believe to have been settled as early as 29 B.C. as part of the Romans efforts to protect the shipment of god out of Galicia to the west on its way to Italy. Leon has an interesting history of being run over and conquered and re-conquered by Muslims, Visagoths, Asturians and others. Just about the time that Santiago was being recognized as an important pilgrimage detention, Leon was rebuilt and became an important commercial center for the wool trade. That prosperity helped to fund the construction of a grand cathedral.

Leon Cathedral was begun in 1205 and finished in just under 100 years – apparently a record time. Guidebooks explain that its most noteworthy feature is its large stained glass windows, which emphasizes the use of light in the cathedral. One guidebook: “Without a flashy retablo, the cathedral lets the the streaming light steal the show.” There was an excellent audio self-tour that explained the history and architecture, including an extensive and risky, but ingenious renovation (that probably saved the cathedral from ruin) in the late 19th century. I also roamed the city and viewed its major historical and architectural highlights, including the 11th century Basilica de San Isidoro (“one of the premier Romanesque structures” in all of northern Spain, which was commissioned to house relics returned by Muslims after being defeated in the Reconquista), the more “modern” (19th century) Casa Los Botines, the Cathedral’s museum and Cloister, and the ancient city walls.

IMG_1793IMG_1794

Incredibly, as I cut through a square to return to my hotel I heard “Bruce! Bruce! off to my right. And in typical, but amazing Camino style, there was Frida, Lynn and Jen finishing a late lunch at an outdoor cafe. I sat with them and caught up on everyone’s journeys – and I heard “the rest of the story” about George’s boots. (I had not seen Frida or Jen since the rainy morning after Hontanas and I last saw Lynn early in the morning at Carrion as we both stood by the front door to the hostel that was locked and keeping us from starting our day’s walk.) Jen had just replicated one of the events in The Way – the movie about the Camino de Santiago starring Martin Sheen. Like Sheen’s character in the movie, after growing tired of hostel living, Jen treated the three of them to a night or two in the Parador – a five-star luxury hotel just outside the city center and on the route as the Camino starts to leave Leon. (I would pass right by it very early the next morning as I started my trek to the next destination. I assumed Frida, Jen, and Lynn were sleeping in, so I dared not stop.)

IMG_1819

IMG_1800

 

 

,

Leave a comment

My Camino – Thy Camino: The Rest of the Story

Image

MY CAMINO – THY CAMINO – The Walk Before Us – A Step at a Time on the Camino de Santiago 

As I mentioned in my last post, I have failed to blog timely about my trip on the Camino de Santiago.  I finished the journey when I arrived in Santiago de Compostela after 29 days of walking and hiking.  I rested briefly in Santiago and then visited Muxia and the “end of the earth” at Finisterre.  I safely returned to Richmond and am back at work.

In my efforts to discuss the “people, places and things” on the Way (“My Camino” posts”) I only got to Day 12.  In my efforts to record my reflections along the Way about life past and life future and the “walk before us,” I also have a disappointing record.  My WordPress “dashboard” has a number of unfinished posts about My Camino and Thy Camino.  Thank you for your interest in this journey.  Even though I have returned, I will be finishing by posting many more blog posts about my time on the Camino.  They will continue to use the “My Camino” and the “Thy Camino” titles and themes.

The final day with less than a 10K to go

The final day with less than a 10K to go

The last few steps - through the portal and into the plaza at the Cathedral de Santiago

The last few steps – through the portal and into the plaza at the Cathedral de Santiago

Cathedral de Santiago

Cathedral de Santiago

The Cathedral and the "Pilgrim Mass"

The Cathedral and the “Pilgrim Mass”

A month earlier

A month earlier

Muxia

Muxia

The "End of the Earth"

The “End of the Earth”

Finisterre

Finisterre

 

, , ,

1 Comment

MY CAMINO: Walking, Wine and Golf

A few of my favorite things – and on the Camino. (Days 7 – 9)

The pleasant monotony of beginning a days hike in the cool of the morning while the sun is rising at my back continued. I had enjoyed my first non-hostel room in Viana the night before and was enthusiastic to move ahead on the journey.  It was largely a solitary morning. For the first time I used my iPod and listened to James Taylor. While some find his music depressing, I’m a big fan and he often delves often into life’s big questions. (“The Secret of Life,” “Shed a Little Light,” and others. Maybe more on this in a later post.) And sometimes his tunes just fit the mood (“Wandering”). It was particularly useful to have music to distract me from the depressing or at least uninspiring, light industrial landscape approaching and entering Lagronos. The tempernillo grape and Rioja wine dominates the business of the area and this city – headquarters to over 500 wineries. Before doing that though I ran into sisters from Florida and cousins from Holland and Minnesota, both pairs hiking the Camino together.

In contrast to Pamplona, Lagronos is a very modern city, little of its older heritage (other than a few churches, naturally) remain. I stopped for a break and an early lunch at a bar/cafe and within minutes was joined by a 25 year-old Korean woman (Inae – “Eena” – Choi), who recognized me (and me her) because we had crossed paths and stayed in the same hostels a few times since starting in St. Jean. We left together and made the long walk out of the city on sidewalks and through parks together until we finally escaped the suburban outskirts. The afternoon was warmer and we had some hills to climb on our way to Naverrete. Inae started to fad at the end but we finally made the final climb into this very old village. The cynic or critic might note that everyday seems rather the same – walking through fields and vineyards and the spotting a village with a church tower or two and then climbing up into such medieval villages (often more than a couple a day). There is considerable truth to that, but I’m still enjoying everyday and have not had any sense of boredom or monotony (other than the perfect morning sunrises).  We checked into the first hostel we came to and got settled. I headed out for supplies and to see the church.

Naverrete was built into a hill, in a semi-circle around the church in the center of town. The 12th century, Romanesque church features a front piece/retablo from later centuries reminding us not only of the enormous wealth amassed by Spain particularly in the 16th and 17th centuries, but of their extraction and export of gold itself from central and southern America.

Day 8 proved to be a fun day for a variety of reasons. Up early again and out of Naverrete just behind a large group (and I could see Inae just up ahead).  Seven kilometers on my own – a wonderfully peaceful time. I rolled into the first town and joined friends from Australia (husband, wife and 25 year-old son) for eggs and bacon. Inae joined us. We also spoke with a young couple from New Zealand and single Spanish woman doing the Camino with her dog.

After breakfast, Inae and I walked together and ran into three families from Barcelona doing “spring break” for their fourth year on the Camino. I walked for an hour with the ringleader mom, who spoke excellent English.  (It is not unusual, especially for individuals, families and/or other groups in Spain, to do the Camino a portion at a time (like a “section hiker” on the Appalachian Trail). The families formed two spirit lines on either side of the trail and cheered “bueno Camino” (with appropriate arm movements) as Inae and I passed between the lines. I continued on and enjoyed another two walking among the vineyards – after all, we were now in Rioja.

After a 23 km day, I settled into the only albergue in town. My new friends from Boston were there as were my Australian family. Two to a room (which is very unusual) and – who was my roommate? – but Mike from Wales, a 55 year-old I had met the prior day in a town 30k east. Dinner with Andy, Jan, and Matt (the “Aussies”) and Mike joined us at the end of the meal.

The next morning, I was out before sunrise once again. This time following my friends from Boston. At times we needed our torches (flashlights for North Americans) to find the way markings in the dark fields and vineyards. We had a 10k climb into Ciruena – a true ghost time. Not unlike abandoned towns after the gold rush ended in the American west, this town features completely constructed, fairly high-end single family residences, apartments, condos, and various flats. In a town with 131 people, it was odd – to say the least – to see perfectly good housing for another 4,000 just sitting there, completely unoccupied. And, perhaps even more out of place is the Rojo Alta Golf Club – a course that was described as the Augusta National (or the Independence Golf Club) of northern Spain.

I enjoyed my walk through Santo Domingo de la Calzada – a town named for Saint Dominic who is credited with greatly improving and expanding services along the Camino in the 11th century – which is something we have to keep reminding ourselves, that these cities and the route (this Way”) carried and cared for Christian pilgrims over 1000 years ago. I finished a very aggressive hiking day of 38 kilometers** by climbing up and down three more of these hilltop villages and settling in for the day in Belorado.

[**I actually hiked an additional 2k (not in this day’s total) when – a little too engaged with the music on my iPod – I missed a turn and headed deeper into a farmer’s fields. As luck would have it (and we know I’m lucky, I mean blessed), the farmer came along, pointed out my mistake, and then had me hop up on his tractor and get a ride back to the point where I missed the turn.]

.

20140425-213901.jpg

20140425-213950.jpg

20140425-214126.jpg

20140425-214201.jpg

20140425-214244.jpg

20140425-214310.jpg

20140425-214344.jpg

20140425-214357.jpg

20140425-214430.jpg

20140425-214521.jpg

20140425-214536.jpg

20140425-214600.jpg

20140425-214647.jpg

20140425-214707.jpg

20140425-214731.jpg

20140425-214749.jpg

,

Leave a comment

THY CAMINO: The Walk Before Us II

I had planned on longer posts, but it may be easier to break some of my musings up into two or three parts. I mentioned in the first part of “The Walk Before Us” that, as used in Hebrews and as used in a number of Paul’s letters, the “race”metaphor refers to our Christian walk (very appropriate for a Camino blog) – how is it that we should live our lives once we have come to faith – come to trust in Jesus Christ. In that sense then, this blog and “The Walk Before Us” begins where my book (The Race Before Us) left off. By this I mean, once you come to faith, what next? The answer of course is that recognition of the truth of Christianity should change your life – you should be transformed. You now have a new worldview that informs every aspect of your life. As C.S. Lewis wrote, if Christianity is not true, then it is of little significance, but if it is true, it is of ultimate importance. But the one thing it cannot be is of “moderate importance.”

This quote by C.S. Lewis is so vital to me because, the best I could tell, that’s exactly how I looked at church and my faith for the first 50 years of my life. So, better grasping what that really means in terms of the why I live my life now (what should my priorities be, etc.) is one of the things I hope to explore during this walk. I’ve learned that this life of striving ever more to conform our lives to that of Jesus’ is a process known as discipleship or sanctification. Thankfully, it is a process. It takes time. It is a marathon, not a sprint – thus, it us the “race” (or, the “walk”) before us.

During this walk then I hope to explore what it means – what it looks like – to be a disciple of Jesus. Many are uncomfortable about thinking – or, heaven forbid, speaking – in those terms, but you cannot have it both ways. Many avoid a serious commitment (as I did – see The Race Before Us) because they recognize what it means to sincerely and seriously follow Jesus. And that brings us back to the theme of “My Camino – Thy Camino” because, if you have made the serious, honest commitment because you know Christianity is true, you have no choice- in trusting in Jesus, you have subordinated “your will” (“My Will” for our purposes) to God’s will (“Thy Will”).

When we properly understand these matters, we realize that the uncertainty or the reluctance to accept Thy Will is the ongoing desire to “have it our way” or to “do it our way”. When understood in that way, it should be easier to see that the “race” of a Christian essentially comes down to “My Will or Thy Will.”

20140414-204832.jpg

20140414-204900.jpg

20140414-205053.jpg

20140414-205116.jpg

, , , ,

1 Comment