This was a journey of 40 days. So here, corresponding approximately but not exactly to those days are 40 pictures. I took a small waterproof Panasonic camera with me and both Clemency and I took pictures with our phones. The gear, in other words was pretty basic though I am pretty impressed with the wee Panasonic. These pictures are not in order as resources for blog writing are limited but I hope they give a sense of the journey.
Stop for a snack, sunrise on day 3, on the way out of Zarautz
Winding up in the Camino Primitivo
The top of the Hospitales Route, Camino Primitivo
Bay of Biscao on the Camino del Norte
The last day. Four routes: the Norte, the Primitivo, La Plata and the Frances have now joined and there is a teeming crowd of pilgrims. Walking through a forest in the early morning, we felt like the elves leaving Middle Earth
Windmills infest all the high places. they're pretty impressive: huge and noisy, but it's hard to capture that in a photo. On the Primitivo I climbed through fog and suddenly was above the clouds. Across a valley from me the windmills were on the same level as me, with the jetstreams of aircraft streaming above them.
A tiny chapel at dawn on the Primitivo
The infrastructure of the wind powered electricity system runs all over the place. It's ugly but, of course, I took this picture on a camera which was charged using this very system so I can't really complain.
The Hospitales Route is the highest variant of the Camino Primitivo. It is named for the ruins of 4 medieval pilgrim hostels which dot the ridge. This one is in such good repair that local farmers use it to house stock. The Spanish have a much more matter of fact approach to ancient buildings than we do. They have such a lot of them and some of their antiquities are tens of thousands of years old.
Cows are everywhere. Often kept inside but sometimes also outside, generally with bells around their necks
A couple of young Hungarians funding their journey by selling homemade cakes.
In the middle of a forest I came upon these guys doing this. What exactly? Your guess is as good as mine.
Much of the Norte is urban
And much is rural
A view from the window of the 9th Century Iglesia San Salvador in Valdedios (The Valley of God)
The church and associated monastery is the spiritual centre of Asturias. It was, when it was built considered huge and innovative. 7 bishops consecrated it and it was where the kings of Asturias worshipped.
Outside one of the 35 or so albergues I slept in. They were varied and often wonderful places of refuge and community
A relaxing ten minutes on a fairly typical stretch of the Camino Norte
Cafes aren't as plentiful on the Northern routes as they are on the Camino Frances so when we found one open we made sure it was put to good use.
Boats at rest in San Vincente de la Barquera
Beautiful though it was, the Norte had too much pavement for our tastes.
Te Harinui made the journey though not without sustaining a small but repairable injury
Queueing for one of our three ferry crossings
An early morning shot...
...and another one. I loved being up early enough to be walking when the sun rose.
The wonderful albergue at Guemes was home to a group of people dedicated to justice for the third world. And in equal measure, hospitality to pilgrims and protection of the environment of Northern Spain.
We spent a night in a private hostal built in a 15th Century palace in Santilla de Mar. This is known locally as the town of the three lies; the name references a saint, a plain and the sea but has no connection with any of these things.
The route presented us daily with beauty, as well as trials.
Our whole world was contained in these small bags. And neither of us would have made it without our bastones: ie walking poles.
A mirrorglass selfie taken from the 1700 year old Roman town wall in Lugo. This wall is completely intact, and is a world heritage site.
Pilgrim meal. It's the miracle of the loaves and fishes. Each offers, from their pack, what small portions of food they have, and soon a bountiful meal is shared. People talk in various languages (in this case, Italian, Spanish, English and Polish) and translate for each other. After a while, as the conversation deepens, there is another miracle, that of Pentecost, as each hears in their own tongue the marvellous doings of God.
Santiago de Compostela. We arrived in the rain and were immediately reunited with a dear friend; a member of our camino family.
A day after arriving we travelled to the wonderful city of A Coruna.
A pilgrim friend, from Majorca
The Camino is often beautiful...
...but sometimes it is not. Like life, for which it is metaphor and sacrament...
It leads us onward, surprising us with it's grace and wisdom.