Friday, May 27, 2011

** Burgos **

A city I love and  hate!

 This is the city that thru no fault of her own...held me captive for a day before releasing me to walk the rest of the way.  Maybe that was so I would intersect with some of the wonderful pilgrims I would later meet...who knows...But next time...I gonna reserve more time to inspect her properly, not thu the lens of a no money panic!

On the way to Burgos, after leaving Atapuerca.

Damn...machine was totally empty!  Wasn't for lack of trying either....
Our Bar owner...a delightful woman, who had her finger patched up by Rosalie...on the edge of the photo.  She was so thrilled that she brought out cakes for each of us, and then sent us on our way with a bag full of Nutella sandwiches...which we joyfully consumed sitting near the airport.  I know she thought we were great...we thought she was an angel!
Ok...this was way later than we wanted to be arriving!
I think I'd have to back up about a mile to get the whole thing in!
Ornamentation in every way shape and form

It was all I could do not to lay down on the floor to really enjoy this!  Somehow I think some folk would have had an issue with that!  Ahh well, used a bench to steady time, I'm laying down, hands folded and let 'em think it's a dead pilg!
The most exquisite ceiling!
But....for all the gold, all the tracery, all the jewels, she moved me more than anything else in the Cathedral.

Burgos...all day long!

Well, it started out great.  Really great.  We spent the night in Hostal Acacia, after deciding amongst the three of us, Spencer, Rosalie and myself that we deserved it after walking 30km in one day.  The reception guy, even got my laundry back to us early, cause I asked nicely in badly butchered Spanish (and used the eyelashes a bit...hell I needed any help I could get at this point!)  So...we thought we (Spence and I) were off for the day and Rosalie would stay to finish some shopping etc.

 After a quick coffee, we hit the bank to make sure we had enough as we enter the Meseta (Spanish plains) today and tomorrow. populated etc.  Good idea to have a little extra cash in a country that truly operates by cash and coin.  Good idea until the machine eats my card.  Then the guy inside tells me the bank at home recalled my card!  WTF!!  I called for a few days before to make sure these chumps realized I would be in Espana...that I would need to have cash ready...but no...they pulled the card back.

SO, today became a real learning experience in using phones, finding phones, Western Union, etc etc.  End result is...Rosalie and I leave Burgos tomorrow, Spence and the others are a day or so ahead.  But...I´ve meet some amazing people and wouldn´t have missed spending this time with them.  God is good and so are people!  Ray...thanks for the cheer it meant a lot to hear your voice.  Enjoy the weekend kayak trip, sans kayaking..  Love you all

Thursday, May 26, 2011

** San Juan de Ortega **

View from a window in the Alburgue.

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  Oh...and Jesus too! it's best.

Look UP!!

With my passion for columns and capitals....I could just do an entry on them!  Love the green here.

Reliquary altar.

Works in progress.

God Bless those who do that restoration work.

Paint strokes, lovingly done by unkown hands.

So much left to be much..

So very much.

Welcome and peace to all who enter.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

** Belorado Area! **

Can't remember exactly where some of these were take! Ok...this is what comes of relying on memory!!  At my age it begins to fail you...or at least bits and pieces fall away.  Perhaps they aren't the important part...the core, the vital part...I've got that where it will always be with me, in my heart.

What could be better early in the morning...oh, yeah, a cafe con leche...and this!

And he sent them out two by two.

This is why I NEED to go back to Spain.  So much unfinished business!

This was so incredibly cold it almost hurt!  Great way to take down the swelling in hot tired pilgrim feet!

Hmmm, afraid to ask what the heck that is, and then as we round the corner...the smell told us!
Ok, Buff's weren't meant to act as air filtration, but in a pinch, it'll do!

These next few, I'm very sorry to say, I don't remember the name of the church!  The light here was incredible, as was the peace.  Could have sat for hours!

A reminder why I need to get home, a Baptism is awaiting in my future!! Anna!

This climb up and over to San Juan de Ortega, it began so innocently, so green and soft!
Then came the top of the mountain, and the war memorial, and the unrelenting sun.  It was 33 or 34 c that day.
Wind mills working away, and picnic tables in the hot sun.
Other pilgs trying to show they were surviving...... wonder if they made it?
Now this is Pilgrim work, making sure others can find the way.  Or pointing ahead so they can capture OUR water bottles!!  One hot and thirsty day.
Rarely have I been so happy to reach the edge of a town!

Up Up and Away we go! Or the never ending hill to San Juan de Ortega!

Honestly have to say that to day was as hard, if not harder than the Pyrenees!  There were several reasons, but towards the end...water, plain and simple.

The weather here has been lovely, but really hot! They said it was around 30 degrees centigrade, which is hot...really hot.  The only clouds in the sky are decorative chance of rain to cool our hot and sweaty faces.  At a lovely overview high high above a small village, we stopped to admire the incredible view and look at a large display show all the peaks around us.  Rosalie paused too and put down the large water bottle we were bringing along.  And there it remains.  Not knowing how much further we weren´t too alarmed.  Maybe we should have been, but sometimes ignorance really is good.

About another two hours later, after a quick break and later a lunch on the side of the road, we began to panic quietly.  They say the road provides and it did.  Another trio of Germans and Americans walked by and had more than enough water to share.  God Bless ém cause they really were life savers.

Suddenly after one of our breaks I sunglasses are missing.  I think I must have let them slip when we sat down and rested.  I will miss them.  I thought for a split second about going back and decided not to.  Spencer saw the look on my face, and bless him, actually took off his pack and went back to see if he could find them.  They weren´t to be found, but the effort, offer, meant a lot.  Talk about a Camino Angel!  Complete with tattoos to boot!  Spence I owe ya!

The road went on.  And on. And on!  Suddenly far in the distance we see a white car...and wonder if the local police are doing a sweep of the road.  Turns out to be a Canadian pilgrim, taking a taxi at 35plus euros, searching for her camera.  We told her we hadn´t seen it, and they went on back up the hill.  When they finally made their way back to us, we blocked their path, I guess rather startling them.  After making it clear that we came in peace (!) we asked how much further and did they have any more water to spare.  Fortune was with us and we had only 2 more km to to go and the driver had a half bottle of water!  Life is good again!

So now we are in San Juan de Ortega, and will be dining in as we can´t (won´t) put out the money for a taxi to go grocery shopping.  Tonight we will splurge.  After our adventure (misadventure perhaps!) we deserve a little.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Naked Pilgrim

Figured this would get everyones attention!  Pervs!

Ok, the story actually begins back in Roncesvalles. As Silvie and I walked along, about a km or more, we spot a jacket hanging on the gate of a field.  This isn´t just any old worn jacket. It was a nice red Gortex hiking jacket!  Figured someone put it down to take a pic and forgot it.

A day later, we see a pair of gray pants on a bush.  Hmmmmm?

Next day, what to my wondering eyes should appear but a pair of shoes or were they hiking boots, on a wire high high above the road. 

By this time the theory of the Naked Pilgrim had evolved and was a source of endless entertainment as we struggled up and down the hills.  The clincher came when we found a small pack on the edge of a medieval bridge coming out of Ciraque! 

Apparently the Naked Pilgrim, load completely lightened, is now streaking towards Santiago de Compostella.  Wonder if he remembered to keep his Credencial in hand to prove that he´d actually made the journed? Sure hope so.

** Santo Domingo de la Calzada **

Sometimes other pilgrims are the surprise on the road, ie this couople from Japan in traditional garb! does feel that endless sometimes!  Move it Spence....we still got miles to go before we sleep!
Home for another night....with the Sisters this time.
Our room...with Simone for Milan lounging in the grass outside.
Yes, the nuns did lock us in too!
This was the beginning of the end of our afternoon of napping and resting up...there was an we followed!
Round the corner and under these two arches...
Upstair cases that went around and around, until we were on the battlements  and looking into the church...very unusual!
Was this what James Taylor had in mind when he sang the words, Up on the Roof?
"Side" altar!

Back of the organ or choir area, showing  scenes from the life of St. Domingo.

Oh look...another chapel...
A closer peak was called for... apparently the tomb of a Bishop Guillen de Holanda.
Stunning is such an over used, and here, inadequate word.  This was the work of Damian Forment.
The best I could do with my zoom....
However...thanks to modern technology and touch pads, this display allowed you to take long lingering looks at details you only sensed were up there.  Wonderful!
No 'ahm not really sitting .. or just barely.
Detail from the choir area.
Guess he got tired and thirsty from the lengthy pieces?
Spencer looking at the chickens...
One of the actual chickens!
The Baroque bell/clock tower, which is actually separate from the church.
View from the tower...Look towards tomorrows walk.

Storks, taking over!

Only part way up the tower stairs, which were quite the challenge.
Incentive not to linger too it's not a torture device, it's the clock workings for the bells.  After Spence and I had been up there about 10 minutes, we suddenly realized we had five minutes to get our butts back down the stairs, or go deaf!  Damn near ran!!!
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This last pic requires a tiny bit more explanation.  Spence knew I had the camera.  He knew I was snapping pics left and right.  So he knows this photo exists.  And so his privacy wasn't being  invaded, as happened to me in O Cebriero, when I had a tour group snap flash photos, in my face, as I stood in front of the Blessed Mother with my eyes closed, and tears running.  I kept them closed then, as I might have used my sticks to smack the living daylights out of whom ever...clenching the sticks then, with white knuckles. So clarification here!  Seconds later, Spencer left me in tears and I had to turn away, as he swung around and said to me "He did that for us?" with the most stunned look on his face.  This was one of those moments I will remember for the rest of my life.  More real faith than I've seen in a long long time.  Spencer you are amazing.  Love you and thanks for being my friend.