Rev. Jan’s Photo Journey!

Read along with Rev. Jan’s notes as she writes from her hiking trip in Spain:
“We walked through a cool, cloudy morning on the Meseta with vast views and lovely wind. The grain fields danced and the trees sang while the windmills turned…”

Day 15: (walking El Camino trail) Hornillos to Castrojeriz

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Day 18: Terradillos de los Templarios to Calzadilla do los Hermanillos

We left “Kansas” and in 17 miles walked through what appeared to be Oklahoma then Nevada. The last was due to a dryer landscape and few trees. But the skies! The beauty of big sky country is stunning.

After eating lunch in the half way city of Sahagun, we elected to take an alternative rural route off the main Camino, the latter which walked along the road. Our less-traveled route was remote (saw one other person for last five miles and no cars).

The remote village we’re in has a lovely albergue and we splurged for our own en suite room (five euros more than the dorm). We will walk about 15 miles tomorrow then get a cab to drop us about 30 miles up the Camino to time our arrival in Santiago to my departure date. We’re still on the Via Romana which Augustus traveled to come keep the Calabrians in line.

One very sad and angry toe; will lose that nail. Funny how it took 3 weeks to complain. Love you all! Go Celtics!


Carrión to Terradillos de los Templarios

The guidebook described the first 2/3 of our day today as straight, flat and featureless. We felt we had been dropped in Kansas. So not many pics today.

But some historical tidbits: the flat, straight road is thanks to ancient Rome! We walked what is credited as the longest stretch of original Roman road in Spain. It, of course, has overlays of modern gravel but the stone base was built thousands of years ago, and this in an area where stones are scarce (the older homes here are now more often adobe because of the scarcity of rocks). And the village we’re in was the site of a monastery of the Knights Templar, among whose missions were guarding pilgrims (as well as the DaVinci Code!).

Tomorrow we are halfway. We’ve come over 400K. My toes have decided they’ve had enough. But we press on! The laundry pic gives you a sense of Camino life. Get in, shower, do laundry in time to hang out to dry. Love to all!


Day 17: Frómista to Carrión de los Condes

Shoshanah and I got up before the sun to try to get to Carrión as early as possible. The albergue we wanted to stay at (and are staying at) is a “parochial” albergue run by Augustinian sisters who are renowned for their singing ritual of welcome (and unlike most other albergues they don’t take reservations).

The route was along a tree-lined stream and fields, then a long, sunny, straight stretch into town. I am proud to say my backpack was first in line as I arrived by 10:30 and the albergue didn’t open till noon. In the meantime I found a panaderia (bakery) and had THE BEST APPLE TURNOVER EVER (thinking of you, my love!) and made halting conversation with a fellow peregrino from Madrid.

The singing nuns will welcome us with song at 6 pm. Had a nice conversation with a Dutch peregrine who is walking alone. We bought groceries to make supper together before singing begins (albergues all have shared kitchens). While we don’t reach the geographical midpoint till day after tomorrow (May 31) I have reached my walking midpoint. I have walked 16 days, and I have 16 more days to walk. Almost enough. Love to all!


Day 16: Castrojeriz to Frómista

Again, the day dawned with low clouds and cool temps, which gradually burned away to clear, hot skies. We had to go over an impressive hill first thing then the landscape laid out into ever more wheat fields (and poppies!). 15.5 miles today. I walked alone all day and listened to music as I walked, dancing with my arms (and hiking poles), feeling redemptively free and beloved. It feels like Camino conditioning has set in: walking is easier and recovery is shorter. 

Went by ancient pilgrim hostel in the middle of nowhere, reminding me how old and honored this walking prayer is. Love to all! 


Day 15: Hornillos to Castrojeriz
We walked through a cool, cloudy morning on the Meseta with vast views and lovely wind. The grain fields danced and the trees sang while the windmills turned. Outside of Castrojeriz are the ruins of an 11th century convent/church from the San Anton Abad (St. Anthony of the Desert) tradition, along with Francis and Clare.

The St. Anton cross is called a “tau” and looks like a T. You can see it in the windows of the ruins. Castrojeriz is lovely (are you tired of me saying that?). I even found a free meditation group led by a truly beautiful in all ways Spaniard named Nia. This landscape feels Spirit soaked! Love to all!


Day 14: Burgos to Hornillos del Camino
A relatively easy day, “only” 12.5 miles. We left Jehanne at the taxi stand with tears all around, and Shoshanah and I continued out of the big city onto “the Meseta,” a high plains, open area of big sky and long horizons. The temp was lovely for walking, 60s, and the walking was uncomplicated.

The albergue we are staying at offered dinner (see pic) and we sat between French, German and Italian speakers, most of whom were not too fluent in each other’s languages so we passed around our Google/Apple translations on our phones to talk together, a sweet Camino moment. Love to all! (Storks on chimneys and church spires!)


Day 13: San Juan de Ortega to Burgos
We stayed at a delightful little albergue with its own cafe (see exterior shot and interior of our room, which we had luxuriously to ourselves, as opposed to many other nights when we’re in a room with 10-14 others).

San Juan has an official population of 20. We landed in Burgos, with 180,000 population. We walked about 17 miles today, the last 4 on pavement. Our feet were sore!

It feels a little strange to be in a cosmopolitan city after being in mostly rural areas (see street scenes and the outside of our city albergue). But it was fun to walk to the Cathedral and pass at least a dozen familiar pilgrims from the trail.

This was Jehanne’s last day of walking.  Shoshanah and I head out tomorrow on to the Meseta (long, mostly flat open terrain for the next 5 days) and Jehanne flies home to her new husband, Bill. I will miss her terribly!

We’ve been constant walking companions as we have similar pace. Shoshanah is a little slower so usually is about 30-60 minutes behind. The next 3 weeks will be more solitary, I think. Not bad, just different. Shoshanah and I will catch up at rest stops and the end of the day. Love to all!

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Day 12: Belorado to San Juan de Ortega
From close to 90° a couple of days ago, it was 47° today. I had sent my warmest clothes home by mail but as long as we kept walking we were warm. Weather is predicted to be mid-seventies day after tomorrow! We walked 15 miles between 6 am and noon. We’re in a very small town for the afternoon/evening (only 2 albergues) so most of the several hundred pilgrims walking within the day’s distance of each other had to walk shorter or longer distances. We ended up in a room for 3 so have a private room. The towns we’re passing through grew up around the Camino. The ruins (below) are from a 9th C. hostel/church for pilgrims. Many, many flowers today and the call of Cuckoos. My ankle injury is resolving! Enjoying much, inexpensive wine! Love to all!

Day 11: Santo Domingo to Belorado
Amazing that 14 miles now feels like a short day! But the weather turned cool and the terrain was gentle. We slept in (6:30) and got on the road by 7 am. Our daily routine is get up, have a small bite to eat, walk a couple hours and stop for coffee and breakfast.

We’ve finally gotten the Spanish daily flow down, so we eat our main meal around 2 pm after arriving at our destination, then rest/sightsee/journal and take a walk to the market for a evening snack and the next morning’s provisions (and, of course, a bottle of wine, which is wonderfully good and cheap in Spain). Jehanne is with us only two more days. I will miss her terribly! Love you!

(The single building is an “Ermitio de los Judiós” in a Spanish town that sheltered Jews, Muslims and “French” in the Medieval era. The top of the church with the nest is sheltering “cigüeñas”/storks)


Day 10: Nájera to Santo Domingo (PHOTOS TO COME)
A relatively short day (13 miles) and left 5:30 and arrived in Santo Domingo by lunch time. Lovely small city with ancient Camino roots going back to 11th C. St. Domingo de Calzada built hostel, bridges and roads for pilgrims. We had time (and energy) today to visit the Cathedral and clock tower (with great views from the top).


Days 8 and 9: Day of Rest
We took a rest day in Logrono, which was much welcome and needed. We have connected with a couple from NYC and met up with them for tapas and vino last night. Logrono has a famous street that is just tapas bars. Very fun! We’ve eaten some amazing food!

Today we left at 5:30 am and walked 18 miles to Santo Domingo, yet another charming medieval town. The Spanish practice of siesta is very active here. Everything (!) closes from 4-7. The towns feel like a ghost town during those hours, and then at 7 or 8 everyone is out, eating, shopping, socializing, all ages together. It’s quite enchanting. I have developed a pretty painful sprain or strain in my ankle. Trying to find ice at the end of each day and eating Advil for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Love to all!

Day 7: Los Arcos to Logroño (PHOTOS TO COME…)
Knowing the walk was longish (18 miles) and the temp was heading to the 90s, Jehanne and I decided to get up at 3:30 am and make the walk in the cooler half of the day. Walking at night was lovely! The moon is 3/4 and lit our way. The stars were beautiful and we got to see the moon set and sun rise. We set a good pace and were into Logroño by 11:30 am. It felt adventurous! We only got lost in the dark once! Luckily our mistake was actually shorter! We’re here for two nights to have a rest day tomorrow. Good thing because I’ve developed a wonky knee. Love! 


Day 6: Estella to Los Arcos
Another sweet day, only 13 miles (another 18er tomorrow). We enjoyed amazing food in Estella last night and found a side garden near the 11th c. church/fortress to hang out in. We were into Los Arcos by 12:30 so have had a relaxed afternoon.  Everywhere we go are beautiful flowers and wheat fields!


Day 5: Puente Reina to Estella
13.5 miles through lovely fields and villages (does not get old!) again, hot today (85 degrees) unusually hot for here. Walked by millions of poppies growing wild in the hedgerow and fields, vineyards (now that we’re in a more temperate region) and crossed ancient medieval bridges. Hot, sore feet but strong legs.

Day 4: Pamplona to Puente Reina
We left Pamplona at 6 this morning and walked through beautiful countryside after we left the city. Up over a lovely ridge and down into a lower (warmer) climate. Staying in Puente Reina. Black Madonna from Pamplona Cathedral.

Day 3: Zubiri to Pamplona
Easier day: descended from hill country to Pamplona (which is amazing! ). 13 miles again. Met a Venetian walking el Camino with her dog, Iris! Beautiful countryside! We get up early, start walking by 6 and are into our albergue (hostel) by 1. I am writing from a street Cafe in the Plaza de Cattrall, the building is our albergue.


Day 2: Roncesvalles to Zubiri

A shorter walk today (about 13 miles) but beautiful and challenging. The Navarre countryside is lovely and the towns charming. Tomorrow to Pamploma.


Day 1: Made it over Pyrenees
Cloudy, foggy day leaving  St. Jean, France. Sun came out as we came over the mountains. Now in Roncevalles, Spain.

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