The Pyrenees where a bit more than I bargained for. Altitude was fine, but the wind, rain, hail, lightning and freezing temperature were challenging.
On the way down, the sun came out and these little guys surrounded me.
I made it to Santa Domingo de Calzada, and still it rains. We walked through mud today that stuck in massive clumps to the boots.
As with so many of the towns we walk through, cathedrals are central.
I enjoyed this clever water sculpture for several minutes before realizing that its purpose was to help pilgrims clean the mud from their boots.
Outside of Estella, Bodegas Irache has a wine fountain to encourage pilgrims on their path. You have a choice of wine or water. I got there at 8am. So what's in my cup?
This is the Spanish version of a food cart. On an especially long stretch, I turned a corner and found good food and new friends, all to the strains of Lady Antebellum blasting out of rather large speakers.
When the sun finally comes out it is glorious. It seems as if each village is perched on a hill. The push up is often rewarded with a bar where one can get a cafe con leche and rest the feet - and the back.
Grapes here are not staked, but trimmed back to their ancient trunks. Last year's vines are gathered and used as firewood.
Red poppies are everywhere, even in the wheat fields.
The city of Estella is on the rio Ega.
Northern Spain is getting cooler than normal temperatures and much more rain. It reminds me of the Pacific Northwest - very green and many of the same crops: peas, wheat, canola, and miles of grapes.
On the walk from Pamplona to Puenta la Reina, we climbed to Alta del Perdon where I got to take my very own picture of the pilgrims' sculpture. Discarded items line the Camino from pilgrims who packed too much. Often there are boots discarded because they don't fit properly. In this photo some foot weary pilgrim gave the sculpture a new pair of boots.
Along the Camino are rest stops, signs and sculptures. This one invites pilgrims to walk through. The pilgrim doing so is Peaceful Warrior. Yes, that's his name.
I didn't stop in Puerta la Reina, except of course, to snap a picture of the iconic bridge.
The best plans... After suffering tech problems first with charging my iPad, then getting reliable wifi, I haven't posted as I had hoped to. I'm in Tarjados Spain with approximately 1/3 of the Camino under my feet. I have a free afternoon and hopefully wifi, so thought I'd try posting a few pictures.
Bayonne was a great start to my adventure.
My first experience with an alburgue was mixed. Nice little room to share with two other women. Unfortunately one of them snored so loudly she kept everyone awake.
St. Jean Pied de Port is a lovely little town. Here is the Pilgrims' Office where I was signed in and got my official start.
After well over a year's planning, I'm just four days away from departing for Europe to walk the Camino de Santiago. I'm giving myself 37 days to walk the 789 km (490 mile) pilgrimage from St Jean Pied de Port, France to Santiago de Compostella, Spain. I've spent countless hours deciding what gear to take, which luxuries I can afford to put on my back. My initial goal was 10% of my body weight but just couldn't go quite that light. My greatest luxury item is my iPad. It will be my main communication with family and friends, and I hope to post from the trail.
So this morning, I'm testing a blogging app to see how easy it will be to post pictures from the Camino from my iPad.
This is a metal sculpture on the Camino at Alto del Perdon depicting the variety of pilgrims who have walked the Camino through the centuries. I should get to it my fourth or fifth day walking.
I'm getting excited!