Friday, April 8, 2011

Along El Camino de Santiago

This image was taken while walking the Camino de Santiago -- the Way of St James -- in northwest Spain.
The camino is one of three pilgrimage routes recognized by the Catholic church -- the other two end in Rome and in Jerusalem -- but this one is probably the most traveled -- more than 200,000 people last year.  At the end of the route is the body of Apostle St. James (you can see him in an earlier blog in March).

It's a very simple vacation, so to speak -- one just follows the yellow arrows and walks all day.  No cell phones, no laptops, no killer aps -- just walking.  The route gave me a truly visceral feel for landscape -- from my feet to my hips to my eyes to my head.  I know how an uphill feels, a downhill, gravel, dirt, stones.  It sounds simple, simplistic even, but we live in such a virtual world now that we sometimes forget how the real one actually feels.

I took my camera with me but didn't really know what I wanted to photograph.  I decided that before taking the trip I had been hunting for photos of what the trail looked like and I couldn't find any that really gave me a sense of what it looked like.  So I photographed where I was, probably 4-6 times an hour.

This last photo features my friend Christine and Jason, tour guide extraordinaire, tromping ahead of me. I was, uh, one of the slower walkers.

If you want to see what it looked like, I have a book on, called El Camino de Santiago.  I've set it up so you can flip through it.

We booked the camino tour with Fresco Tours and they were wonderful.  Helpful, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, well-organized, thoughtful -- I can't say enough about Alex and Jason.  Christine and I have hooked up with them again for a tour of the Basque country next April, 2012.  For more information, check out my website or contact

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