Our “Eclectic Camino” Trip Schedule

This is a brief summary. Here is a map to help you see the overall picture of what we did. As you will see, it is quite manageable.

Our Eclectic Camino Map
Our Eclectic Camino Map

As I said in my previous post, it is not the purest of caminos, but it is our very own and we seniors (both 68 years old) recommend it without hesitation. We planned this trip together and grew closer in the planning, the training and the Camino itself. We are still on our Camino and will be for the rest of our lives. We walked some of the hardest stages of the Camino Frances, about 200 km in all, including the high route through the Pyrenees. We walked 113 km across Galicia and received our Latin compostelas. Public buses were used as much as possible for routes we did not want to walk. Taxis were used when necessary. A full itinerary with accommodation and bus companies is in my post of June 1. I am also adding photos on the June 1 post. As the photo additions are a work in progress, you might want to revisit that post from time to time. I would really appreciate your comments or questions and will try to respond to all of them.  Splitting the last four stages up made it less grueling and more meditative. We left ourselves plenty of flexibility – still had four nights in Santiago and a chance to see Fisterra (Galician for Finisterre) and Muxía. Distances we walked are centered and bold type. I first became interested in Spain and the Camino while reading James A. Michener’s great book, Iberia – a non-fiction work describing, with great love and style, his visits over a period of about four decades. Michener has influenced the way I look at all aspects of that crazy, amazing and uniquely-historied country.

Itinerary Summary

Apr 22 Toronto à Paris CDG
Apr 23 Paris CDG à Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port
Apr 23 Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port
Apr 25

8 km

Apr 25 Orisson PrivR
Apr 26

17.1 km

Apr 26 Roncesvalles H
Apr 27 Taxi
Apr 27 Pamplona P
Apr 29 Public bus
Apr 29 Óbanos PrivR (3 km from Eunate Church)
Apr 30

3.5 km

Apr 30 Puente la Reina Many routes funnel across this beautiful 12th C Romanesque bridge
Apr 30 Bus
Apr 30 Estella P – “Toledo of the North”
May 2 Bus
May 2 Santo Domingo de la Calzata Miracle of the chickens
May 2 Bus
May 2 Burgos P (Well worth 2 days)
May 4 Bus
May 4 León Parador J
May 5 Bus
May 5 Puente de Orbigo Crazy knight defends this bridge for 30 days against all braggarts
May 5

17.5 km

May 5 Astorga MR
May 6 Taxi
May 6 Foncebadón
May 6

2 km

May 6 Cruz de Ferro Drop your stones here and pray
May 6

20.7 km

May 6 Molinaseca H
May 7 Taxi
May 7 Villafranca del Bierzo P   –  La Puerta del Perdón
May 8 Bus 2 buses via Lugo, then Sarria
May 8 Sarria MR –  Start of the essential camino if you want a compostela
May 9

22.4 km

May 9 Portomarín PrivR
May 10

12.8 km

May 10 Ventas de Narón PrivR
May 11

12.0 km

May 11 Palas de Rei P
May 12

15.0 km

May 12 Melide H
May 13

13.9 km

May13 Arzúa Hostel
May 14

16.3 km

May 14 Santa Irene PrivR
May 15

13.8 km

May 15 Vilamaior CR
May 16

9.0 km

May 16 Santiago de Compostela P – Took bus tour to Finisterre and Muxía on May 18
May 20 Bus
May 20 Bilbao P
May 23 Bilbao à Toronto
Distances walked in kilometers centred and bold H = hotel, CR = Casa rurál, MR = Municipal Refugio, PrivR = Private Refugio, Parador = Parador

Two (Widely Different) Accidents

When the light doesn’t co-operate – or does it?

I apologize for the pixelation in these photos. They were taken with my camcorder because my SLR at the time had low light sensitivity, and I didn’t have Anita’s awesome Canon point and shoot. Now I own a Sony NEX-5N mirrorless. Quite a change!

Ronda’s plaza de toros is one of the most famous bull rings in all of Spain. I attempted to take an available light photo of the little room where the  matador prays before entering this bloody contest, giving him an, albeit slight, unfair advantage. Actually the torero has many unfair advantages over the bull. Advantages I don’t need to list.

On the verge of pressing the delete button after coming home the photo appealed to me. I can’t say that I heard anything, like a tiny peep of “please don’t delete me” or a lightning bolt suddenly coming out of a clear sky. Maybe more the fact that I was in it…

Anyway, the more I look at it the more I see. Like a poem with many layers. I would really be interested in what you see in this accident, other than the fact that my baseball cap was on backwards. Not a fashion statement, but a photographer’s technical choice.

I remember thinking that, if there were a hierarchy of moments when prayer is necessary, this would rank pretty highly.

Proof of what I just said is given below in a photo on the wall of a well known bar off Madrid’s Plaza Mayor, called Bar Andalú, El Torre de Oro. In this gory (I beg your pardon) example, it is demonstrated that the matador sometimes has to delegate the final kill to his underlings.

Photo in a famous Madrid bar highlights the risks of being a matador

The Bar Andalú is a shrine to the art of bullfighting. On its walls hang the heads of famous bulls, vestments of famous bullfighters and photo after photo of bulls, bullfighters and iconic political figures as wildly different as Franco and Che Guevara.

Another photo of the Bar Andalú, one of a bunch of crazy places that make Spain uniquely fascinating.

A small sampling of Spain in this eclectic display. For an educated gringo’s brilliant, appreciative sampling I recommend Michener’s great book Iberia

I am mostly done with bullfighting, I hope, but not with beautiful, historic Ronda…