third day on the Camino & a return to where I started last year…back to the future, because I’ll definitely be here again


This bridge means a lot to me, and it’ll take some explaining for it to make sense. 

Arrived here in Logroño last year to begin my journey. Meeting all the pilgrims with their injuries that day, I felt like such an imposter calling myself a pilgrim already. Little did I know – everyone walks his own Camino. Where you start is immaterial. Just start. 

Then I looked back over this bridge from the other side and could only imagine what the path from Pamplona to here was like. Now that I’ve gone back and done that exact stretch, I found myself looking on this bridge with a sense of accomplishment. 


The day before, I’d walked through Villamayor de Monjardín, which is nearly as pretty a village as this flower. Needed to keep moving, but I could’ve enjoyed a siesta there. Next time. 


As you’ve probably gathered if you’ve either followed my travels here, or know anything about the Camino de Santiago, these markers are found all along The Way. Even in my hikes back in the Bavarian Alps, you sometimes see these signs for Der Jakobsweg, which always make me long to get back on the Camino


The morning ‘magic hour‘ is beautiful enough to make you want to leap out of your bunk in the albergue. There’s no such thing as sleeping in when you’re a pilgrim, but it’s moments like this that make early mornings so worthwhile. 


Think this was from my first day, when I was coming out of Pamplona, but I can’t remember. What I do remember is the sweet, delicious smell of these guys. I’m sure those of you who know flowers can tell me what these are. Anyone?

Definitely from day one, coming down off the Alto del Perdón – no idea the significance of this wooden statue in Obanos, but I loved the juxtaposition of east and west. 


In case you needed any encouragement: Don’t  stop walking!


And not too much looking back, either. This is from the bridge in Puenta la Reina glancing from whence I came. Not much time for reflection about the road behind me while focused on the path ahead, but I liked this shot. It’s been well received elsewhere. Hope you like!

For the heathens among you, I’ll say hello to God on your behalf

follow the little man in the funny hat

Arrived yesterday, but didn’t feel comfortable talking about the Camino de Santiago, because I’d not even started it. Standing on the main square in front of the cathedral in Logroño

right in the middle of the middle of La Rioja


…listening to the pilgrims grinningly go on about their myriad of ailments, I felt so out of place. On the outside looking in, as it were. Many of them had been at this for upwards of a week or more. They were hobbling into town regaling one another with the status of their injuries, while I was chipper and ready to go.

While waiting impatiently for my start the following morning, I strolled around the capital of Rioja and mindfully appreciated my fresh and unchallenged legs and feet. ‘Enjoy this while you can,’ I reminded myself. ‘Soon enough you’ll have your own well-earned philosophies of proper foot care on the Camino.’

breakfast in Navarette

At an ungodly hour, I was out the door of the albergue and far from the only pilgrim already on the streets out of town. By leaving that early, there were few, if any, options for breakfast. Hoofing it the twelve kilometres to Navarette was certainly sweetened by the thought of a café con leche and pretty much anything they were offering in the way of food.

It might be a cliché that you appreciate the smallest things on such a trip, but there was nothing cliché about the taste of that coffee.

There was a church there, too, and if you’re one who gets easily bored of pictures of churches, you might consider not reading this blog for the next little while.

It’s pretty much guaranteed to be a mix between a lot of sweaty hikers and Spanish religious architecture from here on out. You’ve been adequately warned.

churchin’ it up in Navararette

For the heathens among you, I’ll say hello to God on your behalf.

Walking down the road…or getting ready to

Camino symbol

When I first started hiking here in the German Alps, I kept seeing that symbol above. ‘What is that?‘ I’d ask.

Oh, it’s the Jakobsweg.

Huh? What’s the Jakobsweg?

You know, it’s a pilgrimage. One of the oldest ones in Europe, I think. Many people walk it.

Now that I know a bit more about it, I can tell you: some English names for it are The CaminoThe Road to Santiago, The Way of St James or St James’s Way depending on your preference.

The long and short of it is that I’ve said for years, ‘I want to go do that someday.‘ There was a German bestseller about walking the route (the name of the book I won’t bother mentioning), and although the Jakobsweg was already very popular hereabouts, it suddenly became even more so.

Then I saw the Emilio Estevez movie ‘The Way‘ (starring his father Martin Sheen), and not long after that I was asked if I wanted to come along and do some Walking Down the Road. Yes, I did.

I still do.

There’s a lot that goes into planning such a thing, and the more I read about it, the more out of my depths it seems I am. However, there seem to be plenty of folk who do this and they seem to do it and even make it back somehow.

To be clear up front: I’m not even planning on walking the whole thing. My intention is to get a taste for it, and from what I understand: once I do, I’ll definitely want to go again.

I’ve been alternating between obsessing about which shoes I’ll wear and imagining how delicious the Tapas in Logroño are. Already, I’ve decided I’ll be documenting as much of it here as I can.

Not just the actual walking of The Camino, but I intend to blather on about the preparation and I suspect I might find myself contemplating what it meant to me long after I get back home.

Like I said, I’ve still got to decide on footwear. Here’s a photo of me taking one pair out for a test drive. I’m pretty sure you’ll be seeing plenty more of this sort of thing in the foreseeable future. Something tells me you can hardly wait.

Camino prep stuff