Winter Camino – day 14 > my last day of the winter camino

 Today was the final day of my adventure. In September I had started the summer walk in Frómista, and now, in February, I was ending my winter walk there. As a result I will have completed the Camino Francés from Roncesvalles at the foot of the Pyrenees, right up to Santiago de Compostela. My guidebook tells me that, without detours to places that especially interested me and that were off the regular Camino, the distance is 773 km. Inclusive of deviations, I probably had walked a nominal distance of 800 km. When I got out of bed in the large dormitory in Castrojeriz that morning it was still dark, but I could see that new snow had fallen during the … Read full text

Winter Camino – day 13 > excerpt 2

Castrojeriz is an unusually stretched-out town. It nestles along the base of a conical mountain with the impressive ruins of a great castle above. To warrant this size of castle and this rather large village, there must have been considerable fighting around here, probably first between Muslim and Christian forces and at a later stage between Castile and Aragon. To my surprise I found a supermarket in a room smaller than our lounge at home, but size did not matter. In the excitement I bought far too much – queso, smoked chorizo, ham, jam, fruit and a box of biscuits – to celebrate my last night. Further on I stumbled across a bar that served menu del dia inclusive of … Read full text

Winter Camino – day 13 > excerpt 1

Day 13  –  Rabé de las Calzados  to  Castrojeriz   > excerpt 1 Apart from my struggling with the clay, the walk was wonderful and lonely. Not lonely in an unpleasant sense, but wonderfully peaceful – I felt on top of the world. This might give the impression that being alone is the preferred state – that I or we pilgrims are burdened in the company of others. Obviously this is not so, in fact, in time I, and surely most of us, would regard absence of company and  lack of communication debilitating and distressing. Communication in general and being able to communicate effectively is a major subject which I would like to examine in the context of awareness and … Read full text

Winter Camino – day 12

Day 12  –  Santo Domingo  to  Rabé de las Calzados   (12 km) It was still raining the day after my Santo Domingo experience and, after returning to Burgos and visiting Monasterio de las Huelgas Reales, I was again on my way due west. At about five in the afternoon I reached Rabé de las Calzados which had the only albergue open during winter for the next seventeen kilometres. It was the place for my night’s stay, although I had only walked twelve kilometres. The albergue was surprisingly modern and well kept. I had a double-storey building all to myself and the wife of the hostelleria cooked a three-course dinner and made a wood fire in the ‘dining room’ hearth, all … Read full text

Winter Camino – day 11 > excerpt 6

Agés  to  Santo Domingo de Silos What happens when we are wrongfully accused? This I leave to the reader to resolve – – maybe we should be respectful and sympathetic to the other’s feelings, maybe offer a sincere and heartfelt explanation of the facts as we see them, or plainly listen with sympathy to the other persons views – lending an ear. Life revolves around apology, forgiveness, gratitude, honesty, respect, tolerance, compassion and love. Are these the major tools to keep relationships on track? I maintain they are the foundation, ingredients and lubricants of a loving relationship and a harmonious life together. These powerful contributors are also what make up integrity; integrity leads to our being grounded, and to confidence … Read full text

Winter Camino – day 11 > excerpt 5

Agés  to  Santo Domingo de Silos  –  excerpt 5 I was pleased to have made this detour: it was a retreat into another world – back to a more spiritual time. It showed that there are still places of reverence with sincere people and with traditions that compensate for the hectic life of the modern world. The vibes I experienced as the brethren passed by made me ponder whether their mode of life gave them certain advantages. Maybe monks are able to better understand what is right and what is wrong. Instead of fighting for one’s position in society, being aggressive and dominating to achieve one’s goals, their sheltered life offers tranquillity, probably leading to awareness, forgiveness and reverence. Surely … Read full text

Winter Camino – day 11 > excerpt 4

Agés  to  Santo Domingo de Silos I would have liked to see the diggings and the museum in Atapuerca, but this would have meant staying overnight, which I had not planned to do. Eric and my arrival in the centre of historic Burgos was accompanied by rain and Eric immediately made a dash for the albergue. I intended to see and hear the Benedictine monks singing Gregorian chants in a cloister nearby and went to the tourist office close to the cathedral. The attendant proposed taking the bus at 17h30 to Santo Domingo de Silos, 60 km south of Burgos. She confirmed that I would reach the Monastery in time for the Vespers at 19h00. Listening to chanting was on … Read full text

Winter Camino – day11 > excerpt 3

Day 11  –  excerpt 3     Agés  to  Santo Domingo de Silos   Returning to Atapuerca and human development, there were many sub-branches in the long line of species that culminated in the Homo sapiens. Although now extinct, they nevertheless contributed to our present state. For those interested, herewith a mention of some ancestral subspecies that were influential: Homo erectus, the upright man, lived between 1.8 million and 300 thousand years ago and its members migrated from Africa into the Middle East and beyond. They left no traces other than bones. Homo Heidelbergensis migrated from Africa to Asia only 600 000 years ago and spread from there to Europe. A branch of the Homo Heidelbergensis in Europe developed into what … Read full text