Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Spain, Summer 2013

In late May-early June, some friends and I visited Spain for 2.5 weeks. We first visited a number of cities and then walked the last bit of the Camino de Santiago, the Way of St. James. The pilgrimage has many routes to Santiago; we started at the end of the French Way, which starts in southern France, takes pilgrims through northern Spain, enters Galicia (northwest Spain), and ends at Santiago de Compastela, the burial place of the Apostle James (the Lesser), a total distance of about 770km. We walked the last 130 or so kilometers.


A woman re-creating an original painting at the Prado
A guard scolded me for taking this picture.

The football stadium

Plaza Mayor

Cathedral de la Almudena

Palacio Real de Madrid
The bear and strawberry tree are the symbol of Madrid. This symbol was on the sidewalk.
"And if you look to your left, you will see Toledo, built by the Ohians as a stronghold against Michigan..."
The view of the city from one of the upper floors of the building's library
Toledo is the notable because it has a synagogue, mosque, and a cathedral. The sword-making industry is also quite popular.

A fresco from the walls at the Cathedral of Toledo

Dome from Cathedral of Toledo

Doorway, organ, and image of Christopher at the Cathedral of Toledo

The Cathedral of Burgos

The Cathedral of Burgos
The dome of the Cathedral of Burgos
The way the dome let in light was truly amazing.

Light from stained glass windows on the floor.

The window that caused the light to hit the floor in the picture above.

We were walking through the city at night and passed by the Cathedral. They had lights projecting patterns onto the Cathedral. The effect was quite interesting; the textures of the light on the Cathedral were very vivid.
View from my hotel overlooking Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor, Saturday night
The noise was horribly loud. Even at 2am I found it incredibly difficult to sleep. The next day, Sunday, the plaza was deathly empty for most of the day, a stark contrast to the noise, lights, and fellowship of the day before.
The Cathedral at Leon

This is called a Doner Kabob and it was delicious. It cost 4.50 euros.

The Cathedral of Leon
Lugo is surrounded by Roman walls. 

The church where we got out first sello, stamp on our passport. It was about 150 km from Santiago.

The scallop shell is the symbol of St. James. Pilgrims (pereginos) wear the shells on their bags or persons to identify each other. This shell cost me 1.5 euros and is marked with the cross of St. James.

All along the Camino are these yellow arrows to help you find where to go. They can be found on trees, rocks, road signs, on the ground, and even on buildings.

These kilometer markers tell you how far you are from Santiago.

A road marker
Pilgrims carry rocks with them as a symbol of their sins along a stretch of the Camino and leave them on the kilometer markers or these road markers. 
Passsport with stamps
The one in the upper left is from the monastery at Samos; the one from the upper right is from a hotel. Stamps can also be obtained also from churches, bars, cafes, and restaurants.

A small community graveyard along the Camino. I noticed that the graves were all above ground and not in the ground.
Along the Camino
Along the Camino
Along the Camino
Along the Camino

Along the Camino

Along the Camino
The Camino goes through many old towns. Most of these small towns are sparsely populated, with most of the buildings having fallen apart. Some of the buildings still operate as alburges, hostels for pilgrims, or as cafes for lunch. 

The interior of a monastery

Along the Camino
Along the Camino

Along the Camino

Along the Camino

At one of the towns along the Camino, we stopped to eat octopus. It was rather oily and salty but very good.

The Mount of Joy is the first place along the Camino where pilgrims can see the Cathedral de Santiago. This marker commemorates the time Pope John Paul II celebrated mass on the mountain.

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
After reaching Santiago, pilgrims traditionally continued West until they reached Finisterre, what was believed to be the end of the world. This is the most Western point in Europe.
The Cathedral at Salamanca

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