Search Results for: Camino

Coming Soon | A Pilgrim’s Tale: Walking on the Camino [Free Webinar, this Saturday (July 18, 2020)]

In this webinar, I will show images from my walk on the Camino de Santiago in 2018 and on the Camino de Portuguese in 2019. I’ll share stories from my adventures on the Camino, discuss logistics, and talk about the history of these fabled pilgrimage routes.

My presentation will examine the meaning of pilgrimages and why pilgrimages have been important to my life and work. Committing to pilgrimages has helped me approach the ineffable in my art.

You must register for this free webinar via Zoom!

What: A Pilgrim’s Tale: Walking on the Camino | Free Webinar Presentation

When: Saturday, July 18, 2020 at 11am PT. Duration between one and two hours, including Q&A

Where: On your computer or mobile device from anywhere via Zoom. This is a free webinar, but Zoom authenticated registration is required for enrollment. The link for free enrollment is https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_srnAIs9uSAiarUHQqIy-MA.

Garden along the Camino © Harold Davis

About Harold Davis: Harold Davis is a bestselling author of many books, including Creative Garden Photography from Rocky Nook, which can now be pre-ordered. He is the developer of a unique technique for photographing flowers for transparency, a Moab Master, and a Zeiss Ambassador. He is an internationally known photographer and a sought-after workshop leader. His website is www.digitalfieldguide.com.

Meeting of the Ways © Harold Davis

You must register for this free webinar via Zoom!

Posted in Photography

Announcing: A Pilgrim’s Tale: Walking on the Camino | Free Webinar Presentation

What: A Pilgrim’s Tale: Walking on the Camino | Free Webinar Presentation

When: Saturday, July 18, 2020 at 11am PT. Duration between one and two hours, including Q&A

Where: On your computer or mobile device from anywhere via Zoom. This is a free webinar, but Zoom authenticated registration is required for enrollment. The link for free enrollment is https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_srnAIs9uSAiarUHQqIy-MA.

Details: In this presentation, Harold will show images from his walks on the Camino de Santiago in 2018 and on the Camino de Portuguese in 2019. He will share stories from his adventures on the Camino, discuss logistics, and talk about the history of these fabled pilgrimage routes.

Harold’s presentation will examine the meaning of pilgrimages, why pilgrimages have been important to him and his work, and discuss how committing to pilgrimages has helped him approach the ineffable in his art.

There will be ample time for Q&A.

Meeting of the Ways © Harold Davis

Number of Seats and Tuition: This is a free webinar, but it does require prior registration. Seating (on a first come, first served basis) is limited. You must register via Zoom to be enrolled in this webinar! The link for free enrollment is https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_srnAIs9uSAiarUHQqIy-MA.

A lightly-edited recording of this Webinar will be posted following a time delay on our YouTube channel, Harold Davis Photography.

About Harold Davis: Harold Davis is a bestselling author of many books, including Creative Garden Photography from Rocky Nook, which can now be pre-ordered. He is the developer of a unique technique for photographing flowers for transparency, a Moab Master, and a Zeiss Ambassador. He is an internationally known photographer and a sought-after workshop leader. His website is www.digitalfieldguide.com.

Posted in Photography

A Pilgrim’s Tale: Walking on the Camino

What: A Pilgrim’s Tale: Walking on the Camino | Free Webinar Presentation

When: Saturday, July 18, 2020 at 11am PT. Duration between one and two hours, including Q&A

Where: On your computer or mobile device from anywhere via Zoom. This is a free webinar, but Zoom authenticated registration is required for enrollment. The link for free enrollment is https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_srnAIs9uSAiarUHQqIy-MA.

Details: In this presentation, Harold will show images from his walks on the Camino de Santiago in 2018 and on the Camino de Portuguese in 2019. He will share stories from his adventures on the Camino, discuss logistics, and talk about the history of these fabled pilgrimage routes.

Harold’s presentation will examine the meaning of pilgrimages, why pilgrimages have been important to him and his work, and discuss how committing to pilgrimages has helped him approach the ineffable in his art.

There will be ample time for Q&A.

Meeting of the Ways © Harold Davis

Number of Seats and Tuition: This is a free webinar, but it does require prior registration. Seating (on a first come, first served basis) is limited. You must register via Zoom to be enrolled in this webinar! The link for free enrollment is https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_srnAIs9uSAiarUHQqIy-MA.

A lightly-edited recording of this Webinar will be posted following a time delay on our YouTube channel, Harold Davis Photography.

About Harold Davis: Harold Davis is a bestselling author of many books, including Creative Garden Photography from Rocky Nook, which can now be pre-ordered. He is the developer of a unique technique for photographing flowers for transparency, a Moab Master, and a Zeiss Ambassador. He is an internationally known photographer and a sought-after workshop leader. His website is www.digitalfieldguide.com.

The Scallop Shell Symbol on the Camino

If you’ve walked the Camino de Santiago, you’ll have followed a route marked with scallop shell symbols. Along with many other pilgrims, I have a scallop shell hanging from my pack to let others know I am walking a Camino. Walking along, I keep my eye out for the scallop shell symbol, and note cafes, albergues, and other services that use the scallop shell as a sign that these places are hospitable and friendly to itinerant pilgrims.

But when you think about it, the scallop shell seems like an odd symbol to represent the path of the Camino, the most traveled pilgrimage route in all of christendom. The scallop shell seems distinctly peculiar as a christian or Catholic symbol when we have come to expect a crucifix, or perhaps the Madonna.

Scallop Shell Symbol on the Side of the Cathedral of Santiago © Harold Davis

So where did the scallop shell symbol come from? If you look at the history of the Catholic church, it is very common for pagan beliefs and symbolism to be absorbed and incorporated into doctrines and practices. The adoption of the scallop shell symbol is a prime example.

Back in the times of the Greeks and Romans, the scallop shell was a symbol of the Goddess Aphrodite, Venus to the Romans (think of the famous Birth of Venus painting by Botticelli). In the Roman era, an important ritual began at the Temple of Venus near the forum in Rome, and continued in some cases with a spiritual journey to the Atlantic coast of Galicia. This ritual journey was indicated and marked with the scallop shell symbol.

This journey encompassed fertility rituals invoking Venus along the way, and was also sacred to the two-faced God, Janus. Janus was the God of beginnings, transitions, transformations, doors, and endings: all highly relevant to pilgrimages and pilgrims.

A gift of walking a Camino is the encounters and conversations with folks from all walks of life and many parts of the world who are looking out for each other. It is astounding to realize as one walks the Camino that one is part of a tradition the predates Christianity, and speaks to the common humanity and ability of all of us to get along together.

Scallop Shell Manhole © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

Garden along the Camino

Someone had built this garden beside the trail in the nook beside an old stone wall, with its rose trellis across a small spring. Now, half wild, the garden was reclaiming its heritage—and like the ancient land of the Camino was part way reverted to its natural state.

Garden along the Camino © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography, Spain

Ponte Rodo-Ferroviária: Beginning My Camino Adventure

Today I walked across the Ponte Rodo-Ferroviária de Valença (shown in the image) across the River Minho from Tui in Galicia, Spain to Valenca in Portugal, and back again. Other than a little signage, just as you might have in the US when leaving one state and entering another, there was nothing to show that this was once an international border. The old customs house and port of entry building on the Portugal side had been converted into a small art center and a music academy. I think when all is said and done, with whatever problems there are, there is no going back to a divided Europe.

Ponte Rodo-Ferroviária de Valença © Harold Davis

Both sides of the river were heavily fortified starting in Roman times. I stood on the very top of the massive stone ramparts of the Portuguese walls and stared across the river at the fortified hilltop town of Tui, the capital of one of the seven provinces that merged to form the ancient kingdom of Galicia.

Tomorrow I start north on the famous Camino Portuguese trail. This pilgrimage trail leads to Santiago de Compostela through Galicia from the south, whereas the better known and more trafficked Camino Francais pilgrimage trail comes from the north. I should be in Santiago in a little less than two weeks, and I am looking forward to it very much, although my feet are already a little sore and a bit worried about the proposition!

Related story: My Camino adventure last year (2018) starts here.

Posted in Portugal, Spain

Camino de Santiago

Camino Seen via Hotel Room Interiors

Phyllis says that for her my Camino is visually a succession of hotel room interiors. This is because of the nine-hour time-shift with California. When she is sleeping, I am walking, and when she is going about her day I am sleeping. Our hours are close to orthogonal.

Old Wood Door with Blue Paint © Harold Davis

We FaceTime when I wake (her bedtime), I walk and she sleeps, and we usually touch base again after I’ve checked in, my late afternoon becoming her early morning. She sees my Camino essentially as different window treatments in the backgrounds of my screen: red curtains morph into lace, and then into green shutters, or a stone wall.

Letter Box © Harold Davis

By the way, these are hotels that cater to pilgrims. They are okay, some better than others, and all more than a little bit odd. So far, they’ve had the necessities: a bed and a shower and a “pilgrim’s dinner”.

Tree and Wine © Harold Davis

Posted in iPhone, Photography

Walking the Camino for Wild Camels

Today on the Camino I met Rosa, a zookeeper from Denmark. Rosa has walked the Camino from the French border to raise awareness and donations for wild camels. Wild camels are the eighth most endangered mammalian species, with less than 1,000 individuals surviving in northwest China and Mongolia.

You can click here to learn more about the wild camel cause, and here to learn more about Rosa’s walk (and to donate).

Posted in Photography

Better Weather on the Camino

I forgot to mention that yesterday’s story was written, and the images processed and uploaded, from the small bar across the street from my room. This was the only place with connectivity in the hamlet along the Camino that I was staying in. Furthermore, I got to plug my computer into a power outlet, and to warm my back against a radiator while the dark-eyed and buxom hostesses plied me with olives, fried doughnut things, and a clear Galician drink they described as “double fermented” that packed a wallop.

It was cold overnight, with a hard frost on the ground when I woke. After yesterday’s rain and hail, I was hoping for better weather on the Camino de Santiago. As it turned out, it was crisp but sunny with high, scudding clouds—perfect weather for walking.

The stone cross in the photo below is a cruceiro, examples of which are found all over the Galician countryside. Cruceiros are intended to ward off evil spirits of the dead, and protect travelers, although apparently drinking the double-fermented beverage I mentioned is also thought to help with this task, particularly if the drink is preceded by a brief prayer.

Cruceiro © Harold Davis

The yellow flowers in my next image are cultivated Rapeseed, from which Canola oil is pressed. (They really should change the name of this plant.) But Yellow! You can see what a wondrous day it has been!

Rapeseed Field © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

First Day on the Camino

Yesterday was my first day hiking on the Camino de Santiago. I walked roughly twelve kilometers from Sarria to Morgade, a small hamlet.

Twelve kilometers is about seven miles, and it doesn’t sound like much. But I feel it!

It was really pleasant walking, with paths, country roads, high scuttling clouds, and intermittent chill and sunshine. The photo below of the Camino meeting a country lane gives the idea.

Meeting of the Ways © Harold Davis

As I expected, there were many fellow pilgrims on the trail. Mostly, they were Spanish, but some were from England, Sweden, and elsewhere. I’ve yet to meet any other Americans, but I have learned to say “Buen Camino” to everyone I meet on the way (it’s the ritual greeting specific to pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago).

Santiago de Barbadelo © Harold Davis

Besides the pastoral countryside, I passed through a number of hamlets, some of which were stocked with convenient expresso machines, and old historic buildings, like the Romanesque church from the twelfth century shown above.

At each of these stops whether for coffee or a church, the idea is to get my Credencial del Peregrino stamped, as proof that I have passed this way. You need two stamps a day to get your pilgrimage certificate in Santiago. Some locals take their stamping duties very seriously, and stamp, sign, and date my Credencial. Others are more like, here’s the stamp and a pad, go for it! I actually enjoy the process of getting my thingee stamped (I did this also on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail in Japan and of course it makes a great souvenir and memory jogger).

Notes: In case you are wondering, my suitcase still hasn’t caught up to me. I miss my tripod, and I could use some clean underwear and socks (this may be TMI). Also, my legs have been cold on the trail, and I could use some warmer clothes. But otherwise, less is more, and I am not really very unhappy about this. Onward pilgrim!

This story wasn’t posted yesterday because the wi-fi connectivity wasn’t up to it. Today I have arrived in Portmarin, a bit more of a town, and am able to connect to the world.

Posted in Photography

Blistered Feet

For days after the 33km march in the broiling sun out of Leon I had been nursing a big blister on the bottom pad of my left foot. It was painful to walk, and wasn’t getting any better. After each night, it was a little better, but by the end of a day trekking it was just as bad as it had been the previous day. After a long day on the trail, in Rabanal del Camino in the Cantabrian Mountains, I finally said that enough was enough. 

Camino © Harold Davis

Instead of walking, the next morning I took a taxi into Ponferrada, a reasonably-sized place and my next destination. Luis, the taxi driver, assessed the situation, and suggested I visit the nearby Queen’s hospital, where they have a free clinic for credentialed pilgrims.

This seemed like great advice, and I hobbled over to the emergency room. The pilgrim’s clinic didn’t open for a few hours, so I sat down to wait. Some ‘life experience credits” were earned for observing an emergency room in rural Spain. Mostly, I saw kindness, and babies being helped.

Eventually, I was called in, and the doctor interviewed me. His English was non-existent, and surely my Spanish is worse, but once I took off my boot, he got the picture, had me lie down, and called the nurse.

The nurse yanked the moleskin, told me it wasn’t infected, and gave my blister a proper dressing. There was some pain involved in this process. Then she told me to stay off it until it stopped hurting, probably two or three days. Easier said than done in the circumstances. Once it stopped hurting when I walked, I was good to go.

Camino and Heather © Harold Davis

There’s obviously a disconnect between walking in immense pain and some of the scenes of tranquil beauty along the Camino. I’m not sure what to say about this, except that part of the point of the pilgrimage is to endure privation. In olden times, in one example, notables humbled themselves and climbed to the sanctuary at Rocamdour on their bloody knees. 

How this applies to me I cannot really say, and it is frustrating to be here in Ponferrada a few blocks from a mammoth Templar castle, and not really to be able to explore it (as the nurse told me, if I want this to heal, I must stay off it).

Life is sometimes very strange—with ironies that are unanticipated!

Posted in Photography

Palace of Gaudí, Astorga

On the main trunk route of the Camino de Santiago, the Camino Frances, Astorga is a small city that sits on a hill. When Celtic culture dominated the area, there was an Astorga. The Greeks came here. An important Roman city, Christianity was adopted a bit earlier than in most of the empire. There’s a somewhat dubious myth that the knights of Astorga wanted to voyage to the holy lands with the purpose of bringing back the Virgin Mary to spend her retirement years in Astorga. Well fortified naturally, the junction of long-haul trail routes helped make Astorga important in Roman times, and more so with the advent of the Catholic church.

Gaudí’s Palace, Astorga © Harold Davis

I’m staying in a hotel on the main tradional square of Astorga. The square is surrounded by arcades. When it begins to get cool in the evening, the cafes open up, everyone comes out and the square bustles. A mechanical figure high above city hall strikes a clock, tolling the hours. Dinner starts about 8:30. It’s a different way of living.

I feel a bit like an alien dropped here, with the city (the hotel desk clerk told me this is really a town, not a city) doing things the way they’ve been done since before the dawn of recorded history. I’ve enjoyed a day off to explore Astorga; this will hopefully allow some blisters to heal up a bit before I resume walking tomorrow.

Gaudí’s Palace interior, Astorga © Harold Davis

A standout attraction in Astorga is Gaudí’s Palace. Antoni Gaudí was commissioned by the local bishop (who was a friend) to design the Episcopal Palace of Astorga. This is the only Gaudí building outside Catalonia. The style is neo-Gothic, with Gaudí experimenting with the Gothic idiom to make it his own in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

I enjoyed this building quite a bit, although they wouldn’t let me take my tripod inside. Gaudí’s Palace houses a museum with artifacts related to the Camino de Santiago, and was included in the original application to give the Camino its Unesco world heritage designation.

Gaudí’s Palace entrance, Astorga © Harold Davis

Posted in Spain

Ready Pilgrim One

At the outset I must stipulate that a spacious room in a luxury 5-star hotel is a great place to organize for a longish walk on the Camino de Santiago. The Parador at the Convent of San Marcos in León, Spain, where I stayed before I began my Camino, meets this description of “luxury”. I stipulate to this luxury a bit abashed: the concept of a pilgrimage and the life of ease don’t mesh together so well. Traditionally, a pilgrimage involves penitence and pain—the blisters currently on my feet satisfy this requirement, alas.

According to the Wikipedia, the “convent of San Marcos is one of the great architectural jewels of the Spanish city of León.” It’s featured as the luxury stop the protagonist treats his Camino cohort to in The Way, the Martin Sheen and Emilio Estévez film that has brought so many pilgrims to the Camino de Santiago.

The Convent of San Marcos has been (as the name implies) a convent, a monastery, a hospital, and a way-station for pilgrims. My photograph of one of the interior cloisters is shown below.

Lower Cloisters, Convent of San Marcos © Harold Davis

In its current incarnation as a newly renovated luxury hotel, part of the Parador chain, there is something tawdry and abominable about the place. It’s geared for the luxury bus tourist trade. Easy listening American standards are piped via a too-high volume sound system into all the public spaces. They’ve gutted the classical atrium and replaced it with a modern interior structure, justifying this colossal design inanity with an exhibition of modernist Spanish art.

One can have second thoughts about privatizing a great historical structure for the benefit of well-to-do tourists. No second thoughts are possible about the awful design choices that were made during this renovation.

So, ready pilgrim one! Onward to the simpler life as a pilgrim-with-a-camera walking the Camino.

Posted in Monochrome, Spain

Gentle Adventures Are Us

As an inveterate traveler, I crave adventures. Not soul crushing desperate adventures, but life affirming, creative adventures. With this gentle style of adventuring, you come back having met many people, seen new things, and ready to view the world with fresh eyes.

Somewhere in Rural France © Harold Davis

So I am excited to leave for France next week, where I’ll spend a few days with friends in Paris. Then onward to the southwest of France, where I’ll spend some time with a wonderful group at the charming Mas de Garrigue

Next, I’ll spend a few weeks walking a portion of the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

My plan is to post on Instagram and Flickr, and to blog—of course, only as I am able, because in travel “being there” always come first. I might have experiences to experience! But if I can, I will bring you along with me, so you can see the world through my eyes.

Garden along the Camino © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography, Writing