Category Archives: Spain

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela at Sunrise

For well over a millennia, the Cathedral of Saint James has been the goal of a tireless—and tired and footsore—stream of pilgrims toiling along the various Caminos that lead to Santiago de Compostela. The Cathedral is shown here in the distance by the first light of dawn. It is “brought closer” since I used a 300mm telephoto focal length lens.

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela at Sunrise © Harold Davis

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

Also posted in Photography

Did the Serpent Get a ‘Bum Rap’?

I think the serpent may have gotten a bum rap. At the very least, there is some indignity to an honest snake for being depicted as a kind of lizard with front legs, and knotted into a pretzel shape. Where is Eve in all this, and why would she listen to this critter?

Did the serpent get a ‘bad rap’? © Harold Davis

Also posted in Monochrome

Seen Along the Way of Saint James

Here are a few random sightings captured with my iPhone camera on the Way of Saint James, specifically the Camino Portuguese, on my walk through southern Galicia towards Santiago.

Pilgrim Church © Harold Davis

Above, the interior dome and chandelier of the Pilgrim Church—Capela da Virxe Peregrina—in Pontevedra. It was fun climbing to the top of the dome, which I did after making this photo and getting my Pilgrim book stamped.

Below, the alternate Camino passes through a tunnel under train tracks beside a small river. If the Way seems narrow in the photo, indeed it was!

Tunnel on the Camino © Harold Davis

Finally, walking through the gritty outskirts of Arcade, a witch is seen rising before the moon on her broomstick. The circular moon is of course echoed in the heating unit that appears above the witch.

Witch © Harold Davis

Also posted in iPhone

Roman Bridges of Galicia

There are literally hundreds of Roman bridges in Galicia, many used by or adjacent to the Camino Portuguese.

Some of these are more recent constructions on the Roman-engineered foundations, but with other the literal stones of the bridges date back millennia. The Oronelle Bridge, shown below, was built by the Romans, and is still quite usable,

It’s amazing to see the grooves in the stones worn by cart wheels and foot tread over the vast span of years!

Oronelle Bridge © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

Inside Tui Cathedral and I Have a Bilbo Baggins Moment

Tui Cathedral is nominally the starting point for my Camino. This is where my pilgrimage begins. The distances are calculated from the doors of the Cathedral.

Inside, the Cathedral is a heady and eclectic blend of Gothic, Romanesque, and Baroque styles. In the image, the double organs across each side of the nave is something I’ve never seen anywhere else. In addition, the Cathedral was a frontier fortress with battlements, terraces, and a fortified cloisters, on active alert across the River Minho facing the “enemy” fortress  on the other side for centuries.

Inside Tui Cathedral © Harold Davis

This morning I had my “Bilbo Baggins” moment. A somewhat portly, middle-aged gent, I checked out of the hotel, leaving my key at the front desk, slipped on my pack and headed across the meadow to the trail. Oh, the moment was slightly spoiled when I had to adjust the lacing on my boots before getting started (hobbits don’t wear shoes of course).

The sky was gray with storm-wracked clouds and the forecast was for wet weather. Instead of worrying about a pocket handkerchief as Bilbo famously did, I wondered whether my the rain cover for my pack was handy.

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.

Also posted in Portugal