The 13th-century stone bridge of Hospital de Órbigo is 200 meters long and boasts twenty arches, which now mostly rest on bare ground now that a dam blocks much of the Orbigo River, but the bridge survives because of the Camino-worthy legend of Don Suero de Quiñones. … More The Bridge of Hospital de Órbigo
Pobeña to Castro Urdiales: 15 km Castro Urdiales to Liendo: 25 km “I’d forgotten this part of Camino life,” I wrote in my journal on the 9th day of walking. “When the magic becomes normal, the feeling that walking is the way that I live now. The steady pattern of walk-eat-sleep-repeat. Take care of your feet. … More Camino del Norte, Days 9-10: Cantabria
Bario Ibiri to Monasterio de Zenarruza: 27 km The final stretch of trail to Zenarruza was steep and paved in what’s called the “original road,” which may look pretty, but any Camino pilgrim will tell you is the absolute worst thing to walk on. Cobblestones are uneven, sinking over time into an ankle-breaking, knee-destroying obstacle … More Camino del Norte, Day 5: The Monastery
After 21 days (and 21 beds) of travel, I’m home from my third trip to the Camino de Santiago, this time along the Camino del Norte. I’m brutally jetlagged after the 10-hour flight from Paris, but wanted to share some initial impressions before I get lost in the madness of re-entry. (I also need a … More Camino del Norte: First Impressions
On the Monday after Easter three years ago, Eric and I arrived in Paris after an overnight flight. We took a train to Lyon, and then another one to Le Puy-en-Velay, one of the oldest starting points of the Way of Saint James, according to the twelfth-century guide for pilgrims—considered one of the earliest travel … More Le Puy-En-Velay
A few years ago, if you’d asked me about pilgrimages, I would have had to dig back into history. The word pilgrimage seemed archaic, more appropriate for Chaucer than the twenty-first century, and carrying a backpack for days wasn’t my thing. After I fell in love with the Camino de Santiago, though, the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon* … More Is There a New American Pilgrimage Trail?
Twelve kilometers after Pamplona, past the fields of grasses splashed with red poppies (or the fields of dry dirt, depending on the time of year), the crumbling monasteries, and the towering hay bales, and up a steep set of switchbacks, the Camino Frances arrives at Alto de Perdón, the Mount of Forgiveness. I’ve stood … More The Surprising Story Behind the Sculpture on Alto del Perdón
When Eric and I approached Santiago de Compostela two years ago, the crowds of people around us grew by the day, as did their anticipation. Together we counted down “the last hundred” kilometers to Santiago, where the remains of Saint James waited for us in an enormous cathedral. On the morning of our arrival in … More Why Walk to Finisterre?
“People ought to saunter in the mountains – not hike! Do you know the origin of that word ‘saunter?’ It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they … More To Saunter in the Mountains
I’ve long been a fan of TEDTalks, the annual conference full of “ideas worth sharing,” presented by some of the most interesting people in the world on every imaginable topic. So I’m not sure how it’s taken me a whole month to discover that in TED2017, one of the speakers offered an ode to the Camino … More A TEDTalk About the Camino de Santiago