A Bell before Pamplona

Our hostess left us a thermos of coffee on account of our early departure. We set off before dawn, back up the hill and set our sights for Pamplona. We walked alongside the River Arga – a beautiful stream among the green woods. We stopped at Irotz for breakfast – …

Abbey of Eskirotz and Ilarratz – a hidden gem

Leaving Zubiri, we passed a noisy, dusty manganese processing plant, which supplies to the steel industry, including the arms factory down the road. Some people feel the sights and sounds of industry to be incompatible with the Camino. In reality, industry has sat alongside the spiritual path for millennia. The Romans …

Espinal to Zubiri: A sketch and a close call

After a sparse breakfast, (I’m beginning to wonder if the Spanish DO breakfasts!) we had a delightful walk through light woodlands, with a few short steep climbs. The light through the trees is wonderful. Welcome to Basque country We walked to Viscarret/Guerendiain (the latter being the Basque name) for lunch …

Roncesvalles and the Witches Wood

The first ‘modern’ European travel guide was written in the 12th century by monks accompanying Pope Calixtus II. It was, of course, the guide to the Camino (French route). So the guide, known as the Codex Calixtinus, became the definitive route – and the route today largely follows the one set …

Camino Frances: St Jean-Orisson

It is quite a challenge to start the day with a mountain. We stopped in at the Pilgrim Office early to get a weather report, then paused at the bridge for a photo before passing under the Town Gate, and remarked ‘we are not in the Shire any more…’ It …

Paris to St Jean Pied de Port

We arrived early at Gare Montparnasse – scene of that famous photo from 1895 where a steam train failed to stop and crashed through from the upper floor. You can read about that incident here And here is what it looks like today – that platform behind the glass front …

Paris – the final pack for the Camino

Arriving back in Paris after a two-day visit to Northern France to see some friends, it is time to get serious for the final pack. We will be sending a bag on to Santiago de Compostela with our smart clothes, so we will only have the bare essentials for the …

Camino Credential from Notre Dame Paris

We got out early to catch the gregorian Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral. It was breathtaking – and very moving. We noticed the font in the front of the cathedral with the words: ‘I am the way, travellers are looking for’ – translated into several languages – including Spanish – for …

Paris – Segway Tour

There are many ways to see Paris, but gliding along on a Segway is one of the better ones. I booked mine through Fat Tire Tours – who also run bicycle tours. The tour leaders spoke perfect English, and were very friendly. In addition, they dealt smoothly with my abrupt …