These castle ruins were a definite highlight and a stand out memory for me, too! If you scroll down on the link there are some excellent pictures. I even enjoyed the climb up after walking a large part of the day...so worth it.the ruin of the San Antonio monastery. Plus Castrojerez is also interesting.
That was one of the best stretches of the Camino from an artistic point of view! Too bad it was raining! But I’ll definitely be back there sketchbook or paint brush in handYou will also find good material between Hontanas and the next town Castrojerez. There is a tower ruin just out of Hontanas and then the ruin of the San Antonio monastery. Plus Castrojerez is also interesting.
Yikes, this sounded like the risk of a potential new injury. Glad to hear all ended well.I was confronted by about 2 miles of road that was pure mud from the rain the night before. It was so thick that it was stopping the wheels from turning and I had to constantly clean them off. I probably ended up pushing the bike about 3 km and then having to completely stop and clean off the mud as best I could so it would work again.
I was wondering how you were getting on!May 2. Mayday. A bigger holiday here than most places where they fought a Civil War between the communists and the fascists.
Left Hontanas and made a beautiful bike ride to Castrojeriz. Great scenery on approach to Castrojeriz. Saw the ruins of San Anton monastery on the way. A really good place to paint.
There was a huge hill (alto de Mostaleres) that took me about 30 minutes to push my bike up, and then a steep descent where I was too nervous to ride my bike down. Once that I was over I thought I had a smooth ride, but I was confronted by about 2 miles of road that was pure mud from the rain the night before. It was so thick that it was stopping the wheels from turning and I had to constantly clean them off. I probably ended up pushing the bike about 3 km and then having to completely stop and clean off the mud as best I could so it would work again. But once that was over it was a pretty easy ride for the rest of the day.
I traveled the day going through many seemingly economically depressed towns until I reached Probacion de Campos, where I spent the night.
May 3: In the morning, I was planning to do a drawing that would reference the Meseta, but found the view going out of town so compelling that I stopped and drew there. There are irrigation sluices(?), I guess, all over this region for farming.
Leaving Probacion de Campos, 15 x 22 cm or 6 x 9”, watercolor and ink.
View attachment 124387
I'm sure that it was supposed to read Población de Campos.I had to look up 'Probacion de Campos' and it translates as Field Probation. I thought what had the fields done to deserve to be on probation? A new crop or polluted soil or.... I had to look that up too, and it's part of the penitentiary system. So that is a prison, how cool.
The words you looked up are the name of a town. Spellcheck must of changed it and I did not see. The above commentators are right with the meaning and spelling.. And yes, The yellow flowering plant is rapeseed.I love your sketch/paintings. What kind of inks do you use? (pen/ink, meaning black or blue pen/ink meaning the color part)
I had to look up 'Probacion de Campos' and it translates as Field Probation. I thought what had the fields done to deserve to be on probation? A new crop or polluted soil or.... I had to look that up too, and it's part of the penitentiary system. So that is a prison, how cool.
Do you know what that bright yellow field is on the right hand side? Is it flowers or something else?
Yes.Really? I didn't know that.
Yay! Gracias, Stephen.Every Camino related artwork eventually will get posted here, no worries. Perhaps not in real time, because I’m busy doing it, now. I enjoy the informed comments I sometimes get here.
A thundering herd.There must’ve been 15 RVs. And they all left at once.
Ditto to what the previous commentator says.Feeling much better today. Drawing the two church steeples of the Santiago Cathedral from Praza do Obradoiro.
Correct, it is called Portada del Juicio Final. Last Judgment.The sculpture is called the (La?) Virgin Blanca, and this particular iteration of the Virgin Mary is esteemed in northern Spain and Basque country. Despite its name, which means the white virgin in English, the sculpture was originally polychromed ( painted in multiple colors, as opposed to monochrome).Virgen Blanca, Leon, 9 x 6” or 22 x 15 cm., Watercolor and Ink. View attachment 125395
Thanks for update. I want to know though: on 15th, was the meal tasty or nasty? You got there! Well done, well done! Maybe you will meet a few more pilgrims you met along the way who will just be arriving. In a way, that does not really matter. The most important pilgrim is wearing your shoes!Many days between drawings, so a long post here…
I made the short distance to Sarria this morning. Not a very impressive town, although it has a big name as the beginning for about 50% of the people who do the Camino . That is because in order to get the certificate, you have to walk at least 100 km. And Sarria is the first place with good transportation connections that fits that criteria, at least for the Camino Frances (there are actually many other routes).
Anyway, the Camino became significantly more crowded. There was even a group of high school kids walking while playing music. Landscape became very pastoral. Lots of cattle and sheep grazing. Reminded me a bit of parts of Wisconsin near where I grew up.
I spent a little bit of time following some marked bike routes.
I met another bicyclist who was following that route, and he said it did go to Santiago. But when I tried to find it online, I couldn’t find anything. So I continue to follow the walking path on my bicycle. But because it’s crowded it’s actually a bit less pleasant.
The conclusion I came to is that walking the Camino is a much more intimate experience. You’re closer to the other walkers, and to the landscape. With a bicycle, you’re more just passing by. It’s a nice experience nevertheless, but different, and perhaps less intense.
Anyway, I made it to Castromayor tonight, I just knocked on the door of a pension to get a place to stay for the night. There are very few pilgrims in this town tonight, maybe 10 at the most. And that’s just perfect.
May 13 :
I headed off this morning. Lots of ups and down hills. I can’t pedal the bike even if there’s only a slight slope for more than a few minutes. I ended up in Melide.
The scenery is a mixture of forests and towns that are sometimes nice, sometimes not, but for the most part not near as interesting as many of the towns I saw on the first 600 km that I traveled.
Not much interesting to report in terms of sights or adventures. That may be because the landscape has become much more hilly and the weather has been hot. So I am more tired.
Leaving Melide today I traveled about 42 km and ended up in a town called Lavacolla. I have planned to stay in an earlier town about 32 km on, O Pedrouza, but it looked like such a depressing place I couldn’t do it.
I wasn’t as exhausted as I would’ve been at the beginning. So I’m definitely getting in better shape. 400+ miles or almost 700 km of walking and bike riding will do that!
A drizzly and rainy morning. Only 10 km from Santiago, the end of my Camino Francés. And of course I had a flat…
Anyway, a very quick ride into Santiago, and the first thing I did is check into a hotel for two nights.
After checking into my hotel room I went down to the Cathedral. It was actually a bit of a letdown, I didn’t feel celebratory. I didn’t see anybody I had met on the Camino, so there was really no one to celebrate with anyway.
I asked some people who had also done a bike pilgrimage to take a picture of me. I also, of course, got my Compostelo and appropriate stamps to show that I had completed the Camino. I walked around a bit and had a nice bowl of soup with some beer. Later I had a nasty pilgrim dinner.
Went down to the center to see the cathedral. I went over to a park with a view of the cathedral, and started drawing which I never finished.
I had heard there was a church service at 7:30 where they would be swinging the incense pot. I decided to go to this. Unfortunately it was just a 90 minute church service with no incense pot swinging. I met David, a pilgrim from England who I had seen earlier in the Camino once or twice and we had some nice conversations.
Sick in bed with Norovirus at hotel.
Decided to try to go to hospital emergency room this morning, despite it being Saturday. I had a cough that was dragging on, and of course I had recently sick with food poisoning. It wasn’t an emergency, but I wanted a professional opinion. Everybody I talk to said my only choice to see a doctor was to go to
And emergency room. Weird. Anyway, Even though a local had said it would be quite inexpensive, in fact it was €250 just to see a doctor because I was an international resident as opposed to a European Union resident. It would’ve been €75 if I had been an EU resident, even though it was a private hospital. I decided to pass.
Some Italian friends whom I had met earlier during the Camino (Gianluca and Eve from Bologna) messaged me this morning to suggest that we meet. We met for a drink and then we went to the Musée de Peregrino.There I saw this wonderful travel journal by Munehiro Ikeda. About 4 o’clock they left for their plane.
Feeling much better today. Drawing the two church steeples of the Santiago Cathedral from Praza do Obradoiro.
The Destination, 9 x 6” or 22 x 15 cm, watercolor and ink.
View attachment 126460
I've enjoyed your paintings but have to say that your words encouraging gun violence (however humorous it's meant) in these times - throughout our world and especially most immediately with the devastating heartbreaking tragedy in Texas, aren't words I expected to read on this forum.
Loved the account of your journey and your drawings, hopefully you'll share some of the new paintingsI wanted to apologize for an offensive sentence that I posted here. Anything I said was simply a bad joke, and referred to nothing, and commented about nothing or was meant to encourage (!) anything at all, besides a thoughtless joke. I think a moderator might’ve edited it out? Because I couldn’t find it. Thank you.
And yes it was nasty, not tasty. No typo. I could barely finish it. Cooking is an art, and some people are good at it, some people not. It was just a random restaurant in the center, I couldn’t even find it again. And as I said, within 24 hours I had a Noro virus. Maybe from there, maybe from one of a dozen other places.
As I write this, I’m somewhere between Irun and Pamplona. I took a train to Leon and rented a car there ( great price, and I was going back east anyway). I’ve picked up my oil paints from Casa Ivar, and now will start slowly driving from SJPP back to Santiago for the next month stopping to do more paintings and drawings. Hopefully more productive than I’ve been in the last two months.
I had hoped to return east and walk the route between SJPP and Pamplona, since I started my Camino from Pamplona. But I find that’s still not possible because of my foot problems. And I left the bicycle in Santiago.
The question I have about that is if the roads that I find on the map that shows between SJPP and Orisson/Roncevalles, etc. are suitable for someone who is probably not comfortable driving on narrow mountain roads with big cliffs and aggressive local drivers. I have no problem walking roads like that, or even riding bicycles. But for some reason, I have difficulty doing it in a car.
But I want to see that area firsthand, and try to create some artwork up there. Especially from the Napoleon route.
Anybody have first-hand experience driving or observing the roads I might end up on? Or any suggestions for that area?
And here is some more artwork and a journal entry…..
Here’s one from the inside of the Santiago de Compostela cathedral. Just as I was finishing up, the guard came up to me and told me painting was not allowed… What is the world coming to?
Ceiling Cherubs, Santiago, 9 x 6” or 22 x 15 cm, watercolor and ink.
Moved this morning from the hotel to an Airbnb, not too far away. Nice because it has its own kitchen. Saves me money, but also less irritating. I went and drew inside the cathedral during the day. Later it became to busy with a pending church service, so I went outside and drew some reliefs on the door leading from Praza de Praterias.
Finished drawing inside Cathedral…
View attachment 126529
They have just spent gazillion Euros to restore the Cathedral. It is not hard to imagine why they wouldn't want anyone (no matter how careful or well-meaning) in there working with paint. And it's more practical to enforce a blanket ban than to ask the busy guards to navigate exceptions.the guard came up to me and told me painting was not allowed… What is the world coming to?
You may get more replies when you start a separate thread.The question I have about that is if the roads that I find on the map that shows between SJPP and Orisson/Roncevalles, etc. are suitable for someone who is probably not comfortable driving on narrow mountain roads with big cliffs and aggressive local drivers. I have no problem walking roads like that, or even riding bicycles. But for some reason, I have difficulty doing it in a car.
But I want to see that area firsthand, and try to create some artwork up there. Especially from the Napoleon route.
Anybody have first-hand experience driving or observing the roads I might end up on? Or any suggestions for that area?
I brilliant suggestion, thank you. I can take a look at StreetView to see if I’m willing to drive the roads. I’m visiting friends in Bayonne first so I’ll be approaching it from the SJPP side. I rented a car for a whole month, So if I can’t use it for a day or two I’ll just Park it and use alternative transportation.You may get more replies when you start a separate thread.
You can 'virtually' drive along these roads in Google Earth Streetview to get an idea. If you want to get from Roncesvalles to SJPP or vice versa, you will have to drive along the N-135 in Spain and the D-933 in France - same road, just different labels. These are not High Alpine roads. The D-933 has some sharp bends, I see that at one point a speed of 30 km/h is recommended. This is a comfortable road with two lanes. The D-428 road from SJPP to Orisson and beyond is narrow, has one sharp bend, and can also be 'driven' in Streetview. This road is perhaps less to your liking.
It is expensive to hire a car in one country and drop it off in a neighbouring country. You could hire a car in Pamplona and leave it in Roncesvalles; take bus or taxi from there to SJPP; take a taxi from SJPP for the Route Napoleon - look into the "Mountain Shuttle" which will drop you off in the morning at various points along the Route Napoleon and pick you up again in the afternoon but you can make the same arrangement with a taxi. The Virgin of Baikorri site is a very nice viewpoint, you could walk back down to Orisson ... You can also drive from Roncesvalles to the top of the Route Napoleon on the other side of the mountain. This is a narrow road with a lot of potholes.
BTW, the remark in question is in one of the paintings. You expressed your irritation without thinking of any other associations. I didn't make them either when I read it but ...
Do I read you correctly? That this is an invitation to us to find out more about it?drawing the fountain on Praza de Praterias. I was never able to ascertain a name for the fountain or any other information
Good information! And of course I cut off the top of the fountain, but only because I couldn’t fit it in. I often wished for a larger sketchbook.Do I read you correctly? That this is an invitation to us to find out more about it?
Other than being a well-known landmark, there is not much to say about this fountain on the Praza das Praterias. It is not an old fountain as it is not even 200 years old. The four horses have given it the popular name of Fuente dos Caballos - Horses Fountain. The figure on top is supposedly the City of Santiago, holding a star and sitting on a box or sarcophagus, both pointing to the founding myth of the city, namely the discovery of the tomb of the apostle Saint James nearby. Before I googled it today, I had never even noticed all this much ... it is the horses that one notices primarily.
Your observations ... often a touchy topic of course ... I noticed on the webcams yesterday and today that there are two persons 'working' the crowd and belonging together, one of them sitting just outside of the Holy Door and the other one sitting just outside of the main entrance for the visitors of the Cathedral. It is the same image, or a version thereof, that I've seen along the long road to Santiago, I remember having seen it for example outside of the Basilica of Saint Quentin in Northern France, in front of Notre Dame in Paris of course, and outside of the cathedrals of Poitiers and of Burgos ... I won't say more except that I stubbornly stick to my own traditions and make my charitable donations when I am inside of a church and not outside of it ... .
Hi @Stephan the Painter, enjoying your journey here from home despite all the bumps and hiccups you are experiencing. You may want to go over to the Aragones now that you have a car to see if anything there strikes you as artworthy. It is close to Pamplona. The church at Eunate, the castle at Javier, and some if the monasteries and hill towns may be appealing subjects also less traffic to deal with than Pamplona.My Camino de Santiago painting adventures in northern Spain continue:
Not sure if anybody’s really reading my relatively unexciting narrative, but I realize I sound a bit depressed and pessimistic. I think after 10 weeks of having to organize a place to stay and where to get food and taking care of all the logistics of living on the road and now the extra stress of driving in an unfamiliar environment, I’m just tired.
But no worries, once I’m curled up in a corner or standing at my easel, life is sunny and joyful!
Left Espinal And spent the day painting an oil in Larrasoana and latter a watercolor in Akeretta.
Medieval Bridge in Larrasoana , 9 x 10” or 22 x 25 cm., oil. View attachment 127365
Later I drove into Pamplona and got a hotel in the industrial suburb of Berrioplano. An unpleasant night starting with the failure of my card key after the reception had gone home for the day. I had to call an emergency number to get someone to come and fix it.
A stressful day in Pamplona doing some shopping. Stressful because of the heavy traffic, and traffic patterns that I’m not familiar with. I was able to go to a very good art store and bought some linseed oil, a new tube of ultramarine blue watercolor, and a brush and larger watercolor sketchbook.
Unfortunately, it is now difficult to get a reasonably priced room in any of the Camino towns. I ended up in Larraga, About 15 km away from Puente La Reina and the Camino France trail.
Thanks, Stephan, for offering to take the time to explain in detaile your rather fluid itinerary. How very blessed you are to be spending a full 90 days in Spain.@Camino Chrissy , @J Willhaus
I got here the end of March and started walking the Camino April 6. I had always planned to finish the Camino about May 15, which I did, because of the bicycle, despite the 15 day shin splint break.
And the plan was always to rent a car and drive along the Camino painting for a further six weeks. I lost a couple weeks of that time because of various things, and now it seems the big problem is that there’s a heat wave!
The last two days it’s been too hot in the afternoons for me to do anything but try to find a shady spot.
So I think I’ll drive to the coast and then work my way back and hope it cools down by the time I get back towards the middle which is where I’m supposed to be this week.
I have a flight booked out of Barcelona June 28. Barcelona because I got a really good deal on that specific date.
In a sense I’m actually living a dream. But in the dream there were no logistics! Just all fun!
And here’s another one from June 5: View attachment 127456 Wild Garden in Akerreta, 6 x 9“ or 15 x 22 cm., watercolor and ink.
Stephan, I am following you, not with any clicks beyond whenever I see you have posted. You are having the time of your life? Some days, yes, some days no. C'est la vie, monsieur! Thanks once more. Did you sell your bike yet?June 8:
After my morning session in Puente de La Riena I went to Ciraqui, and did a watercolor of the Iglesias San Romano. The grandmother who had placed all the flower pots on the steps came out and was so happy that I was including her flower pots in the painting that she called all her friends over to see! That’s one of the joys painting on location. View attachment 127762
Iglesia de San Roman, Cirauqui, 15 x 22 cm or 6 x 9”, watercolor and ink.
You just made a señora's day, Stephen.The grandmother who had placed all the flower pots on the steps came out and was so happy that I was including her flower pots in the painting that she called all her friends over to see!
After the initial problems the trip has gone well. I’ve had a great time, although perhaps I’ve been in Spain a little too long and I’m getting anxious to get home. At the moment I’m in Barcelona and catch a plane back to the East Coast of the United States in a couple days.Stephan, I am following you, not with any clicks beyond whenever I see you have posted. You are having the time of your life? Some days, yes, some days no. C'est la vie, monsieur! Thanks once more. Did you sell your bike yet?
I suggest you contact Ivar, natefaith, SYates. I presume you can give them a photo of the exact location - it would be dreadful if they hauled away to the dungeons for attempted bike robbery! Thanks for sharing your journey, and your delightful artwork. Safe trip home. I well understand that sense of being away too long...After the initial problems the trip has gone well. I’ve had a great time, although perhaps I’ve been in Spain a little too long and I’m getting anxious to get home. At the moment I’m in Barcelona and catch a plane back to the East Coast of the United States in a couple days.
The bike is actually locked up at a public bike lock up in santiago at the moment. I had to research it but I seem to remember there was someone that posts on this board sometimes that helps poor or homeless people in santiago and I thought I would ask them if they wanted the bike for free. But I can’t remember off the top of my head and I have to research it.
If not, I was going to contact Ivar and see if he knows someone. Or if you or anyone else has suggestions?
It’s right near the center. Not very many people in santiago seem to ride bikes, so I think it’s probably still there.
I’ll definitely let the forum know. I’m hoping to do something by the fall, although of course after being away from home for three months there’s a mountain of work to do! Maybe I’ll go back to Spain and put it off for another few months, ha ha!Stephan, "if and when" you decide to make a book of your many Camino paintings for purchase, please let us know; perhaps sold on Amazon.
I still look out for your posts. Did you discover a way to gift your bike yet? I remember the silliest things! I must look up something, and post it again. I loved the work of a painter and of course did not take enough notes, but the ever faithful @mspath tracked it down...I recently returned home to North America , but still have at least a dozen more images and journal entries to post:
Santuario da Virxe da Barca, Muxia, Spain, 6 x 18” or 15 x 45 cm. Watercolor and ink.
View attachment 128843
I left Larraga in the morning and started driving to Sansol and Torres del Rio planning to paint there. But by the time I got there it was excruciatingly hot. I changed my plans and decided to go to Navarrete where I remember there being a large church that I thought I could draw inside. However, I couldn’t find anything inspiring and it was a bit dark. I then went to the Plaza in front of the church and try to do some drawing, but a thunderstorm started. Not the best day!
I just decided to go where I was staying, and spent the evening and overnight in
a off Camino town called Fuenmayor. A beautiful and busy plaza there.
The weather report tells me it’s going to get quite hot in the center of Northern Spain. Since I was going to end up there anyway, I’ve decided to drive to the Atlantic coast, where there are two towns that people who walk to Camino often hike to after Santiago de Compostela.
It took me about eight hours to drive to Camarinas, where I found a very nice room where I’m staying for three days at a bargain price.
I drove off to Muxia , where I explored the town. There’s a lovely church, lighthouse and rock formations at the end of the peninsula, where I’m planning to draw this afternoon. I ended up working from the car because there was so much wind, I couldn’t hold all the equipment down! Or find a satisfactory composition and eventually just gave up
Back up to Muxia to try to do one drawing and then I’ll drive to Finisterre.
There was less wind at Muxia today and I was able to find a sheltered spot to do a drawing. I tried a double page landscape today, and while it was not my absolutely best drawing, I was pleased with the results.
From what I can see of it, it looks wonderful. I’m going to add that museum to my bucket list of places to go see in Spain the next time I return. I know there’s all sorts of nice things along the coast up there anyway.I still look out for your posts. Did you discover a way to gift your bike yet? I remember the silliest things! I must look up something, and post it again. I loved the work of a painter and of course did not take enough notes, but the ever faithful @mspath tracked it down...
I will be back. My reason: I loved the eye of the painter. I would be interested in your response to it.