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Wojciech's Travel log

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You can lose everything, but nobody will take away what you saw and what you experienced...

Log entries 41 - 50 of 2124 Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Oct 14, 2018 12:00 AM Rain, rain, rain... evening sun!

Rain, rain, rain... evening sun! It was raining already in the night... I was waiting till 9.30 am for the weather improvement... No change... So it was a time to put my waterproof poncho on me and on the backpack and... go.
It is not that pleasure if you walk wet, slippery trail and the views are reduced by the low clouds...
In the afternoon I reached little town of Portomarin, located just near the high bridge. In the past the township was located some 100 m below, then they started to build the dam and all monuments were dismounted and taken 100 m up. Now Portomarin looks vere neat. I stay on the other side of the river in the nice Fontana Luxo hostel - the first one where breakfast is included - but they charge as much as 15 euro per bed in the dormitory (in other places 10-12). It is so far 5 of us in the dorm and we enyoy in the evening a nice sun. Why not during the day?

Oct 13, 2018 12:00 AM The hike along Sarria river

The hike along Sarria river Morning in Samos - bells are ringing every quarter, also in the night, but this creates the special atmosphere - no other place like this on Caino, I think. The monks charge 5 euro for the guided tour of Samos Monastery. I paid and go. There are two big courtyards, enormous church ad on the second floor the frescos galery with the restored historic paintings.
Then I started to hike down along the Sarria river. But the path most of the time goes far from the meandring river, climbig the hills in the oak and chestnut forest, crossing miniature, stone villages with little churches and chapels. On the trail I met todays guys from South Korea and charming Sophia from Buenos Aires. I reached town of Sarria at 3 pm - just to see that it is already another world: big, modern houses, street caf├ęs, herds of cars in the streets...
When somebody will ask me to point the most rewarding, most authentic part of the camino, I will say: Vilafranca to Sarria. So far I liked it most!
It is sill 120 kms ahead of me - see picture! :)

Oct 12, 2018 12:00 AM Through the mountains to Samos Monastery

Through the mountains to Samos Monastery Heavy wind all the night did not allow me to sleep well. First stage of today's hike was a path down to Triacastella. The village is nothing special with one church, but the is a little shop to buy food. At thd end of the village the pilgrims have two choices - one is to go directly to Sarria.
Second choice - much longer way goes also to Sarria but via Monastery of Samos. I made the second choice.
After Triacastella senda - the pilgrims path inicially goes along the road (like1,5 km) then climbes through the picruresque oak ferests and pastures. Twice I was passing through the little stone villages with old chapels - San Martino was one of them. This was for me the walnut day - there were walnut trees in the few points ad walnuts on the path asking to pick them :)
On approach to Samos Valley there is on the path great view point: leaving the forest you unexpectedly see the monastery down, in front of you - this is the award for the hard walk up and down.
Te Benidictine Monertery of Samos is huge. The settlement around - very tiny and remote. I the outside wall of the monastery there is albergo donativo - hostel for pilgrims run by the pilgrims where for the overnight in the huge dormitory you pay as much as you want - even one euro is acceptable... No working wi-fi in Samos today - so remote area...

Oct 11, 2018 12:00 AM To Galicia in the rain...

To Galicia in the rain... First serious rain during this voyage. I cannot wait, who knows when it will stop? Fortunately I took with me a kind of waterproof poncho. And I go... Today I crossed the border between Castilia & Leon an Galicia. It was fantastic place: O Cebreiro pass on Camino Santiago, more than 1300 m high offers fantastic panoramas to both sides of the border. O Cebreiro itself is a tiny village made of stone with little church and few tourist shelters. Rain stopped here so I was continuing walk on camino through the little villages, forests untill 6.30 in the evening... Nice, but very tiring day!

Oct 10, 2018 12:00 AM Templar's castle in Ponferrada

Templar's castle in Ponferrada Today I crossed Leon Mountains. The landscape, very monotonous since few days became much more interesting. I will stay overnight in Ponferrada - university town spread out in the big valley. The highlight of Ponferrada is picturesque medieval castle once ruled by the Templars.
Bingo! Today -in Wednesday the entrance to the castle is free! I saved 6 euro! There is a nice view from the walls of the castle and also interesting exhibitions - I liked most the old manuscripts in the Templar's Library. If you still have enough power at the end of the day you can climb narrow stone steps to the top of the Castillo Viejo - for the better view of basilica church (fortunately no cathedral here to pay next entry fee)

Oct 09, 2018 12:00 AM Old stone bridge and Gaudi's palace

Old stone bridge and Gaudi's palace Camino took me further west to the little town Hospital de Orbigo. Do not be confused by the name. In the past they used here the world "hospital" to name a hostel for the pilgrims, so the hospital was almost in every village on camino. Orbigo river cuts the town by two and there is a long, medieval stone bridge connecting both sides... It is 204 m long with 20 arches, if I remember well. On the west side in the sleepy streets you will find few contemporary "hospitals" and the old church of St John the Baptist. I like such an atmosphere...
Some 15 kms onward I stop to overnight in the big city of Astorga. Astorga remember Roman Emporium. It has huge cathedral (should I eat my lunch or pay the entry fee to see interior?) but opposite the cathedral you wil find something rare: the former bishop's palace designed by Gaudi (yes, that one from Barcelona!) - see the palace on the picture to have your opinion about)... OK, today Astorga has six chocolate factories, but not - they do not offer tours with free tasting :)
I was lucky to be here on Tuesday - in the Plaza Mayor and around there were weekly market for food, vegies and other goods. Sorry - zero of the folklore on the market...

Oct 08, 2018 12:00 AM Leon - mountains on the horizon...

Leon - mountains on the horizon... I reached Leon - in the past the capital of the independent Kingdom of Leon. The tombs of the kings are in the crypt of the San Isidro monastery... Now it is neat provincial town where some 120 thousands of the people live. The city hall (see picture) remains little stone palace. - see picture. There is nice Santa Maria cathedral with a beautiful glass works in the windows (entry 6 euro). San Marcos monastery is also worth to see - the interior is under restoration, bo the wide front of thd building has very rich decoration. 24 deg Celsius during the day. I see the mountains on the western horizon - for the pilgrims it means the end of the flat and rather monotonous meseta and bigger daily effort. Good night!

Oct 07, 2018 12:00 AM Along Camino de Santiago

Along Camino de Santiago There are many towns and villages along Camino Frances - the most popular pilgrim route. Some of the places are definitely worth an overnight stopover, the others lost the pilgrimage atmosphere and should be avoided. Now I know more and I do not recommend Places like Pamplona, Estella, Logrono. They are nowadays crowded, noisy and big cities with the strong presence of industry, so who to stay there? But there are also the places I can recommend. The first one will be Puente la Reina, next Santo Domingo de la Calzada, then Castrojeriz and Carrion de los Condes, which I saw today. Those places has old atmosphere in the labirynth of the narrow streets. The only thing I do not like is that local authorities charge from pilgrims money for the entrance to the churches. You must pay from 1 to 8 euros. If you are doing the Camino de Santiago you have around 50 cathedrals and interesting churches to see on your way. How much are you ready to spend just for the church visits? It is the shame!

Oct 06, 2018 12:00 AM Pampeluna - where the bulls are running...

Pampeluna - where the bulls are running... Pampeluna is also on the Camino de Santiago! Every year in July they celebrate here St Firmin festival. The bulls and the people are running the streets of the old part of the town during the festival - this makes Pampeluna famous through the world. I took a walk to the cathedral which seems to be more interesting inside than outside. There are royal tombs in the cathedral - see picture. Then I found Plaza del Toros - the bull fighting arena. No more fightings... Pampeluna Plaza is huge, but dirty. So are the streets in the old town - they are dark and they are asking for paint. So I must say I know nicer places in Spain than Pampeluna... Sorry Pampelunians!

Oct 05, 2018 12:00 AM Saint Jean Pied de Port

Saint Jean Pied de Port I am on the French side of the Pyrenees. Since centuries here, in the little, picturesque town of Saint Jean is the beginning of the long pilgrimage trail to Santiago de Compostella - Camino de Santiago. This little town is very tourist - even now - in October. Herds of walkers are climbing steep, narrow streets. There is citadel overlooking the town, a chain of the old walls with the gates. Nice place! But today we have 28 deg Celsius here - not the best weather for a walk!

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