Camino Francés 2022 Days 0-3: Saint Jean Pied de Port to Pamplona

These next few posts are meant to share with you (and to document for posterity) my recent walk along the French Way of the Camino de Santiago across Northern Spain from mid-September to early November 2022. Even though I am publishing the posts a few weeks after my return home, I have decided to retain the present tense I used when first sharing these stories and photos, day-by-day, during the journey itself. I believe this will help retain the freshness of the experience – the highs and the lows – the surprises and the disappointments – the observations and the thoughts – just as they occurred.

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Edinburgh, and future adventures…

We ended our week in Scotland, and our whole UK trip, with a few days in Edinburgh, one of my favorite cities of the world. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the chance to climb Arthur’s Seat, but we did enjoy walking dozens of miles throughout the city. Here are a few random photos to share before I take a break and prepare for my next adventure…

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Isle of Skye and beyond…

After reminiscing in Stirling and driving through the Highlands, we made our way onto the beautiful Isle of Skye for a few days of R&R. It dawned on me that our little B&B in Carbost was the first solid roof I’d had over my head in all my journeys to the island. As a poor student, I was always in a tent…

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A long overdue return to a former home

It’s been 11 years since I was last in Scotland and 45 years since I called it home as a teenage exchange student at the University of Stirling – I was anxious to share some of my favorite spots with Joanie on her first visit to the country. These photos aren’t representative of all we saw and did, but will give you some idea.

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For the Foodies: a Special Meal at L’Enclume Aulis

After almost three weeks in England’s Lake District, our time had now come to an end. Our focus was primarily on trekking, so the meals were usually limited by time or location: mostly traditional English breakfasts and a lot of pub food. To celebrate the trip, we treated ourselves to a 15-course experience at Aulis, the Chef’s Table at the famous L’Enclume restaurant in Cartmel, in the southern part of the Lakes. Our experience, exclusively for the two of us and one other couple on this day, took most of four leisurely hours as we watched Chef Jake work his culinary and artistic magic. It was unlike any meal we’d ever had before – so this post is unlike any I’ve ever written before. It’s possible that these photos and videos will appeal only to the foodies out there, but I am hoping that the many unique dishes – truly works of art – will intrigue everyone at least a little bit.

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The Langdale Pikes

When I began my research about a trekking holiday in the Lake District, a full 18 months before our trip (extended, of course, by Covid), the first location I studied was Great Langdale. Thus, I thought it would be fitting finale as our last hiking base. Alfred Wainwright’s descriptions of the nearby Langdale Pikes made it sound like a Disneyland for fell walkers. It involved a lot of climbing over a fairly short distance, but the weather gods were supportive and we were not disappointed with bagging four Wainwright peaks in one day!

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Mickledon Valley and Side Pike

It was again time to drive, this time from Coniston to our next base, our seventh and final stopping point in the Lake District: Great Langdale. Like on our other travel days, we enjoyed some tourist stops along the way but couldn’t wait to get back on the trails, if the weather cooperated.

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The Old Man of Coniston

We got lucky with the weather on the day we made one of the biggest hikes of our trip: to the summit of the Old Man of Coniston, also known as Coniston Old Man or simply The Old Man, England’s 12th highest peak and a popular destination with its many routes up, spectacular terrain, and extensive views in all directions. It was a day we reached five peaks and bagged three Wainwrights!

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