Camino Francés 2022 Days 31-39: Villafranca del Bierzo to Santiago de Compostela

After five weeks on the trail, I feel like I’ve been walking forever. Each week brings new terrain, new views, new weather, new friends, new experiences, and new emotions. The golden meseta is behind me now and I am faced with a lot of green – in every imaginable shade. The green, of course, comes from rain, which also means wind, and muddy trails, and swollen rivers, and rainbows. Realizing that I was entering my final week before arriving to Santiago (the ultimate destination for most of my fellow pilgrims), my mind began to dance to new tunes.

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Camino Francés 2022 Days 24-30: León to Villafranca del Bierzo

Leaving León, some say that the meseta is now behind us. But is it really? Personally, studying the map, I am not convinced. It looks to me that we will have another couple of days before we begin to see substantially different terrain. In the meantime, we all know what we need to do: just get up and walk!

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Camino Francés 2022 Days 15-23: Burgos to León

Leaving Burgos, all peregrinos had heard many stories about what lay ahead of us: the meseta! Those stories were enough to scare off some folk and motivate them to hop on buses and taxis to pass over it entirely. Most of us, however, were excited to experience this major geological feature of the Iberian peninsula. I had heard it often described as a desert, and loving the American Southwest and Namibian deserts as much as I do, I was particularly looking forward to it.

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Camino Francés 2022 Days 9-14: Logroño to Burgos

Today was another short-distance day, after a rest day that followed a short-distance day. Can you tell that I’m not very interested in racing across Spain?

Despite the sadness at watching my fascinating newfound friends zoom ahead of me, only to be replaced by some lookalike strangers, I learned that the new folk are just as interesting as those I’ve lost forever.

It’s not the tribe that’s important, but your relationship with each member.

This could be an old Namibian proverb.
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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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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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