The Camino de Santiago, or Way of Saint James is a Christian pilgrimage that goes back over 1000 years. It can be walked or cycled, so we thought it would be an interesting cycling trip and a way to discover Spain.

We traveled 805 km in 2 weeks on fully loaded mountain bikes, which were converted to semi-trekking bikes. The roads and trails were much more difficult (hilly and rough) than we expected, so this was definitely a pilgrimage. But well worth it.

Aside from the beautiful scenery, villages, and the friendly locals, I think the best thing about this trip was the many people we met from all over the world. Our paths kept crossing, sometimes 3 or 4 times, which made for great friendships along the way.

Many people have personal reasons for doing the Camino, but we didn’t seem to have any, except maybe for the cycling trip. So, I asked people we met what were their reasons. Some had deep personal reasons, but most seemed to be there for the adventure. So that’s it! Adventure!

I’ve set the photo album up as a chronological ride across northern Spain, so please enjoy, and please read the captions, as that’s where the story lies.

[Click on any photo for the slideshow. Please leave comments at the bottom of the page]

10 am and ready for vino tinto from the wine fountain.

Fixing a flat for a pilgrim from Krakow, Poland. We saw her later, and found that she sold the bike and just kept walking.

No, you have to get both feet on the pedals!

Who’s more hungry here?

Pilgrims on the very flat portion of the Camino.

Lonely halls in the Monasterio de Irache

… to reach the top of Alto del Perdon.

Trying to find the way with the Spanish team.

Making lunch with baguette, ham and cheese on the trail. No wine, though!

Pushing up a very rocky trail. With mountain bikes we were able to ride these trails… sometimes.

The dormitory at Santuario San Juan de Ortega, where we stayed a night.

Big Sky

“The Way”

Chantal startles a donkey playing soccer.

 

Only 518 km to Santiago. But it’s about the journey… not the destination.

The long and narrow road

The bike goes that way all by itself!

Pilgrims – walking and cycling

I had an interesting conversation with some of the Korean kids.

Rest at the Cruceiro/Punto de Vista

Go west young man! (to Santiago, that is)

This is a “framed” shot.

La Cruz de Ferro. One of the highest points of the Camino.

The hippie at La Casa do los Dioses. After a very tough ride, where we thought we were lost. When I rode up to his stand, he was sitting, meditating on a blanket. He said “Welcome to paradise”.

Should I join the protest march or not? Camping in plazas in many cities, there were protest marchers against Spanish economic management.

Advertising or Graffiti

Beginning the long winding descent after La Cruz de Ferro

A group of nuns asking for advice on mountain bike technology.

0.00 km … Finisterre – The end of the land.

Dutch ladies arriving in Santiago. One of the really great things about the Camino is that your paths are always crossing. When you meet up again, they’re like old friends. I think this is the true spirit of “The Way”.

Made it to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

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