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Villar de Mazarif to Astorga

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Mansilla de las Mullas to León

image Hopefully I will arrive in León today where I plan to stay two nights. The first night at the municipal allbergue and the second night at a monistery up in the centre near the cathedral. I have heard that most of the private accomodation is full, I suppose because it is easter, so I hope that I can find a bed for the night as I doubt that I will be able to walk to the next town with my foot and leg in the state they are currently in. Still, its now 6:15 I am ready to boogie! I am just waiting for signs of life in the albergue as I don’t want to be the one who wakes everybody up! It’s 2° outside, my rucksack is packed and I am just waiting for Frederico and Mary-Rose (who did a great job with the blisters my foot!) to get ready. I came across a great bakers shop yesterday that also do coffee so we will take breakfast there. image The walk to León was pretty much as expected with few highlights if any. My right leg started to hurt like hell at around 11 a.m. as did the blisters on my left foot, especially the one underneath my foot. I was pleased to arrive I can tell you. My companions and I ended up at the San Francisco albergue as it turned out that the municipal albergue near the river closed down in 2012. The room that we are sharing feels to us like a 3 star hotel. The room has just two bunk beds and has its own private toilet and shower! Tomorrow we will spend a second night in the other municipal albergue up near the cathedral, no doubt in a large dormitory. image The city is pretty crowded and has a festival atmosphere as it is easter. image After a visit to the cathedral my companions and I watched one of the parades, intermittently poping into a pinchos bar for a drink and a snack. image Later on we watch a second parade. image The number of people out on the streets and the atmosphere were incredible! image As a special treat we ended up in an excellent Michelin listed restaurant where we shared a starter of Leónaise specialities; chorizo, a kind of beef ham and tongue. The chorizo was absolutely fantastic and the toungue was nearly as good as kissing! I chose spring lamb with potatoes and pepers for my main. Mmmmm spring lamb. (drooling and Homer Simpson gurgle here). The festivities went on all night. image Well, I have now walked some 462 km and what feels like a lifetime ago since setting out from SJPDP and I really looking forward to a well earned break! Tomorrow, well actually later today:) there will be another huge parade. The people of León sure know how to put on a party and celebrate easter! image

Pamplona to Puente La Reina


After a good, albeit short, nights sleep at the excellent albergue Paderborn I was ready for anything this morning.
Although I had intended to spend two nights in Pamplona, I was drawn out of city by the Navarra countryside and I am now in the beautiful medieval town of Puente La Reina (bridge of Queens) named after the towns 10th century bridge, built for pilgrims to enable them to cross the rio Arga on there way to Santiago de Compostela.

The route from Pamplona to Puente La Reina takes you over the Alto del Perdón where you pass the “monumento peregrino”. The assent is fairly harduous with a sheer drop next to the path in places. When I reached the summit I couldn’t see much because of thick mist, but I imagine that on a clear day the views are magnificent. The first part of the decent was a bit of a nightmare, I really dislike walking downhill when the path is made up of large stones and pebbles, and to cap it all I very nearly sprained my ankle.

Once off the alto del Perdón the landscape changes into rolling hills and farmland as you leave the Pyrenees and the foothills behind you.

I checking into the albergue, showering, dealt with my feet and relaxed a bit before poping into town for a late lunch. Although I don’t have blisters yet, I have had two large painful areas just behind my big toes since Wednesday and I developed a sore spot on my little left toe today.



SJPDP to Roncesvalles

Today has turned has been a great day. The weather has been kind, although it is really cold outside at the moment, and I seem to have made the right choices in terms of the gear that I have brought with along.

Earlier in the morning I had planned on breaking the first day into two and stopping over in Valcarlos, which I had reached well before lunchtime, but. I ended up going on to Roncesvalles.

Along the way I met a young couple from South Korea (several times) and walked with a French guy with knackered tendons a couple of times. Apart from that I walked much the time alone.

The walk itself has been great, only Last few kilometers were difficult as the gradient became really steep and parts of the path were quite icy. I was really glad that I brought walking poles with me! At one point I started to become concerned about my water supply, If I were to walk this section again I would carry an extra bottle, or fill my bottles in Valcarlos.

It’s a good job I’m not a vegetarian, as diner was potato soup followed by rice and three goose legs, which I ate in the company of two Italian soldiers from Sardinia and a Canadian chef from Nova Scotia.

Well, it’s a 6:30 start tomorrow and the light just went out…

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