No matter how much you read or discuss the Camino before you actually start walking, nothing will ever fully prepare you for the Way. It’s intensely personal and everyone’s journey is unique. So instead of writing about my experiences, I’ve decided to show my journey through my favourite photos of each day. I didn’t chose the photos below because they are spectacular photographs but because I hope they convey some of the beauty, majesty and magic that I experienced along the Way.
Day 1: Burgos to Hornillos
The scallop shell is the symbol of the Camino.
The first glimpse of our first destination at the end of our first day of walking. Day 2: Hornillos to Castrojeriz
The Meseta is known for its fields of gold, its big blue sky and its lack of shade.
Sometimes I walked with others, sometimes I walked with just my shadow and my thoughts.
Day 3: Castrojeriz to Carrión de los Condes
A pilgrim crests Alto de Mostelaros at the beginning of the day.
From inside the Iglesia de Santa Maria del Camino, before the Pilgrim’s Mass. Pilgrim’s Masses always spoke what I needed to hear. Day 4: Carrión de los Condes to Terradillos de los Templarios
My first Camino sunrise.
Some days were really long. Day 5: Terradillos de los Templarios to Bercianos del Real Camino
Another early start to the day to beat the heat. This day it would reach a scorching 38C.
Pilgrims waiting for the community dinner to start. Community dinners were always filled with such interesting people. Day 6: Bercianos del Real Camino to Mansilla de las Mulas
Fields of sunflowers brightened the Way on this day.
I love clouds. Day 7: Mansilla de las Mulas to León
Leon. A beautiful, bustling city after the long, quiet days of the Meseta. This panoramic shot is a bit blown out but it captures the grandeur and excitement of Leon. Day 8: León to Villar de Mazarife
Looking back at Leon. How many cities in your lifetime have you WALKED out of? Definitely an experience that may be unique to the Camino.
The road was long and dusty, through working farms and flocks of sheep. Day 9: Villar de Mazarife to Astorga
Pilgrims have travelled the same route for centuries. This 13th-century bridge, which is on the Way, is one of the oldest in Spain, and has borne witness to countless pilgrims.
Astorga. Yet another beautiful place in Spain that I had never heard of. I don’t know if I ever would have if I hadn’t walked the Camino. Day 10: Astorga to Rabanal del Camino
There’s more than just beautiful landscapes along the Way.
Vines and brightly coloured flowers festooned the doorways and balconies along the Way.
Day 11: Rabanal to Acebo
Animals graze alongside ruins.
La Cruz de Ferro. The highest point on the Camino and one of the most powerful places for me on the Camino. Day 12: Acebo to Ponferrada
In the centre of this photo, in the distance, is a white city – Ponferrada, this day’s destination, still at least 10 km away.
The view of Ponferrada from the Templar Castle. I walked into the city from somewhere beyond. Day 13: Ponferrada (Rest Day)
As I was sitting having my morning coffee on my rest day, this pilgrim walked past me. We had seen this pilgrim on our first day. And we were amazed when he showed up at the same albergue on our second day because he was having incredibly difficulty walking. I later found out he had muscular dystrophy. When I saw him in Ponferrada, I was gobsmacked that he was there at the same time I was! I will never forget this man and his determination and courage. Day 14: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo
Walking past vineyards.
Succulents cover a stone wall.
Villafranca del Bierzo was one of the most beautiful little villages I passed through. Day 15: Villafranca del Bierzo to La Faba
Another early morning leaving Villafranca, after a touching conversation with the owner of the albergue about her family story.
A beautiful view to enjoy at the end of the day, along with the requisite water and wine. Day 16: La Faba to Triacastela
The views. Oh, the never ending views.
Monuments and statues of pilgrims populate the Way. Each one is a different style, a different era and a different aspect of this journey. They are a reminder that all pilgrims are now part of something much bigger than themselves. Day 17: Triacastela to Sarria
These scenes of simple beauty were seemingly around every corner. Day 18: Sarria to Portomarín
These aren’t the first animals I’ve shared the Way with. The Way still travels through some very rustic parts of Spain. I’m sure pilgrims from the past hundreds of years have shared this same experience.
It was always such a great relief to be so close to our destination after 20-25 km of walking. Day 19: Portomarín to Portos
No connectivity or wifi and only one English book on the shelf at the albergue in Portos. The Camino provides. Day 20: Portos to Melide
The yellow arrows point the Way.
It’s not the Camino without the vino.
Melide. Another beautiful little town I had never heard of. Day 21: Melide to Salceda
It was a misty morning starting out from Melide. I think it made everything that much more beautiful.
Raindrops on a spiderweb. Day 22: Salceda to Santiago de Compostela
I wonder what it’s like to live along the Camino.
Even as we approached Santiago, a city of 95 000, the Way still wove its way through enchanted forests.
The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
The Camino has a way of bringing people together from all walks of life. Whether we spend an hour with them or days, we will never forget them.