After spending a quite evening at st. jean, we got up at sunrise, packed some baguettes from the local bakery and set out to cross the amazing scenic route napoléon. This first stage of the camino proved to be very different than the stages to come (it's a long climb at high altitude and you want to do it only in good weather)As the starting point of the camino, and being on the French side, st. jean is a touristic city and prices are not cheap. Restaurants did not look amazing, we found the best dinning option to be buying some good camembert cheese, bread and tomatos and having dinner at our room
After crossing to Navarra from France, the route follows a beutiful road that took us from one old village to another. Gorgeous morning weather with cool tasty fog at sunrise was very welcome.This is the only cross processed slide-film piece from the trip. The effect is achieved by applying C-41 processing over slide-film that should be developed with the E-6 process
We found that the best thing about Pamplona was the way in and out of pamplona. After enjoying the serenity of the basque countryside, we did not appreciate Pamplona's hustle & bustle, tourist shops, etc.You are no longer in the friendly country side at. Pamplona is a busy town which might remind you why you love travlling on the countryside so much. Consider just walking past the city to the next stage of the camino
The way from Pamplona to Puente La Reina is extraordinarily beautiful. The route passes through amazing fields, climbs to the top of an impressive hill with gorgeous views, and ends up in the gorgeous town of Puente La Reina. This town has some good places to eat and some beautiful alley's to explore.Arrive early and book your accomodation at Puente La Reina. Puente La Reina can be busy with in-house tourism and cheap accomodation gets fully booked quickly
Leaving Puente La Reina was not easy (2 bottles of red wine at dinner didn't help), but the turned out to be of the best stages in the camino for us. The way was amazingly green, filled with vinyards packed with juicy grapes and Estella turned out to be amazing. The town is was far more impressive than what we imagined, people were welcomeing and food was great.Restaurant Casanova at Estella offers great food in large portions (you will need that after walking from puente la reina)
Arguably the most beautiful stage of the camino, the walk from Estella to Los Arcos is a phonomenal journey between endless fields (28km walk type kind of endless). Arrive at the small town of Los Arcos to enjoy a refreshing basque style cider!At Los Arcos, try the amazing Cider and Cider-dipped Chorizo that Hotel Suetxe sometimes serve
On the way from Los Arcos to Logroño, we spent the night at the beautiful town of viana, so that we will arrive in time for the San Mateo festival: a series of three days where the young people of Logroño and the area basically get drunk off wine and party all day long. This stage marked the first part of our camino.Rioja grape harvest is celebrated at San Mateo festivel, and it's a sight to behold. If you are travelling around September, make sure you don't miss that one
The second part of our Camino has begun at Ponferrada. It was March 2013, and weather was looking nice (or so we thought). We were blown away by the quality of the Briezo region wine, and from the outstanding walk from Ponferrada to Villafrance.Hotel El Castillo at Ponferrada offers a great Pilgrims menu dinner. The Birezo red wind and fried Calamary they serve is outstanding
Our day at Villafranca del Bierzo was one to remember. The sun wa shining over the beautiful town, and still remember this is one of the most gorgeous towns of the camino. As hiked to our next stop, O'Cebreiro, it had started to rain pretty heavily, almost non stop. We decided to spend the night at La Faba, a tiny village (only 3 or 4 houses), where we were very kindly greeted by the wonderful hospitaleiras that run the Albergue.At Villafranca, Find the local butcher shop to get some local delicassies, get yourself a bottle of red wine from Bierzo, and you are all set :-)
After a good night's sleep at Albergue La Faba, we started the climb towards the village of O'Cebreiro. By the time we got to the village, everything was covered with snow. There was upto 3 meters of snow on the sides of the road, and the path itself was snow covered as well. Underprepared, this was a beautiful yet very unpleasant stage.
When we got back to lower lands, we found shelter at hostel in a village. On the walk the next morning, it kept on raining heavily during our entire walk, till we reached Sarria
The Galician rain kept on striking us all the way to the beautiful town of Portomarin. There, we found a homey place where they would serve food and offer a bed. The morning after that the rain continued to hit hard all the way to Palas del RaiDon't miss restaurant Perez (ask locals for the Perez place). It's a family owned place serving amazing pulpo ala gallega at a great atmosphere and view over the river
By the time we got to Arzúa, which in itself is quite a boring place (only reason to stop is to sleep before continuing to Santiao), we became one with the water: it was the rainiest month of March in Galicia in the last 70 years.
Yet it was all more than worth it if only for stopping at legendary Melide, where they pretty much make the best Pulpo ala Gallega you could ask for.
Arriving at Santiago de Compostela was very exciting. We checked in at our final accomodation for the trip, and went straight to the pilgrim office to get our compostelas. After that we had two days to explore the city, which albeit the rain and off-seasonality was alive and kicking. Later that day, we were lucky enough to witness the Buta Fumeiro ceremony in all it's glory. It's sad that the journey is over, but Santiago succeeds in becoming a worthy climax of this trip.Hotel OPino is a great place to spend the night at on the way to Santiago. It's a quite little town, and they also have a very good restaurant, frequent by locals (try the excellent Bacalao!)