2014 Camino de Santiago Video

My winter challenge was learning to work on a Mac computer which includes iMovie.  Here are my first results in video form:

Most still and video clips were captured with a Panasonic Lumix 150. Very good travel camera.  Lightweight, great zoom lens and can capture raw files. A few of the still photos were captured with a basic phone camera.

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Almost there, but not there… Melide

Today is going to be the longest day of the trip as we cover about 30 miles or close to 50 kilometers.
Portomarin-to-Palas-de-Rei-Elevation-MapPortomarine is a couple of kilometers to the left of the map above.

Palas-de-Rei-to-Arzua-Elevation-Map Randy, Bryon and Liz start walking and their destination is Melide which requires walking the full distance of the top map and half-way into the next stage.   Will the feet survive?

2014Camino-3 Adios,  Italia!!! 

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2014Camino-1070620nrFoggy day in the woods.

2014Camino-1070625crOccasionally a cement picnic table will appear to facilitate a quick break.

2014Camino-1070627dmvThe path is worn down from centuries of pilgrims walking to Santiago.

2014Camino-1070632dmvcrWhy can’t we stay here?   In March of 2013 we did stay here and woke up to fresh snowfall.

Have Joan and Joyce been kidnapped?  Where could they be?  Um-m-m-m… shopping?

2014Camino-But first we go to the Church of San Juan since it is Sunday. This church was reconstructed brick by brick when the dam flooded the town to build a hydroelectric power plant and they were forced to relocate the city of Portomarine.

We say a little prayer for the other three trudging down the 30 mile path today.
IMG_20140824_042957_700dmvNow we hop into a cozy taxi for a joyride to Melide where we check our group into the albergue.   Every Sunday in Melide you will find a fruit, meat and cheese market where farmers bring their produce in to sell. Randy took my camera so I’m stuck with a low-end cell phone camera and Joan’s Ipod to document the day.

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IMG_20140824_043511_793dmvcrPigs feet?  Not sure how I’d cook them so I’ll pass this time.

IMG_20140824_043540_275dmvcrThis little piggy went to market…

IMG_20140824_043601_120dmvcrNorwegian cod caught in Spanish waters. Is this like lutefisk?

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IMG_20140824_043740_452dmvcrThe air is filled with noisy chatter.

IMG_20140824_060430_499dmvcrJoan negotiates our transaction and we will be supplied with delicious cheese straight from the farmer for the next several days.  Delish!

IMG_20140824_060507_631dmvJoan and I have the great plan to walk back on the trail to meet the rest of the gang to show support.  We walk and walk, but don’t see pilgrims.  This can’t be right?  We go back, find the right road out-of-town, and wait for them…and wait…and wait… and wait some more.

Finally, after almost every pilgrim has gone by, we finally make radio contact and walk to meet them. The last 10 miles have been brutal and Randy, Bryon and Liz finally limp into town, too tired to take pictures.

Painful feet, blisters and exhaustion dictate the mood tonight.

How about some cheese with that wine?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 6 ~ It’s the climb… for some.

2014Camino-1070204dmvWe notice a very cool mural across the street from the bus station loading area.  Translation:  Human race is the only.

2014Camino-1070202dmvcrWe are boarding a bus for a 25 kilometer (about 16.5 miles) ride to Villafranca del Bierzo where we will start walking again.

2014Camino-1070208We immediately find a fork in the road and aren’t sure of the route.  Hmmm…. this way?  …or that way?

2014Camino-1070205dmvWe ask some friendly locals who cheerfully guided us through town, down steps, past the church and point us to the road on the other side of town.  This route joined up with the other road so either one would have been fine, but you never know and it doesn’t hurt to ask.  This one was more interesting due to the challenge of the language barrier, and interesting local character .   They did not push us to tour the church for a donation, so it appears they are just plain friendly folks.  A smile is a smile in any language.2014Camino-1070212Our path is now alongside the highway, but our group has split up.  Randy, Liz and Bryon take the harder path, Dragonte, that winds up and around the mountainous area.

0820140401dmvcrLooking back over Villafranca del Bierzo

0820140420dmvcrThe path is incredibly steep, Randy’s legs are taxed, as if saying “That’s what you get for taking a day off.”

0820140414dmvcrBack in the medieval times this was the path taken to avoid robbers and thieves.  The government then decided to make it a toll road and charged travelers that chose this route.  Some may say highway robbery was involved with both routes.

0820140542dmv4x6We are happy to report that there were no toll booths for either route today.

0820140631dmvcrTheir views are spectacular both far away and close-up as they admire this walking stick insect.

2014Camino-1070215dmvkp50Meanwhile, Joan and I are wandering through little villages in the Valcarce Valley, where there is work to do.

2014Camino-1070217dmvcr I have a wheelbarrow similar to that one at home except mine doesn’t have a rubber tire. I still use mine, too.

2014Camino-1070221dmvI don’t think this albergue is open today.

2014Camino-1070226dmvcrWe meet young families that are transporting their kids in a stroller and behind a bike.  We visit often throughout the next few days with the parents of a one year old from Germany using the stroller.  Walking the Camino with little kids has got to be a challenge.

Amazingly, our two groups meet up right about where the path comes together again.  What timing.

2014Camino-1070238dmvcrRandy’s motto most days.

2014Camino-1070241dmvcr15 kilometers later we arrive at our destination. (9.3 miles, but closer to 10 miles for the challenging route)  Liz has booked beds ahead so we don’t have to worry about the bed race.

2014Camino-1070249A-a-a-h-h-h-h… home, sweet, home and the welcome mat is out.

We come from a land down under…  Why is this song by the Australian group, Men at Work, running through my head right now?

A small town bride on the ride of her life.

Thank God if you’re smart enough to live in a small town.

~unknown

I saw the above quote the other day and it started the wheels turning in my mind as to the charm of living in a small, rural community.  Into the photo archives I go to dig up some images that show a piece of life in a small town.  We do know how to entertain ourselves and have some good ol’ fun!

Haas-3973hp20dmvThis carnival ride at the Yellow Medicine County Fair, in Canby, Minnesota, seems to lend itself as a metaphor to the wild ride this young couple have chosen in life. Since their wedding in July of 2010, this small town couple have added two young children (1 1/2 years and 6 months) to their family, hold down full-time jobs, the bride completed a master’s degree, and both serve our country in the United States National Guard. In fact, the wedding was planned while the engaged couple were both deployed overseas in the Middle East.

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Yes, you are on the ride of your small town life.  The twists and turns of a carnival ride can become predictable after you get use to patterns of movement.  Life is not like that.  Bumps and turns can appear out of nowhere and you may even careen completely off of the path.

A small town has a secret weapon that helps us bounce back when the road of life gets rough ~  the people.   When the chips are down and we face a struggle, the community members are there to help pull us through.  During a crisis the small town rallies its troops to bring out the safety nets to help in whatever way is appropriate to the situation. We may not always agree on our politics, religion or philosophies of life, ( some may not even like each other) but we are there for each other.

Haas-3966HawpunchhpcrJust because we don’t rank at the top of the population charts doesn’t mean we aren’t resilient and destined to make a mark in the world.  In spite of the twists and turns…

Just sayin’.

Photo info:  Canon 5D Mark 2, Canon 70-200 L lens, Kubota Actions

Rural-sourcing… a new trend?

Great schools in our small rural communities prepare our children for life after high school whether that be entering the work force, military or furthering their education.  A strong sense of family, community and work ethic are valued in our daily lives. Participation in several kinds of extracurricular activities, as well as opportunities to be involved in the arts round out the experience.  Many also hold part-time jobs at local businesses and farms.
And then they leave… only to return for the holidays.  But why?

Jobs that can support a family and are fulfilling as a career force them to seek employment in larger cities. The link below discusses a possible new trend to bring high tech jobs to small towns and rural areas like ours:  Rural-sourcing…

http://www.omaha.com/article/20130314/MONEY/703149926/1697
blogRicki2
Southwest Minnesota and Eastern South Dakota are wonderful places to raise a family so this is an interesting concept to provide economic opportunities to rural areas.
Just a thought…

On the edge of adulthood…

…excitement, anticipation, anxiety, questioning, wondering…

This Bible passage seems to speak to young people as they look forward to graduation.
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Thoughts race through young minds on the cusp of a new world. Which direction should I go? Which school or vocation should I pursue? …and the age old question – What if I fail?
So many opportunities before them in high school and beyond. If one tries, there is an activity or pursuit that will fit their talents, personalities and interests.

I am usually in envy of young people with their whole adult lives ahead of them, but should I be? I am in a transition phase, as well, but I have many years of experiences and efforts behind me.  I already know what I can and cannot do so that narrows the field. (Lots of things I use to be able to do that are not options now)  I also know what I want to do which is also a plus.

The big question, though, is what SHOULD I do?

O.K., so maybe I’m not so different from these young guys and gals after all!  Maybe the Bible passage is a good one for all of us in any of our stages in life.  Hmmm…

You don’t choose your life… you live it.

~The Way

Another phase of my life goes by… taking a career break from traditional portraiture.

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This has been in the planning stages for the past 4 months and I was going to wait until mid October to announce my future plans, but I guess now is as good a time as any.

It’s been 16 years of growth and transformation, starting with 35mm and medium format film, darkroom processing and now the digital age with Lightroom and Photoshop. It is time to move on, so I will be closing the traditional portrait studio as of October 15, 2013.  All sessions scheduled up to that point will go on as planned and the current website will be up until May 1, 2014 to facilitate senior orders.  After that, I’ll start working on a new website reflecting the art of both Randy and myself.  The studio will then be transformed into Randy’s painting studio and workshop.  It’s his turn now.

I still love photography and hope to continue learning and exploring new, unusual techniques and push for a more and more creative style. Maybe even try an impressionistic painting style of photography.  I also plan to continue showing art work in galleries, promote the arts,  and hope to find time to put together other products using images.  (Greeting card line?)  I may ask to borrow some of your kids if I get an idea for some prairie photography because, after all, southwest Minnesota/Eastern South Dakota is a great place to raise children and that is a theme near and dear to my heart.

I will not be twiddling my thumbs and eating bonbons by the truck load, as I move into this phase of my life.  I’ll need to complete this year’s photo orders, try to be Randy’s farm hand/gopher, occasionally Granny Nanny (Grandkid #2 is expected in March 2014), clean/organize/paint inside the house and sheds (long overdue), continue involvement with community and art organizations, garden and go back to the classroom environment as a substitute teacher – look out, G-D!

Then, in my spare time, I’ll learn Spanish, how to knit/crochet, bike/hike or maybe even jog, work on songs with Randy (maybe my sister will dust off her accordion and we can hit the nursing home circuit!), read the books I haven’t had time to read and travel / hike anywhere I can, as well as visit friends and relatives.  Yep, lots to do.

Don’t worry, I’ll still blog about whatever trail I’m on or something that wanders through my mind and conjure up some “thought for the day” to amuse myself and the world from time to time.  Hey, I may even bring back “Photo Friday” with educational topics.

Thank you to all who have been on this journey with me…  It’s been a good ride.