josef hammer jun. 

Camino de Santiago: Day 22

Camino Day 22

Not everybody walks the Camino in one go. Today, I accompany Elaine and Felicidad, two lovely French women, who walk a week every year. They certainly won’t face my current issue: I’m running short on test sensors for my blood glucose meter. After a few inquiries, a very helpful lady in a pharmacy in Ponferrada informs me that my sensors aren’t available in Spain. Will the parcel from home reach me in time? More importantly, will the river in Villafranca del Bierzo be cold enough after this hot and dusty day? ;)

Villafranca del Bierzo, Castile and León, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 21

Camino Day 21

This is it, the moment we’ve been waiting for: On our way to Molinaseca we reach the Cruz de Ferro. On their journey, every pilgrim brings a stone from home as a symbol for what you want to leave behind, and places it in front of the cross. Mine is beautifully painted by my cousin. You can’t help but feel sentimental in that special moment.

Cruz de Ferro, Castile and León, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 20

Camino Day 20

Another wonderful day on our way to Rabanal del Camino. Now that I decided to stay with Kathi and Torsten, and to book a later flight home, I am much more relaxed. Less focused on myself, more on supporting the group. Walking the Camino in company doesn’t mean we stick together all the time – often we hike a few meters apart and get lost in our thoughts. Best of both worlds, I’d say ;).

Santa Catalina de Somoza, Castile and León, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 19

Camino Day 19

As much as I enjoyed the solitude on the three days before León, it also made me realize that hurrying through Spain isn’t what I’m looking for: I want to create memories with friends and spend time in the lovely places I’m walking through. So, today I decided to stay with my favorite German pilgrims, and the magnificent view from our hotel room in Astorga alone is worth it! I could stare at the Palacio de Gaudí all night long :).

Astorga, Castile and León, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 18

Camino Day 18

León is worth staying another day, so in lack of exciting news from the road, here are some facts about my backpack ;). My entire gear weighs only 7.6 kg – the selection process would have made any geek proud :D. Included is the backpack itself, everything I wear during the day, the trekking poles, my running shoes, and a sleeping bag. Furthermore, all my diabetes related stuff as well as absolute necessities like a power bank and a small tripod for my phone ;). Add up to 2 liters of water and enough carbs to keep my blood glucose level up under all circumstances, and I’m good to go :).

León, Castile and León, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 17

Camino Day 17

A surprisingly tough decision, but I decide that I do want a replacement phone for the rest of the trip. I love taking photos and I want to connect with my friends again. To reach a proper shop before the weekend, I speed things up and take the train to León (57 km). To my surprise, being on the train feels just right. Eventually, after a mere 15,000 steps around various (repair) stores, I settle on a used Sony Z3. Main feature: it’s waterproof :D.

León, Castile and León, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 16

Camino Day 16

Carrión de los Condes to Sahagún (42 km). I feel lucky. This part of the Camino, the Meseta, might have been a pain in hot weather; but since it’s raining for the third day in a row, it’s actually quite pleasant. Just don’t take a break – you’ll lose the momentum and your body will hurt afterwards. The trick is to do everything while walking: measuring the glucose level, eating, drinking, putting on sunscreen (well, maybe not today). 130 km in the last 3 days? Not bad. 10,000 steps a day more than done ;)

Sahagún, Castile and León, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 15

Camino Day 15

Castrojeriz to Carrión de los Condes (46 km). I’m alone and completely offline – what an interesting experience. With my phone dead, I have no map, no guidebook, no camera, no dictionary, no music, nobody can get hold of me, and I cannot contact anyone. I just walk. Follow the yellow arrows. Estimate distances from road signs. Practically no other pilgrim in sight today. And I love it.

Photo by Torsten.

Itero de la Vega, Castile and León, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 14

Camino Day 14

Rain! 8 hours of walking in liquid sunshine – the entire 42 km to Castrojeriz. This photo was taken the day after, so you can imagine what it looked like during the rain ;). Why the day after? Well, I did not miss the opportunity and drowned my iPhone right away inside my “waterproof” jacket (to be fair, the pocket proved to be watertight from the inside out ;)).

Photo by Torsten.

Hornillos del Camino, Castile and León, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 13

Camino Day 13

Delighted to see my friends again, I spend the entire day exploring and enjoying Burgos. Hanging out at the Plaza del Rey San Fernando in front of the impressive cathedral, chatting with other pilgrims, laughing, sharing stories, having a good time until midnight. What a great day catching up with so many interesting characters I met along the way :)

Burgos, Castile and León, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 12

Camino Day 12

Must. Walk. Slower. Started too fast again, which led to cramps in my shinbone muscles. But after a few hours I’m always in the zone: marching steady, fast, pushed by some music or lost in thoughts. At 3 p.m., 40 km into the day, I reach Burgos. Arriving in a bigger city always feels great: Like a top athlete crossing the finish line, with the crowd waiting ;)

Burgos, Castile and León, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 11

Camino Day 11

Note to self: Take care of your 3 remaining socks! Burnt one at the attempt to quick-dry them with a hairdryer while having breakfast ;). Usually, I dry my second pair (yes, I have only 2 pairs with me) while walking, but two nights ago I was too lazy to do the laundry. Towards the end of the day I had to make a tough decision… and decided to leave my friends again and continue on to Villafranca Montes de Oca. After all, I want to reach Burgos tomorrow.

Castildelgado, Castile and León, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 10

Camino Day 10

Best evening so far! After a rather grumpy start into another 30 km day – and a little sightseeing on the way – we managed to get an entire house in Grañón for just the five of us! Even better, Iva and Kathi served the best dinner on the entire Camino … what a treat after the usual pilgrim’s menus in the restaurants! Combine that with lots of fun watching soccer together… love you guys!!

Grañón, La Rioja, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 9

Camino Day 9

Reunited! What a difference a day of rest (only 18 000 steps yesterday) can make: my knee is pain-free (and will stay so for the rest of the trip!). And: Tonight, I’m going to catch up again with Iva, Kathi, Rüdiger and Torsten in Nájera. Yippee!! :)

Photo by Kathi.

Nájera, La Rioja, Spain

Camino de Santiago: Day 8

Camino Day 8

I love Logroño! Last night I was mesmerized by this lively city and decided to take a day off and stay. Feels great to be an ordinary tourist for a day and go shopping in a big supermarket (instead of the tiny shops in the small villages). Inviting bars and cafes, pleasant temperatures, short skirts … great atmosphere :)

Logroño, La Rioja, Spain