Walking in Spain along the Camino Ignaciano from Loyola to Manresa, and the Camino de Invierno from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela

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Friday, 21 October 2016

Barcelona, and some rest!

In Barcelona we did quite a bit of sightseeing, but we managed to turn some of that sightseeing into a rest as well!  Pam and I bought a 2 day hop on /hop off bus ticket, and apart from hopping off to visit the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell we spent the time up on the top deck just listening to the audio and looking.  We did though, do some walking, up and down Las Ramblas, a famous pedestrian street that stretches from Catalunya Place to the sea.  On the Sunday when we arrived it was jam packed with wall to wall people.  It was hard work negotiating it with our packs on as we headed to our hotel.

Julie and I spent a delightful hour or so just before Jim arrived on a guided tour of Palau de la Música Catalana.  This is a magical building devoted, not only to Catalan music, but to music of all cultures and styles.  The mosaics, the carvings, the light shining through the glass make this a very beautiful building indeed.  To either be a performer or an audience member must be a real treat.
......and glass.
Just one of the muses who are forever on stage performing.

It was lovely to meet up with Jim, Julie's husband later that day, and on Tuesday morning we all met at the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi's amazing Church, begun in 1882, and yet to be completed.  Despite the huge crowds, it is still possible to appreciate the simple serenity of this place.  It is a place of soaring columns, diverse angles, sweeping curves, and light of all colours, as the sun shines through the stained glass windows.
Gaudi's Sagrada Familia - column's, angles, and light.

The stained glass had the names of sacred places around the world.  Many pilgrims start their Camino at Roncesvalles, and we visited Arantzazu on the Camino Ignaciano.

After farewelling Julie and Jim, Pam and I headed up to Park Güell.  Here we found that we had a three hour wait to get into some of the Park, and so we  opted for a walk in the gardens, which we enjoyed immensely.
Park Güell - what we did see as we wandered around the garden,........

.......and what we couldn't see up close!

I have told you about the two highlights of the day, but the evening brought another treat for me.  I had only just said to Pam that I regretted not seeing any castle building (I'm not sure she knew quite what I meant), when, as we walked back to our room past a school, I caught something interesting out of the corner of my eye.  I asked if we could go in and watch, and we were then treated to a number of catles being built!  This was the Colla (Club) Castellers de Sants and they were rehearsing (a twice weekly event).  If your interested check them out on face book.  Castle building is a Catalan custom begun back in the 1800's, though now there are around 80 clubs throughout the world.  We spent nearly an hour watching, and if I hadn't needed to make an early start the next day I would have stayed longer.
Building a castle.  The waistband is a long, wide strip of fabric which is wound tightly around the midriff with the aim of preventing muscular, bone,  and spinal injuries.  Every person plays a role in either building, or supporting the castle.  The back of the waistband also acts as a step on a ladder as those doing the climbing hook their toes in.  The younger ones use the calves as a step on the ladder too.  The wee one we saw climbing right to the top was five years old!

On Wednesday I caught the train to Ponferrada - a very enjoyable nine and half hour journey.  It gave me a chance to rest my foot for another day.  I have now been walking on the Camino Invierno for two enthralling days, but that will have to wait until next time.  I am now on my own, as Julie has gone off holidaying with Jim, and by now Pam should be back home, with a steadily improving knee.  I miss their company, but people are amazingly warm and friendly on this route, though fellow pilgrims are scarce.  Since leaving Ponferrada I have yet to see another pilgrim.  More next time.


  1. Ive lost track of your itinerary Janet. Are you walking from Ponferrada to Santiago? Then ????

    1. Hola Jane. I am now on the Camino Invierno which runs more or less parallel to the Frances, South of it, from Ponferrada to SdC. It was / is known as the winter way because it was easier (in Medieval times) than the mountains on the Frances. Now though, I think the Frances is easier, due to the huge infrastructure that it has by comparison to this route. This will / is change / changing as the route becomes more established. It joins onto the last two days of the Sanabres and thus ends in SdC. After a couple of days rest the plan is back to Barcelona then home, via Doha. Look forward to a coffee with you on my return!