Tag Archives: Camino de Santiago

The unanticipated side effects of a picnic at Pont Valentré, Cahors

Want to visit a unique city nestled inside a bend in a river, an authentic and non-touristy town with highly-cultivated gastronomy? Yes?  Then Cahors is for you. But wait until you get a look at this bridge—now you’re sold, aren’t you? The Southwestern region of France is teeming with medievalist catnip, and Cahors’ Pont Valentré is […]

San Martín church in Frómista: Romanesque pilgrimage perfection and a figurine of a one-armed hobo

San Martín church in Frómista, Spain is the archetype of a Romanesque pilgrimage church.  Obviously I’m crazy about the place. It’s the clarity of the structure I love most of all.  Notice the precision of the architectural elements and the way the building cleanly meets the plaza. San Martín was built quickly—in about 15 years […]

A day at Cathédrale Ste-Marie in Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges followed by a night of flocked velvet wallpaper

Cathédrale Ste-Marie is a pilgrim magnet.  Once you catch sight of this Romanesque-Gothic beauty at the foot of the Pyrenees in the village of Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges you are inevitably  pulled in by it’s compelling attraction. Don’t you want to come closer? Unlike the scenery, the weather during our visit to Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges was less than idyllic.  Not to put […]

Saint-Just Basilica in Valcabrère, recycled Roman ruins, no cheese shops

Saint-Just Basilica is cozily nestled in the tiny village of Valcabrère, population 164, in the Haute-Garonne department of Southwest France.  This small Romanesque church built in 11th -12th centuries is handsomely proportioned, with well-preserved portal sculptures.  As if the setting wasn’t picturesque enough, what with the red chickens clucking about, antique barns and strategically placed […]

Faux-Pilgrim’s Progress: how we faked a pilgrimage

Last week as we were walking about in the rain in Santiago de Compostela looking for a post office, we were stopped by the leader of a tour group.  “Excuse me” he said politely “I see that you are pilgrims.  My group would like to see your pilgrim’s passport stamps.  Could you please show them […]

The glowing streets of Santiago de Compostela

It always rains in Santiago de Compostela so the buildings and cobblestones are covered in moss.  The town glows and the twisting arcaded streets are magically inviting. What do you mean we don’t have to go West anymore? The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is confusing–sprawling with multiple entrances, partly covered with scaffolding.  The famous Portico of […]

An outbreak of snowball fights in León

When it snowed in León snowball fights broke out everywhere. These naughty boys lobbed snowballs at all the passersby, including us.  I returned fire. HOB eating mantecadas, the specialty almond cookie of León. I felt chilled and bought the same scarf all the teen girls are wearing. Casa de Botines by Antoni Gaudi. Painting in our Hostal […]

Frómista, Spain: The Infamous Blue Traveling Poncho Camino de Santiago special edition

Never has before has Frómista, Spain seen a sexier pilgrim until the day I sauntered into to town with my handsome gentlemen companion, wearing seven shirts and a coat and a poncho. First ever documented sighting of Wife of Bath wearing The Infamous Blue Travelling Poncho. San Martín: brace yourselves because this is one of my all […]