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Walking the Camino de Santiago Photos

These are my favourite Camino de Santiago Photos from my pilgrimage along the French Way in March. A truly beautiful way to spend a few weeks.

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Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

El Camino de Santiago kicked my ass. Well technically it kicked my feet. Turns out my minimal preparation for the Camino de Santiago was terrible. After a miserable effort of only 4 days, the doctor in Legrono told me that I wasn’t allowed to go on until me feet healed. I had walked just over 100 km’s and my feet were bloodied and blistered.

To be honest, I was relieved.

The thought of putting back on my shoes made my shudder. For the last 9 km’s I had stumbled along in jandals and socks. One of the travelling fashion sins I vowed I would never break.

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

So while I have unfinished business with the Way of St James (an upcoming post), I did want to share with you some of my favourite photos from the Camino de Santiago. Because I had yet to reach some of the more “unsavoury” parts of the Camino that Sherry Ott had discovered, every step of my pilgrimage had been beautiful.

Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

Puenta La Reina Bridge – Camino de Santiago Arrows

There is no way you can get lost on the Camino de Santiago. Arrows, scallop shells and signs point you in the right direction at every bridge, road crossing and intersection.

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Reaching the top of Alto Pedron gave views back the way I had come from Pamplona, as well as views to where I was going. The rocky path on the way down proved to be my ultimate downfall, as my too small shoes caused my toes to smash into the front.

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

There were so many beautiful old churches along the Camino de Santiago. But since I was walking in early March, it seemed that most were yet to open for the busier summer season.

Church of Obanos

The Church of Obanos

And between every small village the well-maintained pathways of the French Way wound across the spectacular Spanish countryside.

The French Way - Camino de Santiago

The French Way – Camino de Santiago Photos

Puenta La Reina

Puenta La Reina in the evening

Puenta La Reina has one of the most amazing bridges I have ever seen. It was also the 1st village I had the pleasure of sleeping in after busy Pamplona.

Puenta la Reina Bridge and Sunrise

Puenta la Reina Bridge at sunrise

Most mornings I was up and walking before the sun began to sprinkle across the horizon.

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Every village and town was built on a small hill. Sure it looks beautiful until you realise you have to go back up again to go through them all!

Church of Santa Maria - Los Arcos

Church of Santa Maria in Los Arcos

While there were only about 20 pilgrims walking each section every day, it wasn’t uncommon for you to encounter them all. The people I met along the Camino de Santiago were some of the most inspiring and remarkable people I have ever spoken to. They are the ones that make the pilrgimage so special.

The endless French Way

The endless French Way

Irache Wine Fountain - Fuente del Vino

The free flowing Irache Wine Fountain or “Fuente del Vino”

Hay bales along the French Way

Hay bales along the French Way

Every village had at least one ancient church and it wasn’t uncommon to find them dotting the landscape in remote locations either.

Ermita de San Miguel

Ermita de San Miguel

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

I have travelled through Spain in the past, including cycling in Costa Brava and surfing in San Sebastian with both independent planning and a vacation planner. But having the opportunity to walk at my own pace through some of the most beautiful scenery in Spain on the Camino de Santiago has so far topped them all.

Natural arches - Camino de Santiago

Natural arches on the Camino de Santiago

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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95 Comments

95 Comments

  1. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas

    April 1, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    So, so looking forward to the Camino this summer – and have been for nearly eight years! Looking forward to your upcoming posts.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 1, 2013 at 1:28 PM

      Wow 8 years! I decided 4 days before I went that I was going haha. But my under-preparation definitely worked against me. Enjoy it 🙂

      • Jose

        November 12, 2013 at 7:44 AM

        Hi:

        El Camino is a beautiful experience, painful and inspiring…

        I just want to point out that it is Puente la Reina, instead Puenta la Reina, and maybe you visited a doctor in Logroño.

        cheers

      • Andy Wilson

        February 6, 2014 at 4:42 PM

        Ha Cole what was the weather like at that time of year I’m going to walk April 2014 I’m like you layed off 26th January from job in WA a few things to tidy up in NZ Auckland friends walked it 3 years ago ,had a ball, I’m planing on doing the full trek France to Spain and even contemplating cycling the Spain Portugal section after that, se how we go I’ve been training and boots are a couple of seasons old so looking forward to it

        • Cole Burmester

          February 7, 2014 at 4:54 AM

          Hey Andy.
          Thanks for the comment! Very jealous you are going over and I might actually see you there… Possibly walking it again in May this year too. The weather should be reasonably fine by April. Sometimes they get some late snow in the Pyrenees but it shouldn’t affect you too much. The pass over the top closed a day before I arrived so I had to start from Pamplona but I was there a month earlier than you. All I can say is take as little gear as possible as you will regret every KG of equipment that you don’t end up using. Good luck and enjoy it!
          Cheers,
          Cole

  2. EurotripTips

    April 1, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    Beautiful photos! And nevermind that you weren’t able to finish the Camino – the simple fact that you were motivated enough to actually start and do 100km it is very impressive! Congrats, and better luck next time!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 1, 2013 at 2:32 PM

      I met people that had been walking the Camino for 10 years! Every year they came back and did a little bit more. They plan to finish next year sometime 😉 Might be me in a few years time haha.

  3. Jarmo

    April 1, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    Gorgeous shots Cole! I’ve been very tempted by the Camino, it looks gorgeous, although I am worried that the same thing that happened to you, would happen to me. But still, a good try mate!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 1, 2013 at 4:59 PM

      As long as you have broken in your shoes (I didn’t), ensured they are a little bigger than normal (mine weren’t) and you can comfortably walk 20+ km’s a day, then you will be fine! Highly recommend it 😀

  4. Jenna

    April 1, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    Wow, what an experience this must have been, and what beautiful photos! I remember learning about this path in one of my art history classes and have been interested in it since then because it has been so important for so many people and for so long.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 2, 2013 at 9:24 AM

      I had never heard about the Camino de Santiago until last year when one of my friends did it. To be honest I had no desire to do it until just 4 days before I left! Wish I had prepared some more now though as I really want to finish it.

  5. Sarah

    April 2, 2013 at 2:58 AM

    Wow Cole, what lovely photos! I’m sorry about your feet but it looks like you got some great shots in there 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      April 2, 2013 at 9:29 AM

      Imagine if I had a chance to walk the full 800 km’s! Probably would have ran out of memory space on my camera haha.

  6. The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen)

    April 2, 2013 at 5:27 AM

    Sorry to hear you didn’t get to finish it this time around, but you got some great photos that’s for sure! What a beautiful part of the world. I look forward to reading the unfinished business post. We are trying to hike the Appalachian Trail in sections … probably will never be able to finish it, but hey, sometimes it’s about the journey, not the end goal, right?

    • Cole Burmester

      April 2, 2013 at 9:31 AM

      I met a couple that were walking the Camino de Santiago over 11 years. They expect to finish next year so it is definitely achievable when you break it down like that. So jealous of you hiking the Appalachian Trail and good luck. I am sure you will get there in the end, even if it is in 10 years time 🙂

  7. Kerwin

    April 2, 2013 at 5:45 AM

    Jandals and sock! uugh…
    I love the beautiful pictures; thank you!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 2, 2013 at 9:31 AM

      I think I have just destroyed my brand with that photo 😉

      And thanks Kerwin!

  8. Casey @ A Cruising Couple

    April 2, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    This is SO awesome–I’m really hoping that one day we get to do the pilgrimage, even if it’s just a bit of it! Great photos!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 2, 2013 at 2:48 PM

      If you come to Europe then definitely put it on the to-do list! Well worth it, even if you only do it for a few weeks/days like me 😉

  9. Shane

    April 3, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    Great photos Cole! Hope the feet are feeling better.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 3, 2013 at 12:10 PM

      Thanks Shane. Feet are just about healed now haha.

  10. Sophie @ GetACarHire

    April 3, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    You captured all these beauties with blistered feet?! Salute!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 3, 2013 at 12:10 PM

      Since I was walking so slowly I might as well as have taken them 😉

  11. Matthew Karsten

    April 3, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Can’t wait to try this one day. Will make sure to use your advice about the broken-in and roomy shoes though. Love the shots!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 3, 2013 at 3:35 PM

      Well worth a trip to Spain for it! Just do a little more preparation than me haha.

  12. Rachelle Gallant

    April 3, 2013 at 10:44 PM

    Absolututely stuning photos!!! I walked the Camino in September/October 2012 and will definitely return one day! Thanks for Sharing!!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 4, 2013 at 8:17 AM

      You are welcome 😀 September would have been a perfect time of year to walk the Camino I think. Not too hard and not as many people!

  13. ReAnn

    April 4, 2013 at 1:37 AM

    Poor feet. That’s my greatest worry as I get ready to walk the Camino next Spring. Your photos are fabulous. Would you share what type camera you used?

  14. Jade Johnston

    April 4, 2013 at 2:59 AM

    OUCH I have heard stories of the camino killing shoes in the past… for a hike of that length you dont want to be cheap with your hiking shoes. love the photos

    • Cole Burmester

      April 4, 2013 at 8:24 AM

      I wasn’t cheap with them, they cost me a bundle! Just didn’t break them in enough and they needed to be at least a half size bigger than normal. Learnt my lesson though and hopefully it helps others too 😉

  15. Janice

    April 4, 2013 at 3:13 AM

    my husband and i walked the camino to Santiago de Compostela we took are time walking it in 42 days during Sept and Oct 2012, it is beautiful. The people we met were wonderful. we, life a lot of people packed too heavy, but after purging some of the items we didn’t need, we were much better off. We met people of all shapes and size, and all ages, kids travelling with their parents the youngest about 2 years of age the oldest 82 years of age! your images a wonderful and bring back great memories.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 4, 2013 at 8:15 AM

      42 days is a perfect amount of time to walk it. Means you can take your time and enjoy the villages rather than rushing through every day. And the people definitely make the journey. Thanks for commenting 😉

  16. YOLANDA LEMASTER

    April 4, 2013 at 3:17 AM

    Great pics. Wish mine looked half as good.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 4, 2013 at 8:15 AM

      Thank you Yolanda 🙂 Just takes time and practice (and a little editing haha).

  17. Agnes Martinez

    April 4, 2013 at 5:48 AM

    I loooooove your photos!!! I am doing the camino next year and am sooooo excited!!! Thanks for your photos, they are going up on my wall to remind me of what’s in store for next year!!!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 4, 2013 at 8:13 AM

      You will have so much fun Agnes! Maybe I will re-do it next year too 🙂

  18. Natasha von Geldern

    April 4, 2013 at 5:58 AM

    Wow beautiful photos but your poor feet! A salutary tale indeed!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 4, 2013 at 8:14 AM

      Haha thanks Natasha. Was a big mistake being so unprepared with the right shoe choice. But lesson learned for next time 😉

  19. sepideh minaaraghi

    April 4, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    wow I loved looking at your photos, I am starting the walk april 29th, did you use a tent along the way? do I need one?

  20. Lucina

    April 5, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    Thank you for your photos, they are inspiring and beautiful. I plan to walk the Camino one day, so I often check with this site. Good luck with your feet and your journey.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 5, 2013 at 8:58 AM

      Thanks Lucina! Let us know if you ever need any tips and good luck when you do walk the Camino.

  21. Sil

    April 5, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    Ouch! Seems you felt the painful souls of pilgrims past through the soles of your feet! Hope you go back – there are fantastic photo opportunities waiting for you along the path!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 6, 2013 at 9:27 AM

      Thanks Sil! Feet are basically healed now (2 weeks later) so definitely keen to get back there soon. Maybe not this summer but should be sooner than later.

      • Sil

        April 9, 2013 at 12:19 PM

        I posted a link to this blog on the Camino Forum and most comments are about your gorgeous photography – everyone wanting to see more. Do you have a link to any other photographs?

        • Cole Burmester

          April 9, 2013 at 4:49 PM

          I don’t unfortunately Sil! I will need to go through and edit some more at some stage. And thank you so much for sharing the post on the forum 😀

  22. Margaret

    April 5, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    Your Camino photos are some of the most stunning I have seen- truly beautiful. Maybe you will get back, with a bigger pair of worn in shoes- and we will get to see some more of your journey along it.
    The churches mostly aren’t open in the season either by the way. In most smaller places they are open for evening mass but not much more than that.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 6, 2013 at 9:26 AM

      Thank you Margaret 🙂 Was such a wonderful experience, even if it was short lived. Definitely plan to be back in the near future to finish it off with a little more preparation!

  23. Gretta

    April 6, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    Far Out!!! They are some of the best photos I have seen of the Camino. Im heading back to the Camino in August. I am about to buy my third pair of shoes…Yikes. Im so worried about this. Can I ask if you dont mind…what were the shoes that you had problems with. (Please excuse me if this has been mentioned…but I couldnt see it)

    I ended up last time walking in Kumfs black dress sandals and white socks….soooooo atractive… not. But they worked.

    • Gretta

      April 6, 2013 at 8:53 AM

      Bananas!! Doup! found the shoes on your site. 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      April 6, 2013 at 9:25 AM

      Saw that you spotted the shoes 😉 But just for anyone else, they were Northface Hedgehog shoes. It was just the size that I got so wrong. Definitely worth buying about a half-size to size bigger than normal 😀

      Good luck again in August. Maybe will see ya there!

  24. Stephen Nicholls

    April 6, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    Smashing photo’s! My diaries and links to over 700 photos from my last two caminos are on my web site. Off in six weeks time, from Lisbon to Porto this time, so completing the Camino Portuguese.
    Ultreya!
    Stephen

    • Cole Burmester

      April 6, 2013 at 9:24 AM

      Thanks Stephen! Will go check out your photos of the Camino now too 😉 Good luck for the Portuguese leg.

  25. Ali

    April 6, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    Looks gorgeous! But hiking in flip flops is not ideal. I’m glad you didn’t push on, sounds like it would’ve been really bad for your already aching feet. The sections you were able to see look great though!