|l'Aubrac, avril 2008|
In France near the beginning, we walked in a region called Aubrac. It is fairly high and desolate and when we were there in late April it was cold and rainy with significant winds. Pilgrims who had passed through 3 days before us had battled a snow storm! Later in May it is covered in wild flowers and in late May the sheep and cattle are brought back from lower fields and farms to feed over the summer. The migration of the herds is called la Transhumance.
|près de Moncuq, mai 2008|
As we continued through France we passed many farms and at this time of year, fields were not yet producing. Farmers were preparing the soil for seeding. Can you see the speck at the end of the field? Two pilgrims walking through the fields.
The warmer the climate, the greener the fields became. This scene to me is pastoral. I could imagine Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters from Pride and Prejudice walking through the fields with their colourful frocks and bonnets.
|les Pyrénées, mai 2008|
After walking 40 days in France we arrived at the foot of the Pyrenees. We were lucky to have good weather and having climbed many hills and very rocky paths up and down valleys in France, we found the Pyrenees a breeze to climb! There were sheep, cattle and wild horses along the path and if some were in the way, you waited until they meandered off the path!
|Espagne, juin 2008|
Spain was very different from France. The farms were huge with few farm houses. It seems that farmers tend to live in the towns and drive to their properties. In the Rioja region, vineyards were interspersed by fields of poppy, beautiful.
I think the photo of this white villa with the two parasol pines is in every blog, website and book I have read and looked at about the Camino Francès. As we walked down below the vineyard, you could not help but snap a photo!
The Camino Francès in Spain passes everywhere, even under huge highways way above your head.
We found the experiences in France and Spain very different. In France the GR65 or Le Chemin is part of a network of hiking paths that are used by day trippers, weekend hikers and on the GR65, pilgrims on their way to Santiago. It goes through woods, fields, farmland, some villages but avoids bigger towns and cities. In Spain the Camino Francès and those who walk it have one goal, to make it to Santiago. There are few hikers and day trippers. It goes through forests, fields and villages but also along highways and through big cities. The atmosphere is very different. Everyone has the same goal.
I have more photos that usual for this theme. I felt like sharing this wonderful experience I had with others. It has already been six years since my pilgrimage and I still re-live many parts of it often.
If you wish to see the contribution of other participant to the photographic theme project go to Carmi Levy's blog at Written Inc.