Arriving and getting settled

Our first full day down south here in Andalusia. Had a ride around at La Janda and then later on at Barbate.

There are still plenty of Cranes at La Janda plus a Black Stork.  I’ll just let the photos tell the story…

Hebridean Imaging - Yvonne Benting - Bird Photography - Spain - Little Owl - La Janda
Little Owl
Hebridean Imaging - Yvonne Benting - Bird Photography - Spain - Black Stork - La Janda
Black Stork
Hebridean Imaging - Yvonne Benting - Bird Photography - Spain - Common Cranes - La Janda
Common Cranes

And at Barbate

Hebridean Imaging - Yvonne Benting - Bird Photography - Spain - Bluethroat - Barbate
Audouin’s Gulls – Barbate
Hebridean Imaging - Yvonne Benting - Bird Photography - Spain - Chiffchaff - Barbate

People often ask me what bird field guide do I use in Spain, well, I use the same one that I use for the UK, which is, in my opinion the best of all for Europe.

I usually carry the paperback version with me while out and about and have the hardback at home.

I also have this one though these days I pretty much know where to go and I have my own personal favourite spots

My equipment for bird photography: Canon 1DX Mk.II with 600mm lens and Canon 2x Extender

The compact flash card I use is this one, the Sandisk Extreme Pro, and I like it a lot, I have no problems with it buffering

Sticky post – Annual break

Just to let you know that I will be away during February and March 2018 as i’m heading down to Southern Spain on my annual break. following that I have some family commitments on the mainland. Any orders placed via the website are unlikely to be fulfilled until I return mid April.

I shall be taking photographs daily for my 2018 Photo365 Project which I will update weekly on here and I will no doubt (depending on the internet situation) Tweet some of my favourites – i will also be adding images now and again to Instagram.

My 2018 mobile phone Photo365 Project

My Twitter feed

My Instagram

Music time!

My first lie in since I can remember – weeks!! Around midday after Facetime with DD#1 I wandered into and all around the old town. a long line of pilgrims queuing up for their compostelas.

Had coffee in the sun and continued my wandering and exploration of the shops. Found that the market is close to where my apartment will be, also had coffee at the nearest bar to the apartment.

A siesta in the afternoon then back off out to find something to eat. Randomly chose a bar in a square behind the cathedral. Excellent salad (ensalada Quintana) and was entertained by music students who were being filmed. I love this city!!

Still alternating between being bunged up and snotty, throat marginally better. spoke to dad, he’s 83 today 🙂

Nájera to Cirueña

Walk: Nájera -> Cirueña 10 miles

Early morning coffee by the river before setting off on the road to Cirueña. I’d arranged to get my rucksack transported ahead, which I was a little nervous about – would I ever see my bag again?!

So, I travelled light but had my raincoat as it looked slightly overcast at first light. Wasn’t needed though as it turned into a marvellous, warm, sunny day. Many Corn Buntings singing in the fields 🙂

Refreshment stop in Azofra and then out across the vineyards and fields again. Lovely light and scenery – it looked almost painted – stripes of greens and browns all blending into one another.

A long slog up the hill into Cirueña, the new part of which is still as I remember it from 2013 – a souless ghost town with row upon row of modern houses all “se vende” (for sale). We’d decided on Albergue Victoria in the old village of Cirueña and it was absolutely lovely with a very warm welcome from the owners. And happily about 20 minutes later my rucksack arrived. Yay! Happy!

It’s amazing how good a shower and a change of undies can make you feel. Wandered around the village, took some photos, drank coffee and wine at the bar. Enjoyed a communal meal at the albergue which was delicious. This albergue is definitely going in my top 3 of favourites!

Hebridean Imaging Yvonne Benting art photography western isles outer hebrides uist camino de santiago
Fabulous old door in Azofra
Hebridean Imaging Yvonne Benting art photography western isles outer hebrides uist camino de santiago
Old farm implement in Cirueña
Hebridean Imaging Yvonne Benting art photography western isles outer hebrides uist camino de santiago
Pumpkins growing in the garden at the albergue

Navarette to Nájera

Walk: Navarette -> Nájera 11.1 miles

A cool, breezy start to the day and I kept my fleece on for walking. A little rain in the air. Chatted with another peregrina with mashed up feet and who was under instruction to rest up.

Missed the optional route into Ventosa and so had to walk the long way round into the village as I knew P and J would be waiting for me there at a bar! Rehydrated with coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice and water.

Felt like a long slog into Nájera – my broken rucksack is taking it’s toll on my back. Did enjoy walking through the vineyards though and the contrast of the green vines and the deep red soil. Thought about dad – he would love these vineyards, his own grapes, in England, are not ready for picking yet.

Treated ourselves to a private room as it was only 15 euros each, although poor P still got lumbered with the top bunk – I did offer though! 🙂

Restored myself and my feet, sitting at a bar by the river, lovely drink of coffee. White Stork over and Cetti’s Warbler calling from the reeds and a little later 14 Griffon Vultures over – everyone else there seemed totally oblivious to all these. Blister on little toe 🙁

Hoped to have a meal out with P and J in the evening but the choices in the bar they chose were paella/risotto, pizza or pasta, none of which i’m able to eat. Could have gone to a shop and bought something but getting a bit sick of a constant diet of paté, cheese and ham. Went beyond hunger so didn’t bother – survived on cigarettes and coffee.

Hebridean Imaging Yvonne Benting art photography western isles outer hebrides uist camino de santiago poem najera
Pilgrim’s poem, just outside Nájera

I believe the rough translation of this graffiti poem is:-

Dust and mud, sun and rain,
Such is the way to Santiago.
Thousands of pilgrims
And more than a thousand of years.
Pilgrim: who calls you?
What hidden power attracts you?
It’s not the field of stars
Nor the great cathedrals.

It is not the beauty of Navarra
Nor the wine of Rioja
Nor the seafood of Galicia
Nor the fields of Castilla

Pilgrim, who is it who calls you?
What unseen power attracts you?

Not the people of the camino
Nor their rural customs.
It is not the history nor the culture
Not the rooster of the Calzada
Nor the palace of Gaudi
Nor the castle of Ponferrada.

All that is seen in passing,
And it is a joy to see it all,
Is still less than the voice that calls
The feeling that is yet so much deeper.

The power that pushes me
The force that attracts me
I know not how to explain it.
Only He who is above understands it.

Viana to Navarette

Walk: Viana -> Navarette 7.8 miles

Actually not a bad night’s sleep on the two inch mattress – it helped that we had the room just to the three of us. Early morning coffee in the square opposite the albergue and watched the sun coming up as we waited for the bus to Logroño. Chatted with some American ladies, one of which had a badly infected toe and had already been laid up for two days and was under instruction for no more walking for four days.

A brief explore of Logroño – the wine festival is on – would have been fun to stay (I stayed here in 2013 during the wine festival and it was great!). Pretty warm walking and we’d had enough by the time we reached Navarette so checked into the municipal albergue which was very nice. A picnic tea in the albergue and Jane had an early night so P and I retired to the bar next door with glasses of 70 cents wine 🙂

Chatted with a young German guy who had a very wise head on his shoulders and was taking the walk very slowly. Today we have gone over the 100 miles of walking mark, woo hoo!

Lots of snoring people in the dormitory tonight but i’m too tired to care!

Hebridean Imaging Yvonne Benting art photography western isles outer hebrides uist camino de santiago
One of the lovely brass waymarkers in Navarette

Monjardín to San Sol

Walk: Monjardín -> San Sol (12 miles)

A good walk into Los Arcos where we rested for a while, rehydrating and then onwards in the heat of the day as far as San Sol.

Nice private albergue and we joined the queue for the washing machine. A little limited on the food and drink options here but I had some supplies with me so no problem.

Hebridean Imaging Yvonne Benting art photography western isles outer hebrides uist camino de santiago
The long road in to Los Arcos

Lorca to Villamajor de Monjardín

Walk: Lorca -> Villamajor de Monjardín (11.2 miles)

A long hot day with at least half of the walking being uphill! The free wine fountain at Irache actually had wine in it (it was empty when I arrived at it in 2013).

Not many beds left when arrived in Monjardín but the albergue offered us a private room with three beds in it, we were more than happy to share and the room was lovely, with a view out across the village and the surrounding countryside.

Hebridean Imaging Yvonne Benting art photography western isles outer hebrides uist camino de santiago
The church tower in Monjardín. From my sketchbook. Watercolour.

Muruzábal to Lorca

Walk: Muruzábal -> Lorca (13.7 miles)

The sun was just coming up as we headed out from the albergue and did the detour to Eunate. So glad we did, I missed this last time I walked this route. Took many, many photos of this ancient church. After Eunate headed into Obanos for the first coffee of the day – there were hundreds and hundreds of House Martins around the village which made for a spectacular sight.

At Puente la Reina P and J looked around the church and I had more coffee in the warm sunshine. Later when we arrived at Mañeru we were all very hot so sat in the shade by the fountain for a while and took our boots and socks off. Bliss!

Plodded our way to Cirauqui, a very “zen” time of the day – all the irritating noise of thoughts gone, just in the moment, no past or future, just the sound of my boots scrunching on the gravel path, birds, butterflies and the sound of an aeroplane passing far overhead. Added Short-toed and Booted Eagles to my list. At one point, like magic, I was surrounded by butterflies 🙂

Made a fundamental mistake of not picking up food to eat in Puente la Reina. Lorca only has a tiny shop but happily I managed to explain to the bar owner that i’m not able to eat bread and he knocked me up the most wonderful plate of fried ham and eggs, all washed down with a lovely glass of wine.

Hebridean Imaging Yvonne Benting art photography western isles outer hebrides uist camino de santiago
The church at Eunate in the early morning sunshine
Hebridean Imaging Yvonne Benting art photography western isles outer hebrides uist camino de santiago
Peppers hanging up to dry, seen while sitting in the street, enjoying my coffee in Puente la Reina
Hebridean Imaging Yvonne Benting art photography western isles outer hebrides uist camino de santiago
Walking through the vineyards with Cirauqui in the distance