Local Heart, Global Soul

January 28, 2011

Walking the Backstreets…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I went out for a Doctors visit yesterday morning and spent the afternoon sleeping after taking  painkillers since I’ve discovered that my new walking practice imposes a painful limit when distance is applied.

The 100 meter sprint record is most certainly safe.

After my rest I’m back on the computer this evening to check on email etc and whilst there am reminded of a far better walking experience that we enjoyed last summer.

As usual, camera in hand, I had documented our outing but it’s one of those photo folders that ” I meant to sort out later” and then completely forgot about.

Therefore I will amend that transgression and treat you to a small tour.

…But where are we going to?

Ah Ha ! Our destination will be revealed in due course…

Therefore I will whisk you back in time just a little,  and start just as we did.. in the back streets of the centre of  Den Haag (The Hague).

This is mostly the area between the  Mauritskade and the Lange Voorhout, with a detour along the Kleine Kazernestraat.

It was a beautiful day, so let’s walk…

It doesn’t take us long to pass by the Catholic Sint Jacobus Church…  a stunning building and beautifully decorated.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Beautiful, Yes…   … but onwards…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is an old part of town, many of the old buildings remain, but there are also a smattering of new buildings nestled amongst them too… the details of the old ones catch my eye.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 26, 2010

Camino de Santiago de Compostela, sign-posting the Way of St James.

Filed under: SPAIN — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

As we drive around this area of Spain we frequently see people on the side of the road.

These are no ordinary pedestrians, they are loaded up with rucksacks, some have tall walking sticks and all are pacing themselves in the heat of the Spanish summer.

These are also not  casual “walkers” or “hikers’ in the way you might usually associate with the word: these are Pilgrims and they are, some of them, walking very long distances indeed.

They are walking the “Camino de Santiago de Compostela” (“The Way of St. James”)

So what exactly is the “Camino de Santiago de Compostela” ? Well, it’s not just a single walk way for a start, it’s a multitude of them that traverse over vast distances within Europe, and they are marked by one feature: they are all pilgrimage routes have Santiago de Compostela  in north western Spain as their end point.

And even more stunningly, Pilgrims have been walking these routes for approximately one thousand years.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Some research turns up some interesting facts: there are five main routes…

– The Camino Frances. (the most popular) 780 kms.

– The Via de la Plata ( the Silver route),  follows an old roman road, starts in Seville or Granada, about 1000 km long.

– The Northern Route,  follows the coastline, and at 825 km is the most dangerous as it’s not well sign posted, covers rough terrain with many climbs and descents.

– The Portuguese Route, starts in Oporto (Porto) and is a shorter route at 230 km in length.

– Camino Ingles ( the English Road), starts in  either A Coruna , 75 kms and Ferrol, 110 kms.

I have to admit that I thought I had good knowledge about the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, I knew that it ran though France and into Spain, I knew where it ended, and who St. James was.

I also knew that there was more than one route, and that there are a myriad of hostels and stopping places and facilities especially for Pilgrims,  (reduced rates if you have a special “pilgrim passport” ) but there is also an awful lot that I didn’t know.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We had seen some signs on the coast road in Portugal coming north from Oporto and that was the first that I knew that the Camino de Santiago de Compostela also had links that faced southwards as well as north, and east.

We stop at one of the signs and I grab some photos.

Wiki tells me:

Besides being the mythical symbol, the scallop shell also acts as a metaphor. The grooves in the shell, which come together at a single point, represent the various routes pilgrims traveled, eventually arriving at a single destination: the tomb of Saint James in Santiago de Compostela.

The scallop shell served practical purposes for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago as well. The shell was the right size for gathering water to drink or for eating out of as a makeshift bowl.

Also, because the scallop shell is native to the shores of Galicia, the shell functioned as proof of completion. By having a scallop shell, a pilgrim could almost certainly prove that he or she had finished the pilgrimage and had actually seen the “end of the world” which at that point in history was the Western coast of Spain.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Thus  you see on the modern road signs the stylized  “ribs” of the scallop shell….

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One thing that I was a little disappointed to see was how many walkers we see on the edges of what are almost motorways…industrial areas, and general heavy traffic areas.  I assumed the routes would take quieter, more serene routes … and whilst yes they also do, it was alarming to see just how exposed to traffic some walkers were since there was often next to no footpath area.

That said, I missed a photo of a lovely sign what suddenly pointed off the road and right angles into a path that went through a vineyard.

There is a massive amount of information on the internet about the Camino de Santiago de Compostela,  if you are interested in knowing more then some excellent places to start would be in the following links.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santiago_de_Compostela

http://www.caminodesantiago.me.uk/santiago-de-compostela/

http://www.virtourist.com/europe/santiago/index.html

December 4, 2009

Hopewell Rocks, having fun with the camera!

(photo © kiwidutch)

We have stopped at the Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick on our way back to Maine.

The kids are having a wonderful time on the beach, looking at the rock formations, weird pebbles, small rocks piled up artfully,  crabs and a multitude of thing in and around the waters edge.

We all take a heap of photos, and generally get inspired by our surroundings.

The weather is lovely and we are all loving the walking.   Eventually my asthma gets the better of me and  I get a bit wheezy  after walking a bit further than I intended  and Mr. Four’s little legs are starting to suffer from weariness so it’s nice to see that there is a trolley at  the end of the loop walk where the two of us can catch a lift back.

We leave the fitter members of our party to do the full loop, Mr Four and I take the motorized way back to the information centre, where we amuse ourselves in the outdoor playground until the others catch up.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © elmotoo)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

This is an excellent place to have visited… everyone is very pleased that we stopped here.

December 3, 2009

Hopewell Rocks and some very large “Flower Pots” indeed!

(photo © kiwidutch)

Today we start heading  back to Maine. We want  visit the Hopewell Rocks the way as we have heard that the walks  are lovely and rock formations are well worth seeing.  Some of the rocks are called ” flower pots”,… Flower pots? Humm, sounds interesting … we pack everything into the van and set out…

The flowerpot  rocks we want to see are situated near the very top of the Bay of Fundy, where  the tides there are amongst the biggest in the world.

Imagine 100 billion tons of water moving in and out of a bay twice every 25 hours. Powered by the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun.  The gravitational pull of the sun during the new and full moon phases is stronger then usual and and results in higher than normal or ‘Spring: tides.

When the moon is at right angles to the line between the earth and the sun, the gravitational pull is weaker, resulting in lower then normal or “neap” tides.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Why does the tide come in so high? Because the Bay of Fundy is funnel-shaped, wide and deep at one end and shallow at te other, tides are pushed increasingly higher as they move up the bay. By the time they reach “ the rocks” the tides are over four stories high.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Although the flowerpot rocks come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, they have all been formed over millions of years by the dynamic movements of the earth and erosion from glaciers, tides, snow, ice and winds.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

The story of the rocks began approximately 300 million years ago when fast-flowing streams deposited thick layers of and and gravel at Hopewell Cape from the nearby Caledonia Mountains.

(photo © kiwidutch)

Over time the sand and gravel compacted into layers of conglomerate rock and sandstone. Forces within the earth thrust and titled the rock layers, creating large, vertical and horizontal fractures. From this point of the flowerpots began to evolve into their unique shapes.

(photo © kiwidutch)

How long will they stand? As the upper surfaces of the flowerpots become weakened in the spring due to moisture, pieces slide down the cliffs. Larger flowerpot rocks may stand for thousands of years, other hundreds, depending on how much they become unbalanced though erosion.

Geologists say there is enough conglomerate rock to make these amazing pillars for the next 100,000 years!

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

The midges attack us in the forest, but the beach walk is lovely and we have fun looking at odd looking rocks, piles of pebbles and puddles in the rocky  muddy flats… we like Hopewell Rocks!

(photo © elmotoo)

(photo © kiwidutch)

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