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After El Camino de Santiago de Compostela: A Time for Reflection

Thursday, February 22, 2018

It has been almost 4 months since I walked my last day on El Camino (November 7, 2017). My husband and I spent another month in Spain visiting the cities of Sevilla, Córdoba, Toledo, and finally Madrid. We were able to walk a small bit of El Camino de Plata from were it begins in Sevilla and found the pilgrim’s office and church in Madrid where we went to our last Pilgrim’s Mass and later returned to donate our boots and a few other items for other pilgrims to use.

We are now planning our next walk: either the Ring of Kerry in Ireland, a 2 week walk that ends in Florence, Italy, or part of El Camino Frances in Southern France. When? We don’t know, soon though.

In the mean time we are walking as much as we can. It is winter so snow and chill gets in the way…here we can choose our days and weather. My toes are still numb but not hurting and my knees have recovered. I still have two small red spots on my left forearm from the bite that I got from the Biting Midge on our second day out in September (there is a repellent for those little blood suckers though). And I have replaced my bracelets; the turquoise and the shell, which I wore on my right wrist with a tattoo of a shell whose design is from a photo that I took in Santiago to help the artist create it.  Amy Porter, as always, did a wonderful job. Thank you.

What I am finding now is that I am mellower. Issues that bothered me before don’t. As a friend once told me, “It is what it is.”   There are things that one can do to make a better change in life and, well, things that one cannot. So why get hyper about it.

As a pilgrim I was looking for Balance in my life. I want to be more grounded and be able to look at something in a clear more comprehensive matter.  I believe that the mellowness that I feel in my soul is giving me this strength.

The issues in life…for me adult bullying…will always be there. Balance will help me handle it better: not allow emotions to take over and know when to walk away. As we say in Costa Rica, ¡PURA VIDA! (Pure Life or Life is Good!). At this point in my life and what I thought about and discussed with the Love of My Life on El Camino through those 631.4 miles that we cross over in Northern Spain together I have realized that I have many wonderful friends and am involved with a very creative group of people. I am ready to continue giving what I can to my community with the gifts that I have to offer.

¡El Camino IS la vida!

¡Buen Camino!

A Poem:

One day when walking thru a small village there was a pilgrim sitting on a stone bench.  Her pack at her side and her staff against it she watched us.  I found her intriguing.  Later when I was sitting and having lunch at a food truck area I saw her again.  She stood on El Camino at the foot path that led to the food area and again watched us.  I looked down for a moment to take a bite of my food and then looked up.  She was gone.  I didn’t see her on the path to the food truck nor on the Camino road that went on for quite awhile before curving down a hill.  She couldn’t have walked that fast.  It was surreal.

Pilgrim (La Peregrina)

Long hair

Shades of grey

You sit alone on a stone bench comforted by the moss that covers it.

Deep lines on face

 That once was fresh

How long has the sun, wind, rain, cold and heat touched you?

Slow walk

With staff in hand

Thick and crooked it pounds the trail with each careful step.

Shell and Gourd

 Sway to a rhythm

That beats out the ages of long ago when the ancients walked this path.

Observed by one

…You watch.

The reason long forgotten

The answer no longer important.

Fading into the horizon

…She understands.

–Marcia Gutiérrez, 2017



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Ha'Penny BridgeHa’Penny Bridge on the River Liffey

Night photography is more about color and light than the sunlight we work with in daytime photography.  At night we work with different spectrums of light giving off various colors that both lights our subject and reflects off of the environment around it.  Photographs taken at night show off the light in so many different ways because it is contrasted against the dark so much more and because there are so many different types of light coming at us.


O’Connell Bridge & Aston Quay

 At night I see so much more with the light than just illumination.  The colors, glare, contrasts, reflections, and textures:  photographing at night, for me, is more abstract.  It brings out the rebel in me.  I always love the opportunity for night photography.  Yet I have few opportunities because, well, it’s at night and walking around with a camera, passing dark streets and alleys is not a really safe thing to do–especially if I am not familiar with the city.


Grand Canal Dock

So with this in mind, I was thrilled when I found out that there was a guided Night Photography Tour of Dublin offered by www.Dawn2Dusk.ie.  Not a workshop where someone would be teaching me what to do—no—rather a tour where the guide would take me and others out into a central area of Dublin and show us the best spots to take photos of different points of interest.

DublinConvention Center Dublin Convention Center


Ha’Penny Bridge

The tour takes place by the River Liffey, where one can take advantage of the reflections and textures of the river.  Another plus that we had that night was that it was raining.  Rain adds to the mood of the photos with reflections on the streets and pavement.  It saturates the environment.  A raincoat to protect yourself, an umbrella to protect your camera and a soft cloth to wipe it down if it does get a bit wet are all you need.  I have a water resistant camera that can take some dampness.  I also used a tripod.  It’s a must if you don’t want camera shake and want to experiment more with exposure.


Graffiti on U2 Studio

The Dublin by Night Guided Photography Tour is the brainchild of David Cooke and Yvonne Costello of Dawn2Dusk that offers various photography tours throughout Dublin.  They began the night photography tour in the beginning of 2013 and have done a lot of footwork looking for the best spots for great photo shoots of the different bridges and buildings that are along the River Liffey.  David also gives interesting historical information about the areas that the tour stops at.


Reflection on Bord Gais Energy Theatre

Dublin has a lot to offer with its long history and development to what it has become today.  This Night Photography Tour is a plus giving visitors the opportunity to take night photos of this interesting and vibrant city.

Samuel Becket Bridge

Samuel Becket Bridge


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