Camino Francés

A heavenly display

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The architecture is lovely along the Camino de Santiago in rural Spain. But every so often even the medieval stonework must take a back seat to the stunning display of the heavens. On this day, we found shelter just in time. Thunder boomed and lighting and hail fell with fury.

Buen caminó!


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The art of pilgrimage is not easily learned. It involves a journey, most certainly, but not the journey of a tourist who seeks to appease the gross senses only. The pilgrim seeks to satisfy a deeper longing, the need to find his/her place in the world. If you are interested in exploring past, present, and future in land of the Bible email me at markziese@gmail.com or consider joining an excursion listed here.

Tomato jam

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The morning meal of tortilla de patatas that I favored on the Camino Francés was not so popular in the northwest corner of Spain. I'm not sure why. I had to find other options.

Here's one.

Toast a couple of hunks of bread. Smear with tomato jam (Portuguese Doce de Tomate).* Dip or sprinkle with olive oil  (note the plastic sprinkle bottle with all the table essentials: salt, pepper, and olive oil). Augment it with a couple of thin slices of pork and a cup of cafè americano.

Don't think toast and jelly. Think pizza. 

Bingo. Trail ready.

Buen caminó!


*See here for more on this Portuguese-style condiment.


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The cuisine in Israel-Palestine is Mediterranean in character but different from what I experienced in Spain and Portugal. If you are curious, why not join us for a walk across Galilee and do some additional sightseeing in Israel-Palestine? This trip is priced at $2,588 from New York. Dates are Jan 8-16, 2019. For details click here or contact me at markziese@gmail.com.

Strange company

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Question: What is wonderful and unpredictable and funny and odd and unintelligible and  . . . ?

Answer: the people you meet everyday on the Camino Francés.

Naturally, I am the only totally normal person on the trail. Walking across Spain and over three mountain ranges with nothing more than a pack on your back is the sort of thing that totally normal people do. Right? Right!

I encountered this interesting bit of wall art one morning while exploring the village of Cacabelos (after a caffè americano and some wonderful tortilla de patata, of course).

Buen caminó!


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Here's a totally normal idea: hike along the Jesus Trail in Galilee and do some additional sightseeing in Israel-Palestine! This trip is facilitated by the Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies and is priced at $2,588 from New York. Dates are Jan 8-16, 2019. For more details click here or contact me at markziese@gmail.com

The Camino's favorite food

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Bob (my son-in-law) helps himself to a hearty breakfast of tortilla de patatas (or tortilla española). It is perhaps the most iconic meal on the Camino Francés and, according to some, Spain's unofficial national dish.* Unlike the Mexican flatbread made of corn or flour, the Spanish version is made of eggs and diced potatoes. Other ingredients find their way into the pan depending on the whimsy of the cook. These include salt, onions, peppers, ham, garlic, or parsley.

Whipped, mixed, and flipped in hot olive oil, the tortilla comes out like a golden pie. It is awesome hot, but is most often served at room temperature (or warmed in a microwave) in bars or cafés. It is always delivered to the hungry with a slice of chewy bread. 

Linguistically the word tortilla is a diminutive; it is a "little cake" or torta. You get that feel when you bite into a slice. It can be an inch or two thick and is more firm than fluffy, more like a potato cake and less like an omlette. The eggs mortar the potatoes in position. 

This combination of a little protein with lots of carbohydrates makes for good trail fuel.

Buen caminó!

Sorry. This post just became "pictures of the day." I had to give you two for a better view.

Sorry. This post just became "pictures of the day." I had to give you two for a better view.

*See here for more on the tortilla española, including directions for making one in the comfort of your own kitchen (Be sure to watch the video!).


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Calling all Bible Land Explorers. Want to start 2019 in a unique way? Walk across Galilee! Hike the Jesus Trail between Nazareth and Capernaum and do some additional sightseeing in Israel-Palestine. This trip is facilitated by the Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies and is priced at $2,588 from New York. Dates are Jan 8-16, 2019. Space is limited. For more details click here or contact me at markziese@gmail.com.