Bonobo Photos

cropped-dsc_52812.jpgHere’s a quick slideshow of some photos (and video) I took at Lola Ya Bonobo, which loosely translates to “paradise for bonobos” (I’m told). It’s a beautiful refuge mostly for young bonobos, often those who have been orphaned because their parents have been killed for bushmeat. I’ll write a little travel log soon about our day there, but for the time being, I hope this provides a little window into the sanctuary.

Teamwalking the Camino

We spent an extraordinary night last week in Carrion de los Condes, a pretty riverside village where we bunked in a convent run by a team of feisty older nuns who herded us to our beds like sheep, even though one of them couldn’t have been more than four feet tall.

In the evening, we had dinner with our French-speaking friends. It was certainly a highlight of our time together – lots of laughter, Daniel’s toasting and delicious food. Danielle brought his wife Jeanette to tears with his inability to pronounce “Oruho,” a Spanish brandy.

After dinner, we scooted across the street where another order of nuns – Dominicans this time and much younger in this case – offer a nightly benediction for pilgrims passing through. One sat on the steps of the altar playing a guitar and three others join her in singing a Spanish blessing as the priest laid his hands on our heads one by one.

We also met up with a fellow Californian, Nick, and an Italian priest named Giorgio who we’ve walked with a few times, so the evening was certainly a nice boost.

The next day, we had a flat, long stretch of about 18 km with no towns. Luckily, it was overcast and cool, making it an easy walk. At one point, we walked for a bit with a team of French people helping a man in a wheelchair do the Camino. From what we could surmise, there’s a big group and they take turns in teams of three scuttling him along the route. Often they sing as they walk.

Daniel and Jeanette made a point of walking with them for at least half an hour and singing songs with them the whole way. Apologies for the shaky video. The experience in person was moving to say the least.


Working dogs

As we’ve been making our way across the meseta, we’ve had some terrific experiences, including two of my favorite days on the Camino. I’m working on a few more substantive blogs, but in the mean time, here’s a cool video Anne-Claire shot of a shepherd moving his flock through Castrojeriz.

We came around a corner to find him waiting for a clear lane through the sporadic traffic with a hundred or so sheep. Every so often, he’d whistle and throw a tiny rock, and the dogs would wheel the flock to the left or to the right. In the midst of the pandemonium every time the sheep moved is a donkey who’s sort of a center of calm in the herd. I used to work for a guy who said you need only watch the way the blindly follow each other and you can see why religious texts compare us humans to sheep so frequently. I don’t think it’s a compliment.

Wind Energy

As we walk the Camino, we’ve been lucky to have constant breezes. Though its sometimes a bit chilly, it’s been a welcome respite from the heat as we’ve begun to cross central Spain over the past few days.

It’s also a source of energy, and wind farms are everywhere here in Spain. To hear Amable and Michel talk about it, to the residents of Castrillo de Murcia (and probably just about every other tiny hill town in Spain), the construction of these “ecological parks” was contentious, as some folks didn’t want their view obstructed. I can sympathize, I suppose, but there’s also a certain beauty to the massive spinning blades, especially when it might mean even a step toward our independence from fossil fuels.

Here’s a quick look at a wind farm that we passed on our fourth day, about 10 kilometers from Pamplona.