Friday, November 27, 2015


La Fin 
est juste 
Le Début
 the end is just the beginning 
Part 1
La Maison Schlitenea
(my oil painting detail)
After my trip with Niki and my time in France almost over, I headed south via bus--train--bus again to visit my friends Albanne and Richard
her beautiful house is located in the heart of the French Basque Country and she has opened it up as a B&B to the pilgrims who flock to the area starting their journey of self discovery to Santiago de Compostela
the nearest village is Ainhice-Mongelos

in every view, my pals...bresbis (sheep)

There was lots of hiking, foraging, cooking, looking, eating, french immersion, talking and discovering 
my room
Painting by Edith Chapelle (Albanne's Maman)

 Le vrai Gâteau Basque, from Barbier Millox, a must!
Wild "Pottok", little horse in Basque, are considered one of the oldest strains of horses in existence, dating back as far as 40,000 years. These two just appeared out of the gloom!

The Camino Frances is the most popular of all the Camino routes to Santiago de Compostela in Northwest Spain.  This route starts in St Jean Pied de Port on the French side of the Pyrenees and finishes about 780km later in Santiago. 
I met bunches of pèlerins (pilgrims) on the train ride down
and saw them trudging, and freezing up the Valcarlos Route: 1st stage: St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles, Spain (35 kilometers)
it was sunny when we started...... grateful we were car pèlerins and not on foot
The 11th century monastery at Roncesvalles, was once one of the wealthiest on the entire route and  famous for the treatment which pilgrims received here. A 12th century poem sings the praises of the monastery´s legendary hospitality:
The door lies open to all, to sick and strong,
Not only to Catholics but to pagans too
Jews, heretics,
idlers, vagabonds,
In short, to good and bad, sacred and profane.

The monastery records from as late as the 17th century speak of up to 25,000 meals being served to hungry pilgrims in a year´s time, with the number reaching as high as 30,000 in some years. The numbers of pilgrims passing through Roncesvalles currently rivals that of the pilgrimage´s original golden age: in Holy Years as many as 200,000 pass through Roncesvalles on the way to the Apostles´ tomb in Compostela.
The monastery´s church, which was rebuilt in 1400 following a fire that destroyed the original, is considered to be one of the earliest examples of Gothic architecture in Spain. 
(taken from Pilgrim Pathways)

Just outside the walls of the monastery, stands a small Romanesque hermitage and a quadrangular crypt which marks the spot where Roland, the protagonist of The Song of Roland, the famous epic medieval French chanson du geste, is said to have died.

the resul
La Maison Schlitenea 
my finished oil painting commission

Merci Albanne et Richard! 
Part 2