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Camino de Santiago, travel

The Magic of Ermita de San Nicolas on the Camino de Santiago

The Magic of the Ermita de San Nicolas, Camino de Santiago

Camino de Santiago

Words can not describe a special place like the Ermita de San Nicolas.  I had read about it in the Brierley book and wanted to stop to spend the night.  The only issue was that I had only read about it the night before in Castrojeriz – barely 10 kms away!

I woke early in the morning as so many of the pilgrims were up and out the door before sun up!  I walked in the dark, chastising myself for not waiting for the light.  I preferred to walk in the daylight as there was so much to see and I did not want to miss any arrows and end up walking in the wrong direction.

Camino de Santiago

I arrived at the Ermita at 9am – how could I call it quits before the day even started?  I debated with myself for a while over tea, talking to the volunteer from France who was helping to run San Nicolas.  He had stayed there last year, and was so happy with this special place, he signed up to volunteer for 2 weeks.  There is magic here – it is so peaceful and serene, it is hard to pass it up!

Camino de Santiago

The Ermita de San Nicolas has no electricity – it is lit fully by candlelight.  The 13th century buildings were restored by and are now run by the Italian Confraternity.  It was originally an old pilgrim hospice with a Cistercian monastery added.

Ermita de San Nicolas, Camino de Santiago

I could not resist – the pull for the calm and tranquility was so much, I took the first of 12 beds – spending a full 22 hours at the Ermita.  This place is so special, and not for everyone!  While silence was not mandatory, there was a quiet that pervaded the day, my fellow pilgrims also enjoying the time to reflect quietly and let the Magic in!

Camino de Santiago

Dinner and breakfast were communal, by candlelight and loads of fun.  I was there with a fantastic group of people and felt such relaxation – the most relaxed I had felt on the entire Camino de Santiago.  In the evening, a traditional cleansing of the pilgrims feet ritual was performed before dinner.

Camino de Santiago

I could hardly believe I had walked only 10 kms to get to the Ermita de San Nicolas, and that I stayed there from 9 in the morning, but this place was so special – I am so glad I did!

Camino de Santiago

About Anita Mac

The bucket list just keeps growing! The more I cross off - the more exciting new destinations and activities I find! I have been fortunate enough to travel a considerable distance over the years. My love of many things, including travel, cycling, kayaking and photography fit together like hand and glove. I have to keep asking myself....where to next? I am happy to share my travels and photography through my blogs: http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com and http://anitamacphotos.wordpress.com Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! On to the next adventure!


22 thoughts on “The Magic of Ermita de San Nicolas on the Camino de Santiago

  1. Great series of captures.

    Posted by Kurt | October 12, 2012, 8:41 am
  2. how great to follow your posts it is.
    both pictures and words give an excellent view of your trip.
    looks like you are having a wonderful time, even when not walking but contemplating at this Ermita.
    (and what did they serve for dinner ?).

    Posted by svinisce | October 12, 2012, 11:33 am
  3. Loving your photos – thanks for sharing:) You inspire me to international travel and will try to make that dream a reality in a few years (love to do something for our 10 year anniversary). Happy Friday & Have a Great Weekend:)

    Posted by cravesadventure | October 12, 2012, 12:43 pm
    • I am glad to inspire International travel in anyone and everyone! I think you would love the Ermita! It is a very special place. Hope you are able to do the Camino for your 10th anniversary – it would be a very special way to celebrate!

      Posted by Anita Mac | October 13, 2012, 7:48 am
  4. Anita, what a tremendous life experience that you’re able to do the Camino! My husband and I went to Santiago for Thanksgiving two years ago, and enjoyed watching the pilgrims arrive into the city. Someday, I’d also love to do this walk. When did you start your journey?

    Posted by Tricia A. Mitchell | October 12, 2012, 8:21 pm
    • Thanks Tricia. I started my journey August 31st. My posts are a little behind as I was not sure on whether or not there would be internet access when I needed it! Most of the time, I was able to find a connection, although truthfully, some days I was too tired to do anything with it! Other times, like at the Ermita, there was no internet. I was brilliant to stay unplugged at times, and let the life on the Camino de Santiago be the only concern!
      I arrived in Santiago yesterday afternoon and am looking forward to spending time watching the pilgrims arrive today. The magic on the Camino also lies in all the people you meet, and friends you make along the way! I hope to cheer on more of my friends as they arrive for it has been such a great experience for all of us! I hope you are able to make the journey – it is a fantastic one!

      Posted by Anita Mac | October 13, 2012, 7:53 am
      • Anita, it’s so nice to correspond with someone who’s done the Camino – you’re definitely inspiring me to make it happens someday.

        If you’re still in Santiago, enjoy the tapas and do check out the botafumiero during a service in the famous cathedral. We found it rather entertaining!

        I’m happy to hear that you had a wonderful experience.

        Posted by Tricia A. Mitchell | October 20, 2012, 7:23 pm
      • While I have moved on from Santiago now, I did enjoy many days of tapas,wine and recovery. It was fun to watch my fellow pilgrims arrive and to catch up with people I met on the trail. Every day, the Plaza at the Cathedral was packed with people, as you know from when you were there. The human emotion factor was huge.

        They don’t do the botafumiero everyday anymore, or so I am told, but was very lucky to see it the day after I arrived. It was a special moment – the church was absolutely packed and the pilgrims were still coming in…have created many great memories along the way. Very Special to have walked to Santiago – I hope you are able to make it happen as it is something you take home with you in your heart and soul.

        Posted by Anita Mac | October 21, 2012, 4:46 am
  5. This place looks heavenly. One that I will note for the day I will go do the Camino maybe. 🙂
    Beautiful photos. Thank you for taking your precious time away from your pilgrimage to share with us.

    Posted by Suzanne McRae | October 13, 2012, 12:54 pm
  6. Your photos are gorgeous, thanks! Glad to have found your site.

    Posted by Suze | October 14, 2012, 6:48 pm
  7. Thanks Anita for your blog!! I just finished my first Camino and also stayed at the Ermita, I agree with you, it´s a very special place!!!

    Posted by Betzabe Orozco | June 29, 2013, 8:31 pm
    • I am so glad you enjoyed it. There was just a little bit of magic in the air at the Ermita – I know it is a place I will never forget!

      Posted by Anita Mac | July 4, 2013, 11:16 am
      • Dear Anita, I’ve just spent the past few hours viewing your pilgrim journey to Camino de Santiago and it truly blessed me. I never knew such a place existed until I saw the screening of a film at the Toronto Film Festival about 2-3 years back. . It was called ” The Way ” and it was written and directed by Emilio Estevez and his dad, Martin Sheen. Even though that was just a ‘hollywood’ taste … it was a taste that lingers with me still. Camino de Santiago is now officially on my ‘bucket list’ ! Thank you for your inspiration.

        Posted by Karen Parrell | July 22, 2013, 4:37 pm
      • I am so glad you enjoyed Karen….it is worth the effort. There are parts that are so similar to the film, and many parts that are different. I can see why you would have a “hollywood taste” – I did too! The movie and my personal experience were very different, yet there were many parallels along the way. I hope you get to experience this for yourself – while a very challenging experience, I do believe you will be strongly rewarded for your efforts. The Camino has that effect on people!

        Posted by Anita Mac | July 22, 2013, 5:51 pm


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