What is the Camino de Santiago?
The Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage that starts in France and ends in Spain. This path is walked by foot or traveled by bicycle.
Every year, over 200,000 thousand tourists walk the Camino. Many do so during the summer months, and many take the original way, a.k.a the “Way of St. James”. This way starts in St. Jean Pied de Port, France, and ends in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. The length is 500 miles and it takes about 35 days to walk from start to finish.
When traveling, pilgrims walk during the day and stay at different hostels each night. You are likely to make friends on the trip or even end up walking with someone you meet along the way. During the journey, you’ll see many scallop shell symbols, telling you that you’re heading in the right direction.
Why do this, you ask? I’ve heard that wine is cheaper and more accessible than water.
Kidding. Sort of. At least, that’s not why I want to do it.
For many, it’s part of a spiritual journey. Catholics and non-Catholics alike have found interest in visiting the shrine of Saint James, and feel like they are better able to connect to God on the path. Walking the Camino was also considered an act of penance for certain crimes, back in the day.
For me, and some others, walking the Camino just sounds like a beautiful way to experience Spain. Stopping at a different hostel each night, spending an extra day in any particularly interesting place, the different scenery - all of these things are just part of what makes this an attractive trip to so many.
The thing is, you have to take 5-6 weeks off of work or school to do this. Not many people consider taking such a large amount of time off before retirement, but I think this trip-of-a-lifetime is worth completing while you’re young.
So - what’s next on your travel agenda?