The Camino is a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella in Northwestern Spain. There are routes throughout Europe that lead to that one, magical spot said to be where the bones of Saint James (a disciple of Jesus) were found. For over 1000 years, people have traveled from throughout Europe and Spain to the cathedral in Santiago by foot, horse and bicycle. In the middle ages over 1 million people made the pilgrimage each year. Today most people, (like me) fly to a starting port (St. Jean Pied de Port in southern France is where I am starting the route known as the Camino Frances). Some people who live in Europe, however, literally walk out their front door be it in France, Germany, Ireland or Finland, and follow the yellow arrows and scallop shell markers to Santiago.
The Camino Frances is the most popular route and has excellent services and markings along the way. That is why I chose this trail. Typically it takes 5 to 6 weeks to make the trip by foot. Many people, like me, break it into segments and spread the journey out over several years. I didn’t feel comfortable taking more than three weeks away from work so my Camino will take place over two to three years. My goal for this first segment is to get to Burgos, Spain which is roughly 1/3 of the way to Santiago de Compostella.
There is some great information available about the Camino, so there is no need for me to repeat it here. Instead, I will give you some resources I can highly recommend if you are interested in learning more.
The Way – A movie by Emilio Esteves starring his dad Martin Sheen. I have seen it many times and perhaps will watch it one more time before I leave on Monday.
Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago – A documentary that follows six people on their pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella. Each has a unique story and you get various insights about the trek.
Steps Out of Time – An account by an “older” woman who walked the Camino alone in the early 2000’s.
The Way, My Way – A funny and humble look at one man’s experience on the Camino Frances.
In Movement There is Peace – A husband and wife’s account of their Camino and how each experienced the Camino differently.
The Camino Podcast – Sadly, the last episode of this treasured podcast was recorded in June 2017, but the information in the 30 episodes that exist is as relevant today as it was when they were first created.