So I went on a kind of pilgrimage to the small galician town of Santiago de Compostela. The name means St James of the field of stars. Nice.
Let me tell you what it is all about.
The Way of St. James or St. James’ Way (Spanish: El Camino de Santiago)
is the pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the apostle Saint James are buried.
The Way of St. James has existed for over a thousand years. It was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during medieval times, together with Rome and Jerusalem, and a pilgrimage route on which a plenary indulgence could be earned; other major pilgrimage routes include the Via Francigena to Rome and the pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
Legend holds that St. James’s remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain where he was buried on the site of what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela. The Way can take one of any number of pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela. Traditionally, as with most pilgrimages, the Way of Saint James began at one’s home and ended at the pilgrimage site. However a few of the routes are considered main ones. During the Middle Ages, the route was highly travelled. However, the Black Death, the Protestant Reformation and political unrest in 16th-century Europe led to its decline. By the 1980s, only a few pilgrims per year arrived in Santiago. Later, the route has attracted a growing number of modern-day pilgrims from around the globe. The route was declared the first European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe in October 1987; it was also named one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
There are several Ways, from all through Europe. Ideally, you should walk…
From, for example, Paris, it should not take you more than 2 months…I went by plane, so it doesn’t count!
The weather last Tuesday was absolutely miserable, so I saw very few pilgrims around.
There is of course much much more to say about El Camino, please google it, you’ll find thousand of pages.