Friday, May 16, 2003

Spain - The Camino: Before

Camino de Santiago signage
I’m leaving on May 18th for another kind of journey in traveling. This one is on foot, carrying my backpack (rucksack) for an 800km/500mile pilgrimage called the Camino de Santiago or Der Jakobsweg.

This is an ancient pilgrim’s route that traverses Europe and ends at the cathedral where the Apostle St. James’ bones are buried. In the modern day, there are as many reasons for making this pilgrimage, as there are pilgrims (i.e. spiritual, religious, cultural, historical). People come from across the globe to undertake the journey. In medieval times, it was considered a “miracle-maker” trip similar to going to Lourdes. It was also a holy act of piety for devout Christians, similar to Muslims making the trip to Mecca.

For me, it is a spiritual journey of connection…to connect to mother Earth, other pilgrims from all over the globe, and myself. I feel people have lost the connection with the elements, nature, other beliefs, nationalities, etc. After this war in Iraq, I feel it is time to heal on a global level in order to end further conflicts. So this is my spiritual pilgrimage for peace.

I will begin the 8-week trip in Roncesvalles (just on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees). A friend from Switzerland is meeting me there and we will continue together until July 10th. It seems the journey passes through a lot of different terrain and climate. We will stay in monasteries that have Refugios for pilgrims (i.e. bunks in a dormitory setting). We are also bringing a tent, just in case the noise level becomes too excruciating. If we arrive early, then we are thinking to continue onward to Finesterre, the most westerly point of mainland Europe. I won’t be checking emails or using the telephone during this time. I just plan to keep it real simple. I wish everyone a very peaceful summer.


Here are some websites if anyone is interested in more reading info:

    The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago
    Camino de Santiago

    Jakobsweg Coaching