Wednesday, June 18, 2014

THE PILGRIMAGE, PART 1: An Introduction to the Camino

The Camino de Santiago, or 'The Way of St. James', is the name of the world's most popular pilgrimage. Or, to be specific, pilgrimages; the Camino encompasses hundreds of pilgrimage routes, all ending at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, where, as tradition has it, the remains of St. James the Great are buried. To give an idea of the crazy extent of the routes, here are a few of them:

During medieval times, this pilgrimage was one of the most significant religious rites in the world, drawing thousands of pilgrims a year from all around Europe and even areas of Africa and Asia. The starting point was wherever one's home was; from there, you would walk all the way to Santiago to Compestela.

Yes, that's right, walked! A key aspect of this pilgrimage is the idea that one should travel it on one's own strength, and, as a result, pilgrims would walk hundreds, even thousands of kilometers. Today, the pilgrimage, taken by thousands of people a year, is still primarily taken on-foot, and that is how the three of us at Sad Hill will experience it: on foot, every inch of the way between our starting point at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France to our destination 800 kilometers away at Santiago de Compostela. This specific route, known as the French Way, looks like this:

Live Map Here

Each of those markers represents a single day of our proposed journey; a 20 to 40 kilometer trek from town to town, traversing all manner of terrain from the Pyrenees mountains to the high plains of Spain. Crazy, huh?

Stay tuned for Part II, in which we go into the history of the pilgrimage!


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