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Spain: The Road To Santiago

If you have read Paulo Coelho’s best-selling novel, THE ALCHEMIST, translated into many languages worldwide, then, you know where Camino de Santiago is.

Our guest photographer in this entry walked to Camino de Santiago (Road to Santiago) for 3 weeks, hiking across wheat fields.

This is what she has to say about the experience:

For those who don’t know (I sure didn’t before I got to Spain!), the Camino de Santiago is a 750 km pilgrimage through the north of Spain. The official starting point is Saint-Jean Pied-du-Pont in France and it stretches across the Pyrennes, Navarre, Rioja, Castilla-Leon, and Galicia Spain almost to the north Atlantic Coast. It is the third most undertaken pilgrimage in the world for Catholics, first is Rome and second is Jerusalem. I did about 600 km (about 375 miles), or the driving distance of about 7 hours or so, at a rate of 25-30 km per day. This is about 5 hours of hiking a day with me, an mp3 player, and an 8 kilo backpack (18 pounds). Best experience of my life. 

I know I said I did it alone and a lot of it I did. I went by myself, but then I met some of the most amazing people on the way. How about the Lebanese-Canadian girl who was also doing it by herself on a summer before med school. Or the 45 year old French alcoholic who had already done the Camino 6 times and continuously had a bottle of whiskey in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Or the Belgian family who started the camino IN BELGIUM and was doing it with the father, the uncle, two little kids not older than 8 years old (boy and girl), and their donkey!

Enjoy the hike!

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2 Responses to “Spain: The Road To Santiago”

  1. Ann
    October 26, 2010 at 8:01 PM #

    WOW! How long did it take? Do camp along the way?

  2. Nina
    October 27, 2010 at 7:22 AM #

    Hi Ann! If you do the full hike, 750+ km, it takes about a month. I did three weeks, but apparently I missed the most beautiful and most difficult part – crossing over the Pyrenees from France to Spain. The whole route is very well organized for pilgrims and there are grocery stores, restaurants, internet cafés, banks, etc. all along the way, as you pass through both very tiny towns with 50 people and huge towns like Burgos and León, and everything in between! There are designated hostels for pilgrims to stay in along the way – they cost anywhere from nothing to 15 euros. I usually stayed in the ones that cost 3 – 5 euro per night. Some places will cook you dinner, some places have kitchens, some places even have swimming pools! If you’re interested in more, here’s some websites to help you out:
    http://www.caminodesantiago.me.uk/
    http://www.caminosantiago.org/cpperegrino/federacion/inicio.asp
    http://www.americanpilgrims.com/
    Good luck and BUEN CAMINO! Ultreya!

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