Trails in Indiana

DAVID ON THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

Explanation: 

David Cook Shares his experience hiking el camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain

Location: 
North Spain
Year/Month: 

11 / 2012

 

 

Two Feet, 500 Miles, and 100,000 Reasons to Hike This Trail

 

 

Every journey begins with a walk. 

It can be the split second dash to your automobile 

Or the more leisurely trip around the block with your dog.

 

One foot in front of the other, 

Again, Again, and Again;

 

Until you get to where you want to go. 

Is it the destination that’s important? 

Or the journey getting there?

 

Step, Step, Step

One foot in front of the other.

 

Yet the arrival at your destination isn’t really the end;

But rather the beginning of your next journey. 

In this ever faster-paced world perhaps the time in between destinations holds more value, more meaning, more learning; more life. Perhaps

 

Step, Step, Step 

One foot in front of the other.

 

For isn’t it in this ‘in between time’ when you have the time to meet a new old friend;

savor the most incredible glass of wine at a wayside restaurant;

have your breath taken awaken by a view of the countryside discovered past the bend in the road;

or actually feel the flutter of a butterfly wing on your brow.

 

Ah yes, the in between time when the afternoon sun scalds the earth, no shade tree in sight; your legs feel like the muscles are separating from the bone from walking downhill for miles; and your evening refuge waits for you somewhere in the far away distance.

 

Step, Step, Step 

One foot in front of the other.

 

But you get there, wherever that is;

You rest and you begin again on your journey. Another day, another journey, another destination

 

Step, Step, Step 

One foot in front of the other.

 

In October of 2012, Hoosiers David Cook and Phillip Price and son William experienced this journey, this persistence, this pace across northern Spain along one of the oldest trails in the world; The Camino de Santiago de Compostela---St. James Way. Its popularity was heightened in 1987 when the World Heritage Convention proclaimed it to be the first European Cultural itinerary by the Council of Europe. UNESCO has designated it a World Heritage Site with over 1800 historic structures and 166 towns and villages along its way.

 

Step, Step, Step

One foot in front of the other.

 

More than 1,000 years ago, the 500 mile (805 km) path began as a pilgrimage for Christians from all over Europe. A popular starting point of the journey is Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France, just over the Spanish border. The destination for the pilgrims was and is the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostelo in the Spanish town of Galicia; the remains of Apostle Saint James are said to be buried there.

 

Step, Step, Step 

One foot in front of the other.

 

Traveling by foot 13 to 18 miles a day, David, Phillip and William achieved their goal of completing 200 miles (322 km) of The Way in 15 days. Once completed The Compostela, a Certificate of Accomplishment, is granted by the Pilgrim Office of Santiago. More than 100,000 compostelas a year are awarded to pilgrims from over 100 countries. 272,000 people travelled the Camino in the Holy Year 2010.

 

Step, Step, Step 

One foot in front of the other.

 

The route of The Way is marked by yellow arrows, a scallop shell or statuary of pilgrims with walking sticks and cups for drinking water. One legend alludes to the Milky Way being created by the dust kicked up by the pilgrims traveling to the church of St. James in the compostela or field of stars.

 

Step, Step, Step 

One foot in front of the other.

 

From your start in France at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Porte it is 46 miles (74 km) to Pamplona, then 53 miles (85 km) to Logroño, and then 82 miles (132 km) to Burgos, and 114 miles (183 km) to León, then another 31 miles (50 km) to Astorga and finally 162 miles (261 km) to your destination of Santiago de Compostela. The most common method of travel is by foot, although some people will use a bicycle, while others use medieval era modes of transportation including horseback and donkey.

 

Step, Step, Step 

One foot in front of the other

 

The world-wide popularity of the Camino has increased in recent years for both secular and non-secular purposes. It is partially due to the release of several movies and documentaries including Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen’s “The Way,” in 2010; Rick Steves from the Public Broadcasting Systems European travel series, “Northern Spain and the Camino de Santiago” in series 6; and even Shirley MacLaine’s experience of traveling The Way in “The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit” in 2000.

 

Step, Step, Step 

One foot in front of the other

 

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary one definition of ‘pilgrimage’ is “the course of life on earth.” In its own way, over time, the Camino de Santiago de Compostela has defined this course through pacing, perseverance, camaraderie and discovery; about yourself, the world and wishfully human kind.

 

Step, Step, Step 

One foot in front of the other

 

By Tina Jones