There are many Caminos in Spain. Traditionally, people have walked the Camino for religious purposes but not so much anymore. I’ve read a report that said 10% and another that said 25% of all walking the Camino do it for religious reasons. It is believed the Santiago Cathedral houses the tomb of St. James, and people walk this path to pay homage to him.
St. James was an apostle who went to this north-western part of Spain to preach and convert people to Christianity. All caminos end in the city of ‘Santiago’ or San Tiago … San is Saint and Tiago translates into James.
St. James was martyred in about 44 ce in Jerusalem. Legend has it that his bones ended up in the crypt of the Santiago Cathedral. The dead apostle’s mojo has attracted pilgrims ever since.
In the modern era, people have all sorts of reasons for walking the Camino de Santiago. Many do it for adventure or exercise, for clarity of mind, for a sense of achievement, to meet people from all over the world or to enjoy and learn about the Spanish culture. In addition to religious reasons these are among the reasons for walking a Camino today.
The more pilgrims walk ‘off the beaten path’ Camino routes the better it is for the local community. It helps to distribute tourism income throughout the country. It also encourages people who live in less touristy areas to become entrepreneurs; open an albergue, a hostel, a restaurant, a laundry, etc. As a result, it gives people an opportunity to earn money in the place they live instead of moving to a bigger city in search of a job.
You get to know places that you would never think of going to or you didn’t even know existed … like Villementero (aka Animal Farm) or Reliegos with the meteor site and bar Elvis. We would never have discovered Morcilla had we not visited The Meseta.
Many people we met have walked Caminos multiple times — we know of one person who has walked Camino Frances nine times.
The Camino Frances, which is about 500 miles long, is the most popular because it has a good infrastructure and the most albergues. The Meseta, which we just did, is part of Camino Frances and stretches from Burgos to Leon.
Our next destination is on Camino Ingles which is a shorter and easier Camino.
We had a two day stay in northern Spain in the town of ACoruna which is near the start of Camino Ingles. ACoruna is located on the North Atlantic Ocean and is known for the Roman lighthouse called the Tower of Hercules. There are many beautiful beaches and seafood is plentiful.
It was a fun day of sampling seafood, shopping, walking around the harbor & beaches and enjoying the cultural vibe of ACoruna. It was a short but sweet visit.
If you followed the ‘Jane in Spain’ blog in 2019, you will know this story. We were two days from finishing the Camino Ingles. We were staying overnight in the town of Ordes and we were just out for a stroll. The sidewalks were torn up with a construction project. Theresa was on the edge of a sidewalk taking a photo and the sidewalk crumbled under her feet. She fell, hitting her shins on the concrete and tearing ligaments in her ankle.
Several locals came to see what happened and brought compassion and remedies such as sugar water. The police came and assessed the situation. They called an ambulance. We recruited an English speaker who was on his way to play soccer to translate for us. The three of us rode in the ambulance to a hospital that was two blocks away. They bandaged Theresa and put her on crutches. She had to take a taxi the last two days while I walked alone.
Now, Theresa is going to finish the two days on the Ingles and receive her Ingles Compostela. We arrived in Ordes late Sunday afternoon. She would start walking on Monday.
The next day, Theresa started her trek while I attempted to catch up on blogging. The problem is that not everyplace has a good WiFi connection and that can be frustrating.
Tomorrow we fly to the island of Mallorca. Our Ryan airline tickets cost $17 … but then they charged us $19 for a seat and I paid $37 to check my backpack. Final cost was $73 for a one-way ticket. Not a bad price.