Actually, there isn’t a single Camino, there are a dozen Camino routes, all ending in Santiago de Compostela in the north east of Spain. Those starting in Paris or Seville are about 1000 km, whilst the Camino Aragones is just a short step at 160 km. The most popular is the Camino Francés at 800km starting at St Jean Pied–de–Port, close to the Spanish border in the French Pyrenees.
Santiago is said to be where St James died and was buried. Hence, the “Camino de Sant Iago” is the most popular Christian pilgrimage route in the world. Annually about 250,000 walk all or part of the various routes and the Camino was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993 in recognition of the testimony to the power of faith and the 1800 buildings of historic interest along its path. The main towns on the route to Santiago are Pamplona, Lorca, Los Arcos, Santo Domingo, Burgos, Leon, Villafranca, Sarria and Portomarin. The route is marked by familiar yellow arrows in the shape of a shell, which become a source of great comfort by telling pilgrim walkers they’re on the right track! There are numerous detours available to visit churches, monasteries, bodegas and places of interest along the way.
There are hundreds of long distance pathways that people walk, but only the Camino has achieved world recognition for its historical and spiritual significance and, inevitably, such accolades bring greater numbers wishing to experience its potential for physical and spiritual renewal.
So why are we telling you this?
Well, in 2016 we bought a dvd entitled “The Way”, starring Martin Sheen. The dvd cover shows a walker with his rucksack, dressed in walking gear, with the slogan “a soulful and cinematic journey”. As we enjoy walking, it attracted us, so the film was bought. At this stage, if you haven’t seen the film, we will not tell you too much about it, suffice to say that even if you aren’t interested in walking, just watch it anyway. It’s a good film, well made and with a very good (moving?) storyline.
Whilst watching the film, both of us were thinking the same- “This is for me!”, and at the end, we looked at each other and both said exactly that.
As running a hotel boat during the summer months only allows us November to February to participate in such a project, we started to look at calendars. Routes for 2017 and 2018 were already set in stone, and for various reasons, 2019 was not a possibility. So, 2020 became the target. We therefore plan to start from St Jean in mid March and expect to reach Santiago by the end of April, staying in pilgrim hostels overnight or for the extra night when we want to take a little longer somewhere. The 33 stages should take us about 42 days, depending on …………. whatever!
So that’s why Kailani’s 2020 routes begin in May!
We have already increased our recreational walking by adding weight to our backpacks, doing more uphill walking, not complaining about the rain and cold, etc. So, unless illness or injury stops us, that’s our plan. We have been asked by people if we will get sponsors, and the answer is probably yes, although we are undecided on which charities will be chosen. During 2019 we shall decide.
So, in 2020 we’ll be on our way on “The Way” and are much looking forward to it. We shall also look forward to re-watching the dvd again and again …….