Monday, March 23, 2015

Le Camino de Santiago

Last summer when traveling between France & Spain we passed through many of the small towns & resting stops of the Camino de Santiago. One of the most important Christian pilgrimages of the Middle Ages, the Cramino continues to draw modern day pilgrims & hikers to the shrine of St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. Although there are many different routs leading to the eventual destination the most popular & most frequently traveled is the French Way.

The beautiful night sky which pointed the direction in Medieval times gave the pilgrimage its nickname 
"Voie Lactée" or Milky Way in French. Today it is known simply as "The Way".

Originally the pilgrims came mostly from Franch but now thousands of people come from all over the world to make the trek. 

The symbol of the journey is the scallop  shell & each hiker displays one to identify them as an official pilgrim.

Ancient as well as modern depictions of scallop shells serve as guides along the rout.

The Way takes one through stunning landscapes, tiny medieval villages,  beautiful vineyards, vast open spaces, tranquil waterways, peaceful rural hills & rugged mountains.  It is a long & difficult journey so it is best to be well prepared.

But if you find you do not have all the right gear, one can find shops in the larger towns & cities that provide necessities for the hike.

Most travel by foot but bikes have also become a popular method of travel. As you can possibly feel from the photo below there is a true sense of camaraderie on The Way & many  friendships are forged, as in the case of this Italian gentleman & young Dutch couple that I encountered. 

Seeing this was very close to my heart because our son, Jack, hiked the Camino a number of years ago & it has remained a fascination for me. 

Below is Jack's photo of his last ascent to Santiago de Compostela on the hill. You can see other photos from my son's trek here.

So if you are Dreaming of France & you are up for the hike of a lifetime maybe you should consider le Camino de Santiago.


  1. What a beautiful area, Sally. I can imagine Rick there on his bike! And your son is very handsome!

  2. There was a time when I planned to do that hike but other possibilities tempted me away from it. Now I rather wish I'd done it - maybe when I retire. It is certainly a beautiful landscape.

  3. Sally, The landscape there looks like Italy to me. All beautiful, of course. Maybe Earl and I should consider hiking the Way. Thanks so much for playing along and for commenting on my France pictures this week.

  4. I'd love to do this pilgrimage! Sometimes pilgrims walk right past my house (although I'm not on the main route, pilgrims can do an alternate way into Cajarc that runs along the Lot river instead of on the causse)