Sunday, June 10, 2012

El Camino de Santiago

Friday, June 8 I started hiking the Camino de Santiago, or Way of St James. I set out from Saint Jean Pied du Port, France and began the 500 mile journey across northern Spain to Santiago de Compestela. The remains of Saint James are buried there and for centuries Catholics from all over Europe have walked there, mostly to pray and be healed. Though there is no officially starting point, most hikers, or pilgrims start just over the border in france, in Saint Jean Pied du Port. The first day is the hardest single day along the entire Camino, according to guide books.

I hiked the first half of the 17 mile day with three Spanish guys, then set off on my own. I didn't want to lug my hiking poles around Europe so I was without them on some really hilly farmland terrain full of sheep, horses and cattle. I stopped at a van and bought some goat cheese because I didn't have any food with me. It was delicious! By noon I was at my destination, roncevalles, Spain. Restaurants near the Camino usually have a pilgrim menu consisting of bread, appetizer, entree, dessert, and wine for around 10€. after dinner I went to church and all the pilgrims were blessed. I barely understood anything though with the mumbling and echoing and the fact it was in Spanish. About 180 pilgrims stayed in Roncevalles that night! There are lots of albergues and refugios along the trail that offer basic bunkbeds for 6-10€

Saturday I was hiking by 630am and hiked with a guy from Sweeden. We missed the turn coming out of a town and ended up walking the road to the next town to meet up with the trail again haha. Again I was at my destination, Zuburi before noon. I decided I need to hike longer miles or I just drink beer all afternoon!

Today I hiked by myself to Pamplona, arriving at 1045am. I explored the famous town and saw the plaza del toros where the running of the bulls finishes. Then we watched the Euro Cup soccer Spain v Italy game. The entire town stopped to watch the game it seems.

Tomorrow I'm going to try to make some big miles! We will see!

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