Mel's Healing Pilgrimage 2016

Links to the Camino de Santiago pilgrimages are on the navigation links to the right of the web page.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Camino de Santiago - An Introduction (Preparation #1)

One month from today, I will begin my pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago. This blog posting today describes the route and my planned efforts. In the next few weeks, I'll describe the inner journey that I will be taking as I walk the physical one.

The Camino de Santiago is the pilgrimage to the Compostela de Santiago, a cathedral on the northwest corner of Spain, in the city of Santiago in the Galician province. It's been a spiritual destination for at least 1400 years. Some refer to the journey as the Way of St James. It's purported that the relics of St James the Apostle were brought there, hence the ancient journey to Santiago. It's probably the third most popular Christian pilgrimage destination after Jerusalem and Rome.

Many roads lead to Santiago, but the "French Route" from the Pyrenees is the most historic and popular. Though most still walk the 800 km journey (and some walk even longer distances from other parts of Europe), some now do so on bicycle or horseback. This is about 500 miles. Peregrinos (pilgrims) stay at the many hostels along the route or at local hotels and bed & breakfasts. Some walk just a few miles a day, others try to walk a more strenuous distance of 50 km (30 miles) each day.

I won't have time to walk the entire route, which can take 7 weeks for the average person. I'll be starting halfway in the city of Burgos and, given that I'm very accustomed to hiking mountains and long distances, will be doing my 250 miles in about two weeks. I hope to arrive at the Cathedral on my father's birthday.

After I reach Santiago, I'll continue to the Capo Finesterre on the coast which is another 80km (50 miles) or so away. The name translates to "End of the World", which to ancient Europeans seemed like the western-most spot on the continent. Traditionally, one burns a worldly possession or clothes and tosses the ashes into the Atlantic ocean. I will describe my intentions in a future entry.

Martin Sheen starred in a 2010 movie called "The Way" about this journey. I am touched and tearful whenever I watch it.

This arduous walk poses many mental as well as physical challenges. Though I will blog and post items on Twitter, I will not be on Facebook until after the journey. I hope you'll join me on this journey in prayer.

I'm also considering the option of raising funds for the Episcopal Relief and Development agency to help with the crisis in the middle east. If you thing I should do this, please send me a message.

Thank you and bless you for joining me on this transformational journey.

I leave Los Angeles on September 10 and land in Spain September 11.

Please walk with me by donating to Episcopal Relief and Development

Subscribe to the "Let All Who Are Thirsty Come" blog.

Prior blog postings regarding the the Camino
Camino de Santiago - Introduction (Preparing #1)

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