Brittany formed an important stage on the journey to Compostela for medieval pilgrims travelling from Ireland and southern England or even further afield. The main points of entry were Le Conquet on the Atlantic coast in the west, and on the Channel coast, St-Pol-de-Léon and Locquirec in Finistere, Paimpol in Côtes d’Armor and Mont St-Michel, which is now in Normandy but was once within the Breton boundary before the course of the river Couesnon changed.
In 2010 a new Camino to Santiago has been restored and marked with 1000 stickers in Italy by the small association “Amici del cammino di Santiago da Venezia”. The idea was to give the same spirit as on the camino de Santiago .
The new pilgrimage route is a connection into old pilgrimage routes in the perspective of walking about 2500 km… a very long and lonely distance to Santiago.
I walked into Santiago de Compostela, the same way that thousands of pilgrims have done before me. The biggest surprise was being there so quickly on the day I arrived. We walked through Monte del Gozo, only stopping for lunch, and continued down into the city. We had made plans to meet with another pilgrim and they had sent us a text message telling us where they were staying.
For the last few years work has been so busy that I dare not leave for the amount of time that I would want. One of the problems of working for yourself. Another problem of being self employed is not taking time off when it is needed, thinking that everything will fall apart if I am not watching it – all the time. This nonsense thinking ended with me completely exhausted at the end of last year and wondering if this is the type of life that I really want. The answer to that question is fairly obvious.
The four of us (Bob, Rowena, Chard and me) have now completed more than half our tour of duty here in Rabanal. We are scheduled for departure one week from today and are all a bit nostalgic about it. We agree that the experience has been good for each of us and take great pleasure from the fact that the vast majority (maybe all) of the pilgrims passing through our doors have left us with smiles on their faces and warmth in their hearts.
A pilgrim’s passport is the identification that is used along the various Caminos to prove that you are a pilgrim and that you have walked and stayed in the places along the way. It is just a simple card with enough space to collect stamps from various hostels and albergues. There are only a few places that can issue a pilgrims passport that will be accepted for the Compostela. Most home Confraternities can issue them, apart from that they must be the official one issued by the Cathedral in Santiago, these can be picked up at most hostels along the way.
I wonder if there if something that for many of us we do not get from our daily life. I have met and talked to many people who have walked the Camino Frances more than once. Walking the Camino Frances is a fairly big commitment in the way of time and money.
I got thinking on this yesterday while out hill walking in the Wicklow Hills. I notice a Santiago de Compostela badge attached to one of the walkers back packs. I asked, as I have a tendency to do.
This is one of the best Camino videos I have seen, although I have not cycled the Camino de Santiago I would love to and as life has become busier it seems like this mode of travel will be used on my next Camino. The problem I have is that I am not adept at changing tires or fixing punctures – my cycling here in Ireland is easy and not hard uphill or off road – the way I would prefer for the Camino.
Dara Haskins was my friend. He died, on the 18th Aug 2005 aged just 30, while I was walking the Camino in 2005. It was due to him that I found out about the Camino. He used to go on about this bloody walk in northern Spain. To me it did not sound like fun, but hell. The idea of walking every day for weeks, no room to myself, sharing in hostels with many others – not a way I thought to spend a precious summer. Eventually he convinced me. I had many misgivings about the whole idea, but I set off to start from St Jean in southern France. My life has changed as the result of this and, I suppose therefore, because of Dara. It does sound strong to say life changing, but for a cynic like me it has been.
The first time I walked the Camino I had no idea about foot care, I had never walked for more than a few days before and that had been when I was much younger. I walked a couple of long walks in my boots before heading off on the Camino and I got some blisters on the heals of both feet, they healed and left some hard skin around the heels, but I never though that would cause me a problem – it did – and a very bad one.
The Camino Aragon camino starts in Somport and joins the main French route at Puente la Reina. I walked it in 2004 after I had walked the main French route, it was quiet and deserted, there was not many hostels but it was great; also it had a completely different feels to it compared to the Camino Frances.
Last night I got a mail from Jim at Wandering the World. He has just arrived in Santiago and is heading back to Puenta la Raina to walk this route and asked for a list of Refugeos – Albergues. I put it together, it could be out of date as it is three years since I walked this part. I thought it might be an idea to share this.
Friday 23rd of July 2004 I caught a plane to Paris from Dublin. It was summer, I was happy as I had just finished my first year of university. I was a mature student and loved the opportunity I had to study full time, something I had avoided when I was younger. I was setting out to walk along a route that I have never heard of till earlier that year. One of my flat mates, fellow students, and friend, went on and on about this trip he had done a couple of times. Once he had even walked from Amsterdam to Santiago, quite something.