What is The Camino de Santiago?El Camino de Santiago, in English “The Way of Saint James,” is the pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain, where legend has it that the remains of Jesus’s apostle Saint James the Elder lie. The Camino has existed as a Christian pilgrimage for well over 1,000 years. Throughout the medieval period it was one of the three most important Christian pilgrimages. It was believed Pilgrimages to Jerusalem, Rome and Santiago de Compostela could result in a plenary indulgence, which frees a person from the penance due for sins.
The Calling:Fall 2011 a post pops up on my Facebook wall from one of my travel peeps they are doing this thing called the Camino. Several months later another post is on my wall, another travel peep is sharing a blog or something about this Camino thing. Time passes and one boring afternoon my mind says search Facebook for that Camino thing, I find the Camino de Santiago Forum, I read some of the posts and gave the page a "like". Thanks to the like more and more Camino posts start popping up on my wall, I find myself reading the posts. I become intrigued, many of the forum members appear to be "mature" if you know what I mean. Memories of past times start floating around in my mind, I wish I had known about the Camino when I was young, mentally strong, daring and determined. I then reminded my self those attributes belong to a personality so I am still all of those things! A second thought enters my mind, I am a physical nightmare! I am a knock kneed klutz, I wither in the heat and I have limited stamina. I wondered, could I walk this Camino thing? Searching Amazon I found books by pilgrims (peregrinos) who have completed the Camino. One title jumped out at me, Grandma's on the Camino. The author was 70 years old when she walked The Camino Frances solo. The Camino Frances, The French Way stretches roughly 500 miles and is the most popular of the Camino de Santiago's. She claimed to be overweight and out of shape, if she could do this surely I can!
Grandma Mary's book brought life to the Camino de Santiago. I knew this needed to be on my bucket list. I started reading blogs of other peregrinos and my mind became more aware that this could become a reality. Then it hit me, I retire in the spring of 2017, what better way to celebrate the start of a new phase in my life. So there it is, the Camino de Santiago is in my future.
The Camino begins:
I feel my Camino began before I had even heard of The Camino de Santiago. I have been fortunate to visit Rome, I plan to visit Jerusalem in January 2014. Indulgences or not it only seems fitting that I include The Camino de Santiago in my pilgrimage adventures.
In the few weeks since I decided to make "IT" happen I have gone through a mixture of emotions. The walk will be physically challenging, I fear crossing the Pyrenees will be more than I can manage. The mental walk has already began. I am sure the next three years will bring more self awareness and self doubt. The constant I will need to remember is success is the trying, failure is not attempting the dream at all.
Blessing till the next post!
3 months and counting down till I leave for Israel!