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Camino de Santiago: A New Path

by Dee Andrews

pilgrim on the camino de santiago in northern spain

My husband and I are preparing for a new path on our road of life. Literally this time. The 500-mile walk of the Camino de Santiago across northern Spain.

Known in English as The Way of St. James, this path ~ from the Spanish-French border in the east to the city of Santiago de Compostela in the west ~ has existed for over a thousand years. Legend holds that St. James’ remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain where he was buried in what is now Santiago de Compostela. During medieval times, the route was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages and a path on which an indulgence could be earned. That’s right… all my sins forgiven.

While my mother may appreciate that particular fact, I am interested in the walk for more modern day reasons: travel, photography, practicing my Spanish, the challenge of weeks of walking, and 30+ days with my husband. I can see how it will be a spiritual adventure of sorts too. Solitude. Meditation. A retreat, sabbath from my usual way of life.

Please share your thoughts and experiences of this journey: how to train, what to take, the highs and lows… I know there will be lows… why else would I write about travels and travails.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie January 16, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Hi Dee

My husband and I did the Camino starting in 2001 in st jean pied de port. At the time we did not have 40 days to take off of work so we did them in segments finishing in Santiago in 2004. It was a wonderful experience and some of our best memories. I found your website as we are preparing to take a family sabbatical (boys ages 3 & 5) to Spain starting in August this year. From our time on the Camino we met some very good friends from Javea do all places who now live in Alicante where we are planning on living for a year. Would be happy to answer any Camino questions you have. Buen Camino Katie

Dee Andrews January 16, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Hi Katie,

Happy to hear you had a positive Camino experience! Did you train at all or just go for it? How many miles did you walk each day? After our year “sabbatical” in Spain, my husband and I really wanted to craft our jobs so we could work remotely and flexibly so that is what is allowing us our 35 days to hike the Camino through. We’re hoping to spend a week afterwards in Javea to see old friends and “put our feet up!” Are you excited about your move to Alicante? ~ Dee

Dave @ Water Microfilters January 27, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Great to see you are planning a great adventure! I was in northern Spain last April and walked part of the trail around Santo Domingo de la Calzada. I’d love to walk the whole thing. Check out the new movie by Martin Sheen and his son Emilio Estevez called “The Way” – it comes out on disk next month some time and is supposed to be great. Should wet your appetite!

Dee Andrews January 30, 2012 at 7:43 am

Hola Dave, I’m eagerly awaiting the movie by Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez… will be fun to have a preview of what I am getting into! ~ Dee

Heather February 7, 2012 at 3:19 am

Dee,

I walked in 2010, served as a hospitalera in 2011 and plan to walk again this year (Portuguese Route). Since I’ve been back, I’ve been volunteering on The Camino Documentary, currently in post-production in Portland, OR. You should check out our website, trailer and video profiles. It will give you a good idea of what the Camino is like. I loved “The Way”. Emilio and Martin have given their seal of approval for “The Camino Documentary”….check it out! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me!

Dee Andrews February 7, 2012 at 8:54 am

@ Heather,
Sounds like you are hooked; I hear the Camino has that affect on people. Eager to delve into the Camino Documentary on which you are working, and excited to see “The Way” and share it with my family to give them an idea of this experience.
Buen camino, Dee

Abby Church May 8, 2012 at 6:58 am

Dee and Scott,
I can’t wait to read about your adventure!! What an incredible experience for you two, individually and as a couple. You two are such an inspiration!! Have a great time and I look forward to more blog posts.

My Traveling Troop May 28, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Wow! What an amazing journey you have ahead of you! I can’t wait to read all about your adventure. Good luck & Happy Trails!

Cheers,
Kristina

Inma January 26, 2013 at 11:11 am

have a good Way!!!
and let us know how it goes.. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t changed after the pilgrimage to St James!
Inma´s last [type] ..The challenging Way of St. James

Bianca August 30, 2015 at 11:34 pm

Hi Dee!

I have really enjoyed reading your blog in the lead up to our own year in Spain and during (http://ouryearinspain.com/). We returned a year ago and I still like to dip my toes into the world of Spain as I miss it so much. We plan to visit next summer and i would love to walk a section of the camino. We have spent all our time in the south of Spain and I think it is time to explore the north. How was it?

Dee Andrews September 1, 2015 at 5:09 pm

Hello Bianca,

We enjoyed the north of Spain very much. Just as you find here in the USA, each region offers something different whether it be food, music, temperature, geography, architecture. I don’t know how much time you have to walk a section of the Camino but if I had to recommend which to consider first, I’d say look west of Leon. Definitely the Galcian region was very different from the south. I hope you go! ~ Dee

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