I am thankful I continued to probe my Mom about her weekend during our phone call today. The priest at her church presented during services this weekend the story of his recent 68-mile walk in Spain on some 500-mile pilgrimage. Is it only a Catholic thing? No, anybody can go. Where did he stay at night–hotels? I don’t know, he didn’t say. How long did he walk every day? About 10 miles, I think. Why was he on the trip? I don’t know, but the roads are the roads St. James the apostle traveled. He said he visited St. James’s burial site, and he told us about the interesting people he met along the way.
She became worn out with all my questions, I could tell. But the thought of walking 500 miles across a European nation–I remember the south of Spain being so beautiful during a week stay there a few years back during the Christmas holidays with my sister and her family–was intriguing. The peace. The spiritual communion with God. The stories I would hear about the lives of other pilgrims making the same trek. The walk itself.
And so the journey began.
First a Google search: pilgrimage, Spain, 500-mile walk.
I found too many interesting websites — as hundreds of millions of pilgrims have walked the 500-mile trail, often called the El Camino de Santiago (the “Way of St. James”) over the years, but after reading quickly a few of the stories, I was even more intrigued. A quick look on amazon.com netted three Camino pilgrimage books to buy, but I also wanted to get to the heart of the matter, so my next search words included: single woman, Camino, Spain, 500-mile walk. And lo and behold I stumbled across a blog called, “Trekity: Daily Travel Ideas for Women.” The blog’s author, Darcie, interviewed Sheryl Collmer, an artist from San Luis Obispo, who walked the trail by herself in 2012. But she wasn’t really alone (although she highly suggests a solo pilgrimage). She, too, like my Mom’s priest, had a captivating story to tell about her journey.
Definitely a very doable and adventurous “next” vacation for me!
Back to Amazon to hit “buy” on the three books, one of which Collmer actually recommended as the definitive guidebook from which to learn the exact route to do the 500 miles in 33 days; then onto the local library website to reserve a book or two to really start the wheels turning. (What can I say? Amazon has fast delivery, but not any faster than a 1.4-mile walk to the library tomorrow!)
It’s time to start studying Spanish 🙂