SHORT GUIDE FOR PILGRIMS TO SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA
Antti Lahelma, who walked the Camino with Jukka
Mölsä in late summer 1997 Last modified: 6.1.1999
This page may contain mistakes or misunderstandings,
so please doublecheck any important information.
I don't pretend to know very much about this subject,
and I don't represent any organization or official
body. My personal experience is limited to one trip
being said, I hope those who have even less experience
than I may find something useful here.
note: I try to answer emails as best as I can. However,
most of what I know about this subject is already
written here - there's not so much that I can add.
Kindly read the guide first, and IF some subject
clearly hasn't been discussed in it, THEN ask questions.
And please don't be offended if you don't get a
reply - I may be away, or there may simply be too
much mail for me to answer it all.
El Camino de santiago - what it is and why to take
History of the pilgrim's route
The Santiago Legend
The Medieval Pilgrimage to Compostela and the Spanish
Pilgrimage to Santiago after the Middle Ages
The Modern Camino de Santiago
Practical considerations for taking the trip
Where to Start?
When to Go?
How Demanding Is It?
Avoiding Some Common Health Problems
Is It Safe for a (Blonde) Woman to Walk Alone?
Is It Easy to Get Lost?
On Bicycle Or On Foot?
How to Get There?
What to Take With You?
Conditions in Spain
Finding Food And Spanish Food Culture
Some highlights of the route
St. Jean Pied-de-Port - Pamplona
Pamplona - Logrono
Logrono - Burgos
Burgos - Leon
Leon - O Cebreiro
O Cebreiro - Santiago de Compostela
In Santiago - Now What?
Pilgrim's hostels or refugios
in April the sweet showers fall
pierce the drought of March to the root, and all
veins are bathed in liquor of such power
brings about the engendering of the flower,
also Zephyrus with his sweet breath
an air in every grove and heath
the tender shoots, and the young sun
half-course in the sign of the Ram has run,
the small fowl are making melody
sleep away the night with open eye
nature pricks them and their heart engages)
people long to go on pilgrimages
palmers long to seek the stranger strands
far-off saints, hallowed in sundry lands
EL CAMINO DE SANTIAGO - WHAT IT IS AND WHY TO TAKE
the High Middle Ages, all roads led to Santiago
de Compostela. The city, located in northwestern
Spain, was one of the three main holy cities of
Christendom (the other two were Jerusalem and Rome).
As a center of pilgrimage, it was perhaps number
one. Rome was too intimately tied with the Papacy
- a pilgrimage there wasn't a mere spiritual journey
but also a political statement which meant taking
sides in the power struggle between the Pope and
the Emperor that tormented the medieval cosmos.
Jerusalem on the other hand was much of the
inaccessible or dangerous to reach due to being
held by the moslems. Santiago benefited from these
struggles; it was neutral, safe ground - less dangerous
than Jerusalem and less confusing than Rome.
European country had its holy places, but in Santiago
the medieval idea of pilgrimage reached its undisputable
zenith. The very word "pilgrimage" became
almost synonymous with going to Santiago. Dante
(in Vita Nuova) himself wrote that those who travel
across the seas [to the Holy Land] may be called
'palm-bringers' and those who visit Rome can be
called 'Romegoers', but the title of 'pilgrims'
belongs to those only who are going to or coming
from the House of Galicia, the holy grave of the
apostle James. Innumerable pilgrims (at the height
of the pilgrimage perhaps half a million per year)
made their way to the grave of St. James in Santiago
Compostela, bringing prosperity to the towns and
monasteries along the pilgrim's route. A memory
of their numbers is still reflected in the fact
that in Spanish "El Camino de Santiago"
or St. James' Way also means "Milky Way"
- a metaphor suggesting that there were as many
pilgrims as there are stars in the sky.
people came from all over Europe, there exist not
just one but several routes to Compostela and no
one "official" starting point. In France
alone there were four towns that marked the starting
points of different routes to Santiago: Arles (Via
Tolosana), Le Puy (Via Podense), Vezelay (Via Lemovicense)
and Tours (Via Turonselle). A lot of people simply
started walking their way down south towards the
Pyrenees from wherever they lived. In Spain, these
routes combined into two main routes: Camino Aragones
for those who crossed the Pyrenees through the Somport
Pass, and Camino Frances for those who used the
Roncesvalles Pass. Still other routes, coming from
the northern Spanish seaports and the Christianized
'mozarabic' areas of southern Spain, joined the
Camino Frances before arrival to Santiago. Of all
the routes, it is the "French route" or
Camino Frances that is by far the most important
both historically and in modern times.
the Camino is still being travelled by thousands
of people, although most of them for other reasons
than those devout medieval Christians, hoping to
evidence miracles at the saint's tomb or receive
the absolution promised by the Church. The flow
of pilgrims waned once, but never completely dried
up, and is now most definitely on the rise again.
Why do people voluntarily take the trouble to walk
almost 800 km to reach the alleged grave of a saint
who in truth probably never was buried there and
anyway they could go by car instead? Reasons vary
- I'll try to list some.
some, it is simply an inexpensive sports holiday
in beautiful surroundings and good company. We talked
to Spaniards who said they came to the Camino because
they couldn't afford to go to Ibiza (I'm not joking).
Some people take it as a 'manhood trial' of some
sort. Others want to get rid of a couple of extra
kilos. As a form of tourism, walking has surprisingly
much to offer; you get to see things, people and
places you would never notice from a bus or train
go there because of the history, art and architecture
of the pilgrim's road. The Camino played an important
role especially in the spreading and development
of romanesque art and architecture, of which there
is still lot to see along the route. There are also
fine examples of Spanish 'plataresque' gothic style,
such as the cathedrals of Burgos and Leon, as well
as many pompous baroque churches and palaces built
with gold and silver pillaged from the New World.
others have a spiritual reason of some sort. The
Camino attracts many followers of 'alternative'
lifestyles who come there hoping to experince something
out of the ordinary or mystical. Not all are 'alternative',
either: many ordinary Christians walk the Camino
for Christian reasons.
there are many who walk the Camino for purely personal
reasons, i.e. to reflect on their life, marriage,
death of a relative, etc. A month or so of walking
through Spanish countryside 'disconnected' from
the rest of humanity can be a good opportunity to
sort things out.
many people have more than one reason. The possibility
of combining all of the above into one trip is what
makes the Camino an unusual experience.
Camino Frances follows roughly the ancient Roman
road Via Traiana (some traces of which may still
be seen along the Camino) from Burdigala (modern
Bordeaux) to Asturica Augusta (Astorga). There is
evidence that a tradition of some form of pilgrimage
along the Camino Frances may have roots in Roman
or even prehistoric times, for throughout the ages
many pilgrims - instead of stopping at Compostela,
the end point of the Christian pilgrim's route -
continued some 80 km. to the far-westerly point
of Finisterre, or "the End of the Earth",
a place with many connotations of mythical or mystical
to the gospels, St. James was one of the twelve
disciples of Jesus; a son of the fisherman Zebedee,
he and his brother John were called by Jesus while
mending their nets by Lake Genesaret. What happened
to old Zebedee after his offspring had forsaken
him for a doomsday prophet, the story remains silent.
The boys received from Jesus the name 'Boanerges',
"men of thunder", because of their impetuousness.
The gospels attribute a couple of miracles to James,
such as the raising of the daughter of Jairus. The
Acts of the Apostles relates that he was the first
of the apostles to suffer a martyr death, being
executed by king Herodes Agrippa I around the year
44 AD. One legend claims that his accuser repented
in the last minute and was beheaded with James.
James is known as "the Great", to distinguish
him from another St. James, who is known as "the
Spain, James was to become the most popular of all
saints and a number of legends evolved around his
cult. According to a tradition that dates back at
least to the 7th century, James preached the gospel
in Spain, more precisely in Galicia or the north-western
corner of the Iberian peninsula. The Legenda Aurea
of Jacobus de Voragine tells us that the new teaching
wasn't well received and despite all his trouble
the saint only managed to make nine converts. He
returned to the Palestine, was killed, and his disciples
brought his body back to Galicia - in a miraculous
boat that went without sails, steered by God himself.
landed at Iria Flavia, asked for a burial place
from Queen Lupa ("she-wolf") who ruled
the land, but Lupa proved to be a nasty pagan who
made the life of the disciples difficult in various
ways. After several miracles, adventures, dragons
and whatnot, Lupa naturally converted to Christianity
and had her palace transformed into a church where
the saint's body was buried.
grave, we are told, was then 'forgotten' for eight
hundred years. Under the reign of Alfonso II (789-842)
a hermit called Pelagius then received a vision
in which the burial place of St. James was revealed
to him. The place of the grave promptly was surrounded
in a miraculous light and the bishop of Iria Flavia,
Theodomir (d. 847), proceeded to investigate the
site and declared it the grave of St. James. The
bones of the apostle were an immediate success:
Alfonso II built a church on the place and James
soon received veneration as the divine protector
of Spain, although it must be added that an element
of doubt regarding the authencity of the grave has
always been present. A much later legend has it
that the name 'Compostela' would be derived from
'Campus Stellae' or 'star field', after the miraculous
(star-)light that showed the place of the grave.
According to modern philologists, however, it stems
from the Latin word "compostum", meaning
burial place, referring the to the Roman necropolis
located on the site.
medieval pilgrimage to Compostela and the Spanish
discovery of a heavenly protector couldn't have
been better timed. The Arabs (or 'Moors') had in
Visigothic Spain and conquered most of the country,
leaving only a few small mountain kingdoms in Asturia
(northern Spain) to resist the onslaught of the
Arab civilization. In such conditions, divine aid
was needed; this arrived in the form of 'Santiago'
or St. James, who made an appearance as a heavenly
warrior during the battle of Clavijo (834), when
Ramiro I of Leon defeated the army of Abdurrahman
II. This manifestation of the saint as Santiago
Matamoros or "Moor-slayer" is one of the
more grotesque aspects of the cult; along the route,
artworks showing him as a mounted swordsman, trampling
dark-skinned infidels seem to be even more popular
than the peaceful representations of St. James as
a gentle pilgrim. "Santiago!" remained
for centuries the battle-cry of the Spanish warriors
and conquistadors conquering new lands for their
monks of the influential French monastery of Cluny
cunningly saw in promoting the Compostela cult a
way of strenghtening the Christian resistance to
Arab dominance of the Iberian peninsula, and encouraged
pilgrimage by arranging complete absolution for
those who reached the grave. Hospitals, bridges
and hostels were built along the route to ease the
difficult and dangerous journey. Like the Holy Sepulchre
of Jerusalem, the grave of St. James became a symbol
of the crusader ideology.
first foreign pilgrim on record is a French bishop
of Le Puy, Gottskalk, around the year 950, but as
soon as the early 12th century the pilgrimage had
grown into a veritable mass-movement. The Codex
Calixtinus, a manuscript dealing with among other
things the Charlemagne legend, contains a guide
to Compostela written around 1130, presumably by
a French monk called Aymeric Picaud. Apart from
being an invaluable source of information about
the medieval pilgrimage, it is the first European
travel guide written (excluding classical Greek
or Roman ones). Santiago became also tied to the
legend of Charlemagne, who according to Codex Calixtinus
saw a dream in which he was told to follow the Milky
Way to the grave of the apostle James. The Song
of Roland relates the story of his crusade against
the Moors and his defeat at the Battle of Roncesvalles,
which took place in the year 778. Many, if not most
medieval 'celebrities' such as St. Francis of Assisi
and St. Bridget of Sweden did the trip to Santiago,
or at least had someone do it for them (which also
entitled one for the absolution). This brought money
and various crusader groups to Northern Spain, helping
to finance and better organize the 'Reconquista'
or reconquest of Spain for Christendom. St. James
became the patron and symbol of this Holy War, in
whose name zealous crusaders made their vows.
towns were born along the pilgrim routes, with a
special kind of town plan, architecture and art.
Flowing from this artery of high medieval culture,
romanesque, gothic and Arab influences spread in
small veins to the farthermost corners of Europe
- its far-reaching and unexpected results can hardly
be underestimated. It may perhaps be said that never
before or after was Europe so intimately a single
civilization, with a single goal: the grave of James.
the 15th and 16th centuries, changes emerge in the
motivations and reasons behind the pilgrimage. New
types of pilgrims appear. For knights, pilgrimage
was a pleasant way of spending time and having a
little adventure. Aristocrats and merchants came
in search of business opportunities and partners.
Courts of law sent criminals to Santiago as a punishment,
even for petty offences; for instance, a man from
Mechelen (Netherlands) was sent to Santiago for
disturbing people at night. Beggars earned their
living by acting as surrogate pilgrims, paid e.g.
by some convict or rich merchant. The last two groups
in particular caused the prestige of the Camino
to decrease by the end of the middle ages. Late
medieval pilgrims carried a sturdy staff of fresh
wood, the 'green cross' - not only to support themselves
but, perhaps more important, to defend themselves
against fellow 'pilgrims'.
to Compostela after the middle ages
heyday of the pilgrim's route was during the Middle
Ages, and when in 1492 the Reconquista was completed
and the Moors had been ousted from their last stronghold
of Granada, the cult partially lost its raison d'ètre.
The protestant Reformation meant an end for pilgrimage
from much of northern Europe.
ill reputation of the Spanish Inquisition decreased
the flow of foreign pilgrims, as did the French
(between protestant Huguenots and Catholics) of
the 16th century that lasted for 40 years; that
the southern part of that country was protestant
for a long time was a severe blow to the pilgrimage.
Pilgrims became objects of suspect and the pilgrimage
was associated with criminals and poor people. In
the 17th century, the Spanish national cult of Santiago
experienced a crisis when it was challenged by that
of saint Teresa of Avila, a hugely popular 16th
century mystic (who later became the first female
Doctor of the Church). St. James remained the patron
of Spain, but the quarrel left the cult much weakened.
cult was kept alive in the 17th century in Central
Europe by the confraternities of St. James in Flanders,
France, Germany and Switzerland. That the cult of
St. James's grave still remained important in Catholic
Europe is witnessed by the fact that when Oliver
Cromwell terrorized Ireland, a large number of Irish
Catholics went on exile to Compostela. In late 17th
century, the pilgrimage experienced something of
a revival and reached a new (if more modest, honestly
religious) peak, but mid-18th century again saw
a marked decline. The revived charity organizations
along the route lured again large numbers of beggars
and 'falsos peregrinos', and wars in Poland and
Austria scared potential pilgrims. The French revolution
and Napoleonic wars finally put and end to large-scale
European pilgrimage. The confraternities maintaining
the hospitals and other facilities along the route
disappeared and the pilgrimage was confined to a
Spanish and Portuguese phenomenon. The scientific
and industrial revolution in 19th century also rendered
the pilgrimage obsolete in the rest of Europe.
the year 1879, the long lost remains of the saint
that had been hidden in 1518 were rediscovered in
excavations, and a papal bull from 1884 confirmed
the authencity of the bones. Year 1885 was a holy
year of the saint James, and pilgrims from all over
Europe again made their way to Santiago. The flow
of pilgrims grew again little by little. In 1937
the apostle James was officially restored as the
patron saint of Spain and the medieval cult acquired
new ideological significance during the four decades
of Franco's fascist dictatorship. Historical interest
in the pilgrimage has increased in this century,
and tourists to the route.
modern Camino de Santiago
the second half of the 20th century, and in the
past decade in particular, there has been a major
renaissance of the pilgrim's route. Through the
efforts of local enthusiasts, supported by the Catholic
Church, the Spanish state and lately by the Coucil
of Europe (which in 1987 issued the so called Santiago
declaration, urging European states to work towards
the revitalization of the pilgrim's route, an important
part of the common European heritage), the Camino
has been rediscovered - first by the Spaniards themselves,
and now it is becoming internationally known once
more. An infrastructure resembling the medieval
system of hostels and confraternities has
begun to develop anew. Even in Spain, the Camino
is considered a 'new' thing by the general public;
apparently it first became well-known in the country
after the "Anno Xacobeo" of 1992 when
the Pope visited Santiago de Compostela and a major
effort was made to improve the facilities along
the route, especially in Galicia (the province where
Compostela is located).
is expected that the year 2000 will give a major
boost the modern Camino de Santiago, bringing Compostela
once again to the focus of European and international
attention, for it will be an 'annus mirabilis' for
the Catholic church (during which pilgrimage is
supposedly exceptionally beneficial) and Santiago
de Compostela will be one the so-called 'cultural
capitals' of Europe. Fortunately it seems unlikely
to me that walking the Camino would ever become
real mass-tourism - it is too laborious and there's
not much money in it. Furthermore, year 2000 will
be so inflated with happenings the world over that
little Santiago with its 80 000 inhabitants will
unlikely make the major impact it hopes for. But
you never know. In June-August of 1998, 16000 people
were registered walking or cycling the Camino, and
the figure is rising sharp.
PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR TAKING THE TRIP
are several alternatives, the main ones being St.
Jean Pied-de-Port (in the French Pyrenees), Roncesvalles
(on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees) and Somport
(east of the other two, in French Pyrenees very
close to the border). But there are some who have
started walking (or cycling) all the way from Paris,
Arles, or wherever one happens to live; and many
more who decide to do only a part of the trip, beginning
from e.g. Burgos or Leon in Spain. The distances
to Compostela are roughly as follows (numbers vary
slightly depending on the source): from St. Jean
764 km, Roncesvalles 737 km, Somport 836 km, Burgos
475 km, and Leon 300 km. There is, in my opinion,
hardly any point in starting any nearer than Leon,
but that of course does not stop a lot of people
from doing so.
is, of course, quite possible to do a part of the
trip without getting to Compostela, e.g. from St.
Jean to Burgos. As the landscapes in the Pyrenees
are perhaps the most beautiful along the route,
this might be recommendable if you have only limited
time. But the last stage before Compostela (Galicia)
is very beautiful too. If you decide to start in
the Pyrenees, I would recommend St. Jean. The route
from St. Jean to Roncesvalles is perhaps the most
beautiful along the entire Camino. It is, however,
also physically perhaps the most demanding (at least
if you take the so-called Route Napoleon), so leave
early in the morning so that you can hold enough
pilgrim's hostels are mainly open from the beginning
of May to the end of October. Some are open year-round,
and there are private bed & breakfast type lodgings
even in small villages (as well as actual hotels
in larger places, of course), so it's certainly
possible to walk on the camino off- season but it
takes more planning and money.
thing to take into consideration is of course the
weather. As the route goes through very different
kinds of environments it is impossible to give detailed
information about what it's going to be like.
speaking, July and August will be hot; early spring
and late fall you risk the chance of very cold and
wet weather in the mountains. But this is not to
say it can't be chilly and wet even in the middle
of summer, mind you. From the point of view of weather,
May might be the best month to go: I'm told that
all the flowers will be blooming then, the sun won't
have schorched all green things into a yellowishbrown
hue yet and the air will be pleasant for walking.
It also shouldn't be too crowded along the route
if you want to meet a lot of other pilgrims, July-August
is the best time to go. The Spanish holiday season
begins in August - lots of locals will start the
Camino around the 1st of August.
this might meant that some refugios will be full,
but the author never experienced that situation,
and was assured that no matter how full they'd always
find some place to sleep for a tired pilgrim. However,
I don't know how the refugios are going to cope
with the coming "holy years" when the
flow of pilgrims is expected to soar.
put it briefly:
November-April: you'll be walking almost alone,
weather will be less than ideal.
May-June: pleasant weather, blooming nature, relatively
few and mostly foreign pilgrims.
July-August: weather can be hot at times, but mostly
not too hot for walking. There'll be a lot of pilgrims,
the majority now being Spanish.
September-October: the Spaniards go back to work,
and so do most other nationalities. Weather will
be pleasant, at least in September. Refugios may
start changing their opening hours (for worse).
demanding is it?
distances to Compostela may look scary on paper,
and no doubt some people will think that they can
never make it all the way, but walking 700km is
- surprisingly - not physically very demanding at
all if you reserve enough time for it. Walking some
20km per day, having a few days for rest every once
in a while, will get you there in a little more
than a month. Preparing for the trip in advance
is a good idea and reduces the risk of getting problems
with your feet, but 20km isn't that much, almost
anyone can do it even without any practice, and
it's quite possible to walk much longer distances
per day. If you've had no excercise it's best to
start with modest distances and, as you get used
to walking and your physical condition starts to
improve, you can increase the distances little by
little. Afternoon heat limits the time you can walk
- after around three p.m. it can become so hot that
walking becomes unpleasant.
it's wise, in hot areas, to start walking very early
in the morning - even before sunrise - so that you
can reach the next refugio around noon and rest
during the worst heat. Walking in the pleasant cool
air under the stars, which can be very bright in
these sparsely populated parts of the country, has
its own charm, but you should have a flashlight
so you won't hurt yourself or miss the Camino signs
and get lost.
some common health problems
water in Spain is quite o.k. to drink. This even
goes for the public drinking fountains, except when
it says otherwise ("Agua non potable"
meaning that the water isn't good for drinking;
if there is no sign but you're unsure, ask a local).
To be on the safe side, however, you can always
drink bottled water in the beginning and then gradually
move to tap water as your system gets used to the
new bacterial environment. You may also wish to
avoid any mayonnaise-based foods such as the ubiquitous
'ensalada rusa'. To avoid the risk of getting a
tourist diarrhea, you can start eating lactic acid
tablets already before leaving to Spain. If you
do get a diarrhea, take it easy with walking and
drink more water than normal: the risk of dehydration
increases with diarrhea.
it's common sense, I'll have to emphasise the importance
of drinking enough water. Drink at regular intervals
even if you're not thirsty. Don't spare the water;
in most cases you'll have plenty of opportunities
to refill your bottle. After a while you'll be able
to judge the necessary amounts to drink daily (if
you don't have the normal urge to pee and/or it
turns dark you're not drinking enough), but especially
if you're not used to a hot climate you may in the
beginning experience mild dehydration or heatstrokes
(possible symptoms include nausea, vomiting, dizziness,
fever and diarrhea) if you forget to drink enough.
hygiene in the showers and toilets is often wanting.
Use shower sandals to avoid getting infections (blistered
feet are an easy target). Strech your feet before
and after walking the day's etappe; ruptures are
a very common problem. Be careful and walk slowly
when you're descending steep hills or mountains.
a heavy backpack adding weight, descending puts
a great stress on the joints and muscles of your
feet; use a walking stick to climb down smoothly.
Cover your head to avoid sunstroke.
it safe for a (blonde) woman to walk alone?
lot of women have sent me mail asking this. As a
man who didn't walk alone, I'm not in the best position
to answer. However, I did talk to several women
who were doing the Camino alone and never heard
of any unpleasant experiences. The Camino mostly
goes through peaceful countryside and sleepy small
towns - not bustling cities or holiday resorts -
that would seem to me as unlikely scenes for sexual
harassment. Even the Spaniards in this part of the
country seem to be rather more reserved and taciturn
than the stereotypical, pushy beach Adonises from
Torremolinos. One might also hazard a guess that
the fact that the pilgrims are, at least in principle,
on a spiritual journey, and not looking for cheap
booze and casual sex like some beach tourists, makes
them less interesting for a Spanish macho guy and
decreases the possibility of cultural misunderstandings.
any case, the constant flow of other pilgrims along
the route, especially during the Spanish holiday
season (August), should make it fairly secure. Much
of the time you'll be within eye contact with other
pilgrims; if you aren't, make a short pause and
a familiar group of pilgrims will probably pass
you. It's fairly easy to make friends along the
route, so even if you're travelling alone, you can
always join a few fellow pilgrims if you feel insecure.
Common to all pilgrimages is the phenomenon of a
group of pilgrims forming a special kind of a temporary
community that travels at roughly the same pace
- people with different backgrounds brought together
for a short period of time by a common goal, like
Chaucer's characters on their way to Canterbury.
With this community of pilgrims, you'll rarely be
really alone, whether you like it or not.
it easy to get lost?
very, but no doubt you will get a little bit lost
a couple of times anyway. The route is usually quite
well marked. There are several types of marks: the
most common ones are simple painted yellow arrows
or just spots of yellow paint on buildings, trees
or rocks; then there are blue signs with a schematic,
yellow scallop shell (like the one in the top this
article) and perhaps a picture of a pilgrim; and
the third common type is a grey stone slab with
a carved scallop shell and sometimes the distance
(km) to Santiago. It happens that there are rather
long stretches of the route without any signs, but
this is relatively rare; usually if you cease to
see the yellow marks or other signs around, you've
simply taken the wrong turn at some point. It is
also quite common that there are two or more alternative
routes between the villages and towns of the Camino;
this can generate some confusion, especially as
the less popular routes may also be less well marked
(if at all). The locals know where the route goes
and often wave and shout at you if you're about
to go the wrong way. Passing cars may honk and even
stop to show you the right way (but they often honk
simply to greet pilgrims). If that doesn't happen
but you're still unsure, ask rather than walk; it's
very frustrating to walk back several kilometres
to find the Camino again. A simple "Donde es
el Camino de Santiago?" (where is the road
to Santiago) should do the trick. The maps and
descriptions in most guidebooks are far more useful
than any regular maps (such as Michelin's), so be
sure to carry one with you in case you get lost.
A compass or any other maps you shouldn't need.
bicycle or on foot?
is a popular sport in Spain and many people choose
to do the Camino on bicycle. It will of course be
faster, especially where the Camino is in decent
shape and the countryside is flat, as is usually
the case all the way from La Rioja to the province
of Leon. There are however quite a few stages where
cycling is impossible or at least not advisable
because the Camino is just a narrow, poorly kept
means cyclists quite often have to resort to asphalt
roads instead of the actual Camino. Another argument
against cycling is that it is too fast; only walkers
can really get to know each other because most people
walk roughly the same distances each day. "Real"
peregrinos walk; most cyclists are there on a sports
holiday. In pilgrim's hostels or 'refugios' preference
is, in principle, given to pilgrims travelling on
foot, but in practice even cyclists should encounter
no problems in getting a place to sleep.
to get there?
depends of course on where you start. Flying to
Madrid and taking a train to Pamplona is one way
(trains are relatively cheap in Spain). There should
be a bus going from Pamplona to Roncesvalles (the
downside of taking it is that when you get to Roncesvalles
you've already seen the Roncesvalles-Pamplona stage
through bus windows), but apparently not to St.
Jean Pied-de-Port, which you have to reach through
France. In general, the bus system in Spain is rather
confusing and only seems to cover the bigger towns,
not every small village. What we did was to fly
to Bilbao, then take a bus to Hendaya on the French
side of the border and from there a train first
to Bayonne, and from Bayonne finally a local train
to St. Jean. That may sound a bit complicated but
it went surprisingly smoothly. There may be easier
ways than that (such as taking some cheap flight
to Paris or Toulouse, then a train to Bayonne and
St. Jean), but you'll have to find out for yourselves.
Ask at your local Spanish tourist office.
to take with you?
this is important: TAKE AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE. We
heard the same warnings but all the same took
too much weight to carry. Our backpacks would've
killed us were it not for the post office in Pamplona
from where we sent some of our stuff back home.
Even then it was quite painful sometimes.
probably not heed this warning anyway, so blame
yourself if your trip is ruined by having to quit
because of problems with your feet or your back.
:) Seriously, even 10 kg is a lot to carry for this
trip - remember that you may have to carry it every
day for a month (if you do the whole Camino), up
and down hills and mountains. Before you leave for
Spain, be sure to check how it feels to walk with
your backpack on.
try to list the essentials:
shoes. One pair is enough, in my opinion, but they
have to be comfortable, let your feet breathe and
strong enough to last almost 800km of continuous
walking. If you buy new ones, let your feet get
used to them well in advance. They should be good
for walking both on asphalt roads (sometimes long
streaks of it form a part of the Camino) and narrow
gravel paths with the occasional climb or mud puddle.
Choose your socks with care too.
bag. Take one that is as light as possible; it obviously
doesn't need to be very warm. A simple woollen blanket
might be even lighter than a sleeping bag and most
of the time warm enough, but even during the hottest
time of the year there is always a possibility of
chilly nights, so a sleeping bag might still be
a better idea. Some refugios have woollen blankets
for use but this is nothing to count on. Mattresses,
however, are available at the refugios so you shouldn't
need a camping mattress.
Again, only essentials. One pair of shorts and one
pair of long trousers is enough (a skirt or a sarong
might also be comfortable). A few t-shirts and perhaps
one long-sleeved shirt (in case of sunburns). A
light sweater, fleece jacket or simlar is a good
idea; it can get chilly even during the summers
in some parts of Spain (for us that happened in
the middle of Castilia!)
gear. There can be heavy rain, especially in mountainous
regions, so you should take some sort of a light
rain cape or coat with you.
protection. The sun of Castilia can be scorching;
take good sun lotion and especially a hat of some
sort, preferably broad-ringed. Sun-glasses may be
guidebook. The Camino is usually well marked, but
at you'll probably get lost sometimes anyway, so
it's good to have a guidebook with maps of the route.
Also you'll miss most of the point of the whole
trip if you know nothing about the history and legends
of the various towns and monuments, many of which
are associated with the medieval pilgrimage. If
you don't manage to buy or order one before the
trip, you should be able to find one in St. Jean
or Roncesvalles (guides in Spanish are easy to find
anywhere in Spain, but English ones much less so).
bottle. You'll need to carry water with you throughout
the trip, so it might as well be a good bottle instead
of any old used Coke bottle. One that you can attach
somewhere, yet be able to reach without having to
take your backpack off would be ideal. A volume
of a litre should be enough; most villages have
fountains (fuente) that you can use to refill.
kit. Most small towns have pharmacies, but it's
good to have the basic medicines and bandage
with you. All sorts of minor problems, mostly associated
with feet, are very common among the peregrinos
travelling by foot. There are special 'skin-like'
plasters (Compeed is one brand name) specially developed
for blisters; they are rather good, but even they
wear off pretty soon if you continue hiking.
army knife. Always useful, although I suppose you
can live without it. Doesn't weigh much so I
Documents. You'll need, of course, a passport, any
documents relating to health and a pilgrim's
that you'll need if you want to sleep in the pilgrim's
hostels or refugios. A travel insurance is a good
idea, given the relatively high frequency of all
kinds of small injuries. For European Union citizens
it is advisable to carry a document called E-111;
in case of injury, it will enable you to be taken
care for as if you were a Spanish citizen.
Living will be cheap while you're travelling on
the Camino. Spending nights at the refugios is either
completely free or you have to pay a nominal price
of around 200-500 pesetas. In cheap restaurants
and bars a menu del dia or menu of the day costs
around 800-1000 pesetas. Foodstuffs are cheap if
you manage to find a foodstore. It's better not
to carry too much cash around; take a credit card
(Visa is common) or traveler's cheques. It can however
be difficult to find a bank that changes them in
small towns. Some banks take a large commission;
Caja Espana, if I remember correctly, takes none.
Perhaps one with large, friendly letters saying
"DON'T PANIC". Also any other things related
to simple personal hygiene: toothbrush & paste,
shampoo, deodorant, etc. But don't exaggerate, take
too little rather than too much.
equipment. Our experience was that carrying heavy
cooking equipment with us was a mistake. Most people
we met said the same. So we sent it by mail back
home to Finland. A majority of refugios have stoves
for the pilgrims to use, as well as kettles, frying
pans, plates, cutlery, etc. - many even have salt,
sugar, olive oil and other basic foodstuffs for
everyone to use. It is true that sometimes there
either is none or the stove is out of order, but
then one can usually go to a local bar and eat what's
on the menu. In a few cases there is no kitchen
in the refugio and no bar around; whether you prefer
to eat dry or canned food in such cases or carry
the heavy equipment is up to you.
dictionary (if you don't already speak the language).
You can rather easily do without it with sign
and guessing (Spanish isn't that difficult a language),
but doing the Camino would be a good
to learn some Spanish. If do you take one, it has
to be light.
If you start walking very early in the mornings
(which is often a good idea), you may miss the Camino
without a flashlight.
sandals. Showers and lavatories in the refugios
aren't as hygienical as they might be. Since a foot
might well ruin your trip, some sort of rubbery
sandals may be worth carrying.
spare shoes. If you want to let your hiking boots
rest for a while, e.g. while spending time in some
large city along the route.
stick. This is not just because it makes you look
like a Real Pilgrim. A walking stick will in fact
for maintaining balance, especially if you have
a heavy backpack, as the Camino is sometimes just
a narrow and steep path. It may also come in handy
against the ubiquitous half-wild dogs, if they should
be a problem (some people reported attacks, especially
in Galicia; our experience with Galician dogs, however,
was quite pleasant). Some pilgrims use expensive-looking
specially made walking sticks, but you can make
one that is just as good yourself. Refugios may
also give away sticks left behind by earlier pilgrims.
shell. This, on the other hand, serves no other
purpose than helping others to identify you as a
pilgrim. Scallop shells were worn by medieval pilgrims
to Compostela as a token of their status as pilgrims.
Nowadays some wear them, others don't. Whether you
think it makes you look silly or neat is up to you.
They can be bought at e.g. some refugios.
CONDITIONS IN SPAIN
isn't widely spoken (French seems to be more common),
although it is becoming increasingly popular and
young urban people often speak at least a few words
of English. A basic knowledge of Spanish will help
immensely - but you can do without. Your co-pilgrims,
who will be an international lot and many of them
a real polyglot, will be able to help you most of
the time when help is needed, and you should soon
develop a basic vocabulary yourself.
worth remembering that what we call "Spanish"
is in fact the dialect of Castilia (called Castellano),
and is only one of the several native languages
spoken in that country. The Camino goes through
areas where Basque is commonly spoken (Navarra)
and in Galicia signs are written in Gallego, a language
more closely related to Portuguese than Spanish.
Spanish system of opening hours takes some getting
used to and may cause moments of intense frustration
for the pilgrim. The difficulty, I think, arises
from the fact that instead of a light lunch, Spaniards
are in a habit of eating a heavy dinner - el almuerzo
- around noon. The shopkeepers, bankers, etc. close
their doors, stuff themselves senseless with heavy
Castilian food and are only able to function again
around 4 p.m. At least in smaller places this means
that there'll be no food available - anywhere -
until it's time for supper (la cena). Another reason
is of course the afternoon heat.
general rule of opening hours is something like
this: most places are open in the mornings from
around 10 a.m to around 1 p.m, and then once the
siesta is over, from around 4 p.m to about 8 p.m.
However, the shops may close simply if there aren't
enough customers on that day and hour, or if the
owner thinks it's a good time to have a drink in
a bar with his pals or, perhaps, a nice little nap.
This is the Spanish countryside, and the rat-race
effeciency of Scandinavia or America hasn't quite
penetrated here, for better or worse. Some places
are open on saturdays and even on sundays, and then
again some aren't. Then of course there are various
fiestas, usually with lots of toros that arouse
local enthusiasm but make things even more complicated
for the peregrino trying to find an open foodstore.
leads us to...
food & Spanish food culture
I've already implied, finding food can be a problem
in Spain. Foodstores are relatively rare and it's
common that there is none in a medium-sized village
or even a small town. Even when you find one, they
are usually rather poorly equipped. Supermarcados
are even rarer, only found in medium-sized or large
towns and cities - and even there they are often
a far cry from what one would expect of a supermarket.
It is unlikely that you'll starve to death for failing
to find food here, but it may nonetheless be a good
idea to buy some dry or canned food to carry with
you when you can, even if it brings some extra weight
to your backpack. Just in case.
is a bar of some sort in practically every village,
no matter how poor, and you can usually buy at least
bocadillos (sandwiches, usually poorly made dry
pieces of bread with some jamon [dried ham] or chorizo
[very good Spanish salami] stuffed in between) and
tortillas in them, sometimes main courses too. Tapas
or the various small delicacies Spain is famous
for aren't really a part of the food culture of
this part of the country, although one can find
them in some bars, especially of course in big cities.
restaurants aren't very common; the ones that are
there are not usually very classy (which is just
as well if one is travelling on a tight budget)
but offer cheap menus, many advertising a menu del
peregrino or menu del dia for around 800-1000 pesetas.
As a rule, these seem to consist of 1) ensalada
rusa (maionnaise salad) or soup, 2) filet ternera
con patatas fritas (a thin beefsteak with French
fries) and 3) flan (a cream pudding), helado (ice
cream) or fruits - pan (bread) and vino (wine, a
whole bottle, and usually quite decent) are included
in the price.
quality of food is usually good given the ridiculously
small price and you should get your stomach full,
but it doesn't speak very highly of Spanish food
culture that - with but insignificant variations
- this same formula is repeated in nearly every
(cheap) restaurant throughout the entire Camino.
If you travel 700 km in Europe, you normally get
more variation and local colour even in burger joints
- let alone real restaurants. The Camino is a great
journey, but if you expect it to be a great culinary
journey you may be disappointed. I know that my
saing this offends some Spaniards, who for some
reason seem to be very proud of their culinary traditions,
but I hope they realize that this is a matter of
personal opinion - not objective fact - and that
we can agree to disagree. I must also stress that
my exposure to Spanish food was of course limited
and need not reflect the real situation. I was travelling
on a tight budget and could not eat in the best
restaurants. I hope other pilgrims may, after reading
this, be positively surprised.
SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF THE ROUTE
Jean Pied-de-Port – Pamplona
Jean is quite a beautiful small town on the foothills
of the Pyrenees, crowned by a 17th century citadel
by the famous military architect Vauban. The climb
after St. Jean is steep but the views from the
are rewarding and the nature is extravagantly lush
with oak and beech woods. On the other side of the
peaks lies Roncesvalles , associated with the legend
of Charlemagne and Roland (who was killed in the
Battle of Roncesvalles in 778, betrayed by the treacherous
Ganelon of France). It is the site of one of the
earliest pilgrim's hospitals on the route. The medieval
Hospital complex occupies the central place in Roncesvalles
(there is little else). From Roncesvalles onwards
the mountains little by little become low hills
and the lush nature turns dry. The Navarran white-chalked
villages along the route are well-kept and nice
looking. The suburbs of Pamplona begin when you
get to the monastery of Arre. Pamplona itself is
famous for its 'bull-run'; a festival during which
the citizens give the the poor, mishandled bulls
an opportunity to retaliate and trample a few (probably
well-deserving) toro-enthusiasts. There are also
some fine medieval churches, a medieval pilgrim's
bridge, remains of the town walls and a citadel.
Pamplona, the landscape becomes drier. There is
a fine view over the plain from the Sierra del Perdon
hills which you have to cross. Puente la Reina is
where the Camino Frances and Camino Aragones come
together. The town has received its name ("The
Queen's Bridge") from a large medieval bridge
built for pilgrims. It also has an oblong shape
typical of the towns that were born because of the
Camino: one long street with very old houses on
both sides. On the way to Estella there are some
Roman remains (bridge and road); Estella itself
has many fine gothic churches and a romanesque palace.
Estella and Los Arcos lies a Fuente del Vino or
'wine fountain', with actual red wine pouring from
it. Leaving Los Arcos, you cross the border to La
Rioja - the province where the best Spanish wines
come from - and enter Logrono, the riojan capital.
Logrono is a big, rather well-kept and pleasant
city with some interesting monuments, but doesn't
have the charm and pomp of Burgos or Leon.
Najera, the beautiful Monastery of Santa Maria la
Real houses a pantheon of the kings of Navarre.
The cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada is
another beautiful gothic church; a curious detail
is the 'chicken coop' inside the church, housing
(live) chickens and cocks in memory of the 'miracle
of the roasted cock' that took place here. The landscape
around here is rather flat and dry, lots of wheat
Santo Domingo you cross the border to Castilla y
Leon; having passed Belorado, the landscape suddenly
turns lush again as you climb to the hills of Oca,
covered with oak and pine forest. Before Burgos
comes the large monastery of San Juan de Ortega,
abandoned alone in the middle of the forest.
San Juan you climb again to a steep hill, with a
view from top over Burgos . Burgos is a big and
beautiful city, best known for its 'silver' cathedral,
a huge gothic building where the legendary knight
El Cid lies buried. Contrary to what one might expect
in Spain, the grave is marked by an unremarkable,
ascetic red stone slab - no baroque grandeur or
Burgos the landscape again becomes very flat and
dry, with occasional canyon-like valleys. There
are many, rather similar small medieval towns and
villages here. At Fromista, there is a remarkable
romanesque Church of San Martin - the exterior in
particular is worth taking a closer look for its
strange and fascinating decorative elements. After
Sahagun, the real meseta or Spanish plains start.
Even the valleys are gone now; there is nothing
but flat corn field ad infinitum. This part of the
province is also evidently quite poor. Many houses
are built of unburnt mud bricks or adobe (a technique
that I, as an archaeologist, associate with the
neolithic stone age), towns are small and unimpressive,
and some villages are in abysmal condition. Yet
the very difference makes this part of Spain fascinating.
The city of Leon (which receives its name from the
Roman 'Legio VII Gemina') stands in stark contrast
to the surrounding countryside: it is affluent,
beautiful and has many handsome historical monuments.
The gothic cathedral is perhaps slightly smaller
than that of Burgos, but much more elegant; it is
easily one of the most beautiful churches I have
seen. The romanesque Real Basilica de San Isidoro
has preserved a series of extraordinary 12th century
frescoes; the entrance fee is well worth paying
as it also enables you to visit the library and
a museum. Long stretches of the Roman walls of the
city have also been preserved. The City, with its
broad avenues and narrow alleys in the old part,
has in my opinion more charm and
than any of the other major cities along the pilgrim's
- O Cebreiro
first important town after Leon is Astorga, another
city with a Roman past. Astorga is smaller than
Leon, but has a good number of historical monuments
to show: a Gothic cathedral, a bishop's palace designed
by the famous Art Nouveau architect Antonio Gaudi
and several excavated Roman remains.
Astorga, the landscape rather suddenly starts to
change: the foothills of the Leonese mountains begin,
forests start to reappear and the mountains loom
large in a distance. The climb, however, is not
demanding at all this time; you get rather easily
to the top, and the views are great. In the following
fertile wine-growing valley lies the town of Ponferrada,
with its fairy-tale Templar castle, and the beautiful
little mountain town of Villafranca del Bierzo.
After Villafranca, you climb again over beautiful
green mountains, and this time the climb is rather
steep until you cross the border to Galicia and
enter the small, stony mountain-top village called
O Cebreiro. O Cebreiro is famous for two things
(or three, if you count the O Cebreiro cheese):
the round 'palloza' houses (of which there are only
a couple), supposedly still built like the ancient
Celts did, and the 'miracle of O Cebreiro'. Associated
with this miracle is the 'Holy Grail of Galicia',
on display in the small church of O Cebreiro.
Cebreiro - Santiago de Compostela
O Cebreiro, you descend again. Nature is now at
times almost tropically lush. Long stretches of
are so called 'corredoiras', green corridor-like
cart-tracks covered by 'ceilings' of tree branches.
rest of of the way to Compostela is hilly and fertile,
somewhat Central European -looking, with some drier
areas of pine forests. There are also some Eucalyptus
forests close to Conpostela. Galician villages are
of a special type: built entirely of grey slate,
rooftiling and all, with peculiar looking 'horreos'
for drying foodstuffs and a strong stench of cowdung
floating everywhere. The towns along the Galician
stretch of the Camino are nice, but most aren't
very noteworthy, at least compared to what you've
seen before. Triacastela, Sarria, Portomarin (built
anew after a water reservoir submerged the old town),
Palas de Rei and Arzua hold little that absolutely
can't be ignored in terms of historical sights;
the beautiful natural surroundings and good refugio
facilities, on the other hand, make a stay enjoyable.
Then, finally, comes Santiago de Compostela.
IN SANTIAGO - NOW WHAT?
the sublime city of the Apostle, which enjoys all
delights; the city in whose custody are the mortal
remains of St. James, for which reason it is considered
the most blessed and exalted city in Spain."
in Santiago after such an arduous, even dangerous
joyrney must have been as and of itself a great
moment to the medieval pilgrim; but its momentousness
was further increased by a heavy ritualisation of
the way the Holy City had to be entered. When the
pilgrims came to the Lavacolla river, called 'Lauamentula'
by Aymeric Picaud, they according to Picaud "take
off their clothes and, for love of the Apostle,
wash not only their private parts, but the dirt
from their entire bodies". Such ritual washing
in order to purify oneself before entering the Holy
City has its prototype in the Holy Land, where pilgrims
washed in the river Jordan before entering Jerusalem.
Lavacolla river nowaydays runs near an international
airport by the same name.
cleansed themselves, the pilgrims would hurry to
the summit of Monte do Gozo - the 'Mount of Joy',
called so because from here the spires of Compostela
first could be seen. They would race each other
to the top, the first to get there becoming the
leader of the pilgrim group. A 17th century Italian
pilgrim, Domenico Laffi, wrote:
seeing [Santiago], we fell to our knees and began
to weep for joy and to sing the 'Te Deum', but we
could not recite more than two or three lines, being
unable to speak for the tears that streamed out
of our eyes with such force that our hearts trembled,
and our continuous sobs interrupted our singing.
At last, our tears ceased and we resumed singing
the 'Te Deum' and thus singing, continued our descent
until we came to the city outskirts".
do Gozo has witnessed many an emotional scene, but
today it is difficult to be overjoyed by the sight
one encounters from its top: there are no spires
to be seen, other than the antennas of the TVstation
that now dominates the hill. All you can see of
Santiago is a lot of busy highways and unattractive
suburbs, making it quite difficult to convince yourself
that you are experiencing something sacred or important.
pilgrims would now continue to the city through
a specific route until they reached the Cathedral.
Inside the Cathedral, they touched the central pillar
of the Portico de la Gloria in which St. James is
portrayed welcoming the tired pilgrim - people still
do this, and the innumerable hands have left deep
fingermarks in the hard marble of the pillar. The
pilgrims then hug the romanesque statue of James
standing on the High Altar - a staircase leads to
the statue, with tourists and pilgrims waiting for
their turn to embrace the cold metal of this gilded
bust that looks more like Charlemagne than a humble
the pilgrims had seen the reliquary of St. James,
attended a pilgrim's mass and done the rest of the
rituals, they could get a certificate, called "Compostela",
of having completed the pilgrimage.
have been awarded since the 14th century to those
who can prove that they've walked a certain distance
along the pilgrim's route. Nowadays, a pilgrim can
get - upon showing his or her 'credencial del peregrino'
with enough stamps - the Compostela from the Dean's
House in Santiago, Rua del Villar 1.
city itself is certainly beautiful, rather more
'Portuguese' than the other major cities along the
route, but not, perhaps, spectacular. It is perhaps
best not to expect too much of Santiago or it may
become an anticlimax for the trip. The refugio in
Santiago lets you stay three nights free of charge,
which is easily enough for sightseeing. The main
sight is obviously the Cathedral, rising above the
impressive Plaza del Obradoiro; a noble romanesque
building, but the main facade unfortunately has
been ruined by a pompous baroque coating more reminiscent
of a wedding cake than a sanctuary. The south facade
gives an idea of what has been lost. The contrast
between the festive exterior and the rather ascetic
interior is a disadvantage to the latter; the visitor
expects to find a glittering jewelbox inside and
is in for a disappointment. But the church is in
fact quite a remarkable building, its bare walls
pregnant with a silent, ancient spirituality that
the market-place-like commotion, flashlights and
commericialized religion inside can't entirely suffocate.
this is the end of the pilgrimage as the Church
would have it. But throughout the ages, many pilgrims
have continued past Santiago to Finisterre - "the
End of the Earth" - on the Atlantic coast.
Many still do, but there are no refugios along the
route. However, it's only 60km or so and there should
be B&B type of lodgings along the road. There's
at least one bus company that regularly drives there,
but the tickets are rather expensive (given the
relatively short distance).
PILGRIM'S HOSTELS OR REFUGIOS
outstanding system of lodgings is one of the best
features of the Camino. It remains to be seen how
it will survive if the Camino ever becomes a mass-tourist
attraction, but at present date (1998) it is still
much based on local enthusiasm and voluntary work.
The system works like this. You receive a credencial
del Peregrino or a 'pilgrim's passport' at a pilgrimage
office at your starting point. When you check in
at a refugio, the hospitalero or caretaker of the
refugio stamps your passport with the stamp of that
refugio, you pay him the required amount (around
0-500 pesetas), and you get to stay for one night
after which you have to move on. If you get ill,
however, you are allowed to stay longer. The refugios
have dormitories with bunk beds and mattresses (but
no sheets and often no blankets), showers (frequently
cold water only), often also kitchens and some sort
of washing facilities. Most refugios are quite nice,
but a word of warning: a village called Bercianos
del Real Camino in the province of Leon advertises
that it has a refugio, but in reality this turned
out to be a filthy, abandoned and partly ruined
house. For us, this was the only bad disappointment,
but since we of course didn't visit all refugios
along the route, there may be more similar cases.
distances between two refugios vary, but is never
much more than 20 km. The situation is best in Galicia,
where a series of well-equipped (but somewhat impersonal,
as they all seem to have been built using the same
plans) refugios were built for the purpose back
in 1992, and the worst if you travel along the Camino
Aragones (i.e. if you start from Somport) where
- until you get to Puente la Reina - only some refugios
operate. Here is one list of refugios, acquired
from the pilgrim's office at St. Jean Pied-de-Port.
It is by no means complete, and the situation may
change fast, so you should double-check these from
a pilgrim's office or guidebook. The comments are
mostly based on personal experiences, with some
welcome additions provided by Petteri Kauppinen
(his comments marked with PK) and some quotes taken
from Millan Brazo Lozano's guidebook.
haven't studied this subject very deeply and rely
on just a few publications and personal experiences.
For those who want to find out more, I nonetheless
include a short list of books (many of which I personally
am not familiar with):
Bravo Lozano, M.
Guia del Peregrino Medieval. ("Codex Calixtinus").
A Practical Guide for Pilgrims. The Road to Santiago.
Le chemin de Compostelle. Editions du Vieux Crayon.
(Description of the from Puy-en-Velay to
Il est un beau chemin semé d'épines et d'étoiles.
Editions du Vieux Crayon.
Following the Milky Way. A Pilgrimage across Spain.
Ames: Iowa State University Press.
Andacht und Abendteuer. Berichte europäischer Jerusalem
und Santiago-Pilger (1320-1520).
the Road. A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim's Route
into Spain. Aurum Press.
de Parga, L.V. & Lacarra, J.M. & Uria, J.
Las peregrinaciones a Santiago de Compostela. I-III.
Pilgrim Guides to Spain: 1. Camino Frances 1978.
The Confraternity of Saint James.
Way of St. James: Spain. Cicerone Press.
Santiagon jalanjäljissä: Santiago de Compostelan
pyhiinvaellusmatkan analyysi. Uskontotieteen
gradu -tutkielma. Helsingin Yliopisto.
is an unpublished MA thesis in Finnish. For the
Finns interested in checking it out, it can be found
in the library of the Faculty of Theology, University
of Helsinki, Aleksanterinkatu 7).
The Road to Santiago. Berkeley & Los Angeles:
University of California Press.
Pilgrimage. An Image of Medieval Religion. London:
Faber & Faber.
Der Spanische Jakobsweg. Köln: DuMont.
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