Spain-El Camino de Santiago 2004

El Peregrino

Third day, outside of Pamplona.  Still fresh and looking good.  I had just climbed my first big hill.

Four years ago, I heard that there was a pilgrimage trail in Spain that went to the tomb of St. James the Apostle.  I looked up some information on the internet, and for four years I wanted to go but never had the chance.  This summer, 2004, I decided to go.  It was one of the best experiences of my life.  Everyday, I would wake up, pack my bag, and walk through some of the most beautiful country God created.  Up and down hills, across ancient bridges, through the rain, I walked.  I made on average about 30 km (18 miles) per day.  It was strange to wake up in a different bed each night, to know that my day, all day would be spent walking.  Sometimes I arrived late and had to immediately shower and go to bed.  I often stopped for lunch in whatever comfortable place I could find.  This was always my favorite part of the day.  I usually could find a beautiful, quiet place.  Sometimes I would take a nap for a few hours, that’s one reason I would arrive so late.  As I went on I pushed myself more and more.  Once day I walked 40 km, and the last part of that was in the rain.  For the last 200 km of the trip there were many people on the trail.  I hardly got to sleep in a bed for week.
I had long been considering converting to either Orthodoxy, Catholicism, or to the Anglican Church.  As this was a Catholic pilgrimage, I was hoping it would help me make up my mind.  I wasn’t really looking for answers, I just wanted to ‘listen’ as I put it.  But in a way I think I was hoping that the Virgin Mary or Santiago (St. James) would appear to me and tell me what to do, but as is often the case, the answer was not so clear.  I did meet some very interesting people who helped me understand things about the traditional ‘High Churches’ in general and Catholicism specifically.  I still haven’t made up my mind what to do.  I’m still listening.
It was a hard trip, but I’m glad I went.  I wish I was there now.  I still doesn’t seem right for me to always go to sleep in the same bed, to wake up and not walk.  Now I have to read and work.  It did confirm in me the desire to settle down somewhere outside of a city.
I’ll develop the story more together with my pictures.  Enjoy.
August 26th, 2004Note: 1 km = 0.62 miles 









Navarra Province Days One – Four June 26 – 29     Roncesvalles – Pamplona – Puenta La Reina
Day Five – June 30     Puenta La Reina – Villa Mayor de Monjardin
La Rioja Province Days Six – Nine – July 1 – 4     Villa Mayor de Monjardin – Viana – Navarrete – Santo Domingo  –  Villafranca Montes Oca
Castillia y Leon Province Days Ten – Thirteen – July 5 – 8    Villafranca – Burgos – Hontanas – Boadilla del Camino – Carrion de los Condes
Days Fourteen – Sixteen – July 9 – 11   Carrion de los Condes – Terradillos de los Templarios – El Burgo Ranero – Leon
Days Seventeen – Nineteen – July 12 – 14    Leon – Hospital de Orbigo – El Ganso – Molinaseca
Galicia Province Days Twenty – Twenty-Two –  July 15 – 17    Molinesca – Pereje – O Cebreiro – Sames
Days Twenty-three – Twenty-four –  July 18 – July 19   Sames – Portomarin – Melide
Days Twenty-five – Twenty-six – July 20 – 21    Melide – Santa Irene – Santiago de Compestella I did it, I Made It, I’M HERE!
Santiago de Compestalla – July 21 – 24   Pictures from my stay in the city.

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