Here is a little history about the Camino:
- To understand the Camino, you have to start more than 2,000 years ago. St. James (one of the 12 Apostles) traveled to the north of Spain around 40 A.D. to spread the teaching of Jesus. When he returned to Jerusalem he was beheaded by King Herod in 44 A.D. and became the first Apostle to be martyred. St. James’s body was buried somewhere in northwest Spain where his body would lay forgotten until the early 9th century.
- In 814 A.D. a hermit named Pelagius had a vision and followed a bright light to a spot where he and some shepherds heard a choir of angels singing. Upon hearing of this vision, the local Bishop had the area examined and they found an ancient arch and alter with a sarcophagus containing the body of St. James.
- When King Alfonso heard the news, he ordered the construction of a chapel to commemorate the find. Word spread quickly throughout Europe and people started making the pilgrimage to Santiago to visit the resting place of St. James and that begins the “Camino de Santiago”.
- The “Camino de Santigo” is Spanish for “The Way of St. James” (the Apostle) and includes dozens of routes throughout Europe, all ending in Santigo, Spain at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, where legend has it that the remains of Jesus’s apostle Saint James the Elder lie. Below are some of the routes in Europe:
- The most popular/famous route is called the “Camino Frances” (The French Way) which starts in St. Jean Pied dePort, France and ends in Santiago which is about 500 miles. This is the route I will be walking.
Here are few interesting facts about the Camino de Santiago:
- Every year more than 200,000 pilgrims arrive in Santiago each year and receive their Compostela certificate, which is a certificate of completion (You need to walk at least the last 100 km into Santiago to receive your Compostela certificate).
- The movie “The Way” (2010), written and directed by Emilio Estevez, takes place on the Camino. Martin Sheen learns that his son (Estevez) has died early along the route and takes up the pilgrimage in order to complete it on his son’s behalf.
- Here are some interesting stats about the Camino:
There are thousands of Camino videos on YouTube. Here is a short (5 minutes) with some of the sites and sounds along the way.