732 km on foot from St Jean Pied de Port to the cathedral of Santiago. At least one month of walking passing from the peaks of the Pyrenees to the boiling meseta till the forests of Galicia.
This is El Camino de Santiago.
Students, families, religious groups face this challenge each for a different reason but they all follow ‘Las conchas’, the shell symbols used to indicate the path.
A backpack of at least 9 kg, blisters and physical pain are the inseparable companions of this adventure. Wearing comfortable technical shoes is a necessity ironically remembered along the way.
Small villages are always ready to welcome walkers; la Credential, a sort of ID of the pilgrim filled by the timbres of the different churches encountered along the way, will allow you to stay at the hostels for low prices.
The majority of the hostels is equipped with kitchen. If not the same owner will cook you dinner. Even washing machines will always be present, even in the most unexpected places.
Competition for the few available beds in the smaller countries and the summer heat forced many to get up at dawn but the eyes are certainly rewarded for this effort.
Despite the several interesting travelers you will encounter, the road will seem endless, and often you’ll find yourself wishing water more than anything else in the world.
But when in the distance you will see the cathedral as longed, the beautiful city of Santiago won’t be your only gain. Spiritual enrichment, a greater self-knowledge, and a feeling of accomplishment will be a far more heavy personal baggage of the 9 kg backpack with which you get used to walking.