Discover the Way of Saint James/Santiago de Compostela in Spain!
If you hear the words Santiago de Compostela, you probably associate them with pilgrims. Indeed, each year thousands of people from all over the world walk to this Spanish city to finish their way at the ‘botafumeiro’ into the Cathedral.
Santiago de Compostela is a city in Galicia in the northwest of Spain. It has around one hundred thousand inhabitants but this number increases during the academic year because of its university – actually it is the Galician city with most students, including many Erasmus students.
Maybe you have heard that it’s always raining there but it’s not true: Santiago has a dry and warm summer. So maybe it could be a good idea to do the ‘Camino de Santiago’ - or as you may say, the Way of Saint James.
There are several different paths to do the ‘Camino’. The most popular path is the French one but you can decide where you want to start. No matter which one you choose, all of them finish at the same point, Obradoiro Square – in front of the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral.
I talk about the Santiago Way experience with Pablo, a Spanish guy from Málaga (Andalucía) who decided to do the Camino a year ago. Pablo started in Sarria – more than a hundred kilometres from Santiago - and walked for six days with his friends. He explains that he decided to do the Camino because “it was something I had written in my list ‘Things I have to do’. I had heard about other people who did it and everyone said it was a unique experience in life. So I decided to try and live it in my own shoes”.
Pablo explains that people don’t do the Camino just for religious reasons: “When I started I thought that but then I realised that it’s much more than that. Firstly it’s a different way of sightseeing: you discover Galician gastronomy, its landscapes and its people. And secondly you challenge yourself to finish so you feel really satisfied when you achieve it”.
When I ask Pablo about something curious about the Way of Saint James, he says that it is interesting “how many people you can meet on each stage of the Camino and I was surprised too how many elderly people in better physical conditions than me do it!” So people of all the ages can enjoy this experience. “Otherwise you have to sleep in rural hostels and you share a room with many people” continues Pablo. He also says smiling: “I am from a small village but it was the first time I saw cows so close to me!”
Written by Silvia Corral