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El Camino de Santiago


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I would like to hear what others have to say about doing the Camino. I have done it three times and plan to do it again this summer. It is a passion I have. Here is a thought; finally getting to Santiago is the ultimate anti-climatic experience. Pilgrims spend many days walking hundreds on kilometers all in an effort to arrive at the cathedral for the pilgrims' mass and recieve the coveted compestella. Every day encouraging each other to press on through the blisters and sore muscles onward to Santiago, we would go only to arrive in this beautiful city and then the adventure is over. The Camino is not about arriving at the cathedral, it is about the adventure getting there.
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Pilgrim Arrival at Santiago

I read with interest the posting from fellow pilgrim jlkennedy. In typical British fashion I both agree and disagree. I spent five weeks on the Camino -Sept/Oct 2003 - including two days with severe food poisoning. I arrived in Santiago with a fellow pilgrim, a Canadian gent of sixty years recently recovered from cancer, who I had met on route. We arrived at about 1p.m. and prayed briefly in the Cathedral, during the end of Mass, then went to the Pilgrim Office. With my 'Compostela' in hand I walk the town seven foot tall, I booked into the 'Suso' and talked with many I had met on route. I felt marvellous!! I gazed down on the mere tourists with disdain. I was buzzing with joy and pride. However the next day I too felt the anti-climax you speak of. I think this was due to the fact I was flying home that afternoon leaving behind so many who had become friends on route. I must say though my spirit soured during the very 'medieval' pilgrim Mass and Botifumerio 'swing'. I was back in London by 5 o'clock that evening, a scruffy unshaven sunburnt backpacked inconvenience on a London Underground train. Whilst you don't want my life history I returned to the route - St Jean to Santiago by car at the end of March - snow bound Pyrenees - and drove my wife along the whole route, showing hostels I had stayed at along the way. We walked from the car park to the Cathedral, I thinking it would 'wow' her. I found the experience a total anticlimax, Cathedral front dirty and dull. My wife preferred Burgos Cathedral. Maybe coming back is not a good idea. Have you returned too often? Having said that I hope to walk the Camino Portugese in April 2005 PILGRIM


New Member
Arriving in Santiago

I could not agree more. Walked the Via de la Plata earlier this year ( my virgin voyage) and was shocked when I reached Santiago. So many busses, so many tourists (not pilgrims). At the pilgrim's mass it was the pilgrims that had to make way for the tourists. My dissapointment saw no end and it was a wise man who put this experience in the ight contexyt for me.

My real journey started when I got back home. Now I am looking forward to my next camino. Hopefully in October 2005.

May you all have a wonderfull 2005.


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