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Where, when and how did you hear about the camino?

Past OR future Camino
Frances, Jul-Aug 05, Frances, Jul-Aug 06, Portugues, Oct 2010
It struck me, before and after walking, and when on the Camino itself, how few British pilgrims there were (less than 3% of all the pilgrims in August). I've barely met anyone at home who's ever heard of the Camino, much less even contemplated walking it. So my question to you brits out there is where did you hear about it?

Personally, I first learned about the Camino when I was 17, studying Spanish A-Level. We had to do a special project on the Region of Galicia, and since then the idea of the Camino has sort of stuck in my mind. Over the years I've seen vague references to it - there's a David Lodge novel I think, and The Naked Pilgrim TV series, but it wasn't until I read Tim Moore's Spanish Steps (after enjoying his other books) that I took the decision to walk, ten years on.

What about you?
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New Member
I only read about it last year whilst reading about a lady who had experienced a huge trauma in her life. She wrote that she found peace through completing the walk.
When I have mentioned the walk to people, nobody has heard of it!
Since then I have only read the various websites. However, this has inspired me to attempt the walk next year. As I have only made this decision tonight :) . I think I had better get reading. Any suggestions on what books I should purchase?


Where I heard

I first heard about the Camino from a great-aunt of mine who lived in Spain for several years. I must have been about sixteen at the time, but it made no impression.

A Benedictine monk from my high school did the Camino about ten years ago and wrote an article about it in our alumni bulletin. Sort of interested me, but not enough to really investigate it.

I'm a decent hiker, and I was thinking about doing a long distance hike at some point in my life. The most likely candidate here in the U.S. is the Appalachian Trail, but the thought of hiking the East Coast didn't interest me that much.

This summer a friend attempted the Camino to raise money for a Catholic children's charity. When I heard the news, it realized it was the type of hike I was looking to do. After a few Google searches I knew I HAD to do it.

If things hold to schedule, I will be doing it in May 2007, and hopefully some friends will be able to join me.
I heard about the Camino in the early '90's in a magazine article. This was before the internet was widely available, so for years, that article was the only information I had about it. But, I knew when I read it that I wanted to walk the Camino. Now I know that the Camino described is the Camino Frances & that there are many other routes. I may try those, too, one day, but I've dreamed of walking this Camino for so long, I have to make it my first one. :)

So, sometime at the beginning of May 2007, I will be setting my first step in SJPdP!



Veteran Member
I first saw the David Lodge BBC tv programme of his journey to Santiago in 1993

Books to consider with an emphasis on the practical / insight on the day-to-day aspects of the walk include Walk in a Relaxed Manner by Joyce Rupp, Pilgrimage to the End of the World by Conrad Rudolph and Pilgrim Snail by Ben Nimmo; not forgetting the Within the Way Without DVD by Larry Boulting
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I first heard about the Camino in a newspaper article about 5 or 6 years ago and when I mentioned it to a friend he said that he had already walked the Camino. I then began to hear more and more about it on TV, the WEB and papers

The reaction I got when I told people that I was going to walk in September and when I explained what it involved, was either " you are completely mad" or "I have always wanted to do that." I must say there were many more of the latter.

I was also surprised how few British I met on the Camno, I met lots of Natioanlities but only 1 Brit.

rioja routard

Active Member
Brits on Camino


I'm here live in the library in Truro, Cornwall! Suspect most English are enjoying their 'lifestyles' shopping in the big malls with names like 'Lakeside' and 'Bluewater' and giant supermarkets! Only joking, not critising my own country folk. Met few Brits on the Camino, but quite a few Irish, all of them really nice, Scots too.

I flew to Santiago in May to visit the Cathedral having heard a little about the pilgrimage. Then witnessed the pilgrims arriving and spoke with a Spanish woman who had walked from Zamora. Then I read the Tim Moore book and found this great site. The rest is history. Now a confirmed addicted pilgrim.

Need some more positive vibes from all the spiritualist people out there, or prayers from Christians. Whatever your beliefs hold me in your thoughts as I once again face another battle to see my daughters. That was why I walked last week and the Camino really helped.

Thanks, Peace


New Member
I first learned about the Camino when Shirley MacClaine was promoting her book about the Camino. ( I think this was in 1994 or 95. She appeared on Oprah, 60 Minutes.) I'd always kept it in the back of my mind that the Camino was something I would like to do some day.

Last year, I was having some difficulties at my job, and a friend suggested I read "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho. That led me me to his book about the Camino and reignited my interest.

I live in a large city in the middle of the United States, and not one person I've talked to has heard about the Camino.


Veteran Member
Following in Abuelo's footsteps

I first heard of the Camino when visiting Galicia in the early nineties with my girlfriend (now my wife). My Mother-In-Law is from Verin, near Galicia's border with Portugal and a cross roads of a camino route from Portugal with a variant of the Via De La Plata. My family and I go there at least once a year and the existence of the Camino routes through Verin and the surrounding countryside has become more prominent in the last 10-15 years due to better signage and promotion by the Xunta de Galicia.

I was fascinated with the idea of the Camino but never really thought of doing it myself until I read Shirley MacClaine's book and also found out that my wife's Abuelo had walked to Santiago from Verin (about 180 km) about thirty or forty years ago.

I'm forty this year and decided to mark it by walking the Camino from Verin. Like Whalleyranger, I found that very few people I knew in Britain had ever heard of the Camino but I am lucky that two work colleagues and my brother-in-law heard what I was intending to do and asked to come along. We leave Verin on 26th May and having "virtually" travelled the whole route using Alison Raju's guide to the Via De La Plata and Google Earth, I can't wait to get started.

I look forward to reading other's accounts of their introduction to the Camino and best wishes to all those doing their first or subsequent Caminos this year.
2022 Camino Guides
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John Brierley 2022 Camino Guide
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Active Member
Past OR future Camino
(2006) Roncesvalles to Leon (2007) Leon to Compostela
I first learned of the Camino when I was growing up in England. I had a strong interest in Medieval history, so knew about the Camino from that perspective.

The idea of doing a pilgrimage of some sort had always attracted me, and for many years my thoughts went back to what I knew of the medieval pilgrims. I often wondered if it would be possible these days to find a way to walk across Spain, not knowing that people were actually still doing it.

About 15 years ago I seemed to start picking up little bits of information through books, magazines etc and realised the Camino was do-able, but still couldn't see how I, now living in Australia, would have the chance to walk it.

And then along came the opportunity to take early retirement, and the time to do whatever I wanted, plus a little bit of money (that helped!). When I retired, a work colleague mentioned that now I could do my walk through Spain - I didn't realise I'd spoken about it.

So it seems that for most of my life the idea of walking the Camino has been simmering away in my sub-conscious. And in May/June, hopefully, I'll finish the Camino I started physically last year, but which began mentally/spiritually many years ago.


I earned of the Camino from a few ppl and i never payed attention to them!i was just like ,why would someone walk 800+km!
then about 3-4 years ago i met this guy SANTOS (RIP)
and he talk about this thing in spain camino de satiago
i payed attention to him and he told me all about the history why ppl walk it and i was amazed!we became good friend ...then he died on me !!
he was the type a guy that would started a story then he tell you ,( comeback next week and ill tell you more about my nice country)(he was basque)
then he died on me! and i was lost whit out the end of what he was telling.
i promise to him that i would do it 1 day!then about a year ago i had dreams each night that i was walking whit him!AND NOW IM LEAVE IN 3 WEEKS :shock: DREAM come TRU :wink: and ill get to see waht he was talking about :)and hell walk whit me help tru out hard time on my walk!


Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
When, where how

That is a lovely story Santos and as good a reason to walk the camino as any I've heard. Take a little pebble from home with you and put all your happy and sad memories of your friend into it - then leave it at the base of the Cruz de Ferro (Iron Cross).
Have a wonderful journey peregrino.


Active Member
Santos, it must have been a good friend. I am sure you will meet other friends on the days ahead as you walk trough Navarra, Rioja and finally Galicia.

I envy you and I wish you a very good pilgrimage. Keep warm in the mountains.

Hope you will tell us about your adventure on your return.


Active Member
Seems like always

I'm English and I can't remember ever not knowing about the camino. I went to convent schools in the 40s and 50s I must have been told about it in school when very little.

I also went on a holiday from Barcelona across Spain to Galicia in 1970 (by car). We stopped briefly in Santiago and looked at the Cathedral and the Parador and read/heard tales of pilgrims.

Then, in the last few years, I've been on one or two holidays in France and in Bilbao and quite coincidentally everywhere we went we happened across the camino way-markers and people following them. This intrigued me and coincided both with my retirement and thoughts of coming mortality together with my attempts to get fitter by walking . . .
hence . . .
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when did I first hear about the camino

It is hard to pinpoint when it all geled together for me.
I remember (2 years ago) going to a lunch with a friend (that I hadn't seen since she retired) and she was planning to go in the Fall.
I will never forget her face as she described how she would throw in her heaviest dictionary in her backpack and go hiking in the hills with the Quebec Compostelle group. I had never hiked much in the hills (although they are almost in my back yard) and I couldn't fathom having only the clothes on my back and a spare set in my back pack. Then she had a brain aneursym was operated and ended up being unwell and could not go.
In the mean time I had joined a not-too-serious hiking group with my church and fell in love with hiking in the hills - Gods land.
At a soup kitchen that I help out at another friend of mine told me all about the walk in Spain.
When I decided to go I had a few friends and Simon my husband going with me. But as they learned more about it they changed their minds. But I joined the Quebec Compostelle group and nothing has deterred me. I feel it is time for me to go to this place - but I have no plans to be a true pilgrim any more than I could call myself a true hiker.
The Walk is strange and lacking in expectations - not of this world.
So early May 2007 I am off.

Gatineau Gypsy
I first learned of the Camino when I was recovering from serious illness. I promised myself I'd get better and then I would walk the Camino - and I did. My husband came with me as he wasn't happy about me going on my own. We walked from O Cebreiro as I couldn't have many holidays when I went back to work and had to make up for lost time.
It changed our lives. I've now taken (very) early retirement. I don't have so much money, but it's a much better life. My husband had been unemployed for years after being made redundant and had given up hope of getting another job as he'd turned 50. He's now at college and hopes to have a new job soon.
Since we came back we've found lots of people who know about the Camino - so maybe it's more popular among Scots. This summer we will walk the Camino Portugues from Porto and a friend plans to walk the Camino Frances.



Kia ora. Me again.

I know about the Camino frances almost all of my life. Where from? Well. Howie's standard answer: buggered if I know... I just know. Didn't know there are other caminos. Lots, actually. I. Had. No. Idea.

I have been in the area several times for holidays. Never in Santiago de Compostela, though, that was, sort of, "tapu" (Maori expression for "forbidden").

Then I read Shirley MacLane's book. Didn't like it. Liked here more being Irma la Douce. Now, that movie was fun.

Then I read Paulo Coelho's book about the Camino. Didn't like it either. Guy is nuts. Just look at his website.

Then a very good friend, a stout Christian, walked the Camino frances. He was waiting for "inspirations". Didn't get any. Was absolutely disappointed. Interesting detail: he didn't ask me to walk with him. Never, ever.

Then I read HaPe Kerkeling's (a german entertainer) book - No. 1 in the german bestseller list. Infantile. Sorry HaPe.

But that (i. e. reading this book & that book) doesn't actually mean a lot. I read four books a week on average.

But I always had this dream: walking. Walking. And walking. Walking happily. Endlessly. And in May 2008 I'm walking the Camino.

What for? Why?

Bugge.. Yeah, baby...


New Member
saint of two worlds

I first heard of the camino from a friend I grew up with. His mother published a wonderful book of photography about the camino, discussing its roots and comparing it to another pligrimage in Northern New Mexico. The book, Santiago: Saint of Two Worlds, deals with Spains influence in the New World and Santiagos impact on both cultures. About 15 years later I visited Santiago de Compostella and could barely contain the sense of ecstasy I felt there. Five years after that, I went to a party and watched a short documentary on the camino. It was enough to make me cry, and though I cannot explain it any better than that, I think it is why I am walking now. Thank you. VP


New Member
I spent the summer of 2002 studying Spanish at the university in Santiago de Compostela. The walk from my room to my classroom took me past the cathedral every day. Throughout the summer I learned more about the Camino, and now my walk is planned starting from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port in June '08.

By the way, that summer Spanish program was great if you're interested in learning Spanish and spending more time in Santiago to boot! has links to program info in Spanish, English, German, French, and Japanese.
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Past OR future Camino
September 2006
August - September 2017
I first heard about the Camino from the leader of a silent retreat I was on. She had just gotten back from it and and was so full of ... joy, I had to look into it. Three years later I was off, with my wife, a friend and his wife, and another friend.
Not many in the States go either. I get so excieted when someone else has even heard of The Camino.


Hearing about the Camino

The Camino must have entered my consciousness from learning history at school - and the Robin Hood stories (King Richard disguised as a pilgrim, with a scallop shell in his hat). I lived in Winchester, which I knew that it was part of a network of pilrim's routes (one can still get a 'traveller's dole' of bread and beer at the church of St Cross) - but assumed that pilgrimage was something that only those in religious orders did. I only learned of the modern pilgrimage, and its popularity as a spiritual journey for people of all faiths, or none, from an American friend who has invited me to join her. I 'Googled' it, and have been fascinated with what I have learned. I am really looking forward to going.


I first learned about the Camino while taking classes at U-Santiago a few summers ago. I put together a couple of things: 1. watching "strange creatures" walking down Compostela ruas wearing hiking apparel and carrying large sticks + 2. the class I was taking took a turn to study the influence that the Camino has had for centuries in Spain, historically, from a religious view point, economically, sociologically, artistically, etc. That's all it took. The following summer I walked my first Camino, Somport-Fisterra, and got hooked for life!

Buen Camino :arrow:



someone mentioned it to me in passing, I took a book out of the library, thought it looked cool and just did it! It wasn't as big a decision for me as it may be for other people here, as it was part of a year-long backpacking tour of Europe and Australia, this was just another memorable step.


New Member
I first heard about the Camino Frances in 2006 from a friend of mine who is my local parish priest (very fit and a very keen outdoorsman). When he first mentioned having walked across Spain I was impressed (and thats an understatement!) however thought that it must require a superhuman effort. This was reinforced in my mind when I looked online and saw the actual distance from SJPDP to Santiago - thinking this was something I'd never physically accomplish. Some months later I co-incidently found another employee of my organisation who had completed several of the routes, and intrigued I asked her for more details. After some online research (including this forum) I soon realised that this was something that was in fact within the capacity of most people, and from that moment I knew that it was something that I needed to do. I haven't looked back, and 'D Day' (literally - I start the walk on 6 June) is now very close. And more importantly, I have planted the seed in a few other friends, who while initially thinking I was a bit mad now see that the Camino is within their capability - no doubt some will become pilgrims within the next couple of years.
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