Since time immemorial, pilgrimage to holy places has been common to many religions. These itineraries had a spiritual sense and an approach to divinity. Either because of a promise, because of Faith or because of a challenge set to overcome alone or in company, every year thousands of people undertake a long journey on foot to Santiago de Compostela, where the Apostle Santiago is buried.
The Jacobean Route has lived through periods of greater and less splendor since the discovery of the tomb of Santiago Apóstol in Santiago de Compostela was disclosed in the West in the XNUMXth century. The popularity of the road bottomed out in the XNUMXth century, a very turbulent period in the history of Spain. However, at the end of the XNUMXth century it entered a decisive phase of recovery thanks to the impulse of different civil and religious entities. Thus, several routes were created that from all over Spain converged in Galicia.
Although it is true that every year thousands of people undertake this long journey on foot to the holy place, many others are reluctant to spend part of their vacations in the mountains, walking most of the time and with a lot of sacrifice and few comforts. .
However, the one who tries it does not regret it and even thinks about repeating it. If you ask someone who has completed the route, they will be able to give you many reasons, but the main reason is that the Camino de Santiago is the path of discoveries, especially in terms of self-knowledge and what we are capable of with determination and desire.
So if you are thinking of becoming a pilgrim and doing the Camino de Santiago we recommend that you soak up useful information in blogs and forums but we warn you that the most interesting of the route will not be found there ... You will find it once you complete the tour and look back to realize those things that no one told you before leaving for Santiago de Compostela.
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The excitement of the first day
That mix of nerves and joy at starting a great challenge, by putting ourselves to the test. The first hours of the road are the most special, when everything is new and the atmosphere is so festive. It is convenient to enjoy these moments to the fullest since as time passes, fatigue will make an appearance to spoil the party. And it is that so many early rises and so many walks can undermine our spirits. However, our friends or other travel companions will be there to give us strength and make the trip more enjoyable in the most complicated stages. Everything to get to Santiago and get the long-awaited Compostela!
At the end of the trip, you can obtain La Compostela, a certificate issued by the Church and certifying that the Camino de Santiago has been completed. To get it, you must prove that you have traveled the last 100 km of the road on foot or 200 km by bicycle. This is collected at the Pilgrim's Office next to Praterías square, a few meters from the cathedral.
To obtain it, it is necessary to carry a "pilgrim's accreditation" that must be stamped a couple of times a day in the shelters, churches, bars or shops along the way. It is advisable to have it stamped in all the establishments you pass through because, in addition to helping you get the certificate, it is a very nice souvenir due to the originality of the stamps.
The "pilgrim's accreditation" is provided by the ecclesiastical authorities of any Spanish city, the municipalities or the police stations of the cities and towns that are part of the Camino de Santiago.
The pilgrim's backpack
With the advance of the odometer the backpack becomes more and more heavy. The forces sometimes waver and that's when you regret having put so many pots in it because of "what if I need it?" Don't worry, it's a more common beginner's mistake than it sounds. Our advice is that the backpack of the Camino de Santiago should never exceed 10 kilos and that in the weeks before the trip it is advisable to train carrying the weight to gain physical strength and resistance. Only then will you survive the long days of walking. And the most important thing: take only the essentials since every few kilometers you will find a small town where you can buy what you need.
Should I carry a pilgrim's staff?
It depends on the physical conditions of each one but there are those who affirm that wearing it helps them to dose the effort. Our advice is that you try it before making the route and values if you will use it or not.
Capturing photographs to remember
Along the Camino de Santiago you will find many landscapes worthy of immortalizing with your camera. At first you can't help stopping anywhere to take a photo and upload it to social networks, but little by little you realize that you can't interrupt the pace of your walk so often. In the end you will take photos but selecting better the places that most move or interest you.
However, the photo of the 100 kilometers cannot be missed by anyone. It is a classic to take a few snapshots next to the milestone that marks the last 100 kilometers to Santiago de Compostela.
Better late than never
We are now so close to Santiago de Compostela that we become more impatient and that can translate into an attempt to try harder than we should. You may not want to get there as soon as possible so as not to injure yourself.
It is better to set a goal of kilometers each day and rest when the body asks to recharge the batteries. It is not about arriving as soon as possible even if that means doing it by crawling, but about savoring every moment. The most experienced pilgrims advise doing 25 or 30 kilometers a day.
And the great day has arrived!
After much effort, you enter Santiago de Compostela and the emotion overwhelms you. Upon arrival you will feel that the whole trip has been worth it, even the most difficult stages.
Collect the Compostela, enter the cathedral and embrace the image of the Apostle Santiago with your friends, discover the city of Santiago and go blind as a Galician octopus to celebrate it…. There is nothing better in the world than the feeling of having managed to overcome yourself.