The Road to Santiago, a religious experience
The Road to Santiago is an excellent way to share with your family in order to realice that it is not necessary to have a lot of things (food and a place to sleep is sometimes enough); generosity and effort are fundamental values in this journey.
You can start from Spain or even from other countries in Europe (France, Portugal, Germany, Great Britain, Austria).
Sometimes you don’t have a reason to do it. There are tour operators that take your luggage and you can do it on foot, by bike or on horseback. When you start it, you are given a «passport or credential» which is stamped in restaurants or hostels along the Road. Then, when you arrive in Santiago de Compostela, you are given the famous «Compostela», which is a document issued by the ecclesiastical authorities, certifying that the Road has been completed either with the 100 km required on foot or on horseback or 200 km if done by bicycle
A very nice experience is to attend the ceremony of the «botafumeiro» in the Cathedral of Santiago. It’s a tradition. In the past, when pilgrims came (and there was not all the infrastructure that exists today along the Road) they arrived tired and with «smell», so they stayed in the Cathedral. At that time, the Church used this censer to scare away smells. This ceremony is free on Fridays from April to October at 7. 30 pm. Many times pilgrims pay between 300 and 400 euros for a ceremony on other days of the week.
Throughout the city and also along the way you can see «seashells» that indicate they road to the Cathedral and help in the s orientation of pilgrims to reach their destination.
It is recommended to do it during spring or autumn in order to have good temperatures, that is to say without so much rain or heat. Pilgrims are all over the city and it is very nice to see them in front of the church for the typical «we arrived» photo. I recommend the movie «The Way», with Martin Sheen. One of the phrases I liked the most in «In life we do not chose, we live». It’s very inspiring. I’m sure you’ll love it!
In this photo I got a stamp in Finisterre, where is the KM0 of the Road of Santiago and where you can see clothes and objects of pilgrims who burned them or leave them, as a symbol of their effort. This time, I arrived by bus from Santiago but I think that once in my life I would like to do The Road of Santiago»… walking.