Camino de Santiago

Camino de Santiago Kelsey Tills

There is one other passenger remaining in the arrivals lounge. Pierre is a quintessential Swiss man, polite, charming and like me, missing his luggage. We are both planning on starting the Camino de Santiago in the morning, the pilgrimage over the Pyrenees into Spain and across the country to Santiago de Compostela. There are multiple Camino routes leading to Santiago but the one we are about to begin is the Camino Frances, also called the French Way, which is 780km with an optional 90km to Finisterre on the coast where you plunge into the ocean to cleanse your soul. 

But Finisterre is a long way from the Biarritz arrivals lounge where Pierre and I currently stand. 

We end up catching the bus to Bayonne together, where we board the train to St Jean Pied de Port to await the arrival of our bags, which thankfully show up 2 days later. In the meantime we have collected our pilgrim passports, our scallop shells and I'm the proud new owner of a walking staff which is lost before I reach Pamplona. I learn Pierre is newly retired, newly divorced and trying to figure out what he wants to do with the rest of his life. A theme I'm soon to learn is quite common. 

Pierre is the first of my many Camino companions. The pilgrimage is a melting pot of of people and culture all sharing one common goal for the approximately 4 weeks they walk. Everyone has undertaken this spiritual challenge for different reasons, some like myself, love to walk. Others are processing trauma, making decisions, or simply finding themselves. All will have days that push them, but without fail every pilgrim walking into the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela will be in some way changed by the journey. 

Packs left outside during breakfast.                                                 Abandoned Boots

Hills that go Up Up Up                                                                       The Cathedral in Leon