Camino de Santiago
The Camino de Santiago (Latin: Peregrinatio Compostellana, Galician: Camiño de Santiago), also known by the English names Way of St. James, St. James’s Way, St. James’s Path, St. James’s Trail, Route of Santiago de Compostela, and Road to Santiago, is the name of any of the pilgrimage routes, known as pilgrim ways, to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in north-western Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried. Many follow its routes as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth. It is also popular with hiking and cycling enthusiasts as well as organized tours.
Tina O’Connor is doing the Camino walk with Camino Groups and has kindly offered to do the Camino in aid of Dundalk Simon Community. She is paying for the travel and accommodations herself and is hoping to get sponsorship and donations along the way. She will be doing the last 70 miles that starts on the 15th April till the 22nd.
Day 1; On April 15th Tina will be arriving in Santiago airport and will receive transport to Sarria where she will receive her Pilgrim Passport. The Pilgrim Passport gets stamped at each accommodations Tina will be staying at and is needed to get the certification for completing the Pilgrim called Compostela.
Day 2; This will be the most peaceful day in Pilgrim as there aren’t any large villages between Sarria and Portomarin. When Tina leaves from the church on the Calle Mayor in Sarria (on left), the next centre of population you will come across is Portomarín itself. There are a few cafes on route to tide you over if you’re hungry or thirsty.
Day 3; This 25km stage is a relatively peaceful stage with terrain that you shouldn’t find too challenging. The stiffest climbing is probably the first couple of kilometers from Portomarín which greet you before you have got into a walking rhythm. For those who have started in Sarria, you will realise that you have already covered a lot of ground in 2 days when you pass the “Route 66” waymarker stone as you come into Palas do Rei.
Day 4; This 29km stage is the longest stage and finishes up with some hilly terrain that will probably present you with your toughest walking test of the 5 days, not just because of the terrain, but also because of the fact that it faces you at the end of the stage. The town of Melide marks the half way point in the stage and serves as a good point to take a lengthy lunch and break. For those finding it a struggle coming to the end, Ribadiso is also a nice place to take a break – there’s a nice cafe just after you cross over a pretty stone bridge at the river. When you get walking again, at least you know that you only have about 3km remaining to Arzúa.
Day 5; This 19km stage is a short and relatively easy stage after the longer journey from Palas Do Rei to Arzúa the day before. Enjoy it and prepare for your final evening on the Camino before you reach your destination. Remind yourself of the great experiences you’ve had and the great characters you have met along the way.
Day 6; This 20km stage is the emotional one – all your effort and sacrifice comes to the fore as you realise what you are about to achieve. It’s recommend that you go to the monument at Monte de Gozo (in photo) for a picture the last 5km descent into Santiago De Compostela. Monte de Gozo was the point, historically at any rate, where pilgrims would crest the hill and get their first view of the city of Santiago De Compostela. Nowadays, that view is non-existent but you can still sense the excitement felt by countless pilgrims over the previous 1,00 years of pilgrimages. This is where you take the Pilgrim Passport to be verified and receive your certification.
Day 8; Returning back to Ireland from Santiago airport.