Happy New Year! What a blessing to watch the calendar flip to a new page yet again. May your 2018 be filled with peace, protection, prosperity, and all good things …
Two and a half years ago I walked the Camino de Santiago, an ancient pilgrimage route across northern Spain ending at the city of Santiago de Compostela. There the cathedral is said to contain the bones of James the Apostle of Jesus Christ, who is thought to have come to Spain to live out the last of his life.
The traditional beginning of a pilgrimage in the Middle Ages was to leave from one’s front door and walk toward Santiago de Compostela. This led to a network of paths all across Europe. One of those is the French Way, which starts in northeast Spain and continues across the country for about 550 miles. In recent decades, this pilgrimage route has regained popularity. Today, around 200,000 people walk it each year.
In 2015, I was one. Though time constraints and unexpected injury constrained me to completing only 350 of those miles, I did more than enough to receive the certificate of completion–the compostela. I’m proud of my achievement. Peregrinos–pilgrims–like to say that when you walk the Camino once you will be compelled to return. Indeed, it is so. In March my husband Dave and I will walk from Portugal to Santiago, a distance of 117 kilometers.
March is not that far away and we are both getting nervous about the trip. We’ll be increasing our activity considerably from now until then. And we’ll see that Dave is properly equipped, since I already have my gear. But there’s more to do–house arrangements and work deadlines and spiritual preparation.
Below are the top ten pictures of my 2015 Camino. They serve as inspiration when our nerves get the better of us. Perhaps they might inspire you as well?
10. For grain storage. Much nicer looking than a silo.
9. View of one of the countless beautiful villages you pass on the Way.
8. Idyllic scenes abound.
7. As do magnificent ones like the cathedral at Burgos.
6. Always with the great views.
5. And reminders of how far you need to go.
4. Fields and hills and simple village churches.
3. But glory is inside some of these churches, though plain from the outside.
2. Along the way you find acknowledgement of your journey, like this medieval pilgrim, with wide-brimmed hat to stave off the sun, walking stick to assist, and water flask for thirsty times (almost every village has a free fountain filled with sweet, clean water).
- And my favorite photo – storm clouds threatening but light all around them and color before them – beautiful fields of mustard.
Matthew 17:20 – He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.
Perhaps one day I will meet you on the Road?