Walking the Camino de Santiago

Jeffrey and Some of his Pilgrim Group, Ready to Shove Off

You’d heard something about the Camino de Santiago, of course. Then you saw the wonderful feature film about it, the one that was released last year, The Way, starring Martin Sheen. After that you began to think, “Maybe I could do that…”, or perhaps even, “Maybe I should do that!”

You began to wish that there was someone you could talk with, someone who’d actually done it, and who could share their experiences and insights with you… Well, now there is!

Longtime CRRL staff member Jeffrey Garth Edmunds, who works at the Headquarters Branch, has successfully walked the Camino, can tell you how he did it, and how you can do it, too! Call him at 540-372-1144, ext. 232, and set up your own private one-on-one planning session!

On September 5, 2012, Jeffrey flew to Pamplona, the ancient capital of Navarre, in Northern Spain. There he met a group of a dozen people, eager to walk. They bussed across the French border to the small town of St. Jean Pied de Port, and from there, on September 9, they all set off on their once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Right up and over the Pyrenees Mountains they walked, across the whole length of Navarre and into the Rioja, then on through Old Castile and older Leon deep into the Galician high country, all the way to the 1200-year-old Shrine of St. James at Santiago de Compostella. Along the way they marveled at the imposing Gothic cathedrals and chanted with the monks in tiny rural monastery chapels. They gawked at real castles, Roman roads, medieval bridges. They shared in more than one wonderful wine harvest festival!

Three weeks on foot they were, covering close to 250 miles. The core group added people as it went and lost people; in the end all but one arrived safely. Neither blisters (everyone got some!), nor heavy rains, nor hot sun deterred them. On October 1, when they finally arrived at the Cathedral in Santiago, they were presented with certificates (in Latin!) certifying them as proper pilgrims.  Jeffrey framed his and has it hanging in his home office, a treasured memento.

People walk the Camino de Santiago for all kinds of reasons -- many are spiritually motivated, to be sure, but many others simply wish to enjoy the spectacular scenery, the international camaraderie, the fine wines and wonderful regional food…. It is without a doubt the finest walking holiday in the world!

If Jeffrey did it – and he’s not a regular distance walker, is almost 60 years old, and has more than his share of aches and pains -- if he could do it, then you can do it.