Camino Santiago de Compestela with soon-to-be teenager.
This is a very short blog about my Camino experience for my travel agency, Sailor’s Delight Travel. I am trying to write a more comprehensive article about my Camino but haven’t had the time.
In June of 2017, my 12-year old daughter and I threw on our Osprey Backpacks and headed to Astorga Spain to walk the last 283 kilometers of the Camino Santiago de Compostela.
Camino is Spanish for path or trail and el Camino de Santiago has been a globally popular pilgrimage route following the death of St. James the Apostle in the 9th century. Legend says that the remains of Jesus’ apostle St.James lie inside the Cathedral of Santiago and Christian pilgrims throughout the globe follow this way to the Cathedral in penance for their sins. Today it is both a religious and nonreligious experience for young and old alike.
I have been researching this pilgrimage for about 3 years ever since I watched and cried through the movie “The Way” starring Martin Sheen. As a young widow, I knew immediately that I wanted to do this pilgrimage and somehow convinced my child that this would be an excellent family vacation. To be honest she loved the adventure and made some great friends along the way. As long as she can group chat her friends back in the States she is happy.
There are various Caminos to walk and they all end in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Most first time Pilgrims, start on the Camino Frances. There are many other routes including Camino Portugues, Camino Primivito, Via de la Plata and Via Francigena.
We obtained our Pilgrim Passport from the American Pilgrims on the Camino (APOC) Chapter. These passports are used by pilgrims for admission to pilgrim housing and restaurants along the way. We flew to Madrid, took the RENFE train to Leon and spent a few days visiting the historical sites in the area before starting our pilgrimage.
I did have a major ‘parental fail’ moment in Leon, Spain. We were in an outside cafe where the server spoke only trace amounts of English and my daughter ordered a lemonade. My daughter is only 12 but could pass for 16, and the waiter asked her if she wanted a ‘lemonade’? When she received the drink she groaned and said she hated it, which is pretty common for a tween. I told her she is drinking every drop of it because it cost money. She took a few more tiny sips and refused to drink anymore. I then took a sip and realized the drink was some type of Sangria wine. Ooopppssss. Sorry child of mine.
The next morning, we took a local train to Astorga and began our walk. Since it was June and extremely hot out we were only able to walk about 15 miles a day. Astorga was a starting point and probably will be next year when we repeat the pilgrimage because it is such an incredible city for pilgrims to enjoy.
After 16 wonderful but strenuous days walking through NW Spain through villages, forests, mountain ranges and the countryside we joyfully reached Santiago, Spain and received our Compestela at the Pilgrims Office. This trip was one of the best things I have ever done for myself and I plan to do it again next year.
Sailor’s Delight is my travel agency and I am proud of the work I do If you should want to walk the Camino and need help with your arrangements, including travel insurance, baggage transfers, flights, hotels or rail please consider Sailor’s Delight. If you don’t need our help but still have questions, please give me a call as I would be glad to help you.