A lesson in slow travel: walking the Camino de Santiago with my brother | Santiago de Compostela holidays
, 2022-10-22 01:00:00,
The Camino de Santiago has been a confluence of culture since the eighth century, a trail where like-minded souls from all over the world share the sacred act of pilgrimage. Routes from the north, south, east and west of Europe crisscross Spain but all converge on the shrine of Saint James the Apostle in Galicia’s capital city, Santiago de Compostela.
Not that it’s a pious walk. Of the 178,912 people who reportedly completed it in 2021, a third did so for non-religious reasons. But pilgrims of all creeds share a common goal and a “Camino culture” of reaching out to help other walkers and sharing what food you have in your rucksack. Everyone works for the common good and that alone is reason for going. It is rare to find a grumpy pilgrim.
Some years ago, I had a dream that I was walking the Camino with Reuben, my youngest brother. But would he be able to do it in real life? One of the attributes of his Down’s syndrome is flat feet, and he’s not a keen walker. But I shared the idea with Nathan, my other brother and his response was “Let’s do it!” After several months of planning, we arrived in the city of León, around 200 miles east of Santiago, to begin our Camino.
A friend had treated us to a night in the Parador de San Marcos, a splendid former Renaissance convent at the start of the route. We spent hours at the breakfast buffet, eating as if it was…
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