About a week after leaving Le Puy, it starts to feel almost routine. You follow the red and white stripes of the Chemin de Saint Jacques (the Way of Saint James) along shaded paths, crumbling castles towering above. You enter a village, another one of France’s most beautiful. In this case, you’ve come to Espalion. You … More Scuba Diving the Lot River?
There’s a lot to do when a Camino pilgrim reaches Santiago de Compostela. You have to find the Pilgrim’s Office, stand in line, and get your Compostela. You have to find a place to stay. You have to find all your friends and take group pictures. You have to go to a pilgrim’s mass at … More Hugging Saint James (The Traditions of the Camino)
One of the most famous stops of the Chemin du Puy, the Way of Saint James from Le Puy to Saint Jean Pied de Port, is in Conques. For many pilgrims, this is a high point of the trip. Our experience was not quite the same. Here’s an excerpt from the book-in-progress … More Conques, Theme Park of the Middle Ages
If you venture into the churches and cathedrals of the Camino, you’ll notice a lot of saints. One is dressed as a pilgrim, with a cloak and a floppy hat and often even the scallop shell of Saint James. But he’s not Saint James. You can tell because this particular saint is always standing a certain way. … More Saint Roch: The Burlesque Saint of Bad Knees and (Maybe) Pilgrims
The Devil, the wine, and the bridge: a Camino story about legends and surprises in France. … More The Wine, the Devil, and the Bridge: Camino Surprises
“In a place called Lorca, towards the east, runs a river called Rio Salado. Beware from drinking its waters or from watering your horse in its stream, for this river is deadly. While we were proceeding towards Santiago, we found two Navarrese seated on its banks and sharpening their knives; they make a habit of … More The Story of Rio Salado
To understand the modern experience of what we now call the Camino de Santiago, it helps to start at the beginning and see where it came from and why it matters. After all, this was never meant to be a recreational hiking trail. I’m not much of an ancient historian, but here’s my understanding of … More The Origins of the Camino