The Chickens of Santo Domingo de la Calzada

The town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada was bound to be one of my favorite stops on the Camino Frances, because I’m a sucker for a town with a good story, and Santo Domingo’s is a Camino classic. Like most good seven hundred-year-old legends, the details vary, but here’s the basic idea: A devoutContinue reading “The Chickens of Santo Domingo de la Calzada”

Hugging Saint James (The Traditions of the Camino)

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 atContinue reading “Hugging Saint James (The Traditions of the Camino)”

Conques, Theme Park of the Middle Ages

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

Saint Roch: The Burlesque Saint of Bad Knees and (Maybe) Pilgrims

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.

The Story of Rio Salado

“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 ofContinue reading “The Story of Rio Salado”

The Origins of the Camino

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 ofContinue reading “The Origins of the Camino”