Saint Roch and the Art of the Camino (#CaminoTuesday)

I’m going to keep it short this week, because we’re diving into holiday planning, and there’s not much time or attention this week for anything that’s not a gift or a baked good. But here it is, #CaminoTuesday again, and the assigned theme is “Favorite Camino Art.” Which, I confess, threw me into a bitContinue reading “Saint Roch and the Art of the Camino (#CaminoTuesday)”

Corpus Christi in Mazarife

Today is the Catholic Feast of Corpus Christi. It’s not a date that draws a lot of attention in the United States, but four years ago I encountered it in full measure in Spain, where it seems no festival or saint or holy remembrance goes unacknowledged, and I’ve been curious about it ever since. We wereContinue reading “Corpus Christi in Mazarife”

Camino del Norte, Day 3: The First Beach and Convent

San Martín to Zumaia: 16 km We woke up in a cow barn, walked on a beach, and fell asleep in a convent. Which, when I think about it, sums up a lot of the Camino del Norte in a single sentence. There are a lot of ways that pilgrims decide how far they willContinue reading “Camino del Norte, Day 3: The First Beach and Convent”

Saint James Matamoros: the Fake News of the Last Millennium

It’s impossible to walk the Way of Saint James, the Camino de Santiago, without encountering images of Saint James. Which makes sense – we are on a journey to his recognized grave, after all. Without James the Greater, brother of John and the first of Jesus’ disciples to be martyred, there would never have beenContinue reading “Saint James Matamoros: the Fake News of the Last Millennium”

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)”

The Chapel in the Middle of Nowhere

Small and weathered, with tiles missing from the roof and patches of stone visible in the thick, unadorned walls, it didn’t look like anyone had visited, let alone worshiped here, for centuries. Yet of course it was unlocked.

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.