Melbourne Travel Blog› entry 3 of 43 › view all entries
I have realised that a lot of people may not know what I am doing or why. Perhaps this small explanation of how the Camino came into being will help in some way:
9th century sources have the apostle Saint James (Santiago in Spanish) preaching in Northwest Iberia, not far from Fisterra/Finisterre a coastal village on the North Western corner of Spain. The translation of the village is literally “lands end” and from here you could almost see America!.
Saint James’s was beheaded by Herrod in AD44 and according to legend his remains were placed in a stone boat and guided by God to the Galician river Iria Flavia, near Padron. As the boat approached, a horse on the beach panicked and bolted into deep water only to emerge with its rider, covered in Scallop shells.
Much later, in 813, religious leaders unearthed a sarcophagus said to contain the remains of the apostle James. A Cathedral was built in the spot at Santiago de Compostella. The word Compostella is said to come from the Latin campus stellae (field of stars). At peak periods in the 12th century up to 2 million people walked to Santiago each year from throughout Europe. Various routes developed, the most famous being the route across the North of Spain (originating from France) called Camino Frances. Other major routes include the Via de la Plata which originated from Sevilla but has not been walked by many pilgrims in recent years. A yearly average for the Camino Frances is arund 80,000 and in comparison only 4000 will walk the Via de la Plata.
I've had a week to ruminate on my decision to walk the Via de la Plata and read as much as I can to see if the pro's outweigh the con's.
In fact, I found quite a lot of information but much of it is in Spanish therfore I enlisted the trusty translation site (Babble fish) and translated one of the better sites. Here is an example of the direct English translation!
In a section warning of the dangers of dehydration (the temperature approaches 50C iin the middle of summer)
"...with respect to the heat blow: 'it can be dangerous if importance does not occur him. It consists of an alteration of the conscience produced by the elevation of the corporal temperature and the dehydration. Symptoms: headache, confusion, vacillating march, hallucinations and even can arrive at the coma. Remedies: the affected one must be put in the shade, knocked down with the turned head, drink liquids and warn meanwhile the aid station closest. And if for some of this that it supposes an advantage, I can aseguraros that to piss, which is to piss, pisses little"....
Hilarious, isn't it! I still have a lot of research and reading to get done but with 4 weeks left, I should make it. I have ordered 2 more books on Amazon with maps and more Camino information. Today, I feel very confident and as long as I am mindful of dehydration and cover up from the harsh summer sun, I believe I will make it.
Hasta luego !