Thanks for taking an interest in our “Miles for Makena” efforts, it’s truly a worthy cause and Ken and I are excited to help raise money for the “Makena Kids”.
We have received LOTS of questions about our 100 mile hike along the El Camino de Santiago and although many of them included a phrase like “100 miles, REALLY!!!” many also wanted information about preparation, equipment, lodging and the history of the trail; we thought we could start our first post by addressing some of these questions and continue posting as we complete our preparation and through our travel to Spain and, of course, the daily posts we anticipate during the hike itself.
About the El Camino de Santiago
We were first hiking through Cinque Terre in Italy when met Stacie, a young lady who had just completed the 500 mile trek along the El Camino. As she spoke about the hike, the history, the countryside, the towns and villages and, most of all, the people (both on the trail and in the villages) we became enamored with the idea of hiking the trail ourselves.
After discussing the trip at length we began to read up on the history of trail and knowing the story of Saint James the Greater and how the trail came to be one of the worlds most popular pilgrimage trails, we decided we had to make the trip.
Saint James the Greater
Saint James the Greater was thought to be a cousin of Jesus and was a fisherman by trade who worked with his brother John, his partner Simon and his father. Initially followers of John the Baptist, both John and James left their fishing trade when Jesus called upon James to be “a fisher of men”. James remained a disciple until Jesus was crucified by the Romans.
After the crucifixion James traveled the Iberian Peninsula continuing the work of Jesus until he returned to Judea where he was beheaded by King Herod (as told in Acts 12 of the New Testament).
The remains of James the Greater were taken to the Iberian Peninsula, where he had spent so much time spreading the word of Jesus, where they are said to be buried in Santiago de Compostela.
Saint James the Greater is regarded as the patron of pilgrims because subsequent to his own pilgrimage back to Judea he was executed. In addition he is thought to have helped the Christians defeat the Moors in Spain and is therefore, also, the Patron Saint of Spain.
Initially Ken and I planned on hiking the full 500 miles from St. Jean in France to Santiago de Compostela this year but business and life got in the way, L.
From our home near Austin TX we will start with a flight from Austin Newark NJ then on to Madrid where we will arrive on October 18th and take public transportation for the 6 hour bus trip to El Cebreiro, our starting point.
Since we have reservations in Malaga for the week from November 3rd through the 10th we have about 2 weeks to hike the towns and villages between Cebreiro and Santiago de Compostela; we intend to use every moment of it to enjoy the journey. Depending on the weather and our desire to spend more time in the scenic, historic towns and villages we will be in Santiago de Compostela in 7 to 10 days and might travel the additional 50 or so miles to FinisTerre (“the end of the Earth”) the westernmost town in Spain on the Atlantic Ocean.
As you can see from the graphic of one section of the trip, in a 36 km day we pass through 15 population centers, only 2 of which have populations between 500 and 2000; the rest represent what the trip is made of, spending our days traveling through dozens of villages, the vast majority of which have populations under 500!
Thankfully there are Albergue’s (public hospice) all along the route and, being the off season, we anticipate being able to find lodging in almost any town where we wish to spend the night.