27 January 2010

Gearing Up for a Weekend Pilgrimage

Tomorrow we don't have class, and because we're all trying to see as much as possible and long weekends make that happen nobody will be attending on Friday either. This four-day weekend makes just enough time to try a piece of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.

The pilgrimage starts from wherever you want it to start, although there are several recognized routes (if you google "Camino de Santiago" there are lots of places that can hook you up with all the information you need to do it yourself), and ends at the cathedral right here in Santiago de Compostela. Kind of. The people who make it to Santiago can consider themselves finished, but there's more if you want to go farther. The route continues from here in Santiago to Finisterre (Latin: Finis Terrae), also known as "el fin del mundo" or the end of the world. Back in the Roman days they thought there wasn't anything left once you reached this point. Pilgrims who continue on to Finisterre typically observe three rites: burning their clothes (a part of their old lives before the pilgrimage), bathing in the sea (a symbol of cleansing, like the fire), and watching the sunset (a symbol of death and resurrection because the sun goes down and is "reborn" again the next day).

Tomorrow morning I, along with a few other students, will set out for Finisterre. The pilgrimage is done on foot (although you can bike it or ride a horse), and we'll be sleeping in albergues every night. Albergues are little hostel-type places located in cities all along the Camino de Santiago. In every town on the Camino there is a public albergue that costs 3 euros for the night. There are also places to clean up and eat something along the way. You're not completely roughing it, but these places are not hotels by any means. The route is marked by yellow arrows, and we'll follow them to the end of the world! Sadly, none of us have enough clothes to burn them when we reach the end and it's way too cold to bathe in the sea, but we'll still be able to consider ourselves cleansed. It will be right at 100 kilometers, and we'll take a bus back to Santiago.

I'm looking forward to being a pilgrim (Spanish peregrina), and we're just hoping it doesn't rain for all four days.

1 comment:

  1. I think it would all be cooler if you rode horse-back. Or even biked. C'mon Kindall! :) Kidding, I'm excited to see/hear about how the pilgrimage turns out!