What would posses me to decide to walk through Spain this summer? The short answer is, “it’s there, and I haven’t done it.” The long answer is much too long, and I am not sure that I can condense it. The long rationalization is “I am only walking about 110 miles of the overall pilgrimage.” The short rationalization is “for now.”
The Camino de Santiago is an ancient pilgrimage from all over Europe, to the town of Santiago, where the remains of the St. James the Apostle are believed to be housed. I first learned of this by watching a movie entitled “The Way” starring Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen. As I learned more and more about the way, and actually met people who had been on the way, I determined that for someone Searching for Thin Places, I must go on this pilgrimage. And I was determined to walk the Camino de Frances, the Way from France depicted in the movie, but two things stood in my path. One, was this nagging sense that I was not sure that I was ready to walk about 500 miles, and Two, it was going to be difficult to find others who would walk with me.
As it turns out, I found many people interested in the Way, just not many with the time to spend all summer walking across Spain, regardless of the reason. So I compressed my desire to walking a portion of the Via de la Plata, the Silver Way. This was originally the route from Rome, so this would have been the pilgrimage route of Popes and other church leaders. For this walk I will be joined by a merry band of 7 or 8 folk who are committed to walking from Ourense to Santiago in Spain. There is much preparation to be done; 1) physical preparation, 2) packing preparation, 3) walking with a pack preparation, and 4) spiritual preparation.
We have booked with a company that specializes in Camino tours, and do know where we will lay our head each night of the journey, so that big concern has been diminished. But there are so many other little things that arise, when putting together such an epic journey. I have tried diligently to focus on this has a religious expedition, rather than touring Spain on foot, but the two do seem to cross paths on occasion. But, “it’s there and I haven’t done it,” makes it a thin place on the horizon.