I know, usually it’s during the Camino de Santiago that the soul searching starts, and hope for the absolution for one’s sins really kicks in.
Yet I wanted to get a head start, and get in a quick confession now, as it’s only a few days until I head up to northern Spain to start my Camino.
I have to confess to planning to do the Camino with a touch of luxury!
Look, I’m in my mid 40s and my walking companion has just turned 60. So we’ve decided to walk past the ‘albergues’ and their great value dormitories of bunk beds, and head onto the ‘hoteles con encanto’ – those charming little rustic hotels that dot the landscape of Galicia’s green and pleasant land.
Farmhouses, converted water mills and ‘pazos’ (Galician cortijos) are featured in our itinerary. It’s been great fun planning the route, and talking with the local guest house and small hotel owners – there is so much choice when it comes to planning one’s own Camino. I’ll publish details of the route as I go – in fact already friends have expressed interest in my route, as they have wanted to share in the magic and mysticism of The Way, but were held back by fears of the challenge, or feelings that they weren’t able to do it ‘their way’ – in case they offended the purists.
The popularity of The Way of St James has grown exponentially over the past decade, and this last 100 – 120 km of the ‘French Way’ has become pretty big business in the local tourist economy. Visitors from across the world now come to Galicia for the chance to be part of this cultural, and for some, religious experience. So there are all types of businesses catering for all types of pilgrims – it’s now okay to do The Way your way.
There may well be a few lie-ins and late breakfasts, and we will be shamelessly using the ‘Mochila taxi’, the delivery service that promises to ferry our bags between towns leaving us free to enjoy the walking with a day knapsack, laden with probably little more than an iPad, camera and a spare T shirt. Sinful isn’t it?