The Race Before Us on the Camino de Santiago
This blog – The Race Before Us – feature posts on running (especially for novice runners), the Christian faith (especially for amateur apologists), and on the intersection between running and faith. For the next six weeks though, this blog is going to walk, not run.
See below – Coach Dan (frequent contributor here) and I will be walking the Camino de Santiago. I will post more frequently here at this site but under the temporary title: “My Camino – Thy Camino.” More on that with the next post.
On April 4 my good friend “Coach Dan” (Blankenship) and I leave Richmond, Virginia for Paris, France. Upon arrival we take a train to southwest France, passing through Bordeaux and stopping in Biarritz. There we catch a more local train to the village of St. Jean Pied de Port at the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains, which mountain range generally establishes France’s southern border with Spain.
St. Jean Pied de Port has become the most popular starting point for people to begin the “Camino de Santiago” – a 500-mile walk to Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. It recalls the route that hundreds of thousands of Christians took in the middle ages (and since) as a pilgrimage to the great cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. More specifically, this route is called the “Camino Frances” because it is the route that people coming from France and northern Europe would have used to reach Santiago. In that sense, St. Jean Pied de Port is the gateway (or the “port”) to Spain.
After an evening in St. Jean Pied de Port we will throw a 20-pound pack on our backs and start climbing over the Pyrenees and into Spain. Then for 30 days we will walk 15 to 20 miles a day heading for Santiago (and ultimately to the “end of the earth,” which is a three-day additional hike to Finisterre on the Atlantic Ocean.)
Come along as we walk through fields and vineyards, as we climb a few mountains and many hills, as we pass through tiny villages and some bigger cities, as we sample wine in Rioja and see where the bulls run in Pamplona, as we enjoy the journey and struggle with a foreign language, and as we become pilgrims or “peregrines” on the road to find out.