Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Photo credit:  Tour Spain
If you are concerned about overcrowding on the camino next year, you could book all, or some of your rooms ahead of time.  You can do it yourself, via a hotel chain website, or through a tour operator.
Many tour operators that normally only provide complete packages – guided or non-guided tours, luggage transfer, accommodation and food on the camino trails – are prepared to help pilgrims in 2010 by offering to book their accommodation on the camino. Regular package services are also available. (For a more comprehensive list of tour operators, including art tours, coach tours, cycle, fly-drive-paradors etc., visit the CSJ of UK website here. )

Here are a few operators that you can contact to book all or some of your accommodation for you next year:


Camino Travel Centre

The Camino Travel Centre in Santiago will help you book rooms along your camino route and can help with reserving bus, train or flight tickets. They also provide 60 days storage facilities for excess baggage. You can contact them at: or or visit their website at:

Follow The Camino

They specialise in walking and cycling holidays along the many different routes of the Way of St James. They select hotels and guesthouses based on their comfort, character, facilities and convenience to the Camino. For further information, you can contact them by phone on +353 1 443 3972 or by email See website for information on our trips, news and special offers:

Fresco Tours:

They have been working on the Camino since 1999 and are very familiar with all the hotels and providers along the trail. They would be delighted to assist any pilgrims with their travel needs! For more information on their scheduled, full service guided tours of the Camino, please contact them:

Frontier Holidays:

Guiding and helping folk to independently walk the Camino for a decade. Affordable family run accommodation. Luggage transfers, maps, route notes and useful tips. Tailor made self guided and Guided holidays can be seen at:

Iberian Adventures:

They provide an accommodation booking service, as well as help planning itineraries, arranging transfer of luggage from overnight stop to overnight stop or even taxis to get to and from lodgings if need be. They can arrange a range of accommodations, from some private albergues all the way up to the most luxurious lodgings available along the way.

Outdoor Travel Pty Ltd
Australian based walking holiday travel specialists Outdoor Travel Pty Ltd has been helping pilgrims, walkers or cyclists to secure accommodation & assistance with luggage transfers on the Camino for over 8-years. The staff have experienced the Camino first hand and offer several routes from Le Puy in France to Santiago (the French route), the Camino Portuguese, the Primitivo & Norte & the route to Finisterre.  For information & assistance see the website or email :  You can also call to talk to them personally on +61 (03) 57501441.
Spanish Adventures:

Camino de Santiago, Self guided. I am an Australian living in Santiago de Compostela and have been working as a guide on the Camino since early 2003. As well as guided trips, I offer self guided trips on the various caminos, organizing your accommodation (with dinners usually provided in the smaller towns), and bag transfers so you only need to carry a small day pack. Stages are worked out according to your requirements and experience, and accommodation is selected according to your budget, in general using good quality local accommodation. I provide maps and suggestions on places for lunches and coffee breaks, and labels for your bags each day to ensure your bags arrive at your accommodation. See my website for more info. Contact Garry at

Totally Spain

Totally Spain is an established and reputable Spain Travel Agent dedicated to planning and organising quality, customised travel and tours in Spain for independent travellers and groups since 1999.
We provide an accommodation booking service along the camino in hotels and B&B´s.

Iacobus Bono (In Galicia)
A tourist service designed specifically for the Camino de Santiago spending each night in a different rural home. The price includes accommodation, dinners, breakfasts and car transportation from the rural settlements to the beginning and end of each stage. Also available, as an optional service, is a picnic lunch, luggage transfer and accommodation in Santiago de Compostela.
All cottages cooperating in Iacobus Bonus offer excellent accommodation with a family welcome and outstanding gastronomy, and are very close to the points of arrival of each stage. The Bono Iacobus can be purchased throughout the year except during the month of August and Easter.


Turespana’s Guide to Accommodation:

In 2004 the tourism institute of Spain - Turespana - published an official guide of hostals, pensions, hotels, and camping sites on the Camino called "Guia Oficial de Hoteles y Campings del Camino de Santiago". It is available in French, German, Spanish and English and lists all accommodation authorized by the appropriate municipal and national tourism authorities. Obtainable free of charge in any tourist office or from TOURSPAIN :  E-mail:

Top Tour of Spain
Their website provides a link to inns, hostels, pensions, hotels, paradors, monasteries and apartments, which they believe offer the best rates going.

Hotel Asturias: 
Visit our website for making reservations on the Internet for all our hotels with the best price available, because there is no middleman and we don't charge a commission. This may be very useful for all pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela this year, especially as many of our hotels have launched special rates and services for pilgrims. 

Find accommodation in Guide books:

The CSJ (Confraternity of St James) in the UK sells excellent, annually up-dated Pilgrim Guides for all the routes, which are good value at ± £5 and light enough to carry:

A more comprehensive guide to the Camino Frances, Caminho Portugues and Fininsterre routes are the John Brierley guides. Available online at and through Amazon.

These and other guide books offer names and contact details for ‘other accommodation’ in the towns and villages including inns, hotels, casa rurals etc.

Camino websites with lists of alternative accommodation:   In German but with lots of accommodation on the camino Frances.  Click on Lodging Links to hotels in all regions

Lists of Albergues

Private albergues  (Many private albergues can also be booked in advanced)
Free, download leaflet with all the albergues on the Camino Frances including the Private albergues that can be reserved ahead.  One can also have baggage transported to most of the private albergues.

If any of these companies do not offer to book beds ahead, please let me know so that I can remove their details from this post.
Disclaimer:  I do not endorse, nor am I in any way connected with the companies listed above.  This post is merely a resource for people who might want to reserve some or all of their accommodation next year.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


A year ago, I wrote a post titled 'Back to the Past' where I challenged the idea that the camino was being spoiled by becoming too popular. 

The road to Santiago was one of the most popular Christian pilgrimage destinations for hundreds of years. It suffered during the Reformation, the Wars of Religion, the Napoleonic Wars and after the industrial revolution. It is now slowly clawing its way back to its former glory years.

El Pais reports that the camino is returning more and more to its medieval past and villages, towns, municipalities and individuals are vying for a slice of the lucrative pilgrimage pie. (This post is a translation of that article with a few comments by me in brackets).

"We take bags to the next hostel for two euros," reads a sign on the door of a bar in Triacastela.

In another block nearby, the owner has removed his animals and has replaced them with a half-dozen vending machines offering sandwiches and hot coffee and dressings for blisters.

Sarria, in Lugo, now holds the record in Galicia with 8 pilgrim refuges  (not quite as many as the 32 shelters that once floursihed in Burgos)

Some places will charge you $5 for a breakfast of muffins packed in industiral plastic or $25 to sleep in a room in a private home, and you will be grateful because 500 people seeking to stay in a village of 100 inhabitants is common, especially in summer.

The rise of the pilgrimage to Compostela has brought back a new golden age to the Camino de Santiago and, as it did in the Middle Ages, the populations through which it transits are being transformed.

As there was in the past, there is a big fuss about this opportunism.
As far back as 1133 the authorities of Compostela admonished traders after finding pilgrim money was being paid over to residents. A few years later, the bishop instructed Gelmírez to channel water to a source in the northern facade of the cathedral to stop the greed of the landlords who attempted to charge pilgrims for water.

Yellow Arrows
Today the signs of the French Way are well established, but at the beginning of this boom there were some who diverted the yellow arrows so that the  'Jacobean Mana' would pass the front door of their bar or hotel.
The truth is that there are more people wandering in the wilds of the steppes of Castile, with unique names such as El Burgo Ranero or Hermanillos Calzadilla, than there are people entering the route to Santiago on the National Road.
In Rabanal del Camino, a tiny town in the mountains of Leon, there are four hostels for pilgrims, two hotels and a country house.
Take the paradigmatic case of Foncebadón, a town of Leon abandoned and in disrepair for at least a century, which has already opened three shelters, an inn and a restaurant with a medieval letter.
All this has resulted in extra comfort for the pilgrim. A few years ago the daily walking itinerary had to be carefully planned because the stages were far apart and places to eat and stay overnight were scarce. Today, the number of pilgrim hostels scattered throughout the French Way numbers 254.

If there is anything that identifies the Camino de Santiago and makes it unlike any other route it is the hiker's world of exclusive network of shelters for pilgrims. This is a legacy of that tradition of hospitality which allowed medieval travelers to get around the world.  Only those pilgrims on foot, bicycle or horse who hold the credential of a pilgrim (a kind of passport issued by churches, associations and even their own shelters) allowing them to sleep in these shelters.  Authenticated by the owners of the shelter they avoid being overun by sneak vacationers in search of cheaper accommodation.

But even here the road has changed. The shelters started off being managed by the Church, municipalities and associations of Friends of the Way and were mainly 'donativo.   But there are very few donativo left shelters and some pilgrims even take advantage of the donation box (and leave nothing for its upkeep).
Like the sign put up by a priest (in Granon) which says "Pilgrim, give what you can, take what you need" - these are now just a nostalgic memory. Typically, shelters now vask for a fixed price (three to five euros) except a few honorable cases, such as shelters run by the Federation of Friends of the Camino de Santiago, who remain faithful to the donation system.

Private shelters

Given the massive influx of pilgrims and the shortage of places in these public shelters a new class of establishment has emerged - the private hostel. They are pseudo-shelters with services for the walker, gradually being regulated by law, which offer accommodation in bunk beds, heating, hot water and various services at a fixed price, which typically ranges between seven and ten euros. Most offer the same spirit of welcome to the piglrims, in areas where there was none before, and are good value for money. But there are also those who see pilgrims as business travelers, without room for hospitality. A private hostel in Hospital de Órbigo denied entry to a pilgrim at seven pm on a winter's night because he could not pay the stipulated seven euros.

Compostella or certificate of welcome

Pilgrims who arrived in Santiago and demonstrate by producing the stamped credential that they have completed the last 100 kms on foot (200kms on horseback or by bike) are awarded the Compostela a document of completiton in Latin. The precurser to the Compostela was a scallop shell which could only be purchased in Santiago but a rudimentary certification system of letters of proof evolved over the centuries. With the current flood of heterodoxy, the Church wants to bring back the religious character of the pilgrimage. Now, on arrival at the reception office of the cathedral, the pilgrim is asked about motivation. If you are religious, you are granted the Compostela. If you are otherwise, you are given a certificate of welcome in Spanish.

The yellow arrow

Marking each and every one of the crossings and detours along nearly 800 kms of route with yellow arrows seems impossible. But it has been acheived. It started in the eighties with D. Elias Valiña, parish priest of O Cebreiro who, with a bucket of yellow paint and a brush, painted arrows on the mountain. This was taken up and continued by administrations and volunteers of associations of Friends of the Way. Today you can walk from Roncesvalles to Santiago without fear of getting lost. From the 2004 Jacobean Holy Year detours were etablished to avoid those sections that remained along the side of roads.

Other Routes
All this happens in the most famous French route, the busiest since antiquity. It starts in Roncesvalles (Somport in Aragonese ) and passes through Pamplona, Logroño, Burgos and Leon before crossing O Cebreiro into Galicia. But there are many other ways that have improved significantly since the 2004 Xacobeo. Historic routes, used formerley by medieval travelers and now, in the slipstream of the success of French, are being put in use.

Camino Portuguese
Chief among these is the Camino Portuguese where the first yellow arrow is found on the facade of the Cathedral of Lisbon. It is a unique opportunity to learn a different Portugal, on foot or by cycle paths, historic sites and remote villages off limits to those traveling by car. From the Tagus to Lisbon Santarém back and then continues to the great monastery of Tomar, Coimbra, Porto and Vila do Conde, to enter Galicia at Tuy. It is also marked, but has the same shortage of shelters on the Portuguese side as in the last Xacobeo - only three.

Camino del Norte

The next in number of pilgrims, the Camino del Norte, a favorite to do in summer. It starts at Irun and follows the Cantabrian coast, the sea to the right and the green mountains on the left. A delight, passing through San Sebastian, Bilbao, Santander, Oviedo where it divides into two:.  The Coast continues to Gijón, Avilés and Ribadeo, and the Primitivo goes inland to Grandas, Asturias and Lugo. It is very well marked and the number of shelters has grown dramatically since 2004.
Via de la Plata

The Via de la Plata traces several ancient Roman roads that connected with Seville via Astorga, Extremadura and Castilla y Leon. It has also greatly improved its layout and signage since 2004.
The English Way (A Coruña- or Ferrol to Santiago), the Camino de Finisterre, and from Cape Finisterre to visit the Santo Cristo de Fisterra, and the sanctuary of A Barca, in Muxía, the Camino de Alava, the Camino de Madrid, Soria, the Ebro Valley ..

Monday, December 14, 2009

1.25 million pilgrims walking the Camino in the Holy Year?

2010 is the 84th Compostela Holy Year
(or the 118th depending on who you prefer to believe! See: )

If you are one of the hundreds of thousands of people who are planning to walk a camino route next year you might be a little concerned about over-crowding and about the possibility of not finding accommodation.  The heaviest traffic will be in Spain and although there is bound to be an increase in the number of pilgrims on the French routes as well, this post is aimed mainly at those planning to walk the camino routes in Spain.

How many pilgrims will there be?
It has been estimated that 250 000 pilgrims will earn the Compostela next year.  This does not take into account the many, many thousands of pilgrims who will walk parts of the caminos with no intention of reaching Santiago. 
The Sociology department of the Cathedral estimates the number of pilgrims on the Camino at any one time by using the registration in albergues, the data given when the credential is obtained, and other sources, such as the tourist information offices throughout the Camino.  They estimate that only 1-out- of-5 pilgrims actually receives the Compostela.  Theoretically, this means that there could be 1.25 million pilgrims walking a camino next year!!  The biggest headache for the authorities is where to accommodate all the Holy Year pilgrims.

Where will they all sleep?
Most Regions have been busy making plans since the last Holy Year in 2004.  Sports halls will be utilised and tent towns will be erected in busy areas.  The army is being enlisted to help.  Hundreds of thousands of euros are being spent on rehabilitation of paths and on way markers and other signage.  The busiest region will be Galicia where, historically, the largest numbers of pilgrims will start walking in order to earn a Compostela.  Xacobeo has a new Blog which is keeping people informed about preparations in Galicia.
Although most of us prefer to sling our backpack on our backs and start walking, stopping when we are tired, happy to queue up outside an albergue for a bed, this might not work next year. 

2004 Holy Year:

I walked the camino in May/June of the 2004 Holy Year and it was more like celebration than meditation!  The paths were busy, the albergues all had long queues of backpacks lined up outside before mid-day.  The cafe-bars and restaurants were crowded.  There was a vibrant, excited, expectant buzz amongst pilgrims - it was Año Santo, Holy Year, and you could (if you were Catholic) have all your sins forgiven! 
I think the 2010 Holy Year is going to be the closest thing to a medieval pilgrimage Spain has seen since the Reformation.  There are numerous historical accounts of huge numbers of pilgrims on the roads and crowded churches on the way to Spain and in the Cathedral at Santiago.  Pilgrims standing cheek by jowl, jostling for space, fights breaking out and people sleeping in the cathedral. 

Avoid the rush for beds:
One way to avoid the masses and the rush for beds is to pre-book as many rooms as you can ahead of time.  You cannot book beds in the pilgrim shelters run by the church, municipalities or some confraternities, but many private albergues allow pre-booking and there are many fondas (inns) hostales, pensions, casa rurals and hotels along the way.  If you want to do it on your own, you can search the many websites for accommoation, or look up hotels/hostals etc in the guide books.
    In 2004 Turespaña published a booklet called 'Guia oficial de Hoteles y Campings del Camino de Santiago."  It is available in French, German, Spanish and English and lists all accommodation authorized by the appropriate municipal and national tourism authorities.  You can obtain the booklet free of charge in any tourist office or from TOURSPAIN, or by E-mail:

    If you think you'll need help:
    The Camino Travel Centre in Santiago will help you book rooms along your camino route and can help with reserving bus, train or flight tickets. They also store extra baggage for up to 60 days.  For hotels in larger cities they book through their booking service and are paid a commission by the hotels but for small pensions and casa ruralsa (not available through the booking services) they charge you a small booking fee.  You can contact Frank or Ivar at:  or

    Booking ahead might be the answer to avoiding the Holy Year crowds.  Not only will you have peace of mind - knowing that you have a bed waiting for you at the end of the day - you won't have to join the rush for beds in the morning, you can start walking after a leisurely breakfast, sightsee on the way and take your time getting to the next stop.  And, you can bet that there will be hundreds of pilgrims doing the same thing so you won't be alone in the hotels at the end of the day.

    Camino Frances:

    This will be the busiest route.  If you are planning to start at St Jean Pied de Port - but don't want to book all your rooms in advance - it might be wise to at least book a bed in St Jean Pied de Port - Esprit du Chemin is a lovely albergue  
    For B&B's, Chambres and Gites go to:
    The first few days of this route will be extremely busy and even in May 2002 I had to sleep on the floor in Larasoana because all the beds were taken by early afternoon.
    You can book a bed at Orisson, about 10km from St Jean Pied de Port
    Many pilgrims start in Roncesvalles so chances are it will be choc-a-block by the time you get there. You could book a bed at the 'Posada de Roncesvalles'.  We sent them a fax and our beds were confirmed by return fax.

    In Larasoana you could stay at the Pension del Peregrino -  There are dozens of small pensions and hotels in Pamplona. 

    Private albergues

    Red Albergues is a "network of private hostels on the Camino de Santiago": a non-profit organization founded December 8, 2001. Its aims as follows:
    • Developing proposals to the various administrations to create a uniform legal framework for the Pilgrims' Hostel of the Ways of Santiago.
    • Defend the rights of Pilgrim Hostels, especially the private hostels.
    • Advice for people who want to create a private Pilgrims' Hostel.
    • Hospitaleros training and preparation of volunteers.
    • Formulation of proposals on the location of new shelters and their characteristics.
    • Promotion of cultural activities related to the Camino de Santiago.
    • Collaboration with guilds, associations and public or private entities of similar purpose.
    You can download a list of private albergues for the Camino Frances on the Red Albergues website here :  and here:  
    The brochure includes some email and web addresses as well as names of transport companies that will transport your baggage for you between albergues. You will need a 'credencial' (pilgrims' passport) to stay in any of the albergues - be they church, municipal or private.  Many of the private albergues can be pre-booked and you can have luggage transported to them by taxi or transport company.
    Booking into private albergues might be the best thing for cycling pilgrims who traditionally have to wait until quite late to get a spot in an albergue. 

    Another organisation that will cart your backpacks, post stuff ahead, provide support to cyclist etc is Jacotrans: 

    A credencial is a passport to staying in the pilgrim shelters, whether they are church, municipal or private.  You can get a credential at the place where you start - often at the church or the pilgrim albergue - or from your Confraternity before you leave home.

    To earn the Compostela - certificate of completion - you have to walk the LAST 100km of any route to Santiago and profess to having walked the camino for a religious/spiritual reason.
    You do not have to only stay in the pilgrim albergues but you must have the credencial stamped at each place you stay or pass through, at churches, cathedrals, tourist offices, cafe bars, libraries (free Internet) or hotels, police stations etc.
    If you are not religious, you will be given a different certificate.

    25th July:
    If you want to time your arrival into Santiago for the feast day festivities, you should try to get there before the 25th July.  Fesitivities begin the week before and continue for a few days after the Feast Day.  Hundreds of church groups, youth groups, choirs, tours are being planned to be in Santiago on 25th July so do book a bed ahead.  Check the Xacobeo website for 2010 activities.

    The Puerta Santa
    The Holy Door, which gives access to the Cathedral from the Plaza de la Quintana, is opened on 31st December on the eve of each Holy Year, and walled up again a year later.

    Monday, December 07, 2009


    I have updated the post on Santiago Holy Years - you can read it here:

    Did you know that Holy Years only started in the 15th C (according to recent historical research)?

    That in the 16th C "The head of the glorious Apostle is carried around the cathedral on all feast-days in solemn procession."

    That in the Holy Year of 1867 only 40 pilgrims attended the 25th July Mass in the cathedral?

    In the early Middle Ages the 30 December was St James’ Feast day, based on the old Hispanic (Mozarabic) rite.

    In the 11th century King Alfonso VI abolished the Hispanic rite in favour of the Roman rite and 25 July became the principal feast day to commemorate the martyrdom of St. James.

    December 30 was incorporated into the present liturgical calendar as the Feast of the Translation of his relics.

    Although we celebrate his Feast Day on 25th July using the Roman Rite calendar, it was formerly on the 5th August on the Tridentine Rite calendar.

    Friday, November 27, 2009


    —  Canterbury Tales  —

    First questions first.  What is a pilgrim?

    Dante said in the 13th c that ' a limited sense pilgrim means only one who travels to or returns from the house of St James.."

    He suggested that the long distance travelled, and being a foreigner in Galicia, made one a pilgrim. He did not say that pilgrim means one who 'walks' to the house of St James, only 'one who travels'.  Until the invention of the bicycle - and trains, planes and automobiles - the only mode of travel was by boat,  riding a donkey or horse, or foot slogging. Pilgrims used whichever mode of transport was available to them that they could afford. Poor pilgrims walked; middle-class pilgrims might hire a donkey, wealthy pilgrims could hire horses and travel with servants.

    Besides Dante, what do the experts say?

    A:  Wordnet (i) someone who journeys in foreign lands (ii) someone who journeys to a sacred place as an act of religious devotion.

    B:  Wiki Answers (i) someone who goes on a pilgrimage, a visit to a place that is religious

    C: Wikipedia:  a pilgrim (lat. peregrinus) is one who undertakes a pilgrimage far afield, traditionally to some place that has religious or historic significance.

    D:  Oxford:  a person who journeys to a sacred place for religious reasons. The word pilgrim comes (in Middle English) from Provençal pelegrin, from Latin peregrinus, 'foreign'.

    E: Websters: (i) a person who wanders about  (ii) a person who travels to a shrine or holy place usually a long distance away.

    No mention of walking, only 'travels'. 
    According to James Harpur the first pilgrims were the Three Wise Men  who, according to the gospel of Mathew, journeyed from the East to Bethlehem guided by a star to pay homage 'to the one who has been born of the jews." 
    Did they walk?  We don't know but it is unlikely.  Most pictures show them riding camels. 

    What is a real pilgrim? 
    This is the million dollar question that comes up with mind numbing regularity on all the 'camino pilgrim' forums.

    Sometimes the answers are so dogmatic and illogical that one can be forgiven for thinking that there are people out there who have a genetic memory of being penitential pilgrims, tramping the pilgrimage trails of Europe in hair-shirts like Godric of Finchale, self-flagellating from one shrine to the next in order to earn indulgences for remission of their sins and time spent in purgatory before they are despatched to heaven or hell.  These are the 'Pilgrim Fundamentalists" who vehemently reject everyone else's claims to the title of 'pilgrim' as profane unless they conform to their naive version of what constitutes a 'real' pilgrim.

    So how do they see a real pilgrim?
    Firstly, it seems to me that the Pilgrim Fundamentalists' view of a Real Pilgrim is applied exclusively to people making a pilgrimage to Santiago. 
    If you are one of the 200 million pilgrims who have visited Lourdes since 1869, chances are that you did not walk there.
    Over 4 million pilgrims visit Fatima and each year.
    10 Million make the pilgrimage to Guadalupe each year and just as many to Rome, and Jerusalem.
    It seems that you can be a pilgrim to these shrines even if you take a luxury bus, go with a church tour or get the TGV.
    But, according to the Pilgrim Fundamentalists, you can't call yourself a pilgrim to St James unless you walk to his tomb.  Furthermore, the sanctimonious idea is that you can only be a 'real' pilgrim if you walk every inch of the way on a long distance route because, irrespective of what the Santiago Archdiocese claims, 100km or 200km just won't cut it!  And, God help you if you cheat!  Taking a bus into Burgos, getting a taxi to the next albergue, skipping a few kilometers by taking a train or sending your backpack up a hill by motor vehicle will send you straight to purgatory!
    Some Pilgrim Fundamentalist go as far as to insist that in order to qualify as a Real Pilgrim, one should carry a backpack (the heavier the better), stay only in basic pilgrim shelters (not the newer, up-market, private hostels that have sprung up in recent years) and definitely not in a hotel: eat frugal pilgrim meals (no fine-dining in restaurants or bistros) and, one can earn 'real pilgrim' Brownie points if you walk in winter, suffer blisters, tendonitis, shin splints, stress fractures and lose all your toe nails. To qualify as a Real Pilgrim, no pain really means no gain. 

    Pilgrim Fundamentalist often refer to 'real pilgrims' as those who attempt to emulate 'tradtional medieval' pilgrims, a completely impossible task considering that mind-set, intention, landscapes, eras have all changed.  Their rather self-righteous criteria only seems to extend to walking, sleeping and eating - they do not apply their rules to the type of clothing a pilgrim should wear or equipment they can carry and paradoxically, even though the modern peregrino is expected to walk to Santiago, he or she is allowed to carry a credit card, travelers cheques, cash passport, iPod, digital camera, use the Internet, or send messages home via their Blackberry.  They can wear gortex boots, sweat-wicking shirts, polypropylene sock, carry telescopic Nordic walking poles and, buy a return ticket home.  The Real Pilgrim is a one way phenomenom.  The rules only apply to the journey there.  Once they arrive they can morph back into their 21st Century skins and fly home.  

    So who were the real pilgrim role models?
    There exists a confused notion among Pilgrim Fundamentalists that only the mendicant foot-slogging Medieval pilgrim can claim to a be a Real Pilgrim.  Bugger all the other millions who travelled long, dangerous distances in ships and/or on horseback.

    Who was the traditional, medieval pilgrim?
    Taking into account that the Middle Ages spanned a period of over 1000 years of turbulent change, from the 5th c to the 16thc, trying to conjure up a picture of a representative, traditional medieval pilgrim is more than a little problematic.  There was a melting-pot of rich and poor, pious and impious, penitential and pleasure seeking pilgrims just as there are today. By the 16th century the majority were homeless vagabonds, despised and reviled and treated with great suspicion. 
    At a Council of Europe Congress held in 1988 - just after the birth of the modern pilgrimage to Santiago - a speaker elaborated on the decadence of the pilgrimage.
    "The oft quoted decline and decadence of the pilgrimage to Compostela started here [16th c], although not in quantitative terms. It was the extreme forms of far-reaching qualitative changes which perverted ideas and practice. It is undeniable that the peregrination religiosa lost ground and that a tendency to depersonalise and externalise pilgrim practices emerged. The circumstances of the age also contributed to this: too few jobs for a rising population, unemployment, robber bands preying on the French routes, criminal acts by pilgrims and, from the 15th century onwards increasing criticism of the peregrination itself." 
    And, there must have been a few fashion changes from the 5th C to the 16th Century.  Even though a few Popes decreed a particular dress for pilgrims, why are they always depicted in the same long robes?  We never see pilgrims in tights even though there is a 15th C song about Robin Hood to that effect!  Statues, sculptures and paintings give us an idea of what pilgrims from the different centurieslooked like, what they wore and how they travelled. 

    There are just as many pictures of pilgrims on horseback as there are of walking pilgrims.  Some famous pilgrims who went on horseback - and left us their written accounts - include the Poitou priest Aimery Picaud (12th C - Liber Sancti Jacobi), the German Knight Arnold von Harff (15th C - Pilgrimage of the Horseman) and the Italian priest Domenico Laffi (17th C - A Journey Westward to Santiago in Galicia and Finisterre).  Are we, 21st Century pretenders, to strip them of their titles of 'Real Pilgrims" because they did not walk to Santiago?

    On the Vatican website: you will find a list of Jubilee Pilgrimages of the Holy Father (John Paul II) from 1979 to 2004.  These include pilgrimages to many countries and shrines including two pilgrimages to Santiago.  Did the Holy Father walk there?  No, of course not.  So, are the Pilgrim Fundamentalists qualified to strip him of his pilgrim title too?

    The root of the misconception:
    In 1953 the Archdiocese in Santiago decided to award a special certificate to pilgrims who walked at least 100km to the tomb of the saint for religious reasons. (All records of these early certificates prior to 1970 have been lost).  Although the Compostela is based on a 14th C document, it is now considered a souvenir and is no longer used as proof to earn an indulgence.  I reckon this was a mistake.  All prilgrims should be given a document for visiting the tomb of St James - no matter how they arrive there.  It has made the journey more important than the destination.  Some walk all the different routes, planning their holidays around a walk on the camino.  Getting to Santiago is often secondary or not important.

    A bit of 'Malice in Wander-land?"
    "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" said Alice.   "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.  "I don't much care where ...," said Alice.  "Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.  (Lewis Carrol)

    One often hears pilgrims say - "it is the journey, not the destination that is important".  That is a very un-"traditional pilgrim" thing to say.  The destination held the promise of  redemption (not the journey, even though longer journeys offered a few more days off purgatory) and the Archdiocese has this to say on their website:  "The most important thing here is the Goal, not the Way. Jacobean Pilgrims do not go on pilgrimage for the sake of the Way. Through the Way they do get to the Tomb of Saint James "the Great"."

    Walking pilgrims can frame their credentials - these will be their "Certificate of Conscience", proof that they walked to Santiago.
    Walking to Santiago is a choice.  Nobody forces you to walk 100km or 1000km - it is your choice.  The fact that you have decided to walk doesn't make you a better pilgrim than the person who saves up all their money to travel to Santiago to visit the tomb of the saint for religious reasons.
    A wise lady recently said, "Pilgrim is as pilgrim does" - I think its time to stop all this judgemental, self-righteous nonsense about 'real' pilgrims. 
    Over 12 million pilgrims are expected to visit Santiago next year - only 250 000 are expected to walk - and less than 10% will walk more than 114km to the city. Many will journey long distances to reach Spain and the shrine and all have the right to be called PILGRIMS.

    Monday, October 26, 2009

    2010 HOLY YEAR - "Faithful to the Light"

    Click on this link for an explantion and history of Holy Years in Santiago:

    And on this Xacobeo Blog:

    Spain is counting down the days to the 2nd Holy Year of the new century and the 119th since its inception.  I will be adding news about the Holy Year to this post from time to time.

    Presentation Compostela Holy Year 2010 "Faithful to the Light"


    1. PASTORAL LETTER Archbishop Julián Barrio

    "Each year, an increasing number of pilgrims set off to Tomb the Apostle James the Great, with the pilgrimage, among other realities, allegory Church, People of God walk toward "citizenship of the saints. In the Holy Year of 1999 I decided to escort the pilgrim Jacobean in its spiritual and pastoral reflection, pilgrimage in spirit and in truth and in 2004 with the Pilgrims for pastoral grace. In this second Compostela Holy Year of the Third Millennium of Christianity to celebrate the 2010, bring to mind the story of the disciples of Emmaus who refer their encounter with the Risen Christ. Also, from his tomb, the Apostle James, the "friend of the Lord" conveys the message that Christ lives and, therefore, the pilgrim has to give this witness, knowing that friendship with the Lord ensures the fertility of the mission of the Christian life: "I have called you friends, because all I heard from my Father I have made known ... and I have set to go and bear fruit and that your fruit is permanent" (Jn 15,15-16 ), Jesus told his apostles. Pilgrim with you, I offer this reflection from the faith with the awareness of knowing that the Lord also comes to meet us, enlightens us with his presence and his word, and delivers us from all fear.
    With this hope, thanking this privilege granted to Church particular in Santiago de Compostela Church "Largest and oldest known to all, founded and constituted in Rome by the two glorious Apostles Peter and Paul," communicate the conclusion of the Second Jacobean Holy Year for the third millennium to my diocesan dioceses and sisters from Spain, Europe and other continents, inviting them to journey to Tomb the Apostle to confess faith in the Risen Christ and receive the abundance of divine mercy as a manifestation of God's love for life man. It is an event of grace that we celebrate and share with all the particular Churches, taking care not to undermine the sense of the Camino de Santiago, as the path of forgiveness, for other reasons beyond their spiritual dynamism that St. James Pilgrimage which becomes "penance" on the roads of the accusation of sins, the forgiveness of sins of our neighbor, prayer, almsgiving and humility, you live in a spirit of conversion and that the Holy Year help us to revitalize our Christian life as a vocation to holiness and eternity, asking the Lord to the intercession of St. James, "a man for whom we visit Galicia", that the meeting of the pilgrims with the apostolic tradition, the goal of joy , hope resonates".

    So begins Pastoral Letter of Archbishop of Santiago, Julián Barrio, whose letter becomes his "program" to prepare and pastoral life of the Holy Year 2010. The menu is divided into seven chapters and an introduction:

    Introduction: It communicates the conclusion of the Second Jacobean Holy Year of the Third Millennium and calls directly on a pilgrimage to Tomb of St. James. It also indicates the main theme of his letter, the Gospel story of the Road to Emmaus, and links it already has the Camino de Santiago.

    I. The Resurrection, The foundation and goal in the Christian pilgrimage: In this chapter, Archbishop Julián Barrio a parallel between the Christian pilgrims and pilgrims of Emmaus inviting the Jacobean Pilgrim's commitment.
    II. Pilgrim's spiritual food: Following this previous relationship with Emmaus Christian, the Archbishop travels the spiritual foundations of every Christian, accentuated with the pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago. Faith, prayer, the EucharistThe community and the reality of sin and forgiveness are issues that are clearly developed.
    III. The pilgrimage, evangelization and event response to the call on the Road: In this aspect, says Mgr District "We need not only teachers but especially witnesses to the faith." This is the chapter that invites the testimony and confession of faith.
    IV. The pilgrim and his participation in the life of the Risen: Following the pilgrims of Emmaus, the goal of the journey becomes an experience of encounter with the Risen Christ.
    V. The testimony and community experience of faith: "Reaching the goal of his pilgrimage to Tomb of St. James as an encounter with Apostolic Tradition and a renewal of life, Jacobean pilgrims, as the Emmaus pilgrims have returned to the family community, the workplace and the parish, being witnesses of what they have seen, heard and lived with the conviction that history Final of the human person is not confined to the finite ".
    VI. Pilgrimage and Christian mission: In this chapter, indicates that the pilgrim, transformed into a new man with the experience inside the Camino de Santiago, must feel the urgency to transform society with their Christian attitudes and Catholic vision.
    VII. The Jacobean pilgrimage today: "We welcome the Jacobean Holy Year 2010, the second of the third millennium and in the time of the call transmodernity. It is the Holy Year 119 in the history of the Holy Years Compostela. At a time like the present one marked by human distress and uncertainty generated dramatic lack of solidarity, violence and terrorism, and also for the malaise of a culture that tries to dilute the religious dimension of man, a process which is accompanied by reality of depersonalization that we are suffering, one wonders whether there may still be room for doctrinal and spiritual content, permanent and genuine, this celebration, one of whose manifestations is the most accomplished pilgrimage. If we analyze the statistical data available from the Jacobean pilgrimage, we can see that in the last twenty years the trend in the number pilgrims has always been increasing. Prophetically anticipating what would happen in the last decade of last century, the Bishops of the Camino de Santiago in his pastoral letter in 1988 echoed this flowering when writing: "El Camino de Santiago which leads to Tomb St. James, in the city that bears his name, Santiago de Compostela, Finisterre in Galicia, from the most diverse of Spain and Europe has now again become unusual in recent years. The number of pilgrims who travel to the traditional style of the venerable medieval pilgrimage, along with those who do using modern means of locomotion is steadily growing.

    2. POSTER
    The poster has been made by the company to Enxeño Galicia Archdiocese Santiago de Compostela. Explanation of the cartel Modesto Gomez, director of Exene Galicia:
    We envision the road as a melting pot of people who, with their multitude of colors, pilgrims of the hand toward a goal.
    We envision a destination and draw la Quintana peregrina its essence: its threshold of reconciliation, the prelude to the embrace that allows us to open ourselves to the world Obradoiro Glory.
    We envision a style and decided to compose a mural can symbolize the plurality of the road: rounded at the base and bottom line at the top, colorful in its origin, while sober and full of air in the top half while chromatic clean, decorated with a scheme which simplifies the interpretation of three distinct parts that intersect naturally: the representation worldly, full of life and color, characterized by a multitude pilgrim, the spiritual, driven in that ethereal mix of chiaroscuro and unencumbered the silhouette of the cross, and a central plane in which the cathedral is the goal of the Path.   Obradoiro blurring the towers in an overhead shot imaginary, we highlight the vision of la Quintana as Plaza with the presentation of Tower Clock and Holy Door in a composition of simple lines and gray, adorned by colorful and rounded lines on special importance.  
    At the door are three elements that stand out: first the images that humanize the stone. On the other, forming a central axis, two representations of the apostle. How could it be otherwise in the case of la Quintana, Place of living and dead, an apostle recumbent, which is the guiding light at the end of the road, rises above the door in its niche as a living witness of Christ and the pilgrim who, as a good host, awaits us at home.
    To his right, the clock tower stands as a beacon of hope, a symbol of three essential elements: the clarity, the call and time. It's more symbolic of the temple tower. It represents, in descending order, a glimmer of hope that flows from its guiding light, a perennial call to conversion that resonates in each "badalada 'of the BerengariaAnd a gentle discourse of hours to the rhythm of the needles of a clock that evokes our lives and our history. At the base we wanted to establish a modern, simple and illuminating logo: from the Roman era to today, Pilgrim Church, at the hands of the cross and Vieira, icons of Jesus and James, pilgrimage guided by the light of Christ, walking together, hand in hand with faith, from 2010 years ago.


    1. Pilgrimage to Santiago de the CROSS of the WORLD of YOUTH (From 3 to 8 August 2010).
    Early in the special Holy Year Redemption in Rome, held between 1983 and 1984, John Paul II decided to Basilica San Pedro a large wooden cross of two meters. At the end of this anniversary year the Pope gave this cross to the youth of the Centro San Lorenzo saying "Carry it throughout the world as a symbol of the love of Jesus to humanity and announce to everyone that only in Christ dead and risen find salvation and redemption". But the Pope decided to make a copy of CrossOne is found in the Centro San Lorenzo, permanently, another pilgrim on the five continents.

    2. European Youth Pilgrimage (5-8 August 2010)
    During the last Holy Year, 2004, Santiago admitted to more than 30,000 young people participating in European Pilgrimage Youth, under the theme "Witnesses of Christ in a Europe of Hope." In 2010 this pilgrimage will be organized while in Santiago Cross of World Day of Youth 2011, to be held in Madrid. The call at the foot of Tomb of St. James between days 5 and August 8 is the most important event of this Holy Year 2010. Compostela bring together thousands of young Europeans, who have the task of building a new civilization in an area of peace, freedom, democracy and pluralism.
    3. Other pilgrimages emphasizing:
    -- The Archbishop invited as in previous Holy Years Pilgrimage on a pilgrimage to Episcopal Conference Spanish
    -- Pilgrimage of 25 French bishops with their diocesan bishops and the Spanish the French way (19, 20 and 21 July 2010)
    -- Pilgrimage of the Diocese of Galicia and many of Spain and other countries
    -- Pilgrimage of Arciprestazgos and parishes of our diocese
    - Pilgrimage of other institutions Church and other social and cultural institutions

    4. Operation Office Pilgrim: The times will be from 9am to 21pm. Is currently in dialogue with Xunta Galicia after requesting 16 positions through grants. The bureau will, as usual, be issuing the Compostela and accommodate the different pilgrims.

    5. Delegations Diocesan Pilgrimage for Youth and organize activities both in Santiago and along the various walks of Santiago for youth to participate in the welcoming pilgrims. Also during the year for concerts, training courses, theater workshops, vigils, prayer meetings, etc.. in different pastoral areas Diocese to promote volunteerism among youth.

    6. Meeting delegates Diocesan Media Church in Spain (January 2010) organized by The Episcopal Conference Spanish and diocesan delegation Media of Santiago de Compostela. Around a hundred delegates and over 50 leading journalists in the world of modern communication, reflect in Santiago on Church and the media.

    7. Organization of congresses. Some of them are:
    - European Congress on Education and Family (May 2010)
    - Congress "Humanism and Progress"
    - World Congress Family
    - Meeting of Families
    - Fourth World Congress of Guilds and Associations (in October 2009, on the threshold of the Holy Year to promote pilgrimage)

    8. Official publications being developed and are in press:
    - Different explanatory leaflets on the occasion of the Holy Year, their significance and how to win the Jubilee. At this time there will be a first printing of 200,000 copies. They are to be distributed in the Cathedral Santiago, at churches and throughout the Camino de Santiago.

    - The Pilgrim's book: a book for all the pilgrims coming the other way on foot. The first printing will be 50,000 copies.

    - The liturgical book Cathedral provide participants in the Eucharist. The first print run will be 5,000 copies.

    - Catechism of preparation for the pilgrimage, pastoral materials to help prepare his pilgrims road to Santiago. This material is currently being drafted and circulated to all parishes of Galicia and all those who want to work these catechesis.

    9. Exhibitions and concerts in Cathedral, San Martin Pinario Seminary.

    Tuesday, September 29, 2009

    Documentaries, movies and videos on the Camino

    THE WAY - with Martin Sheen as a father who travels to St Jean Pied dePort to retrieve the body of his son (played by real life son Emilio Estevez) after he dies crossing the Pyrenees. 

    Hundreds of documentaries and films set on the camino are released every year.  You can watch trailers of some on YouTube.  Just type in the words 'el camino de Santiago' and you will be offered thousands of clips.

    My favourite documentary movie is:

    Within the Way Without by Larry Boulting 2004
    The film features Rob Jorritsma as Winter pilgrim, Madoka Mayuzumi as Spring pilgrim and Milena Salgado as Summer pilgrim. Introduction by Sir Richard Attenborough.150 mins, Each DVD numbered and signed by Larry Boulting

    El Camino de Santiago no un camino de rosas" (The Way of St James is not a path of roses) Spanish video with English sub-titles interviews pilgrims of many nationalities as well as priests, hospitaleros and volunteers on the Camino Frances incuding the Brazilian poet Lady Foppa. There is a poignant interview with the daughter of Felisa, one of the well-known characters along the way who died in October 2002 at the age of 92. Those who walked the camino before the end of 2002 will remember Felisa, a wizened old woman who had a table outside a ramshackle farmhouse on the side of the road near Logrono with a sign that read, “Higos, Agua y Amor, " (Figs-water and love)   Watch a youtube trailer here.
    Welcome; Bienvenido A documentary DVD made by José Alvarez about the traditions of hospitality on the Way of St James, including interviews with hospitaleros in Burgos, San Bol, Rabanal del Camino, Manjarin, Villafranco del Bierzo, Monte del Gozo. 110 mins, English subtitles, some commentary in English. Suitable for World Zone 2.

    Walk with me: the pilgrim road to Santiago Created and recorded by Althea Hayton:
    Set of 3 CDs plus booklet Produced by Verulam Productions - Distributed by Wren Publications

    Las Peregrinas by Sue Kenny - veteran pilgrim, author, and inspirational speaker returns to Spain, to shepherd a group of first-time women pilgrims (in Spanish known as, Las Peregrinas) on their own individual journeys of self-discovery Available

    The Way – Camino de Santiago, Spain
    Filmmaker Mark Shea wished to explore the spiritual affect the Camino (Way of St. James) has on pilgrims, by walking the French Way alone and documenting his own personal experiences.
    Discoveries - Spain Pilgrim Route
    Visit the ancient route of Camino de Compostela - Leon and Santiago de Compostela, Finisterre the western most point of Europe, and the monasteries of Yesu and Hesu, where modern Spanish is reputed to have been created; a tour of Spain’s greatest vineyards and wineries in the Rioja region; and in La Guardia, a perfectly preserved, grand gothic cathedral doorway in it’s original state, preserved and untouched for centuries. (Anybody know where the monasteries of Yesu and Hesu are, please let me know!)

    The Way of St. James from "heaven´s" view:
    The film documents the exciting real flight adventure in 2009 of Melanie and Andreas in their gyrocopter along the Way of St. James from Germany through France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. DVD Jamesflight -

    Ray and Carol's video on their walk along the Frances dragging or pushing a two wheeled cart. I remember watching this one and thinking, “If they could walk the camino pushing that cart over rocky, muddy paths, then I could easily walk it carrying a small backpack!”

    The Surgeon and the Saint: A professional documentary filmmaker who has produced award-winning documentaries for PBS, the Discovery Channel and A&E. He recently finished an hour-long film about his experience on the Camino. The film is also about the relationship between fathers and their grown sons, and about ambition, religion and the meaning of life.

    On Foot to Santiago De Compostela - Uncertain what to do after college, and needing a physical and emotional challenge to sort his head out, Roman Weishaupt sets off from his idyllic Swiss village to follow the pilgrim trail. The documentary follows his 80-day, 1,367-mile walking journey from the Alps to the Pyrenees and beyond. Running Time: 95 mins.

    Oh Ye of Little Faith
    by Paul Tobey contains interviews with modern day pilgrims, a tour of a Refugio, some great stories, beautiful towns, adventurous festivals, interesting people and breathtaking scenery from the road itself. Music by Paul Tobey. Free download:

    St Jacques... la Mecque - French with English sub-titles. Middle-aged schoolteacher Clara and her two brothers, chief executive Pierre and alcoholic layabout Claude, absolutely hate one another. Imagine then their blood-curdling horror when they hear the conditions of their mother’s will. Their substantial inheritance will go to charity unless the three of them undertake the arduous pilgrimage from Puy-en-Velay to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle. Determined not to lose out on their share of a fortune, the three siblings join the pilgrimage with six other people, including Guy, their guide.

    The Pilgrim's Way of St. James: Seven Routes to Santiago.
    English and german Beate Steger (2007).

    The Naked Pilgrim Brian Sewell's CTV series about the Road to Santiago from England through France to Santiago

    El Camino de Santiago - Xunta (A cartoon telling the story of St James and Santiago) (Bought in Santiago)

    Pilgrims’ Route to Santiago – English documentary made in 1998 (Bought in Santiago)

    Camino de Santiago: by Everest in Spanish. Video on the Camino Frances. (Bought in Santiago)

    Santiago de Compostela: Art and History – English. Assoc. Socio-Pedagoxia Galega (Bought in Santiago)

    Xunta DVD’s:
    La Meta del Camino
    El Camino Hacia la Meta Interactive DVD

    El Camino de Santiago / Paulo Coelho to Santiago de Compostela (DVD)

    by (Video On Demand)

    Way of Saint James: A Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela ~ (DVD - Jul 22, 2008)
    Pilgrimages of Europe: El Rocio, Spain & Santiago de Compostela, Spain ~ (DVD - Feb 13, 2004)

    Camino de Santiago. El origen - This historical documentary of Galician origin features Mathieu’s, a young Frenchman of the 13th century, passionate search of the Milky Way mysteries. He then moves to decipher the origins of the Camino de Santiago, the oldest- and most famous- cultural and religious route of the Old World.

    The Milky Way (French: La Voie Lactée) is a 1969 film directed by Luis Buñuel. The film is intended to be a critique of the Catholic church, as the modern pilgrims encounter various manifestations of Catholic dogma and heresy. (wiki)

    Way of St James: A walking tour of Santiago de Compostela takes you on a tour one sunny August day from the outskirts of the city to the main entrance of the Cathedral. You'll experience the typical sights and sounds of a busy morning, view medieval arhitecture and enjoy performances of Santiago's street musicians.
    Visiting the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is a complete visual examination of the Pórtico de la Gloria, the Main Altar, the crypt, numerous side chapels and the botafumeiro in full swing. The soundtrack includes the music and prayers of celebration and the echoes and voices of the many visitors to St. James' Cathedral.

    This group of documentaries presented by Carmelo Gomez showcases the main roads to Santiago de Compostela. Every road has two characters as pilgrims who made the journey on foot. Through them we learn the latest news from the road. Carmelo Gomez deals with past history and legends and tell us what they were, how they were formed and what happened to these roads. Running time: 480 minutes. (120 minutes per DVD) Language: English Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Released: 2006
    DVD1: Presentation of Our Roads to Santiago Roads Levante 1 & 2
    DVD 2: Camino de Madrid : Roads Jacobean Ebro I & 11 Road north of I
    DVD 3 Northern Way 2 : Camino English and sea routes Via de la Plata 1 & 2
    DVD 4 French Way 1, 2 and 3 : Extension to Finisterre and Jacobean Muxia.
    Extra Content: Animated Menus, Scene Selection, Webs, ACOG, associations.

    Via de La Plata DVDs: The discs contain fourteen 45-minutes episodes for a total duration of 640 minutes. Each episode covers a specific 80 to 100 kms segment and it completes the entire 1,000 kms of the Via narrating the history and circumstances of its creation over the last 3,000 years, and visiting its most important and emblematic monuments and places. The full title of the DVDs is "Ruta Via de la Plata".

    La catedral de Santiago de Compostela (1959)

    Camino de Santiago (mini series) (The Road to Santiago) (1999) Murder mystery on the caminoCast: Anne Archer, Anthony Quinn, Jose Luis Gomez

    Online viewing:Miguel de la Cuadra Salcedo en El Camino de Santiago 1h30

    YouTube: Thousands of short videos from a few seconds to over 97 minutes in length. Just search for: ‘Camino” ‘el Camino’ ‘Camino de Santiago’ ‘Way of St James’

    Coming up...

    Read the full article at:

    "Road to Santiago," reality TV show

    "O Gran Camino"

    CAMINO DE SANTIAGO (National Geographic, 2009)
    Six-part documentary series following Galician pop star Xoel Lopez as he backpacks from Holland's Haarlem to Santiago, using the the region's 12th-century "travel guide," Codex Calixtinus.

    CRIMINAL MINDS(Mark Gordon Co./ABC/CBS) A Camino trip in the episode titles

    ROAD TO SANTIAGO (Lazona/Antena 3/ZircoZine, 2009) "Demonology" is the missing link between a demon-possessed murderer and victim. Rodrigo Santiago's $4.5 million couples-in-crisis romantic comedy -- set against the painterly background of Galicia's hills, dales, barns and the Camino -- bowed in April (Warners) and generated $3.6 million in box office, landing it in the No. 4 spot of Spanish films this year.

    THE WAY (Elixir/Morena, 2010) In Emilio Estevez's film, Martin Sheen plays an eye specialist who travels to the St. James Way to recover his son's corpse, and finds spiritual redemption on the Way. Shoots Sept. 28.

    THE APOSTLE (Artefacto, 2010) Fernando Cortizo's $10 million digital 3-D stop-motion pic is set in rural village Xanaz, which preys upon unsuspecting foreign pilgrims. Cortizo is currently courting international distribution for his murder-mystery that he believes will "offer a beautiful window onto the magical atmosphere of Galicia and the Camino." Release date is July 25.

    WHERE IS HAPPINESS? (Pulsar/Filmanova, 2010)Carlos Alberto Riccelli's $4 million Brazil-Galicia romantic comedy about a betrayed wife who walks the Way to get her life back on track. Filmanova's Anton Reixa has high hopes for the film -- especially in Brazil where there's tremendous interest in the Camino. Shoots by spring.

    This group of people need help in the final edit and production of their Documentary which is about the experience of walking the life-changing, 500-mile pilgrimage across Northern Spain known as “The Camino de Santiago”. The film follows six strangers from incredibly diverse walks of life, as they attempt to cross a country on foot with only a backpack, a pair of boots, and an open mind. Driven by an inexplicable calling and a grand sense of adventure, each pilgrim throws themselves heart-and-soul into their physical trek to Santiago, and their personal journey to themselves.

    In Between - a documentary on the camino frances