This Week in Pilgrimage: A Pilgrim Blessing in Seville


Photo of the Week
Paddy Burke took this photo at Clavijo, which he describes as 'a short steep cycle south of Logroño.' Santiago Matamoros is said to have led the Christian troops against a Muslim army at the Battle of Clavijo, which was supposedly fought in 844. Historians now doubt the battle actually occurred.
Submit your photo for Photo of the Week.

This week … I’m breaking in my hiking boots. Whether the boots will adapt to my feet or my feet will adapt to the boots is still an open question.

In the meantime, there’s more news.

The usual disclaimer: I’ve done the best I can to ensure accuracy, but a lot of this information comes from Spanish sites and my Spanish is a long way from perfect.

Pilgrimage Bits and Pieces

  • Pilgrims starting the Vía de la Plata in Seville will now have a chance to receive a blessing before they (or rather, we!) set out. If there are pilgrims at the 8:30 a.m. mass in the Capilla Mayor of the Seville cathedral, they will be given a special blessing.
  • In Yesa reservoir news, it seems the president of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Spain agrees with the Camino groups that asked UNESCO to include the Camino on its World Heritage in Danger list, and opposes the growth of the reservoir. She also says that any new Camino Aragonés route would have to be an authentic historical route.
  • A workshop on pilgrimage studies begins today. The two-day workshop will involve scholars from more than thirty American and Canadian universities that are putting together a consortium that will give students a chance to participate in summer pilgrimage studies seminars in Santiago de Compostela.
  • The Ministry for Rural affairs recently burned a stretch of forest along the Vía de la Plata in the province of Ourense. A spokesperson for the ministry says this is meant to prevent forest fires. Environmental groups and forestry workers are unhappy, as there are protected species in the area and forest fires lead to erosion, river pollution, and other problems.
  • The webcam at the Fuente del Vino at the Irache Monastery is working again. (via falcon269)
  • Apparently, in the latest issue of the Spanish pilgrim magazine Camino de Santiago Revista Peregrina, Antón Pombo looks at whether the Camino might succumb to a tourist exploitation that doesn’t respect pilgrim values. This would seem to be part of a continuing Camino discussion in Spain that I wish I could explain, but really don’t understand well enough.
  • The American high school students I wrote about last month got enough donations to buy new backpacks, and are now blogging about their preparations. Be sure to check out Sabrina’s hilarious post about their first hike. The students will be updating the blog regularly when they start walking the Camino in June.
  • A new (Spanish) book, Las cocinas del camino (The Kitchens of the Camino), provides a gastronomic overview of many different Camino routes in Spain. Judging by the photo, this looks like the sort of big, beautiful book you wouldn’t want to carry in your backpack, but if food is important to you—and you can read Spanish—it could help you plan what to eat where.
  • The Camino Documentary will be holding a benefit and screening of the 23-minute trailer this Sunday in Washington, DC. Everyone is welcome.
  • Cycling from St. Petersburg, Russia to Santiago de Compostela is apparently “a dream for many.” And French groups are, according to the article, slowly making this feat possible.
  • The town council of Nájera is hoping to make some improvements to the town’s historic centre, including a new fountain for the Plaza de San Miguel.

Pilgrim Roads

I promised you history last week and didn’t deliver—I’m sorry. It’ll be coming soon.

Next week, I’ll have an interview with Jenny Anderson, who will soon attempt to break a World Speed Record by running the Camino Francés from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in fewer than twelve days.

Jenny writes:

I absolutely see myself as a pilgrim on this journey. Some might say, “Well, you are not slowing down and really having the experience of meeting the people.” I can answer that by saying, “True; and someday I will return and take my time on the Camino. But this pilgrimage is about speed and spending some long tough days on my own putting one foot in front of the other—day after day until I reach Santiago.”

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Posted by Anna-Marie Krahn at 1:57 pm
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