Storytellers – The Camino pilgrimage trail by Ron, Phillipe and David

BBC Members Ron Crause, Philippe Xavier and David Sumner gave a well prepared and enjoyable talk on the CAMINO. The Camino pilgrimage trail to Santiago de Compostella in Galicia, Spain is the most famous and popular trail walked or cycled in the world. There are many starting points to this trail from Ireland, England, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, etc. There are also many reasons why pilgrims undertake the very beautiful, arduous and long journey. In many ways it is also a culinary cultural experience.

Ron started by providing lots of background on the historical aspects of the walk and how it became so popular. He also explained the many ways to take part, on foot or bicycle, and the different stages and planning involved. Philippe (his first Storytellers evening) and David then spoke about their experiences and walked us through some wonderful photographs of ‘life on the trail’.

Ron, Philippe and David gave a fun, fast paced talk and between themselves covered most things a prospective pilgrim (like Denise) would want to know; the Camino Passport, Certificate of Welcome, the Markings, choosing the right route, food on the Camino, accommodation options and traps, preparation, and the importance of caring for your feet!

20 Camino de Santiago Facts

  1. Camino de Santiago means Way of St James and refers to the routes leading to Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia.
  2. Santiago de Compostela means St James of the field of stars.
  3. There are many Camino de Santiago routes, starting in France, Portugal and Spain.
  4. Pilgrims used to start their ‘Camino’ from their own homes.
  5. The yellow scallop shell and yellow arrows mark the way to Santiago.
  6. The Camino Primitivo from Oviedo is the oldest Camino route.
  7. However, the most famous Camino route is the Camino Francés or French Way starting in St Jean Pied de Port.
  8. The trail from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago is 800kms long and takes approximately five weeks to complete.
  9. You need to walk at least 100kms into Santiago to receive your Compostela certificate.
  10. This makes Sarria (111kms from Santiago) the most popular starting point for walkers.
  11. You will need to cycle at least 200kms to Santiago to receive your Compostela certificate.
  12. Over 200,000 pilgrims arrive in Santiago each year and receive their Compostela certificate.
  13. If you walk the Camino for cultural or non-religious/spiritual reasons, you can receive a certificate of welcome.
  14. The pilgrim passport (credencial) needs to be stamped at least once a day; or twice a day if you are starting your Camino in Galicia.
  15. The stamped pilgrim passport is required to stay in first-come first -served ‘albergues’ (public hostels). At CaminoWays.com we book accommodation with local guest houses and hotels so you don’t have to worry!
  16. The 12th century Codex Calixtinus is the oldest Camino de Santiago ‘guidebook’.
  17. The Camino is a long-distance trail with thousands of kms across Europe.
  18. KM 0 of the Camino is actually not in Santiago but in Cape Fisterra, considered to be the ‘end of the world’.
  19. 25th July is St James Day, a holiday in Santiago and Galicia.
  20. Santiago de Compostela old town is a UNESCO listed heritage site since 1985 and its University dates back to 1495.

Our presenters plus others in the audience such as David Dick-Smith, Jeff Frederick and Merri Mack have all done parts of the Camino trail either on foot or on bicycle and shared some of their knowledge and experience concerning this very valuable experience of a lifetime.

Many thanks to Ron, Philippe and David for a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
The evening was filmed and hopefully an edited version will be available on the BBC Website.
Thanks too to Mark Simkins for another one of his great promotional posters.

For anyone interested there are some fine reference documents on the Camino, Fitness preparation, Camino packing guide to be found at the following website: www.caminoways.com