Another shot from my cross country skiing expedition in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park.

Tomorrow, I embark on a new journey. A little less than a year after returning from 3 months in South America, I’m back on the road, heading to northern Spain, where I’m going to complete an 800 km pilgrimage by foot from St. Jean-Pied-de-Port, in the Pyrenees near the border between Spain and France, to Santiago de Compostela, the supposed resting place of St. James, the patron saint of Spain. The Camino de Santiago, as the pilgrimage is known, is the third most popular Catholic pilgrimage in the world, behind the pilgrimages to Rome and Jerusalem, though I won’t be doing it for religious reasons. Rather, I think this is a terrific opportunity to explore one particular area of the world in great depth and gain a further appreciation of Spanish culture. The entire walk will take about 30 days to get to Santiago, plus I will likely complete a 3-5 day extension right to the Atlantic Ocean and the towns of Finisterre and Muxia. Finisterre was considered to be the end of the world by ancient pilgrims prior to the days of the explorers.

Click here to see a Google Map of the route that I will be following, known as the Camino Frances. There are nearly a dozen main routes to Santiago, but I’ll be following this one as it is the most popular, meaning the entire route is waymarked and there is lots of infrastructure for pilgrims. 273,000 pilgrims made their way to Santiago in 2010 (a new record as 2010 was a holy year) and 190,000 of those pilgrims went via the Camino Frances. However, a large number of pilgrims start at later points along the way – you only need to complete the last 100 km in order to receive a certificate of completion at the Cathedral in Santiago. Of the 273,000 pilgrims in 2010, only around 7% started as far back as St. Jean. If anyone is interested in seeing more Camino statistics, check this link out.

Unlike last year’s trip to South America, I will not be posting regular updates on View Found from abroad. Rather, I will be recording my journey in a notebook and posting a travelogue on my return. I have setup a number of photos to be posted on View Found while I’m gone, so the site will get some fresh content.

See you all on the other side!

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