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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Walking in the footsteps of our medieval counterparts

Medieval Adventures and Modern Pilgrimages meet in Spain

Metal sculptures representing pilgrims through the ages.

Throughout most of human history, travel has been an expensive and dangerous undertaking. In our modern world of planes, trains and luxury automobiles, we've forgotten the dangers and discomforts of shipwrecks, illness, blistered feet, bad weather, and bandits.

But we are a species that loves to travel. Our medieval counterparts often used pilgrimages as an excuse to travel, embracing a spiritual adventure while satisfying the physical need to see something new.

During the Middle Ages, the three great pilgrim sites were Jerusalem, Rome and Santiago de Compostela.

The big lesson of The Way: No matter what, keep on walking.

Of the three, the way to Santiago--also called the Camino de Santiago, or more simply, The Way--is still popular. More than 200,000 people walk across northern Spain each year to visit the resting place of St. James.

I walked much of the route in 2012. The walk changed me in many ways, but one of the profound was the realization that's it's not just the journey that's important. The destination is of equal importance.

The Journey's End, whether it's physical, spiritual, or emotional, is what keeps you moving forward when your feet ache, your heart hurts, and nothing is right in the world.

Because I am recovering from hand surgery, I'm sharing lots of photos today rather than words. Enjoy.

Pilgrims built this spiral by a rock when they pass.

Almost everywhere you go, people wish you a good walk.

If you saw the movie, The Way, this is where our pilgrims meet Jack from Ireland.

No I did not dress up. I stuck my head in a cardboard cutout for this photo. I was outside the Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, which keeps two chickens in residence because of a miracle performed by Santo Domingo.

About 2/3s of the way there in Portomarinin Galicia

The Destination: Cathedral of Santiago.

Keena Kincaid writes historical romances in which passion, magic and treachery collide to create unforgettable stories. You can find out more about her books at:


  1. Oh yes, walking in history, heading toward what we want. Loved the photos, enjoyed sharing your journey. Take care and hope you heal quickly from the surgery. Doris McCraw/Angela Raines-author

    1. Thanks. The hand is better already, but I still need to take it easy.

  2. Keena,
    Thanks for sharing your adventure on the Camino. One of these days, I'd like to do it as well. I've seen the movie, The Way, and really enjoyed it. Hope your hand heals soon. :-)

    1. I didn't see The Way until after I got back, but I've watched it a dozen times since then.

  3. Loved your pictures. No words necessary. I hope your hand heals quickly.
    Good vibes to your corner...

    1. Thanks, Sarah. The hand is much better. I long to walk it again, to take
      the journey with different eyes.

  4. Keena, loved these pictures. I will never see it, but I love to live vicariously through others like this--wonderful pictures, and I'm sure a wonderful experience that you will never forget. Hope your hand gets well soon!

    1. Thanks, Cheryl. The hand is mending. That's all I can ask.