Exceptional Hiking Sites: Camino de Santiago, Spain
The Camino de Santiago, also known as the Way of St. James, is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes which lead to the tomb of St. James, in Santiago de Compostela, north-west of Spain. It is known to be an ancient pilgrimage trail originating in medieval times, the period between the fall of Imperial Rome and the beginning of early modern Europe. Religiously, it is believed that the pilgrims walked the route in order to lessen the punishment for their sins. The Camino de Santiago has played an essential role in facilitating cultural exchanges between people from all over Europe and the world and thus has been named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The scallop shell has long been the Camino de Santiago's symbol. Along the Camino routes, the Scallop Shell is utilized as a direction marker, leading travellers towards Santiago. Pilgrims or even hikers who visit the place also wear this distinguished symbol, which adds to the sense of community along this wonderful walking trail. This sign is thought to be a metaphor since it represents the various pilgrim routes from around the world that all lead to the same place, the Saint James' tomb in Santiago de Compostela.
The Camino de Santiago is not a single route like many people think, referring to the popular Camino Frances, the French Way. It is a network of pilgrimage routes that start from different places across Europe and finish in Santiago de Compostela. There are at least 7 well-established routes of St. James all listed below.
- Camino Frances (the French Way)
- Camino Portugués (the Portuguese Way)
- Camino del Norte (the Northern Way)
- Camino Primitivo (the Original Way)
- Via de la Plata (the Silver Way)
- Camino Inglés (the English Way)
- Camino Finisterre-Muxía
As mentioned previously, the different routes of the Camino de Santiago offer you different set of experiences which include the challenges and the distance of the route itself. The Camino Frances can go up to a long distance of 790 kilometers (490 miles) while the Camino Finisterre is about 118 kilometers (73 miles).
As you are travelling quite a long distance when hiking the Camino de Santiago. A watch like Twelf-X will be the most useful for you. Twelf-X watches allow to keep up track of time from three different time zones. The second time zone is indicated on the external rotating bezel with a 120 click unidirectional bezel with markers from 1 to 12. The inner rotating ring acts as a third time zone indicator, featuring markers from 1 to 12. These features are used to keep track of time conveniently especially if you are travelling by foot across different countries.