Der Jakobsweg


Camino de Santiago Act IV. Photo Courtesy of Alex Bikfalvi

Zusammenfassung: Jedes Jahr reisen tausende Pilger und Backpacker nach Spanien um dort den berühmten „Camino de Santiago“ zu wandern, jeder mit seiner ganz eigenen Motivation. Was genau der Jakobsweg ist und was sie auf auf ihrer Reise erwartet schauen wir uns in diesem Artikel an.


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Part 1.

Every year, thousands of backpackers travel to Spain and make their way to the historic city of Santiago de Compostela. They travel on foot, by bicycle, and occasionally even on horseback, sleeping in rural guesthouses and sometimes walking up to 40km per day. These adventurous travelers are participating in the Camino de Santiago, or Way of Saint James.


Part 2.

Beginning in the Middle Ages, pilgrims began trekking across Europe in order to visit the Santiago de Compostela cathedral. Inside the cathedral there is a shrine dedicated to Saint James, and it was believed that visiting the shrine would bring good luck. The earliest pilgrims traveled from as far as the Pyrenees. In the 12th century, people began making the journey to Santiago from even further away.


Part 3.

Gradually, the roads that pilgrims walked came to be recognized as official routes. Today, the most popular road to Santiago is the French Way, which begins in the town of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and goes through northern Spain. Another popular route is the Portuguese Way, which begins in Lisbon. The roads are signposted with seashells and arrows so that pilgrims do not get lost. The seashell has symbolized the Way of Saint James for more than one thousand years because the grooves in the shell meet at one point, just as the many roads the pilgrims take come together in Santiago.


Part 4.

Although in the past most people who completed the journey participated for religious reasons, today people are motivated by many other factors. Some people take part as a way to do exercise, or to spend quality time with family or friends. Other people participate as a way to explore Spain and improve their Spanish, and still others make the journey as a way to honor a friend or relative who has passed away. Regardless of what motivates them, everyone who completes the journey says that it is a very meaningful experience.

Part 5.

Participating in the Way of Saint James is very easy. All you need to do is apply for a free “Pilgrim’s Passport,” which you do online. Then it’s just a matter of packing your bags and hitting the road. Be careful not to pack too much, because you don’t want your bag to be too heavy!

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Photo Courtesy of Alex Bikfalvi.