Get Up and Ride(or Walk) the Camino
The Camino de Santiago, also known as the Way of St. James, has a history that spans over a thousand years. Its origins are rooted in the early 9th century, when the tomb of Saint James was miraculously
discovered in what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain.
The discovery of the apostle’s remains turned the site into a major Christian pilgrimage destination, rivaling even Jerusalem and Rome. Pilgrims from all over Europe began making their way to Santiago, and the routes leading to the shrine gradually formed what we now know as the Camino.
During the Middle Ages, the Camino de Santiago became a well-established network of trails and roads. The pilgrimage was a profound spiritual journey, offering penance and the opportunity to seek forgiveness. It also served as a cultural exchange route, with pilgrims sharing stories, music, and art, contributing to the spread of knowledge and ideas across Europe.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, the Camino saw a decline in popularity, partly due to political turmoil in Spain and changes in religious practices. However, the pilgrimage experienced a revival in the late 20th century, largely driven by a renewed interest in spirituality, adventure, and a desire to connect with history and culture.
Today, the Camino de Santiago has regained its status as one of the world’s most famous pilgrimages. It offers a range of routes, each with its unique charm, from the rugged Camino Francés to the coastal Camino del Norte. Pilgrims, whether driven by faith or a desire for self discovery, continue to walk or cycle these ancient paths, forging new traditions while honoring the rich history that underlies this remarkable journey.
I walked the Camino eight years ago which was a pilgrimage. Recently my two cousins, Jimmy Shea (famous author of the book “Get Up And Ride”) and his trusted wingman Marty Moldovan, rode their bikes from Pamplona to Santiago. I met them for moral support and also with a car to help carry some of their gear towards the end of their pilgrimage. It was glorious to film those guys riding in to the front of the Basilica after their arduous trek on the road. We especially savored the brotherhood of bonding at Mass that Sunday as the last people who were able to enter with hundreds left outside to possibly catch it another time. “Buen Camino,” it was!
PATRICK J. WOOD