Camino Walk

It goes without saying that the Camino de Santiago is a wonderful thing to do, and you can do as little as 100km or start from anywhere in Europe.

Apr 08, 2023

Dear Editor,

I read with interest the article about the Camino Walk to Santiago de Compostela in Spain (HERALD March 19, 2023). I did the walk myself some years ago so I can share some other information.

I lived in Spain for many years and it was always an ambition. I was lucky to find a group of friends to join and we walked some 300 km from Leon to Santiago. In our case, it was high summer so we started at first light and arrived at our hostel by lunchtime.

Staying in hostels, I found that volunteers were needed to work there and so I had further experience working in a hostel on some subsequent years. This was very rewarding, though hard work because we had to be on duty all day except for a few hours in the morning when the pilgrims left by 8.00am and we welcomed the next ones after midday.

As hospitaleros (the hostels were like hospitals in the past when pilgrims became sick) we registered the arrivals and looked after them, supplying information as needed — where to eat, post office, health centre, church Mass times, etc. Of course the pilgrims were from many countries and it was useful to speak other languages, English and Spanish primarily.

The best part was staying for two weeks in a different town and getting to know it. We had plenty of opportunities to chat with the pilgrims and encourage them, solving their problems and advising them to rest if they really needed it.

I have done voluntary work in many fields over the years which always gave some satisfaction, but this, I think, was the most enjoyable.

It goes without saying that the Camino de Santiago is a wonderful thing to do, and you can do as little as 100km or start from anywhere in Europe.

Valerie Black,
Penang

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