© 2015 Barbot Etchepare Basque Imports

Barbot Etchepare Basque Imports




The Camino de Santiago, also known by the English name Way of St. James is the route to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain. The Camino de Santiago or the Way of St. James is a spiritual journey that pilgrims of all faiths and backgrounds have traversed for over a thousand years. Many take up this route as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth. The first pilgrimages started in the 9th century. The Spanish consider the Pyrenees a starting point. Common starting points along the French border are Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on the French side of the Pyrenees and Valcarlos and Roncesvalles on the Spanish side. This Camino route covers 800 kilometers that traverses an idyllic northern Spanish countryside. By following the yellow painted arrows marking the road, a pilgrim can expect to walk 12-15 miles a day to reach the next town for the night.

Most pilgrims carry a scalloped shell and also carry a document called the credencial, The credencial is a pass which gives access to inexpensive, sometimes free, overnight accommodations in refugios along the trail. Also known as the "pilgrim's passport", the credencial is stamped with the official St. James stamp of each town or refugio at which the pilgrim has stayed. It provides walking pilgrims with a record of where they ate or slept, but also serves as proof to the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago that the journey is accomplished according to an official route.

The scallop shell also acts as a metaphor. The grooves in the shell, which meet at a single point, represent the various routes pilgrims traveled, eventually arriving at a single destination: the tomb of James in Santiago de Compostela.

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