The Way of St. James Still Calls Pilgrims to Walk, Ride and Pray
The Reverend Dr. Mark Cooper
Consider having an adventure. Join our group to cycle and walk on the Portuguese Way of the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) next May. The Camino is an ancient tradition of stepping away from one’s life for a period of time to reflect, to extend yourself in a physical effort, to make your way from a starting point on well-worn trails over a 1,000 years in the making and journey to the Cathedral of St. James in Santiago de Campostella, Spain.
Last May, our group biked for seven days starting in Leon, Spain. Previously, we had walked from Sarrio for six days in 2014. (You can see images and descriptions from these pilgrimages at our Tumblr blog.) This year we will begin on the coast of northern Portugal, biking by the Atlantic Ocean for four days and then leaving the bikes to walk for five days into Spain. Our Camino in 2018 is from May 20 to May 29, and will begin in Porto, Portugal, which is accessible from most European airports as well as from New York. We stay one night in Porto and then we will be on the Camino. Pricing for the journey, excluding airfare, will be about $1830 for an individual and $3050 for a double (depending on the exchange rate at the time of payment). This price covers breakfast every day and dinner for seven of our nights, plus bike rentals and hotels. Costs might be less, depending on how many people actually go on the trip. Flight costs can be checked at www.skyscanner.com or www.kayak.com.
A Camino is what you make of it. Some of us will begin the day in meditation and a practice of yoga, for those who are interested, and we will end the day in a time of meditation. During the day you have time to walk or bike with others or to find your own way for a time. Every mile, you will be in community with pilgrims from across time and across the world as they face toward the holy. We will share meals and good wine and we will see what happens.
A guide and friend we discovered last year, Michael Christiansen, will join us again. Michael has led trips on this route before. He says that the route is at a moderate level of difficulty. Our experience in the past would suggest that you should train enough before we leave so that you could walk at least 10 miles on a trail and can ride up to 40 miles on a bike. We will work together to find times and places to train. Michael has confirmed that our trip would qualify for a Pilgrim’s Certificate at the end of the trip.
As in the past, St. James’s will work with the company CaminoWays, whose service has been consistently excellent. We will stay in hotels along the route, carrying our daily needs while CaminoWays transports our luggage from hotel to hotel.
Looking for a challenge, a chance to reflect on your life’s past and future, a way to deepen your relationship with God? Come with us in May. You will have stories to tell when we finish.
For more information contact Rev. Dr. Mark Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 703-980-0130.