PILGRIMAGE TO SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

JEFF LOCK and GILLIAN SMITH

 

This is the story of our pilgrimage from Vezelay in France to Santiago in Spain undertaken in stages between April 2008 and May 2012.  The Camino de Santiago is a network of pilgrims’ paths leading to the shrine of the apostle St James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostella in Galicia in north-western Spain where legend has it that the remains of the saint are buried.  Pilgrims can choose to start the journey from their own own doorstep but most people commence their journey from St Jean Pied de Port in the Pyrenees or from one of the popular start points in France such as Bordaux or Le Puy.  We began our walk from another major staging point,  the hilltop town of Vezelay in Burgundy because it was a place with which we were very familiar from holidays in France.  The distance on the Voie De Vezelay to the border with Spain was 873kms and the route onwards to Santiago was a further 780km.   So, altogether we walked for more than 1,600Km or 1,000 miles in the following sections

April 2008          Vezelay to Gargilesse

April 2009          Gargilesse to Thiviers

May 2010           Thiviers to Mont De Marsan

May 2011           Mont De Marsan to St Jean Pied de Port

Sept 2011           St Jean Pied de Port to Pamplona

Oct 2011             Pamplona to Leon  (Jeff by himself)

April 2012           Pamplona to Leon  (Gillian by herself)

May 2012            Leon to Santiago de Compostela (together)

If some of the end points in France sound unfamiliar it is because they were villages with links to train lines or airports.  Gargilesse in the department of Indre is close to Argenton-sur-Creuse and its rail link to Paris.  Thiviers in the Dordogne is within easy reach of Limoges with its airport and flights to London. Mont de Marsan in Nouvelle-Aquitaine is a short train ride from Bordeaux.