The Route Less Traveled

It started with a promise. But I didn’t know that then. I didn’t know I would resign from my teaching position for this promise. Nor did I know that for this promise I would agonize between my “earthly responsibilities” and some “spiritual quest”. I only knew something was pushing me out of my mundane world. The spiritual quest eventually won out, leaving the “earthly responsibilities” scowling at me. It turned out the quest was to walk El Camino de Santiago, La Vía de la Plata, also named El Camino Mozárabe from Seville to Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Many have heard about El Camino Francés; an ancient pilgrimage across the top of Spain. It ends in the city of Santiago de Compostela where Saint James, a close disciple of Jesus is laid to rest in the Cathedral. What many people don´t know (at least North Americans) is that there are many other pilgrim routes across Spain and Europe to Santiago de Compostela. The one I chose, they say, is the oldest and longest: 600 miles. It begins in the southern part of Spain and ends in its northern corner. This Vía de la Plata dates back to pre-roman times, and has always been a major trading, communication, and conquest vein that ran the length of the country. It is also called the Camino Mozárabe because Muslims allowed the Catholics peaceful passage through the Moorish controlled lower half of Spain.