Off to Santiago

I am walking with my husband from Orviedo to Santiago, along the Camino Primitivo next week, joining a larger group from Bury St Edmunds to go on to Finistere and Muxía. About 450km.

The various preparations for this journey would be recognised by pilgrims before me, although solutions have varied.

?What to bring. Absolute necessities nowadays include mobile phone, passport, money- all of which makes you vulnerable; food and drink enough- for me this includes a supply of tea! I will be wearing layers to cope with unpredictable weather in the hills and a St Edmund Pilgrim Badge

?How to get there. Pre-Reformation Orviedo could have been reached by boat across the Bay of Biscay to the Spanish coast, followed by a long day’s walk or ride. The journey from Bury St Edmunds is 1,091 miles, and would have taken weeks by boat or even longer by foot through France.  Nowadays this is accomplished in a few hours by aeroplane.

?where to stay. This has been prearranged through a Travel Company- were there such things back then? None of the solutions are cheap, and must have been prohibitive in the past unless money was given for travel as intercession for someone else’s soul. Margery Kempe, writing in the 1430s asked the Lord, who replied; “I shall send enough friends in different parts of England to help you. And, daughter, I shall go with you in every country and provide for you…” The Lord also instructed she should wear white, which Margery pointed out was different from how other chaste women dress. She feared ridicule

?when to go. I have been watching the weather forecast. I can’t imagine many pilgrims would have enjoyed the muddy paths around BSE until April; even now Santiago de Compostela is 12C and raining.


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