Camino de Santiago

A little history

Pilgrims have been walking to Santiago for more than 1,000 years. The remains of St. James the Apostle supposedly are buried in Santiago in northwestern Spain. St. James had spent some time evangelizing in Spain but was beheaded by the Romans when he returned to Rome.

Miraculously his body was returned to Spain, buried and forgotten. His grave was discovered and authenticated in the ninth century. A cathedral was built over the site of the tomb. A scallop shell has come to symbolize the Way of St. James pilgrimage, probably because early pilgrims brought back seashells as souvenirs from Santiago.

Asheville Camino

Symbol of the Camino

Here are the turn-by-turn instructions to the Asheville Camino. It starts at the Asheville Visitor Center and winds around several neighborhoods to finish at the Visitor Center.

I’m sure there will be changes as people bring in suggestions and city streets change.


Camino Frances

Santiago Cathedral

What can I say that is new and original about the Camino Frances?

I walked the Camino Frances in 33 walking days in late summer, early fall 2018 and took one extra day in Leon. I started in St. Jean Pied-de-Port in France, where I finished five years ago on the Le Puy route.

I was attracted by the pilgrim culture and met pilgrims from all over the world.

Here’s a list of the stages that I took and the places I stayed.


Camino del Norte

Sign to Muxia

In 2017, Beth R. and I walked the Camino del Norte from Hendaye, the last town in France to Santiago and onto Finisterre.

I didn’t speak Spanish, beyond a few courtesy words. We didn’t meet many people on the Norte. My right foot hurt almost constantly but I was going to finish.

When I applied for my Compostela, I told the woman behind the counter that I had walked for cultural reasons and to hike. I received the same beautiful certificate as pilgrims with other reasons for walking.

In 2017, over 300,000 pilgrims got their Compostela in Santiago. Beth and I were in that group.

My blog posts on the Norte start here.

Le Chemin de St. Jacques

The end of Le Chemin de St. Jacques

The end of Le Chemin de St. Jacques

Le Chemin de St. Jacques is a trek and pilgrimage in France leading to the Camino de Santiago.

In August, 2013, I spent a month walking a French pilgrimage trail, Le Chemin de St. Jacques, which goes from Le Puy-en-Velay in southeastern France to St. Jean Pied-de-Port on the Spanish border. The route follows the GR (Grande Randonee) 65, a French national trail.

Le Chemin de St. Jacques is one of three routes in France which leads to the more famous El Camino de Santiago.



20130905D03LeChemin-9sign36BNow over 50,000 people start the trek at Le Puy. This is trekking, about halfway between backpacking and dayhiking. You need to carry everything on your back but you’ll be staying in a gite (hostel), Chambre d’Hote (bed and breakfast) or small hotel every night. So there’s no need for a sleeping bag or tent.

I made two short videos on my trek: a general look at Le Chemin and one on the French war memorials.


I blogged about the trail from the time I got to Paris and continue to blog as thoughts came up. You can see all the posts about Le Chemin. My first post was May 7, 2013 when I went to hear a talk at the Western North Carolina chapter of the American Pilgrims on the Camino.

Ruja, Alison. The Way of St. James: Le Puy to the Pyrenees. Cicerone Guides, 2010.

Miam Miam Do Do: Le Puy-en-Velay to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. Published by Vieux Crayon. You can buy a copy in Le Puy when you start out. I bought my book in advance on the web from the publisher so I could study it and look up words at home.

Interested in my packing list?

On the Web

Americans Pilgrims on the Camino focuses mostly on the Spanish trek but it has lots of general useful information.

Several Facebook groups may be useful. Search for:
Gite sur le chemin de st Jacques de Compostelle
American Pilgrims on the Camino

Here are links to three articles I wrote for National Parks Traveler.

Part 1  Le Puy-en-Velay to Cahors  204 miles

Part 2   Cahors to St. Jean Pied de Port

Part 3   How can you do Le Chemin de St. Jacques?