IN NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER 2007, I walked to Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain. I started in St Jean Pied-de-Port, near Biarritz, in south-west France, in mid-November and, 900 kilometers or so later, I arrived in Santiago at Christmas-time.
Mine was a leisurely pace, 20 or 25 kilometers a day, sometimes less and, on a handful of days, more — 28 or 30 or 32 kilometers (which one simply had to do because that was the distance between the hostels available). And sometimes — if I liked a place, or was writing something and wanted to finish it — I stayed on: I spent long weekends in Viana in Navarre and in the cities of Burgos and León and, at the end of my pilgrimage, I spent most of a week in Santiago itself, enjoying the Galician Christmas festivities. Also I meandered off the path here and there, visiting recommended places, or just going my own road, making the most of it all because I was fairly sure I would not be along this way again.
As I made my way across Spain I wrote a series of reports which were published in dispatches in the Southern Star, the local newspaper in West Cork. The series proved popular, so much so that a few months later, in June 2008, they were reprinted and published as a little pamphlet, Santiago, Here I Come!
The pamphlet publication was a reprint of the original newspaper articles (albeit with a short little preface and a tiny bit of editing and updating). The 1,000 print run has long since sold out and, although I’ve been asked to sanction a reprint, my feeling is that I’d quite like the original print to be the only print of it, and thus (maybe) see them become a collectors’ item.
However, I’ve made a pdf [portable document format] of an edited version of Santiago, Here I Come! — with the title Walking to Santiago — the link for which is below; Walking to Santiago has substantial revisions, not rewriting so much (no re-writing at all, in fact) but stripping down. I don’t know how many rambling paragraphs I stripped out of it exactly, but quite a few, 12 or 15, or 20 maybe.
However, while the photos in Santiago, Here I Come! were but a handful — and newspaper black & white at that — in Walking to Santiago I’ve input 22 images, which are, of course, in full digital colour.
Walking to Santiago as a pdf: WalkingtoSantiago