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El Camino Santiago de Compostela is to Europeans what the Appalachian Trail (AT) is to Americans. But even though there are certain similarities between the AT and El Camino, there are also six remarkable differences. Here they are some of them:

1. The Way of St. James is not just one trail, but rather a bunch of trails that all funnel into northern Spain. Although there are many paths, the terminus is the same for everyone: the church in Santiago de Compostela, located in the northwest corner of Spain.

2. True pilgrims are supposed to leave from their doorstep and walk to Santiago de Compostela. This is part of the reason why there are so many paths. It also explains why it’s nearly impossible to say how long El Camino really is. However, it’s a bit for Americans (and other nationalities) to leave from their doorstep and walk to Spain. Therefore, one of the most popular starting points is near the northern France-Spain border. Following the most popular path, El Camino Frances (French Trail), you’ll end up walking about 800 km (500 miles).

3. Given all the potential hiking paths, you might think that everyone would sing the “hike your own hike” mantra. However, in some ways the opposite is true. To be considered a true “pilgrim”, you must get a special document that is stamped at various checkpoints along the trail. If you don’t have it, you may not be admitted to the many huts along the way. Some may question the legitimacy of your pilgrimage if you don’t have enough stamps at the finish line.

4. There’s even a pilgrim look. You’re encouraged to carry a seashell and a walking stick (trekking poles are acceptable).

5. Unlike the AT, El Camino is a religious pilgrimage. However, Europeans are less religious than Americans, so in practice most people do it for secular or “spiritual” reasons.

6. The Way of St. James is the Ritz Carlton of long distance trails. Every 10-20 km there is a hut, which makes the three walled AT shelters look incomplete. In fact, it costs only about $5 to stay in a hut where food and showers are available. That’s far different from the CDT, where you may go 45 days without a shower.

An article by francistapon.
And remember that in the Camino you can always rely on  HOSTAL GAU TXORI: comfortable accommodation (private bath), nice and traditional food and a wonderful natural landscapes as you pass by Zubiri.

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