When it comes to choose a route for the Camino de Santiago the truth is that there is only the most suitable Camino route for an individual, based on what he or she is looking for from the trip. Each of the routes is unique in terms of the scenery, the small villages and hamlets one passes through, as well as the culture and history of the area, but they all have one thing in common – each Camino route brings people together to interact with each other.
While the scenery on route is certainly very memorable, it’s the people that will leave a lasting impression. Not only other walkers or cyclists, but also the people working in the accommodations, the luggage transporters, or the waiters serving beers in a little bar on route, all of whom have a special connection to the Camino.
Embarking on this type of trip forces somehow not only to drink in and appreciate our surroundings but also to connect with people. In so far as possible when on a walking or cycling route, it seems necessary to turn off phones in order to really be present in the moment, rather than being distracted by emails, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter…etc.
Try to ask locals for directions (instead of relying on Google maps), seek advice on where to eat (instead of consulting TripAdvisor) and ask the waiter to recommend a dish (rather than translating the menu). These may be short interactions but still they contribute to the overall immersive experience.
This is a very different way to travel far from those trips rushing from one tourist attraction to another, standing in queues often for hours, sometimes only to spend a few minutes viewing a particular attraction and having limited interactions with local. The Camino has to do more with experiences over sights, which results in a much more fulfilling trip. Because the very essence of the Camino revolves around the connections between people.
Ask other pilgrims who have walked or cycled a part of the Camino and each time they are asked about the highlights of the trip on their return, “people” features in their answer. There must be a reason why. The fact is that you could walk the same Camino route 10 times and have a different experience each time: the route is the same but the people you meet will be different.
Written by CaminoWays.
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