Camino de Santiago…

… so my doctor said I need to get more exercise and apparently the energy exerted lifting gin to my lips doesn’t count.

Taking me to task, she challenged me to write down all the fun things I like to do hoping to turn them into opportunities for exercise. The verdict is still out on how many calories one can burn firing off a few rounds at the shooting range. We settled on walking and biking.

I don’t mind walking as long as I am going somewhere. My efforts have to produce an end goal for me to remain motivated. So I decided I would work toward the goal of a long hike, since even against my better judgement, I like the outdoors.

This got me thinking. Where would I hike if I could hike anywhere. The possibilities were endless but it was decided for me with a little providence over a pint of Guinness one evening.

My Cougar Friend and I went out for drinks and we were joined by her college aged daughter, a recent convert to Catholicism, and one of her friends. They excitedly chatted on about leaving for World Youth Day and showed off their travel books of Spain.

Here’s the providence part; she handed me a book and it opened up to a chapter about Camino De Santiago.

Here’s the Guinness part; “Lookit! This is it! This is where I am going!”

I declared to the group my plans and my Cougar Friend just chortled, “Wouldn’t you rather see Spain from the inside of a bar?”

I know. I know. But Kat, you say, didn’t God tell you during adoration to go to Poland? Now you expect us to believe that Our Lord and Savior is speaking to you in pubs?! Haven’t you learned your lesson about mixing travel plans and alcohol?

The Lord is indeed mysterious. Who am I to question His methods? I’ve always believed He meets us where we are, and if where we are happens to be a certain Irish pub I frequent… so be it.

And so it began. I started doing the research, the math, the planning and rallying of friends. I proposed my idea for the Fall of 2013. It’s a huge undertaking and one that is going to require a lot of preparation.

I have managed to persuade a few friends who seem enthusiastically on board with the whole thing. Unless they are humoring me, which is highly likely. Maybe they are just waiting for my next revelation, when I see Jesus in my toast.

Anyway, if you have taken this pilgrimage let me hear from you.

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • JaneDC

    If you'd let one of your rabid fans join you, count me in! Spain! Wine, cheese, tapas . . . That huge incense thingie that impressed the heck out of Papa Bene!

  • Just another mad Catholic

    Well Kat there is a SERIOUS chance I may be in Religious Life by then (my financial impediments are sorted) and who knows, perhaps I MIGHT be able to persuade the Superior that the Way of St James the Apostle would be a good pilgramage.

  • ArchAngel’s Advocate

    I dunno. From what I know about the Saintd, and reading between the lines of the Gospels, I suspect the Lord spent/spends quite a bit of time in pubs (or their Palestinian equivalent). He was also known to provide the booze for at least 1 wedding party (and at His Mother's bidding no less). Who knew that Mother was a party animal!

  • Susan Fox

    Okay, now you have to LEAD a pilgrimage to Compp0stela. Pilgrims are lining up. Careful choices of travelling companions will mean you don't have to buy any booze on the trip.

  • Katie

    I have an American friend, now living in Barcelona, who leads such pilgrimages. He, because he was out of shape and his doctor said he needed to exercise more, decided to walk the Camino de Santiago about 10 or 15 years ago. At the time, he knew no Spanish and we really woefully out of shape. On that trip, he fell in love with Spain and the Spanish people. Over the next few years, he quit his day job (teaching in a Catholic boys school in a large city in the U.S.) and moved to Barcelona to teach English and lead pilgrimages. This could be the start of something big! By the way, if you'd like to be in touch with someone who knows the ropes, I can get his contact information to you. I am sure he'd be happy to help you make plans.

  • The Digital Hairshirt

    Okay, the DigiHusband read this posting and I said, "Can I go?" He said, "Why are you aking me, just plan it like you do and that would be fine." As I see it, there is no reason why we can't do both, i.e., do the pilgrimage and visit bars.We need a chaplain. I think ew need to formally ask the Orthometer. In addition, I will petition Father Eurocent, as he loves to travel and drink.

  • Lola

    Go to both Spain and Poland.And ad Portugal to your trip.Just because. Our Good Lord has plenty of wonderful stops in all three.

  • The Crescat

    My Dear Brave Anonymous, I don't mind derogatory comments, but at least have the testicular fortitude to identify yourself. Comment moderation has now been enabled because of your cowardice.

  • The Ironic Catholic

    and you can take out the Cathars on the way!

  • Terry Nelson

    Kat – DoughBoy wants to do the camino thing too – I'll tell him. I did it – but I hitch hiked and took a train part of the way – I've failed at every religious endeavor I ever tried.

  • The Crescat

    Katie… yes, please contact me.

  • Kels

    I did part of the Camino last May with six other people. We started the trip with a short visit to Fatima, and then traveled to our starting point in Tui, Spain (just barely across from the Portuguese border). We stopped to see the eucharistic miracle at Santarem on the way. We were lazy pilgrims: slept in late, took siestas, stopped for a day's break near the seaside. (We did meet some even lazier pilgrims, who topped us by forwarding their luggage from hotel to hotel! There are also people who walk half/drive half in giant tour buses. So being less than a lean, rugged, knife-in-the-teeth-and-grit-in-the-hair backpacker shouldn't preempt your going. At all. We met a couple with a two-year-old who were biking the thing. So, yeah.) It's a wonderful experience (whether you decide to be a lazy pilgrim or not), and I can't exhort you enough to give it a go! If you have any questions feel free to contact me, bookwormkmb[at]gmail[dot]com.

  • Kels

    Also: the alcohol IS cheap. As in, my-hot-chocolate-cost-twice-as-much-as-my-glass-of-wine-cheap. Galician restaurant owners will sometimes bring out drinks on the house if your party spends enough at their establishment, too. Definitely helps take the bitter edge off the blisters and aching muscles you've accumulated throughout the day. Cheers! And buen camino.

  • Aquinas

    What a coincidence!!! I just finished a wonderful little book titled Discovering the Camino de Santiago by Fr. Greg Markey, pastor of St. Mary's Church in Norwalk, CT. He walked the pilgrimage, and the book is a diary and series of reflections. It's astonishingly good, written by a fine priest. It's tempted me to make the pilgrimage as well… The book is published by Roman Catholic Books and is available from Amazon or the parish's bookstore at Markey posted frequent letters to his parishioners on the parish website ("From the Pastor") that recounted his experiences while he was making the pilgrimage. I remember reading those and being inspired by them. The book is a compilation and a further "fleshing out" of those letters. I think you'd really enjoy it!All in all, a great book by a wonderful pastor of a terrific parish. (and…no, I'm not a parishioner; I live several states to the west!!)

  • Christine

    I leave Sweden on 31st Aug to travel to St Jean-Pied-de-Port on the French side of the Pyrenees where I will be meeting 8 women coming from South Africa and together on 1 Sept we start our 800 km pilgrimage on foot to Santiago de Compostela. 2010 was a Holy Year (Feast of St James falls on a Sunday -the next is 2021)and I worked in the Pilgrims' Office in Santiago receiving pilgrims from all over the world who had made their Way there. Prepare for your own Camino and I will lead you to the shrine of the dear Apostle St James. Buen Camino!

  • Julie D.

    Don't know if you already read Winter Pilgrim but you'll find lots of practical advice and good reading about the various pilgrimages undertaken there.

  • Allie

    Several students from my college did this a few years ago. One of them blogged about it, although some of the entries seem to be Lorem-ipsumed. You can see her list of recommended items here though: