The Camino De Santiago ("The Way of St. James" in English) is a pilgrimage to the city of Santiago de Compestella in the north of Spain. You can start wherever you like but the most traversed and the most famous route is the Camino Frances (from St. Jean Pied de Port in France). Basically, its a 764 kilometer (roughly 500 mile) hike across the north of Spain. You can walk another 90 km to the coast, Finsterre. ("Fin" meaning "end" and "terre" meaning "earth." Essentially, the Romans believed that this was the furthermost point on the globe and from here, you can watch the ocean swallow the sun each day. And it really does look like it.) Well, I could go on and on but there are a lot of websites that describe the origins and history of the pilgrimage. It´s worth taking a look.
Go to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Way_of_St._James or just do a Google search.
I hiked the entire way from St. Jean to Finsterre in about 31 days but I stopped in Santiago for 3 days for the celebration and to meet up with fellow pilgrims and friends. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Hands down.
Day 1: St Jean Pied de Port, France to Roncesvalles, Spain
The first day is one of the toughest. Its about 27 kilometers (about 17 miles) walk over the Pyrenees mountains. The views are spectacular but its physically challenging, cold and long. Within 4 hours, I already had a fresh new blister on my heel that stayed with me (with every step) for about a week. This was the first of many to come. I remember feeling a little soreness in my heel and thinking, ¨I will wait just a bit before I take my shoe off.¨ When I stopped 15 minutes later, the blister had already busted and continued to get bigger and bigger.
When I made it to Roncesvalles, I put up my tent, ate some cereal and just laid there. I couldn´t move.