Spanish History on the Camino de Santiago: A Hiking Adventure, May Term 2018

Spanish History on the Camino de Santiago: A Hiking Adventure, May Term 2018

Hi. My name is Nanette Hanks. I’m the assistant dean for curriculum
in the College of Liberal Arts. And I lead a global seminar in northern Spain
on The Camino de Santiago. We walk about 300 miles in 21 days from the border between France and Spain all the way to the west to Santiago de Compostela. I’ve invited some students here today to tell you about their experience and hopefully to encourage you to apply and to join us in May 2018 to have this amazing experience. As we prepare for the trip we come down here and walk as a group. I want to make sure that students have the right boots, the right equipment, and it gives us an opportunity to figure out what we need to know and how we need to prepare. Three hundred miles is no joke. And I think every one of these students have stories about some of the difficulties they had as we made this journey. But I think they also have equal number of great experiences. One of the things that students are a little bit concerned about when we first talk about this trip is how will they know where to go? How will they not get lost? How will we keep track of where we’re going? And one of those ways is with our pilgrim’s passport. Every day we stop at what are called Albergues. And they’re like hostels or hotels. At every location we get a stamp from the hostels or you can just walk into a bar and get a stamp. You have to show at the end that you’ve actually walked and that you didn’t cheat and jump in a car. And most important is the last hundred kilometers. So part of what that pilgrim’s passport does is it keeps track of where you’ve walked on the Camino. And at the end you get this really beautiful certificate. Libby, do you have that certificate? This is the certificate that you get at the end. What was that like, Libby, getting that? I mean it’s kind of surreal because it’s like this tangible document to record all of your hard work–kind of a big congratulations. So what anybody worried about getting lost? What was it like always looking for the yellow arrows? Abby and I actually got lost our first day. We just kept wandering around until we found the yellow arrows again. So we made our way. We’re actually walking out in the countryside. We’re walking through a country. We’re walking through villages, through cities. and what was that like for you walking through the different… It was really good. I think my favorite part of it was the ability to see parts of Spain that you wouldn’t otherwise see. That was great. You got to see the behind the scenes view of how Spaniards live. The other thing is we walk every day no matter what the weather is like. I remember walking down the Alto Del Perdon and the trail turned into a river. And that was pretty treacherous coming down the steep hill. The rain added a different element to it. But definitely worth it. And I think you could all agree that we meet people from all over the world, right? There was a woman who was from Denmark,
I want to say… I met her just completely randomly on the Camino, and it turns out she had actually studied abroad at my high school. So we graduated from the same high school, and we were meeting on the Camino in Spain. We also got to try a lot of really good food. And I think everyone would agree that the best food that we had was pulpo which is octopus. Or would everyone agree?
[Students laugh and agree] It was really fun going to each new location. I mean sometimes you would stay in a hostel like an Albergue where you’re in a room full of other people and other times we stayed in a monastery. And that was just a totally unique experience to be able to stay in a location like that. There’s no right way to walk the Camino. Each Camino journey is separate and individual. What’s the one thing that you think about most when you just think back on the Camino? For me, I think it was like the beauty of the countryside of Spain. Everywhere you go it’s just… Things are beautiful in a different way and crossing paths with the people that are on the Camino, sharing the different stories, and you learn from each other every day. Building off of that, like the relationships that we made with everyone–even just like this group and other pilgrims along the way. It’s just those connections are super meaningful. Once you get to the end and you realize you’ve just walked 300 miles it’s an amazing accomplishment. And you just feel so proud of yourself that you’re able to get yourself there You’re able to walk across Spain–across the whole country. So no matter where you go in your life, once you’ve walked the Camino de Santiago you’ve joined with thousands of people who’ve walked before you and thousands of people who will walk after you. You’ll always be part of that experience. Walk with me across the country of Spain. See all the different cultures, the people, the food, all of the wonderful things that Spain has to offer. (All)
Buen Camino! All you have to do on a given day is get up and walk.

2 thoughts on “Spanish History on the Camino de Santiago: A Hiking Adventure, May Term 2018

  1. I don’t understand how you can walk the French way in 21 days.
    It’s 500 miles not 300, did I miss something?
    I’ll be walking the Camino in May as well.
    Have a wonderful safe trip😁

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