Walk of the Pilgrims
During this March Intensive I was able to hike the El Camino De Santiago trail in southern Spain. I and 11 other students were given the opportunity of a lifetime, being able to hike the trail the (Pilgrims) of the past had hiked. Not only that, but we were also able to put our Spanish speaking skills to use and have real life intersections with people while speaking in Spanish.
The trip lasted 10 days, seven of those days we were hiking. All of us carrying backpacks that held up to 50 liters, and staying in Albergues (hostels) with others who were also hiking the trail. People from around the world will hike the trail all year round, but most commonly hiked during Spain’s summer seasons. Around 272,412 people will hike it a year, and all for different reasons. For some people they will hike it for religious purposes, but for others it’s just for the experience. Everyone and anyone who completes the hike, or at least the last 100 miles of it, will be given a certificate and announced in the church service. Those who hike the trail for religious purpose are given a more elaborate certificate than those who are hiking it for other reasons.
While being able to practice speaking Spanish was helpful and beneficial, being able to communicate with people from all of the world was what was really special. By staying in the Albergues the group was able to meet all different kinds of people, and was able to create a community where everyone was welcome. Naturally, friends and hiking companions were made along the hike, and not just within the group of 12 kids. Though they were brief meetings, never has a friendship felt that real. While hiking the trail everyone else hiking the trail is a friend, we share everything with each other- stories, rumors, jokes, and knowledge.