August 17, 2022


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Are you going to Compostela? “Walking towards Saint-Jacks is an interior change”

Special year for pilgrimage to Compostela in Galicia, northwest of Spain. When July 25 (St. James the Greater Day) falls on a Sunday, it leads to a festive year, as it did in 2021. It happens four times every 28 years, the last of which happened in 2010.

A special year because the health crisis is not over. In this context, it is difficult to imagine festivals on the spot as we were able to get to know them during previous editions.

However, some are counting on the trip to come on July 25th. But never mind, with the help of their cane, pilgrims and pilgrims are on the road with their rucksacks, not to mention celebrities Scallop shell.

President Pascal DuchenneBelgian Association of Friends of Santiago de Compostela. The association, which has been around for 35 years, aims to help future travelers prepare for their trip to Santiago, among other things. For this, it can be counted among its members who have already made the pilgrimage. It is also in contact with Galician authorities in Belgium and Galicia.

The latest figures from the association show that the first 100 Belgians have come to Compostela since last January. By comparison, they numbered more than 2,300 throughout 2019. This year again a total of 347,000 pilgrims have gone to the pilgrimage office to Compostela to register.

A holy year will increase the number of visitors“, Pascal Duchenne explains. And,”All work for the Holy Year for 5 years in Galicia or elsewhere in Europe counted the 450,000 people who came to the compostella this year. It certainly wouldn’t be like that“.

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Keep in mind that the pilgrimage does not stop after July 25 and that people will depart in August and September.

Why a Pilgrimage to St. Jacks

The Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela is one of three major trips to Jerusalem and Rome in Christendom. “The fact of walking towards the compostella is an interior change that can be compared to the identity of our lives […] Finally, in connection with the Christian tradition, toward the resurrection after our earthly death“, Pascal Duchenne mentions that he has already walked four times towards Saint-Jacques.

The president of the Belgian Society of Friends of Saint-Jog de Compostel explains to us that people who make the pilgrimage for the purpose of faith are, in a broad sense, a spiritual destination, and yet different. From a religious motivation.

Read Read more: Are the roads where believers really go to the compostella?

Pilgrimage can be done on foot in the tradition, but keep in mind that it can be done by bike, on horseback or by boat to La Coruna just like in the Middle Ages. For those with less mobility, the authorities, Pascal Duchenne explains, have created promotion and necessity for everyone to have access to the trail, and they are helping the European Union, the Jack Jacks (contact with the Saint-Jacques: Editor’s note). joelettes, The name given to a type of sedan chair with a wheel, rear arm and arms to pull someone.

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A pilgrim departing from Belgium will travel a distance of 2300 kilometers. With an average of 20-30 km of cattle per day, this trip can be done in more or less 70 days. The idea is to be able to stay in hostels (Albergus – accommodation for travelers) all the way, but there is less accommodation in the north or lower of Paris.

Keep in mind that there are also mutual aid networks, including Belgium, that can accommodate travelers. Once upon a time in Spain, there were more Albergs. Nothing prevents you from sleeping in the hotel.

To access Albergus, people must be certified. Important document is the certificate proving that the person made the pilgrimage, as this will allow the traveler coming to the compostella to receive the compostella.

If the pilgrimage can be done in a single trip or on stages, it will spread over many years. Some will not hesitate to do it again. Pascal Duchenne adds, “And virus (The Way of St. Jacks) Worse than we know. But we have the vaccine, which will eventually recover in ten days“.

The atmosphere on the trails is special, and so is Belgium. The president of the association explains that due to the epidemic, people were rediscovering the paths that were on their doorsteps.


According to the experience of Pascal Duchenne, a budget of 30-35 euros a day is a good basis. But, according to official figures from the Cathedral of Santiago, some people spend 10 euros a day and they get it. Others spend 200 euros a day.

Ultimately, it all depends on the type of accommodation (hotel, Alberg, etc.). “It’s up to everyone in their budget“. Travel for free?”It can be done, you can still live in virtue. Some are still trying“20 years ago, it was even more common, he notes.

Read Read more: 1000 mile hike to promote walking as a therapeutic tool in mental health

On the road

Theory Barras began his second pilgrimage on July 1, the day of St. Theory. He hails from the village of Vance in the Ettale Commune in the province of Luxembourg. A retiree for 2 years, he has already arrived for his second pilgrimage. In 2020, he too passed away on July 1st. He followed the “Camino Franks” who passed through the interior of the lands in Spain and arrived in Santiago de Compostela on 15 September.

This year, the route will be slightly different in France, and then in Spain it will take the “Camino del Norde” which runs from the Basque Country to the northern Spanish coast. This Friday, he arrived in Clooney, Sun-Ed-Lower.

With health crisis “You have to be resourceful”

Theory began his journey alone. This does not prevent him from meeting and sometimes advancing with other pilgrims. He does not want to create projects, he allows for improvements. For shelter, for example, he seeks Jacob’s welcome (for pilgrims) with volunteer families or with people who leave pieces of garden to clear his tent.

With the health crisis, he says “You need to be resourceful and not be afraid to ask left and right if you can find shelter. Sometimes you just run as good human beings. We can even take a bath“Theory explains that last year, many hostels for travelers were closed. For Tito hotels in Spain.”But since there were very few travelers in the Camino Franks, when there was an open hotel, there was automatically room“.

To give us an array, he gives us figures. In the compostella, from May to September, “4000 to 5000 pilgrims a day“. Last year, when he went to get his” compostela “or his certificateWe were 219 during the day“.

His motivations

He says that among the impulses that pushed theory along the path to Saint-Jack, there is at first a part of spirituality. Then, “We remember periods of our lives […] It is a path of reflection, and it gives itself wonderfully, because there are country roads, in the woods, in peace, in nature or in places, in hamlets.He also likes to imagine medieval travelers without a phone or card.

Further “My motivation above all else is to meet people. We meet very good people“He explains the spirit of discovering landscapes, villages, churches, historical monuments, etc. that you never forget, that you do not see by car.

Accident of life, simplicity, sport, culture etc.

Encourages a person to walk to and from St. Jacks. The president of the Belgian Society of Friends of Saint-Jog de Compostel has seen many vacations. “Often this is the result of what is called an accident of life“. He gives a few examples: the loss of a loved one, an illness, family problems, those who no longer know where they are in their lives.

Read Read more: Does walking improve our mental health?

This is really a question […] This is what sets them in motion. They need a break in their daily lives and they need to find a balance“The search for simplicity is also a common motivation.”Wanting to move away from a materialist world […] People have heard that we go to the basics when we go the ways of Saint-Jacques. We see their first humanity, and that is what motivates them“.

There are other motivations: sports, culture, etc. “Going to the compostella now has a much broader motivation“But Pascal Duchenne notices that people are gradually changing.”That is the path that will change them and move them forward in life“.

He concludes: “When they return, when they return, we try to let them know that there is still work to be done. This is the third pilgrimage after preparation and hike. This is when we return to an environment where we think we know and are called to change because we are changing ourselves.“.

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