Pilgrim’s Progress

Santiago de Compostelo in northwestern Spain is home to the Cathedral of Saint James the Great, whose massive dimensions dwarf those who journey to view it.

Santiago de Copostelo Plaza

Since the ninth century, it’s been the final destination for Catholic pilgrims along the Way of Saint James. Whether or not the remains of the Apostle James truly lie in the crypt below the massive altar is not at issue here; what’s important is the sense of devotion and faith that’s been evidenced by countless visitors for well over a thousand years.

Santiago de Compostelo Cathedral Cropped

Today’s pilgrims, with their backpacks and walking sticks, are easy to distinguish from the casual tourist, and everywhere on the narrow stone alleys surrounding St. James.

Santiago de Compostelo Pilgrims Street Shot

Some have acquired a “passport,” which has been stamped at various stops along the Way. We inquired about the process at the office near the Cathedral, and learned there are a requisite number of miles one must walk to be entitled to have an official stamp indicating completion of a pilgrimage. While there, we met Seth and Jonathan from Michigan. They had qualified and seemed none the worse for wear, in fact, quite the contrary. (They hadn’t hiked from Michigan, of course.)

Santiago de Compostelo Pilgrims from Michigan (Seth and Jonathan)I found this inspiring. Back out on the street, I bought some equipment. Who knows? Maybe I’ll make a pilgrimage some day. But for now it went in the back of the Honda and we headed to lunch. All that exercise had taken its toll on me.

Santiago de Compostelo Pilgrim Tricia


About Tricia Pimental

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Tricia Pimental's second memoir, A Movable Marriage, has received 5 Star reviews from both Epic Book Quest and Readers' Favorite. It's available on Amazon in both Kindle (amzn.to/1RtRBwp) and print (amzn.to/1OiGlUU) versions. She is also the author of two Royal Palm Literary Award Competition-honored books: Rabbit Trail: How a Former Playboy Bunny Found Her Way, and Slippery Slopes. Other work has appeared in International Living Magazine; A Janela, the quarterly magazine of International Women in Portugal; and anthologies compiled by the Florida Writers Association and the National League of American Pen Women. A member of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and a former Toastmaster, Ms. Pimental resides in Portugal. She can be reached at www.triciapimental.com and on Twitter @Tricialafille.
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8 Responses to Pilgrim’s Progress

  1. Lynne says:

    One of my favorite places on earth. Did you see the swinging censer in action? Unforgettable! And do you know why the incense is/was so necessary? Love and miss, Lynner

    • They had only a weight hanging as a “place holder.” The answer to the other question is “yes.” I can only imagine the uh, fragrance, in the air from travelers with no hot showers along the Way…

      • Lynne Baker says:

        Absolutely accurate! Probably still true of today’s pilgrims. An added reason was the lice the ancient pilgrims brought along. Ugh.

  2. Lice. EEK! Hadn’t heard that one. Glad I was here under different circumstances.

  3. I mean “there”. Lol. Nothing like living in the moment…

  4. Ninette Bravo says:

    Now that is one big church!!! You look so adorable in front of it!!!

  5. Don’t know about adorable, but certainly pequena.

  6. media643 says:

    I love visiting old churchs (cathedrals) in Europe. It’s also fun running into other Americans while traveling. Great photos. Your posts reminds me I long for a European vacation.

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