Camino Downunder » The Camino Frances

The Camino Frances

    The Camino Francés (which is the oldest pilgrimage route in Spain) is called the French route precisely because at the time it came into existence, the majority of pilgrims traversing it came from France.

    However, the Somport Pyrenean pass (between France and Spain) was the preferred entry point until the 12th century, when the route between Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and Roncesvalles took over in popularity because mountain banditry was better suppressed and massive new infrastructure built at Roncesvalles: the Real Colegiata including their famous pilgrim’s hostel was formally opened (consecrated) in 1219.

    In the 21st century, people from around the world commence their pilgrimage at many different locations along this long route (freedom of choice), but are now no longer solely motivated to undertake it as a religious pilgrimage in the medieval traditions.

    For many, they are motivated to commence this challenging journey because they want to have a unique Spanish, walking holiday. However, modern, long distance pilgrims gain a deep introspection and are changed. Along the journey, the original motivation gets modified. And serendipity plays itself out. The journey over time acts like a catalyst: it induces change.