In the recent TV travelogue, The Pilgrimage, the seven pilgrims taking part—an actor, an ex-soldier, a priest, a singer, a TV presenter, an investigative journalist, and a comedian—started at the French border at St Jean Pied de Port, but didn’t walk the entire 800 km to Santiago de Compostella – they walked part of the way.
26 km to be exact and then they took a bus. Finally they resumed their walk to complete the last 100 km. Cheating? Not really. After all they only had two weeks in which to complete the journey and make the programme. They did carry their own luggage all the way however and they stayed in the local hostels, sharing dormitories and showers, and eating with the rest of the pilgrims. Having watched the programme, I’d say that only two of them would have liked to walk the entire distance; the others were more than thankful when it was over.
A woman I know walked the whole 800 km and it took her five weeks. An incredible feat for someone who was in her seventies at the time. Like the pilgrims mentioned above, she stayed in the local hostels, only twice treating herself to a room in a small hotel so that she could recharge her batteries and soak in a hot bath. She told me of the bed bugs and the blisters, of sleep broken by the snores of other pilgrims and of the camaraderie between the pilgrims, and said she would do it all again in a heartbeat.