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Walk this way: a shorter pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela.
Visitors to Galicia’s Santiago de Compostela this weekend will be living the build up to the region’s most important ‘fiesta’, the feast day of St James on the 25th of July. It’s the day when ‘pilgrims’ aim to reach the town’s iconic, world-famous Cathedral, the Obradoiro, the end of their long walk, often from as far away as France. Tourists, of course, join in, celebrations abound, and there’s a spectacular Mass in the Church.
Modern day pilgrims can embark on the much beloved Camino de Santiago de Compostela at any time of year and can walk just part of ‘The Way’. Santiago offers trekkers other rewards too: splendid and plentiful cuisine, Albariño (an excellent white wine) to accompany arguably the best seafood in Spain and a beautiful old town with cobblestoned streets and plenty of character. And now, in contrast with the medieval buildings that have made the city famous, a modern 265.000 square-metre cultural complex, the ‘Gaiás Ciudad de la Cultura’, has opened on the Gaiás hill which overlooks the town.
If you haven’t yet visited this magical city in north-west Spain, bear in mind that you may like to follow your ancestors and consider walking ‘The English Way’, the least know and least walked. This actually involves far less walking, with starting points from coastal towns La Coruña or Ferrol.
The walks converge at Bruma, 50km from Santiago and the whole walk takes around 4-5 days. When France and England were at war, it was a route the English and northern Europeans could take to lessen the danger. They arrived in boats and then set off to walk to the apostle’s tomb.
Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) flies to Santiago de Compostela from London Stansted.