According to the official statistics of the Pilgrim’s Office, during the last year 2016, the 55.29% of the pilgrims that arrived to Compostela were foreigners. In October 2017, this number goes up to 67.56%. Many walkers do they pilgrimage from countries very far away from Spain and the word they proudly use to call themselves is usually pilgrim, the English word for peregrino. It’s a very nice term that fills up the streets of Compostela in the peak times.
Are you a pilgrim from abroad?
It’s not that easy daring to walk thousands of kilometers in an unknown country and there are lots of questions that will come up to your head if you’re a real pilgrim.
In Santiago Ways we wanted to do this post to set you free of some fears or worries that are totally natural. And if at the end you still have any questions, remember that you can ask us about it without any commitment.
Troubles are part of the Camino
Let’s escape from fears!
It doesn’t matter which country you come from, the Santiago Way is a safe option that fits every budget. During the last month, october 2017, most part of the foreigner pilgrims that arrived in Compostela came from United States, Germany, Italy and Portugal, in this order.
What kind of questions come to the head of the foreigner pilgrims? And what can we say to make this concerns disappear? Let’s see!
#1 Language is not a barrier
If you’re a pilgrim from South America, language won’t be in your mind as a problem -except if you’re coming from Brazil-, but it’s one of the first questions that travelers from other countries, like USA, UK, France or Germany, think about.
The fear of not being understood will fly away once you start walking. Pilgrims make groups of friends really quick and the Way embraces people from all around the world, it’s the most normal thing! Every year people from Korea, Japan or Australia arrives to Compostela, it’s wonderful!
We can always understand each other somehow, and the needs that you’ll have during your Way are very basic. Actually, you’ll probably be able to express what you need in Spanish after a week on the Camino. Communication between people goes further than the language itself, you’ll see!
#2 Organizing your trip from the distance
It’s not an easy task to organize a trip from thousands of kilometers away. It’s true that we can find a lot of information online, but it’s not always easy to know what pieces of information are right or which sources are reliable.
In respect of accommodation, remember that you can’t book a place in public shelters, they work on a first-come first-served basis and pilgrims who arrive walking have preference over the rest. In the case of private shelters, hostels and hotels you should book the room in advance, but in the high season it’s not always that easy.
You can get your pilgrim credential in the first village that you visit in your journey. And if you want more information about this document, so important for pilgrims, visit our post about it here.
So, the steps are getting information, go to the starting point, and walk!
In Santiago Ways we offer the possibility of contracting a pack that includes every detail of the Santiago Way organization, so you don’t have to worry about anything: accommodation, meals, documents, etc.
#3 Being alone far away from home
This is a personal concern of many pilgrims that leave their country behind to walk by themselves. What do we have to say about this?
Well, no one walks the Camino alone if they don’t want to. In the French Way, the most popular one, it is usual to see groups of pilgrims that have met each other during the journey and they arrive to Compostela with the gift of a solid friendship.
The most typical picture in the Obradoiro square, the last point of the pilgrimage, is about two pilgrims that have met on the trip and have shared stages, finding each others again between laughs and hugs.
Benefits of walking the Santiago Way if you’re a foreigner
Once we’ve solved these fears and we’ve fought against the natural worries of any pilgrim, we want to go over some of the most beautiful benefits that this experience has. Have you ever thought about it?
#1 Do you wanna try a different experience?
It’s usual to use our holidays to visit Paris, doing a cruise or going to a hotel with swimming pool near the cost. The experience of the Camino is a completely different way to enjoy our free time, a whole experience that has changed many lives.
If you want to run away from the typical summer trips and the crowds of tourists, become a pilgrim! There are a different Santiago Way route for every pilgrim, find out which one is your between all the options that we tell you about in our website!
#2 You’ll meet people from everywhere
Can you imagine to meet ten different people from ten different places in just one week? It’s very likely that this happens to you if you decide to walk to Santiago.
The Way is an experience where you can open your mind and hear some new stories told by pilgrims from very far away, finding new life lessons and shared feelings in every step.
#3 Immerse yourself in a different culture
Walking the paths of the North of Spain we won’t just see new landscapes, villages and people, but we’ll also dive in a completely different new culture.
If you’re a pilgrim, in other words, if you’ll walk the Santiago Way coming from another country, a whole new country, full of contrasts, will be open in front of you. You’ll discover new dishes, languages, habits, musics, traditions and a huge etcetera of experiences.
As we’re walking from town to town along the paths of the Santiago Way, we’ll truly feel that we’re inside a new culture, or many new cultures, actually. These feeling invites us to be part of it. The Way goes across tiny villages spread all over the intense rural culture of Galicia.
It doesn’t matter where do you come from or where do you start your Way, the experience of pilgrimage will make you fall in love, that’s for sure.
If you’ve any question about the Santiago Way, don’t hesitate to contact us! We’ll be happy to help you.
You can get in touch with us by Facebook, in the comments of this post or in our contact page.
Buen Camino, dear pilgrim!