Since the early Middle Ages, eager young Christians have trekked hundreds of kilometers over French mountains, through thick forests and across arid Spanish fields to Santiago de Compostela, so that they might be allowed to shake their pilgrim sticks festooned with scallop shells over the grave of old Saint James the Greater (not to be confused with Saint James the Less who was only a minor celebrity in the life and times of Jesus). For those of you (ahem) who didn’t pay attention during Religious Education, Saint James the Greater, ultimately tortured and beheaded by Herod, was one of Jesus’ first Apostles and is the Patron Saint of Spain.
So anyway, The Way of Saint James or El Camino de Santiago if you’re Spanish, can be made following any track from your own front door to Santiago, but a series of walking tracks dribble like Jesus’ blood across the face of Spain. One of the most famous of these is known as The French Way or in Spanish, Camino Francés: from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on the French side of the Pyrenees to Roncesvalles on the Spanish side before making its way through to Santiago de Compostela through the major cities of Pamplona, Logroño, Burgos and León.
Here are some of the best photos from the three rolls of film I tore through when we completed a little section of the Camino, peppered with sun bleached towns, against the flow of pilgrims from Hontanas to Burgos – home to one of the most beautiful cathedrals on earth and believe it or not, a statue of Jesus made of real human skin and hair… ew.