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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 10, Number 1, March 2016

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Patricia Tompkins
San Mateo, California, USA


Classic El Camino de Santiago Itinerary [Amended]

Day 1: Arrive in Pamplona, famed for the running of the bulls and once favored by Hemingway. [You won’t be there during the running, just as well. Bull fighting is barbaric.] Explore the cobblestone streets of the old city before this evening’s welcome dinner. [You will be jetlagged and northern Spain is experiencing a heat wave. Nap if you can. Plenty of time for sore feet later.] Your guide will describe the upcoming week’s highlights as you enjoy Iberian treats. [In Spain, people eat dinner really late; you will be so hungry that you won’t care what is served.]

Day 2: Depart by deluxe motor coach to the monasteries of San Millan de la Cogolia. [Get on the bus with your fellow 47 passengers. Mr. and Mrs. Sawicki are late.] Enjoy views of lush vineyards as we continue to this evening’s parador. [Eagerly anticipate the next rest stop. You overindulged last night.]

Day 3: Begin the day with a walk along forest trails. [The pilgrimage takes many weeks, but this is a condensed version because who can afford more than a week off, especially at these rates?] Visit the cathedral of Burgos, a World Heritage site. [Don’t wander far from your group or you’ll get sucked into the vortex of other tour groups crowding the church. Remember, this is summer in Europe.] Relax as we journey on to our next hotel. [Wait for the Sawickis. The air conditioning is sporadic.] Enjoy free time to explore the historic setting before dinner. [Time to soak your feet and unpack again. Maybe a cruise wasn’t such a bad idea.]

Day 4: Ramble across sun-swept meadows and work up an appetite for lunch on your own in a charming village. [Spend lunchtime looking for a place to buy bandages for your blisters.] Encounter diverse architecture in Astorga [More churches. They’re starting to look alike.] Spend the night in a monastery. [Not unlike Motel 6, but older.]

Day 5: After a short drive, ramble the rolling hills of Galicia. [The Sawickis are late again.] Following lunch, explore O Cebreiro, home of the oldest church on El Camino. [Another church. It is a pilgrimage.] Discover the charms of Rioja wine during our private tour of local vineyards. [Amen.]

Day 6: Arrive in Santiago de Compostela and walk to the magnificent cathedral. After a guided tour, spend time at leisure to further explore historic Santiago. [Your chance to buy souvenirs.] Tonight: our farewell diner. [Just as you are getting acclimated to late dinners and the heat.]

Day 7: Depart for the airport. [Adios, Sawickis. Now, back to Minnesota.]

travel and travail,
cousins, are offshoots
of the root torture. . .
even at home we journey
into the unknown

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