04 Aug 20

Is Your Camino Calling?

Lilia Akhtanenko Camino

“The call of the Camino” is a phrase that you frequently hear when talking to pilgrims. It starts with a prompting to investigate more after you’ve read or heard something about the Camino.

In my case, I first heard about the Camino de Santiago in 2014 on a flight to Sydney. I was reading an article about great walks in the inflight magazine. The passenger next to me told me about the Camino and her plans to walk it. From that moment, I was captivated and I started the journey of finding out more, beginning with watching the 2010 movie The Way.

The more I researched the Camino the more I wanted to go. I was drawn to the camaraderie and community that people speak of, the journey it takes you on, and the challenge of walking across Spain.

Once you have been “called” you will find that it doesn’t go away. You will come across people who have walked the Camino or are thinking about it. You will see an advertisement in your Facebook feed. Or you will come across a feature article about this life-affirming pilgrimage in a magazine. All reminders that the Camino is waiting for you.

Ask anyone who has walked the Camino – no matter the route, no matter the distance – and they will all tell you that if the Camino is calling, you need to go.

In October, 5 years after discovering the Camino on that flight to Sydney, I made it over to Spain and walked from Sarria through the hills of Galicia to finish at the pilgrim’s goal of Santiago de Compostela. It was everything I expected and more. I met many wonderful people from all corners of the globe and I discovered the beauty of the rural countryside and the delicious Spanish cuisine. I learned about the history of Spain and was exposed to some fantastic artwork.

Words cannot fully describe the feeling of hearing the bagpipes as I walked down the stairs and through the archway into Praza do Obradoiro to see the main entrance to the Santiago Cathedral for the first time. I was overwhelmed with emotion – laughing and crying at the same time. I had finally made it to the Cathedral after all these years and all those kilometres.

I’m already planning my next Camino and I’ve kept in contact with wonderful new friends.

Planning your pilgrimage

If you have been ‘called’ to the Camino but are not sure where to start, we can help!

One of our most popular trips is the full-length Camino from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela (41 days) but even if you only have 2 weeks to spend on the Camino, we have lots of inspirational options to consider. You could also add on our Finisterre trip, which will take you literally to ‘the end of the world’.

Our expert team of Camino specialists can give you the experience you want by tailoring the daily walking distances to suit your ability and timeframe. They can also advise you on the best route for you, when to walk, how to get to your starting point, how to train and more!

The Way of St James is a truly transformational journey. No matter which section you choose, every walk on the Camino is beautiful in its own right!

Lilia Akhtaneko

Written By

Lilia Akhtanenko

Lilia specialises in curating dream hiking trips on the Portuguese Camino and Camino Frances. As a keen walker and Camino expert at RAW Travel she draws on her extensive first-hand experience and love of adventure travel to help others explore diverse countries and cultures.

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