The luxury of the modern day pilgrim

L’Esprit du Chemin
In the ancient days the pilgrims on their road to Santiago de Compostela walked all the way from home to Santiago and back. From that perspective I will be doing an easy luxury walk. Boarding the TGV in Amsterdam for Paris on Sunday late afternoon followed by the night train to Bayonne and the local train to my starting point in the city of Saint Jean-Pied-de-Port in the South of France. That brings me compared to the ancient Pilgrims already more than half way the road to Santiago. Then I just only have to walk the last 800 km / 500 ml to get to Santiago de Compostela.

That is not the only luxury I have compared to the ancient pilgrim. Stories tell that the road was not without danger for the pilgrim. Bandits often robbed the pilgrim from his belongings and often they were very happy to have survived the robbery. Also the old day hostels were not that wide spread as today’s pilgrims hostel and the innkeepers were not always very font of pilgrims. Also here stories tell of innkeepers that tried to make more out of their guests by robbing or killing them.

Those days are all over. Nowadays there are many pilgrim hostels available spread along the route and dedicated to the welfare of pilgrims, often run by volunteers who have walked the Camino themselves before. Like the hostel in Saint Jean-Pied-de-Port where I have booked the first night. For the ancient pilgrim these will be luxury hostels. But the hostels provide a bed, not necessarily a room and hence with between a few and tens of people in a room not every modern day reader will call it a luxury.