In this article we interview three Italian friends who experienced the Camino de Santiago this summer 2021. We discover what it meant for them to walk the Camino together, sharing the magical moments, but also the difficulties that this adventure allowed them to experience. Thanks to their words, we can understand how walking one of the routes of the Xacobean Routes during this Holy Year was a unique moment that they will never forget. Let’s see what they told Galiwonders in the interview below.
El Camino de Santiago with friends
Many pilgrims wonder what it is like to do the Camino with friends, sometimes fearing that such an intense experience may have some kind of repercussion on their friendship. It can happen that the motivations that lead pilgrims to undertake the journey are very different, as well as the walking pace of each person or the desire to meet other people while walking. These concerns push many people to make the journey alone. But this is not always the case…
Today we talk to three friends who have debunked this myth. Francesco, Paolo and Luca explained to us how, although they set off for different reasons, this experience has allowed them to get to know each other better and create unforgettable memories.
El Camino de Santiago: an experience to live together
Hi guys, first of all thanks for taking the time for this interview with Galiwonders.
As we said before, some people see the Camino de Santiago as an individual experience of introspection, perhaps frightened by the possibility of not getting along so well with their usual friends for so many days. In other cases, those who undertake the journey with their friends say that this experience helps to strengthen bonds and create an even stronger relationship.
In your case, do you think that doing the Camino de Santiago together has helped you getting closer?
Francesco: Living for 13 days with the same people and in the same difficulties brings you together and makes the experience even more special. During the Camino, to overcome boredom, it becomes essential to get to know each other and tell stories, discovering incredible things about each other that you would never have imagined.
During this experience we also helped and supported each other, especially in difficult moments. Along the way, even a piece of borrowed tape, a sip of water, a backpack carried by a friend for a few hours becomes an incredibly valuable gesture.
You have done the Portuguese Coastal Way, why did you choose this route?
Luca: The idea of doing the Portuguese Coastal Route came mainly for practical reasons. The proximity of the ocean allowed us to enjoy a milder (sometimes cooler) and windier climate. So we could relax on the beach and take refreshing swims after the many hours of walking.
Finally, we were intrigued by the discovery of ever-changing landscapes, from the sea, passing through small rural villages but also climbing gentle slopes.
Are you satisfied with your choice?
Luca: Our expectations were completely fulfilled, we made the right choice according to what we had planned, it was exactly what we expected.
Have any of you done the route for religious reasons? If so, would you recommend the route to other pilgrims motivated by the same reason?
Paolo: I did the Camino also for religious reasons. I think the pilgrimage has always been a unique and involving experience for every believer, so I would definitely recommend it.
Everyone lives their faith in their own way, but there is no doubt that the context will help you feel closer to God, whether in one of the many churches or in the middle of nature and the countryside.
Paolo: As a believer, during the Camino you can take time to be alone with your thoughts. Moreover, the fatigue and adversity become opportunities to manifest and consolidate your faith.
Did you feel the spirit of the Camino even though undertaking this experience is becoming more and more popular?
Paolo: I don’t see the massification of the Camino as a big problem; on the contrary, I have always found confrontation and coexistence to be occasions for growth, even from a religious point of view. Besides, among the various pilgrims you will meet other people with the same motivations as you, who will be pleasant interlocutors and also witnesses of your own faith.
Do you have any particular episode, any anecdote to tell?
Francesco: The episode that best represents our trip was when we sat down for lunch together with two Spanish girls and started to eat, shared a sangria and bathed together in natural pools before walking together again.
This spirit of conviviality and sociability was what expressed most the meaning of the Camino to us.
What did you like most about the Camino?
Luca: Definitely the fact of waking up in a different place every morning. But also the feeling of having everything you need for the day in your backpack is priceless, and above all it taught us the weight of the superfluous, because then you have to carry it on your shoulders!
What would you recommend to other pilgrims who want to do the Camino for the first time?
Paolo: I would simply advise them to take the adventure lightly without getting too paranoid. It could be one of the best experiences of their life. Sooner or later your body will get used to traveling these distances and essential services are always along the way.
The most important thing is to be open to new knowledge, emotions and experiences. The journey is unique and has a lot to offer; it is up to them to make the most of it.
Did you meet many other pilgrims or was it a rather solitary walk?
Luca: We have been very lucky with the encounters during our Camino. We have met several pilgrims from all over Europe with whom we have shared our days, which have thus flowed quickly, leaving no room for fatigue. Of course, the best contacts are made at the beginning, so that you can meet them again in the following days to talk about your respective experiences. In conclusion, the only time we were really alone with ourselves was during sleep.
Would you repeat the Camino? If yes, which one and why?
Francesco: I would do the Complete French Way of St. James next. As soon as I got off the plane on the way back, I wanted to start again and meet other people.
Thanks to all three of you for explaining so clearly what the Camino has meant to you, through your experience and your feelings. We are sure that these words will be useful for many other pilgrims who want to walk one of the Jacobean routes in the future and get an idea of what awaits them.
At Galiwonders, we offer the possibility of creating tailor-made itineraries for a few friends or for larger groups. Don’t miss the opportunity to live a unique experience with the people who matter most in your life and create an unforgettable bond through this magical adventure.
If you have any questions, contact us and we will be happy to help you create the ideal Camino for you and your friends.