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Matinee: Camino de Santiago Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

5 May 2018

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 148th in our series of Saturday matinees today: Camino de Santiago 2014 -- a Photographer's Pilgrimage.

As we mentioned in yesterday's slide show, Ten Thousand Steps, we've been following Harold Davis as he blogs about his pilgrimage walking the Camino de Santiago, posting some inspiring images along the way.

Today he wrote that his wife "Phyllis says that for her my Camino is visually a succession of hotel room interiors." No doubt a strenuous hike like that takes two hands. He probably can't free one up safely until he's found lodgings for the night.

But the whole thing has stirred our curiosity about just what Davis is up to. And where. We'll be content with the who, where and when, leaving the why up to him.

So we did a little research, starting with today's slide show by Adelaide Barossa of Church Hill Photography in South Australia. She's a wedding photographer who made the trek in 2014. Not a bad company name for a wedding photographer.

She takes a different approach than Davis, giving us a 10-minute synopsis of the walk through the Spanish countryside. It provides a nice context for the more intimate images Davis is posting.

Here's a map of the main route, although the Camino isn't just one path. It has tributaries reaching all over Europe:

Davis is apparently walking the last 62 miles of the route from Sarria to Santiago. On our map Sarria is halfway between Ponferrada and Santiago. It seems Barossa started her pilgrimage a bit further away at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France. If you have 25 minutes to spare, you might appreciate this day-by-day video diary of that trek.

The way is marked by the Camino's logo, which is a yellow abstraction of a scallop shell on a blue background. Like many symbols, its meaning enjoys a variety of interpretations.

It isn't just a symbol pointing the way forward, though. It's also a patch worn by pilgrims to indicate what they're up to along the way. They are given the patch at the beginning of their pilgrimage.

So where are they going?

To Santiago where the remains of St. James the apostle are believed to be buried in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. He was beheaded in Jerusalem in 44 AD, his body shipped back to Spain, according to one story.

In the Middle Ages, the Camino was one of the most important pilgrimages, up there with Rome and Jerusalem, earning you a plenary instead of a partial indulgence. This distinction? A plenary indulgence earns "the remission of the entire temporal punishment due to sin so that no further expiation is required in Purgatory."

It only covers sins that have already been forgiven, though. So no sense rushing into it.

About 200,000 make the pilgrimage each year, not all at the same time or even from the same starting point. Or even for the same reason. Indulgences are not nearly as coveted as they once were. But it's undeniably a retreat from modern life, as Barossa's photos show.

And who couldn't use 10 minutes of that?


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