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Walking the Camino towards Santiago de Compostela

In July Susana Campos from the La Retraite Community in Galway
led a walking retreat along part of the Camino to Compostela.  
In the following account both she and the group describe something of their experience....

During this summer we embarked on our pilgrimage towards Santiago de Compostela. Mary, a friend of our communities here in Ireland, Aileen & I gathered a group of young professionals who were interested in a 10 day walking retreat. We began gently building our strength and friendship during a series of walks in some of Ireland’s most scenic and spiritual areas. Gradually the experience took shape, so when we arrived at St. Jean Pied de Port it was “game on!” The conversation over our first meal together was one of openness and generosity, marking the way in which people wanted to enter in fully to this Camino retreat.

We walked in a reflective, relaxed way, with daily points to ponder as we entered more deeply into our spiritual and human journey. Each evening we had a simple sharing of what had gone for us during the day – time alone, with our friends or other fellow travellers encountered on the road. As we are following the French Way, we hope next year to continue from Logrono to Burgos.

What the group says:  

The Camino has been a truly amazing experience for a number of reasons:

- One crosses an incredibly beautiful countryside where the landscape is quite varied. You will cross all sorts of terrain and sometimes it feels like you've  travelled  back in time. There is a great sense of achievement because you see the landscape change as you cross the country.

- Along the way you will spend time with many interesting people, some apart of your group and others are strangers you meet along the way. Everybody is kind and the conversations are interesting in ways that you don't usually see in normal life. There is a great sense of sharing in the experience with those around you.

-You will live a basic lifestyle during your time on the Camino. You won't want to turn on your phone because you are enjoying being away from the usual busy life at home. You become concerned with simple tasks such as eating, sleeping, washing of clothes and so on. All the while this gives you time to think, and to take a look at your life from a different perspective; a great way for figuring out your next step perhaps.

The Camino is a wonderful experience
and I heartily recommend it.

To set out with a group genuinely interested in having a good holiday was a huge part of the trip. To be supported, to have the banter, fun and laughs and sincere chats along the way, was special.

I loved getting up early in the morning, meeting up for the continental breakfast and chat, experiencing the beautiful Spanish landscape and setting out to meet the day that could be filled with meeting new people, or getting to know someone in the group a little better or walking alone and enjoying the countryside. To meet up at the end of a day and share some of our day’s experiences was a highlight of each day. It was a relaxed trip, active, interesting, adventurous and rewarding. The spiritual side was there too, it was a meditative experience I found I connected in with myself and life. The weather, fun, heat, blisters and meeting such a wide range of people were all thrown into the mix of a great holiday, a great experience and now great memories... I’d go back in a second!

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