Saint Augustine High School. Augustinian Recollects. Valladolid, Spain. Way of Saint Jacques 2023.

The idea of doing the Road to Santiago this course arose in one of the religion classes of 1st of high school. The topics are conducive to debate and, in one of the dissertations, the idea of being able to expand the class space “by doing something more interesting and fun than had to do with the religious field.

Among the various proposals there is one that attracts young and that gains an advantage over the others: “do some stage of the Road to Santiago”. Among suggestions and preparations, there are several proposed dates and the possibilities of the young people, who have a full agenda and candidates are withdrawing.

In the end we decided open it to the group that had been confirmed and with them we got fully involved in the preparations of the Way, being pilgrims in a special year in which they committed themselves to a yes in the Confirmation of the message of Jesus, “the Lord of Santiago” and goal of our pilgrimage.

Since we did not have many working days and Juan Luis González, Francisco Oyanguren and Beatriz should be back for the School Council on June 29 and the final cloister of the 30th, we had to shorten the route and do it from Portomarín to Santiago. barely gave us for the 100 km, which, distributed over four days, was not bad for the start of a great project that we want to expand in the coming years.

The first stretch was tough. It was 25 km from Portomarín to Palas de Rei. We left at six in the Valladolid morning to start the journey at 11 from the starting point. the first stretch great, but after the stop to eat and rest it made us hard due to the oppressive heat in the afternoon and the lack of filming in the previous days. Some arrived blistered and exhausted, but happy and satisfied to complete the day.

The second day was the longest: 29.3 km from Palas de Rei to Arzúa. To avoid the stifling heat, we got up early at six and left as soon as possible. It happened to us the same as the day previous: we did a great walk of 14 km. to Melide, but the stop, which was seasoned with an exquisite octopus, took its toll and slowed down the march, which seemed eternal, and they arrived at Arzúa decimated and battered, as those of Xenophon must have arrived in the Anabasis.

Here there was no Ciro that was worth it, but massages, and to remove blisters, a good shower, devotion in the pilgrim’s mass, an exquisite dinner and like new. They are young and recovering soon.

The third day the plan was lighter. We left Arzúa to Pedrouzo or Arca, which of the two shapes is called. 20 km. that became easy, getting up early and leaving early and between places beautiful and welcoming pilgrims. And that is the mystique of the Way, finding one himself and meet others, draw closer to Jesus through effort, sacrifice and personal relationship with the other that you meet along the same route and with whom you share the same ideal: to arrive in Santiago as a pilgrim.

For this reason, the “Buen Camino” (The Good Way) is something more than a simple greeting that you exchange wi th the thousands of fellow travelers. It is the desire of to find strength to overcome life, is to know that you are not alone on your way and it is to verify that many others walk by your side, extending their hand, staff or even their shoulders to accompany the weakest and most needy. And the young people gave us a great lesson.

There were four with knees, muscles or feet hurt, but they did not want the help of the auxiliary car “because they came as pilgrims and You had to walk to the finish line.” Everyone’s behavior was extraordinary: there was no complaints, they were contented to eat whatever there was, they appreciated the details we the teachers gave, they worried about them and with the others, they never gave the grade and they were polite and restrained at all times.

I don’t know if it’s the magic of the Camino, the spirit of the Confirmation that they are great people and excellent pilgrims. I imagine a little everything, but both Beatriz and Francisco and Juan Luis greatly appreciated their good to do, their good state and the congratulations that rained down from some who noticed and they transmitted.

The last stage was Pedrouzo to Santiago. Get up early to get to the pilgrim mass and disappointment for not seeing the famous “botafumeiro” (the incense censer) in action. We had to go back to the mass later to be able to see it and feel again stunned by the greatness of a Way that has captivated us and that we plan to return, this time as monitors of the new groups to those who, in successive years, are going to propose the challenge of the Camino.

Thanks to Santiago, the Apostle, who helps us transform our lives. Thanks to all who have helped us and even thanks to those who did not want to share with us what that we needed so much and that we have later verified that it is not so essential in the greatness and magic of a Path that opens the door of wisdom and understanding of life.