Having finished my undergraduate degree, I Gabriel Torres, would like to spend over a month doing an extended version of the Camino de Santiago starting this August.
I will be following the El Camino del Norte along the northern coast of Spain. This route is less traveled than the main route, spanning a total of 875km (528.7 miles). This route provides the opportunity to share experiences and have a greater connection with God and nature alongside the fewer travelers and locals on the way. This allows me to conduct interviews along the way with fellow travelers as well as Spaniards in hopes of creating a detailed report on the state of the Camino del Norte and life in northern Spain.
I am no stranger to traveling alone and have conducted many interviews in college for the various organizations I was a part of. Furthermore, I completed a course at the University of Navarra during my second trip to Spain on the history and culture of Christianity in Spain. As part of the course we took trips to Loyola, Zaragoza, and several other important places linked to the cultural and historical framework of Spain Reconquista onward. Afterwards I took part in World Youth Day Madrid and stayed in El Escorial in San Lorenzo. Hence, when I intend to make an Extended Camino de Santiago, an essential part of my motivation is to explore pre Reconquista Christianity and culture as well as to measure the incorporation of religious identities in outlying provinces of Spain.
After completing the Camino de Santiago I will then head south into Portugal with the same goal stopping in important sites such as Fatima and Tomar. The report and interviews will be recorded in travel journals, photo logs and compiled first in a blog.
Having that in mind the route I will be taking is the following: 1.Start in Barcelona (4 Days)- Visit Barcelona museums, Jewish and Muslim places of importance and cathedrals. The research focus will be Catalonia's religious history. The main question for research is How did Catalonia's proximity to other kingdoms and connection with the Mediterranean world shape its understanding of its religious and cultural identity versus incorporation into the Castilian socio-religious power structure?
A: Two trips to Tarragona and Montserrat monastery will also be part of this leg of the trip. Tarragona has well preserved Roman ruins and Montserrat is a world famous monastery that has a special importance to Catalonia's history and cultural identity.
2. North to Toulouse (3 Days)- Heading north by bus and train I will stop in Andorra which has preserved its old quarter very well and is another piece of the Iberian puzzle. The second stop will be Carcassone, a world heritage site; the old city is well preserved and was the home of a persecuted medieval religious group. Finally my day in Toulouse will consist of visiting the religious centers that are important to the history of the Camino. The focus on this leg is the role of smaller religious centers and Toulouse in the history of the Camino de Santiago.
3. Head west to Biarritz via train from Lourdes (2 Days)- Leaving Toulouse I will stop at Lourdes, France's most important pilgrimage site in the south in order to have a comparison between a modern site of large pilgrimage versus the ancient Camino. I will stop in Bayonne and explore the Basque culture of France keeping in mind the questions asked in this research. Then I will make my way to the border going down from Biarritz.
4. The Camino del Norte (25-30 Days)- The main part of the trip, 29 stops. I will follow the route and be conducting the majority of interviews and research along the way.
5. Path to Finisterre (3 Days)- I will bike to the Galician coast to finish the journey of the Camino de Santiago and reflect on the past month. On the way back to Santiago I will take a trip north to A Coruña to visit the Tower of Hercules.
6. The way to Lisbon (7 Days)- After returning to Santiago I will make my way into Portugal stopping in Braga, Porto, Coimbra, Fátima, Tomar and finally ending in Lisbon.
7. Lisbon, the final stop (3 Days)- I will complete the journey in Lisbon by visiting Sintra and touring Lisbon to collect the last pieces of information needed to fully understand the Iberian religious experience and history.
Therefore I am asking for assistance with the costs of this journey. The main expenses will be the flights, transportation in Catalonia, France, and Portugal, food and stay, backpacking equipment, camera batteries, emergency supplies, and museum and cathedral fees. The exchange rate will also be a factor in calculating my expenses.
I thank you so much for taking the time to read this and will be most appreciative of any support you may offer me and if you have any religious intentions that you would like me to bring to any of the sites I will be visiting I will do my best to get them there! I will provide a link to the blog and will update the page when the report is finished and available for viewing. I will also use my report towards pursuing a master's degree.
These links give great information about the Camino de Santiago:
- Gregory Evanella
- John Serralles
- JANICE LAROSA
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