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The Camino francés, the “French Way” and the most popular route in the network of pilgrimage to Santiago, runs westward across north central Spain from Roncesvalles in the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. Fordham on the way will tackle the last 300 kilometers of this trail from León in Castile to Santiago. Here is a terrain map of our route, with stopping places along the way:
Although the historical context supplies the course’s content, much of the experience is about walking, self-reliance, and camaraderie. Participants should be prepared and fit. Good shoes or boots, broken in, and a semester-long record of regular walking is expected of everyone. Participants must travel on their own to León where the group will meet, find their way from place to place along the route, purchase meals, and complete coursework.
The course fee includes health insurance. Because Spain is a member of the European Union, clinics are accessible and well-staffed for every day and also emergency care. All points on the route are close to taxis or intercity buses. Cell service/WiFi is widely available, so contact with home, family, and friends is possible everywhere.
Students are responsible for their own meals (except for our group meals). Groceries are typically available for breakfasts, snacks and lunches. Bars along the route supply reasonable breakfasts and lunches. We will regularly picnic or cook together in the evenings. By ancient tradition almost every village has very reasonable restaurants with a “pilgrim’s menu” of three courses for $10-15. It is possible, with care, to fulfill every dietary need or choice, so students should not be concerned about nutrition along the way. Take a peek at typical meals/the dining experience:
We reserve albergues (hostels) and small hotels along the way, paid for in advance (via the course fee). The group will always be together in the evening, but never isolated so there will be many chances for interaction with other pilgrims. See inside a hostel:
Students will need hiking sandals or boots, a light sleeping bag or sheet, a light backpack (we recommend no more than 33 L), two or three changes of clothes, a water bottle or hydration pack, a hat, sunscreen, and a raincoat or poncho.
The whole kit should not exceed 20 lbs. The Camino does not stray far from villages or major roads, so amenities will be available everywhere. The gear does not need to be comprehensive. Our rule is the lighter the better. Take a look below: