(This post is in response to a number of frequent questions people asked as I walked nine days on the Camino in July 2016)
What is the Camino de Santiago anyway?
The Camino de Santiago (The Way of St James in English) is a network of ancient routes used by pilgrims all over Europe that lead to Santiago de Compostela in north-western Spain where it is believed the tomb of St James is located. Pilgrims have walked these roads since the 9th and 10th centuries, when conditions were very basic. In the centuries that followed more infrastructure was introduced along the routes (new bridges were built, roads resurfaced and more refuges and hospitals introduced) and pilgrims enjoyed excellent treatment as they made their way to Santiago (free accommodation and food as well as medical care). These days the routes stretch from as far north as England to southern Spain (with the most popular being the Camino Frances which starts in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and runs over 800km into Santiago) and in the 1990s the Camino routes were awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status.