The first stop on our virtual tour of the Camino is in the largest city in Spain and its beautiful capital, Madrid. A hub for business, government, and industry, Madrid is also celebrated for its rich cultural, artistic, and gastronomic components.
By the 12th and 13th centuries, over half a million pilgrims were making their way across Saint James Way each year. At this point in time, kings and clergymen had begun to build hostels, roads, bridges, and hospitals to accommodate the needs of so many travelers.
The scallop shell is the most prolific and meaningful symbol of the Camino. Virtually all of those who walk the path carry a scallop shell tied to their backpack or their walking stick. It calls out to the world that you are walking the Camino and are a pilgrim on a journey.
Writers, poets and philosophers have all pondered this question over time, and their answers often echo in one way or another the words of St. Augustine: “Solvitur ambulando.” (“It is solved by walking.”)