Last year one of my friend suggested me to watch a movie called “The way” by Emilio Estevez. Movie was about a guy who decided to take the old pilgrim way, which starts from Saint Jean de Port and crosses 850 km in Spain to Santiago de Compostela. As I was planning my summer vacation I decided to walk the route. Before packing, I did some research about the way and found the route very fascinating.
Since the discovery of the supposed tomb of Saint James Major in the 9th century, the Santiago route has played a vital role in the development of European culture. However, the route finds its real value after the declaration of “the council of Europe Cultural Route in 1987. After the declaration, year-by-year the amount of people who attending the route increase respectively. Therefore, nowadays, there are millions of people becoming “pilgrim” by completing the route. After gathering information my 30 days lasting experience had begun.
While I was walking I see almost all fields around me were full with wine yards where villagers producing tasty and cheap wine for both themselves and for pilgrims. While you are walking you can see lots of houses have signs shows that they sell wine. I had the chance to talk with one of the sellers at the doorstep. He told me that he descent wine producing from his grandparents and they were producing it for themselves till 90’s. However, after route became famous, they decided to produce wine to sell to the pilgrims, he stated with a pleased face like he was remembering old times. “Now we and our neighbors have more money to increase our life style” he said. He also pointed some houses’ signs where “accommodation/food for pilgrims for 10 euros” written. He told me this is beneficial for both sides, they help us with small money and we help them for accommodation and food”. Than I understand how this route changed people’s lives and how this spiritual route developed the neighboring towns. After some time, I thanked to him for this fascinating conversation and headed to my way to Burgos while thinking of that beautiful small village. More I walk more I saw how small villages developed themselves through creating new job opportunities such as bike fixing, coffee shops, grocery, jewelry, etc. More I saw those new working fields which were just focus on pilgrims more I believed that this route not just for one’s personal benefits, but also other local people’s and region’s benefits.
After 30 days of walking I return my country with very good stories and experiences. I really liked the way how the route affected country yard people’s life. As I think of the “silk road” which has part in my country, and asked to my self why not to invest small money for development of the route for tourists and develop those nearby villages with the help of the route.