Pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago typically pass through two or three small pueblos for each 25 kilometer (15 mile) stretch. Many comment that the local church is invariably the tallest building in each pueblo. The ‘Romanesque’- style church (pictured here) was developed during medieval times, and was referred to as the ‘pilgrims-style church’. Later, the more grandiose Gothic Cathedrals came into vogue. A few of those still lie on the Camino in places like Burgos and Leon. The irony is that all these magnficent churches dot what most consider to be the world’s most irreligious continent. American pilgrims tend to be more religious than their European counterparts, although approximately the same percentage of Europeans maintain belief in a Supreme Being. It all makes for an interesting atmosphere on the Camino!
Bill Walker is the author of The Best Way–El Camino de Santiago (2012). He is also the author of Skywalker–Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail (2008), as well as Skywalker–Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail (2010).