Scene along The Way.
A 1,200-year old European pilgrimage ~ amounting to 750 miles from Paris across France to the Spanish coastal city of Santiago de Compostela ~ is experiencing a revival. In 1982 there were 120 pilgrims who trekked the Way of St. James, last year 200,000, mostly from Europe.
What was once a strictly religious affair has become a cultural and social phenomenon that attracts the nonreligious as well. The journey was captured in The Way, a 2010 film made by Martin Sheen and son Emilio Estevez.
According to NPR:
American writer David Downie began his recent pilgrimage as many did in medieval times, at the Tour St. Jacques in downtown Paris.
"This was where thousands and thousands of pilgrims would meet and start off to walk all the way down to Spain to Santiago de Compostela," Downie says. "This was like 'Pilgrimage Central' in Paris."
The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela started in the 9th century when the martyred St. James' bones are said to have arrived in a boat to the rocky Galician coast.