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As happens so often in life, a chance meeting can lead to great things.  In 2003, two newly established travel companies made a chance encounter which led to New Experience Holidays featuring a walk along the Camino de Santiago from O Cebreiro to Santiago. As a destination planned for the near future, the enthusiasm of our local partner in Spain convinced us to give it priority and to feature it right away. It was a great decision and we now arrange walks along the Camino for more clients than to any other New Experience destination. Our team members have extensive knowledge of the Camino and having walked every step of the Way and escorted numerous group pilgrimages, Deborah has developed an excellent insight into the logistics of the route, the hotels, food and transportation as well as gaining special memories and experiences on a personal level.

The famous Camino de Santiago, also known as the St James’ Way and the French Way, is a wonderful five hundred mile trail across northern Spain which has been walked by pilgrims for over 1000 years. For most, the Camino ends at the magnificent Romanesque Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela – reputedly the final resting place of St. James the Apostle, although a further few days of walking takes the pilgrim to ‘the end of the earth’ at Finisterre with its downward pointing scallop shell signifying the actual ending and where pilgrims once burned their boots.  

Journeying in a westward direction, many aspects of Spain will be witnessed from the high mountains of the Pyrenees to the flat plains of the Meseta; vast Gothic Cathedrals and tiny ‘ermitas’; differing cultures from the colourful Basque lands to mystical Celtic Galicia. Walking the full route from St Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago in one go takes at least 35 days, but offers the ultimate Camino experience. However, time and practicality dictate that most can only manage one stage at a time taking several years to complete the full route.  For this reason we have divided the Camino into stages of 7-11 nights to offer flexibility, depending on time available and ease of access to/from start and end points.


Geography

The Camino Frances starts at St Jean Pied-de-Port in the Pyrenees Atlantique department in France. From there it wends through the Spanish regions of Navarra, La Rioja, Castilla y Leon and Galicia. The north of Spain has a variety of high mountains, rolling hills and plains.

Culture

Spain is known for its culturally diverse heritage, having been influenced by many nations and peoples throughout its history. Spanish culture has its origins in the Iberian, Celtiberian, Latin, Visigothic, Roman Catholic, and Islamic cultures. The definition of a national Spanish culture has been characterized by tension between the centralized state (dominated in recent centuries by Castile) and numerous regions and minority peoples. In addition, the history of the nation and its Mediterranean and Atlantic environment have played strong roles in shaping its culture.

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