el camino francés - the french way

The St. James Way or Camino de Santiago is today the most popular pilgrimage route in the Christian world, and due to its rich history and the many, about 1800 historic buildings and monuments, the Camino was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993. Usually refering to the Camino Francés ( the French Route), this ancient trail will take you on a unique journey of 491 miles ( 790km ) through northern Spain. On your way, you will cross mountain ranges, walk through rural areas and the dry Meseta of Castilla la Vieja ( Old Castile). You will get to know cities like Pamplona, Estella, Logroño, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Burgos, Sahagún, León, Astorga, Ponferrada, Villafranca del Bierzo... and once you have climbed the Camino Duro ( beautiful, but tough!) up to O Cebreiro, you have made it to Galicia! Unlike the Meseta, there is green everywhere, and Galicia indeed is different in many ways, an autonomous region where local customs and traditions are still very much alive. Here it's "O Camiño", and the remaining 60 miles ( 100km ) to Santiago de Compostela are a wonderful treat to the eyes! Farm roads will lead you through rolling hills and lovely country side scenaries, through forested
 river valleys and small villages, places where time has almost stood still. And then finally, there is Santiago de Compostela! The Praza de Obradoiro and the Cathedral with its elaborately decorated baroque-style fasade. Inside, the Pórtica da Gloria, the nave and choir ... the crypt with the relics of St. James and his two disciples - this is the final destination! And to make things perfect ... wouldn't it be great to see the good old Botafumeiro ( 180lbsg, 5'3'' high! ) swinging above through the cathedral, dispensing thick and sweetish clouds of incense - if not this time  ... well then next time, it'll be a must see!